Listen to BMG’s interview with Michael Flaherty

David, Charley and I will chat just chatted with Boston City Councillor and candidate for Mayor Michael Flaherty for about half an hour , and then take questions from callers. The call-in number is (347) 539-5813. If you can’t make it, feel free to post your question here in the comments.

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17 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Spreadin' it around...

    I really like how the different candidates are getting a chance to come on and say their piece. In today's day and age it seems that in order for a candidate to get their message out to the public they have to pay an arm and a leg. It's good to know that we have forums open to all. Are any other candidates going to be on? McCrea? Maybe even Menino? (at the very least a tape-recorded message would be nice...hint hint, knudge knudge)

    Maybe this can turn into a regular thing. Weekly? Monthly? It would be great to have a mayor that was elected based on their substance, not the size of their bank account.

    Let me know.

    • We already did Yoon,

      and we're hoping to talk to Menino and McCrea as well.  Stay tuned.

      • on your show page

        you can embed a player that has all your recent shows. It would be a good thing to add to one of your sidebars for the election, as it would include all the politicians you interview.  

    • Suddenly tomorrow's Q and A on blogtalkradio and leftahead got a little more interesting...

      I was walking through Center Plaza earlier and was approached by volunteers for Flaherty who were handing out these little cards. They turned out to be part of his new ad campaign and had a link to his website. Being and undecided voter in this Mayor's race...I visited the site when I got back to my office and I think I get the idea, but I still wanted to know how Flaherty will be better, so I looked at some of the Issue Pages on his site and it seems like there might be some depth. I wonder how he is going to respond tomorrow.

      My questions for him are...

      1. I heard you on WBUR and you called for a 311 system. Doesn't the city already have something like it and if so why should we spend more money just to save us the hassle of dialing an extra 4 digits?

      2. After recent news reports I've been feeling more and more unsafe in my own neighborhood. Violent crime needs to stop. How will your plan be better than Menino's?

      3. I've read about Citistat's success in Baltimore. How will Citistat help you do a more affective job of monitoring Boston than the current system and why should we spend money on something that is similar to what we have now?

  2. leftahead, too

  3. This is a great forum!

      I'd be happy to participate with BMG, especially as a long time poster.

    Leveling the playing field by taking advantage of electronic media is an excellent form of campaign finance reform.

    The three campaigns trying to unseat Menino are all encouraging Community Groups, local Media, Ward Committee's, etc. to invite all the candidates to their events so that voters can ask the candidates questions so that the citizens can hold the elected officials accountable.   Different neighborhoods and organizations have different needs and concerns and I know from speaking with Michael and Sam that all three of us are eager to present our thoughts and ideas, and to listen, to those groups that will have us.

    Good for BMG for doing this!

    Thanks guys Kevin

  4. Question for Michael Flaherty

    As City Council president in 2002-04, you led the Council in 18 months of unlawful closed-door meetings with the BRA, negotiating a deal in trade for extending the BRA's urban renewal plans.  You've admitted that you violated the open meeting law 11 times but you've never told the public what deal you made. Tell us now.  What was the deal you made with the BRA?

    • David read this question

      You can hear Councillor Flaherty's answer 46 minutes in or so.

      • Flaherty talks the talk -- and sometimes not even that

        BMG, thanks very much for holding these candidate discussions; I hope other media follow your example.  Thank you also for asking candidate Councilor Michael Flaherty my question, as I wasn't able to listen to the interview until later.

        However, I see that he didn't answer my question at all -- he made no mention of what I asked: what was the deal he negotiated with the BRA in 2004 in return for that Council vote extending the BRA urban renewal plans?  So, let's give him another chance.  Councilor Flaherty, please post your response to my question on BMG.  And while you're up, please answer a second question:  The Council's vote included a condition that the BRA fulfill several reporting requirements, including a detailed annual report of its urban renewal activities.  The BRA has not met any of these requirements in five years, effectively stripping the Council of its oversight powers; have you initiated a proposal to rescind that Council vote?

        BMG's interviewers added a good question: What would Flaherty do about reforming the BRA's structure if elected?  He said he'd have their meetings recorded for replay so people could find out what actions were taken.  BRA meetings are open, and minutes are already available, so that's no additional help; anyway, the BRA makes sure that its meetings (I've attended many) provide virtually no information on what it's actually doing.  So Flaherty's suggestion is certainly not a reform of the Authority.  The BRA's inherent structural conflicts, and its general obsolescence, are finally becoming widely understood, and both candidates McCrea and Yoon have said they'd get rid of it and give us back a normal, publicly accountable planning agency.  Flaherty wants to leave the Authority intact, so that if he were elected he could benefit, as does Menino, from its unfettered powers to do the dirty work and keep politicians' hands clean.

        Finally, Flaherty dismissed my reference to his Open Meeting Law violations as something from the long-ago dusty past, a youthful error he has put behind him, saying he has shown his leadership qualities by accepting responsibility and changing his ways.  In truth, the lawsuit filed in May 2005 (Kevin McCrea and I are co-plaintiffs) is not even over.  It's still in court, awaiting the final judgment.  That's because, instead of taking responsibility for his mistakes and admitting the violations at a court hearing within ten days of the suit filing, as provided by the Law, then-president Flaherty led the Council into a protracted defense, which was judged frivolous and without merit in March 2006, and then he filed an appeal; the legal fees have already cost the taxpayers over $200,000.  In November 2008, when they finally admitted all eleven violations, they told the court that they respect the Open Meeting Law, and asked the judge to spare them an injunction (that way, they could violate again without risk of contempt citation).  But in fact, Flaherty (and Yoon) had already violated the 2006 injunction in June 2007, by participating in a secretive meeting of the Council, held in a recess during a regular weekly meeting, apparently to pre-arrange an approval vote on -- of all things -- a pension abuse scheme (I wonder if his CitiStat would have caught that one...). They then proceeded to vote on the unread docket that amended the City ordinance, creating a new $70,000 position for a $50,000-a-year Council staffer to occupy just long enough to bump up his pension.  What was the staffer hired to do in his new, upgraded position?  To write a report on why the City Council should be exempted from the Open Meeting Law!  This report, in the works for a year and a half and costing the taxpayers about $150,000 in salary, was revealed in September 2008; and it is still pending Council action.  We plaintiffs learned about the secret meeting only in early 2009 while following the trail of the report, and we added a charge of contempt to our pending case.  The Councilors couldn't defend this meeting as lawful but refused to own up to it as a violation, at the final Feb. 24, 2009 hearing -- and that's just three months ago. Michael Flaherty is an attorney; he often mentions his experience as a prosecutor, to engender public trust.  He should have led his colleagues to obey the rule of law.  Instead, this is how he uses his legal skills -- to protect back-room dealings and squander public money.  This -- and earning more in private legal fees at his real day job than his Council salary.

        Michael Flaherty knows how to present himself persuasively; he sounds articulate, earnest and informed. His talk is about cost-saving efficiencies, a smaller City Hall (there's another question: has he eliminated that sham $70,000 position?), doing more with less, transparency, responsiveness to the citizens, modern technology, looking to the future, etc.  But check his record; his walk is old-school politics as usual, as I have observed for his ten years in office.  Follow-up questions are usually needed to get past self-serving responses and probe the facts.  Better, invite all four candidates and let them debate directly, asking each other questions.  That will be very enlightening, I'm sure.

    • Flaherty supports ...

      All BRA meetings on TV and online. Also other licensing agencies.

  5. LeftAhead's Interview

    Here's our podcast - and here's my extended write up. We covered a lot of different material, but I found his ideas on ending youth violence and revenue/cost savings particularly in depth and impressive.

    I let Mike do most of the talking this week, since he has almost as much experience living in Boston as I do living, period.

  6. Greetings!

    Hi, this is Michael Flaherty, candidate for Mayor, and this is my first blog post. After having spending 2 hours with bloggers yesterday and a lot of time on Facebook, I have decided that City Hall needs to have it's own blog in 2010. Blogs are engaging, and they generate real discussion along with creative ideas. Real, free discussion has not been seen in City Hall in 16 years.

    Sure, the City Hall website is good, but a Flaherty Administration website would be better. With user-friendly prompts, the ability to easily track service requests online, disseminate helpful information about free city services, provide informative data on green resources and businesses, and a blog, the City Hall website will become a powerful tool that is available to all of our citizens.  

    I look forward to posting in the future, and welcome any questions you may have for me.

    • You welcome questions, but you don't give answers

      Councilor Flaherty,

      You didn't answer my question on the air, and you haven't posted an answer as I requested in my posting above.  

      Let's try again.

      WHAT WAS THE DEAL YOU NEGOTIATED WITH THE BRA IN TRADE FOR VOTING TO EXTEND ITS URBAN RENEWAL PLANS?

      Additional questions in my posting above:

      HAVE YOU FILED TO RESCIND THE VOTE, BASED ON BRA'S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH REPORTING CONDITIONS?

      HAVE YOU ELIMINATED THE SHAM $70,000 STAFF POSITION YOU CREATED TO BOOST PAUL WALKOWSKI'S PENSION?

      I look forward to your responses.

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