Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A little news from Boston:

Life could be better for Mayor-for-Life Tom Menino right now.

You know those chores you know you ought to do, but you keep on putting off because it's just too much of a gosh darned bother, and there's always something more important going on right now? Menino's got one of those: signing a contract with the city's police union. He's been putting that off for two years now since the last one expired, between one thing and another, over disputed provisions which would cost about one quarter of one percent of the city's budget.

And now he's shocked and dismayed to discover that there are consequences. The union says they don't want to put public safety at risk with a work stoppage, so what's left is pickets -- mostly of events associated with the Mayor, like his party at the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, which delegates will be asked not to attend. And police picket lines have already delayed construction at the DNC venue.

Worse, for Menino, police will be picketing a Boston meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where John Kerry had been scheduled to speak. This faces Kerry with an awkward choice -- to enrage organized labor by crossing the picket line, or to embarrass Tom Menino by pulling the speech.

Kerry has chosen to embarrass Menino. And Menino thinks this shows a seriously skewed sense of priorities. He calls the Kerry campaign "small minded". He calls the Kerry campaign "incompetent." He suggests that the Kerry campaign's diplomatic statements that he has several hard jobs and might be a little stressed are attempts to discredit him personally. "Maybe they should use some of their energies", he says, "to get their message across to the American people instead of trying to destroy the integrity of someone who is on their team, to try to discredit someone on their team."

I mean, really. They're acting as if the AFL-CIO is somehow more important to them than the Mayor of Boston. How dare they?

On the other hand, maybe Menino himself could use some of his own energies to reach a deal with the police. It is two years late...


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