Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 21
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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An Open Letter to Governor Christie About His Seat on University Board

William N. Hoover
Westerley Road

Councilman’s Connection with University Compromises His Ability to Serve Citizens

Eric Craig
Witherspoon Street
Jacqui Swain
Lytle Street
Bill Strong
Maple Street

It’s Time for PRS to Pay Attention To Valley Road Reuse Committee

Adam Bierman
Grover Avenue

Suggestions to Local Homeowners About Stormwater Runoff Problems

Fred H. Bowers
Soil Scientist, Snowden Lane

Applications for Positions Are Available For Princeton DuBois Scholars Institute

Shirley A. Satterfield
Quarry Street

Pedestrian, Bicycle Advisory Committee Thanks Organizers of Bike Rodeo Event

Janet Heroux,
Chair,
Betsy Marshall, Yan Bennett, David Cohen, Laurie Harmon, Patti Lieberman, Steve Kruse, Jenny Crumiller
Borough Council Liaison
Liz Lempert
Township Committee Liaison

The PHS Track & Field Team Thanks Community for Supporting 5K Race

Kathryn McIssac, Julie Cavallaro, Coach John Woodside, Coach Jim Smirk
The Princeton 5K Race Committee

Celebrating Edgar Riddick’s Legacy: He Helped Break Town-Gown Barriers

Robert O. “Buffalo” Smyth
President, Harrison Athletic Club

This Year’s Great Princeton Parks Pick-Up A Success Thanks to Help From Volunteers

Andrew Koontz
President
Polly Burlingham
Vice President


An Open Letter to Governor Christie About His Seat on University Board

Dear Governor Christie:

I had the pleasure of attending your talk at Princeton University last Friday. Though I am a registered Democrat, I must say that I found you to be an inspirational speaker. I was particularly impressed by your comment that you were pursuing the end to nepotistic and overly familiar relationships with regard to government hiring and business dealings. University President Shirley Tilghman gave you a hearty welcome and pointed out that you are an ex officio member of the Princeton University Board of Trustees. It appears that this position, that has been granted to the Governor of New Jersey, dates from the 1700s.

The relationship between Princeton University and the residents of both Princeton Borough and Princeton Township has not always been a bed of roses. There are major questions raised now as to the propriety of granting a non-profit, non-taxable status to a multi-billion dollar enterprise like the University. The question of non-payment or partial payment of property taxes by the University is an ever present subject. And, as you pointed out in your talk on Friday, we now have the issue of moving the Dinky station.

My question to you is this: In view of the fact that you are the Governor of New Jersey, elected by and for the people, is it really appropriate that you sit as a member of the Board of Trustees of this multi-billion dollar business which has such controversial issues attached to it? Is the governor’s position as a member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton University somehow more benign than if you were a member of the Board of Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Johnson and Johnson, Church & Dwight, or Dow Jones?

The decision by Princeton University in 1746 to make the governor of New Jersey a member of the University Board of Trustees was truly a brilliant political ploy, but perhaps after 200 years this close relationship between the governor of New Jersey, the Legislature of New Jersey, and Princeton University is just as anachronistic as the idea and status of the University being a not-for-profit enterprise.

William N. Hoover
Westerley Road

Councilman’s Connection with University Compromises His Ability to Serve Citizens

To the Editor:

We are concerned that our municipality’s ability to conduct its business should not be compromised by the inability of a mayor to perform critical duties on behalf of its citizens.

David Goldfarb, the Borough Incumbent Councilman, is employed by the law firm that represents Princeton University on land use matters, a circumstance requiring that he recuse himself on issues that concern many citizens, including the Arts Complex, the Dinky, University property issues that might relate to revaluation, and potentially some periodic budget and other departmental decisions.

The University is the owner of approximately 46 percent of all of the Borough’s land. The issue of whether they make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to reduce the tax burden of individual residential property owners is related to their land holdings and development.

Mr. Goldfarb will not be able to perform the critical role as the tie breaker on these issues, placing the municipality in a dysfunctional position. In assuming the mayor’s seat on the Planning Board, he would have to recuse himself on the many applications and issues that relate to the University, diminishing the Borough’s representation to only four eligible voting members.

On June 7, we will be voting for someone with experience, a fresh voice, and someone who is free of conflict. Join us in voting for Yina Moore, the better choice for mayor of Princeton Borough.

Eric Craig
Witherspoon Street
Jacqui Swain
Lytle Street
Bill Strong
Maple Street

It’s Time for PRS to Pay Attention To Valley Road Reuse Committee

If School Superintendent Wilson continues to turn a deaf ear to the economic and sustainable plans of the Valley Road School Active Reuse Committee (ARC), future headlines may read “Superintendent Wilson and PRS to Valley Road Reuse Committee (VRC), Drop Dead.”

The name is unwieldy but VRC-ARC’s plan to make Valley Road School building into a non-profit space and community center is not. As of now the ARC is ready to go and the new rehabilitated building would provide much needed space for non-profit organizations and become the community center Princeton has never had, without costing a red cent to the already overburdened Princeton taxpayer.

What options is the superintendent waiting for, to take the responsibility of the VRB (Valley Road Building) off her hands? One option, the recreation department had plans for the building; however they did not materialize. A second option, the fire department wants to move in. But they will have a hard sell with neighborhood Community Park School parents who do not want rescue vehicles racing past the pool and school. Besides if the department has to pay fire fighters, where would they get money to pay to mend VRS?

The best option would be the VRC-ARC. The group already has a plan in place. But if Mrs. Wilson continues to ignore it, what will she then do with the structure? Spend at least a half a million dollars to tear the building with funds the school capital budget does not have or perhaps board up the building, let it rot and wait for angry litigation to ensue.

Frankly, I do not have much confidence in the school board’s ability to deal with a large renovation, even if they wanted to. Look at all the problems associated with the Princeton High School restoration. I was told they hired an architecture firm that did not have experience with this kind of work. The results, windows that do not open, outlets that do not work, and rooms that do not get proper heating and/or cooling; not to mention a time-consuming, money pit of a law suit.

So, please, make your voice be heard and let the vital, competent people of the VRC take this project off PRS hands. People are ready to donate and non-profit organizations want to move in.

Adam Bierman
Grover Avenue

Suggestions to Local Homeowners About Stormwater Runoff Problems

To the Editor:

Recently, the Governor signed a law concerning soil restoration measures that amended and supplemented the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act (P.L.1975, c.251). It will require that amendments like organic matter and compost are added to soils after being disturbed during major development projects (over 5000 square feet). The purpose is to reduce runoff and subsequent flooding and siltation of streams. This is surely a good thing if applied properly, but will not improve existing stormwater runoff problems. The case of Harry’s Brook and its tendency to flood is a perfect example of how our existing stormwater management infrastructure is inadequate. 

I propose that homeowners start to manage the stormwater on their own properties in ways that prevent accelerated runoff during storm events. For example, rather than directing roof runoff to the street, we should start using rain barrels, rain gardens, drywells, terracing, swales, incorporation of compost into the soil, and other mechanisms that can induce recharge on ones property, while avoiding runoff onto other properties. Capturing water on land before it ever makes its way to stormwater basins and streams is the way to eliminate flooding at the source, and it also benefits the ecosystem by providing an even source of baseflow to the streams. Since Princeton is already an urbanized area, this approach will need to be carefully managed and monitored to avoid causing high water tables where people have existing basement flooding problems but it can be done. Municipalities have the power to require this by ordinance, but in the absence of ordinances, citizens, as stewards of the environment, can do these things themselves. For information on these topics, search the internet and/or contact the Mercer County Soil Conservation District at http://mercerscd.org/.

Fred H. Bowers
Soil Scientist, Snowden Lane

Applications for Positions Are Available For Princeton DuBois Scholars Institute

To the Editor:

The African American scholar. W.E.B. DuBois stated, “The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” Many high achieving middle and high school students throughout the United States give up part of their summer vacation to attend the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute held at Princeton University during the month of July.

The core values of the Institute are to cultivate leadership potential, sustain high levels of academic interest, motivation, and academic performance; equip the participants with skills to be a positive force in their schools, community and society, enhance college readiness, and build bridges of communication within and between racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

There are still applications available for the summer enrichment program for PreScholars, students in 7th and 8th grades. The Institute is in session from July 2 to July 30, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Princeton University. The students are taught by college professors and graduate students. The tuition is $1,750, which includes courses, books, supplies and field trips.

Interested and qualified students may apply on line: webduboisscholoars.org or phone for applications and questions: (973) 720-2623. Dr. Sherle L. Boone is the CEO and Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute.

Shirley A. Satterfield
Quarry Street

Pedestrian, Bicycle Advisory Committee Thanks Organizers of Bike Rodeo Event

To the Editor:

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee would like to take the opportunity to thank the organizers of the Princeton Bike Rodeo, held on Saturday, May 14. The event was a great way to teach community children and their parents safe bicycling practices and responsibilities. The Human Services Commission and department staff, the Princeton Borough and Township Police Departments, Sustainable Princeton, the Recreation Department, and the Greater Mercer TMA put in countless hours planning and carrying out this important activity.

Bike inspections, maintenance, and helmet fittings were provided courtesy of Jay’s Cycles and Harts Cyclery. The children then moved on to learn the rules of the road and put them to practice on the safety course set up by our police officers. Participants came away eager to start riding to school and with their families. Learning safe bicycling techniques at an early age encourages lifelong enjoyment of the bicycle for both transportation and recreational uses.

The Bike Rodeo is an event we would like to see repeated annually to provide the confidence and skills needed for safe and frequent riding. Congratulations to the organizers, volunteers, and all the participants for making it a success!

Janet Heroux,
Chair,
Betsy Marshall, Yan Bennett, David Cohen, Laurie Harmon, Patti Lieberman, Steve Kruse, Jenny Crumiller
Borough Council Liaison
Liz Lempert
Township Committee Liaison

The PHS Track & Field Team Thanks Community for Supporting 5K Race

To the Editor:

The Princeton High School Boys/Girls Track & Field Team thanks the community for its overwhelming support of the Princeton 5K Race. Our success could not have been accomplished without the support from the Borough and Township Police Departments, the Borough Department of Public Works, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, and the Princeton School district. Special thanks to The Princeton Running Company and Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center for prize donations. We also recognize and appreciate the support from all participants, and to the residents who cheered while we ran past their homes on this fast and friendly neighborhood course. The race was a successful fundraiser for the team and on behalf of the athletes we say “Thank You!” 

Kathryn McIssac, Julie Cavallaro, Coach John Woodside, Coach Jim Smirk
The Princeton 5K Race Committee

Celebrating Edgar Riddick’s Legacy: He Helped Break Town-Gown Barriers

To the Editor:

With the recent passing of Edgar Riddick, the Princeton community lost a fine man and a gifted athlete. Edgar was an All-State running back for Princeton High School’s (PHS) football team in the 1950s, as well as being on the NY Football Giants taxi squad for three years. He was also All-State in track and field and was inducted into the PHS Athletic Hall of Fame. But Edgar was much more than just an athlete. In the early 1960s, he joined our Harrison Athletic Club’s (HAC) flag football team, which was a charter member of the physically rough Mercer County Flag Football League. He was the first African-American to join the HAC, and he had an immediate impact. He was a quiet and friendly man, and one that never lost his temper. He led by example, on and off the field, and became one of our captains. Because of his efforts and encouragement, he was able to recruit other local African-American football players and as a result, the HAC became a powerful and competitive team.

Edgar was also instrumental in helping the HAC break down some of the “town-gown” barriers, because our team would play against Princeton University’s eating clubs and then go back to the clubs after the games. Because of the competitive fires that burned deep within Edgar, he wanted the ball on every play, but when he had to passblock, he did so ferociously, and no one got around him. Edgar’s legacy has passed on to his son Michael, a fine man and also a wonderful football player, who played for Bucknell. I don’t know what team Edgar is playing for now, but I would offer this advice to his coach — “give him the ball.”

Robert O. “Buffalo” Smyth
President, Harrison Athletic Club

This Year’s Great Princeton Parks Pick-Up A Success Thanks to Help From Volunteers

To the Editor:

We would like to thank everyone who came out under threatening skies to participate in the Princeton Parks Alliance’s first annual Great Princeton Parks Pick-Up. The volunteers who showed up performed much needed tasks such as mulching, weeding, planting, and general all around sprucing up in Harrison Street Park and the Barbara Sigmund Park and Garden. Both parks look great as a result and will provide much enjoyment to the entire Princeton community!

If you missed out on this fun event, but want to participate at our next volunteer opportunity, the Parks Alliance will be organizing a similar event in the fall, when our parks will need special attention to prepare plantings for the winter weather. And keep on the lookout for our next Great Princeton Parks Pick-Up next year!

We would also like to thank our sponsors: Ace Hardware, which donated free gardening gloves and work buckets for volunteers, and Madden’s Nursery, which donated plants.

On behalf of the Princeton Parks Alliance,

Andrew Koontz
President
Polly Burlingham
Vice President

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

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