Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 25
 
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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Victorious Borough Council Candidate Looks Forward to Support in November

JO BUTLER
Herrontown Road

Green Tiger Gardens Inspire Thoughts Of a Poem — and a Mother’s Advice

CARL FAITH
Longview Drive

Dinky Solution Includes Privatization, Light Railcar, No Operating Subsidy

RODNEY FISK
Birch Avenue


Victorious Borough Council Candidate Looks Forward to Support in November

To the Editor:

I would like to thank all the voters in Princeton Borough for their participation in the primary election. I am honored to have been chosen to represent the Democratic Party in the general election in November. I look forward to working with my running mate, incumbent Council Member Roger Martindell, as we commit to serving the citizens of this wonderful community.

I want to congratulate Anne Waldron Neumann on her energetic and creative campaign. I believe the community is well-served by competitive elections, and I look forward to earning your support in November.

If there are any issues of concern to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at jo.butler@verizon.net.

Again, many thanks for your support.

JO BUTLER
Herrontown Road

Green Tiger Gardens Inspire Thoughts Of a Poem — and a Mother’s Advice

To the Editor:

It was a pleasure reading Ellen Gilbert’s article “Vegetables Anyone Could Love: PHS Troupe Highlights Opening of Green Tiger Gardens” (Town Topics, June 16).

On the subject of veggies, I remembered a witty, punning poem by the English poet and performance artist Roger McGough (born 1937), “No Peas for the Wicked”:

No peas for the wicked, no carrots for the damned,
No parsnips for the naughty, O Lord we pray,
No sprouts for the shameless, no cabbage for the shady,
No lettuce for the lecherous, no way, no way.
No potatoes for the deviant, no radish for the riff-raff,
No spinach for the spineless: Lock them away!
No beetroot for the boasters, no mange-tous for the molesters,
No corn-on-the-cob etc. (Shall we call it a day.)

Mange tout is French for “eat all” (tous is the plural form). The flat pods of mange-tous are eaten whole. They are actually young peas still in the pod and picked before they have a chance to develop.

Remember when your mother told you, “Eat your vegetables, they are good for you”? She was right!

CARL FAITH
Longview Drive

Dinky Solution Includes Privatization, Light Railcar, No Operating Subsidy

To the Editor:

Twenty-five years ago Conrail threatened to abandon the late Penn-Central’s Princeton Line. Shortly thereafter, NJ Transit saved the Dinky.

Then my company, Princeton New Jersey Railroad Company, proposed to save the Dinky money, forgoing all operating subsidy, a singular accomplishment.

After sequential rejections but with every argument countered and demand satisfied, NJ Transit denied the proposal with utter finality.

The Dinky’s principal shortcomings again suffer scrutiny. For every dollar in fare-box revenue, taxpayers pay three. The little train’s schedule is filled with strange gaps and its operation is sometimes erratic and unreliable.

The emerging solution suggests replacing the Dinky with a bus that would wend through town and back to Princeton Junction. To maintain reasonable reliability, up to five buses would be needed, and the ride time would be tediously extended, all at substantially higher subsidy.

There is a better option: Someone could redraft my private-sector initiative to replace NJ Transit as operator of the Dinky, improving service to meet all trains at the Junction. What better assurance of continued operation?

To further improve the utility of the service, the track structure could be extended in street, with the railcar operating as a streetcar to Nassau Street.

The new paradigm is simple: Specify a lightweight railcar suited to the requirements of the line, rather than over-sized, over-powered equipment; and operate the service with rational crews paid market wages, rather than traditional crews paid negotiated wages. The operating subsidy disappears.

A mere good idea would have to achieve the speed of light, however, to overcome the inertia of an entrenched bureaucracy — especially one that supports a publicly subsidized monopolist fixated on the fabulous benefits of Bus Rapid Transit.

To proceed we must add mass to the “good idea” and assemble an advisory board of influence leaders to convincingly argue that all stakeholders would best be served by privatizing the Dinky and converting the unnecessary operating subsidy to more deserving public needs.

Join the discussion at “Save the Princeton Dinky” on Facebook.

RODNEY FISK
Birch Avenue

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