To the Editor:
I thank the members of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization who attended the PCDO endorsement meeting on March 28, voting to endorse candidates for municipal offices.
I was not endorsed by the PCDO in my bid for Borough Council, receiving only 71 votes out of the 121 ballots cast, or 58 percent and not the 60 percent required under PCDO rules. But I was nevertheless grateful for the support I did receive and to the other candidates Anne Waldron Neumann, Mark Freda, and Andrew Koontz for the opportunity to discuss local issues with the PCDO membership.
I will run in the Democratic primary this June. In the meantime, I will continue to help shape the delivery of local government services to the Borough, utilizing the independent-minded brand of social progressivism and fiscal restraint that I believe best serves the people of Princeton.
To the Editor:
The recent letter from Bill Laznovsky (Town Topics, March 24), long-time opponent of the deer culling program in Princeton Township, is tall on criticism but short on alternative solutions.
Using language crafted to elicit an emotional response, he calls Mayor Marchand and the Township Committee financially irresponsible fools and liars. For good measure, he describes the work of Dr. Tony DeNicola, which was lauded in the prestigious Audubon Magazine, as "pseudo-scientific."
Prior to White Buffalo's deer removal program, several environmental studies showed that the damage to plants, forest undergrowth, and small-animal habitats caused by the excess deer population in Princeton Township was at least $1 million a year. Removing 1,200 deer prevented the destruction of more than 2 million pounds of shrubs, trees, flowers, and residential plants in the Township just this past year. The dramatic reduction in deer-vehicle collisions saved Township motorists nearly $1 million in repairs and insurance claims during 2003. Hungry people received thousands of pounds of deer meat and the spread of debilitating Lyme disease was dramatically curtailed.
Princeton Township residents have clearly seen these many benefits of the White Buffalo deer population management program. This is surely one of the reasons why the members of the Township Committee and Mayor Marchand have been reelected, despite vitriolic verbal attacks against them from a handful of animal-rights extremists. The cost of the deer management would have been significantly lower if opponents had not sabotaged bait sites, filed lawsuits, and otherwise attempted to interfere.
Despite the success of White Buffalo's work, Laznovsky claims that it will "fail in the end." He asks Princeton's elected officials to abandon this successful program and replace it with "humane, effective and affordable solutions to the human/deer conflict." Dr. DeNicola, president of White Buffalo, Inc., received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in wildlife ecology, and is a certified wildlife biologist. Before issuing more attacks, Laznovsky should let us know his expert qualifications in this field and exactly how he could have reduced the fast-breeding deer population without killing them.
A. EDGE JR.
To the Editor:
I don't know exactly how accurate Mr. Laznovsky's figures are, but even if correct, how much of the cost was caused by litigation brought about by persons confused over the relative merits and rights of deer and humans?
He also seems oblivious to the cost of deer/auto collisions. Cars are destroyed, people can be killed. Saving one life totally justifies the [deer cull] cost.
Bambi might be cute out in the woods. Bambi is a menace on a crowded road. I applaud local government for doing whatever is necessary to mitigate this danger.
To the Editor:
Aside from the statistics about the culling of deer in Princeton Township, there is one serious question that occurred to me while reading Mr. Laznovsky's bitter Mailbox letter (Town Topics, March 24).
What dollar amount does he place on human life? If deer-vehicle collisions can be diminished, that in itself might be a good thing. It is relatively easy to learn of such cases where a car went out of control resulting in the death of a passenger or driver. In addition, a clever lawyer might very well make the deer-culling price look like a bargain.
GEORGE H. BROWN
To the Editor:
On parking, the Arts Council leadership certainly weaves wondrous tales. In February the Arts Council's massive project received general endorsement by the Site Plan Review Advisory Board with little skepticism about the viability or appropriateness of their parking "solution." Since input by the neighborhood was actively discouraged, this outcome was no surprise. In reviewing the Arts Council plan, we urge the Regional Planning Board to come to grips with the looming parking crisis in the John-Witherspoon neighborhood.
To be blunt: the Arts Council parking solution is an empty shell. They brightly propose that patrons of Arts Council activities will pay for the Palmer Square garage spots when convenient free parking is available on the nearer residential streets. The Arts Council and SPRAB clearly have an unrealistic view of human nature.
Further, the Arts Council's submitted proposal is hopelessly short-term. The token agreement with Palmer Square may be canceled at any time. We expect it will soon fall victim to the flood of demand caused by the 100 new houses in the Palmer Square North development. Inevitably Palmer Square management and residents will place their own needs above those of the Arts Council. Where next will the Arts Council find parking? Other locations are even further away. Of course it will have little impact on their patrons, who will be parking on the residential streets all along.
The parking pressure of the Arts Council on the John-Witherspoon neighborhood will increase over the years to come. Everyone agrees that the proposed Arts Council plan results in a building that is much, much larger and more flexible than the current building. This implies that the patronage, traffic, number of simultaneous activities, etc., can and will increase. To the neighbors, it seems inevitable that the usage of the building will someday be far more than the immediate 20 to 30 percent increase projected by the Arts Council.
On-street residential parking is crucial for a significant fraction of John-Witherspoon residences without driveways, and a valuable asset for the rest. The current regulations discriminate against residents in favor of transient daytime parking up to two hours. The turnover of vehicles using such free parking is good for downtown businesses and the Arts Council, but the resulting traffic and congestion is clearly detrimental to all the residents on Green, John, Quarry, and Maclean Streets. It is also a bad deal for the Borough financially, since potential income from residential parking is not generated.
In a rational world, a comprehensive solution would be found. This is certainly more than an Arts Council problem, but the Arts Council's ambitious expansion in this residential zone brings it to a head. It would be highly irresponsible for the Planning Board to approve the Arts Council parking proposal with the current on-street parking regulations in the John-Witherspoon neighborhood. Princeton's embattled neighborhoods deserve better.
To the Editor:
When the Site Plan Review Advisory Board approved the plans for a much larger Arts Council building, it appears to have neglected one of the more troubling variances being requested the lack of a loading dock. While no loading dock is understandable given the smallness of the lot and awkward traffic patterns around the site, the total lack of any discussion about where trucks will make deliveries was most prominent by its absence.
What, dare we ask, is the estimate of normal loading/unloading operations for the new building? Given that the building will contain an expanded art gallery, a store, and will have an upgraded theater that will be actively marketed for a variety of outside activities, we can easily imagine a need for standing trucks bearing art, inventory, scenery, instruments, catering, etc., over extended periods. In that case there needs to be a marked loading zone.
Where, then, will be the designated loading zone? Each of the adjacent Borough streets (Green, Witherspoon, and Paul Robeson Place) is clearly problematic. If the loading zone is in the parking lane behind the building, how will trucks leave the site? We shudder to contemplate trucks backing out onto Paul Robeson Place on a blind curve or attempting the narrow exit onto Green Street.
Perhaps we misunderstand the purpose of SPRAB, but their expert input on this delicate issue would have been most welcome.