J. SISSMAN, MD
To the Editor:
The Princeton Township Committee is permitting library officials to close down completely the popular branch library in Princeton Shopping Center. Two reasons have been offered: first, that the Township doesn't have the money to fund the branch library and would have to raise taxes; and, second, that the Township is "locked in" to a prior agreement regarding funding.
The money problem is easily solved. Each year, the Township sends $2 million of Township taxpayers' funds to a library in the heart of the Borough. If only a quarter of these funds $500,000 were reserved for the Township, we could continue to enjoy the library in the Shopping Center, as we have for the past two years.
The Township's agreement to send all of its library funds to a library in the Borough is not a binding contract but a continuing resolution which has been modified in the past, and needs to be modified once again. By now, this agreement is considerably out-of-date.
The shopping center library has received the enthusiastic support of the great majority of library users. Library use has grown considerably since the move to the shopping center.
When the Township first agreed in 1960 to send all of its library funds to the Borough, it was expected that the Borough would someday join with the Township to form one unified Princeton. In the most recent vote, however, the Borough voted against unification, with the result that the Borough now enjoys the presence of a library 70 percent funded by Township taxpayers.
A litigious party might question the legality of the present agreement, given that the Township has little say regarding the environment of the main library which will soon be situated next to a five-story parking garage and two six-story residential towers. With increasing traffic, it is a place many Township residents seek to avoid. The old downtown has changed, so that the shopping center now serves as Princeton's second downtown.
Unlike earlier years, the Township's population is now larger than that of the Borough, and most new homes are closer to the shopping center than to the main library, a mile and a half away. The branch library is also closer to many schools, to Princeton Community Village, and to most senior and subsidized housing. Township residents, especially the young and the elderly, should not be forced to travel to a library in the heart of the Borough.
A library is already set up in the shopping center with shelves, tables, desks and computers not needed in the main library. A popular cafe and a convenient children's area are part of the scene. As with most branch libraries, it will need only two librarians with a few assistants and volunteers. Only half the present space is needed for the branch library, thus reducing the rent considerably.
In view of this changed situation, the Township's budget for 2004 should assign a fourth of the library funds obtained from Township taxpayers to maintain a library in the shopping center. There are those who say we should wait and see how things work out with the new library on Witherspoon Street. But the space and facilities we need in the shopping center are there ready and waiting. A year from now there may be no space as suitable or any space at all. "Let's wait and see" is a delaying tactic, a reasonable-sounding request to do nothing. Each reader of this letter needs to contact Township Committee members and other influential parties to point out how much will be lost to our community if we fail to act now.
To the Editor:
I would like to thank the 1,360 voters of Princeton Township who put their faith and trust in me on Election Day. It would have indeed been a great honor to represent and serve all of the wonderful people of this town.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. However, I knew what the challenges were from the start, i.e., being a Republican in a Democratic stronghold, battling the Princeton Democratic machine (yes, my friends, it is a machine), and a general desire to maintain the status quo. I also knew what I brought to the table, i.e., a positive and clear vision for the future, energy, a passion for this town, a fervent desire to give something back to my community, the support of my family and friends.
But in the end, it wasn't enough. I have no regrets, but one. I am sorry to have let down the many wonderful people who have supported me. I sincerely appreciate everything you have done for me this year. I would like to thank all of you who encouraged me throughout the campaign and offered condolences afterwards.
Over the course of the campaign, I have gotten to know Bill Hearon, and I like him very much. I wish him the best.
Even in defeat, my desire to serve on Township Committee remains strong. I undoubtedly will try again in the future, although probably not next year. I can be stubborn, and I am certainly not a quitter; I enjoy a challenge. I am confident that one day my persistence will be rewarded.
To The Editor:
My aunt, Florence M. Burke, was known to many people as "Miss Burke from the High School," or simply as "Miss Burke." To me she was always "Flo" or "FloFlo." She passed away on November 7, 2002.
Flo was an integral member and a lifetime trustee of the Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation (PRSF). She was their treasurer for many years. She did the Foundation's taxes each year, raised funds, and worked with every scholarship student to ensure that they received their book award or their college received their scholarship award. In her will Flo left money to be placed in a trust fund. Funds from this trust will be given to PRSF to be used as scholarships to benefit Princeton High School students. The name of the trust fund is "The Florence M. Burke Memorial Scholarship Trust."
I would like to thank everyone who donated to the Florence M. Burke Memorial Fund. The money collected was given to PRSF for scholarships to PHS students in June.
To the Editor:
When the after-work group of voters began to appear in the late afternoon at the District 11 voting site at the Hun School, my three fellow volunteers and I, who were manning the tables, had been on the job for about 13 hours. Our energy was sagging and enthusiasm flagging.
How welcome, then, it was to see Township Committeeman Bill Enslin come in with dinners for each of us, freshly cooked and packaged by his kind and talented wife. The meal was delicious and revived us until closing time.
I understand that Mrs. Enslin cooked a meal for each of the poll workers throughout the township. This was a thoughtful, generous act, and I, on behalf of all the polling place workers, want to express publicly my thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Enslin for the great time and effort they spent on it.
J. SISSMAN, MD
To the Editor:
First, thank you to the 1,868 individuals who voted, thus providing me the opportunity to be on the Princeton Township Committee. Secondly, I want to acknowledge all 3,302 individuals who exercised their right and took on the responsibility of having their voice heard for Princeton Township Committee. Finally, I want to thank all the people who worked with me over the past months to make this happen. This has truly been a team effort with a diverse group of people working for the benefit of our community. I look forward to serving all of Princeton Township for the next 3 years.
Over the past few days, people from our community have approached me with their concerns and issues. I am scheduling meetings with individuals and groups to insure that anyone who wants their voice heard and their concerns addressed will have the opportunity to do so. I am in the process of rearranging my website, www.billhearon.com, to continue providing for all citizens to have a direct means of communicating with me. Take advantage of it.
To the Editor:
On Wednesday December 3, Richard Barron will make his third season debut as the head coach of the Princeton University women's basketball team. My patronage of Princeton women's basketball goes back to the 1991-92 season. I can assure you that the women's basketball team plays hard, and with a strong desire to win. I urge more members of the Princeton community who like to watch spectator sports to come see Princeton women's basketball games.
There is one player on the women's team named Rebecca Brown who is a sophomore. If she has a good year with the Lady Tigers, I am confident that in the 2004-2005 season she will be even better.
ETHAN C. FINLEY
To the Editor:
As a resident of the John Witherspoon neighborhood, I watch many passionate arguments ebb and flow the Arts Council, the Leigh/Birch reconstruction project, and Community Park school construction. We are truly a neighborhood with strong convictions.
Of all these issues, the matter of overcrowding seems to me the most urgent. Having written letters of inquiry about certain properties to both Borough and Township, I always get a speedy and informative reply from the Borough Fire Inspector, William Drake. He offers explanations and developing solutions that the Borough is working on to address overcrowded properties. Letters to the Township Housing Authority are never answered and there appears to be no action plan in place.
The Borough and the Township need to come together on plans for solving this crisis. No other neighborhood in Princeton suffers from the damaging effects of illegal, overcrowded rentals like this one. An effective plan of action is long overdue.