A. EDGE JR.
To the Editor:
At a recent meeting, I made a proposal for the naming of our new town square that I would now like to formalize. I know both Madison Square and Princeton Square have been suggested. The first I find a bit too esoteric; many of us know Madison was a President, and little more about him. The second I think too prosaic.
Instead, I propose Einstein Square, honoring one whose significance is recognized worldwide, and whose name we may be reasonably certain will be honored even a hundred years from now. The square would then be a suitable venue for the much discussed Einstein statue, and if it became known colloquially as M C Square, as one wag suggests, why not?
To the Editor:
In the first sentence of his letter to Town Topics (January 7 Town Topics), Charles K. Bowman of East Windsor claims to have the remarkable talent of knowing what Princeton officials "think." Ignoring the dramatic reduction in deer-vehicle collisions and other property damage since the inception of Princeton Township's deer population control program, Bowman makes the extraordinary claim that killing the deer will not reduce the size of the herds. He then touts immunocontraception as "a way out of this insane cycle." Unfortunately, Bowman cannot cite a single immunocontraception program anywhere that has reduced the size of deer herds. He also ignores the fact that Princeton Township has already implemented an immunocontraception program to stabilize its deer population.
It was also interesting to note press reports this past week that his wife, Nancy Bowman, president of the Mercer County Deer Alliance, was arrested for allegedly spraying deer repellent on one of White Buffalo's bait sites. After using lurid language to attack Princeton Township's elected officials and dramatically escalating the taxpayer's costs for the deer management program with her organization's unsuccessful court challenges and appeals, Nancy Bowman has now apparently joined with other members of her organization who have flouted the law and been arrested.
The Mercer County Deer Alliance is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, but has had its leader and its members engage in activities that should disqualify them from such status. According to the Internal Revenue Service, such organizations "may not have purposes or activities that are illegal or violate fundamental public policy." Princeton Township taxpayers, who resent out-of-town busybodies meddling in their affairs, may want to challenge this organization's tax exempt status.
LEWIS A. EDGE JR.
To the Editor:
Once again, Mayor Marvin Reed is subjecting Borough taxpayers to a contract that favors a developer, and puts Borough residents at financial risk of having to pay higher taxes to cover omissions in the contract and engage in litigation to enforce the contract. This time Mr. Reed worked to the very last minute of being Mayor to negotiate a contract with Palmer Square Housing. Last year he negotiated a contract with Nassau HKT, the developer of the apartments and stores adjacent to the library, that gave the developer tax exemptions and burdens taxpayers with additional taxes and long-term serious financial risks.
A good contract provides a solution for all possible outcomes, regardless of how remote it is. A good contract leaves no uncertainty as to what each party is responsible for, and deadlines and costs to be paid by each party. Nothing is uncertain in such a contract. Today's poorly written contract is tomorrow's lawsuit.
Councilman Martindell, an experienced attorney, is correct in asserting that the contract Mr. Reed has negotiated with Palmer Square has too many unanswered questions and uncertainties to be signed by the Borough. Those uncertainties are sure to result in future litigation litigation that consumes taxpayer dollars and could be avoided.
The contract with Palmer Square Housing provides that it is to pay the Borough $137,000 for sewer line connections after all 97 residences are built. It may take many years to build all the residences or they may never be built. A better contract would pro-rate the sewer contribution for each residence. Each time a residence receives a certificate of occupancy, the builder should forward within 14 days the pro rata sewer contribution for the residence to the Borough. Princeton Borough is desperate for revenue. We need to speed up the collection of all revenues owed the Borough. This is one place to start. Of course, the developer wants to delay paying as long as possible.
Councilwoman Benchley is annoyed with Mr. Martindell's questions. She says they have been discussed many times. They may have been discussed, but if it is not included in the signed contract, it is irrelevant. I urge non-lawyer Benchley to follow the worthwhile suggestions of Mr. Martindell.
Ms. Benchley and other non-lawyer council members would benefit greatly from taking the first year law school course in contracts. Then, maybe the Borough would only sign contracts where it is treated fairly instead of giving tax reductions to developers and burdening taxpayers with extra taxes and financial risks.
ELEANOR J. LEWIS
To the Editor:
I hope to see a new, commodious Arts Council building at the intersection of Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place, and I hope that the Jackson-Witherspoon neighborhood otherwise secures every possible concession. But if that's all that happens, the new building will be a reminder of a divide in our community and a monument to failure. This is Princeton, where we can and should do better.
I want to enter the new building and see a plaque that reads "This building made possible by the gifts of x, y, and z, and the hospitality and generosity of [a list of the immediate neighbors] and the Jackson-Witherspoon neighborhood." I want to be reminded when I drive, when I park, and when I enter, to behave as one to whom hospitality has been extended.
I would like to see the Planning Board decision go to the neighborhood, laying to rest the charge that the Jackson-Witherspoon neighborhood is treated with less deference than others. And I would like to see the neighbors and neighborhood freely give their permission to build to the Arts Council. Both parties will find, I think, that their interests are better guaranteed by getting the atmospherics right than by further attention to the building footprint.
Then the new building will belong where Robeson and Witherspoon come together. And if there is a mural in it telling its story to future generations, it will not picture people of color on the right recoiling defensively from the designs of people on the sinister side, but will picture a community that this time found a way to celebrate diversity and respect and care about each other.
JOHN L. POWELL