JPA Adopts Statement of Purpose, Values; Police Warn of “Check-Washing”

The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) held its first meeting of 2024 this past Monday via Zoom. Chair Kay Mathew and fellow members Jasmine Crafts, Tony Dreyfus, Peter Steiger, Peter Elmuts, Michael Reiskind,  Nancy Mazonson, Kevin Moloney, Franklyn Salimbene, Barry Schwartz, and Michael Frank were in attendance, as were a number of residents of the Jamaica Plain community. Also on hand for the session were Michael Giordano from State Rep. William McGregor’s office and Brett Hoffmann from State Senator Mike Rush’s office. Officer David Murray from the District 13 Boston Police station reported on traffic safety measures he has undertaken in recent months, particularly focusing on crosswalk safety. He said he issued 70 citations in November and December for speeding, red light violations, and crosswalk violations (which are civil moving infractions) and issued two criminal citations for drivers who did not have valid driver’s licenses. He also said that there have been a “good number” of accidents on Centre St. and “a bunch” on the Jamaicaway, including two rollovers, over which the State Police has jurisdiction. “Please be careful,” noted Murray to those in attendance. Steiger asked about some suspicious activities on Moraine St. last week, which he said appeared to involve a drug deal. Murray explained that a resident of Moraine St. noticed someone with a package acting suspiciously and Murray noted that the automobile being operated by the suspect had an expired registration. A young woman had reported that she was followed by an unknown person, who was acting erratically and who later tried to gain entrance into her apartment on Moraine St. before the police arrived. Murray said he knows who the suspect may be and will be speaking to him. A resident also raised an issue about a person who may be living in a box truck on Moraine St. Murray said he will look into that situation. Murray also spoke briefly about the new bike lane on Eliot St., which he said “may be a problem at some point” because the bicycle lane goes in the opposite direction of vehicular traffic. He also noted that there could be issues with the new Green St. bike lane and intersecting roads along Green St. Off. Patricia Darosa also appeared at the meeting and presented the monthly Community Safety Report. She noted that a man pushing a wheelchair in the area of Harrison and Centre Sts. was stealing packages from porches on December 31. She also said that there was a larceny by scam involving a phony check at a bank on Centre St. She finally noted that there was a pedestrian accident in a crosswalk on South Huntington Ave. at Bynner St. Moloney informed the group that a check for $100 that had been made out to a local charitable organization — and that had been mailed by his wife inside the U.S. Post Office — had been “washed” in the amount of $9200. “It is pretty scary to think that you can do what you’re supposed to do and you can still be a victim of this crime,” said Moloney, who noted that his bank reimbursed the stolen funds. Both Darosa and Murray told the group that “check-washing” — in which criminals steal mail that contains checks, use chemicals to wash away the original writing on the checks, and then write in new payees and amounts — has become widespread. They noted that Postal employees have been robbed at gunpoint for the keys to mailboxes. The group also discussed the possibility of holding the JPA meetings in person or whether the members preferred to remain on Zoom. The JPA had hoped to use the Curley House as a meeting place, but the $200 fee was deemed too steep. Another member noted that with COVID numbers rising, the remote meetings were preferable, while Salimbene offered that holding in-person meetings was important for the community and Mazonson suggested that in-person quarterly meetings might work. Dreyfus presented the report for the Parks, Parkways, and Open Spaces Committee. He said that two issues that deserve discussion and decision-making include getting the DCR to plant more trees along the Jamaicaway to replace ones that have been removed and the DCR’s proposal to redesign the rotaries along the Arborway. Dreyfus suggested that the JPA hold a community meeting with the district’s two state senators and two state representatives for a discussion of both matters. Dreyfus also brought up the issue of planting more trees and shrubs at Jamaica Pond, where he said the city has neglected to maintain the area. Steiger of the IDEA Committee, which was created a year ago, presented for the members’ consideration a statement about the “purpose, values, and activities” of the JPA. After some discussion, the members unanimously voted to adopt the statement, which will be posted on the JPA web site. Mathew noted that the JPA “needs to diversify, to attract young people, more women, and people of color,” and suggested that the IDEA Committee could serve as the platform to accomplish that goal. The next meeting of the JPA is set for Monday, February 5.

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