This Week’s Hot-Button: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”

Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police

By Keith Spencer

Whether you’ve watched or read the local news or perhaps listened to talk-radio on 96.9 at some point this last week, you probably could have predicted our choice for the hot-button issue of the week.

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray has been blasted across the media after learning he had lied about his November crash in a state-issued vehicle.

His critics have characterized Murray as yet another political hack whose failure to be honest with the people of the Commonwealth has undoubtedly doomed the future of his political career.

At the beginning of the controversy, Murray took the smart-route, requesting a sobriety test immediately following the crash to prove his innocence on that level.

Yet, he detoured from the honest path when confronted with questions about what happened that early morning, hoping to provide answers that would simply make the incident go away, however, data and photographs recently released by the Massachusetts State Police have indicated otherwise.

Murray’s story was that he couldn’t sleep, he hopped in his Crown Vic, picked up some coffee and newspapers, and went to assess damage from the Halloween storm. He claimed to be wearing his seatbelt, going the speed limit, and apparently slid on black ice. This story was even supported by a State Trooper who responded to the event and slipped and fell at the scene.

Just days before, the Globe had reported that Chelsea Housing director Michael McLaughlin had been deceiving the state about his salary, a crazy $360,000 a year, and the media began to focus in on Murray’s relationship with the vilified McLaughlin, initially downplayed by the Lieutenant Governor.

What’s clear now is that the vehicle’s black box data doesn’t support his initial claims. The data revealed the Lieutenant Governor probably fell asleep, hit a stone wall at 100 mph, and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

Even as Murray began to go on the offense this week, he was too smart a politician to put it all out there for the public. This move has continued to fan the flames of a local media firestorm.

What is clear now is that the rumor mill is in full operation, despite Murray’s continued claims that he was acting entirely in good faith that evening and morning. He was not using his phone when the accident took place, and he was not meeting anyone early that morning.

Murray has said people can believe him or not, and he is well aware that not everyone is going to be satisfied by his responses.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray poses for a photo with me at a political event

What I know is that the Lieutenant Governor should not release his cellphone records that would support these claims. It would be unprecedented, and further compromise his and future officials’ ability to conduct private conversations in both his personal and professional lives that are essential to a position of such stature.

Over the last four years as a freelance journalist in the NoBo region, I met and spoke with the Lieutenant Governor on five different occasions. He has extensive relationships with the representatives and local delegations of the gateway cities in the region.

What I and many of these people will tell you (perhaps only in private at this point) is that Tim is a great guy. He is a family man, and has been really accessible to the residents of my hometown of Everett and many of the surrounding cities.

Obviously the guy made a mistake, but he wasn’t drunk. Is it questionable that he was out early? Not if you believe his initial answer of surveying storm damage.

However, his credibility has been damaged due to his lack of honesty in his initial retelling of the event.

I think it would be awful if he lost a “position” in a potential future race for governor because of this incident. He has worked hard for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents deligently as both Lt. Governor and previously as Mayor of Worcester.

Ideal politicans are supposed to be clean, but they’re not supposed to be perfect.

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”


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