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Kerry's Boston Problem

With the clock counting down to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Democratic leaders are starting to sweat. The mayor and the police union are locked in a labor dispute that threatens to derail the convention. From The Boston Globe:

Democratic officials have postponed a tour of the FleetCenter for the national media as contractors try again to start renovating the convention arena amid police union contract protests - this time with U.S. marshals monitoring the picket lines.

Yesterday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro ordered the head U.S. marshal, Anthony Dichio, to monitor activity around the FleetCenter and ensure picketing did not block people or vehicles from entering the job site to begin the $14 million retrofit for the Democratic National Convention.

"This is what I expect - no blocking. I take two words to say it. I've got colleagues who would take 100 pages to say the same thing," Tauro said. "No impeding access. Get out of the way. Make sure no one is in the way. Don't slow them down."

Tauro called his guidelines for picketing "good, plain English" and warned that violators would be arrested for contempt.

The edict could be a blow to the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association and unions backing it, which, by preventing work at the FleetCenter, have ramped up pressure on Menino to give ground on wages or risk having the prized July convention turn into a fiasco.

If work inside remains halted, the elaborate design for the convention will be in jeopardy - all under the national media spotlight.

Democratic delegates are going to have hard choices to make if there are picket lines outside the convention. For Democrats, especially those bankrolled by labor unions, crossing a picket line is sacrosanct. When high profile Democrats meet picket lines they either cross and face the wrath of organized labor or honor the line and look like organized labor's lackeys - either way they loose.

Thomas Keane, in the Globe, paints the nightmare scenario for Kerry:

And so, imagine if you will that you're a moderate voter living in Arkansas - a swing state where just under 7 percent of workers are unionized - and you turn on the television one evening in late July. The convention is on and, predictably, it's boring. Second-rate luminaries, thrilled to be in the national spotlight, are giving snoozer speeches. Everyone knows Kerry will be nominated. You're just about to turn the channel.

But wait, there's some excitement. The Boston police are holding a massive demonstration! Picket lines have been set up! Delegates are refusing to attend parties and events around the city!

Wow. The Democratic convention brought to a standstill by a small cadre of union members. The mayor of Boston humiliated. The entire Democratic Party caving in to the demands of a few.

And for you, the bewildered citizen of Arkansas, the idea of a Democratic president is suddenly a lot scarier.



Comments (6)

"to begin the $14 million r... (Below threshold)
Jim:

"to begin the $14 million retrofit for the Democratic National Convention"

If I was borderline they would have lost my vote right there. They can't find a venue that can be made ready without spending fourteen million dollars refitting it? How about the spot from four years ago?

Kevin,You are over... (Below threshold)
D:

Kevin,

You are overlooking one fact about these pickets, as "informational" as they may be. The unions involved are all government employee unions trying to shake down more taxpayer money for themselves. There is not a single private-sector employee union involved here.

What remains to be seen is whether the construction workers at the Fleet Center will honor the picket or not. So far they seem to be putting up a perfunctory display by simply staying home. Let's see what happens later today.

If I remember correctly, th... (Below threshold)

If I remember correctly, the police union has promised that they will only be picketing up to the convention, not during it. So that won't be a problem.

Of course when the time comes, the everything will be so far behind schedule that the Boston convention will be a more of a fiasco than expected. And we were already expecting the city to shut down that week.

God, I want Hunter Thompson to be in Boston for the convention, if ever the going was getting weird, its now. We need the professionally weird in Boston for this... Maybe some of the bloggers that are going will fill that role.

These two conventions might... (Below threshold)

These two conventions might be too funny for words: In NYC, the police are currently prepping for trying to control protesters looking to screw up the convention. In Boston, the police are currently prepping to BE the protesters looking to screw up the convention!

Go Yankees!

Well, THANKS, Kevin. There ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Well, THANKS, Kevin. There goes one of my postings I planned for the weekend, tentatively entitled "Buyer's Remorse II: The Wrath Of Cops."

Maybe I can find a few more details to flesh out Kevin's coverage. It's either that or break open the box of Emergency Fart Jokes, and I really, REALLY don't want to open that one.

Here's a tidbit: Judge Tauro actually took Boston's new Police Commissioner, Kathleen O'Toole, down to the Fleet Center and literally pointed out the places where the protests could and could not go. This was no general "don't block entrances," but "They can come up to this hydrant, but no further, and they have to stay on the other side of that light pole over there" kind of instructions. That, combined with the "U. S. Marshals will be my eyes and ears," HAS to be one of the greatest legal smackdowns in history.

J.

Feh... why not. I just toss... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Feh... why not. I just tossed up "Buyer's Remorse II: The Wrath Of Cops" anyway.

J.




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