Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Election to be Held on August 21

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) is holding its biannual election a year late because of the pandemic. The election will be held on August 21 from 10am-4pm inside the Forest Hills MBTA station, as well as outside of JP Licks at 649 Centre St. and Stop and Shop at 301 Centre St., weather permitting. COVID-19 precautions will be taken at all polling locations. So far, there are 11 candidates running, and write-ins will be permitted, but full names and addresses of individuals being written in are required.

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) was founded in 1985 through a Mayoral decree to increase and improve communication between the Jamaica Plain community, the City of Boston, and other public agencies.  The Mayor appointed the initial JPNC, but soon afterwards those members recognized that it was more important to hear the voice of the community and moved to biennial election of members.  It was decided at that point to have a 20 member Council made up of 5 members from three different geographic areas and 5 at-large members. Since that first election the JPNC has remained a volunteer organization that offers the people of Jamaica Plain the opportunity to participate directly and fully in governing neighborhood affairs. The Council brings together a cross-section of Jamaica Plain’s diverse community to make decisions and recommendations regarding development, service delivery, and other public issues in our neighborhood.

 Much of the work of the Council occurs in monthly meetings of their working committee, of which there are currently 3, Public Service, Zoning, and Housing and Development.  The full Council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month to review and approve the recommendations of the working committees.  These meetings as are all of the meetings of the JPNC are open to the public and the community is invited to actively participate through attending these meetings, proposing agenda items, speaking on current topics, and joining the Council’s different working committees. For more information on the JPNC and its committees, visit jpnc.org.

Below are bios for candidates who will appear on the ballot:

Area A

Marvin Mathelier

Marvin Dee Mathelier was born in Brooklyn, New York and currently lives in Egleston Square, Jamaica Plain.  Marvin’s drive and motivation in joining JPNC was based on wanting to maintain a diverse and safe community within JP and being a voice for those residents that do not have a platform to speak on.  Marvin is part of the Housing and Development Committee and is committed to ensuring all JP residents is being treated fairly as the neighbor continues to change.  Marvin is also the co-founder of Call It Out, which focuses on educating, validating, and finding ways to mitigate systemic racism within our community.  He is also co-owner of Ula Café. Additionally, Marvin is a consultant at Slalom and is a Major in the United States Reserves.  On his spare time, Marvin loves to spend time with his wife, Beth, and his two little girls, Nora and Zoey.

Brandon Yu Iisuka Russell

Brandon was originally appointed to fill a vacancy in the JPNC in February of 2021and is now seeking to represent Area A in the JPNC. Brandon is an organizer, involved community member, and dedicated public servant living in JP. Of Japanese and Venezuelan descent, he has been a passionate advocate for language access in government and political processes. Growing up without housing stability has given Brandon a focus on creating and preserving affordable housing. He is currently the Democratic State Committeeman representing the Young Democrats of Massachusetts in the Massachusetts Democratic Party. In his day job, Brandon serves as a Legislative Aide to State Rep. Chynah Tyler and previously served as Communications & Community Relations Coordinator to Council President Kim Janey.

Trevor Wissink-Adams

Trevor Wissink-Adams has lived in Jamaica Plain since 2012, first on Boylston Street and now with his wife, Jay, and their daughter on Amory Street. Living near Stony Brook has intensified Trevor’s passion for green space, spending time in Southwest Corridor Park, Jamaica Pond, and the Arboretum.  Trevor has a master’s degree in education and has worked in public school education for the past 13 years. He is interested in reviving the Parks Committee in the year ahead.  Trevor was elected to the neighborhood council in 2018.

Area B

Area C

Gert D Thorn  AIA, NCARB, LEED AP 

As a resident of Jamaica Plain since 2013, Gert plans to continue focusing on issues that affect the quality of life and our environment in Jamaica Plain.  He has previously served on community boards in New York City, including as a neighborhood association president in Brooklyn; as a member of the Town Planning Board in Westport, Connecticut, and currently serves on a historical society board. 

Gert has a great interest in ensuring that our community continues to be diverse, and that we support opportunities to improve our built environment and provide resources to our residents. 

Gert is an architect with experience in urban planning, multi-family housing, commercial, university and healthcare, and well versed in working with governmental entities and community boards.  He is concerned about the ease with which significant zoning variances are granted by the JPNC without regard to the impact on the JP Community. Gert was also an activist for the protection of the façade at the now JPMorgan Chase branch. He also has been an advocate of Green Building environmentally responsible design, and is known as a “hands-on” advocate, pro-active in engaging with community members.

Peg Preble

Peg Preble has lived in JP since 1991. She is presently on the Neighborhood Council, and on the Zoning committee. Peg works in the JP area as a residential electrician, and has intimate knowledge of many neighborhood attics and basements. Her love for the quirky housing stock of JP and the wish to insure that the neighborhoods have a voice in their community drew her to the council. 

Bernard Doherty

I am seeking re-election to the JPNC to help bring about a more balanced and inclusive approach on issues affecting the future of this community.

 Issues, such as truly affordable housing, community wide input on zoning issues, public safety and insuring an open forum for the expressions of views and opinions. 

 I have been a member of the JPNC from 1985 to the present and have served as the Chair of the Zoning Committee; Vice-Chair of the JPNC as well as chaired Asticou-Martinwood-South Neighborhood Association, UMass Boston Graduate.

 Micah Sachs

Micah Sachs has embraced living in Jamaica Plain since moving here in 2015. Micah recently joined the JPNC and is also a board member of the Jamaica Pond Association. Micah’s top priority on the JPNC will be increasing housing supply to make JP more affordable to renters and first-time home buyers, especially those not making six figures. Micah works for a Boston-based data analytics company, Comlinkdata, and previously was a community journalist, including in his hometown of Natick. Micah lives with his wife Jean Capizzi and son Simon, and can often be seen going on runs through JP’s spectacular parks.

At-Large

Michael Reiskind

Michael Reiskind is a long-time resident of Jamaica Plain and a hard-working community activist involved in many aspects of neighborhood life.  He is presently the Secretary of the Council.  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 for Public Transit, Inc. 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.

Dave Baron

I am currently an At-Large member of the Neighborhood Council and, since 2009, have served as chair of the Council’s Zoning Committee, where I have worked to create a fair, open, and participatory process in which all voices and perspectives are heard. I am highly committed to advocating for Jamaica Plain and for our priorities as a neighborhood within the City of Boston. And I would like to see a new dog park approved in JP in the next two years. By day, I have a (fantastic) law practice specializing in real estate.

Will Cohen

Will Cohen seeks election to another term as an at-large member. He believes that new construction of multifamily housing is needed to address Boston’s housing crisis and historic segregation patterns from redlining. He values the walkable, bikeable, and transit-accessible qualities of Jamaica Plain and hopes to see the JPNC work proactively to help the neighborhood build upon its strengths. Originally from North Carolina, he is an urban planner at the design firm Utile, where he works on citywide, zoning, and housing plans across New England, he teaches at Boston College, and he lives on Walk Hill Street with his family.

Samantha Montano

Sam Montaño (she/her/they/them) is a queer latine housing and community development organizer based in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Sam has been in Boston the last 8 years diving deep into city politics and community organizing. In addition, Sam for the last 3 years has held an elected seat on the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, Co-Chairs the Mass NOW Political Action Committee, and participates on the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Latino Caucus.

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