JP Neighborhood Council Candidates’ Statements

September 16, 2011
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The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council election will be held Sat., Sept. 24, with polling places at: the Forest Hills T Station (3700 Washington St.); J.P. Licks (659 Centre St.); and Stop & Shop (301 Centre St.). Polls will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Any JP resident 16 or older can vote. Voters can choose up to five at-large candidates and up to five candidates from the area where the voter lives. (Poll workers can tell you your area.)

The following are statements provided by the candidates.

AT-LARGE

Edward “Red” Burrows: I have lived in Jamaica Plain since 1998 and have been on the neighborhood council for almost seven years. I am the assistant chair for the Zoning Committee and sit on the Open Space Committee and the Jackson Square Citizens Advisory Committee. I want to work with all residents of JP to ensure that we all have safe streets and well-maintained parks, and above all, to ensure diversity by promoting affordable housing. I hope you vote for me Sept. 24.

Francesca Fordiani: I am a social worker and 17-year JP resident, and have been active with the JPNC since 2003. As a member and former chair of the Housing and Development Committee, I advocated for affordable housing in the former Barbara McInnis House and in Forest Hills. In the last year, I led the JPNC’s effort to reach out to youth-serving organizations to address youth violence in JP. I am committed to the diverse and vibrant community that is my home. I would be honored to have your vote and to have the opportunity to continue to serve you. Thank you.

Richard Parritz: As a 13-year resident; current, past member or advisor to many boards of directors, including the JPOS, ToysForJoys, SPOA, Gay4Good, AMA, Harbor to the Bay and GBBC; and owner of Promostuff, I’m in a unique position to bring professional management to the council. Like thousands in JP, I’m disturbed by its mishandling of the Whole Foods conversation. While I’m indifferent in some respects to what replaces Hi-Lo, the JPNC continues to far overstep its authority. Consequently, the JPNC has turned many good-hearted people off from both living and considering opening businesses and bringing jobs here.

Michael Reiskind is a longtime resident of Jamaica Plain and a hard-working community activist involved in many aspects of neighborhood life. He is presently on the JPNC and its Zoning Committee. He also is chair of its Public Service Committee, where he works on public safety, public works and transportation issues. He is a board member of JP Centre/South Main Streets, the Jamaica Pond Association, the Arborway Committee and the JP Business and Professional Association. In addition, he has been a leader working with the Boston Police Department to implement Neighborhood Policing in Jamaica Plain.

Martha Rodriguez: As a 13-year resident of Jamaica Plain, I have been involved in different projects in our community, starting as a youth community organizer with the Hyde Square Task Force and later the president of the Jamaica Plain Scattered Sites Cooperative, where I collaborated with JPNDC to successfully preserve 18 housing units affordable to low-income families. I’m a member of the JPNDC’s Organizing Committee and a graduate of its first leadership academy. I have been working diligently with the JPNC’s Ad-Hoc committee to further assure a diverse and affordable JP. I hope to stay involved by joining the JPNC.

Joseph Wight: Jamaica Plain is a strong community with a history of caring about its neighbors and I believe I can add to that strength. I’ve been a resident of Jamaica Plain for the last four years. I have spent the last 10 years volunteering for not-for-profit organizations and leading community-based efforts to create positive change in the areas of food justice, housing rights and healthy environmental stewardship. I’m an avid bicyclist and a determined student expecting to earn my BFA in May ’13. I will bring negotiation, collaboration and positive energy with me to serve on the JPNC.

AREA A (Egleston/Hyde/Jackson Squares)

Oliver De Leon: I’m a 15-year resident of JP. I work with low-income families organizing housing co-ops as well as teaching co-op owners and low-income residents their rights. Knowing the challenges of maintaining low-income families in this neighborhood, I believe that affordable housing and small business are a priority in JP for current and future families to enjoy this neighborhood. I feel gentrification is contributing for a less diverse and affordable JP. Working with the JPNC will give me an opportunity to get in touch with the rest of my community and find ways to solve these issues.

Arazeliz Reyes moved to Jamaica Plain from Puerto Rico in June of 1990 at the age of 13 with her parents and three sisters.  Although a difficult transition, she found comfort in the culturally diverse neighborhood of JP. For the last 21 years, the Reyes family have been active and responsible members of the JP community. Ara is a graduate of Northeastern and she works for Plumbers Local 12 and also at the BHA. In her spare time Ara and her daughter volunteer at Cradles to Crayons. Ara wants to be a voice for Area A, if given the privilege.

Brian Squadrille: I’ve lived in Jamaica Plain for three years. I’m from California and moved out East to be closer to family in Massachusetts. I come from a Mexican/Italian family, and I have been involved in community groups and local political work since my late teens. My single mother, who raised me and my sisters on her own, inspired me to give back to the community, in particular the Latino/immigrant communities. I was a youth boxing coach at the Gentlemen’s Gym before they moved to Hyde Park, and enjoyed volunteering my time and encouraging the kids.

Jeffrey Wiesner: I moved to JP in 1999 before law school. Now I am an attorney at the firm of Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg and Garin, and adjunct faculty at Northeastern University School of Law. My law practice includes representation of individuals in civil rights, criminal and business matters. I represent businesses as well as the most economically distressed individuals in our city. My practice is as richly textured as our community, providing an appreciation of JP’s competing interests.  My approach at the JPNC will be measured and pragmatic, balancing community interests, while maintaining JPNC’s standing as a legitimate voice of the community.

AREA B (Eastern JP)

Dave Baron is a 15-year resident of Jamaica Plain. He has served as one of the Area B representatives to the JPNC for five years and has chaired the council’s Zoning Committee since 2009. Dave also led in 2009 and 2010 the ad hoc committee responsible for updating the JPNC election procedures and by-laws. By day, Dave has a solo law practice specializing in real estate matters. As a member of the Neighborhood Council, his priorities are ensuring a fair and open community process, particularly around zoning matters, and serving as a JP advocate and liaison to City government.

Jesse White: I am a prisoners’ rights attorney and a current member of the JPNC serving on the Housing and Development Committee. I value our vibrant and diverse community, and if you elect me I will continue to support affordable housing and responsible development informed by community process. I support initiatives that assist low- and moderate-income residents, youths and anti-displacement work. The overarching value that I bring to my work is a desire to support people fighting for their economic, social, cultural and civil rights. I hope that you will vote for me to continue serving on the JPNC.

AREA C (Western/southern JP)

Karley Ausiello has lived in the Bourne neighborhood of Jamaica Plain for four years. She and her husband chose to settle down in JP and raise a family because of the community spirit, green space and diversity. Karley has served on the JPNC for two years and has sat on the Public Service Committee and Parks and Open Spaces Committee. She is committed to ensuring we have welcoming neighborhoods, affordable housing and vibrant open spaces. As a proud JPMom of a 3-year-old daughter, Karley is particularly interested in issues that impact families throughout JP.

Ben Day: I am a resident of Hyde Square, and I work as the executive director of Mass-Care, a health care advocacy group seeking to establish health care as a right for all Massachusetts residents through a single-payer health care system. I cherish the locally driven, unique culture of JP, along with its open spaces. It is one of few Boston neighborhoods supporting communities of diverse sexual orientations, ethnicities and income levels. If elected, I would work to maintain and expand JP’s diversity and affordability, local business culture and green spaces.

Andrea Howley: It has been my privilege to serve on the JPNC for the past seven years. It is clear that our challenge is to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and all ideas are considered. I am a lifelong resident of Jamaica Plain. I have been the council’s chairperson for the last two years. I also sit on the board of the Jamaica Hills Association and am an Emerald Necklace Conservancy park overseer. My primary focus is ensuring that Jamaica Plain remains clean, safe and flourishing in this economic climate and into the future. Your vote is appreciated. Thank you.

Ken Sazama has lived in Jamaica Plain for over 12 years, loving it for its green space and diversity on all levels. He works locally as a Realtor with a focus on sustainable development. Ken is an avid volunteer and has for years been involved in local Jamaica Plain issues. He is a graduate of Naropa University, a Buddhist college in Boulder, Colo., and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He would be honored to serve on the JPNC.

Hyun Shin: As a fairly new addition to the neighborhood, I have grown to adore this diverse and vibrant community we call Jamaica Plain. In my running for the Neighborhood Council, I look forward to hearing the issues and concerns of Jamaica Plain residents and working together to find a common solution. I would also like to see the Neighborhood Council take a more proactive position on youth development and training and will work on the Council to maintain Jamaica Plain’s affordable housing base. Currently, I work for a multi-service nonprofit agency in downtown Boston and serve on the local ward committee.

Christian Young: As a result of its positive attributes, JP is a growing community with new people and new businesses moving in. This growth should be embraced by the neighborhood without sacrificing the core ideals that make JP great. I will strive as a member of JPNC to help JP grow while maintaining the integrity of the neighborhood. I will make it my goal to listen to Neighborhood C on issues and ensure that the actions of JPNC reflect the entire community.

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