Looking at the News

Wildlife and heavy industry have lived side-by-side on the Mystic River and Island End Creek for years upon years. Here, two geese swim carelessly off the shore of Mary O’Malley Park with the backdrop of an electrical generating plant and large freighter ships. The Mystic River recently received a grade of ‘D’ by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its cleanliness and accessibility.

There has been a great deal of negative talk making the rounds among residents about the police union ploy of placing bright orange fake parking tickets on the windshields of nearly every parked car in the city a few days ago.

Car owners don’t like real tickets, let alone awakening to fake tickets. Tickets are poison, and in this case, they were a bit toxic.

The fake ticket ploy by the leadership of the police union is intended to excite the public’s interest in agreeing that the police need a raise and that this will force City Manager Jay Ash into agreeing on a pay raise they are failing to negotiate with him. As strategies go, it is one dimensional and negative. It is more negative than anything else and this is what is problematic.

With such a painfully weak and ineffectual negative strategy, the police are doomed to never getting what they are asking for. That’s a guarantee like their city paid for health insurance, their guaranteed jobs and salaries, their guaranteed vacation time and sick pay and whatever else is guaranteed to them.

Worse than this, the police union leadership is making enemies of the people they serve. Residents here aren’t going to be motivated to plead for a police raise when the police are advertising they are unable to control crime here and that the city is the most dangerous in the United States.

They are telling residents; in fact, goading residents into believing things are so bad here that police need a raise.

Those two thoughts are incompatible. They are like bi-polar opposites.

“This is the most dangerous place in the nation. You’re not getting anything for your tax dollar. Get us our raise and everything will be better because we deserve a raise,” the police are saying.

Does anyone care?

Not really.

Will the raise reduce crime? Will the raise give residents the kind of high pay and benefits police are guaranteed? Of course not. Will the pay increase residents’ job security? Will it give them guaranteed positions and pensions for a lifetime?

Will a police raise take care of costly insurance for residents? And should police have fully paid for health insurance when residents can barely scrape by in order to pay for their own?

Chelsea residents make a median income of $40,000 a year.

Last year 19 Chelsea police officers made more than $100,000. The vast majority of police officers made $55,000 or more.

Who needs more money for pay, Chelsea police officers or the residents of this city?

That’s an easy one but the police union leadership doesn’t get it. Their all locked up in an intimidation campaign. They carry guns and wear badges and have guaranteed jobs while the people they serve are drowning lawlessness presumably allowed by police. Will a raise change this? Will crime drop? Will the city be safer? Will the police be better with more money?

The police union leadership has not yet learned an important lesson about running a campaign dedicated to victory instead of running a negative campaign doomed to defeat.

The police union is throwing the city under the bus to get their raise but leaders here won’t be intimidated nor will residents.

Throwing the city under the bus for a 1% or 2% raise and spreading rumors and lies and disinformation about the city and its leadership shows residents that the police care more about more pay than they do about the city itself.

Police holding the city hostage and spreading bad information isn’t going to work.

The Chelsea Police Department right now is the highest paid and largest compliment of men and women in the history of the city. Staffing levels at Chelsea City Hall are down.

With the police, they’re up 33%.

Raising awareness about a perceived wrong is one thing. Employing negative advertising strategies and acting on them when you are the law in order to get yourself a raise is another.

The ticket ploy was a failure. It will lead the police battling for a raise from nothing to nowhere.

Can you imagine police in other communities using such coercive and negative strategies?

I can’t. The negative campaign is an embarrassment.  If I were a Chelsea police officer, I’d be thinking its time to take my union leadership aside and say: “What the hell are you guys doing! We’re never going to get a raise this way and what’s worse, we’re being made to look foolish and soon enough, everyone around here is going to be against us.”

If the police don’t believe this, they should try trying putting more fake tickets on car windshields.

The best thing about the fake tickets – they were unsigned.

That’s real class coming from the folks supposed to uphold the law here.

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