Last month Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan – former aides to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh – were convicted in federal court on charges of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion (both for Brissette, the latter for Sullivan) for their 2014 arm-twisting of the Boston Calling music festival to hire union workers.
Those verdicts led to a flurry of hand-wringing, as a quick search of the Googletron reveals.
Now comes this two-page ad that a gaggle of advocacy groups ranging from the A. Philip Randolph Institute to the Worcester Interfaith Coalition ran in yesterday’s Boston Globe.
(The same spread ran in yesterday’s Boston Herald just harder to read.)
Anyway, here’s the nut graf.
The hardreading staff is the first to admit that our legal knowledge comes entirely from the Jerry Orbach School of Law, but aren’t gender, race, and religion sort of protected classes in Massachusetts? And aren’t unions, well, not?
Regardless, back to that Google search above. Look closely and you’ll see one dissenting voice among the pearl-clutchers: Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi, who filed this piece in the wake of the Boston Calling verdicts.
Democracy chilled by campaign against Boston Calling verdict
You know what has a chilling effect on democracy?
Telling concert organizers if they don’t hire union workers they don’t need or want, the City of Boston won’t give them a permit for their event.
That’s what a federal jury found Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan, two city hall officials, guilty of doing. But in a bizarre twist of logic, some 70 nonprofit organizations, representing environmental, LGBTQ, housing, senior, education, and civil rights advocates, are calling out the verdict as a democracy slayer. Ten Boston city councilors also signed a statement, decrying the case as a “grievous misuse of limited prosecutorial resources in service of a misguided political agenda” and “a terrible precedent.”
Read the whole piece. It’s an effective chaser to the shot taken in yesterday’s double-trucks.