Protest dolls displayed at 161 S. Huntington

November 23, 2012
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The dolls with signs displayed at 161 S. Huntington Ave. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

By Peter Shanley and John Ruch, Gazette Staff

S. HUNTINGTON—About 10 dolls adorned with protest signs were arranged around a tree at the Home for Little Wanderers at 161 S. Huntington Ave. last week, an effort carried out by a new Occupy JP-affiliated group called Babies Against Boondoggles, according to an Occupy JP member. The display is a protest against controversial luxury apartment projects slated to be built at the property and another one nearby at 105A S. Huntington.

The dolls have signs reading “Home For Children Not for Profit,” “Shame” and “Land Expropriation: An Idea Who’s Time Has Returned.” A person called the Gazette to tell the paper about the dolls, which are virtually unnoticeable from the street.

The Home for Little Wanderers, which is moving out, serves at-risk children and youths.

Occupy JP member Aria Littlhous sent the Gazette a satirical press release written in the voices of the “dollies” in the display, saying that they are “sick of rich people whining about not making enough money” and calling for permanent, affordable triple-decker housing rather than expensive rentals. The “dollies” also criticized recent campaign donations made by the developers to local elected officials, a practice that has ignited local controversy.

“‘What we want,’ said Teddy Dolly, ‘is to own our own homes and rent the upstairs apartments to other Dollies. That way we can make lots of money by working very little, like the 1%,’” reads the press release.

It also describes “Sheba Dolly, who seemed to be of African American descent” as holding a sign reading, “‘Dude, the wrong Dudes are getting scalped,’ in an apparent reference to the looming development of property formerly owned by Native Americans…” That is a reference to the 105A S. Huntington property, a vacant lot formerly part of the North American Indian Center of Boston site.

“Fifi Dolly add[ed], ‘We don’t need any more stupid greedy rich people in JP. Tell them to go away,’” the press release concludes.

Littlhous told the Gazette that Babies Against Boondoggles formed during a Nov. 8 Jamaica Plain Forum event that helped small social activist groups to organize. Asked about the group’s future plans, she said, “All I can really tell you about them is that they get very cranky when they don’t get enough sleep and that they want real homes, not rentals. Their immediate plans include sleeping and eating.”

Occupy JP is a local version of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Boston protest movements that formed last year. A member previously told the Gazette that the group essentially went defunct several months ago.

“Occupy JP is dormant until it’s not,” Littlehous said this week.

The City Zoning Board of Appeals voted yesterday to approve the variances requested by the developers, Boston Residential Group, of the luxury apartment project at 161 S. Huntington.

The developers will tear down the historic 1914 building currently there and replace it with 196 units consisting of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units in a four- to five-story building.