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Keller @ Large: Politician Gets A Tough Call Exactly Right

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Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Next time you hear somebody say “politicians are all a bunch of bums,” step away from the person saying it and think for a moment about Patricia Llodra, the first selectwoman of the town of Newtown, Connecticut.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Since the horrible school shooting, dozens of makeshift memorials have been created there, with plants, signs, toys, decorations, notes and poetry, all the different ways people grieve a tragedy that touches them. But it’s now been more than three weeks since it happened. Weather and traffic have taken their toll on the memorials.

And it was up to the Newtown government to figure out what to do with them.

We have seen government in the past make a hash out of situations like this; the state’s brief attempt to ban bedsheet welcome-home signs for veterans on highway overpasses comes immediately to mind.

But Selectwoman Llodra had a plan.

She set a date for the town’s DPW to remove the major memorials near the school, with all the items left there recycled into building material for a planned permanent memorial to the victims. Then she alerted the townspeople with phone calls alterting them to the plan, arranged for a final, private visitation for the families of victims, and offered others the chance to personally bring their tributes to be recycled.

Beside the health and safety reasons for removing the memorials, she said, was the need for “a moving on, a readiness for the community to go to that next step… There’s no road map for this,” Ms. Llodra told the New York Times. “So I have to really make the decisions based on what my heart tells me is right and what my head says is possible.”

Not a bad credo. Too bad so many pols so often substitute less-inspiring motivations.

But next time you hear someone say “none of them have a clue,” think of Selectwoman Llodra, and you’ll know that common sense and compassion can still co-exist.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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