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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Frankly Mayor, you just don't get it

What is happening to the vaunted Menino political antenna?

As Outlookgate escalates, Tom Menino continues to be less than appropriate in his response to the revelations that his top aide, Michael Kineavy, seemed to have played fast and loose with e-mails required to be maintained under state law.

Hizzoner is playing a short-term strategy -- getting past Nov. 3 -- while refusing to acknowledge the mess of troubles that could arise before Election Day and most certainly afterward.

The exchange between Kineavy, who announced his unpaid leave of absence, and Menino has always a surreal quality:
“I’ve asked the mayor to grant me a leave of absence until we get by this,’’ Kineavy said. “I’ve become a distraction, and that isn’t good for the mayor or the city so, until this straightens out, I won’t be a part of city government.’’
To which Menino offered:
“It is unfortunate that these things happen during political times but we hope this time will allow Michael to clear his name,’’ Menino said in a statement last night. “The city will continue to seek out information of any deleted items from within Michael’s computers and will continue to work in cooperation with the secretary of state’s office in this effort.’’
"During political times." Do Kineavy and Menino simply think this is a tactic authored by Michael Flaherty and his new worst enemy, Secretary of State Bill Galvin?

Let's repeat once more: e-mails are public records under state law. Deleting them prematurely is illegal.

Then there is the matter of the city attempting to pooh-pooh the search for the missing e-mails as an expensive exercise not worth the cost to taxpayers. Another lovely short-term Nov. 3 strategy that misses the long-term implications.

And if that isn't bad enough, some of those lost, now miraculously found e-mails were under subpoena in the federal investigation of City Council Chuck Turner and former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.

Can you say obstruction of justice? If Michael Sullivan were still the US Attorney for Massachusetts I suspect someone would have uttered those words already.

There's more than just mayoral election overtones to this escalating mess. Galvin is just about ready to drop the hot potato into the lap of Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office has the tools and resources to pursue recalcitrant public officials (you know like House speakers and their friends).

Coakley may or may not want this in her lap as she focuses her attention on the Democratic primary for the vacant US Senate seat. And Galvin may or may not want to drop it in her lap as her ponders whether to seek the AG's job should it become available.

I still don't see anything putting a serious crimp in the plans for a fifth term inaugural. Menino supporters are still focused on pothole repair and trash collection.

But Mr. Mayor, this is not an election season tactic dreamed up by your opponent and political enemies. If you want to have any credibility or effectiveness next year, you need to deal with this. Now.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Frank Jones said...

We need to get this machine out of there. Vote for Flaherty & Yoon on Nov 3rd. We need new leadership and fresh ideas. Everyone's got until Oct 14th to register.

October 07, 2009 7:09 AM  
Anonymous KG said...

Menino supporters are also focused on the future, like today's "green jobs" announcement, like the new bike sharing program, like single stream recycling and like standing up for the Living Wage Law and better conditions for janitors and health workers. That's a real progressive, as opposed to his opponent.

October 07, 2009 9:08 AM  

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