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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dianne, please go away

Dianne Wilkerson's Massachusetts Senate colleagues want her to do the right thing this time and leave the office that she has shamed (according to a bunch of FBI surveillance photos).

The same apparently holds true for the city's leading black ministers.

But Wilkerson soldiers on, convinced of her own rectitude -- just as she has been through the various cases of tax evasion, campaign violations and brushes with the truth in court.

There have been many examples of Wilkerson failing to obey laws -- some of which she helped to pass. But this time there are pictures.

You know her Senate colleagues are angry. They did everything short of piling her belongings into a box outside her office. They stripped her of her committee assignments, referred her to the ethics committee which rarely meets and unanimously passed a resolution calling on her to resign.

Expulsion can only come after a ruling by the ethics committee.

None of those things (with the possible exception of an ethics probe) happened during her previous brushes with the law, but that's another story.

Wilkerson says the request to quit is "unreasonable."

"Surely the members of the state Senate could not have believed that such a monumental decision would be made within a few hours," she said in a statement.

"A decision to leave this district without representation, even for 60 days, is one that cannot and should not be made in a matter of hours," she said. "Rest assured I am committed to do what is in the best interest of the residents of this district.
No, unreasonable is taking money in exchange for official actions (read the PDF), then expectng that life will go on normally after such an apparent violation of the public trust is exposed.

I took offense when newspapers and others called for Barney Frank to resign after his foolish affair with Steve Gobie, feeling that his constituents had a right to decide his future. Frank got another chance and has acquitted himself rather well.

Fixing parking tickets is a far cry from the crimes Wilkerson stands accused of -- and this is clearly not the first time she has been in trouble with the law. And let's not forget she has not been acquitted of the previous charges.

How many chances is one person entitled to?

In any event, the voters in the Second Suffolk Senate District have a chance on Tuesday to answer that question.

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