Jackson Square, Wilkerson
Jamaica Plain issues came up in some of mayoral aide Michael Kineavy’s deleted e-mails, which revealed a previously unknown dispute about the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in Jackson Square, and showed City Hall officials joking about soon-to-be-former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.
Thousands of Kineavy’s deleted e-mails were recovered by computer specialists and posted on the city’s web site in an unsearchable format. The Gazette combed through the first batch of e-mails to find the JP references. The e-mails can be seen at www.CityofBoston.gov/news/kineavy_messages.asp.
The BRA and its Jackson Square citizens advisory committee (CAC) drew controversy earlier this year, especially for banning the media from CAC meetings for months. But the CAC also had problems with the BRA’s project manager, Rodney Sinclair, according to a March 20, 2009 e-mail to Kineavy from Colleen Keller, the JP Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.
“As for the Jackson Square CAC, the group asked Rodney Sinclair of the BRA to step down as facilitator of the meetings,” Keller wrote. “They do not believe that he can both answer questions as the BRA representative while facilitate [sic] a meeting.”
Keller wrote that the CAC wanted a second BRA staff member to facilitate meetings, and that the group was “frustrated with the lack of coordination or progress from the developers.” She requested a meeting with Kineavy, saying, “I have a few ideas on how to improve the process.”
It is unclear how the CAC had communicated its problem with Sinclair. At the time, the CAC, with Sinclair’s support, was regularly kicking the Gazette out of its public meetings. The CAC’s media-banning was not mentioned in Keller’s e-mail.
The e-mail archives do not include any response from Kineavy. Several months later, Sinclair was replaced by a new project manager in a BRA reorganization that now assigns managers to all projects within a given neighborhood, rather than to individual projects.
A year ago, Wilkerson’s political career went down in flames when the FBI arrested her on bribery charges. The charges against her include allegations that she took bribes to help a nightclub secure a liquor license. Kineavy is reportedly the City Hall official who gave Wilkerson powerful leverage with the Licensing Board. Kineavy is not accused of any wrongdoing in the Wilkerson case, but his e-mails that possibly relate to the case reportedly have been forwarded to federal investigators and not made public.
However, one e-mail about Wilkerson, relating to her unsuccessful re-election campaign against JP’s Sonia Chang-Díaz, suggests that Kineavy had a less-than-reverential attitude toward Wilkerson.
In September, 2008, the Boston Phoenix’s web site featured a blog entry about a Wilkerson campaign rally attended by JP supporters. Headlined “Wilkerson: On a Mission from God,” it quoted Wilkerson as saying that her write-in campaign against Chang-Díaz would be successful because the prayers of local ministers put God on her side. It also reported that Wilkerson “biblically challenged” Chang-Díaz with a quote from the Book of Jeremiah: “If you can’t handle the footmen, then you can’t run with the horses.”
On Sept. 24, 2008, Geraldine Cuddyer, chair of the Boston Election Commission, e-mailed the blog entry to Kineavy and other City Hall officials, along with the comment, “It speaks for itself!”
“[I]n Biblical proportion!” joked Kineavy in his e-mailed reponse.