History of the BNA

Brookline Neighborhood Alliance



The Brookline Neighborhood Alliance (BNA) is a network of Brookline neighborhood associations that was founded in 2000–2001.  It emerged from the Future Search Planning Initiative that was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Brookline after guest speakers explained how neighborhood associations had formed alliances in other communities.

The BNA bylaws list the purposes of the organization: (1) to serve as an open channel of communication, information and education for and among neighborhood associations; (2) to serve as a base for, and facilitator of, wider communication between the Town and the neighborhoods; (3) to identify areas and issues of common concern among the neighborhoods and, when deemed appropriate by the consensus of the members, to facilitate the resolution of such issues; (4) to invigorate and sustain positive and creative energy within the neighborhoods and in their relationship with the Town as a whole; (5) to plan, promote and aid in the implementation of activities of interest to the neighborhoods; (6) to increase diversity, inclusion and participation in the life and activities of the neighborhoods; (7) to encourage and support the formation of new neighborhood associations and strengthen existing associations; (8) to strengthen the role of Town Meeting Members through their increased engagement at the neighborhood level; (9) serve as a point of contact and a means of securing input and reactions from the neighborhoods in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan process.

The BNA has attempted to serve these purposes in the following ways:

  • Hosting meetings that will inform neighborhood representatives about topics of interest
  • Convening discussions of Town Meeting Warrant Articles that are related to neighborhood issues
  • Promoting greater attention to neighborhood issues and neighborhood associations by holding meetings with reporters who cover local events, asking Brookline Access Television to televise BNA events, and sending notices and press releases to the Brookline TAB
  • Holding an annual candidates’ night that enables BNA members to hear and question candidates for the Board of Selectmen, and to bring neighborhood issues to their attention
  • Recognizing individuals and organizations that have contributed to the quality of life in Brookline’s neighborhoods
  • Encouraging the Board of Selectmen to appoint BNA representatives to Town committees
  • Taking positions in support of neighborhood associations


A list of some of the BNA’s events and all of its award recipients appears on the following pages.


Brookline Neighborhood Alliance

Events 2004-2009



September 28, 2004:  BNA Delegates Meeting to Discuss Issues Confronting Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Associations

November 9, 2004:  “Town Meeting and Your Neighborhood:  A Look at the Warrant,” Discussion of Town Meeting Warrant Articles of Particular Concern to Brookline Neighborhoods

March 16, 2005:  “Tools for Empowering Neighborhoods: Preservation, Power, and Policy” with speakers Jill Stein of the Mass. Coalition for Healthy Communities and a former Gubernatorial candidate; Ros Everdell, Director of Organizing and Planning, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Boston; Sheri Flagler, Chair, Preservation Commission, Town of Brookline; and Sean Lynn-Jones, member of Zoning Implementation Monitoring Committee, Town of Brookline, and Secretary, Brookline Neighborhood Alliance

April 13, 2005:  Board of Selectmen Candidates’ Night (Nancy Daly, Gil Hoy, Andrew Fischer, Regina Frawley, and Gary Kayakachoian)

June 1, 2005:  BNA Annual Meeting:  “Rediscover Brookline—A Photo Tour of Brookline Neighborhoods,” with special invited guests Brookline residents Dorothea Hass, cofounder of WalkBoston, and Robert Sloane, Walks Chair for WalkBoston


September 18, 2005:  BNA booth at Brookline 300 celebration in Coolidge Corner

October 2, 2005:  Trolley Tour: “Patterns of Development and the Integration of Open Space:  An Historic Perspective” (co-sponsored by the BNA, Brookline Greenspace Alliance, and Chobee Hoy Associates)

November 9, 2005:  “Is Smart Growth Smart for Brookline?” with Anthony Flint, journalist and author of The Land, Jill Stein, former Green Party candidate for governor, and Acting Planning Director Jeff Levine

March 1, 2006:  “Housing That’s Affordable,” with speakers Fran Price, Paul Saner, Dixon Bain, Bob Kuehn, and David Trietsch

April 10, 2006:  Board of Selectmen Candidates’ Night (Bobby Allen, Betsy DeWitt, Jesse Mermell, and Andrew Ghobrial)

June 8, 2006:  BNA Annual Meeting, “All History is Local:  Uncovering the Story of Your Brookline Neighborhood,” a talk by Ken Liss, Brookline resident and local historian


September 20, 2006:  “Forum on the Community Preservation Act,” with Roger Blood, Jay Gonzalez, Kevin Lang, and Robert Sperber (co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters Brookline)

October 23, 2006:  “A Discussion of Articles for the Fall Town Meeting”

December 7, 2006:  “How to Get What Your Neighborhood Needs,” a panel discussion with Gill Fishman, Rob Daves, Tottie Gelbspan, Janice Kahn, and others on various problems confronting Brookline neighborhoods

March 26, 2007:  Board of Selectmen Candidates’ Night (Jesse Mermell and Jules Levine)

June 7, 2007:  BNA Annual Meeting, “It is Caring or Is it Listening?” a talk by Sam Bass Warner, urban historian and author of Streetcar Suburbs


October 22, 2007:  “Articles for the November 13 Town Meeting of Particular Interest to Neighborhoods”

February, 27, 2008:  “Meet the Press:  Brookline’s Journalists and Brookline’s Neighborhoods,” a panel discussion with Erin Clossey, editor, Brookline TAB, Andreae Downs, correspondent, Boston Globe, and  Jessica Scarpati, assistant editor, Brookline TAB

April 2, 2008:  Board of Selectmen Candidates’ Night (Nancy Daly, Gil Hoy, Richard Benka)

June 8, 2008:  BNA Annual Meeting, “Neighborhoods as the Foundation for a Sustainable Community:  Brookline and Beyond,” a talk by Linda Olson Pehlke, urban planner and author of Exploring the Paths of Brookline



February 11, 2009: “Improving Neighborhood Safety and Communications with the Police,” with Chief Dan O’Leary and Captain John O’Leary of the Brookline Police Department

March 11, 2009:  “The Green Neighborhoods Challenge” (with CCAB)

April 15 2009:  Board of Selectmen and School Committee Candidates’ Night (Betsy DeWitt and Ken Goldstein; Ira Chan, Elizabeth Childs, Judy Meyers, and Barbara Scotto)

June 8, 2009:  BNA Annual Meeting:  “The State of Brookline’s Neighborhoods”


[The Following List is from John Bassett, October 2012]


Brookline Neighborhood Alliance events/achievements from John Bassett’s notes etc.  10/16/2012  I didn’t participate in the BNA until 2002, my notes are incomplete.  I missed the first two and a half years.


  • Dec. 10, Public Safety Building, “Advocating for your Neighborhood at Town Hall, Part 2.”


  • Annual Meeting, May 15, Public Safety Building, speaker Jane Holtz Kay: “Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Get It Back.”
  • Oct. 29, at the home of Betsy Shure Gross, co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters of Brookline.  “Two Brookline Place: good for Brookline?”


  • “Is Density Our Destiny? A Developing Story” by Sean Lynn-Jones published in the Brookline Bulletin, April 22.
  • Sept. 28, meeting of Delegates to discuss issues confronting neighborhoods and neighborhood associations.
  • Nov. 9 discussion of Town Meeting Articles of particular interest to neighborhoods.



  • March 16, “Tools for Empowering Neighborhoods: Preservation, Power, and Policy,” with Jill Stein, Ross Everdell, Sheri Flagler, and Sean Lynn-Jones.
  • April 13, 7:00 at the MLK Room Selectmens Candidates Night.
  • Annual Meeting, June 1, “Rediscover Brookline – a Photo Tour of Brookline’s Neighborhoods,” with Dorothea Hass and Robert Sloane both of WalkBoston.
  • Sept. 18. Participation in Brookline’s Tercentennial Celebration.  We had a booth on Harvard St.
  • Oct. 2, Trolley Tour: “Patterns of Development and the Integration of Open Space: an Historical Perspective,” co-sponsored with the Brookline Greenspace Alliance and Chobee Hoy Associates.
  • Nov. 9, 7:00, MLK Room, “Is Smart Growth Smart for Brookline,” with Jill Stein, Anthony Flint, Jeff Levine, and Sean Lynn-Jones.



  • March 1, 7:00, Devotion School Library, “Housing That’s Affordable,” with Fran Price, David Trietsch, Dixon Bain, and Robert Kuehn.
  • April 10, Candidates Night.
  • Annual Meeting, June 8, MLK Room, speaker Ken Liss “All History is Local: Uncovering the Story of Your Brookline Neighborhood.”
  • Sept. 20, Town Hall, “ Should Brookline Adopt the Community Preservation Act?” panel Roger Blood, Jay Gonzalez, Kevin Lang, and Bob Sperber.
  • Oct. 23, MLK Room, a discussion of Articles for the November Town Meeting.
  • Dec. 7, 7:00, MLK Room, forum “How to Get What Your Neighborhood Needs” with Tottie Gelbspan, Gill Fishman, Rob Daves and Janice Kahn.



  • March 26, MLK Room, Selectmen candidates night.
  • Annual Meeting, June 7, MLK Room, speaker Sam Bass Warner (Prof. of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT) “Is it Caring, or is it Listening?”
  • Oct. 22, Articles for the November Town Meeting.



  • Feb. 27, Public Safety Building, forum “Meet the Press” with Erin Clossey, Jessica Scarpati, and Andreae Downs.
  • March 26, Devotion School Library, forum on an Override “What do we need? How much can we afford?”  Our panel will include member of the Override Committee and curmudgeons.
  • April 2, Candidates Night, Devotion School Library
  • Annual Meeting, June 8, Wheelock College, reports from member NAs on the states of their neighborhoods and speaker Linda Olson Pehlke “Neighborhoods as the Foundation for a Sustainable Community: Brookline and Beyond.”



  • Feb. 11, Public Safety Building, “Improving Neighborhood Safety and Communication  Between Residents and the Police Department.”
  • March 11, “The Green Neighborhoods Challenge,” with Climate Change Action Brookline.
  • April 15, Candidates Night, Public Safety Building.



  • Jan. 13, the Baker School Library, co-sponsored and organized by the South Brookline NA, “Development and Neighborhoods, Hancock Village”
  • April 2010 started a productive email discussion of coyotes – where they are, how to discourage them, what can legally be done, and how to protect pets and children.
  • April 14, BATV Studio, Candidates Night.
  • At the May, 2010 Town Meeting a Bylaw Amendment was passed that makes noise violations a civil offence and allows the Police to write citations for violations.  This makes enforcement of the Noise Bylaw much easier and has helped to reduce over-loud partied in North Brookline.  This was sponsored by the North Brookline Neighborhood Association.
  • At the  May, 2010 a Zoning Bylaw Amendment, sponsored by the White Place NA was passed that put a one year moratorium on a proposed development at 111 Boylston St.  This was productive, as the Zoning Bylaw was later amended to change dimensional requirements to reduce negative impacts on White Place houses.
  • Annual Meeting, June 9, Town Hall, speaker Brian Kane “Transportation Policy Moves Us All.”


  • March 23, Town Hall, forum “Neighborhoods Speak About Sensible Development.
  • No candidates night since there was no contested election.
  • Annual Meeting, June 6, Town Hall, speaker Mel Kleckner, recently hired Town Administrator.  Celebrated the tenth anniversary of the BNA.


  • Annual Meeting, June 12, Town Hall, speaker Jim Vrabel: “Stories of the Origins of Neighborhood and Community Activism in the ‘New Boston’”.



Recipients of BNA Leadership Awards



2002    League of Women Voters/Dottie Blom for starting the BNA

Isabella Callanan, Friends of the Muddy River

Diana Spiegel, Campaign to Preserve St. Aidan’s


2003    Adam Kahn, Chestnut Hill Village Associates

Ponnie Katz, Coolidge Corner South Side

High Street Hill Association for Leverett Pond anniversary


2004    Merelice

Joyce Zak, South Brookline Neighborhood Association


2005    Erin Chute Gallentine

Graffam McKay Neighborhood

Myra Trachtenberg


2006    Carla and Richard Benka

Linda Olson Pehlke, author

Friends of Hall’s Pond


2007    Gill Fishman, Fisher Hill Association

Dennis De Witt

Bernice Wilner, Sheaf, Holly, Heath Neighborhood Association


2008    Greer Hardwicke, Preservation Planner, Town of Brookline

Coolidge Corner District Planning Council


2009    Joni Burstein, South Brookline Neighborhood Association

Hugh Mattison

Don Weitzman