SMOC is big business Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Charles A. Zeigler Metrowest Daily News
I take exception to Rick Holmes' editorial of June 5 on the controversy between SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council) and citizen-groups protesting SMOC's further expansion in Framingham.

Holmes portrays that controversy in moral terms with himself as arbiter of good and evil.  He implies that those protesting SMOC's encroachments are opposing "good works" constituted by SMOC's state-sponsored programs.  That makes protesters bad guys, right?

In contrast, he implies SMOC's managers toil selflessly to help the needy, so they're the good guys.  Thus, we should rejoice if SMOC's further expansion causes rising taxes, plummeting property values and unsafe neighborhoods because there are signs of good guys triumphing over bad guys.  That's the gospel according to Holmes, but it's belied by facts.

Fact #1. Holmes misrepresents protesters.  Their literature states they're "in no way opposed to the state-sponsored programs of which SMOC's facilities are a part."  They oppose SMOC forcing Framingham taxpayers to host far more than their fair share of SMOC's facilities.

Fact #2. Holmes calls SMOC a "nonprofit agency," disguising the fact that it's a big corporation whose "nonprofit" status means its profits can't be distributed to private persons, but instead, are used for expansion.

Fact #3. Expansion enables SMOC managers to increase their salaries.  In the last six years, they've expanded SMOC's annual revenues 53 percent to $48 million.  Perhaps they're not the selfless do-gooders Holmes portrays.

Pursuing growth, SMOC's managers use the Dover Amendment to ride roughshod over objections of Framingham's residents -- exemplifying unfettered "big business" at its worse.

Send comments to: