Larry Frankel's passing doesn't seem to have made national news, or even a ripple beyond Pennsylvania, where he served the ACLU for some 16 years. He was still with the ACLU, in the Washington DC office, when he was found dead last Friday, apparently of natural causes while jogging in Rock Creek Park.
Most people have never heard of Larry, who spent his professional life as a legislative lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union. That means that, in an age in which "bipartisanship" is as mythical a beast as a unicorn, Larry worked behind the scenes with both "left" and "right" legislators to protect the civil rights "for all, even those who disagreed with him," says a salute to his legacy in the Philly Daily News
In Harrisburg, he was liberal in a notoriously conservative environment, but Frankel built unlikely coalitions to advance civil liberties. He was one of the first people to sound the alarm about the high cost of incarceration and worked to reform sentencing laws.....A master at reading and understanding legislation, he often sounded the alarm on negative implications of bills under consideration.
Larry relished making common cause with usual ACLU foes more than anything, I think ... He took great joy in those situations.