Saturday, September 10, 2005

Who's the Opportunist?

The subtext of my Hurricane Predictions post was the multiple forms of post-disaster opportunism. While the rightwing dismisses criticism of the shoddy relief effort as opportunism, they use the disaster as a hook for rolling back environmental protections and pursuing more and more tax cuts.

Such opportunism can happen in many forms. And can happen here. The BJ Local section fronts a story about the latest skirmish between Mayor Plusqellec and the police union. Evidently the president of the union sent Hizzoner a letter asking some questions on behalf of members of the force headed to the Gulf. The questions, as reported, are the sorts of questions union presidents are supposed to ask. Understand that if a union fails to protect the rights of a member, that member can file a complaint with the relevant Labor Relations Board. This isn't optional.

Nonetheless, the mayor is aggrieved."The tone of the letter was sickening," Plusquellic said. Well maybe it was; we don't know because the letter is not reproduced in the story. But regardless, why is the mayor talking to the press about the tone of a letter? Unless it is an opportunity to splash brown stuff on the union.

Understand that the contaminated flood waters of covering New Orleans are nothing compared to the toxic stew that is labor relations in APD. I hold no brief for the union -- their business is their business. But it is curious that this story got out. Plusquellec's point appears to be that the union is more concerned with CYA than helping. Well, there is room to do both. And playing this virtue game with a tragedy is no less opportunistic than what ever tone-based sins the union may have committed.