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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Say it ain't so

There's an ominous undertone in the coverage of the death of Boston Fire Lt. Kevin Kelley. Did faulty equipment cause Ladder 26 to smash into a Mission Hill building? And will this death -- like the death of two firefighters in West Roxbury in 2007 -- become a political football?

My sense from reading coverage in the Globe and the Herald is that Boston Mayor Tom Menino was less than his usual ubiquitous presence at the scene. I found one standard video clip but little else. Why?

Couple that with the speculation of brake failure coming down impossible steep Parker Hill -- and extensive coverage on the truck's safety history -- and you have the making of a potentially ugly political battle.

As we all know, Menino and Local 718 have been locked in bitter and vocal contract negotiations. A major part of the disagreement is over drug and alcohol testing -- largely because of the likely impairment of the two firefighters who died in 2007.

My hope is Hizzoner was battling a nasty bug but got out of his sickbed to stand in support of some of his loudest critics. Or that he was being logical and knew his presence may not have been as comforting as it might have been at other scenes.

Let's cross our fingers that this latest tragedy doesn't become more kindling for a rather intense political fire that has been raging out of control for some time now.

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