Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 8
 
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
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University Art Museum Gala Organizers Give Thanks for a ‘Carnevale to Remember’

LIZ MURRAY
ALICE ST. CLAIRE-LONG
Co-chairs, Princeton University Art Museum Gala

Put Your Yard Leaves to the Test to Avoid a Four-Month-Long Mess

STEPHEN HILTNER
Member, Princeton Environmental Commission
Harrison Street

Candidate for Township Committee Wants Transparency, Active Citizenry

CASEY LAMBERT
North Road

Property Taxes, Not a Lack of Housing, Are What Force Seniors Out of Town

WILLIAM STEPHENSON
Governors Lane

Local Democratic Party Organizers Gear Up for Endorsement, Recruitment

JENNY CRUMILLER
president, PCDO
JIM FLOYD
Borough Vice President, PCDO
PETER WOLANIN
Township Vice President, PCDO


University Art Museum Gala Organizers Give Thanks for a ‘Carnevale to Remember’

To the Editor:

As Co-Chairs of this year’s Gala benefiting Princeton University Art Museum’s education and outreach initiatives, we are delighted to acknowledge the many individuals and businesses that came together on February 9 to celebrate the arts! “Carnevale! Masterpieces & Masquerade” was a festive evening enjoyed by the 400 supporters who joined us at the museum for a cocktail reception preceding the Gala’s sold-out dinner at Prospect House.

We are grateful to all of our corporate sponsors including Bloomberg; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Alpharma; MetLife; Munich Re America; Novo Nordisk; PNC Wealth Management; Reed Smith LLP; Tyco International; Automatic Data Processing; Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management; Hamilton Jewelers; Princeton Orthopaedic Associates; DeraCom Conference Call Services; and the Harold Kramer Foundation. Individual leadership donors include: Alice St. Claire-Long and David Long; Dr. and Mrs. Howard S. Mele; Allen Adler; Melanie and John Clarke; Mary P. Keating; and Bill and Judith Scheide.

In addition, we want to thank the many local businesses that supported the Gala by placing ads in our new commemorative keepsake journal. Their commitment to the museum and its programs makes a real difference to this community.

Many other organizations contributed to the evening’s success: Prospect House, Janet Makrancy’s Florals, Main Street Fine Catering, Princeton Corkscrew Wine Shop, Printing & Publications Corp., Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Hamilton Jewelers, Mission Dance Entertainment, the University Jazztet and Anthony D. J. Branker, and the staff of the Princeton University Art Museum.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the museum and the opening of the highly anticipated “An Educated Eye” exhibit featuring many of the museum’s “masterpieces” (opens February 23). Gala patrons and museum visitors throughout the weekend were treated to a special feature, “Mini Masters”, an exhibit of original artwork by students (K-12) who recently participated in museum programs. We want to thank and congratulate those 80 students who proudly displayed their works. Schools represented include Stuart Country Day School (Princeton) and the Mott and Rivera schools in Trenton. Other works were created by participants in the museum’s Art for Families program and the exciting new collaboration with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

None of this could have been possible without the considerable time and talents contributed by our volunteers who worked tirelessly over many months to ensure that our Gala patrons would enjoy the festivities &and that our museum audience would continue to benefit from the excellent education and outreach programs!

LIZ MURRAY
ALICE ST. CLAIRE-LONG
Co-chairs, Princeton University Art Museum Gala

Put Your Yard Leaves to the Test to Avoid a Four-Month-Long Mess

To the Editor:

As tradition would have it — this past fall and well into the winter — Princeton’s streets once again bore the constricting clutter of leaves piled high and wide. This four-month-long ordeal makes little sense from safety, aesthetic, fiscal or ecological points of view, nor does it always save time and labor, as homeowners or their landscape crew surrogates find themselves hauling leaves great distances from the backyard up to the curb.

Fortunately, there are ways to use leaves in the yard that not only reduce the community’s hazard and burden, but also create less work for homeowners. This past week, Princeton Township residents received at their doorsteps a light green brochure entitled Princeton’s Guide to Leaf Management. I am writing to encourage all residents to read and keep the brochure as a reference. Borough residents can pick up a copy at Borough Hall or easily access it at www.princetonboro.org.

The brochure, developed by the Princeton Environmental Commission, gives seven reasons why raking leaves to the curb is harmful. Safety concerns, increased flooding, water pollution, increased consumption of fossil fuels, compromised tree health, increased municipal expense, a four-month-long mess — are all consequences of this tradition.

The brochure then describes five ways to use leaves in the yard. Leaves provide a natural fertilizer, help plants endure drought, and can be used to discourage weeds. The information is also useful for other types of yard waste generated in spring and summer. The Internet offers many additional resources, for instance at the Web site for the radio show, You Bet Your Garden.

Many environmental problems are the cumulative result of individual action, and this is one of them. The brochure shows a way to work with the eastern forest we inhabit, rather than to continue to fight against it.

STEPHEN HILTNER
Member, Princeton Environmental Commission
Harrison Street

Candidate for Township Committee Wants Transparency, Active Citizenry

To the Editor:

I write to you today to announce my candidacy for Township Committee for 2008. I have been urged to do so by a very large number of my fellow citizens, who have expressed a deep desire for a new vision for our community.

Through my prior service on Township Committee from 2002-2004, as a member of the 1995 Consolidation Commission, and recently as a member of the Environmental Commission and the Floodwater Management Committee, I learned how municipal government should work and what we need to do to make Princeton a cutting-edge, proactive, 21st-century, model community.

Let me outline very briefly some of the areas that I believe merit immediate attention.

Governance: Township Committee’s workings should be more transparent. There should be more meaningful dialog with constituents on all issues because the general public has come to feel that they are not being heard. Elected public positions should carry term limits or involve rotations. The system for appointing members to boards and commissions should be overhauled to bring greater visibility to the process and its results. All boards and committees should have adequate staff and budgets for their work. We are blessed with capable and willing staff members in Township Hall but some commissions have virtually no support.

Finance: Rather than giving across-the-board increases to each department, the Township must put in place zero-based budgeting, like any well-run business. Township Committee must draw up an annual mission and goals statement and require each department to plan and budget specifically for its role in supporting the overarching plan. Having co-founded and run a publishing company that grew to have nearly 400 employees here and in Denver, I have first-hand knowledge of operational management and cost-control.

We need smarter fiscal government with greater accountability. It should be possible to serve all of our citizens well while streamlining the planning and budgeting processes in accordance with cutting-edge practices.

Energy and the Environment; It is time for Princeton to be a leader. The implications of global warming are well understood and Princeton’s electorate is engaged and intelligent. Our environmental policies should reflect that. We should belong to the Sierra Club’s Cool Cities program and the US Conference of Mayors Climate Change Agreement. We should apply LEED-certified energy-saving (and money-saving) practices to public buildings as well as to private development projects, and urge compliance by citizens wherever practicable.

We must redouble our protection of our remaining woods and open lands and their ecosystems, knowing full well that we need their habitats, canopies, and flood-preventing root systems. As a trustee of the Woods Hole Research Center, an organization focusing on global climate change research and policy, I know that deforestation is our planet’s worst problem.

Cooperation: We must end our disputatious relationship with the Borough. Let’s settle the squabbles and move on. We have major common areas of concern and should create joint task forces in such vital areas as transportation, recreational land use, emergency management, environmental protection, truck traffic and more. The joint agencies now in place should work more collaboratively.

Senior Housing: We need to appoint an expert task force to research the many issues associated with providing first-class senior housing and to provide an overview of what innovations other communities have created.

Princeton is a very special place. But people do not see their local government in the same pantheon. This need not be. It is time to reignite the idea that municipal government can be an exciting and vital force for good. Our very best citizens should be jockeying with one another for board and committee seats. We should be inordinately proud of our community.

CASEY LAMBERT
North Road

Property Taxes, Not a Lack of Housing, Are What Force Seniors Out of Town

To the Editor:

We are constantly besieged with pleas for more “senior housing” in Princeton to meet a huge need that is supposedly present in our community.

Let’s look at the facts. Every developer who wants to build “senior housing” always starts by mounting an extensive and costly effort to get zoning changed, from requiring that purchasers be 62 or over, to requiring that only one resident in the household be 55 or over.

This would indicate conclusively that adequate housing stock exists for those that are in fact senior citizens, at age 62 and over. Since the stock of housing for true senior citizens is adequate, the developers have to use the ruse that zoning needs to be changed to accommodate households that have one resident aged 55.

There simply aren’t enough true “senior citizens” to make their developments profitable, and they must perpetuate the myth that we need more “senior housing” by lowering the age requirement to the mythical level of 55. The developers wrap themselves in the cloak of providers of “senior housing” with the hope that most people aren’t paying attention.

Unfortunately, they have duped a lot of well meaning people into supporting their need to sell to fictitious senior citizens in order to maximize the profit potential of their developments.

This would seem to indicate conclusively that seniors have adequate housing stock available, but are being forced out of the community by the level of property taxes.

WILLIAM STEPHENSON
Governors Lane

Local Democratic Party Organizers Gear Up for Endorsement, Recruitment

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization Executive Board, we invite all Princeton Democrats to join the PCDO and participate in local and national party politics. The PCDO is committed to promoting democratic competition within our party. The PCDO will hold two endorsement votes in March, and we would like to make sure information about our candidate endorsement process is available to everyone.

On Saturday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m. at the Suzanne Patterson Center, we’ll vote for County Freeholder at a special meeting that will take place immediately before our headquarters fund-raiser, which is from 4 to 6 p.m. This meeting is set so that it precedes the Mercer County Convention on March 15. In order to participate in this endorsement vote, your 2008 membership application or renewal and fee must be postmarked no later than Saturday, February 16th.

On Sunday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Suzanne Patterson Center, we’ll hold an endorsement vote for local municipal offices. In order to participate in this endorsement vote, your 2008 membership application or renewal and fee must be postmarked no later than Monday, March 17th. If you wish to become a local candidate, official candidate petitions are available at the municipal clerk’s offices at Borough and Township halls. The clerk will also supply information about the requirements for signatures and the number of signatures required (usually about 30).

To be considered for endorsement by the PCDO, potential candidates should contact the President of the PCDO by two weeks before the endorsement vote at the latest. However, if there is going to be a contest, it is recommended that candidates start their “campaigns” for Endorsement earlier. It behooves candidates at all levels to ensure that their supporters renew their PCDO membership or join the PCDO. We welcome this as membership building.

Candidates should also contact their respective Democratic Municipal Party Chairs. The municipal party committees are official arms of the Democratic Party, whereby the PCDO is a party “club”. The municipal party committee chairs are, in Princeton Township, Dan Preston, dan@princetondems.org, (609) 252-0011, and, in Princeton Borough, Andrew Koontz, andykoontz@aol.com, (609) 252-0264.

2008 is an exciting year for members of the PCDO as we work toward a national victory for Democrats in November — whichever outstanding candidate prevails. In the past, the PCDO has hosted a campaign headquarters for volunteers, and we anticipate doing so again for the upcoming election.

The PCDO has regular monthly meetings featuring a variety of speakers on local and national issues, as well as candidate forums. We have a politics book club and several ad hoc committees that focus on issues, including global warming, health care and local issues. Through our e-mail list, we notify members of upcoming political events and volunteer opportunities.

This year we have decided to offer a $5 minimum rate for people who are unable or unwilling to pay the suggested $15 annual dues. Any registered Democrat is eligible to become a member and those registered in Princeton Borough or Township are eligible to become voting members. As much as we welcome and encourage participation, membership carries no obligations as many people join just to be kept in the loop on Democratic events and news.

For more information, including our bylaws and a membership form, please visit our Web site at www.princetondems.org, or contact membership chair Debra Lambo at deblam52@aol.com or at (609) 252-1543.

JENNY CRUMILLER
president, PCDO
JIM FLOYD
Borough Vice President, PCDO
PETER WOLANIN
Township Vice President, PCDO

For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.

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