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Citizens for Limited Taxation
|Conflict of Interest||Sunday, January 25, 2004|
|R. Prince (Framingham)||Metrowest Daily News|
It appears that Gerard Desilets, planning director of SMOC, Rep. Deborah
Blumer, a Framingham Democrat and Charles Sisitsky, Framingham selectman,
have organized a private pro-diversity group in Framingham, basically composed
of focus groups to discuss immigration policy in Framingham, all as
described in a Boston Globe article on Jan. 18.
Desilets, apparently acting as gatekeeper, refused to admit a group of Framingham residents with a different persuasion, which was described by Desilets as "foolishness," into one of his pro-diversity meetings on only the fear they might cause a disturbance. There is no mention of Blumer or Sisitsky attempting to dissuade Desilets.
The Globe further reports an ACLU attorney's claim that "leaders of private groups are generally within their rights to determine who may attend their meetings. " Apparently, no matter how "un-pro-diversity-like" that sounds, these folks can keep out anybody they want, and still claim to be a community group. As private citizens, of course, they can join or form any group they please and keep it as exclusive as they please. They should be reminded, however, that you cannot defend the rights of one group by stomping on the rights of another. There is the possibility that those who feel their rights, imagined or otherwise, to be so stomped on may stomp back, creating a bigger problem than the one that originally existed.
All that aside, the larger question is can Blumer, Desilets or Sisitsky, with such a strong bias on immigration policy as publicly expressed by their organizing a private pro-diversity special interest group, continue to act in their respective official capacities during the discussions of only those particular related immigration matters, and fairly and impartially represent the whole community's interests when there is such conflict in personal interests between them and a host of their constituents?
Perhaps there should some real effort to draw a line.
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