Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 13
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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Defending ASI, Municipal Appraisal Staff Against “Unwarranted” Criticism

Ed Madsen
McComb Road

Experience and Community Spirit Cited By Committee to Elect Yina Moore Mayor

Committee to Elect Yina Moore for Mayor 
Minnie Craig, Carolyn Furey,
Anita Garoniak, Bernadine Hines,
Wavanie Mouko, Hank Pannell,
Ellen Randall, Shirley Satterfield, Lucy Hall

PU Jeopardizes Town-Gown Relations With Its Non-Negotiable Ultimatum

Joseph C. Small
Hawthorne Avenue

Dem Candidate for Borough Council Discusses Three Core Platform Issues

Thomas Zucosky
Witherspoon Street


Defending ASI, Municipal Appraisal Staff Against “Unwarranted” Criticism

To the Editor:

When it comes to valuing a residence, the typical appraisal characterizes the market with three sales which generally bracket the value opinion. During last year’s revaluation, ASI researched 350 sale comparisons which sufficed for market parameters. For transparency, they posted every one of those sales on the Web.

But no revaluation is perfect. When error inevitably creeps in, nothing beats an informed and alert citizenry. That is why the law provides homeowners the right to be heard after timely filing of an appeal to the County Tax Board. After last year’s revaluation, 197 appeals were filed in the Borough and 488 in the Township before the deadline.

Three of those appeals, supported by independent appraisals, were filed in my neighborhood. Upon review, ASI and the Township assessor concurred on adjustments which were wholly satisfactory to the homeowners. (The vast majority of my neighbors were satisfied with the initial ASI revaluation.)

Therefore, I am persuaded that the criticism levelled at ASI and our municipal appraisal staff is unwarranted. They have served us with professionalism and courtesy. If there are truly between 800 and 1,000 residents who feel they have been shortchanged by their assessments, I hope they will file their timely appeals before this year’s April 1 deadline. But they should not expect us to run the train in reverse because they fell asleep at the switch and missed the deadline last year.

Ed Madsen
McComb Road

Experience and Community Spirit Cited By Committee to Elect Yina Moore Mayor

To the Editor:

We hope that this Sunday the PCDO will endorse Yina Moore for Borough Mayor. She certainly has the professional background, experience, and an unmatched community spirit.

She has worked tirelessly on many town projects, with many committees, and is currently a member of the Regional Planning Board. She was influential in getting the Downtown Development (the food market as well as Albert Hinds Community Plaza) and the Arts Council built to serve all of Princeton. She also worked diligently for the Princeton Public Library as a Charter Member of the Foundation Board. 

Yina has proven her ability to get community-supported results. The ultimate action-oriented citizen, she is currently involved with the recent tax-revaluation campaign and with citizens exploring the possibility of consolidating the Borough and Township. She has contributed significantly to the discussion regarding improving mass transit services without compromising the Dinky.  

Yina is extremely smart and well-informed. She wants to know both sides of every story. She is fair and open minded. She has a strong belief in the importance of public participation. She will be a fantastic mayor. 

Yina’s unparalleled energy and optimism, along with her willingness to “do what it takes to do the right thing” will serve Princeton now and into the future. We urge our fellow Princeton Democrats to endorse Yina at the PCDO meeting, Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Suzanne Patterson Center. 

Committee to Elect Yina Moore for Mayor 
Minnie Craig, Carolyn Furey,
Anita Garoniak, Bernadine Hines,
Wavanie Mouko, Hank Pannell,
Ellen Randall, Shirley Satterfield, Lucy Hall

PU Jeopardizes Town-Gown Relations With Its Non-Negotiable Ultimatum

To the Editor:

The municipal governments and Princeton University are now engaged in a discussion concerning the location of a $300 million arts center and the need to relocate the Dinky station. The University says that the Dinky station must be moved in order for it to go ahead with the $300 million project. The University has fine architecture and engineering departments whose distinguished faculties could easily rise to the challenge of accommodating the Arts Center without moving the Dinky station further from the center of town. Moving the Dinky further from town would mean that more people would drive rather than walk to the train. It would disadvantage those who come from New York and Philadelphia by train to visit town and attend performances at McCarter and other University venues. More of them would drive, fewer would take the train. Some won’t come at all.

So why is the relocation of the Dinky a “non-negotiable” demand of the University? Perhaps it goes back to the mercurial philanthropist behind the Arts Center, Peter Lewis. Is he the one pulling the $300 million strings? Princeton University owes its good fortune — The Frank Gehry designed Lewis Library, and now the Lewis Arts Center — in part to Mr. Lewis’ abrupt 2005 redirection of his philanthropy away from the Guggenheim Museum in New York. If Princeton University doesn’t accept his approved design unchanged and now, perhaps Mr. Lewis’ philanthropic largess will again change course. Are the Trustees so concerned with losing this huge gift that they have directed the president to make statements that will jeopardize the University’s generally cordial relationships with its two host municipalities? Asked to choose between the $300 million gift and a good neighbor policy what is truly in the best long term interests of the University? What are the lessons it will teach its students about accommodation and mediation versus throwing down the gauntlet of non-negotiable ultimatums?

Call in the architects! Call in the engineers! We in New Jersey have seen too much bullying in recent months. Neither the Township, nor the Borough, nor the University should be bullied into a resolution by surrender to the almighty dollar when the professionals can be called in and a resolution accommodating all interests can be achieved. What a wonderful lesson for the thousands of students that the University is educating in the service of an increasingly confrontational state, nation and world!

Joseph C. Small
Hawthorne Avenue

Dem Candidate for Borough Council Discusses Three Core Platform Issues

To The Editor

I am a Democratic candidate for Princeton Borough Council. I am confident that if elected, I will serve the residents of Princeton Borough well. As a resident of the Borough and for years a member of many organizations in our community, I have consistently demonstrated strong leadership. Now more than ever, we need decisive leadership with a clear and thoughtful vision for the future of our town. As a group, the Borough Council should address every initiative with one simple question: “Does this idea improve the quality of life for residents of Princeton Borough?”

Borough residents can count on me to always seek creative solutions that are fiscally responsible and to look for new ways to establish public/private partnerships that will provide more resources to benefit our residents. For instance, not that long ago I played an integral role in the establishment and creation of two foundations whose mission is to develop private funding for public good in the area of recreation.

Below are what I see as the three core platform issues facing our community today:

Consolidation — Personally, I am very much in favor of consolidation. Common sense tells me that it’s also the right thing for the Borough. A thoughtful, objective and efficient review of all aspects of this endeavor are the only means towards a lasting and workable consolidation. Having served as chairman for the Joint Recreation Board, I can tell you that there will be serious challenges ahead for a consolidated Princeton.

Princeton University — We need a more productive dialogue with the University and a partnership that is fair and collaborative. I have built a 30-year career in finance and negotiation. It is hard for me to accept the Borough’s growth being overshadowed by the University’s in matters such as the Arts and Transit Center. Through skillful negotiation, hard work and leadership, Town/Gown relations can move ahead in a more positive and shared direction.

Affordability — The patchwork of diverse cultures in Princeton Borough is one of the most unique and appealing aspects of living in this community. While many of those who sit on the Borough Council support and embrace the need for diversity, few actually do much more than that. The time has come for our actions to match our words. By providing affordable options for residents and supporting local businesses, we are making an investment in our community. I believe in keeping our budgets in balance so that we can give property owners a measure of tax relief and I support funding the Senior Freeze on property taxes so that our seniors who live on fixed incomes can continue to be a vibrant voice in our community.

A great deal of important work lies ahead for the future leaders of Princeton Borough. That is why I want to be your representative on Borough Council.

My positions on key issues can be found on tomzucosky.com and on Facebook.

Thomas Zucosky
Witherspoon Street

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

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