CACs across the city should meet openly

April 3, 2009
By

Thank you so much for your March 20 article in the JP Gazette about task forces’ or citizens advisory committees’ (CAC) insistence on meeting in secret. It is unconscionable that those chosen by the mayor to represent their communities in advising the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) about development projects refuse to deliberate in public.

In Allston-Brighton, CACs for different projects (by Harvard, Boston College and St. Elizabeth’s Hospi-tal, for example) often feature the same individuals. Many of them have ties and interests that would cer-tainly give the appearance of a conflict of interest. Contrary to the opinion of Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, and giving cause to question their motives, they willingly embrace the BRA legal counsel’s opinion that they are not subject to the Open Meeting Law.

The fact that these “usual suspects” insist on meeting behind closed doors should surprise nobody. All we have to do is look at the results of those secret meetings: recommendations that too often bear little resemblance to the written and orally expressed wishes of their community and are extraordinarily forgiving to the developer.

Alex Selvig
Allston-Brighton