Maury Z. Levy

Posts Tagged ‘frank rizzo’

Andrea Mitchell: A Nose for News, a Face for Radio

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on January 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

By Maury Z. Levy

The other reporters, the ones without the pencils in their hands, the ones without the questions in their heads,were gobbling up the $100-a-plate meal like it was real food. Andrea Mitchell, who was covering this Democratic dinner for both KYW radio and KYW television, was the only one not eating. It’s not that she wasn’t hungry. It’s just that she’s a 
stickler for facts. And she just won’t
swallow a lie, even the smallest one.

“You didn’t like your chicken cordon bleu?” the waiter asked as he lifted her still full plate from the table.

“This,” she said, “is not cordon 
bleu. This is an inedible lump of chicken on a slice of canned ham camouflaged with cold gravy.”

Anyway, she was too busy running the dinner to eat. She picked up a copy of the program and skimmed down to the end. Teddy Kennedy wasn’t scheduled to speak until 9:15, which probably meant he wouldn’t get on until at least 10:15.

“No way,” Andi Mitchell said. “If 
he doesn’t get on by 9, I’ve got to let 
the film crew go. And we’re not going to have anything for the 11 o’clock 
news.”

She pushed her way up to the head 
table on the very large Civic Center 
floor. On the stage, at the right, the 
entertainment was going full blast. Some people in costumes were singing selections from The King and I, which seemed appropriate enough. She shoved her way down the 
crowded front aisle, the one that was full of security guards. One of the guards told her to stop and go the other way. She ignored him. The next 
guard grabbed her by the arm and 
told her a little less gently. “Mr. Camiel,” he said, “doesn’t want anybody in this aisle. You’ll have to go back to the press table. You’ll have to 
go the other way.”

She looked him dead in the eyes. “No,” she said, “I’m going this way.”

Before push got to shove, Bill Green
jumped down from the head table 
and called the goons off. He asked Andi Mitchell what the matter was. She told him about her deadline. “You people do this thing,” she said, “for the publicity. What good is it if 
you don’t get any?”

“I know it’s asinine, Andi,” he said. “But there’s nothing I can do 
about it.”

“Sure you can,” she said, “go tell 
your buddy Camiel he’s screwing up 
my television feed. Go tell him people won’t even know Teddy Kennedy was in town tonight if he doesn’t get this thing moving.”

Bill Green shrugged his shoulders and said he would try. He went over to Pete Camiel, the city’s Democratic 
boss, and started talking. First Camiel was shaking his head “no.” Then Green pointed to Andi Mitchell down there in the front row, where she shouldn’t have been, and Camiel stopped shaking. He quickly started talking to some other people at the table, including Teddy Kennedy. And then, when the music stopped, Pete Camiel went up to the podium to make an announcement. Andi Mitchell signaled her film crew. “I think we’ve got it,” she said.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Pete Camiel said, “there has been a change in the program. As you know, Senator Kennedy was scheduled to be our final speaker. But the Senator has 
just informed me that he has another commitment tonight. And so, we are changing the program to make him
our first speaker.”

The crowd cheered. Andi Mitchell smiled. Teddy Kennedy didn’t have 
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Lynne Abraham is the Best Man We’ve Got!

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on September 16, 2009 at 1:39 am

Philly DA

SHE WAS VERY DEFINITELY DEAD. There was a bullet in her back. It had been there for two weeks. Today she died. Two cops brought her in from the hospital. They had been trying to keep her alive since they found her shot in a speakeasy with a Saturday Night Special. They carried her in on a stretcher and dumped her down on a tray. A man with a Polaroid camera hurried around to take pictures. They would go in the official morgue file, probably under a number because no one knew her name.

She was a dark black woman who looked like she was in her 40s. She was built big. When she was alive, she had very large breasts. Now that the life fluids were out of them, they were just large sacks drooping down both sides of her chest. The assistant medical examiner, trying to get a look at a scar on her side, pushed the right breast up and over back onto the chest, packing it firm with his hands so it would stay in place, the same way the guy behind the delicatessen counter makes a cold roast beef sandwich.

He rolled her over on her side and saw the hole in her back. “There’s our bullet,” he said, sticking his finger in the hole to try to get it out. “Son of a bitch won’t move.”

Lynne Abraham stepped closer. “Let me try it,” she said. She took off her lumber jacket and tossed it on the table. She tucked her Temple University T-shirt into her straight-legged jeans and went to work. Between the two of them, they got the bullet out. Lynne Abraham stepped back to get a paper towel. Some of the blood that now covered her index finger had dripped down on her white sneakers with the pointy toes.

It was a beautiful Sunday outside the morgue. The sun was strong and it was getting downright balmy. It was a nice day for a bike ride in the park. But the executive director of the Redevelopment Authority preferred spending her Sunday living with the dead. It was just force of habit. It wasn’t so long ago that she spent a good deal of time down here, as a top assistant district attorney in the homicide division. She would come down and watch autopsies. And since she had some background in forensic medicine, she might even help in some of them. Sometimes she found out more than the medical examiner. She always found out more than the cops.

She’d go from the morgue to the crime scene and dig up her own witnesses, collect her own evidence and prepare a closed case. It was her style, and she just can’t shake it.

A couple of hours ago, she was reading over proposals for the redevelopment of Washington Square West. Now she is walking in the refrigerator, a giant cold storage cabinet for unburied dead people on aluminum tables. She walks down the aisle and rolls them out like cheese trays, examining the wounds, figuring out the angle of entry of the bullet. She doesn’t want to get stale on this stuff. She is, after all, a political appointee. And she knows very well that one day she could be shipped right back to the DA’s office quicker than you could say Frank Rizzo.   Read the rest of this entry »

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