The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Kerry's deal with Boston cops already unravelling

Yesterday, I discussed the merits of the presumptive John Kerry's deal with cops' union leader Thomas Nee - Kerry welshed on his Mayors' Conference speech in exchange for Nee agreeing (broadly speaking) not to picket the Democratic Convention (starting July 26).

I was unimpressed.

The background is, of course, the two year contract dispute between the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association and Mayor Thomas Menino - first mentioned here in connection with the picketing of the FleetCenter where the Convention is to be held [1].

One element coming to the fore is the antipathy between Menino and Kerry: the lede from a Herald piece yesterday:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino unloaded a searing attack on fellow Democrat John F. Kerry yesterday, calling his presidential campaign "small-minded'' and "incompetent'' - laying bare a years-old rift weeks before the city plays host to Kerry's FleetCenter coronation.

Kerry may be Uriah Heep personified with Tommy Nee; but with Menino:
in a move that might only intensify the public war of words, the Kerry campaign responded by suggesting Menino made the comments because of the ``pressure'' he's under as convention host.

And Menino's [2] boys are saying he
could well hold back some of his ground troops, which helped put Kerry over the top in critical primaries.

So, what's the Menino-Kerry history that the Herald mentions but doesn't explain? Menino has been Mayor since 1993, from memory. Since then - to grasp for a possible area of difficulty - Kerry was up for re-election in 1996 and 2002. Has Menino been less than supportive at any stage? A cursory search provides no detail of that years old rift.

More research needed.

Meanwhile, the BPPA have apparently been counting the ways they can turn the Convention into one big snafu: another Herald piece says that a
do-not-cross ultimatum...will be tucked into invitations the cops plan to send to all 6,000 delegates urging them instead to come to a union fete.

And - it occurs to me - what group is better placed than the BPPA to know exactly how to bring the city to a grinding halt with the minimum of effort? Without the need for the caper element of The Italian Job (the 1969 version), either. Say - top of the head - a trucker just happens to break down when his rig is blocking a critical intersection. Or - trucks can so easily spill their loads onto the road - it would be something amusing, rather than dangerous, of course!

The New York Times yesterday has an insight into Kerry's thinking (or what he wants us to imagine it is):
a spokesman for the Kerry campaign, Michael Meehan, seemed reassured. "They said they will not be picketing the convention,'' Mr. Meehan said. "We take them at their word."

Comment superfluous, surely?

The Phoenix points out that, come July 30, Nee's Convention leverage will have disappeared. That, of course, cuts both ways: hold out a month and Menino is home free; but, with just that golden month left, won't the BPPA go for broke?

After Joan Vennochi's dubious piece the day before, the Globe yesterday has an upbeat (news, not op-ed) piece from Glen Johnson on Kerry's kow-tow decision - in the context of other supposedly wise campaigning moves. His analysis of Kerry and the cops is superficial:
Leaders of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association said their organization will not picket outside the Democratic National Convention.

Up to a point, Lord Copper. They've made a express exception for appearances of Menino at the FleetCenter. And they'll be picketing delegate hotels. And other good stuff (see my piece yesterday).

(Scott Lehigh's piece, also in the Globe, takes a more realistic view, regretting the lack of a Sister Souljah.)

  1. The first of several pieces here on June 9 - scroll up for the rest.

  2. The piece - hard news? - calls him
    the famously fickle mayor

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