Back when he was mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn had a trick.
Knowing the city's newspapers and television and radio stations were thinly staffed and often eager for fresh material on the weekends, he'd fill the vacuum especially on Sundays with some pronouncement or highly visual act that garnered him and his causes an inordinate amount of coverage on the evening newscasts or Monday paper.
It's a practice still used today by Secretary of State William Galvin, and it's the polar opposite of the Patrick administration's practice of releasing bad news on Fridays especially in the afternoon in an effort to minimize attention to it.
Today, Flynn may be 71, but he hasn't lost the range on his jump shot.
Yesterday the former mayor sent out an email, calling attention to his appearance that morning on WBZ-TV's "Keller at Large" program.
Both on the TV screen and in the note, Flynn argued that working-class families are fleeing Boston because they lack choice over the school their children can attend.
While charter schools provide some alternative, they offer too few slots. Other children are often bused away from their neighborhood school. That prompts many parents to send their children to private schools, especially parochial ones run by the Roman Catholic Church.
And many of those parents can only afford them by working two jobs, Flynn says, so when that becomes too much of a burden, they leave the city for the public school offerings in the suburbs.
"I'd start with a property tax deduction for parents who send their children to Catholic schools and ask businesses and colleges to donate computers and training to Catholic schools, just like our public school children receive," the former mayor said in his email.
"Public school parents in Boston need to demand that they be given more of a choice in where their children go to school," Flynn added. "Boston Public School parents should be able send their children to schools closest their homes. This would greatly increase school participation by parents, which is critical to children's education."
The argument harkens back to his 1970s roots as a school busing opponent, his tenure as mayor from 1984 to 1993, and his later immersion in the world of the Catholic church during and since his service as US envoy to the Vatican.
When WBZ's Jon Keller asked Flynn if his proposal violated the separation of church and state, the former mayor was at first vague, saying the primary obligation of government is to protect its citizens and provide the best possible chance for growing children.
He then reiterated that helping families afford an educational alternative would be in the best interests of Boston.
“I think we ought to be able to give them a little bit of help, and, frankly, I don’t think it conflicts with the Constitution of the United States," said Flynn.
It may not be the kind of argument that holds up in court, but it shows where Flynn's heart remains: with the city in general and his working-class South Boston neighborhood in particular.
Flynn previously was on TV for news not of his own making. Late last month, he reported a burglary at his Southie at his home. It happened while he and his wife, Kathy, were attending funeral services for the mother of former House Speaker Thomas Finneran.
Flynn said the burglars took all his wife's jewelry, plus mementos from his political life, including a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II.
"It's devastating," the former mayor told Keller. "You hear about it, but you never really understand it until it happens to you.”
He blamed drug use that fuels petty crime, and lamented the change from the days when his childhood home was always open and neighbors were free to come in and borrow a cup of sugar or flour if need be.
“We had to get all bolts on our doors," Flynn said of the aftermath of the robbery. "We never had to do that before. And it’s a commentary, really, on our society.”
The former mayor said the positive side came in the outpouring of support not just from close friends or next-door neighbors, but people across the city.
Some sent Irish soda bread and cookies. One sent a warm apple pie. State Senator Jack Hart showed up unannounced on the front doorstep.
Flynn said it was "far greater" than any other response to anything during his 50-year political career.
The length and breadth of that career, by the way, has prompted talk of a statue in Flynn's honor.
When the former mayor was asked if he wanted to be remembered that way, he first tried to make a joke about it.
“I probably won’t be around to see it, but if that's what they want to so, I'm sure it will be a nice place for the birds to rest on my shoulder over the years," he said.
Then Flynn added more seriously: "If it helps to showcase the great city of Boston, I'm all for it."
A pretty full day's work for a quiet Sunday.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.