October 24, 2017 Meeting Minutes

St. Mark’s Area Civic Association 

Minutes of the October 24, 2017 Meeting 

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM. There were 34 people attending.  

 1. Officer Keaney & Superintendent Sullivan were on hand to give the police report and to hold an extended question and answer session.

Officer Keaney let the community know about several incidents from the past month:

Several arrests resulted in charges of possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, along with the recovery of several firearms.

A mother called District 11 to report that her son had just left the house near Four Corners and she found a firearm in his room - she called after he left and sent a picture of the firearm. Police pulled him over with a friend near Talbot Ave. and found 3 loaded firearms, both men with ski masks on their heads.

We did have shots fired at Wainwright and Brent Street at about 7pm several weeks back. Nobody was hit; three suspects were seen running toward and across Talbott. We do have shot-spotter sensors active throughout Dorchester.

Halloween is in a week! Police will have extra officers on the streets and behind the Ashmont T station. District 11 thanks St. Mark’s for the generous contribution toward the C11 Halloween candy give-away; the district usually gets 250 trick-or-treaters over the course of the night.

The C11 Christmas party is December 15th, Friday, and will be held at the Elevators Union Hall at 50 Park Street. (Right across from Dutch Maid, who still give us cakes for the party!) As always it’s by invitation only - we keep it to 250/300 kids. We want it for kids here in Dorchester. It’s geared towards those families with kids ages 0-12 (not teenagers) who don’t have a lot. Please let Officer Keaney at C11 or Doug know if you know a family who should get an invitation. 

October 23rd marks 32 years for Officer Keaney at C11. 


Q. Can the Shot Spotter distinguish between fireworks and shots fired? Yes. The M80 fireworks are the only fireworks that sometimes throw a false positive for the spotter. What we have occur a lot: trucks backing up to unload sand on Estes Ave have their back flaps hit the ground: boom! The spotter will send the dispatcher a signal that it might be a shotgun blast.

Q: One thing requested by respondents to the SMACA survey was a public safety talk: how do we improve public safety in the neighborhood as individuals? Does C11 have handouts or resources to share? A: Yes. 

Q. There have been cameras installed around the neighborhood. Are they up to date?

A. Yes! They are immensely helpful. With cameras, the shot spotter, and just citizens with cellphones, policing has come a long way in the neighborhood.

Q. Immigration is a big issue. Has it affected Dorchester or the police department here in any way?

A. We’re not going out of our way to go after anyone who’s undocumented. If we wanted to do that, we could go down to South Bay. We’ve got more on our plate than following people who aren’t involved in criminal activity. If you’re just trying to get by, trying to make a life for yourself or anyone who may love you, again.

Q. Hemenway Park: the dogs are getting out of control! Your dog is supposed to be on a leash all the time unless it’s in a dog park. People have large dogs and they’re unpredictable. Would they ever restrain a dog?

A. If you have a complaint, call Animal Control at 617-635-4000 (one of whom is my brother in law Danny) - if they go and see someone, they have the authority to write fines for these types of violations. Police do not. As far as restraining someone’s dog, Animal Control would know when and how that happens.


2. Bongani T. Jeranyama from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), community liaison 

The Community Engagement team was created by Attorney General Maura Healey in 2015. People across Boston should know how the AG’s office can help people in their lives and their communities in everyday life. The CE team speaks in locations across communities in Boston to talk about how the AG’s office can help and collaborate in community needs and goals.

The AG Maura Healey is the chief law enforcement agent for the Commonwealth. But beyond law enforcement, AGO does consumer protection (including lemon laws), wage issues, helping anyone in Massachusetts - residents and visitors, every age, gender, citizenship status. 

The AGO also helps agencies in Massachusetts. Local boards of selectmen, boards of appeals - open government division via open meeting law, for example. But the AG’s office does represent the Governor’s office

The Attorney General stands for consumers. Recent case about debt collector brought 2000 complaints from consumers across the Commonwealth through our civil investigation and consumer protection divisions, retrieving over $1million to return to the customers who were harmed in those interactions.


We like to go into communities and understand how we can help you. We can’t represent individuals but we can represent groups of consumers, and help with mediating in cases. We have offices throughout the Commonwealth - we are not focused only on Boston. New Bedford, Worcester, Springfield. 

CE Team can help with things like: workplace rights/fair labor, landlord tenants, consumer protection (bought something that’s faulty and not getting a lawful response?), and student loans. CE Team also partners with existing community and nonprofit organizations. 

BJ let the community know about the AGO’s Healthy Summer Youth Jobs grant program, dedicating $300,000 to nonprofits throughout the Commonwealth so they can hire youth ages 12-18 over the summer. 


Q - if I have a complaint for the AG, will they refer me to your (BJ’s) office?
A - Usually it will go first to the Consumer Advocacy and Response division, who will know whether the AG’s office can help and will direct you to the right place or the right resources.

Q - Is there anything more geared toward seniors? 

A - Yes! Savvy Seniors presentation: on identity theft, financial fraud, and how you can give back to your communities. We would be happy to give that presentation.

Q - Community listening session this Monday, 6:30pm at the Great Hall in Codman Square? 

A - Yes! Health Care division - we’re revamping our community benefits guidelines. AG office creates guidelines around practices, SDH; on Monday we’re coming into the community to talk to the people who would be receiving those services and hearing their feedback, and their concerns.

Wage Theft and Debt Collection Clinics: if you’re not getting fair wages, we can’t represent you as individuals but we have reached out to Boston law schools and law services to connect individuals with legal advice and in some cases legal representation.

Q. Restaurants charging a differential for credit card use. Is that something they’re allowed to do? Is that so different from gas stations charging a differential for credit? 

A - If you see this happening, Call Consumer Protection.


Greater Ashmont Main Streets community meeting on streets survey and proposed action - Bryan Bryson

Meeting: November 15th, Epiphany School library, 6:30pm

Report link: http://greaterashmont.org/hshpresentation1/ 

GAMS garnered funding for a survey by Howard Stein Hudson, professional planners, to understand the parking and pedestrian/bike streetscape from Ashmont to Melville. Report is online with suggestions to make Dorchester Avenue work better for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars/parking.

Examples: could taxis park in front of fire hydrants because there’s always an occupant in the car? Could bus stops be consolidated? Could parking meters be used strategically near Ashmont/Peabody? There are a number of recommendations focused on improving cohesive design approach and usability along Dot Ave.

Q. Giant busses are sometimes parked in the bus lane making it difficult to see as a car emerging from the side streets, or taking up long stretches along Dot Ave. How best to handle that issue? 

A. Call 311 or submit a request on the 311 app. Same when you see police parked inappropriately - snap a picture and submit through 311 app.

St. Mark’s Area Civic Association will include GAMS and FCMS events and links in the regular emails.


St. Mark’s Area Civic Association Survey report out: Jacquie Bishop and Rachel Fagen

The SMACA DOT neighborhood survey received 57 responses. Thank you to all who were able to respond! We have received a great deal of feedback on what neighbors and members would like to see from the St. Mark’s Area Civic Association over the coming year, and will have a summary of those responses to share with the membership in advance of the November meeting.


Community Announcements

Camilla Duffy on Verizon FIOS - 

FIOS has come to Dot! How many have signed up vs. not? (more have not) 

Why not? Happy with Comcast; haven’t had time to switch

Camilla had a lovely experience with Verizon representative Janice Chen who answered questions thoroughly, and has brought materials to share. 


Sydney Miller - 

Ballot initiative petitions: registered voters can sign petition forms for ballot questions that can go on the ballot for next year. Raising the minimum wage to $15, paid family leave, and patient level limits for nurses. Sydney will leave the petition forms on the table to sign, share, and signature-gather.

Standout for Black Lives: third Thursdays of the month. Coming up November 16th, 5:30-6:30pm at Ashmont T station plaza. Run by Dorchester People for Peace and the Veterans for Peace.


Rep Hunt’s office - 

Thursday night annual Pumpkin Float at JPII park, registration at 5:30 (carved pumpkins, hot chocolate, bags of candy) Neponset Greenway Council and DCR provide everything they need to float a pumpkin.

Councilor Campbell’s office - 

Community Preservation Act committee reviewing the projects proposed for funding; applications to join the committee are open. 

Special Committee (city council members)

Working group that put together the application (majority District 4 residents)

Community Preservation Committee (applications are out!) through 2nd week of November online at the city’s website: cpainfo.boston.gov

Funding for youth development programs: application out for that as well! If you run youth development related organizations and are looking for funding, please apply. 


The last word from Doug Hurley - 

MBTA had been on the agenda; something came up this month, but we hope they will return.


Respectfully submitted by

Rachel Fagen, St. Mark's Area Civic Association Board

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St. Marks Area Civic Association
The St. Marks Area Civic Association is a group of community conscious residents who want to improve the quality of life in our section of Dorchester. We meet in the lower hall of St, Marks Church, at 1725 Dorchester Ave on the last Tuesday of each month