Yet another testament to the value of a two-paper city

In Massachusetts, they’re getting ready for the inauguration of the first Democratic governor in 16 years. Deval Patrick, former Clinton Administration official and best friend of inmates everywhere, will take the oath in January. In the meantime, he’s putting together his transition team — and just how some members are being portrayed by the city’s two papers is rather revealing.

One of the newspapers says that Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Patrick’s chief of staff to be, is an “outsider” and cites her lengthy work with the Home For Little Wanderers (a human service agency) and the Urban League. It’s a glowing review, citing her years and years of administrative experience in helping the poor and underprivileged.

The other paper, though, finds one particular downtrodden individual that Wallace-Benjamin tried to help. Benjamin LaGuer, who was convicted of brutally raping a neighbor in the 1980’s over several hours, was a beneficiary of Patrick’s humane efforts. Patrick, while on the staff of the NAACP, worked to get LaGuer’s conviction overturned and win him a new trial. Even after leaving that job, Patrick wrote several letters to LaGuer’s parole board urging his release, and even contributed several thousand dollars towards a DNA test that finally settled the matter — LaGuer was proven to have been the rapist in question.

But right alongside Patrick was Wallace-Benjamin, who wrote a glowing letter to the same parole board seeking his release. According to Wallace-Benjamin, this rapist (who called his victim from prison, impersonating a priest, and tried to get her to recount her testimony and identification of him) was “a talented writer, an intelligent advocate, and a man whose experience and life lessons make him a valuable member of the community.”

The parole board chose not to heed the opinions of Patrick and Wallace-Benjamin, and Mr. LaGuer remains behind bars to this day.

Would anyone care to speculate which paper strongly endorsed Mr. Patrick, and has been soft-pedaling his various gaffes, flubs, misstatements, and more outrageous policy ideas, and which one endorsed his opponent?

Nah. Too easy.

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