Council Members

At-Large (5 seats)Area A (5 seats)Area B (5 seats)Area C (5 seats)
Purple ReignPeter DeCotisLorenzo BartoloniNicholas Chaves
Dave BaronDanielle Sommer KietaLeah SimmonsPeg Preble
Luke MathewWillie MitchellOPEN SEAT – apply nowBernard Doherty
Michael ReiskindRenee Stacey WelchOPEN SEAT – apply nowGert Thorn
Sarah FreemanEsther BelliardOPEN SEAT – apply nowKatherine O’Shea
All members, 2023

Renee Stacey Welch

Chair, JPNC

Area A

Renee Stacey Welch has lived in Jamaica Plain in her family home on Montebello Rd from 1975 until this past October 2021, when she moved to her new home in Egleston. She is a 47-year resident of Jamaica Plain. Over the last 18 years, Renee has managed several financial institutions. Her passion is educating people on how to finance and manage home ownership. Renee is a currently pursuing her advanced degree in Business management. Close to Renee’s heart is maintaining the beauty of Jamaica Plain keeping the neighborhood a happy, clean, and safe environment

Bernard Doherty

JPNC (Vice chair)

Area C

Bernie Doherty was a member of the JPNC from 1985 through 1997, and during this time served as the Chair of the Zoning Committee overseeing the Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) process.  He also has served as President of the Asticou-Martinwood-South Street Neighborhood Association for the past 30 years and was a founding member of the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard and a member of a number of other community-orientated organizations.  Bernie was born and raised in Jamaica Plain and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Boston with a major in International Marketing.

Michael Reiskind

JPNC (Secretary), Public Service Committee (Chair)

Member At Large

Michael Reiskind is a long-time resident of Jamaica Plain and a hard-working community activist involved in many aspects of neighborhood life. Michael is the 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.

David Baron

Zoning Committee (Chair)

Member At Large

David Baron is a longtime resident of Jamaica Plain.  He served as one of the Area B representatives to the JPNC for eight years (he now serves JP at large) and has chaired the Council’s Zoning Committee since 2009.  Dave also led in 2009 and 2010 the ad hoc committee responsible for updating the JPNC election procedures and by-laws.  By day, Dave has a solo law practice specializing in real estate matters. As a member of the Neighborhood Council, his priorities are ensuring a fair and open community process, particularly around zoning matters, and serving as a JP advocate and liaison to City government.

Sarah Freeman

Parks+ Committee

Member At Large

Sarah Freeman has lived in JP since 1993 – decades longer than anywhere else (born in Sweden, raised in Ohio).  Recently retired after 40 years in public health/epidemiology, Sarah’s work life, researching the role of physical activity and other factors in chronic disease prevention, has carried over into her personal life: running marathons, advocating for public health: safer conditions for walking and bicycling, promotion of physical activity, and for environmental health: parks, open space, trees and nature as integral components for healthy communities.  In her spare time, she is a member and supporter of multiple organizations dealing with these priorities plus environmental justice & social justice.  For a change of pace, she plays trumpet in the Metropolitan Wind Symphony.  Sarah is a member of the Parks+ Committee; she also often attends the Public Service Committee, Housing & Development Committee & Police Procedures subcommittee.

Luke Mathew

Member At Large

Before moving to Jamaica Plain, Luke served as an agricultural extensionist volunteer in the Peace Corps, living in rural Paraguay. He would find himself engaged in projects that revolved around agroforestry, beekeeping, and polyculture farming. Shortly after returning home in 2016, he began working at Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS). He worked in this role under the direction of Elmer Freeman, long-time community organizer, to whom, along with Michael Kane, he credits the vast majority of his public health knowledge. It is through this social determinant lens that he will approach council affairs and duties. 

Purple Reign (Joanne Paul)

Housing and Development Committee

Member At Large

Purple was born in Cambridge, MA but grew up in Boston. She is a member of Mass Senior Action (MASC), Union Capital Boston (UCB), Vital Village (VVCP), Rosie’s Place Public Policy and Boston Vegetarian Food Festival (BVFF. She also participates in Jackson Square Lifting Our Voices for Safety (JS LOVS) as a building captain. She advocates for seniors, racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, veterans, youths, low-income housing, food insecurity, plant-based lifestyles and people experiencing homelessness.

She has lived in Jamaica Plain since 2020. She loves JP for its vibrant, artistically rich and diverse neighborhoods, great restaurants, Jamaica Pond, and the Arboretum!

Peter DeCotis

Public Services Committee (Vice Chair)

Area A

Peter DeCotis came to JP in 2020 to be closer to work and friends. Originally from NH, Peter loves kayaking, hiking, and everything outdoors. While searching for the best place to live in Boston, Peter fell in love with the Arboretum, the Pond, and Franklin Park. With easy access into downtown and the most friendly, eclectic people anywhere, JP became home.

During the day, Peter works as a career coach for MBA students at Boston University and also has a handful of private clients. Prior to joining BU, Peter was a technology leader for several financial services companies over 20 years. He relished his time as a manager, mentor, and trainer for decades. He is also a certified life coach and member of the Egleston Square Neighborhood Association. Peter is thrilled to get involved in local activities, events, and projects that make life better for all.

Willie Mitchell

Zoning Committee; Housing & Development Committee

Area A

Willie is a JP native and proud father of six. He is a community safety advocate with a strong desire to better his community. Apart from his role on JPNC, he is involved with the Jackson Square Lifting Our Voices Up Through Safety (JS LOVS) as a Building Captain.

Esther Belliard

Housing & Development Committee

Area A

Esther was born in the Dominican Republic and now resides in JP. She is a mother of two and a grandmother of three. She likes to help others and work hard to better her community. Apart from her role on JPNC, Esther is involved with the Jackson Square Lifting Our Voices Up Through Safety (JS LOVS) as a Building Captain, and serves her church as general manager.

Lorenzo Bartoloni

Housing and Development Committee

Area B

Lorenzo is a lifelong Jamaica Plain Resident of almost 20 years. He is currently an undergraduate student at Northeastern University studying Human Services and Psychology with a minor in Urban Studies, but lives with his family on Union Avenue in his off time. Lorenzo is currently working full-time at Fenway Community Development Corporation as part of Northeastern’s “co-op” program and would like to remain in Boston’s nonprofit field as long as possible. He is hoping to bring a youthful and progressive perspective to the Council and is a big advocate for affordable housing and community uplifting. Lorenzo loves JP and Boston as a whole and would like to do whatever he can to help both the people and the city.

Leah Simmons

Parks+ Committee (Vice Chair)

Area B

A proud Northeastern University graduate (’16), Leah moved to Jamaica Plain in 2021. In her free time she enjoys exploring the outdoors and loves the green spaces JP has to offer. As a member of the Public Service Committee and Co-Chair of Parks+, she is committed to ensuring JP remains a thriving, prosperous, and unique community – a place where we all want to live.

Nicholas Chaves

Parks+ Committee (Chair)

Area C

Nick Chaves (he/him) moved to Jamaica Plain in 2021 and has lived in Boston since 2014. Originally from the Southcoast of Massachusetts, Nick attended Northeastern University for his undergraduate education and is back at Northeastern pursuing a law degree. He is passionate about the environment and sustainability, public transportation, and engaging with community members. Nick is excited to contribute to the work of the JPNC and explore more of JP’s green spaces and restaurants (and always willing to swap recommendations)!

Peg Preble

Zoning Committee (vice-chair), Outreach Committee, Public Service Committee

Area C

Peg Preble has lived in JP since 1991. She is presently on the Neighborhood Council, and on the Zoning and Public Service committees. 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. 

Gert Thorn

Public Service Committee

Area C

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 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.

Katherine O’Shea

Outreach Committee (Chair)

Area C

Katherine has been a resident of Jamaica Plain since 2022. She works with a variety of municipal agencies on a wide variety of planning and infrastructure projects in her role as a transportation engineer at an engineering consulting firm. She was motivated to join JPNC to have a role in helping advance progressive and transformative projects that will benefit the community. In her role as the Outreach Committee Chair, she would like to strengthen the council’s presence in the community, and help JP residents better understand civic processes in the City of Boston. In her free time, Katherine loves to plan social engagements, listen to Taylor Swift, and bore her friends by talking too much about transportation infrastructure.