Activist seeks to remove JPNC members

January 4, 2013
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A local activist and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) critic is seeking to remove the current council members in the wake of their lawsuit against the 161 S. Huntington Ave. development.

“This group of eight people made a unilateral decision to sue our city…pretending to represent 37,000 people,” said Rick Stockwood, adding that he supports the S. Huntington project. He is investigating ways of “recalling or dissolving” the current JPNC, he said.

JPNC chair Benjamin Day could not be reached for immediate comment.

There does not appear to be an established system for removing all of the JPNC members. The JPNC bylaws do have a system for removing individual council members for “good cause.” The method involves a JPNC vote in response to a removal presentation made at a council meeting. The entire council could not be removed that way because there have to be enough members to vote on it.

The JPNC’s biannual election is slated to happen sometime this year.

During last year’s debate about Whole Foods Market entering Jamaica Plain, Stockwood led a pro-Whole Foods group called JP For All. After the JPNC voted to oppose Whole Foods, Stockwood became a prominent critic of the council and called for it to shut down. Day, the current JPNC chair, was an active protester against Whole Foods.

Stockwood said the current council has a narrow, “anti-development” agenda and is “not willing to engage in adult conversation” on the subject.

Stockwood said he supports the S. Huntington project in part because the developer agreed to make 33 of its 196 housing units affordable, and because those units will be on-site instead of built elsewhere under a City policy allowing for such a swap. He said he believes the JPNC should be discussing ways to set higher standards for affordable housing and “not just punching developers in the face all the time.”

Stockwood has maintained a JP For All effort and used its Facebook page to organize support for 161 S. Huntington and other projects. The page can be viewed at facebook.com/jpforall.

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