Bios for All Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Candidates: Election April 28th

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There will only be one contested race in the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council elections being held on April 28th. There can be up to 20 council members, but only 19 candidates are on the ballot.

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council is made from 5 at-large councilors and five from Areas A, B and C.

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) consists up to 20 members: five at-large councilors, and five from three different geographical areas. Each council term runs for two years and the chair of the council is chosen by the other council members.

There are four candidates running for Area A, six running for Area B, four running for Area C and five running at-large.

The council serves as an "advocate and ombudsman for Jamaica Plain residents, organizations and business people," according to the JPNC's by-laws. The council works on issues relating to development, service delivery, youth affairs, as well as other matters brought to the council's attention that affect the JP community. There are four working committees: Public Service, Zoning, Housing & Development and Environment, Parks & Energy. The three council officers serve on each working committee and other committee members are chosen by the council.

The April 28th election is being held all day at Stop & Shop, JP Licks and the Harvest Co-op. There will be a table setup at each location. Eligible voters include all Jamaica Plain residents who are 16-years-old or older as of Election Day and listed on the city's most current list of residents or residents who can show proof of age, identify and residency.

The following bios were provided by the 19 candidates to Jamaica Plain News. An asterisk by a candidate's name means they are currently on the council.

Brianne Connelly (Area A)

Brianne Connelly is a new mom, YMCA after-school teacher, fitness instructor, and Sustainable International Development graduate student at Brandeis. Her work focuses on youth civic engagement and being part of the JPNC will allow her to “walk the walk” when she teaches K-6th graders about harnessing their own power as citizens. With California and Wisconsin roots, she spent 10 years working in education and community development in the Mississippi Delta and has been in JP since 2017. Connelly wants to ensure that JP engages and improves livelihoods for under-represented folks, with a personal interest in environmental health and women’s inclusion in governing.

*Bruce Marks (Area A)

Bruce Marks is a long-time JP resident and Founder/CEO of NACA, the nation’s largest housing counseling agency. As a union activist for the Hotel Workers Union in Boston, he was instrumental in negotiating the first housing trust fund. He was one of the first to expose predatory lending practices. In 2007, Marks was named Boston Globe’s Bostonian of the Year. His relentless tactics and operational skills pushed banks to provide over $13 billion in the best mortgage in America. His aggressive tactics kept over 250,000 people in their homes and convinced lenders to change their ways. He showed how one determined person can make a huge difference against powerful forces. He was previously featured in the New York Times and has been profiled three times in the Wall Street Journal. Marks has an MBA from NYU and a BA from UConn.  

Trevor Wissink-Adams (Area A)

Trevor Wissink-Adams has lived in Jamaica Plain since 2012, first as a renter on Boylston Street and now a homeowner with his wife, Jay, on Amory Street. Living near Stony Brook has intensified his passion for green space, spending time in Southwest Corridor Park, Jamaica Pond, and the Arnold Arboretum. Wissink-Adams has a master’s degree in education and has worked in public school education and administration for the past 10 years. He is especially interested in developing an Education Committee to address JP constituent’s ideas, concerns, and hopes.

*Kevin Rainsford (Area A) 

Kevin Rainsford started working in Hyde Square in 2000 and became a Jamaica Plain resident in 2005. As a mental health and addiction counselor, Rainsford has worked in a variety of settings where he has sought to meet the needs of youth and the underserved. Since joining the JPNC in 2016, he has served on the Public Service Committee, and has been the Vice Chair of the Housing and Development Committee. Rainsford strives to bring his professional experience to his work on the Council and ensure that all residents of Jamaica Plain have a voice in our community’s future.

*Max Glikman (Area B) 

Current JPNC member Max Glikman has been a resident of Jamaica Plain since 2015, and currently lives on Glenvale Terrace with his partner Stephanie. Glikman is a fierce advocate of housing that is affordable, and hopes to continue instilling a sense of urgency through the Council in the fight against overdevelopment, gentrification, and displacement. While on the Council, he pledges to advocate for more affordability and more density that is appropriate within the neighborhood, especially around public transit. Glikman currently works for a nonprofit affordable housing organization, where his responsibilities include designing, permitting, and financing affordable housing throughout Greater Boston. 

Samantha Montaño (Area B)

Samantha Montaño, originally from Los Angeles, has been in Boston for five years now. While here, she has worked in BPS with City Year, a women’s shelter, and now JPNDC. Montaño believes in an equitable, diverse community and wants to do all she can to be involved in helping make and keep Jamaica Plain inclusive for all. Other interests include volunteering with youth at Hyde Square Task Force, photography, cooking at home, and exploring the neighborhood. 

*Kyle Smith (Area B)

Smith lives on Clive Street in Jamaica Plain. He has been a member of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council since 2013 and is presently co-chair of the Zoning Committee and a member of the JPNC’s Housing and Community Development committee. Smith is an avid proponent of affordable housing and has had the privilege to help to shape affordable housing policy in JP and at the city of Boston level. Additionally, he is a member of the real estate committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) and an active fundraising committee member for JP’s Community Servings. 

Emily Tabor (Area B)

Emily Tabor moved to Jamaica Plain in 2012 and works for a civil legal aid organization in Boston that advocates for low-income Massachusetts residents. She has a history of campaigning for candidates on the senatorial and congressional level in Las Vegas and New York City, which has illuminated the direct effect a community can have on their neighborhood and public spaces. Tabor values Jamaica Plain’s diversity, green spaces, and vibrant arts scene, and is committed to ensuring inclusive policies that serve the public good.

Esther Tutella-Chen (Area B) 

Esther Tutella-Chen has lived in Jamaica Plain for six years. She and her partner were drawn to JP because it was green, dog-friendly and community-centered. It seemed like the ideal place to put down roots and grow a family. With that in mind, she was motivated to run for the JPNC as there are a lot of changes happening in JP, and she is excited to work with the community to make thoughtful, informed decisions affecting the future of the neighborhood. Tutella-Chen currently works at Northeastern University as an Academic Advisor for first generation college students from the Boston area.

*Priscilla Yang (Area B)

Priscilla Yang has resided in JP with her husband and three children since 2006. She values JP’s diversity, green spaces, and sense of community. As a Council member, Priscilla has supported policies and decisions that best reflect the priorities of our community. She supports housing/zoning that make JP livable for a diverse community with green spaces that can be enjoyed by all. Under her chairmanship, the Environment, Parks, and Energy Committee established the JP Fixit Clinic and has steered the JPNC’s advocacy of city- and state-level legislation and actions that protect and improve JP’s green spaces, reduce waste, and decrease energy costs.

*Robin Cheung (Area C)

Robin Cheung moved to Jamaica Plain with her family in 2014. She appreciates living in a community with plenty of public green and open spaces, distinctive businesses and vibrant residents. After college, Robin worked in Mayor Thomas Menino’s Office of Constituent Services, Boston Private Industry Council and Citizens for Safety, which all served in advocating for Boston residents. Her current work in higher education encourages mutual understanding and resolution through respectful dialogue and fair processes. Cheung sees those same goals that make up the JPNC and will work to implement them with the community at large.

*Bernard C. Doherty (Area C)

Bernard Doherty is seeking re-election election to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council to help bring about a more balanced and inclusive approach on issues affecting the future of this community. An approach that recognizes the rich diversity and social makeup of the Jamaica Plain community and works to provide and encourage an open forum for the expression of issues and views from all sections of our neighborhood. He is a lifelong activist and resident of JP.

*Kevin Leary (Area C)

Kevin Leary has been an elected member of the Neighborhood Council from Area C for more than 22 years, and currently serves as an appointed representative; having served on the Zoning Committee since 1994 and as its chair for 12 years. He has been a member of the Jamaica Hills Association since moving to Woodland Road with his wife Susan 42 years ago. He is a practicing attorney specializing in zoning and title research principally for non-profit housing developers in the Greater Boston area. 

*Gert D. Thorn (Area C)

As a JPNC Board member, Gert Thorn plans to continue focusing on issues that affect the quality of life and our environment in Jamaica Plain. He has served on community and town planning boards, as a neighborhood association president and a historical society board. Thorn has a great interest in ensuring that our community continues to be diverse, and that we support opportunities to improve our built environment and resources to our residents. He is an architect with experience in urban planning, multi-family housing, commercial, and healthcare, and is well versed in working with governmental entities and community boards.

Vicky Arroyo (At-Large) 

From enjoying the sprinklers at the Stony Brook park (which she’s excited to enjoy for the first time with her son this summer!), to attending the Agassiz and Hennigan, and to her work as a Youth Community Organizer with the Hyde Square Task Force, to currently running a karate program alongside her mother in Egleston Square, Vicky Arroyo has always prided herself in being an active member of the JP community. As a lifelong Latina resident, Arroyo is passionate about ensuring that JP continues to grow in an inclusive way that fosters diversity and the success of its most vulnerable residents.

*David Baron (At-Large)

David Baron is currently an At-Large member of the Neighborhood Council and, since 2009, has served as chair of the Council’s Zoning Committee, where his priorities have been advocating for strong neighborhood input at the city level and ensuring a fair, open, and participatory JP zoning process in which all voices are heard. Baron believes JP has always been an activist community, and neighborhood-level engagement and participation is part of what makes it a great place to live. By day, he has a law practice specializing in real estate.

*Carmel Levy (At-Large) 

Carmel Levy first fell in love with civic engagement participating in JPNC meetings as a community member. In January of 2017, he was appointed to a vacancy on the Council and now sits on the Public Service and the Housing & Economic Development Committees. Besides JPNC, Levy is on the steering committee for JP Progressives, the Ward 19 Committee, and the Mayor's SPARK Council for millennial engagement. In all his extracurricular activities, he focuses on affordable housing, access to robust transportation options, and encouraging civic engagement. During work hours, Levy is the Corporate Partnerships Manager for Hubway, metro-Boston's Bikeshare system.

*Michael Reiskind (At-Large) 

Michael Reiskind is a longtime resident of Jamaica Plain involved in many aspects of the community. He is presently on the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council and its Zoning Committee. He is also chair of its Public Service Committee, working 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, and the JP Business & Professional Association. In addition, he has been an early advocate of neighborhood policing and work in collaboration with the Boston Police Department on its implementation in Jamaica Plain.

*Carolyn Royce (At-Large)  

Carolyn Royce is a strong believer in the mission of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council: to provide a public forum for community concerns and to communicate decisions and recommendations to city and state officials. Royce is particularly interested in good solutions for promoting economic diversity, housing affordability, and improved transportation as JP develops. She is a homeowner, a member of Egleston Square Neighborhood Association, and served on the Advisory Group for Plan JP/Rox. She works as bookkeeper for a local small business and a nonprofit arts group. Royce is a current member of the JPNC and hopes to continue to serve.