To the Editor:
On behalf of the Princeton Regional Schools Board of Education we want to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the Princeton community for supporting our 2005-06 budget and second question.
Education has always been a priority in Princeton. This is reflected in the excellence of our public schools, which at the same time contributes to the fine quality of life and high property values we enjoy here. The board particularly appreciates the serious consideration given our budget requests and the thoughtful participation of many Princetonians throughout the process of budget development.
We want you to know we did not approach these requests lightly. The board spent hours with administrators and staff carefully crafting a plan to address critical academic programming, personnel and safety issues. Your support allows us to move forward with these areas of vital need. Many of these programs will have a very public face, ones that will be readily apparent to our parents and students. These programs include science specialists in the elementary schools, early intervention teachers, an expanded pre-K program, after school tutorials, elementary guidance, and additional safety monitors, among others.
We appreciate that this vote came at a significant cost to many in our community. On an individual level we too are struggling with our own increased property tax bills as well as increased gas and utility expenses. We recognize that this places an even greater burden on the board and district to use our resources effectively. Our goal is to make the Princeton regional schools a place where all students thrive and achieve to their highest potential. Thank you for giving us the support necessary to make that happen.
ANNE B. BURNS
To the Editor:
The April 13 public forum on the future of affordable housing in Princeton, created and hosted by Princeton Community Housing, was a huge success, in large part thanks to the excellent publicity provided by Town Topics.
The Community Room at Princeton Public Library was jammed with municipal officials and interested citizens who came to listen, question, and learn about what the latest round of the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations will mean for our town.
Matthew Hersh's follow-up article in your April 20 edition succinctly summarized the information presented by Douglas Massey and David Kinsey of the Woodrow Wilson School, COAH attorney Melissa Orson, and housing expert Alan Mallach.
Princeton Community Housing, and The League of Women Voters, our co-sponsor, are grateful for your publicity and fine coverage of this important community event.
To the Editor:
We, the friends and Pine Street neighbors of the late Dr. David Bradford, wish to thank Candace Braun for her article (Town Topics, April 13) on our recent presentation to the Borough Council, in which we requested that Pine Street Park be renamed in memory of Dr. Bradford. His tragic and untimely death in February deprived us of a beloved friend whose cheerful, generous, and caring presence enriched all of our lives.
We were pleased with the positive response we received from the Council, which approved a resolution to set up a trust fund forthwith in Dr. Bradford's name, to receive donations in his memory. The funds received will be used to improve and enhance the park. Included will be a small plaque acknowledging Dr. Bradford's importance to his profession as a leading economist, and his essential role in making Pine Street the friendly and welcoming neighborhood that it is.
We were requested by the Council to present a plan of our proposed park improvements for review at their meeting on May 10. We will endeavor to do that, bearing in mind that arriving at the best landscape design choices for the park will require more time to complete. Our goal is to secure the Council's endorsement of the renaming of the park in time for it to be announced at the memorial service for Dr. Bradford on May 20 (at 3 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium). Those wishing to participate in the park project can e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
After attending the Princeton Township Zoning Board's meeting on the proposed jazz club, I was appalled at the behavior and remarks of its chairman, Carlos Rodrigues, and the Board's attorney, Robert Casey. In the face of legitimate grievances from the public, both individuals were generally condescending, frequently sarcastic, and occasionally hostile. Mr. Casey even threatened to have a citizen removed or arrested for speaking out. These officials abuse their positions in my opinion by acting in this manner.
In response to criticism about the effect of the jazz club on people's lives, Mr. Rodrigues sought to silence everyone by saying, "This is a zoning board application. This isn't anybody's life. Enough!" But Mr. Rodrigues speaks in error. This is about people's lives. This is no ordinary zoning board application.
For the past nine months, my neighbors and I have organized a grassroots response to the jazz club, involving scores of residents from Princeton Township and Borough. Many were at the Zoning Board meeting. From these citizens, we have raised and spent nearly $25,000 for our legal defense and to hire a professional planner all necessitated to defend ourselves against our own Zoning Board. People have sacrificed their monetary resources because they understand what the impact of this jazz club would be on their lives. It is an affront by Mr. Rodrigues to dismiss this concern.
In 2004, when the Zoning Board hastily issued a split variance for this jazz club, Mr. Rodrigues said the site plan review would be the time to hear public concern. Judge Linda Feinberg in rejecting the lawsuit of the plaintiffs, said essentially the same thing. That was hardly the tenor or the organization of last week's Zoning Board meeting. Instead, the public was kept at the margins and would have been limited to one half hour to speak, were it not for our sheer numbers. The Township's paid staff of experts though represented in numbers hardly said a word all night. What we got was a meeting largely orchestrated and controlled by Mr. Rodrigues and Mr. Casey.
One can only hope that subsequent meetings on this vital subject, beginning with the next hearing on May 3, will be conducted differently. Perhaps other members of the Zoning Board will prevail on their leadership for this change. If not, and if Mr. Rodrigues and Mr. Casey persist where they left off, then perhaps it is time to call into question their continued service.
To the Editor:
On April 19, The Teen Advisory Group (TAG) of the Corner House Counseling Center celebrated its graduation with a pizza party. However, the gathering was tinged by sadness, not only because our year of service was coming to an end, but also because it marked the final year for our TAG leaders Alison Politziner and Lynn Shell. Ms. Politziner has headed this youth leadership development program for ten years, Ms. Shell for five years. For a combined 15 years they have educated teens from the local high schools including Princeton High School, Princeton Day School, Stuart, and Hun.
TAG's mission is to work collectively to increase awareness of the negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse, the ultimate goal being to decrease the rates of abuse in the community and consequently the second hand effects such as violence and accidents. For many adolescents, substance abuse begins alarmingly early in life. In an effort to inform local students about the dangers of drugs, this year's TAG team targeted our younger audiences by performing skits and leading workshops at the middle schools. These presentations model responsible approaches for students who may be tempted to rely on drinking or drug use in a social setting. We usually followed these events with similar workshops for parents. The program is part of Corner House's efforts to raise consciousness about this public health problem. As a teen who has had the honor of working side-by-side with these two inspirational individuals, I am positive that their leaving is a great loss for our entire community.
Thank you Alison and Lynn!
To the Editor:
I will not be able to attend the planned Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting on May 5 when the jazz club application is scheduled to be discussed, so I am putting my concerns in writing.
For some time now I have been following the jazz club discussions, and a great deal of what I am reading in the newspaper, and hearing from different people, I cannot believe. I can't understand why anyone cannot see that the approval of this application will be the destruction of a neighborhood in progress.
I lived on Birch Avenue for a number of years in the 1960s and I know where Mike's Tavern is. I know the surrounding areas, including the site where parking is proposed. How anyone can think that a 10,000 square foot nightclub with a ten foot wall, the extraordinary amount of traffic that this will generate, the noise that will be created, seven days a week, into early morning hours, is not too much for a residential neighborhood is incomprehensible. To suggest that it is a "positive" addition to the neighborhood, as has been suggested, is an affront to the neighborhood.
The neighborhood is already surrounded (to the south) by the Arts Council on one corner, and by the YM/YWCA on the other comer. North of that and to the east is the hospital and/or whatever will replace it, but it will be massive. All the traffic trying to get to the school, the recreational facilities, the hospital, etc., will leave the neighborhood with no relief at all as heavy traffic will continue during the evening hours if this application is approved. It's almost as if the neighborhood is locked into place and cannot get out. Just what the neighborhood needs a jazz club. Right.
When is a true traffic study, and a circulation study, going to be done that will reflect the actual impact to this neighborhood if development continues? Does anyone care?
MILDRED T. TROTMAN
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