Prohibited from participating in Allston Village Street Fair

By | September 14, 2008

Several weeks ago, I contacted Joan Pasquale, the executive director of the Parents and Community Build Group (PCBG), to inquire about the possibility of volunteers for the Obama campaign running a voter registration table at the fair.

She responded and said that we could do it as long as we didn’t distribute any campaign literature.  She claimed that allowing us to distribute campaign literature would threaten her organization’s 501c3 status.

That didn’t sound right to me.  I was under the impression that the Allston-Brighton Parade was also organized by a 501c3, and the parade clearly has lots of politicians marching and handing out campaign literature.  However, I didn’t want to question Ms. Pasquale without first verifying my facts.  Therefore, I called the office of Rep. Michael Moran, which was organizing the parade, to confirm that the parade committee wa a 501c3.  I also contacted a lawyer I know who is an expert on this type of thing and asked him for his opinion.

He said that 501c3’s are allowed to have politics at their events as long as they do so in a non-partisan manner.  In this particular case, he said what that means is that if the street fair were to allow us to hand out Obama literature, they would also have to extend an invitation to the McCain campaign to participate as well.

Now that I had confirmation that PCBG could allow us to distribute campaign literature at the fair without threatening their 501c3 status, I wrote back to Ms. Pasquale as follows:

Thank you for your quick response.

I spoke about this with our lawyer, who is a nationally recognized expert on campaign finance law.  He says, “A 501 c 3 cannot engage in partisan politics. However, such a group can invite all candidates or parties to participate in events, and non-partisan voter registration is a major project of many civic oriented 501 c 3s.  If Jews for Obama sponsors voter reg, the fair organizers should also invite the Republicans. If the Republicans say they are not interested, the Dems can go ahead regardless.” He also suggested that I direct you to http://www.jcrcny.org/pdf/election/english.pdf.

Also, I just spoke with Rep. Moran’s office about the Allston-Brighton Parade.  He says that donations to the parade go through the parade committee, which is a 501(c)3.  Candidates for office appear in the parade and hand out literature every year, with no threat to the committee’s non-profit status.

In short, as long as a 501(c)3 is non-partisan and gives all major candidates’ supporters the opportunity to participate in its events, its 501(c)3 status is not in any way compromised by those supporters distributing campaign literature at those events.

Following through on our lawyer’s advice, you can contact the Massachusetts coordinator for John McCain’s campaign at [email protected]  If you would like, I can email them and let them know what we are planning on doing and carbon copy you.  Although frankly, I don’t think this is necessary — the parade and street fair are public knowledge, so if the McCain folks want to participate, they can find out about it and contact you just as I did.

Please let me know whether this addresses your concerns.

Ms. Pasquale responded and clarified that PCBG has made a conscious choice to be apolitical and doesn’t want any political campaigning at any of their events.  She also threatened to have my group removed from the fair if we showed up and tried to campaign for Obama.

I responded as follows:

Thank you for clarifying your policy.  I had misunderstood and thought you were saying that it would be illegal for any 501(c)3 to allow campaign literature to be distributed at one of its events.  It appears that what you meant was that your particular organization has chosen to restrict itself from such activities.  I can certainly understand why you would do that, and I appreciate that you took the time to explain it.

You have mentioned that we cannot distribute campaign materials from a voter registration booth.  Please clarify whether we would be permitted to have Obama signage and/or have our volunteers wearing Obama T shirts and/or pins.  Please also clarify whether we would be permitted to talk freely with people who approach us and initiate conversations, or whether you would expect us to actively decline to engage in political discussion.

We have no intention of attempting to violate your rules.  If we find them unacceptable, then we simply won’t participate in the fair.

Ms. Pasquale did not respond, so I resent my message six days later and asked for her to respond.

Ms. Pasquale sent a response in which she (a) declined to answer the questions I had asked about what we would be permitted to do at the fair, claiming that the “policy was clearly stated and re-addressed in previous correspondence” (when in fact her previous emails to me said nothing about the specific questions I had asked); (b) informed me, “your Politcal [sic] Group is Not Welcome to participate in the Allston Village Street Fair”; and (c) requested, “Please do not contact us again regarding this matter.”

I responded as follows:

If your policy had been clearly stated, I would not have felt the need to ask additional questions.

As I told you before, it would not even have crossed my mind to violate your rules.  If you had simply answered my questions politely, just as I was polite to you in all my correspondence, we could have reached a mutual understanding that participation in the fair by my group would not be appropriate.

Instead, you were peremptory and rude, and I will be letting the mayor, the city council, and the CDC know about your disrespectful and inappropriate manner.  While I’m at it, I might just write a letter about it to the Globe, the Herald and the TAB.

Why you felt the need to treat me with such disrespect, when the outcome would have been the same had you been polite, is beyond me.

Ms. Pasquale sent me another message in which she claimed that my group was the first that had ever been refused participation in the fair (a claim which I suspect is not true, and in any case not terribly significant since as far as I know this is only the second event that her group has ever organized, the first being last year’s fair), and that we were refused participation, “based on your correspondence statements, tone, and what was determined as unprofessional behavior.”

In other words, Joan Pasquale decided that my group couldn’t participate in her fair because she doesn’t like me (and, by the way, the claim that my behavior was in any was unprofessional is completely and utterly specious).

Subsequent research has revealed that Ms. Pasquale has a history of trying to steam-roll over people with whom she disagrees.

In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth writing to the papers about, but I did send a letter to the mayor and a number of other individuals and organizations whom I thought were relevant:

Dear Mayor Menino,

I am writing to complain about the conduct of Ms. Joan Pasquale, co-chair of the Allston Village Street Fair.

I contacted Ms. Pasquale to arrange for a group of volunteers to operate a voter registration table at the fair. Ms. Pasquale initially agreed. However, after an exchange of several email messages in which I attempted to obtain clarification of the rules Ms. Pasquale wished for us to follow, she reversed her initial approval and declared that we would not be allowed to participate.

During our exchange, I stated explicitly that I had every intention of following Ms. Pasquale’s rules. There was no legitimate reason for our group to be excluded.

Throughout our exchange, I was unfailingly polite; in response, Ms. Pasquale treated me with rudeness. For example, in the message in which she informed me that we were being barred from the fair, she demanded that I not contact her again. This is simply unacceptable.

My family has lived in Brighton for over a decade. We are blessed to be raising our five children in a wonderful community. We have been civically active throughout our time here, supporting local organizations with both our time and our money, and we have always been impressed with the warmth, openness, and selflessness of the volunteers and non-profit organizers who help to make Boston a great place to live. Through her conduct, Joan Pasquale has shown herself to fall far below that gold standard. I ask you to think twice before allowing her in the future to exercise control over a public event, held on public property, intended to showcase the best of what our city has to offer.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

CC: Councilor Mark S. Ciommo
Councilor John R. Connolly
Councilor Michael F. Flaherty
Councilor Stephen J. Murphy
Councilor Sam Yoon
Representative Michael J. Moran
Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation
Friends of Ringer Park
Allston Brighton Family Network

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12 thoughts on “Prohibited from participating in Allston Village Street Fair

  1. Registered Voter

    Dear Joan;
    I would like to clear up any comments you made about our church.
    First of all, The Hill Memorial Baptist church only collected 6 recycleable cans. When added up that comes to only 30 cents. Not dollars that you are stating.
    Second, NONE of the other non-profits showed up at any of the meetings that were held at the Kells. We showed up at all of them.
    Third, you were overheard saying to a neighbor who lived on one of the side streets that it was not your intention to have all of the non-profits that were assigned slots on that side street. I believe there were nine groups assigned to that side street and only three showed up. We actually stayed where you put us and the W.I.C. group left and moved their table to Harvard Avenue, on the Post Office side. The ICC left.
    The other groups never showed up, so when people looked down the side street the first thing you saw was a line of empty tables.
    Fourth, as far as emptying the barrels. YOUR barrels were overflowing from lack of YOUR VOLUNTEERS NOT EMPTYING THEM IN A TIMELY MANNER. I did notice that there were plenty of yellow shirts thins year, but they were all standing around watching the drum/juggling group at about 3:00 p.m.. I took my barrels back and I used MY trash bags to transfer the trash from the ground into them because your groups were not doing it.
    Fifth, when we got to the Fair at the requested time, there were not enough tables, people were taking tables that did not request them.
    Yes, you did have a lot of things to do that day, but perhaps your committee members could have been a little more helpful and not have everything on your shoulders. I, too, know what this is like. I have also been talked about and have said things about me but you must learn to be a turtle and let it roll off your back. Good luck in any of your future endeavors and may God bless you and your family with good health.

    Reply
  2. jik Post author

    This is also being discussed at Universal Hub. Ms. Pasquale has repeated there many of the things she wrote here last night, so below are the comments I posted there.

    **********

    Mr. Kamen’s posted email quotes are selected passages of numerous lengthy explanations to Mr. Kamens regarding the PCBG, Inc. 501c3 Mission Statement and 501c3 Application Statement of Non-Support of Political Groups or Organizations.

    Feel free to post the emails you sent me and let people judge for themselves.

    Or, since you are not “tech savvy,” feel free to give me permission to post them for you; I of course have copies of all of them.

    By the way, could you please do me the courtesy of spelling my name properly? Thanks.

    As explained to Mr. Kamens many times via email correspondence – The Allston Village Street Fair is Sponsored by the PCBG, Inc., and to have any Biased Political Group on site handing out Political Literature wearing Political Endorsement T-Shirts, at a Table with Political Posters and signs – could be seen as a Political Endorsement by PCBG, Inc., and would be in violation of the PCBG Mission Statement.

    Actually, no, you did not explain this to me “many times.” All you mentioned in your first two emails was campaign literature. This is why I asked you explicitly to clarify the rules you expected us to follow, making it explicitly clear that my goal was to understand those rules so that we could be sure not to break them.

    If you had mentioned T-shirts and signage in your earlier emails, I wouldn’t have asked you about them. Is that so hard to understand?

    There is a psychological phenomenon called “projection,” which means, basically, that people tend to assume that other people think and behave like them, and interpret other people’s actions in that light.

    We are both guilty of “projection” in this exchange.

    Throughout our email correspondence, I assumed that you would be reasonable and take my words at face value.

    During the same email correspondence, you apparently assumed that I was trying to force you to do something you didn’t want to do, that I was trying to blackmail you with the threat of bad publicity, and that I was an inexperienced, irate, aggressive adolescent.

    Your assumptions say far more about you than they do about me.

    Mr. Kamens refused to accept PCBG, Inc.’s policy, and contacted a Lawyer and Rep. Moran’s Office and then returned to me stating his contact, with the challenge of their responses.

    As I have already told you, I spoke with a lawyer I know and with Rep. Moran’s office to confirm that my understanding of the law was correct. I did this because I did not wish to waste your time if it turned out that you were correct that political activity at the fair would compromise your 501c3 status. It is unfortunate that you interpreted my effort to be considerate of your time as an attack.

    It turned out that I had misunderstood your original point. As I now understand it, you were not saying that 501c3’s in general are prohibited from providing forums for political activity, but rather that your organization in particular chooses not to provide such forums. When you explained this to me, I thanked you for explaining it, acknowledged my previous misunderstanding, and clearly indicated that my goal was to understand the parameters of the fair’s restrictions on political activity so that we could abide by them.

    You persist in claiming that I attempted to force you to allow my group to engage in political campaigning at the fair, when anyone with a basic grasp of the English language who has read my emails to you and my comments here and on my blog can see that this is simply not the case.

    with his last correspondence stated that he would go to the Media, Mayor’s Office and Boston City Council with a formal complaint about me, for not allowing him to have Table Space at the AVSF Event.

    Ms. Pasquale, I must say that listening to what other people say doesn’t seem to be your strong suit.

    In fact, what I told you in my email was that I would be filing complaints about your behavior, not about your decision to exclude my group from the fair. And in fact, that is exactly what I did.

    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve explained to you that I think PCBG’s policy of not allowing campaigning at the fair is perfectly reasonable. And yet you keep claiming, falsely, that I was trying to force you to to allow my group to campaign at the fair.

    I had also requested that the PCBG, Inc. Board be patient and not file a complaint with Mayor Menino and the Obama Campaign Headquarters.

    How noble of you!

    After Mr. Kamens last correspondence, I re-thought that request.

    Now who is threatening whom, hmm?

    As stated to Mr. Kamens, there is a Huge difference between and Unbiased Voter Registration Table and a Vote for Obama Table with Obama Literature, Obama T-Shirts, Posters and Signs,

    You said nothing about T-shirts, posters and signs until I asked. And yet you fault me for asking. It’s truly mind-boggling.

    as stated by Mr. Kamens in his Blog – He was not interested in an Unbiased Voter Registration Table – He was interested in getting Obama elected. Yet Mr. Kamens also states that he wished to comply with PCBG/AVSF regulations, to accomodate his request for a Voter Registration Table. Mr. Kamen’s statements are contradictory.

    No, they are not, and the only reason you think they are is because you still don’t understand why it is that I complained to the mayor.

    I asked you to explain your rules so that I could determine whether we were interested in participating in the fair while abiding them. You finally, in your second-to-last message to me, explained your rules in sufficient detail that it was clear to me that we would not wish to participate even if you had allowed us.

    At that point, as I told you in my last email to you and as I’ve told you many times since then, the issue was no longer our participation in the fair, but rather the fact that you treated me rudely and unprofessionally when the result would have been exactly the same had you been polite and professional. The issue was no longer the fair, Ms. Pasquale, it was you. Get it?

    Mr. Kamens followed through on his threat to approach the Media,etc., as he did post his complaint letter to Mayor Menino, and this forum is as much of a Media format as the newspapers.

    I posted because I was asked for an explanation. Had no one asked, I would have kept it to myself.

    I feel that Mr. Kamens is acting in a vindictive manner, to get even with me for not giving him the Yes answer that he pursued.

    Yes, you’ve made that clear. The problem is that there isn’t a single shred of evidence that your feeling about this is correct. Your feeling is based entirely on motives you have ascribed to me, motives which I do not have and of which there is no evidence in anything I’ve written.

    See above about “projection.”

    **********

    Ms. Pasquale,

    I posted the event on the Obama Web site to gauge whether there was sufficient interest to be able to run a voter registration table before contacting you about it.

    I did not wish to waste your time trying to arrange for the table if there weren’t going to be people to run it.

    Thank you, again, for turning my attempt to be considerate of your time into something nefarious.

    Your irrational ravings about how I couldn’t “cancel” the event once it became clear that we were not going to be allowed to participate do not warrant further comment.

    The motives you have attributed to me for my behavior, without any evidence to support them, are once again more a result of projection your own thought processes onto me than an accurate reflection of why I am pursuing this.

    And by the way, in fact Alex Selvig was talking to people about his plans to have a voter registration table at the fair at an Obama event on Saturday, September 6, before he spoke to you about it and you told him he wouldn’t allow it. He did this for the same, perfectly reasonable, reason that I posted the event before talking to you — to find out if there was sufficient interest to be able to run the table so as to avoid wasting your time.

    **********

    I hope y’all enjoyed the show, but I think it’s time for me to run off and do more useful things with my time.

    Please assume that any additional comment from Ms. Pasquale is followed by one from me which quotes hers and intersperses “Did not!” or “Did too!” as appropriate.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Joan Pasquale

    Mr Kamens:
    I was just informed of the route of the problem. If your readers check the Obama site they will clearly see that an Invitation to Attend the Obama Voter Registration Table at the Allston Village Street Fair is Cancelled. How do you Cancel something that doesn’t exist? Apparently that Invitation went out before any conversations re:Table Reservations were made.
    This clearly explains your anger and hostility regarding the PCBG, Inc.’s decision to honor the Mission Statement Policy of No Political Representation, and your disinterest in manning an Unbiased Voter Registration Table. Instead of accepting responsibility for your mistake, you have dropped this in my lap, which is wrong. There is only one other person who requested an Obama Table. I know that person, and they would never post anything without consent. You have posted your complaint on multiple Blogs and Sites as you threatened to do, as well as your letters of complaint to Community Organizations and Public Officials. Yet you have the nerve to ask me to apologize to you.
    Joan Pasquale

    Reply
  4. Joan Pasquale

    First response: How tacky to bring up an outdated issue of off-leash dogs in Ringer Park, which is against the law to begin with. I noticed that you didn’t post your name. At least I take ownership of my statements. And considering that you did raise the issue of that item, are you also willing to expose facts regarding emails encouraging Ringer Park Dog Group Members not to report Dangerous Off-Leash Dogs to Officials, so as not to be forced to keep Member’s Dogs on a leash.

    The rebuttal forum is in regards to Mr. Kamens distress over not being allowed to represent a Political Agenda at the AVSF. Stick to the facts, instead of trying to discredit me with past history.

    Jeff: PCBG, Inc.’s Policy was explained to Mr. Kamens very clearly. Mr. Kamens pursued multiple emails claiming that he didn’t understand the Mission Statement Policy, which left me no recourse than to explain it again. His emails were responded to, with a polite No answer. This is why I thought that Mr. Kamens was not an adult. It is Mr. Kamens that pursued a public venue. I am only trying to clarify the facts.
    Joan Pasquale

    Reply
  5. Jeff

    If Joan had spent half the number of words explaining the policy to Jonathan in the first place it wouldn’t have come to this unpleasant public disagreement by two people generally oriented to committing their own time to benefit other people and the common good.

    Touchy? And given to a low threshold of insult. Um, well, I think you can see that for yourself.

    What a waste.

    Now you two, apologize, kiss and make up.

    Reply
  6. Joan Pasquale

    Mr. Kamens your emails to me were continual, even though the PCBG,Inc. Mission Statement was explained to you several times, as well as the fact that the PCBG, Inc. 501c3 Application was filed with that same Mission Statement of No Support for Political Groups, on it. After my initial correspondence – you contacted a Lawyer and Rep. Moran’s Office, and then responded to me with that information and a challenge. If your contacts were solely for the purpose of just Registering Voters, then why didn’t you come to me with any questions that you had after our initial correspondence – why did you contact a Lawyer and Rep. Moran, and why didn’t you ask Rep. Honan for a Voter Registration Table at the 5K Race Site. I’ve assisted Rep. Moran with the set up of the A-B Parade participants, on site in Allston. There is quite a space of time between the Race and the Parade. You would have had plenty of time to walk from the Rite Aid Plaza to Linden Street to accomodate your Parade plans.

    There is a big difference between being rude and being assertive. You were told No several times, with a full explanation as to why, even when you raised the issue of my inviting McCain supporters, it was again explained to you that it was in violation of the PCBG, Inc. Mission Statement, and that No Politicians or Political Groups would ever be invited or endorsed by PCBG. You still pursued the issue, even when you were asked to please stop contacting me. You keep stating that I was rude, but refuse to see that your constantly pushing to get the answer that you wanted to hear, was rude. In regards to your comments about me wanting to get my own way or refusing to compromise. I have worked with many Boston Organizations and Groups for years, and the only time that I ever have a problem with anyone is when there is deceptive practices involved.
    I refuse to be a party to it – or play the game. As one well know Brighton resident stated last year, I make dishonest people very uncomfortable – especially if they lie in print. I sense that something else is going on here.
    You didn’t get what you wanted – so now your intent is to get even. You wanted an Obama Booth at the AVSF and You wanted me to by-pass PCBG Policy to accomodate You, and You wanted an Apology for my quoting the AVSF Mission Statement of No Politics, because that is not what you wanted to hear. You wanted me to say Yes, and you had every intention of continuing the debate. Why should I apologize for following PCBG, Inc.’s Mission Statement Policy? My correspondence was no more rude to you than this correspondence is. The world does not revolve around you Mr. Kamens. Expecting me to drop everything to respond to your multiple correspondences immediately, was unrealistic on your part, as you were aware that I was in the Production process of the Allston Village Street Fair.

    Mr. Kamens, I thought from the tone of your correspondence that you were an inexperienced, irate 15 year old boy, who in being passionate about campaigning for Obama, was confusing aggression with assertiveness. This was the personal impression that I reported to the PCBG, Inc. Board when this issue was discussed, along with my request for their patience, and to not file a complaint with the Mayor’s Office and the Obama Campaign Headquarters against you. After your last correspondence to me, stating that you would go to the Media, Mayor’s Office, etc., I re-thought that request, as your pursuit was becoming more aggressive. I was astounded to find out that you were an adult. And if you remember correctly re:your statements of reporting me to the Mayor and the Boston City Council – my response was go ahead, as all of them are already aware of the PCBG, Inc.’s Mission Statement Policy of No Political Support re:past campaign requests and refusals.

    I am not tech savy – another thing that I’m famous for, but I am happy to request assistance from a PCBG, Inc., member re:Posting your correspondence to me, along with my replies. I have absolutely nothing to hide, and nothing to apologize for.

    Joan Pasquale

    Reply
  7. jik Post author

    Ms. Pasquale,

    Since you have said that you would post your email messages upon request, I hereby request that you do so.

    You continue to miss the point of my complaint.

    As I told you in email, I have no objection to your organization’s choice to make the AVSF a non-political event. As I also told you in email, I and the group I represented were perfectly happy to abide by whatever rules you laid down, and if we felt that those rules were unduly burdensome to what we were trying to accomplish, we would simply have withdrawn our request to participate in the fair.

    I asked for clarification of your rules because I did not understand them fully, not because I was trying to argue with you or to make you your PCBG do something that you did not wish to do. I told you this in my email to you.

    Your entire response to me is predicated on a falsehood, i.e., that my dispute with you is over my refusal to participate in the fair. I’ve already said it many times, but here, let me say it again, in bold this time, so perhaps it will sink in: I have no complaint about the fact that you refused to allow my group to participate in the fair.

    My complaint, rather, is with how you handled that refusal, which is part of a pattern you’ve established over many years of how you treat people who disagree with you.

    Your claim that I threatened to smear and discredit you if you did not allow me to participate in the fair is completely and utterly false. In the letter in which I informed you that I intended to complain to others about your behavior, I was completely, 100%, unequivocally clear about the fact that I no longer had any desire to participate in the fair, and that my complaint was not with your refusal to allow me to participate, but rather with how you handled that refusal. Anyone who reads my email message, which is posted above, will see clearly that this is the case.

    You continue to make incorrect assumptions about my motives, assumptions which simply are not borne out by the facts, and to react inappropriately based on those incorrect assumptions. This is what caused you to behave inappropriately during our email correspondence, and it is causing you to behave inappropriately now.

    Nothing I wrote in any of my emails to you was false. Nothing I wrote in my letter to the mayor was false. I am not smearing you; with your own behavior, you are smearing yourself, to your own detriment and to the detriment of the community.

    You wrote, “A Community Activist is either loved or hated – there is no in between.” Perhaps you are right, but realize this — when a community activist is hated, there’s usually a good reason for it.

    Reply
  8. Joan Pasquale

    Dear Readers:
    It is very disappointing that Mr. Kamens chose to mis-state the facts, and to smear me Publicly as he threatened to do in his last email correspondence to me, if I did not allow him and his Group to have a Booth at the Allston Village Street Fair, where he could distribute Obama Campaign Materials, wearing Vote for Obama T-shirts accompanied by Vote for Obama Posters and Campaign Signs. I am happy to forward Mr. Kamens emails upon request. Mr. Kamens was clearly told that there would be No Problem with a non-biased Voter Registration Table, but in respect to the AVSF Event Sponsor’s 501c3 agreement and posted Mission Statement – PCBG, Inc., will assist and and support any Non-Political Group. Mr. Kamens was also clearly told that to allow a Vote for Obama Voter Registration Table with Vote for Obama materials, etc., could be implied as a Public Endorsement by the PCBG, Inc., which is in violation of our stated Mission Statement.

    The Allston Village Street Fair is not the Allston-Brighton Parade where Politicians Campaign before Elections for Public Visibility. The AVSF is a Free and Open to the the Public, Multi-Cultural Community Celebration, which was created to Celebrate the wonderfull Diversity, Culture and Cuisine of the Community, while bringing Positive Visibility and Commerce into our Neighborhoods. An all ages Family Oriented day of Entertainment.
    Allston has always been known for it’s large diverse immigrant population. Just as PCBG, Inc., has always been known for their Polite Refusal to Support any Politician, as an Organization, as per our Mission Statement.

    All of the above was clearly and politely explained to Mr. Kamens, and Mr. Kamens correspondence was responded to in a timely fashion, especially taking into consideration that the PCBG, Inc., was in the process of Producing the Allston Village Street Fair and assisting other Community Organizations with Event Projects. Mr. Kamens aggressively pursued the subject of his request – even though each time PCBG, Inc.’s Mission Statement was explained to him. Mr. Kamens, is the only person or Group that has ever been refused participation entry into any PCBG, Inc. sponsored Events. Mr. Kamen’s tone of correspondence and aggressive pursuit, in particular his claim to discredit me and PCBG, Inc., through a smear campaign and letters of complaint to Mayor Menino, Allston-Brighton’s Political Representative and Community Groups, unless I gave him a Booth at the Allston Village Street Fair, was found to be unprofessional, and Mr. Kamens was politely asked not to continue contacting me – a request which Mr. Kamen’s ignored.

    If I am known and loved or hated for anything, it is my Straightforwardness. I address issues in a clear manner. Mr. Kamens is not the only Community Resident that requested an Obama Campaign Table and received an explanation that it would be in violation of the PCBG, Inc. Mission Statement, as it could be viewed as a Political endorsement. Mr. Kamen’s is the only person, Group or Organization that
    has threatened me and PCBG, Inc., and that has ever approached the PCBG, Inc. Organization in this manner. The PCBG, Inc. Board, made the decision not to allow Mr. Kamens Booth Space at the Allston Village Street Fair, based on the PCBG, Inc. Mission Statement, and the contents of Mr. Kamen’s email correspondence to me.

    In regards to the Hill Baptist Church’s complaint. Certain Congregation members have spent the past year complaining about their Table placement on a side street for Non-Profit Organizations and Community Groups. The Allston Village Street Fair Event Site consists of 3 Blocks on Harvard Avenue in Allston and 3 Side Streets – Harvard Terrace, Gardner and Farrington Streets. Farrington Street is designated for an Artists Gallery and Vendor Market. Gardner Street is designated for Non-Profits, Groups and Organizations. It also has Prime Visibility because it is located near the Main Stage. Certain Members have continually commented that the Hill Baptist Church was singled out by me for placement on Gardner Street, even though all Community Non-Profit Organizations and Groups occupied Table Space on Gardner Street.
    Those complaining members insist that they should have been given space on Harvard Avenue, where the Entertainers, Product Sample Giveaways, etc. and Restaurants, occupied space. It is important to note that No Other Non-Profit Organization or Community Group complained about the fair designated placement on Gardner Street, as the policy of First to Sign Up for Placement, received the first reserved Site Space. It is also important to note, that the Hill Baptist Church’s Table and Site Space was Free, and that as per their request, the Hill Baptist Church was allowed to place Recycling Trash Barrells on site for Fundraising Purposes. The Hill Baptist Church collected Soda Cans from those Barrells throughout the 6 Hour Event day, for which the Hills Baptist Church received a Profit. It’s also important to note that the Hills Baptist Church Members who collected those cans from their Marked Recycling Barrells were also observed by the AVSF Security Staff, Volunteers, Event Participants and both of my AVSF Event Co-Chairs, throwing Garbage on the Sidewalks when found in their Recycling Barrells.

    I live by the statement that I will never make a statement that I cannot prove either by physical proof or a credible witness. The Hills Baptist Church was observed by many re:their inexcuseable behavior at the 2007 AVSF Event, and their continual complaints regarding their Event Table placement in Gardner Street. Re:Mr. Kamens. Although he did not disclose the entirety of our email correspondence – I am happy to post the entire set of emails upon request.

    A Community Activist is either loved or hated – there is no in between. I am not someone who is concerned with being popular, or with being accepted into the ever present A-B Community Social/Political Group, as I am not a fan of Cliques, which makes me somewhat unpopular to many. I am someone who does my best to be respectfull and fair to everyone, irregardless of the situation. I never raise my voice, and I always deal with everything in a polite assertive manner. I base my decisions on the facts that are presented to me. The decision not to allow Mr. Kamens Booth Space at the 2008 AVSF was determined by a Group, based on Mr. Kamen’s correspondence, the PCBG, Inc.’s Mission Statement – in particular as the AVSF Event Sponsor, and the fact that in a large Immigrant Populated Community where many Residents do not speak English, or have difficulty speaking and comprehending English that a “Vote for Obama Voter Registration Table” would be unfair to that demographic, as they might inadvertently be signing up to be Democrats, but not as per their personal choice. If Mr. Kamens was supporting John McCain, he would have recieved the same answer. PCBG, Inc., as per our stated Mission Statement, will not assist or endorse any Political Group.

    I hope that this correspondence clears up any confusion regarding Mr. Kamens or the Hill Baptist Church’s remarks. Re:Mr. Kamens statement regarding my Event experience. I’ve been planning Events on a Volunteer Basis for Non-Profit Organizations and Community Groups for years, and something that I am well known for, as well as my Community Projects and Events.Most notably, my spearheading a Group of Neighbors regarding Designing and Fundraising to Build the State of the Art Tot Lot Playground at Ringer Park in Allston, as well as the recruitment of over 200 Volunteers twice a year to assist the Boston Parks Dept. with the Cleaning and Maintainance of the 12.3 acres of Ringer Park, and the many other Improvements at Ringer Park through the PCBG,Inc., sponsored Ringer Park Partnership Group – a Neighborhood requested Park Advocacy Group for Ringer Park. I’ve lived in the Allston-Brighton Community for 39 years, and have been very active in Community Organizations and Events.
    The PCBG has been Public for 4 years.

    Mr. Kamens and the Hill Baptist Church are not being honest in their complaints.

    Joan Pasquale, Managing Director and Co-Chair
    Allston Village Steet Fair
    Executive Director – PCBG, Inc.

    Reply
  9. jik Post author

    I really don’t think I want to get into a pissing match with Joan Pasquale in a newspaper.

    On my blog, I control the way the story is presented. In the newspaper, I would not.

    Reply
  10. Jen

    Actually, jik, I think you should in fact send a copy of your letter to Menino to the AB Tab. You don’t read it anymore (and yes, I know why), but I do — if only to keep up to date on the question of whether I should be expecting Harvard or BC to be my institutional next-door neighbors first, given that I’m smack in the middle). Joan P.’s name comes up every issue, several times, not always in a good context, but she’s gained quite a reputation as a demagoguecommunity organizer. A public rebuke might be useful for making sure that there is a clear policy for such events in the future, rather than leaving her with a private ad-hoc say.

    Reply
  11. Registered Voter

    I thought what you did was right on the mark and I am so glad you wrote to the politicians. Joan can be very polite and well spoken when you meet her but she changes like a chameleon. I have lived in Allston for almost half a century, born and raised here, and Allston-Brighton has lots of great things about it. Unfortunately, a few can ruin it for everybody else. Not intentionally, but just through misguidance and not climbing on the fence to see everybody’s point of view. My church, the Hill Memorial Baptist Church, 279 North Harvard Street, Allston is having a FREE concert/silent auction on Sunday, September 28 from 4-7 p.m.. We will be having jazz, spanish and creole music, break dancing and Irish step dancers. Refreshments will also be served. Anybody is WELCOME and it’s FREE!

    Reply

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