Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 15
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
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Mayoral Contest Set for Borough

Matthew Hersh

For the first time in four years, Princeton Borough will hold a contested mayoral primary election, allowing two Democrats to face off against each other in the primary election in June.

Library Place resident Kim Pimley announced Monday that she would join the race for Borough Mayor with incumbent Mayor Mildred Trotman, of Maclean Street, who is seeking election to her first four-year term as mayor, and formally announced her candidacy last month after being endorsed by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. Running on the Democrats for Change ticket, Ms. Pimley announced her candidacy at a news conference Tuesday in front of Borough Hall.

"I believe citizens deserve a choice of candidates, as well as the public dialogue and issue education that result from a spirited election," she said in front of about 20 supporters.

Ms. Pimley's candidacy spells the first primary election the Borough has seen since 2003, when then-Councilman Joe O'Neill defeated Assemblyman Reed Gusciora for the spot in the Democratic column in the November general elections. Like that 2003 contest, this year's mayoral election will ostensibly be decided in June in the primary.

An interesting detail is Ms. Pimley's role with the PCDO. As treasurer, she is affiliated with the organization that endorsed Ms. Trotman, last month.

In Princeton Borough, which has not seen a non-Democratic elected official in 13 years, the primary election typically serves as the general election. Republicans have put up candidates for the November general election, including two this year, but with little success. Of particular note was the handful of known Republicans at Tuesday's gathering — an indication of Ms. Pimley's appeal, as well as to the origins of her candidacy.

A past president of the Jewish Center of Princeton as well as a board member of the Princeton HealthCare System -Foundation, Ms. Pimley's most recent foray into the political arena came as Princeton Borough's western section was first introduced as a possible historic district. Ms. Pimley, along with some key neighbors, quickly surfaced among the most visible opponents of historic designation, and, at her announcement Tuesday, she indicated that she had more or less been drafted by a group of Borough citizens to run.

"As I thought about it, and while I've been a very loyal Democrat on the local and federal level, and while I understand there's a certain machinery and how it works, we're not quite serving the Borough by not offering a choice," Ms. Pimley told Town Topics in an interview Monday, prior to her announcement.

Ms. Pimley pointed to the Borough being on the "brink" of several large issues, including the hospital's planned relocation and hospital site redevelopment, Princeton University's proposed arts neighborhood, Palmer Square's Hulfish North, as well as the slow-moving downtown redevelopment project. "When I think about what's coming down the pike, I think there just needs to be more of a dialogue," she said. "These building projects are immense, and I'm concerned about them.

"If we can get our building done in a timely way, in a sensible way, then we can start seeing the benefit of all this."

Ms. Pimley also expressed a desire to partner with the University: "Let's face it, we're sharing this town, and it's to everyone's benefit to work with the University."

At the end of the day, however, Ms. Pimley, whose husband Michael and 14-year-old son have lived in the Borough since 1996, pointed to the elective process as a forum for discussion:

"This will be great. There will be dialogue, people can make a decision, and if Mildred wins, her mandate will be strengthened, and if I win, then we find out that maybe we needed to go a different way.

"I just can't see a downside."

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