Saturday, August 19, 2006

Deval Leapfrogging the Crime Fighters?

If you agree with the moderate Black-oriented weekly, gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick got it just right on urban crime. The issue is huge and growing, the vast majority of Massachusetts voters live in urban or close suburban areas where it matters -- a lot, and other candidates have not been able to run with this.

The obvious irony is that both Dem candidate Tom Reilly and GOP goer Kerry Healey figure this is their thing. Reilly as a former DA and current AG plays Dick Tracy on TV commercials. Healey has a related degree and read a lot about such matters; so there.

As one testimony of Patrick's prowess here, the Boston Banner cites the endorsement by Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral. She has mega respect in Boston's Black community, smacked down the politically connected White guy for the spot, and has real credentials in urban crime fighting.

Note on Banner Links: These links are to the current issue. After a week, if I forget to update them, you can find them in the Banner archives for the August 17th issue.

Speaking of Patrick's public-safety platform, she said, "Patrick’s plan is very solid and has common sense. There is nothing high in the sky about it. It’s practical and it doesn’t reinvent the wheel unnecessarily."

Okay, she's a sheriff, not an orator.

Like his other programs, Patrick includes specifics, including:
  • 1,000 new officers
  • local and broader partnerships between community leaders and cop
  • more community policing
  • more youth initiatives
  • commonwealth-wide anti-crime council
  • limiting handgun purchases
  • prison reform
  • protection for gang-violence witnesses
  • zero tolerance on sexual and domestic abuse
That may have been partially reactive to Reilly's stance too. His asthenic platform is strongest in public safety.

On the other side, Patrick has our number with the progressive approach to major social problems -- identify and target the underlying causes, not just the symptoms. As he puts it:
The best and cheapest form of public protection is prevention. The best way to prevent street and violent crime of any kind is to ensure that everyone has a job and economic opportunity and a stake in our society and communities.
Cabral likely speaks for more than herself when she said that Patrick "has an incredible background and he knows what he’s talking about. His open and inclusive style is inviting, not dictatorial. He will have no problem standing up before the legislature on issues that need to be challenged with an eye towards good collaboration."

She notes that much of the public is disengaged from law enforcement, while "starving for credible leadership." That may be self-fulfilling on this issue at least. She is helping provide credibility for him on crime.

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