A. EDGE JR.
To the Editor:
People who are not afraid to show support for a political candidate are OK in my book. With the voting population hovering in the 60 percent range in the 2000 election, I find it rather revitalizing to see a few lawn signs here and there.
I like passionate people. If my neighbors are flamboyant with their Halloween, Christmas or political décor, it puts a smile on my face. When I'm in the office surrounded by suits and ties, the occasional orange shirts, red socks, or any flash of color are refreshing to me.
If Rush Holt, as mentioned in Thomas Poole's letter (Town Topics, October 27), is inspiring passion in politics, kudos to him. Like every coin, there seem to be two sides to this issue. Keep up the good work, Princeton.
To the Editor:
The letter from Susan K. Ferry (Town Topics, October 27) is so counterintuitive and full of misinformation that I feel her assertions should be addressed.
According to her letter we should believe that "habitat manipulation" by the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife is responsible for the proliferation of deer. How this state agency is manipulating the habitat is not explained, but we're expected to simply accept this absurd claim at face value.
Ignoring the dramatic reduction in Princeton's deer population and deer-vehicle collisions resulting from controlled professional and amateur hunting, Ms. Ferry contends that killing deer will not reduce their population. In fact, Ms. Ferry makes the astonishing claim that the deer population increases because of hunting. There has never been a non-lethal deer management program anywhere that reduced their population.
It is true that uncontrolled hunting of does in the late 19th century nearly caused the extinction of deer in this region. Wildlife agencies imposed regulations to stop hunters from leaving fawns orphaned from uncontrolled doe hunting.
However, the real reason that the deer population has exploded is that we have provided ideal conditions for them near residential areas:
1. There are few natural predators around such as wolves, bears, and lynx to keep deer populations in check.
2. For our protection, there are restrictions on hunting near areas populated by humans.
3. Deer are prolific reproducers: one buck can mate with several does and a doe can begin breeding within 18 months of birth.
4. Suburban neighborhoods offer deer an attractive nutritious diet of ornamental plants and fertilized lawns.
None of the above factors have anything to do with deliberate "habitat manipulation" by state wildlife agencies. Unless we're willing to reintroduce natural predators into our residential neighborhoods, the only way to control the explosive population of deer is to kill them ourselves. Deer-vehicle collisions endanger human life and are obviously not a safe, cost-effective way to reduce their population.
LEWIS A. EDGE
To the Editor:
No question about it, Nancy Green's letter (Town Topics, October 20) contains some valid criticisms about the Princeton Public Library, and I believe the library directorate will give them serious thought.
Yet, to use a hackneyed expression, she is "throwing out the baby with the bath water" as she has overlooked some of its remarkable qualities. Organization aside, I find the library a fetching modern structure with a light airy ambiance "A Clean Well Lighted Place," to borrow a Hemingway short story title.
Some of the pleasant features of the old library have been lost. As Ms. Green remarks, "the space where the shop is should be used for changing community related exhibits similar to the ones shown in the original library."
Ms. Green ignores two of the compelling reasons for the new library: 1) the space required to house the library's books under one roof, and 2) space for the many more computers than it was possible to house in the old library. There are easy-to-access banks of them on the second floor. Only an antediluvian could cavil about this improvement.
Aside from these assets, there are the spacious reading areas with cushy seats, a fireplace, music rooms, community theater, and public forum area on the first floor adjacent to the cheerful cafe in the front hall.
This is the best library I have ever had the pleasure of using. And one of the quietest, too, made possible by the ample space and the soft carpeting.
Last but by no means least is the benefit to the new library of its excellent, helpful staff, the sine qua non of libraries. They are some of the heaviest users of the library, and from all accounts they are tickled pink with it. That counts a lot with me, because a happy staff is not only more efficient, but a joy to the eye and ear of us library nuts.
To the Editor:
Once again we are paying the price for monolithic one party government. When a single political party completely controls any branch of government for too long they become arrogant and unresponsive to the wishes of the people they are supposed to serve.
The latest outrages include forcing a jazz club into the Leigh Ave residential area against the wishes of most of the residents. Variances were granted with the least possible fanfare and only afterwards did the people wake up to what had been done. Now their only recourse is a law suit.
Watching this alerted the residents of Snowden Lane. The proposed addition of costly and unnecessary sidewalks has caused them to band together to fight. Although a public hearing and final vote to approve has been postponed until after the election, it still seems to be a "done deal." The master plan is being quietly changed to provide justification, and the wishes of the neighborhood are being ignored. On top of that, the Snowden Lane residents will be required to keep the walk clean at their own expense forever after.
Damage to a quiet neighborhood and the destruction of a historic country road don't seem to matter when the Imperial Township Committee decides to make changes to our way of life.
Recently they passed an ordinance that requires us to get permission before cutting down trees on our own lands. Who gave them the power to control what you do with your own trees? Did they offer you "just compensation" for taking away your property rights, as the constitution requires?
Now there is a secret plan to move the Borough's maintenance facility to River Road in the Township. A $50,000 grant has been quietly assigned to study and plan for this.
The only access for the trucks and snow plows would be via either Herrontown Road or the Princeton-Kingston Road. I doubt that the residents along those roads will be very happy when that word gets around! The next step will be to merge the facilities of both communities. Consequences for the Township will include slower service and our usual 67 percent share of the cost.
Obviously, in winter the downtown streets in the Borough would be plowed first, on a priority basis, and the Township would have to wait. At present, our roads are plowed much faster than the Borough's, and we only pay for what we use.
We have watched the equally monolithic Borough Council team with a self-appointed group to drastically alter the downtown area and bill much of the cost to the taxpayers with a bond issue. Apparently they had serious doubts as to whether the taxpayers would approve the bonds, so they abused a technicality to avoid letting the residents vote.
Other abuses attributable to one party rule include throwing away more than $200,000 worth of engineering design for a new Township Hall that contained adequate space for its purpose, starting over with a different architectural firm, and ending up with a more expensive structure that lacks enough office space for all the agencies. The original design, done by their Republican predecessors, might have looked better, too.
It is time to elect some watchdogs to resist these excesses. Time for a change!
To the Editor:
I want to personally thank all those who supported me in my canidacy during my inaugural run for Township Committee.
I want to thank the entire Princeton Township Republican Committee. Each member of the Committee played an important role in keeping the campaign alive and interesting. Their input on issues and my education was invaluable. I would like to say a special thank you to Ellen Souter and T. Burnet Fisher. I would not have taken part in this process if it were not for these two individuals.
I would also like to thank Irene White, my running mate, for all her efforts and hard work.
Additionally, I would like to thank my family and friends for their inspiration, encouragement, and opinions throughout the campaign. I could not have done it without you.
Most importantly, I thank all the residents of the community who supported this campaign in their own way.
To the Editor:
The Arts Council of Princeton would like to thank the many people who made possible its two splendid Halloween programs. This year, our annual Spooky Saturday workshop, part of the Arts Council's Family Fun Day series, focused on gargoyles. We are so grateful to Alex Barnett at the Princeton University Art Museum, who coordinated the campus gargoyle tours leading up to the clay workshop, and docents Sally Davidson and Elizabeth Murray who led the tours. The gargoyles captivated the children and inspired them after the tour to create their own terrifying beasts out of clay. The Arts Council also thanks Mary Kondo for leading the gargoyle workshop and all the dedicated volunteers who helped to set up for the workshop and then assisted the children in their projects.
The Annual Hometown Halloween Parade, as always, provided merriment for all. Thanks to the Nassau Inn and Palmer Square Management for supplying treats and pumpkin painting following the parade, Princeton Borough Police for diverting traffic and making sure that everyone marched to Palmer Square safely, Princeton Borough Fire Department for contributing its fire truck to bring up the rear of the parade, and Princeton University Band, without whom the parade would not have had anywhere near the same energy. The Arts Council also thanks Susan Zamtack for her convincing role as the Headless Horseman, and Small World for providing free hot chocolate to all the children who participated.
Thanks again to everyone including the families who participated for their part in ensuring these community events remain cherished traditions in Princeton.
To the Editor:
The article "Town Meetings to Discuss Future of Witherspoon Street Corridor" (Town Topics, October 27) raises questions that must be answered at, if not prior to, the planned meetings, to commence on November 19 in the new library. For example:
Is this the beginning of an effort to have the Witherspoon Street "corridor" declared a "redevelopment area?" If so, then why is a private entity, Princeton Future, initiating this process and not elected representatives? What is the agenda of Princeton Future, and why is it intent on initiating this process?
The terms "redevelopment area" or "area in need of redevelopment" are euphemisms for "blighted area." As a result, if a municipality declares a building, a lot, or a block "in need of redevelopment" it may unleash those extraordinary powers conferred by the State constitution to combat "the cancer of urban blight," as it has been called, but without using the commonly used term "blighted area."
Among these extraordinary powers, the municipality may:
1. Take ("condemn") private property, including residences, businesses, and even places of worship, and, after paying "just compensation," evict owners and tenants.
2. Enact a bond issue to subsidize "redevelopment" without public referendum.
3. Grant long-term tax abatements for the redevelopment, subject to a "Payment in Lieu of Taxes" which may shift tax burdens onto other taxpayers.
4. Award contracts without competitive bids or compliance with the Local Public Contracting Law of New Jersey.
In short, the residents of Princeton and, in particular, of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, need answers to these and other questions at the outset of this process, not at the end, when it may be too late to halt the momentum to redevelop.
To the Editor:
Something special happened at the Princeton Public Library last week, when more than 150 people gathered to honor the life of a native son.
Barbara Johnson, the mother of Christopher Reeve, graciously introduced a showing of the A&E film that Chris finished directing this year, The Brooke Ellison Story. The film is about a young woman who is a quadriplegic and overcame unimaginable obstacles to attend Harvard University. She is now studying for her Ph.D.
The critically praised film followed Brooke's life but was infused with Chris' own experience of having a severe spinal cord injury. Anyone who has been a caregiver or been ill themselves, witnessed courage or been the recipient of kindness, felt deeply the struggle of Brooke and the artistry and humanity of Chris. The audience laughed, wept, and spoke afterwards about different aspects of the film medical developments, personal recollections, questions about how the movie was made.
At the end of the film, the credits rolled, ending with words acknowledging the work of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Many things came together Chris' incredible life, which began in Princeton; his brother Ben's warmth in reminding us how fortunate children are to grow up in such a town; and Barbara's many years of volunteer work on behalf of the Friends of the Library.
Barbara noted that the library's director, Leslie Burger, has a "beautiful dream" of the library as the "community's living room."
This coming Friday, the Library's Friends will host Senator Bill Bradley and John McPhee at their annual benefit lecture, to start at the library and continue nearby.
Again, we will be reminded of the magic in our community and the library's role in connecting people to ideas, texts, and to each other. The library looks forward to residents' continuing interest, support, and joining together as we continue to seek ways to make sense of our world.
NANCY UKAI RUSSELL
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