Second in a series.
“We’re a long way from letting Bicons be Bicons.”
—City Councilor John Tobin on the Bicon dental building on the Arborway, whose mysterious and controversial permitted construction was the subject of a City Council hearing
“We’re not only free to do what we believe is right for the students, but also, we are being held accountable. It’s great to have freedom, but you have to be able to hold people accountable in order to have success.”
—English High School Headmaster Jose Duarte on the school’s shift to a state pilot program
“No choice, no voice!”
—Chant of at least 100 English High students who walked out of classes to protest the pilot plans for some of its provisions and alleged lack of student input. Other students and administrators said students had input in the plans.
“It makes a point. I’m dismayed that he’s still headmaster at English High School.”
—Teacher and JP resident Jeffrey Herman on settling his lawsuit, co-filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Boston Teachers Union, that alleged Headmaster Jose Duarte barred him from working at the school for speaking publicly against military programs. The $15,000 settlement included no admission of wrongdoing, and Herman also agreed not to pursue any action in a case where students allegedly assaulted Herman while Duarte looked on.
“Turns out they’re awesome kids, very cool, and show us respect. I talked to my pen pal about a lot of things. He said they were reading a book about racism. I told him you have experience it to really know racism and the lower expectations that go with it.”
—English High student Jameliz Quinonez on an exchange program visit with high school students from Winchester
“In Winchester, we may have all the material things we need. But at English they seem more closely knit.”
—Winchester student Dan Zhang on the exchange visit
“It’s the end of a lot of aggravation. It’ll be a nice flat field.”
—Hugh Mattison of Friends of Pinebank, commenting sarcastically on the demolition of the Pinebank mansion at Jamaica Pond after decades of city neglect and foiled plans. Construction of a Pinebank memorial should begin this spring.
“That’s not information we had available.”
—Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) Executive Director Ellen Lipsey on the BLC’s approval of demolition a Myrtle Street house that was once home of former Mayor John Collins. The new owners did not inform BLC of the history.
“If Harvard does not renovate and maintain the building, it will remain an eyesore and a public safety hazard, will be disrespectful to Boston’s heritage, and will waste a valuable Harvard property.”
—part of letter to Harvard University’s president from the Jamaica Hills Association’s Steven Lerman and signed by many local officials, residents and institutions urging reuse of the recently landmarked Lewis-Dawson farmhouse in Arnold Arboretum to avoid “demolition by neglect”
“Something I’m particularly interested in is the way we define ‘historic’ over the next few years. In diverse communities like Jamaica Plain…we really need to be thinking hard about what has meaning for communities.”
—Kathy Kottaridis, JP resident and new director of Historic Boston Incorporated, on the future of historic preservation
“We don’t live in hell. We live in heaven here.”
—Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation co-founder Anna Mae Cole on Boston Herald reports that called the Jackson Square housing development “ill-maintained and crime-ridden,” among other things
“It’s a lightning rod for people to blame the social ills of a whole area. I can say from personal perspective, it’s not just one thing. People aren’t jumping through hoops to get to those folks and offer them jobs. A lot of it’s economic.”
—state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, who grew up in Boston public housing, on criticisms of Bromley-Heath
“I think that they chafe under the BHA’s direction. I believe that they would be happy to spread their wings out from under the housing authority.”
—Boston Housing Authority (BHA) head Sandra Henriquez referring to the Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation (TMC) and a proposal for TMC to essentially take over the development without BHA oversight
“For this period of time, yes, it’s not something we’re considering at this time.”
—Wendy Stern, undersecretary of planning and urban development at the state Executive Office of Transportation, on whether trolleys were indeed off the table in what was advertised as a wide-open brainstorming meeting about local transit improvements as part of a lawsuit settlement
“They can’t tell people what not to say.”
—Conservation Law Foundation staff attorney Carrie Russell, on the trolley discussion ban, saying it may violate the lawsuit settlement
“The debate is getting pigeon-holed into ‘bus or trolley’ rather than ‘livable streets.’”
—Jeffrey Rosenblum, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance, on JP’s transit debate
“Who in the audience came by car?”
—Jane Holtz Kay, author of “Asphalt Nation,” at a forum about transit in Centre/South corridor. No one in the audience rushed to respond, though many indeed drove.
“Greater fool theory.”
—Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association member and attorney Laurie McKeown’s joking term for how business landlords can eventually find someone to accept outrageous leases. Skyrocketing rents and expensive lease terms have become concerns for many local businesses.
“If you don’t own your own building, you’re screwed.”
—Back Bay jeweler John Lewis at a panel discussion about rising business rents in JP
“The business isn’t tough. We just don’t make money.”
—“Evan,” manager of JP Oil, on the rapid demise of small, independent gas stations on Centre Street
“You don’t change attitudes by just intimidating and oppressing. That’s the American way, the historical way, but it’s not the way that works.”
—City Councilor Chuck Turner, objecting to a boost in police presence in Egleston Square and other areas as the prime strategy for cutting crime
“[Walking beats] are not an ornament on the Christmas tree, they are the trunk, the basic structure.”
—resident Michael Reiskind, giving a holiday theme to his ideas about JP’s community policing efforts
“Once it hits the sidewalk, it’s mine.”
—An alleged identity thief’s response to being challenged by resident Bob McDonnell while going through personal papers in household trash on Rockview Street. The alleged thief was right, leading local police to urge residents to shred their personal papers.
“There’s a whole new revolution and they don’t even know it. I’d like to tell them, ‘You are the revolution.’”
—famed musician/poet Patti Smith on young users of the Internet and its unprecedented organizing power, during a visit to JP Art Market
“It was a hard decision, but we had to accept the situation after the economic crisis, and this 40th year will see a transition and reorganization.”
—organizer Reyito Santiago on the surprise cancellation of most of the nationally popular Puerto Rican Festival in its 40th year
More in next Gazette!