To the Editor:
To everyone who voted in the June 8 primary election for Princeton Borough Council, I would like to thank you for being part of the democratic process. For the hundreds of people who cast a vote for me, I express an even bigger thank you. Very special thanks to those who stuffed mailers, worked on or hosted neighborhood meetings, wrote letters to the newspapers, and did all the other things that need to get done in a campaign. I remain ever appreciative of the support my candidacy received.
Our message was well-received and our voices resonated. That is something for which we can be proud. While some people may worry that Princeton Borough is a one-party town, I suggest a true primary such as this one shows what a strong Democratic Party exists here in the Borough. This one party is able to provide residents with real choices, choices that allow Democrats to have differing opinions while still being good representatives of their party.
In the end, everyone associated with election campaigns should share and foster one set of overriding goals: fairness, honesty, and a trust that the voters will make the right decision on that basis. My campaign upheld those goals, and I am proud of that accomplishment. I look forward to other opportunities to serve our town in the future.
To the Editor:
As one of four Democratic candidates for Borough Council in last week's primary, I wish to congratulate Roger Martindell and Andrew Koontz on their victories, say how much I learned to admire Mark Freda, and thank those who helped and voted for me for their support, especially my campaign treasurer Candace Preston.
As I campaigned door to door in the Borough, I was struck again and again by the thoughtfulness of Princeton's residents, by the breadth of their life experiences, and the depth of their expertise. Again and again, I made notes of those I would wish to consult were I fortunate enough to enter public service.
Though my first attempt to win a seat on Borough Council was unsuccessful, I happily recalled what our family pediatrician, Dr. Munro, used to tell my mother nearly half a century ago. While my brother and I chose one animal cracker each from the cardboard box shaped like a menagerie cage that Dr. Munro kept atop the file cabinet in her office on Evelyn Place, and Dr. Munro entered our heights and weights on her chart, she never failed to tell my mother (long before Garrison Keillor ever thought to say it), "Well, they're a little above average. But then everyone in Princeton is a little above average."
ANNE WALDRON NEUMANN
To the Editor:
I am a resident of Richard Court on Houghton Road, which borders the Princeton High School grounds. I ask that parents of students at the High School take a walk down our street during school hours to observe for themselves the conditions that exist there. Taken over by a group of students as a smoking and eating lounge, the area has become a wasteland of cigarette butts, half-eaten lunches, broken bottles, cans, and trash of all kinds. Students lounge at their cars with radios blasting, and sit on the sidewalk blocking passersby. They have destroyed all attempts our residents have made at plantings and maintenance along the brick wall bordering our property.
During the past month, I have undertaken to improve these conditions by going out while the students are there and asking them to help me as I collect the garbage and place it in a litter can that Richard Court residents have provided for them. The results have been interesting. A few help, but seem almost ashamed to be caught "caving in" to my request. One young man glanced at me and asked, "Why should I? I didn't put it there!" Some others seem friendly to my cause. They assure me they are doing their best to clean up before they leave, agree that my complaint is justified, and are reasonable in their attitudes. But the problem continues unabated.
When I asked why the students don't use the school grounds for their breaks, one said they are not supposed to smoke on school grounds. So in effect, the school has neatly transferred their problem to us. By enforcing their "No Smoking" policy, they have absolved themselves of their responsibility and left us with the consequences. One young man told me he had suggested that pails of sand be provided for butts, but that the school authorities had forbidden the plan because it seems to condone smoking. Technically, they are correct. But practically, we are the ones left with hundreds of discarded cigarette butts tossed onto a tract of trampled dirt and trash. We have long since given up on plantings.
When I likened their behavior to trashing my front yard, one young lady was quick to correct me. "In no way is this your front yard! It's public property. It's not yours!"
Again, technically, she is correct. But the notion that trashing public property is hardly a commendable activity was completely lost on her. These young people scale and sit atop our brick wall, sometimes dropping over into our yards to retrieve personal items, such as shoes tossed over by playful companions, leave disgusting lunch remains and half-empty soda cans and cups sitting on top of the wall, and then tell me I have no right to complain. The same young man who refused to help me pick up trash accused me of showing him "no respect" by "pushing" him as I waved him away in an attempt to pick up the garbage at his feet. I am an 80 year-old woman, weigh 110 pounds, and stand at 5'1". I estimate the young man in question is around 18 years old, weighs in at about 145 pounds and stands about 5'9 tall. Go figure.
I have given up on my crusade to clean up the landscape single-handedly. It is long past time for the school authorities to face this situation squarely instead of pushing the problem off on their neighbors. I propose a solution that will require the school administration to take a firm and steadfast stand against all opposition and howls of protest. Since they have clearly demonstrated they have not matured to the point of accepting their responsibilities as young adults, all students, including seniors, should be restricted to campus during the entire school day, and the "No Smoking" policy should continue to be strictly enforced. They are on school grounds for only about eight hours a day. Curbing their addictions for that long should not place undue stress on their young bodies. They would still have 16 hours a day to smoke, litter, back-talk and befoul their own front yards where their parents can deal with the problem. The school administration owes to the citizens of Princeton a policy of strong leadership in this matter.
To the Editor:
I was one of those who listened to the long presentation on the revised plans for the Arts Council building on May 20. I was particularly struck by the remarks of Mr. Wolf of SPRAB on the importance of the Paul Robeson identification with the planned structure. This reinforced a point I had expected to make during the audience discussion, which never happened due to the lateness of the hour.
So I make the point here: if the Arts Council application is not approved, the Paul Robeson Building will cease to exist and the Princeton community will lose an important identity with one of its great historical figures.
As one of my friends remarked, this could be a classic case of unintended consequences. I trust that the members of the Planning Board will think of this when they vote.
To the Editor:
I thank all those Princeton Borough residents who participated in the recent Borough Council primary election by listening, questioning, commenting and voting.
Whether you followed the newspaper coverage, attended Council meetings or neighborhood gatherings, or joined your neighbors in conversation over the backyard fence, your participation was valuable in the process.
As a result of that participation, and for the first time since I have been involved in Princeton politics, I have a sense that Borough residents are now frankly aware and deeply concerned how the Borough's rapidly increasing tax rate will affect the character of our community over the long run.
I congratulate Andrew Koontz for his win and Mark Freda and Anne Waldron Neumann for their many substantive contributions to the election campaign and to the community generally.
I thank Ryan Stark Lilienthal and Dorothy Mullen my re-election committee for their wise counsel and generous contribution of time.
During the time I have remaining to serve the Borough, I look forward to working with all Princeton residents concerning how we raise and spend our tax dollars in shaping our community into the future.
To the Editor:
Princeton intercepts about one-third of a semicircle around the western terminus of Route 92 at Route 1 and Ridge Road. From the law of averages, then, about a third of the extra westbound traffic that Route 92 would generate will likely also burden Nassau Street, Harrison Street, River Road, Cherry Valley Road, and other Princeton roads, to reach points to the southwest of Princeton.
This should be obvious to all but the most hardened Turnpike traffic engineers and ratables-crazed mayors. It's certainly obvious at the grassroots of Princeton Township and Borough. I've been quite pleased to find that there are plenty of people in Princeton who are unconvinced by the roadbuilding machine's propaganda, and who realize that 92 would harm everyone in the region.
Route 92 would be in Princeton's backyard, as well as ours. Tarring us with the NIMBY brush won't change that. A battle between Townships is exactly what the sprawl apparat wants, because then they get to pave over both your town and ours. Instead of falling for it, let's sit down at a roundtable, as Princeton did with West Windsor in the Penns Neck process, and work out a solution that works for all of us.
To the Editor:
I have just completed 6- weeks of radiation therapy for breast cancer at The Princeton Radiation Oncology Center. With much trepidation I feared a depressing, somewhat humiliating and lengthy undertaking. Was I ever mistaken! Instead, what could have been a dismal and degrading course of treatment was managed in a compassionate and professional manner. The entire staff at Princeton Radiation Oncology Center treated me with the sensitivity, kindness and respect that I so needed in a time of personal crisis.
Today I am finished. And I am deeply grateful. The receptionist, nurse, therapists and doctors all carried me. Despite the nature of the matter, I can't help but think that I'm a better person for the experience, and I am eternally grateful to this exceptional group of people.
To the Editor:
At 11:15 a.m. on Friday, June 11, I walked through Princeton Borough's $13.7 million parking garage to assess how well it was doing. The answer: not well. With more than 500 spaces available on five levels, only 75 spaces were filled, less than 15 percent of capacity. More distressing than overall underutilization, however, only three vehicles were parked on the top three levels, and only one of those was on the top level.
Across the street the Tulane Street Lot which the Borough declared to be "blighted" (using the euphemism for "area in need of redevelopment") thus preventing a referendum on the $13.7 million bond issue was as popular as usual. I counted 72 spaces filled with only six or eight stalls still open for patrons, and no cars circling for spaces in that pre-lunch hour.
An hour later I returned, expecting usage to have picked up. It had, but not by much. I counted 99 cars in the garage this time, still below 20 percent of capacity, and only one driver parked above the second level. As for the Tulane Street lot, this time I counted 70 parked vehicles, down by two, but with others circling and exchanging places with cars backing our of their stalls on this "blighted" site.
What does this informal count suggest? That, at a minimum, Princeton may have a huge problem paying off the bonds for the garage with parking fees alone; that even if usage picks up, residents may end up paying through tax increases for part of the bonds that built this garage.
R. WILLIAM POTTER
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