Airplane noise

As a resident of Jamaica Plain for 43 years and a long-time activist fighting Logan Airport’s Runway 27 airplane noise over our community, I would like to clarify some facts regarding that noise.

The current flight path of Runway 27 jets departing Logan was established by the FAA in 1997. All planes fly that 1997 procedure off of Runway 27 and attempt to stay within a FAA-designated, one-mile wide, “noise abatement” corridor. If flown correctly thousands of close-in South Boston, South End and Lower Roxbury residents are spared direct overflights according to the FAA.

Since the 1997 FAA decision air traffic controllers direct all Runway 27 departures to fly the same procedure that is a 235 degree heading until reaching a set “way point”. In past years between 22,000 and 51,000 jets have annually flown off Runway 27.

There are two changes affecting Runway 27 departures. One is procedural and the second, according to Massport publications, is due to construction. The first occurred in March 2013 and second in the Spring of this year.

In 2013 the FAA instituted an RNAV (FAA new area navigation system) procedure that moved the point at which Runway 27 departures could change course from the 235 heading to their next destination. The change moved that point from 6 nautical miles to 7.9 nautical miles from Logan. This elongation of the original track takes the departures further out into Hyde Park and Roslindale before turning on course. That is the only change that has been made to the departure procedure designed by the FAA in 1997. The flightpath has remained unchanged for closer-in communities.

The second change is temporary and was put in place last Spring by Massport and the FAA. The most-used departure runway at Logan (Runway 22) has been under improvement construction since mid-May and will not be finished until November this year. With that main Logan departure runway closed “our” Runway 27 has been heavily and abusively used when winds are from the west (the predominant wind direction in Boston). This is why we have been suffering relentlessly from 5 AM onward from departing jets for the past 5 months. It has not been the historical utilization of Runway 27.          According to Massport, when this construction is finished in November, our community be back to the “normal” noise abuse.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions about recently increased jet noise over our homes.

Anastasia Lyman

Jamaica Plain

Dryer fire

I am writing to share our recent experience with our Frigidaire dryer that caused a serious house fire.

On August 9th, our Frigidaire dryer (model number LGQ1452KS0) caught fire in our home at 77 Montebello Rd in Jamaica Plain, while my wife Jessica was doing laundry. As soon as she identified the source of the smoke, Jessica discharged the fire extinguisher into the dryer. However, the fire originated beneath the drum, where it was shielded from the jet of the fire extinguisher. Jessica immediately turned off the breaker to the machine, got everyone out of the apartment, and called 911. (Fortunately, this was during the day so our two children were out of the house). The fire department came within minutes, and the greatest damage was confined to two rooms, though there was extensive water damage throughout the triple-decker building.

That evening, a brief google search revealed that Frigidaire settled a class action lawsuit three years ago, for $8 million, alleging that their dryers had a dangerous defect that trapped lint in a place consumers can’t see or reach, and close to a heating element. Electrolux, the parent company of Frigidaire, denied the allegations and admitted no wrongdoing. However, court documents indicate that Electrolux dryers in Japan were recalled because of the same problem.

There has been no recall of Frigidaire dryers in the US. We bought our home in 2015; the washer and dryer came as fixtures. Although our machines will be covered by insurance, two identical machines on the lower floors will not be covered by insurance, because they have not yet caught fire. However, our insurance agent has told us that our building’s policy will not be renewed unless we replace both surviving units, as they are known hazards.

These machines are in thousands of homes. A friend who discovered that his dryer was a similar model has replaced his. We want to warn anyone who has a Frigidaire dryer from the 2000-2011 to search online and strongly consider replacing it. We do not want anyone to go through what we have been through, and we are haunted by the possibility of others being injured by these machines.

Andrew Iliff

Jamaica Plain resident

John McDonough returns to JP

John E. McDonough, DrPH, MPA, will be presenting a talk on “Insights on the Affordable Care Act” in Jamaica Plain on October 17th, 6:30 at First Church UU. John is now Professor of Public Health Practice in the Department of Policy Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Executive and Continuing Professional Education.

Between 2008 and 2010, he serviced as a senior Adviser on National Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where he worked on the development and passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Between 2003 and 2010 he served as Executive Director of Health Care for All.  Between 1998 and 2003, he was an associate professor at Heller School at Brandeis University.  From 1985 to 1997, he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he co-chaired the Joint Committee on Health Care.

As respondents to the address by Professor McDonough, the panel discussion will include three exceptionally talented and compassionate public officials, City of Boston Councilor Matt O’Malley, State Representative Liz Malia and State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez.  With many years of public service in the health field, both the presentation and panel discussion will be immensely enlightening.

The program is presented by the A.R.T. Institute. (Jane Addams/Ellen Swallow Richards/Harriet Tubman Institute, Inc. Co-sponsoring the even is the Jamaica Plain Forum.  Andy Pond, President of A.R.T institute and President and CEO of J.R.I will chair the meeting.  Chuck Collins, founder of the JP Forum is providing technical assistance.  Jamaica Plain is an amazing community of diversity and creativity.

We are proud to welcome John McDonough back to Jamaica Plain to join with our unique and talented City Council and State Representatives for an evening devoted to on of America’s most critical challenges.

Gerry Wright

Co-Founder of A.R.T. Institute

Direct Care Worker & Ecologist

JP artists

After what appears to have been another successful Open Studios weekend, we are reminded that it is the artist community that has been a key component in making JP the attractive community that it is.  But red flags should go up as we see one developer after another scarf up older properties, many of which serve as studios for artists, and turn them into giant, characterless apartment buildings.  Driven by profit, no attempt is made to blend into the community, to offer alternative studio/professional spaces, or, to accommodate the housing needs of lower income earners, many of whom make up Jamaica Plain’s diverse and talented workforce.  We seem to get a lot of lip-service from the City as to how it plans to be inclusive and mindful of the needs of the long term residents, many of them artists, but the expensive “housing” just keeps going up and the character of Jamaica Plain declines. With all the foreign investment money pouring into Boston, the transformation isn’t even subtle.  We’ve seen what’s happened to the Seaport that now has about as much character as Dubai.

We have also seen what happened to Harvard Square with iconic independent shops and restaurants being replaced by chain stores, something Jamaica Plain has successfully avoided because of its keen sensitivity to maintaining the community’s character. Would that JP’s neighborhood council exhibit the same zeal in protecting our artists from displacement so that areas like Washington Street and Barclay Square don’t soon become nothing more than expensive and sterile housing built not to enhance the community, but to fill the coffers of the investors.

At a recent gathering of artists and concerned citizens during Open Studios weekend, Mayoral candidate Tito Jackson made an appearance and reassured those with whom he met that their mission is a key part of his platform.  While no one is interested in impeding progress or change where it is necessary, the last thing we need is for Jamaica Plain to lose its hip and invigorating collection of artists and musicians, thus becoming just another ho-hum bedroom community for downtown Boston.

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain resident

Airplane noise, part II

I was very happy to read about our city councilors’ letter to FAA and Mass Port (“City Councilors pen letter to FAA, Massport on plane noise”  JP Gazette, 9/29/17).  Airplane noise has been bothering me for many years.  I began reporting to the Mass Port Noise Complaint Line in 2007 (example: “Since 05:30 this morning the planes have been flying over and are very loud” 9/4/07).  I stopped calling because it seemed like a hopeless waste of time.  I was moved to begin reporting again last year because the problem kept getting worse.  I have been calling ever since and I have a complete record of my complaints since May 20, 2016.  These show many weeks of being woken up by loud airplane noise between 5 – 6:30 a.m. four to five days a week.
I am fed up with suffering and complaining privately.  I support our local city councilors in their effort to address this serious and worsening problem.  Let’s work together to fix this soon!

Laura Foner
Jamaica Plain

Most of JP supported Jackson in preliminary election

One key element missing in the Gazette article “Walsh, Jackson to battle for mayor after low-turnout preliminary” was that Jamaica Plain voters largely favored Councilor Tito Jackson in the September 25th mayoral preliminary. Our neighborhood is largely comprised of Wards 11, 19 and 10; Jackson was victorious in both Wards 11 and 19, as well as neighboring Ward 12 in Roxbury.

In the week since the election, I’ve been reflecting on the many reasons why Jamaica Plain supported Tito Jackson and one explanation is abundantly clear: We are a neighborhood that’s been both protected and nourished by the tireless efforts of grassroots activism for so long that we recognize our fellow activists when they walk among us.

We are a neighborhood raised by the community organizers that formed the Jamaica Plain Expressway Committee, successfully stopping Interstate 95 from bisecting our city. We are the activists that formed the Southwest Corridor Coalition, resulting in miles of walking and biking paths and the stabilization of the neighborhood. We established the Franklin Park Coalition to cherish this emerald jewel suffering from decades of neglect.

We are the home to three of the seven plaintiffs in the 2003 Supreme Court Lawsuit Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. It comes as no surprise that we voted to support a leader who has never marched in the South Boston Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the years when they excluded our LGBTQ neighbors.

Jackson marched with us in the Women’s March, to Fight Supremacy, and to support our Muslim neighbors when President Trump issued his travel ban. He stood with affordable housing activists when they protested the mayor’s controversial JP/Rox development plan. He advocates alongside homeless activists for the re-opening of the Long Island Homeless Shelter, closed abruptly by Mayor Walsh in 2014.

Councilor Jackson’s 2015 subpoena of the Boston Olympics bid supported the work of activists from No Boston 2024 and No Boston Olympics, saving Boston taxpayers from millions of dollars in costly overruns. He supported adult cannabis activists in the passage of Question 4 long before it was politically “safe” to do so.

As Chair of the Committee on Education, Jackson has steadfastly supported the youth of Boston Public Schools when they protested Walsh’s school budget cuts. Last year, he was the undisputed champion of the grassroots No On 2 campaign, which spared public schools statewide from the financial devastation that Question 2 would have wrought. He received the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association “Friend of Education” award as a result of these efforts.

If you put your ears to the ground of this fertile southwest corridor of Boston, you can hear the seeds of change taking root here once again. The democratic establishment would be wise to tune their ears to hear the calls of our grassroots leaders or risk future political irrelevancy. Jamaica Plain recognizes a leader who is more likely to wield a megaphone with fellow activists than a shovel at a developer’s groundbreaking.

Kristin Johnson

Jamaica Plain resident

Founder and co-author of Boston Political Education


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