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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Menino’


Here is the video of  that “same white lady” who talks about her support for Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain. Seems that Twitter protesters forgot that this “same white lady” also said “passion is good, rudeness is not.” No wonder that the Whose Foods? campaign is losing major credibility in the ast 48 hours, to the point that even Mayor Tom Menino is speaking out.

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Boston Mayor Tom Menino said on June 3 that he supports Whole Foods coming to Jamaica PLain.

Maybe it had to take a fiasco Whole Foods Town Hall Meeting to FINALLY have Boston Mayor Tom Menino to publicly comment about the new Whole Foods store that will open in the Hyde Square section of Jamaica Plain, and we want to commend Mayor Menino for doing so.

At his weekly roundtable session with reporters, Menino, who has been facing criticism by JP residents for not making a public comment about the new Whole Foods store, clearly stated his support for the company’s arrival to the neighborhood. As reported by the Jamaica Plain Gazette:

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino today told the Gazette that he wholeheartedly supports Whole Foods’ planned move to Jamaica Plain and that local opposition to the store is the work of “a few [people] trying to make it an issue.”

“I think Whole Foods is great for the neighborhood. They have done a lot to work with the neighborhood,” he said.

Referring to the arrest of three protesters at a meeting Whole Foods hosted June 2, he said, “The folks who caused the problems were lashing out.”

In an apparent joke, the mayor suggested that the commotion at the meeting had been caused by agitators from outside the community. “We are trying to figure out if they are from Philadelphia, Chicago [or] Washington D.C.,” he quipped.

At least one of the people arrested, Peter Blailock, told the Gazette he lives in JP.

Menino said Whole Foods is going to be a vast improvement over Hi-Lo, the grocery store that formerly occupied the 415 Centre St. space that Whole Foods is moving into.

He praised Whole Foods for working closely with the city on reaching out to former Hi-Lo employees and hiring many of them after Hi-Lo closed in February.

Hi-Lo “did not do its duty, they were disrespectful to their workers,” he said.

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In an effort to change the momentum garnered by Whose Foods?, a group formed by Jamaica Plan residents against the opening of a new Whole Foods store in the Hyde Park section of this venerable Boston neighborhood, a new site and online petition called JP for All/JP para todos was formed last Monday. As of Sunday morning, the petition—which is directed to the neighborhood’s political representatives, including Boston Mayor Tom Menino—has garnered over 300 signatures.

The site’s Facebook page posted the following earlier today:

We now have over 200 City of Boston supporters of a JP for All! 319 signatures = 213 from Massachusetts which includes 204 from the City of Boston of which 187 are Jamaica Plain residents! 69 are anonymous and 37 from outside of Massachusetts.

We applaud this page for the following reasons:

  • The rhetoric between neighbors was getting ugly. Someone had to express a more respectful and positive tone.
  • The page has been very transparent on social media since Thursday, keeping followers updated with progress on the petition, as the above post confirms.
  • With news that Latino grocery stores are interested in moving to Hyde Square, not only will this move neutralize the loss of the Hi-Lo in the community, it will also diversify JP even more. All of a sudden, Hyde Square will get two new grocery stores. A win-win, in our opinion.

The full text of the petition can be read here:

JP for All supports a diverse and vibrant Jamaica Plain

Greetings,

I am writing to advocate for a strong and welcoming Jamaica Plain that includes a Hyde/Jackson Square residential and retail district that reflects the full diversity of the community.

I support retail businesses that serve all of the people of JP and help make JP a destination for peoples of every culture and background.

I support the arrival of Whole Foods Market at 415 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain and we advocate for the opening of a Latin grocer or co-op in this neighborhood that will be able to serve the needs of those JP residents and others who shopped at Hi-Lo.

I believe that Whole Foods and a Latin grocer are not mutually exclusive ventures, but businesses that can co-exist and benefit each other in a neighborhood as diverse as Hyde/Jackson Square.

I believe that businesses in and of themselves do not define a neighborhood but instead reflect the community they serve, particularly a community as unique as JP.

I expect all businesses in Hyde/Jackson Square and in JP to show that their doors are open to all, not just those who agree with them, look like them, or speak their language.

I know that the only way to ensure a strong future for this community we love is to ensure a Jamaica Plain for All!

[Your name]

TO SUPPORT THE PETITION, CLICK HERE.

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The Spanish "¿Y pa' quién?" means "And for who?"

A group opposed to the new Whole Foods store scheduled to be built in the Hyde Square section of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood has recently launched a new web page to promote their message against urban gentrification. The group, called Whose Foods?, has created WhoseFoods.org. The site contains videos in English and Spanish from JP residents who oppose the new Whole Foods store, which is taking over the location where the Hi-Lo Latino market used to stand for the last 37 years.

According to its bilingual website, the group is “a multicultural, multigenerational group of Jamaican Plain residents and allies working together for a better JP.” It has listed three mission statements, and it is inviting anyone interested in this issue to speak out. The statements are as follow:

  • Against: a Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain and against the continued gentrification of JP”
  • For: a locally‐owned business that serves low and moderate income families in JP and beyond”
  • For: strengthening JP’s cultural, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity”

On Monday evening, February 28, JP will be active, as a Rally for an Affordable and Diverse JP is being planned for 6 pm at Mozart Park. At 7 pm, the JP Neighborhood Council will hold its second neighborhood forum at the Kennedy School regarding this issue. At the council’s first forum on February 7, an overwhelming majority of JP residents opposed the new Whole Foods.

Tomorrow’s forum should be more balanced, since some pro-Whole Foods groups have also been formed, primarily on Facebook. We Are All Whole Foods, formed by JP resident and social media professional Steve Garfield, is perhaps the most active one. It currently has 129 fans, compared to Whose Foods? and their 348 fans. The majority of comments on We Are Al Whole Foods are more pro-Whole Foods. For example, one JP Resident posted the following about the Whose Foods? videos:

Watching the videos on “Whose Foods, Whose Community” I see a distinct lack of diversity, and nothing but opinion full of unsupported if/then statements being made. E.g. If Whole Foods moves in, then rents will increase. If WF moves in, Latinos can’t afford food. If WF moves in, there will be no more diversity in JP. If WF moves in, Latinos won’t be able to find the foods they need for cooking native dishes. What? It strikes me that the underlying motive is really “keep Hyde Square Latino.” Where are the Anglo voices on their site? The Afro voices? The actual diversity of JP which spans cultures and income ranges?

As for an official statement from Whole Foods, we have contacted the Whole Foods Northeast office for comment several times, but they have not responded to us.

Boston politicians have also been contacted to comment about this issue, but except comments from City Councillors Ayanna Pressley and Matt O’Malley, other leaders have not returned our calls or emails for comments. These include Boston Mayor Tom Menino, State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, and Councillor Felix Arroyo. If we do hear from any of these elected officials, we will post their statements.

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