You Said It, JP!

January 5, 2007
By

“JP is full of activists. I’m no different from anybody else. I don’t like being yelled at. But I like representing people who aren’t afraid to take a stand.”
—US Rep. Mike Capuano on representing JP

“$10,000.”
<—the amount of reward money offered on signs posted by the Boston Fire Department after a string of arson fires in JP businesses

“I’m not a perfect person. I’m a work in progress like everyone else.”
—state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who faced legal problems before, during and after her successful re-election campaign, at a JP campaign forum

“I’m not going to be able to stop chains, but I’d like to stop them in my neighborhood.”
—resident Rhea Becker on the concern that a D’Angelo’s chain sandwich stop might move into JP. The company announced it was no longer considering the area after Gazette reports.

“Save the Rectory.”
—slogan of residents who wanted to save the historic former Blessed Sacrament Church rectory as part of its redevelopment. Some saw it as an attempt to block the entire redevelopment, but the developers ultimately agreed to save the building.

“It’s kind of like looking at the carcass of the turkey after Thanksgiving.”
—Boston Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Antonia Pollak on the decaying Pinebank mansion, at a meeting unveiling a report saying it could not be saved

“I think every developer should have to justify taking down a tree that is significant to the community.”
—Lauren Ockene, head of JP Trees, a group at the forefront of JP’s new tree-preservation movement

“It sounded classier than ‘hemoglobin Boston 3’ or whatever.”
—Children’s Hospital Boston’s Dr. Ellis Neufeld, co-author of a “New England Journal of Medicine” article that named a new blood disorder “Hemoglobin Jamaica Plain”

“They throw cats over the fence. They leave chickens in cardboard boxes.”
—Franklin Park Zoo director John Linehan on the many animals residents dump at the zoo after two rare birds were abandoned there

“That’s like, you save a guy’s life so you can push him off a cliff.”
—resident Andrews Claude, the rescuer of a rat-poisoned hawk found near the arboretum, on why veterinarians wouldn’t release it back in JP. The source of the poisoning is unknown.

“Fresca! Fresca!”
—the familiar cry of Polly the parrot that led rescuers to the bird, who was briefly lost by resident Nelly Hernandez in sub-freezing weather

“Maybe they e-mailed me the invite and I just didn’t get it. I wasn’t in a Wi-Fi zone.”
—City Councilor John Tobin joking about Mayor Thomas Menino commandeering his proposal for free, citywide wireless Internet service—and neglecting to invite Tobin to the announcement

“A curse on you for what you are doing! Global warming. How do you like this? In January it’s 50 degrees because of people like you!”
—resident Kathy Holland criticizing workers removing trees for a Grotto Glen affordable housing project. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation later agreed to save some larger trees, including a disputed American elm.

“A beautiful piece of history and a nature area of Jamaica Plain has been torn down.”
—resident Carl Weinhardt on the cutting of trees and jackhammering of a puddingstone outcropping at 33 Bynner St. as part of a controversial construction project

“I know I’m part of gentrification, and this is an opportunity to be part of the solution.”
—Sunnyside Neighborhood Association president Edmund Cape, arguing for more affordable home-ownership units in the Blessed Sacrament Church redevelopment, which were later added after legislative efforts by state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez

“You have pretenders in your group. There are people hiding behind you.”
—Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council chair Nelson Arroyo to Sunnyside Neighborhood Association vice president Joel Parry, alleging that much opposition to the Blessed Sacrament Church redevelopment is based on bigotry against minorities and people who live in affordable housing

“We need facts, not innuendo.”
—Joel Parry, responding to Arroyo’s criticisms, saying that density concerns should be the focus of debate

“We want to make sure density is not so high it changes the neighborhood.”
—José Vincenty, one of two lawyers hired by some Blessed Sacrament abutters, whose appearance escalated the controversy over the redevelopment

“If folks wanted less density…they could go to Chelmsford, go to Foxboro.”
—Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council chair Nelson Arroyo on Blessed Sacrament density concerns

“I got called a lot of funny names, like ‘Ghostbuster’ and ‘Weedkiller.’”
—forester Brian Urquhart on his appearance as he carried tree-analyzing equipment on his back as part of an effort to save the Franklin Park forest

“Nature is God’s creation and we need to conserve it.”
—Father Jim Katinas, director of development at Hellenic College, on its purchase of Hellenic Hill land overlooking Jamaica Pond, while not ruling out development in the distant future

“When you think of the pond, you think beyond your lifetime.”
—resident Herb Nolan speaking about Jamaica Pond at a meeting about the Hellenic Hill purchase

“Sometimes in City Hall you get isolated. I try not to do that. Once you stop learning in this business you might as well leave.”
—Mayor Thomas Menino speaking at a neighborhood forum at Faulkner Hospital

“Jabberwocky.”
—one of the names considered in the 1870s for The Footlight Club theater troupe, according to its historical records

“[I]t hardly needs saying that orchestrated meetings designed for the specific purpose of shutting out the very public which the Council was elected to serve do not comply with [the Open Meeting Law].”
—Justice Nancy Staffier Holtz in a ruling fining the Boston City Council for holding a series of secret meetings

“I’m all for transparency. There’s nothing to hide here.”
—City Councilor John Tobin, who attended one of the meetings, explaining that he thinks no law was violated

“Where the food-obsessed are going to end up.”
—Evangeline McKilligan, owner of Canto 6 Bakery and Café, describing the circle of hell in Dante’s “Inferno” for which she named her business

“I also don’t want to live in a police state.”
—state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez on the possibility of security cameras in Mozart Park, after acknowledging residents’ fears of crime

“I’ve used basically every medieval weapon you can think of. I’ve learned to do things with crowbars and trash cans I had no idea could be done.”
—JP actor and fight choreographer Dan Minkle on his training

“This is God’s way of making us Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible.”
—one of the stress-releasing jokes circulating in the First Baptist Church congregation as it plans reconstruction following its 2005 church fire

“We’re not very interested in celebrating generals of any type.”
—Jamie Calitto, executive director of Hyde Jackson Square Main Street, on a proposal to erect a statue of Simón Bolívar in Mozart Park

“[I am] with other families at a time when the situation in Iraq is no-skin-off-my-back for so many people because there is no draft.”
—resident Elizabeth Galloway, whose daughter serves in the Army, on her participation in the JP-based anti-war group Military Families Speak Out

“Tell those people to get a life. Just so you know my bias, I was in the military and it was the best experience of my life.”
—English High School headmaster Jose Duarte on people who attended a City Council hearing to speak against funding JROTC. Duarte was later sued by one attendee, JP substitute teacher Jeff Herman, for allegedly refusing to allow him to work at the school for attending the hearing.

“Two Guardsmen jumped out and said, ‘How would you like to do that?’…The co-pilot looked like Farrah Fawcett-Majors. She took off her helmet and all this beautiful blonde hair came spilling out.”
—JP substitute teacher Jeff Herman, complaining about a military helicopter landing he said occurred at a Roslindale school as a recruitment effort. Boston Public Schools said it is not aware of the incident, but that schools must be open to recruiters.

“I heard this, ‘Psssh!’, like glass breaking. Then I heard it a couple more times. It sounded like someone with a baseball bat having a fit.”
—resident Mary Grover, who heard what may have been a firebomber at work at Century 21 Pondside Realty, which was destroyed by fire

“Just who is it benefiting is the big issue.”
—arson expert John DeHaan, explaining that JP’s string of arsons was likely not the work of a lone pyromaniac

“Write-In Space Only.”
—the only words under the 2nd Suffolk District state Senate spot on the Democratic primary ballot, after incumbent Dianne Wilkerson failed to collect enough signatures and her opponents entered the race late. Wilkerson won.

“We’re talking about a piece of paper. What is expensive about having 300 pieces of paper instead of 150?”
—City Councilor Felix Arroyo, expressing bewilderment over the Boston Election Department’s policy of providing polls with enough ballots for only 50 percent of registered voters, then delivering more if necessary, which led to many polls running out on Election Day

“I was struck by how the hypersegregation of Boston is comparable to apartheid in South Africa.”
—Urban Edge Executive Director Mossik Hacobian, noting that both places have about 15 percent of the land available to low-income, often minority, people

“I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the ball as Lucy pulls it away at the last moment.”
—Arborway resident Sam Sherwood on the latest round of meetings about long-delayed mainentance of the parkways

“They’re not here to help the situation, I’ll tell you that much. I’m sure you’ll be writing about a lot more mail problems when this is done.”
—a local mail carrier about inspectors checking carriers’ routes following mail delivery problems, which have continued

“We just barely got out of the park when we started hearing shots.”
—JP Head Start teacher Kendra Buckli, who helped 70 toddlers flee Mozart Park shortly before someone fired off eight bullets. No one was injured.

“That’s an area that has 98 to 99 percent of great people trying to live their lives, and 1 to 2 percent who are the urban terrorists who are making it tough for people to live there.”
—new E-13 Police Capt. Kelley McCormick on Jackson Square

“They think, ‘This guy has something.’ I’m in my work shirt and everything. They’re probably looking at, ‘Oh, you’re from the projects. Everyone from the projects must be involved with drugs.’”
—a Bromley-Heath youth complaining about constant police stops and searches that led to a rewriting of Boston Housing Authority trespassing policies

“The cases will be heard in courtrooms, but the effects will be felt on the corners, in the stairwells and in the apartments of Bromley-Heath.”
—Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley on the FBI and police bust of 23 people on drug-dealing charges in and around the Bromley-Heath Housing Development, in many cases with the secret assistance of residents

“They were almost like a pit crew at NASCAR.”
—former E-13 Police Capt. James Claiborne on a group of criminals who rapidly stripped cars of parts

“Please Slow Down, Boston.”
—slogan on political-style signs posted by City Councilor John Tobin to try to slow down drivers

“It’s like a mini-Woodstock.”
—West Roxbury Courthouse Association head Bruce Wallin complaining about public drinking and drug use along Washington Street

“Leave no child behind, but leave no child a dime.”
—Randal Rucker, executive director Family Service of Greater Boston, criticizing what he described as the Bush administration’s unfunded-mandate approach to child services

“I’m going to advocate for JP for several reasons. But it’s not like West Roxbury is on the other side of the Moon. It almost is.”
—US Rep. Mike Capuano, adding some local humor to his thoughts on possible consolidation of the JP and West Roxbury VA hospitals

“It feels pretty empty without her sitting here.”
—resident Faye Simon at the site of the new Belle Pronman Memorial Park in front of J.P. Licks, named for the longtime jewelry seller and neighborhood fixture who died in 2005

“It’s like he’s been sticking a big fat middle finger in the face of the entire community for the last two years.”
—resident Jerry O’Connor on Dr. Vincent Morgan Sr.’s controversial attempt to put a restaurant with a liquor license in the Arborway-area BiCon building alongside a dental clinic

“She had hair and legs and everything.”
—Meg Schell, a graduate and current teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School, on the first time she glimpsed a nun who was not wearing a full habit. The school celebrated its 90th anniversary.

“You can look at a nice house while you’re sitting on the Jamaicaway.”
—new E-13 Police Capt. Kelley McCormick, joking about discovering JP’s pros (like historic architecture) and cons (like traffic)

“The Parties agree that they will work in good faith with the City of Boston and other relevant parties to develop and agree upon recommended public transit improvements to the Arborway corridor over the course of the next year.”
—language from a lawsuit settlement between the Conservation Law Foundation and the state that allows for an end to Arborway trolley restoration while demanding another public discussion about transit in the corridor

“Nobody believes anything they say. If they say something’s going to take five years, we know that means 15.”
—US Rep. Mike Capuano on the MBTA

“If this is what passes for mothballing, the moths living in the farmhouse can relax.”
—Jamaica Hills Association member Steve Lerman, who was able to walk into Arnold Arboretum’s unsecured Jabez Lewis farmhouse the day after he was told it had been secured as part of a “mothballing” effort to preserve it. The building was later secured.

“I feel like the vacuum cleaner salesman is here and has his foot in the door.”
—Roslindale resident Scott Hoffman, one of many residents concerned that Arnold Arboretum’s forthcoming expansion may lead to more new buildings. The arboretum has pledged to restrain development on the Weld Hill plot for 50 years, but is resisting an outright ban.

“‘Meet me in Jackson Square’ doesn’t have to mean, ‘Get run over by cars on Columbus Avenue.’”
—Bart Mitchell of Mitchell Properties on pedestrian safety improvements planned as part of the forthcoming Jackson Square redevelopment

“I can assure you I am no thug—not like Richard Nixon says, ‘I am not a crook.’”
—Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, denying claims that the union bullied teachers into reversing an earlier vote to make JFK Elementary a pilot school

Compiled by John Ruch