Sunday, June 25, 2006

Logical Discrepancy

Everyone knows that Boston has been in the midst of a crime murder wave. There have been a disproportionately large number of high-profile homicides in the past few months — and I think it's fair to say that when a homeless man is stabbed to death on a weekday afternoon outside Faneuil Hall, mere steps from City Hall, we've reached a new low.

Mayor Menino has blamed the problem partly on the fact that city police are understaffed and overworked. (Boston has fewer than a dozen full-time homicide detectives.) So last week, Governor Romney offered the services of the state police. Menino declined.

The subsequent 48-hour firestorm accusing him of putting politics ahead of public safety forced him to reverse his position. He will accept the help of state troopers in limited capacity during the next few months. But still...his initial public decision was to decline, because Romney's politics are unpopular in the same communities who are currently living in fear.

It wasn't always this way. Tip O'Neill and Billy Bulger may not have been ethical paragons, but they knew their jobs and they served their constituencies. Mayor Menino couldn't host a Democratic National Convention without embarrassing the presidential nominee by pitting him against a police union picket line. Now citizens are fleeing the city in droves, half of them being chased by gunfire, and he's spitting in the governor's eye because the governor might run for president in 2008. And this man defeated Maura Hennigan in a popular election.


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