Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 12
 
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
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Supporters of Right to Die Movement Decry Arrests of Final Exit Leaders

SARA DAVIES
College Road West
ROZ DENARD
Jefferson Road
BETTY and ROBERT FLEMING
Riverside Drive
LEA LERNER
Orchid Court
DIANE and ROBERT LEVINE
Linwood Circle
SUE STEMBER
East Countryside Drive
JUDITH HIGGINS
Griggs Drive

Extended Metered Parking on Sundays? Why Not Offend All Religions Equally?

MARC I. MALBERG, MD
Autumn Hill Road

Township Committee Candidate Seeks Efficient, Participatory Government

LIZ LEMPERT
Meadowbrook Drive
Township Committee

Tax “Savings” Have Proved Chimerical From Consolidated Municipal Services

JOHN J. TURI
Westcott Road


Supporters of Right to Die Movement Decry Arrests of Final Exit Leaders

To the Editor:

Many Princeton-area residents are members of the Final Exit Network, which is a volunteer right-to-die organization dedicated to serving people who are suffering from an intolerable condition of misery and who wish to end their lives.

Our members were appalled to learn from the national news media that agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested volunteers from the Final Exit Network, charging them with assisting a suicide. In what we consider to be an entrapment scheme, a police agent posed as a cancer victim wanting to end his life with the help of Final Exit Network volunteers. This agent made claims which resulted in arrests of several leaders in the Final Exit Network. The bank account of the Final Exit Network national organization was frozen, and those who were arrested (now out on bail) are legally unable to continue their activities with the organization.

We do not believe the claims of the police agent. Our intimate knowledge of the Final Exit Network leads us to believe that the Georgia authorities were demonstrating their opposition to the right-to-die movement by fabricating a case based on deception.

One of those arrested was a physician who is the national organization’s medical advisor. He was scheduled to speak at the annual meeting of our New Jersey Final Exit Network this Spring. We had to cancel the meeting because he is not available. It is important that we be alert to any slippery slope that deprives us of our inalienable rights.

SARA DAVIES
College Road West
ROZ DENARD
Jefferson Road
BETTY and ROBERT FLEMING
Riverside Drive
LEA LERNER
Orchid Court
DIANE and ROBERT LEVINE
Linwood Circle
SUE STEMBER
East Countryside Drive
JUDITH HIGGINS
Griggs Drive

Extended Metered Parking on Sundays? Why Not Offend All Religions Equally?

To the Editor:

The Borough Council has apparently decided that the Founding Fathers’ insistence on separation of church and state does not apply in the erstwhile capital of the new nation (“Borough Votes to Increase Parking Fees,” Town Topics, March 11).

The Council, with one dissension on unrelated grounds, voted to add metered parking on Sundays, but with a clear religious prejudice. The proposed chargeable meter time was changed from the originally proposed span of noon to 5 p.m. to between 1 and 8 p.m. “in order to accommodate the churches downtown.” On that readily accepted basis, metered parking should be suspended, at the very least, on Fridays for Moslems and Saturdays for Jews. Better yet, if money is the issue, as it always is in politics, metered parking should be the same extended hours every day of the week so that all religions and all merchants can be offended equally. Our U.S. constitution demands nothing less.

MARC I. MALBERG, MD
Autumn Hill Road

Township Committee Candidate Seeks Efficient, Participatory Government

To the Editor:

I am writing to announce my campaign for Township Committee. I joined Township Committee in December and am asking for support in the June election.

I was inspired to get involved in local government by my work with the Obama campaign. As co-chair of Mercer for Obama, I helped to build a network of volunteers, many of us new to the political process and eager to make a difference. I hope to continue to encourage Township residents to share their talents and energy, from finance professionals reviewing the budget to environmental scientists helping Princeton become more sustainable.

I’ve lived in Princeton’s Littlebrook neighborhood since 2002 with my husband and two daughters, now ages 10 and 7. I grew up in Northern California, graduated from Stanford University, and worked as a producer and editor for National Public Radio’s environmental news show, Living on Earth, first in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then Boulder, Colorado, before finally settling in Princeton. My experience as a journalist trained me to find information quickly, assimilate differing points of view, and be open to listening — skills I’ve found useful on Committee.

As the Township deals with growth, transportation, affordable housing, its relationship to the University, and many other issues, I can bring to the table the experiences of the other communities in which I’ve lived.

The Township must cope with today’s weakening economy. But this is also an opportunity to look for smart ways to save money, improve efficiency, and think big. I’d like to continue to work with the other members of the Township Committee and Borough Council towards consolidation, affordability, sustainability, and open government that encourages citizens to participate and contribute their ideas and knowledge.

Our town is better when everyone is able to contribute. I am always available and interested to hear your thoughts. You can reach me at llempert@princeton-township.nj.us or (609) 924-5704, ext. 1623.

LIZ LEMPERT
Meadowbrook Drive
Township Committee

Tax “Savings” Have Proved Chimerical From Consolidated Municipal Services

To the Editor:

A March 12 Department of Community Affairs report shows the annual tax bill for Princeton Borough is $14,562 and the Township tops that at $15,374, nearly 100 percent higher than the average of $7,804 of every other municipality in Mercer County.

According to former Mayor Marvin Reed, Princeton Township and the Borough have consolidated services in nine areas over the years, including the schools, library, and various municipal departments. The “savings” on this “consolidation” has resulted, incredibly, in the highest taxes in Mercer County and among the highest in the State.

With nine areas of consolidation, more than any other community in the county, it stands to reason that with all these “savings,” the Princetons should have the lowest property tax in the county.

In any privately run business, it is logical that consolidation of various departments can lead to savings but government doesn’t work that way. The Princeton Borough Council, with Ellen Karcher leading the charge, can’t wait to spend whatever money is realized through her touted consolidation of the police departments. Ms. Karcher has already earmarked the money, allegedly $500,000 saved by each community, to initiate another new department which will not only eat up the $1 million but result in a lifetime of pensions and benefits for another galaxy of municipal employees on the property-owner dole with not a cent in reduced taxes.

With the consolidation of the police departments, what else is left to consolidate? What does the lack of further consolidation of services augur for the future of the Princeton property owner? It can only mean higher and higher taxes. Can we afford any more consolidation of services?

The consolidation philosophy is a pernicious charade by politicians to deflect their gross malfeasance. The only recourse for Princeton homeowners to ever get meaningful tax relief from our dysfunctional municipal government is, come next election, to vote every incumbent out of their municipal house so we can remain in our house.

JOHN J. TURI
Westcott Road

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