More from King and Flynn

By ADAM REILLY  |  November 6, 2008

Racial healing: Former mayoral opponents Ray Flynn and Mel King discuss how far their city’s come, and how far it hasn’t, since 1983. By Adam Reilly.
On the ramifications of 1989’s Stuart Case, in which Charles Stuart killed his pregnant wife, Carol; blamed the murder on a fictional black assailant; and then killed himself. The incident — and the Boston Police Department's aggressive response to finding the imaginary killer — again inflamed racial tensions in the city.
FLYNN: I'm writing a book about the case, so I don't want to really talk about it in detail. It's going to be fascinating — there's a lot more information out there than people think they understand.

The negative was obvious. The stereotyping that a black person had committed this crime against a white woman — in an area, by the way, that had experienced a considerable drop in crime, the Mission Hill area. And it had never happened before; a black person had never killed a white woman in that neighborhood or any other neighborhood. But that wasn't a script that we wrote; that was a script that was written by  the Boston media.

But I think we learned a lot from it. And what was interesting about it — I'm proud to say that, in all the time I was mayor of Boston, we did not have one single serious racial incident in this city. Not one. Again, I say that's a credit to the black and white people of Boston, who were tired of the division and the polarization of the past.

On the shift from an elected to an appointed school committee.
KING: I met with the black clergy and I said, “What are you doing?” They'd gotten money to do some after-school programs. And I said, “If the kids aren't making it from 9 am to 2 pm with professionals, what do you expect to do with them from 2 pm to 5 pm with semi-professionals?” I said, “There are people who are getting paid big money to do the work with these children, and your task ought to be riding herd on them to make sure that they're doing their job.”

To this day, they haven't figured it out yet. I don't know how often I can speak to them about that issue. I think it's ironic that they don't get the fact that they're not pushing people. They've got this guy, Reverend Groover in [Gregory Groover, pastor of the Charles Street A.M.E. Church and vice-chairperson of the Boston School Committee]; I think he's trying do something around schools. But it's got to be block-by-block organizing that gets the parents, with the support of the churches, to really push for schools to deliver.

On the controversial BU Biolab project and who could challenge Boston Mayor Tom Menino.
FLYNN: Lot of concern about the Boston Redevelopment Authority over here, huh, Mel?

KING: Oh yeah.

FLYNN: With that South End biomedical deal? I hear a lot of that.

KING: You know, the thing is — I sat in a courtroom, and the judge [Suffolk Superior Court Judge Ralph Gants] asked them, “Did you look at alternatives?” And they said no. The judge asked them, “Well, did you do an analysis of what the impact could be?” And they said no! I sat there — this was over in Cambridge — and said, “He’s asking all the right questions. There’s no way he’s going to tell them to go ahead.”

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