Flashbacks: A nightmarish case of mistaken identity, picking on VP candidate Dan Quayle, and Roxbury boys New Edition before they blew up


5 Years Ago

August 29, 2003 | In a piece shining light on the faults of the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Act, Kristen Lombardi reported on the case of a Springfield man named Edward Bland, who in 1995 was mistakenly arrested and had since been paying the price for it.  

"One summer day, he [Edward Bland] and several friends were playing basketball when a police officer approached. The officer demanded identification from the boys...So Bland, then 17, handed over his driver’s license. The cop looked at it and told him there was a warrant for his arrest...

"The officer hauled Bland off to police headquarters, where they accused him of running up a record that consisted of eight criminal charges. These included three for ‘receiving stolen property’ — a car — and two for cocaine and marijuana possession...

"It wasn’t until Bland appeared at Springfield District Court the next day that he understood what was happening to him. There, he says, ‘people kept calling me Donald Fowler.’ Evidently, Fowler, a childhood friend of Bland, had used Bland’s name and birth date during an earlier arrest. So Bland’s name was listed on Fowler’s CORI as an ‘alias.’ When Bland protested that he was not, in fact, Fowler, police compared Fowler’s original mug shots and fingerprints to Bland’s. A judge later released Bland.

"Still, Fowler’s record has continued to dog him. There was the time, in June 1998, when Bland applied for a job as a packer at a check-printing company...Within days, however, he received notice from the company that he’d been denied the $7-an-hour job because ‘I had a criminal record.’...’Nobody was calling me back,’ he says. Finally, in October 2002, the US Postal Service hired him...— only to fire him two weeks later, after getting Fowler’s CORI. By this time, Fowler had racked up a six-page record detailing 27 criminal charges.

" ‘I was heated,’ Bland says. ‘I thought, ‘I am losing jobs for this criminal!’ ' " Read Full Article here



20 Years Ago

August 26, 1988 | The Phoenix’s "Spurious" columnist thought that newly announced Republican VP candidate Dan Quayle would be an asset to a George Bush ticket.

"The phone had been ringing around the clock since George had shared his choice with us, the people. Most of the calls were from my friends in the media, rumor-mongers all...

"The general sense was that the ‘straight’ press (networks, New York Times...) had missed the point. Quayle was not...some sort of an immature Republican version of Gary Hart. Whereas Danny Boy never worked a day in his life for anyone but Big Daddy Quayle or the Big Government that he condemns, Gary Hart — whatever else he might be — is a self-made man. Even Quayle’s father says that son Danny seemed averse to, or worse, incapable of, mental or physical heavy lifting. This admission...has forced me to conclude that, despite his experience as an administrative assistant during a law-school internship, Dan Quayle is singularly unqualified to lead this great nation. However, I must concede that he is just the right size to walk in George Bush’s shadow.

"Dan Rather told me that almost 70 percent of Americans think Ronald Reagan is taller than George Bush, though that is just not true. But I guarantee that within the week most Americans will know that, small as Bush is, Quayle is smaller. From the perspective of perspective, tiny Danny Quayle helps George Bush look bigger. If you compare a turkey with an ostrich, the turkey seems smaller than if you compare it with a bird smaller than itself, say ... a quail." 


25 Years ago

August 30, 1983 | Joyce Millman introduced readers to a teenage singing group from Roxbury that was about to blow the fuck up.

"New Edition are a vocal quintet from Roxbury, five young boys so fresh-faced handsome they could break your heart. Earlier this summer, their debut record, Candy Girl (Streetwise), became the first independent single in 15 years to hit number one on the American black-music chart. Candy Girl was recently certified England, and that was the occasion for the celebration that New York’s Streetwise threw for the group at the Children’s Museum recently. New Edition popped from a limousine..., ran up the stairs to a fanfare of cheers and mock jeers from their brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends, and proceeded to act like the kids they are, joking and jostling, deaf to the pleas of a TV camera crew that tried in vain to line them up for an interview."


30 Years Ago

August 29, 1978 | During an interview with Farrah Fawcett-Majors at the Colonnade Hotel, Carolyn Clay and other journalists in attendance were made aware of the latest news on the beauty’s prized mane.

"A tawny, tousled, slightly teased style has replaced the multi-layered wind-swept fluff that inspired the appellation Just-Laid Look but was dubbed by Farrah’s own hairdresser Soft Savage. While the press gained little insight into FF-M’s world-view, philosophy of acting, or much-speculated-on marriage to cancelled Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors, we were made privy to the most intimate details about the locks that unlocked the doors to fame and fortune.

"Farrah, we were told, is blessed with healthy hair, washes it after practically every meal and conditions it in her sauna--doesn’t everyone?...Her shampoo requirements are rigorous and include B vitamins, calcium, copper, zinc and protein -- that way, if you’re out of milk, you can drink it."

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