Thursday, October 21, 2010

William Walsh compared to the current Cambridge City Manager and City Council.

Update, 10/27/10

The letter has been published on line at, under the title "My dealings with former Cambridge City Councillor Bill Walsh."

Bob La Trémouille reports:

Last night, October 20, 2010, former Cambridge City Councilor William Walsh was waked in his long time parish church in West Cambridge. The funeral mass will be this morning.

I have submitted the following as an op ed to the Cambridge Chronicle. There are no guarantees, but it seems that it may get published.


Cambridge Chronicle

My relationship with William Walsh was punctuated by two speeches.

Our relationship started in Walsh’s successful run for Cambridge City Council, in a campaign debate between him and Councilor David Sullivan concerning Rent Control. I was part of the audience for that debate. It was generally agreed that in my brief comments against Mr. Walsh, I was the only person in the room who “drew blood.”

Then there was the debate in City Council in which my friends concerning Rent Control fought to have Walsh thrown off city council FOR MATTERS WHICH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS PERFORMANCE ON CITY COUNCIL and which were on appeal in court. I objected to his expulsion for those reasons, but also because, while we strongly disagreed on Rent Control, Walsh’s performance on City Council was, without exception, commendable from an ethical point of view.

In between I had business dealing with Walsh’s law office in which I saw the contempt for ethics present there, a contempt for ethics which is called by insiders “getting things done.” That attitude made it not at all surprising to me to see people in his office going to jail a few years later. I provided the Boston Globe with information on Walsh’s dealings which expanded the Globe’s investigative report on Walsh from a two part report on a few projects to a three part statewide report concerning a lot of projects. My input was based on an extended records review by me on Walsh’s real estate dealings which stretched from Land Court files in Boston to Bankruptcy Court records in Springfield. That “getting things done” mentality in the banking / financial sector proceeded to destroy our economy in recent years.

In Cambridge politics, however, Walsh’s integrity, in spite of our differences on Rent Control, was beyond reproach, and it was his enemies who were the “getting things done” practitioners. Those enemies certainly do look like they dominate Cambridge politics now, and their approach to government has been notable for zoning initiatives with secret fine print that turned loudly proclaimed “benefits” into the opposite of what was claimed.

One of Walsh’s big victories came in my East Harvard Square Downzoning. He was probably key in the seven member majority (eighth vote in the hospital) which forced Harvard to build the Inn at Harvard in a responsible manner rather than the 72% larger structure built to the sidewalk that Harvard wanted. The “getting things done” people in Cambridge bullied major, uncompensated concessions from the petitioners with the flat out lie, “You have made your deal with the City Council. Now you must negotiate with the Planning Board.”

The “getting things done” mentality in Cambridge City Government now extends to the Cambridge City Council spending millions to defend the Cambridge City Manager against a soundly written decision by a respected judge in which she called the Cambridge City Manager “reprehensible.” This was because she and a jury of decent human beings found that Cambridge deliberately destroyed the life of Malvina Monteiro in retaliation for her exercising her rights under civil rights law.

Walsh had his right to take his full appeals on matters which had nothing to do with Cambridge city government.

In the Monteiro case, the City Council is implementing Walsh’s private mentality in the public sphere. Walsh played games with mortgages in a corrupt system in which a wink and a nod were part of the culture. Walsh was never as venal as the finding of the Monteiro judge against the Cambridge City Manager.

The Malvina Monteiro matter shows the reason why state ethics laws which require the expulsion from office without pension for criminal venality in office should be expanded by the judge with city council initiative to the situation where the Cambridge City Manager has been found, in office, to have destroyed the life of a black, Cape Verdian city employee because she exercised her rights under civil rights law.

The Monteiro case is not a matter when the Cambridge City Council is sitting back and watching while a miscreant defends himself for outside behavior. The Monteiro case is a matter in which the Cambridge City Council is spending millions defending the miscreant in spite of a brilliant and persuasive opinion by the judge in the case. The Monteiro case is a matter in which the Cambridge City Council is failing to exercise its duty to protect our employees and our government from behavior which a persuasive judicial opinion has called “reprehensible.”

So I praise Bill Walsh for his commendable public service to the City of Cambridge.

I condemn the current Cambridge City Council which continues in office a city manager persuasively demonstrated as “reprehensible” by judge and jury for destroying the life of Malvina Monteiro.