Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Interview With Council Candidate James Jenner

At the age of 26, James Jenner is the youngest in the field of nine running for the open, Allston-Brighton seat on Boston's City Council. Since age 12, he has been participating in one political organization after another: the campaigns ofJerry McDermott, Patricia White, and Maura Hennigan, and the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Jenner is approaching the Council race very seriously: he has taken time off from both of his jobs (at Papa Gino's and UPS) in order to run full-time. He calls himself a "regular guy, not a politician. I have the same problems as my neighbors have."

He wants to be a City Councilor in order "to be a voice for my neighbors. The true wishes of the people are not always addressed to their content."

A lifelong resident of Brighton -- except for one year -- he thinks "there is no place like Allston-Brighton when in comes to culture and diversity... It's a wonderful, wonderful place to live."

Jenner sees the major issues confronting the Allston Brighton neighborhood as "collegiate enroachments in our neighborhood," substance abuse, overlooked problems of lighting and crosswalks, a high dropout rate in the educational system, and the high rate of burglary.

"Of all the burglaries in the City right now, [so many] of them belong to Allston-Brighton." His solution is two-fold: "working not just to punish those who are caught, but also to improve the preventative measures like neighborhood crime watches." Similarly, he sees that the substance abuse problem in A-B "has to be addressed by the police as well as by a community leader."

His future vision for A-B looks back to its past. "I would love to restore Allston-Brighton to its family-rooted and culturally diverse status it once had," he says, "as well as bringing more arts into the community. The Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum is a great addition."

"It feels like the residential areas of the neighborhood are becoming bordered off," Jenner continues, in reference to the institutional expansion in the neighborhood. "The students bring a lot to our neighborhood, but [we should] incorporate them, not exclude them." He points his criticism on this issue at Boston College. "I didn't really hear anything [in their master plan] about including the neighborhood; it was all about continuity [within] BC's campus. The time is now for them to make a really big gesture."

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