GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

October 5, 2013

Editorial: Kirk-Bell flap story sparked by tips

The first phone call Monday night was mysterious.

A person who did not identify herself said she was curious why we didn’t have anything about “Mayor Kirk having to throw Mac Bell out of her fund-raiser” that had been held Saturday night.

I thought that conjured up some interesting images, but I gave the woman the only answer I had: I told her that we had not heard about any such incident, but that we would look into it.

I frankly suspected that, if there was somehow any clash between Gloucester’s mayoral candidates, it didn’t quite happen as she had described. Then, however, came an email from one of our semi-regular letter writers, saying that there had been a confrontation of sorts between the mayor and Mac, and other calls followed, suggesting, like the letter writer, that it ought to be worth a story.

Was it? I thought about that for a minute then decided it was at least worth pursuing. For starters, I called Lenny Linquata at The Gloucester House, where the mayor had held her Saturday night fund-raiser. He confirmed that Bell had indeed turned up, and that the mayor had asked him to leave.

With that, reporter Marjorie Nesin contacted both candidates, who essentially confirmed Lenny’s version of what had taken place – and had their own explanations as to why they acted and handled things the way they did.

Now, was that worth a story? You bet.

In fact, as the day wore on, I felt the story Marje crafted from her conversations with Kirk and with Bell was indeed a tale that readers would find interesting. The result was “Bell proves unwelcome guest at Kirk benefit,” which ran across the top of Wednesday’s lively front page, with photos of both from their campaign kickoff visits to the Times several days earlier.

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