Thursday, February 08, 2007

Least Shocking News Item of the Day

From "south of the wire", comes this absolute shocker:

Governor Deval Patrick signaled yesterday that he has little appetite to take on a state policy, one fiercely protected by the state's police unions, that allows officers to collect tens of thousands of dollars extra each year for working construction details.

It's "not at the top of my list, to be perfectly candid," Patrick said...

Not at "the top" of his list?

Not even "remotely close to" his list, I suspect.

Using a scale model of the solar system to illustrate how close that issue is to being on Deval's to-do list, let's say the sun represents the list of things he'd like to accomplish over the next four years.

Tougher, more restrictive, gun laws would be the planet Mercury.

State pension reform, Neptune.

Eliminating mandatory police details, Alderaan.

And, this is the same governor who objected to having state troopers trained to assist federal authorities in the enforcement of immigration laws, saying that the state police have enough work to do already and they're simply to busy to get involved with such trivial matters.

For your scorecards:

Police unions - 1
Illegal aliens - 1
The Massachusetts taxpayer - 0

Together you can! (drive the Commonwealth into economic ruin)

And, in case you missed this Boston Globe story from yesterday...

John Coflesky, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, defended the detail pay, saying that having officers at construction sites instead of civilians enhances public safety.

Now, remember, Massachusetts is the only state with MANDATORY police details at construction work on public roadways.

A 2004 study by Suffolk University's Beacon Hill Institute, examined data from details at construction sites in 103 cities and towns and found that the state has the worst accident rate in the country measured by property damage and the second worst measured by bodily injury.

Now, I haven't seen any of the raw data for that study, so I won't hold it up here as irrefutable fact or make too big a deal out of it, simply because the results seem to bolster my beliefs on this issue (unlike some people). But even if that study had put Massachusetts in the 50th percentile for accident rates at construction sites, it would still make a pretty strong case for doing away with an archaic system that simply isn't functioning the way its supporters would have you believe.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes the People's Progressive Republic of Massachusetts.