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Whole Foods ad hoc committee

The next two meeting locations of the Ad Hoc Whole Foods Committee will be on:

  • Wednesday June 1, 7pm
  • Monday June 13, 7pm

Both meetings will be held at the Anne M Cole Community Center, which is located near the corner of Heath St and Columbus Ave.  If you take the SW Corridor Park from Jackson Square, it is behind the basketball courts.

 

16 comments to Whole Foods ad hoc committee

  • Ken Pope

    After attending the fiasco of a meeting tonight, I hope that members of the JPNC will think twice about which groups they support. Though Red Burroughs was the only member I recognized by sight tonight I, he was amongst the anti-Whole Foods group who were the rudest I’ve ever seen. JPNC – remember.. you represent ALL of us..

  • Flo Zimmerman

    I don’t know who hired all those kids in blue T-shirts to make a disgrace of what should have been a civilized dialogue, but shame on you. It was disrespectful and embarrassing. Enough already. There were so many police cars in front of our school my kids thought someone had been shot. Now that would be something to protest. Represent the real community you claim to represent or disband. This fiasco need not be repeated.

  • maura

    I would like to see the JPNC abandon the ad hoc committee. I think that to continue down this road signifies that the JPNC is interested in continuing to be divisive force in the community. Step up to the plate and do the right thing. Show some leadership. Stop the nonsense.

  • Reese Millican

    I attended the meeting on June 2 and was very disappointed by what I saw. I was expecting a moderated discussion, with Whole Foods on one side of the stage and Whose Foods on the other. Instead, I saw a PR pitch by Whole Foods and a protest by Whose Foods, and the whole affair was broken up unnecessarily by a swarm of police officers. The lack of real dialogue did nothing to move our neighborhood forward on this issue.

    It appears that Whole Foods already considers this move to be a done deal and is content to ignore those who who do not want their store there. I look forward this meeting on the 13th, where I hope there will be a reasonable discussion about the impact of Whole Foods in our community, and I also hope Whole Foods will do the right thing and sincerely listen to members of our community without trying to fool us with PR. I am also ashamed of our Boston police department for treating peaceful protesters like criminals just so Whole Foods could make its pitch to the community.

  • Terry Mason

    JPNC is the most appropriate organization to play a facilitating role in the ongoing debates and discussions about how to address the impact that Whole Foods will have on JP neighborhoods. It is important for everyone to take a deep breath (as someone said at the aforementioned meeting)and consider the full picture here. Anyone could have known–including Whole Foods and whoever their community contacts are–that the meeting would be contentious. It was very long overdue, and there was a lot of pent up frustration and emotion. What we could NOT have anticipated is that the police would play such a central role in how the meeting would be handled. I do not know whose idea that was, but it played an important role in the disruption of that meeting. Since when do we need POLICE to help facilitate a community meeting? In fact, if the neighborhood council had helped to facilitate the meeting as a community meeting, NOT a Whole Foods presentation, then perhaps the outcome would have been more productive. Think about it. Free speech. Neighborhood meeting. POLICE as the decision-makers? The Neighborhood Council process has been open and democratic. There are major income and other divisions in this ‘community’. It’s a reality.

  • Terry Mason

    JPNC is the most appropriate organization to play a facilitating role in the ongoing debates and discussions about how to address the impact that Whole Foods will have on JP neighborhoods. It is important for everyone to take a deep breath (as someone said at the aforementioned meeting)and consider the full picture here. Anyone could have known–including Whole Foods and whoever their community contacts are–that the meeting would be contentious. It was long overdue, and there was a lot of pent up frustration and emotion. What we could NOT have anticipated is that the police would play such a central role in how the meeting would be handled. I do not know whose idea that was, but it played an important role in the disruption of that meeting. Since when do we need POLICE to help facilitate a community meeting? In fact, if the neighborhood council had helped to facilitate the meeting as a community meeting, NOT a Whole Foods presentation, then perhaps the outcome would have been more productive. Think about it. Free speech. Neighborhood meeting. POLICE as the decision-makers? The Neighborhood Council process has been open and democratic. There are major income and other divisions in this ‘community’. It’s a reality.

  • Matt

    I also wish the group would disband. I’ve written 2 emails to the JPNC with no response whatsoever. I don’t understand how they can claim to represent the community. People resigning from this committee is a very strong statement about what’s really going on.

  • Terry Mason

    Matt and others–I am a volunteer community resident who has attended several of the JPNC ad hoc Whole Foods committee meetings and tracked and commented on drafts (on Google docs) of the report. It is open to the public. I am honestly astonished at the latest resignation letter. I suggest the best way to find out what is happening in that committee is to attend a meeting. This issue is so highly charged that to rely on this sort of letter as a means of getting a clear understanding of the process is a mistake.

    Please don’t assume anything without seeing for yourself.

  • Marianna

    I too wish this group would disband and the JPNC would stop promoting the divisiveness with your silence around certain issues: the fact that you didn’t advertise for JP business owners until the meeting and then permitted a non-JP business owner to join (a CA-based web design cooperative is in no way affected by WF presence or not);and, that your chair had communicated with WF way back in Jan/Feb and was well-aware of WF schedule to meet with the community (issues that have angered many people because they believed WF did not communicate with the JPNC). It’s odd to me that you claim to represent the community yet don’t respond to legitimate questions from them nor make any attempt to shed light on their concerns. Also, according to Anne Mackin’s letter she had been trying to tender her resignation for two weeks and a third ad hoc member is, or has already, resigned. This too should be concerning and addressed. Thank you.

  • Maura

    The very fact that the JPNC convened an ad hoc committee, under a dubious process at best, whose charge was, in part, to find alternate uses for a site where a legally executed lease was in effect, is divisive in nature and not representative of or beneficial to the community. The committee’s existence is a problem, regardless of how it operates.

  • Terry Mason

    Once again, check your facts. The very charge was NOT to find an alternative use for the site. This is simply false. I am simply amazed at how people in these online exchanges invent concerns! I am not trying to be contentious but for heaven’s sake, make sure you are not making things up to complain about. We have enough real issues in this world to deal with. Please hunt down the charge to the Whole Foods ad hoc committee and then discuss it based on the actual goals.

    The Ad Hoc committee of the NDC has been working on coming up with recommendations for a community benefits agreement with Whole Foods–something Whole Foods has done in other communities where they come. I predict this will be the main outcome of the committee.

  • gretchen van ness

    Terry, here is the relevant language of the charge to the Ad Hoc Committee, as approved by the Council and reported on this website:

    1. To build off the community input the JPNC has received to date and the community input the Council continues to solicit and receive, to come up with a list of questions and concerns about the future of 415 Centre, and to explore with the community how these concerns may be addressed by the community, Whole Foods, Knapp Foods, and any other relevant actors.
    2. To generate (based on community input, historical research, research of similar situations in other neighborhoods and communities, suggestions from elected officials, and other appropriate sources) a report containing a prioritized summary of potential responses to community concerns and/or community benefits for each of the following scenarios: (1) a Whole Foods Market in the 415 Centre Street space, and (2) such other scenario(s) as the Committee may deem likely and/or feasible. Such report shall be made to the full Council at its May 2011 meeting.
    3. To consider in what ways the JPNC may appropriately and effectively follow up on our resolution from February’s meeting and address concerns about vacant spaces, including expressing that we are open to suggestions from public, private, or non-profit entities as to how we could be helpful in exploring alternative uses of the 415 Centre St. site.
    4. To plan, organize, and implement any necessary meetings between Whole Foods representatives and the JPNC, including open community meetings.

    This mandate reflects the Council’s commitment to move from the intense debate that has occurred to find common ground and explore a community vision for the type of development we want to encourage in our neighborhood. We’ve heard many arguments from both supporters of Whole Foods and those opposed to it. Now is the time take the concerns we’ve heard, whether about gentrification, investment in our community, jobs, or vacant retail space, and seek to generate solutions for the space at 415 Centre St., whether that space becomes a Whole Foods Market or something else.

    Me again. What does “seek to generate solutions for the space at 415 Centre St.” mean? Why does a space that is not vacant need a “solution,” unless you don’t want the current tenant? I was at the initial organizational meeting for the Ad Hoc Committee and at the subsequent JPNC meeting that approved the Committee’s charge, and “seeking alternatives” was actively debated and agreed upon as a legitimate focus for the Committee. If the Ad Hoc Committee has decided on a different focus, more power to it, but I was there and the Committee charge speaks for itself.

  • Maura

    So there you go Terry. The charge to find alternate uses for the site was there from the beginning and is absurd and devisive.

  • Terry Mason

    What is also very clear from the charge you provided–and from the meetings and report writing process I have been involved with (I was not at the meeting where the charge was announced)–is that the possibility of an alternative is only part of what was to be and has been discussed. Indeed, at meetings I have attended and in the report sections I have worked on–the focus is on community benefits ideas. Out of several subcommittees formed, only one looks at alternatives. Again, I do not understand why you would ignore the MULTIPLE goals of the committee and instead focus on what you think is the most divisive piece (which is there because there are many people who didn’t want Whole Foods to come to JP–so there is a nod in that direction). By objecting to the NDC’s attempts to address the different perspectives on the issue, it seems to me you are just assuming that there is no legitimate community conflict happening. What I want to point out is that in JP there are vast income and ethnic differences–and this debate reflects those differences. The Ad Hoc Committee is an honest attempt–however difficult–to bring people together and look for productive responses. At this point I it appears to me the idea of ‘alternatives’ to Whole Foods has receded into secondary or tertiary place, given the realities. And at the beginning, it was only one of several ideas, goals under consideration. That is the real point. Don’t blame the NDC for the divisions–they are real, they will continue to be there–when median income in hyde square census tracts is below $35,000 and median income in central JP census tract is close to $80,000–you have divisions.

  • maura

    Terry – you put a lot of words into my mouth that don’t belong there. Pretty much everything you say about jamaica plain has nothing to do with my point. The approach of the JPNC has been devisive from day one. Clearly we see this differently. And because you put words in my mouth that don’t belong there, I will not engage with you any further.

  • Terry Mason

    I must say I am increasingly convinced by the internet (no last names often either) exchanges about this issue that this is a very unproductive and divisive means of discussing community issues. I think the nature of discussions has been accusatory and angry, people easy to take offense and to make out of the blue statements (such as in an earlier exchange suggesting that people were ‘paid’ to oppose whole foods at the meeting last week, or bused in from other neighborhoods, etc.). Maura this is not aimed at you but at almost everyone who has jumped into the internet ‘talk’. I am looking for ways to help move past such animosity and to bring people together to talk about such issues as gentrification and living with and learning from others in a diverse community (economically, ethnically, and time living in community). I welcome ideas about how to do this. It can be creative, but really I am pondering this. Just as a letter to the Gazette and the editorial today in that wonderful paper suggest, in person and face to face communication is essential for community life. I am beginning to think blogs and internet exchanges undermine community life, at least in this area. What are we all really talking about? Let’s do it in person or with beer/wine and desire to get to know one another as part of the picture!

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