As Governor Deval Patrick met with patrons at a popular Lowell diner on Saturday, more than 100 members of the Lowell Police Patrolman’s Association protested outside.
Holding signs that read, “Deval Hates Cops,” “Deval is an Elitist” and “Deval is Against Public Safety,” the union members protested Patrick’s support of civilian flagmen and non-support of the Quinn Bill.
“It’s not just the Lowell Police Department but law-enforcement officers all over the state who feel that the governor has singled out law enforcement for unknown reasons,” said attorney Timothy Burke, who represents the patrolmen’s association. “They realize everybody has felt the impact of the economy, but law enforcement have taken the brunt of it. There are officers that have made life plans and have taken out mortgages with the expectation that they would be receiving this Quinn Bill money that was promised to them.”
Police complaints about Patrick’s support of flag men at construction sites was another big issue on Saturday. Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin, recently released figures that show civilian flaggers on nine Boston projects had submitted bids exceeding $60 an hour. Boston Police earn either $34 or $37 per hour depending on the street.
While inside the Owl Diner, Patrick was surrounded by a who’s who of Democratic Lowell politics including Mayor James Milinazzo, City Councilor Bill Martin, Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, School Committee member Jackie Doherty, Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian and Marie Sweeney, chairwoman of the Greater Lowell Area Democrats.
Also on hand were former Mayor Eileen Donoghue and former Assistant District Attorney Chris Doherty, who will face off in the Democratic primary this fall for Panagiotakos’ 1st Middlesex District Senate seat. Panagiotakos is not seeking re-election.
“The challengers are good people, decent people, but they have a very different idea about what the moment presents, and about the importance of investing in the here-and-now and building a stronger commonwealth for the future,” Patrick told the crowd of supporters, speaking about his November challengers. “We have a very strong record to run on, and notwithstanding that, there are going to be a whole lot of things said some of them being said outside right now that are not true, and that folks who say them know are not true. But they say them because that is the kind of politics that we have to be about changing,” the governor added.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Massachusetts voters shows that Patrick is the front-runner, earning 35 percent of the vote if facing Baker, who received 27 percent. Cahill came in at 23 percent, with 15 percent of those polled undecided.
If Patrick is matched up against Mihos, he earns 38 percent of the vote to Cahill’s 33 percent, with Mihos placing a distant third with 15 percent of the vote. In that poll, 14 percent of the voters were undecided.
However, pollsters generally agree that an incumbent polling at less than 40% will often be in for a tough fight.
While inside the diner, a waitress dropped a tray of eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast on the floor. Patrick helped the waitress by bending down to help scoop the food back onto the tray. Apparently he can clean up one mess he didn’t cause, for the officer’s and their family’s sake lets hope he can clean up the mess he caused with flagmen and the Quinn.
-Attorney John J. MacLaughlan