Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 12
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Anne Waldron Neumann Announces Her Candidacy for Borough Mayor

Anne Waldron Neumann
Alexander Street

It’s Time to Remember Oswald Veblen And His Contributions to the Community

Stephen Hiltner
N. Harrison Street


Anne Waldron Neumann Announces Her Candidacy for Borough Mayor

To the Editor:

I am a Democratic candidate for Borough mayor, confident that I will serve the Borough well if elected. My candidacy means that every Princetonian’s needs can be heard and debated in this race. As mayor, I will ensure those needs are met using every power the mayor possesses.

Three views of government prevail in America today and are reflected locally, even among some Democratic elected officials. At one extreme: government should do nothing. At the other extreme: government never does anything. In the middle, my view: government often does good but should do more.

Let me illustrate the balance I will strike. First, I applaud Borough Council for presenting a flat budget for two and now probably three years in a row. Budgets can always be re-examined, however. And only more revenue can provide the tax relief we need, especially after our distressing recent revaluation. Surely a university “in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations” owes its own community a larger PILOT.

Second, Borough Council must both anticipate development and respond more proactively. Our downtown for example: I will do everything possible to encourage the kind of retail that brings residents downtown to shop for daily needs, thereby increasing Princeton’s social cohesion. Borough merchants, in turn, deserve a business-friendly mayor who sees that their needs are met promptly.

Third, Princeton’s established neighborhoods also deserve a mayor who will work actively to preserve them, perhaps through form-based zoning. Princeton should remain affordable for police, teachers, long-time residents — all should find housing to buy or rent here if they wish. The Dinky terminus must not move until light rail replaces it with service to Nassau Street. I will use the mayor’s Planning Board seat to represent the Borough without recusing myself on Princeton University applications.

Finally, Borough Council should publicize its accomplishments, decisions, and budget more effectively. A mayor should both speak and listen. I will, as mayor, schedule regular house meetings in each Borough neighborhood to hear residents’ concerns. I will act on those concerns to my utmost ability. For more information, please visit www.anneneumannformayor.weebly.com.

Anne Waldron Neumann
Alexander Street

It’s Time to Remember Oswald Veblen And His Contributions to the Community

To the Editor:

Princeton having celebrated Einstein’s birthday with various permutations of pi(e), both edible and mathematical, it’s worth remembering a close associate of Einstein’s, Oswald Veblen, who can be found standing alongside Einstein on the cover of the new Images of America book, the Institute for Advanced Study (Arcadia Press). As a mathematician who joined the Princeton University’s faculty in 1905, Veblen was a visionary who had much to do with bringing the Institute, and Einstein, to Princeton. He largely designed the original Fine Hall, where Einstein first had an office. A “woodchopping” professor who loved the woods, Veblen and his wife Elizabeth later donated nearly 100 acres of farmstead and forest (what is now known as Herrontown Woods) for preservation in eastern Princeton. Though Einstein’s Princeton home is a private residence, the Veblen house and cottage at the edge of Herrontown Woods are publicly owned and have long awaited a public purpose. Einstein and other great intellectuals were frequent visitors there. Given the condition of the buildings, this year will likely determine their fate. Given the Veblens’ extraordinary contributions to the Princeton community, we owe them and ourselves a better fate than to see their historic farmstead torn down. 

The farmstead has several things going for it, including its central location along an extraordinary corridor of greenspace extending from the Princeton Ridge at Bunn Drive down to River Road. Just as the Veblen legacy brings together a love of intellect, nature, and physical work, the farmstead itself stands at the border between preserved woodland and the tradition of microfarming once common in eastern Princeton. Surely we can wed these enduring themes to more recent movements of sustainability, biodiversity, and local food, and put the farmstead to creative reuse.

More information about the Veblens and ideas for the long-slumbering house and cottage, including a Pi Farm, can be found at VeblenHouse.blogspot.com. 

Stephen Hiltner
N. Harrison Street

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

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