Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 12
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Mayor’s Race Heats Up In Borough

Dilshanie Perera

Three candidates are now in the contest for the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) endorsement for Mayor of Princeton Borough. The seal of approval by PCDO usually entails a prime ballot position in the Democratic primaries in June, as well as better odds in the election in November.

Anne Neumann, Yina Moore, and David Goldfarb are all competing for the nomination, which will be put up to a vote for members of PCDO to decide. All three are longtime residents of Princeton and have been active in public life.

Mr. Goldfarb was the first to declare his candidacy following current Mayor Mildred Trotman’s announcement that she would not be running for another term heading the Borough. “It would have been nice to have no opposition,” he acknowledged, adding, “I intend to present my views and to ask for those present [at the PCDO meeting] on April 3 to endorse me.”

Both Ms. Moore and Ms. Neumann independently noted that they felt moved to run for the position because Borough residents deserved a choice of possible contenders for the Mayor’s seat. They each explained that they were encouraged to campaign for the position by other members of PCDO.

Ms. Moore said that “there are a lot of very important issues that face our community,” noting that some are “targeted” and others are “general in terms of our structure.”

Born and raised in Princeton, Ms. Moore said that her outlook was shaped by her experiences in town, as well as those outside of Princeton in the professional working environment. “Life began here … and I was away for several years and then came back when my daughter was a first-grader.” Her entry into local politics was spurred by interest in education and the school system.

Emphasizing “diversity, spirit of community, and closeness of community” as integral to the character of the Borough, Ms. Moore acknowledged that over the past 15 years of her residency in Princeton, “we have seen a lot of things happen” to affect the makeup of the town.

The effects of the revaluation and their overall distribution through town are sources of concern for Ms. Moore. “I would like to see Princeton doing things to make sure they sustain the community,” she said.

As a member of the Regional Planning Board, Ms. Moore pointed out that proactive zoning changes in certain areas could work to strengthen and preserve neighborhoods. Of her tenure on the board, she said, “I tend to bring my own experiences as well as the concerns of the public into my decision-making.”

On the topic of consolidation, Ms. Moore remarked that “we need to wake up and unify,” noting that it “has to do more with our spirit and our values.” She observed that there would likely be short term and long term losses and benefits to any recommendation put forward by the commission and that “we can go forward in whatever form people decide is best,” emphasizing that “a lot of our costly revenues have a land use basis.”

Alluding to Princeton University’s interaction with the town, Ms. Moore said that “we have to make sure we’re celebrating all our unique qualities in sharing, as well as the challenges. That goes for our institutions as well.”

Ms. Neumann said that “the Borough needs a Mayor who recognizes that Borough Council has had many accomplishments but could certainly be more active on issues of development, revaluation, and communication with residents.”

See the “Mailbox” section for a letter announcing Ms. Neumann’s candidacy in this week’s issue of Town Topics. In it, she underscores the need for more revenue in order for systematic tax relief to be achieved, pointing out that Princeton University’s payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) contribution to the Borough could be larger.

“There’s more the Borough can do in terms of [enacting] zoning changes to preserve neighborhoods and to encourage more local-serving retail downtown,” Ms. Neumann added, urging that new development should be anticipated and engaged with in a proactive manner. She suggested form-based zoning as a potential solution.

An advocate for not moving the Dinky terminus, Ms. Neumann said she felt that issues brought by residents to the Borough should be “followed through promptly” as “the residents who raised the issue deserve some kind of response.”

Ms. Neumann is also an advocate for greater transparency and communication within local government.

Borough Councilman David Goldfarb supports greater participation in municipal life by the residents of the Borough. He characterized his strengths on his over two-decade tenure on Council and 30-year engagement with PCDO as effectiveness in strategizing finances, as well as bringing together “as many divergent points of view into the [decision-making] process as people are willing to share.”

For a full briefing on Mr. Goldfarb’s position, see the March 9 lead story in Town Topics.

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