Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 24
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
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New Challengers Emerge After Primary Elections as Candidates Gear Up to Tackle Municipal Issues

Ellen Gilbert

Dilshanie Perera

With the official vote tallies in, Jo Butler and Roger Martindell will be running as Democrats for two seats on Borough Council, having garnered 422 and 546 votes in the primary election, respectively. Challenger Anne Neumann received 397 votes. Township Committee members Liz Lempert and Lance Liverman ran unopposed and garnered 745 and 752 votes for Democratic positions on the ballot for November’s election.

New challengers emerged among the candidates for Borough Council and Township Committee on the Republican side, with Roland Foster Miller receiving 57 votes and Peter A. Marks garnering 56 votes for the Borough. Stuart Duncan and Doug Miles received 67 and 68 votes for the Township, respectively.

Although their names did not appear on the Republican primary ballot, all four Republican candidates secured more than the requisite number of write-in votes to appear on the ballot in November.


With an extensive background in journalism as an editor and writer for the New York Times for 34 years, this is Mr. Miller’s first foray into politics. A resident of the Borough for 21 years, he noted that his experience has made him attuned to “objectivity and fairness,” adding that “I want to make sure that all Princetonians can share in the fairness.”

Spurring dialogue and meeting the needs of underrepresented communities in town are among Mr. Miller’s goals. “There aren’t enough voices heard here in Princeton,” he said.

Mr. Marks was born in Princeton and is a graduate of Princeton High School. With a goal of making it easier to “live, work, and shop” in the Borough, he has a background in financial analysis and is a real estate consultant, property manager, and investor.

Republican or Democrat, the candidates acknowledged the economic climate as a challenge, with Mr. Miller wondering whether rising taxes would push more people out of the community.

Ms. Butler called putting together a primary campaign “very good for the voters and residents, and tough on the candidates,” but highlighted how having challengers within the party and outside engages people in dialogue and fosters community involvement.

Between now and November Ms. Butler plans to stay abreast of news and decision-making by Borough Council, and will continue to work with the Citizens Finance Advocacy Task Force. “Hopefully the consolidation commission will be appointed before the election, and they’ll begin meeting and starting to think about that issue.”

“We need to really get a discussion moving on the consideration of consolidation,” Ms. Butler said. “There may be some areas of cost savings,” she noted, even at the County or regional level. “We need to see what the numbers say.”

Both Ms. Butler and Mr. Miller said that they would work on their campaigns for the November election as the summer unfolds, stepping up efforts in the autumn. “There are a lot of unknowns,” Ms. Butler observed, “What happens on the national level will affect how voters feel in the fall.”

“I’m not taking November lightly,” remarked Ms. Butler.


A Princeton University alumnus and U.S. Navy veteran, Mr. Duncan is a theater critic who has described himself as “a keen observer of the local political scene” who “believes it’s high time for a change.”

Mr. Miles’s previous experience includes, he reported, “many years of experience working for and advising a number of the nation’s leading financial and investment firms.” His wife, Beth, is a retired U.S. Army Captain.

“I think the biggest challenge facing the Township will be continuing to deal with the depressed economy and the repercussions of the state budget crisis,” observed Ms. Lempert.

Mr. Liverman’s priorities for another term are, he said, “being one of the driving forces for Corner House to find and develop a new home, keeping on track with managing the financial portfolio of the Township,” maintaining an “open dialogue open with Princeton Regional School and Princeton Borough about the use of the old Valley Road School site,” working with the Consolidation Commission to move “full steam ahead,” and “to continue to educate the public about why investing in our infrastructure is so important and saves millions of dollars over time.”

“I’m very sensitive to the property tax burden on all of us, and I am committed to responsible budgeting not just for this year, but with an eye towards future years,” concurred Ms. Lempert. “I support the current consolidation effort and plan to do all I can to help the process along and keep the community informed and involved. I’m passionate about sustainability and will continue my work with the sidewalk and bike committee, the Environmental Commission and private land conservation groups to preserve open space.”

Mr. Liverman noted that “moving full steam ahead” with the Consolidation Commission does not necessarily imply full consolidation as a desired outcome. “I owe it to the citizens of Princeton Township to let them cast their vote for or against consolidation of the Township and Borough. It looks like both municipalities are ready to introduce the candidates to begin this job.”

Nor does finding “a new home” for Corner House preclude keeping it in its current Valley Road Building location. “The Princeton Board of Education will be closing down the side of Valley Road Building that houses Corner House, TV30, Township Affordable Housing, and Princeton Young Achievers (PYA),” commented Mr. Liverman. “I would, however, like to keep the dialogue open with Princeton Regional Schools and Princeton Borough about the use of the Valley Road site. We want to present plans that will enhance the location while adding valuable space for our displaced departments. Money will be the main focus; we would love to have outside funding provide grants and donations to cover these expenses.”

Mr. Liverman also pledged “to continue to be visible and available for my community. I try to get to the many functions I’m invited to, and love to engage in dialogues about this wonderful community. I want to make sure that every in Princeton Township resident understands that I am only an email or phone call away.”

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