Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 40
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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“Yes” Vote on Consolidation Is Urged By Trotman, Others on Borough Council

Mildred Trotman, Mayor
Kevin Wilkes, Council President
Jenny Crumiller
Roger Martindell
Barbara Trelstad

Consolidating Borough, Township Will Create a Single Bureaucracy

Robert Raphael, Independent candidate for Borough Council
Snowdon Lane

A Vote for Consolidation Will Help The Environment on Many Fronts

Matt Wasserman
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission

A Progressive Democrat Is Proud To Support Jill Jachera for Mayor

Judy Scheide, Campaign Manager for Jill Jachera
Library Place

A Former Township Mayor Supports The “Eminently Qualified” Yina Moore

Jim Floyd
Harris Road

Yina Moore, a Steadfast Consensus Builder Who Will Fairly Represent All Constituents

Jacqueline L. Swain
Lytle Street

The Misguided “Friends of the Deer” Are at It Again, Say Two Residents

Chris Mario
Greenhouse Drive 

Former School Board Member Details The Costs and Absurdity of Separation

Joshua Leinsdorf
Atlantic Highlands


“Yes” Vote on Consolidation Is Urged By Trotman, Others on Borough Council

To the editor:

We members of the governing body of the Borough of Princeton urge Princeton Borough voters to vote “yes” for municipal consolidation on November 8.

Based on our review of the Consolidation Study Commission’s report and our many years of experience in municipal government, we believe that Princeton Borough residents will find substantially more benefit than cost in a consolidated Princeton.

You elected us, we have carefully considered the matter, and we offer you our collective opinion to the best of our ability. We hope you will follow our advice by voting for consolidation on November 8.

It is unusual for elected officials to recommend eliminating their own jobs. But we believe it to be our highest calling to make that recommendation this year, and we do so for the sake of all residents of the Borough.

Mildred Trotman, Mayor
Kevin Wilkes, Council President
Jenny Crumiller
Roger Martindell
Barbara Trelstad

Consolidating Borough, Township Will Create a Single Bureaucracy

To the Editor:

When it comes to government, smaller units are better than larger ones. The closer the government is to the people the less likely there is to be waste and corruption. Consolidating Borough and Township creates a single large bureaucracy. Furthermore, in the long term, Borough taxes will increase with consolidation. Here’s why. Independently of the inefficiencies of larger government units, the reason lies in the way we fund the Princeton Regional Schools. Presently the regional school budget is shared by the Borough and the Township on the basis of the relative value of the ratables (taxable real estate values) in the two municipalities. The ratables in the Borough are relatively fixed because it is a mature and built-up community. On the other hand ratables in the Township will increase dramatically in the decade ahead as more and more new homes and business buildings are built on undeveloped land. Without consolidation, the Borough taxpayers will be paying an ever decreasing percentage of the costs of the Princeton Regional Schools. With consolidation this saving is lost.

Why haven’t our Republican and Democratic politicians been discussing this?

Robert Raphael, Independent candidate for Borough Council
Snowdon Lane

A Vote for Consolidation Will Help The Environment on Many Fronts

To the Editor:

As chair of the Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC), I wanted to take a moment to provide another perspective on the consolidation debate. Many folks don’t realize that voting “yes” for consolidation is an easy way to help the environment on many fronts, including …

Grant Dollars — Significant grant dollars are available for communities of 30,000 people or more. Currently, neither the Township nor the Borough qualifies, limiting the PEC’s environmental stewardship to small projects that can be done without asking our local governments for money (read as raise taxes). However, a consolidated Princeton would qualify for these grants, enabling applications for significantly more money from the state for bigger, more impactful environmental projects.

Response Time — As a Commission, the PEC sometimes must do twice the work to get things done because we are required to present and persuade both Township Committee and Borough Council. This slows down response times on important issues like hydrofracking, recycling, and sewer services.

Better Parks & Park Services — The governing bodies are considering a Parks Director as part of the consolidation discussion; this is a position the PEC has been a proponent of for years. About 20-25 percent of the land in Princeton is preserved as open space, and someone who can manage the sometimes conflicting needs of passive recreation, children’s sports, bicycle paths, etc. is much needed.

Better Recycling — Ever wonder why trying to find a recycling container in our shopping districts is next to impossible? Annoyed that the big recycling efforts (computers, paper, household items, etc) are available in the Township but are not also available to Borough residents? A consolidated Princeton would help change that by streamlining recycling programs across all of Princeton.

So you see, by voting to consolidate, you can help Princeton take giant steps forward on the environmental protection front. Or you could vote for the status quo … but do me a favor and at least don’t keep your car idling while you run in to vote.

Matt Wasserman
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission

A Progressive Democrat Is Proud To Support Jill Jachera for Mayor

To the Editor:

I am a proud progressive Democrat and a fierce advocate for Democratic causes. I am equally proud to call myself a strong supporter of Jill Jachera, candidate for Princeton Borough Mayor.

Princeton faces challenges that are unique to our special small town. I believe the most effective way to address these issues is through a process that puts the people of our community before partisan politics.

Jill brings creative optimism and enthusiasm to all she undertakes. Through her volunteerism and leadership at the YWCA, she has demonstrated how deeply she cares about our community. Her professional accomplishments as a highly skilled attorney illustrate good judgment and business acumen. The first member of her family to graduate from college, Jill’s determination and perseverance are obvious.

At a time when Princeton needs vigorous and focused vision and leadership, let’s come together to put Princeton before Party and elect Jill Jachera mayor of Princeton Borough on November 8.

Judy Scheide, Campaign Manager for Jill Jachera
Library Place

A Former Township Mayor Supports The “Eminently Qualified” Yina Moore

To the Editor:

As a former Township mayor, I have rarely weighed in on a Borough contest, but this year is different. Whether or not the voters approve consolidation, the Princetons face many challenges. I believe that the Democratic mayoral candidate, Yina Moore, is eminently qualified to handle those challenges. Accordingly, I wholeheartedly endorse Yina’s candidacy and urge Borough Princetonians to support her.

Yina’s family has deep roots in the Princeton community dating back to the late 1800s. She attended the Princeton public schools, received a BA from Princeton University, and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) from MIT. As an architect and planner, she has a vast and varied experience in the private and the public sector. At Cummins Engine, she was the first woman executive for the heavy transit product sector; she consulted for Citibank in West Africa; and she worked on mixed-use housing projects for the Massachusetts Housing Corporation. In New Jersey, she has worked with New Jersey Transit on the development of the Hudson-Bergen light rail system and on the planning and design of the Newark Airport rail station.

Since Yina returned to Princeton in the early 1980s, she has been actively engaged in local civic life. She has served on the Princeton Regional Planning Board for 11 years, was a charter member of Princeton Future, and has served on many other boards and commissions, including Corner House, the Princeton Nursery School, and the Arts Council Neighborhood Board. Yina’s support for our business community is well known. She organized the first Buy Local program for Princeton, developed the pocket Princeton guide, and was instrumental in the development of Hinds Plaza, which is now a huge draw for visitors.

Yina has never shied from challenges. She has been a strong voice for sustainable and inclusive development that is sensitive to Princeton’s unique historical features and its neighborhoods. She recognizes that our diversity is threatened by a punishing property tax burden, and she will work tirelessly for fiscal policies that will promote equity and reduce the burden. She will also be a leader who will be open to all points of view and who will respect the voices of those who have made longstanding contributions to our community. As a Princeton University graduate, she will be particularly well situated to engage in constructive dialogue with the University to forcefully advocate for our mutual interests.

Whether her term as mayor is one year or four, Yina Moore will be a strong voice for Borough residents and for the larger Princeton community. I urge Borough voters to support her on November 8.

Jim Floyd
Harris Road

Yina Moore, a Steadfast Consensus Builder Who Will Fairly Represent All Constituents

To the Editor:

I would just like to add my support for Yina Moore as a Democratic Mayoral candidate in Princeton Borough.

As a native of Princeton Borough, I have known the Moore family all of my life. The family has deep roots in Princeton. Yina is quite a bit younger than I, so I got to know her mostly through conversations with her aunt Betty Moore.

I became more acquainted with Yina when she and her daughter returned to the Princeton area some years ago. Her daughter Gisela sang in a choir at my church, and we had many opportunities to speak when she brought Gisela to rehearsals. I was not aware of how heavily involved she was with community activities until I saw her on Princeton Community TV as part of the zoning board. I was impressed by her comments on the issues being discussed that evening.

Over the years, I have witnessed Yina’s infectious enthusiasm for making our town a great place for all of its citizens. I’ve witnessed her work with downtown merchants to develop new marketing tools. Amid some opposition, she supported negotiations that make the Arts Council the wonderful community center we now love. She led community efforts to make the Hinds Plaza a reality. Yina has served on numerous boards including the Princeton Public Library, Corner House, and the Princeton Nursery School. In each of these roles, she has given 100 percent. It’s only natural for her to seek public office since she is adamant about community participation and full transparency in government. She is open-minded and thoughtful. Well before entering the mayoral race she demonstrated high energy and commitment to the two Princetons.

Much is happening in Princeton, including consolidation talks, development of the Medical Center site and of million-dollar-plus multi-unit developments, disenfranchisement of some communities, and myriad other issues. Yina’s intelligence and deep understanding of Princeton’s history, and its issues, and her vision to sustain homogeneous communities are among the qualities that make me a believer; she will serve our town well. Her willingness to run this race at a time when the town is in a state of flux demonstrates her strength as a steadfast consensus-building leader. I believe she will represent all constituents fairly.

Jacqueline L. Swain
Lytle Street

The Misguided “Friends of the Deer” Are at It Again, Say Two Residents

To the Editor:

Does anyone remember when some seriously misguided “friends of the deer” splattered a pile of raw meat on the hood of former Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand’s car to protest the Township’s deer management program? I do. I wrote a letter to the editor in this space to condemn that bizarre and fundamentally cowardly act. It was wrong then, and it would be wrong now.

Mayor Marchand retired some time ago after a lengthy and distinguished tenure as mayor of our Township. We should all honor her service. Most of us do. Yet the haters remain. I refer to last week’s letter to the editor entitled, “No More Killing Deer: Township Should Consider Other Remedies” by one Bill Lazonovsky of Mandon Court.

“Many in Princeton hoped that with the end of the Marchand era, saner heads would prevail regarding deer management,” Mr. Lazonovsky writes. Oh no, I thought, here we go again. Sorry, Phyllis, they just won’t leave you alone.

Unlike Mr. Lazonovsky, who lives on a street that does not exist in Princeton Township or Borough (it’s in Kingston, as Town Topics should have noted), I have slogged through the deer saga over nearly three decades as a Township resident. “Contraception!” they cried, repeatedly. Tried and failed. Meanwhile, I have watched these poor deer return year after year more emaciated, more diseased, and more desperate. Covered in weeping sores, they stagger through my perennials in search of something, anything, that can save them from their fate, whether it be starvation or the bumper of a Volvo.

Is this what the self-styled “friends of the deer” wish for our deer population? Should we not do everything we can to responsibly manage the number of deer that can sustainably exist alongside their human co-habitants? Or shall we cull some humans to make room for more deer? What exactly do these people want from us, and from former Mayor Marchand?

Chris Mario
Greenhouse Drive 

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To the Editor:

Those who have followed many years of Bill Laznovsky’s bitter attacks in the Mailbox feature of your paper have probably observed that his letters all seem to have several things in common. Aside from deliberately misrepresenting facts, his harangues lack civility, demonstrate disrespect for Princeton Township’s elected leaders, and display contempt for the township residents who have voted for them.

In the past Mr. Laznovsky has misrepresented himself as a Princeton Township resident by mentioning “our elected leaders” in his letters. As a condo resident in South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, he certainly knows that none of Princeton Township’s leaders are “his” elected leaders. Then he poses rhetorical questions falsely implying that the Township Committee has failed to consider or implement alternatives to killing the deer. Those who have followed your newspaper’s coverage of these issues know those roadside reflectors, immunocontraception, and other non-lethal control measures have been employed for more than ten years but they were not sufficient to rein in the rampaging deer population.

Aside from isolated Fire Island, New York, Mr. Laznovsky cannot cite a single location in the Eastern U.S. where immunocontraception has been sufficient to control exploding deer herds. Suspending the sharp shooting for just one year resulted in dramatic growth in Princeton’s deer population. Deer populations in our area have reached such crisis proportions that the animals’ appetite has exceeded the public’s defense of them, notwithstanding protests from out-of-town, out-of-county busybodies.

Before Princeton Township hired White Buffalo to reduce the deer population, the township had hundreds of life-threatening deer-vehicle collisions. Killing deer with vehicles is dangerous and is considerably more expensive than the modest amount that Princeton Township has budgeted to resume hiring White Buffalo’s sharp shooters. Wildlife biologists estimate that there are now about 30 million deer in this country, up from only 500,000 a century ago. Our U.S. Department of Transportation reports that vehicle accidents, caused by deer, kill more Americans than any other wild animal.

Aside from killing motorists and spreading disease, deer overpopulation harms natural ecosystems. In high deer density areas, deer browsing prevents the regeneration of forests as deer eat nearly all the tree seedlings, destroy forest understory plants, and reduce overall species richness. Several studies found that deer browsing significantly reduces songbird numbers by destroying their habitats. Residential gardens, shrubs, and flowers are also destroyed by voracious deer. Sensible, perhaps saner, Princeton Township residents want to protect their property, other wildlife and put human safety and human lives ahead of the deer.

Lewis A. Edge, Jr.
Cleveland Road West

Former School Board Member Details The Costs and Absurdity of Separation

To the Editor:

The consolidation committee is to be commended on its honest assessment of the financial ramifications of unifying the two municipalities. Its Borough representatives especially deserve recognition for their courage in supporting consolidation.

During my nine years as a Princeton Borough representative on the Princeton Regional School Board Finance Committee, I saw the costs and absurdity of separation first hand. The Snowden Lane sidewalk was needed to eliminate what local police certified as an “unsafe route to school.” Without the sidewalk, taxpayers would have been on the hook forever for busing costs ($800 per year, per student) for people who live within easy walking distance of Littlebrook, J.W., and the high school. But because the entire right-of-way of Snowden Lane is in the Township, even though the houses on the west side are in the Borough, the sidewalk could only be built with Township funds. The Borough was both unwilling and unable to assess for an improvement in a different municipality, although all other Borough residents are responsible for half the cost of the sidewalks in front of their houses. The same situation exists on Lover’s Lane.

When the state mandated that every police department had to have a dedicated driveway, the Princetons had to build two, both to Route 206, just one mile apart. Two municipal buildings cost more than one. Two administrators cost more than one. Police could be deployed more economically and rationally if the Township officers did not have to go around or through Princeton Borough to answer calls. The economic benefits of joining are obvious to anyone even superficially acquainted with the details of government action.

So why is the Borough reluctant to consolidate? Quite simply because separation allows the Borough to punch above its weight. Princeton Borough has about one-third of the two municipalities’ permanent residents. It takes 400 votes to win a school board seat in the Borough, but more than 1,000 to win one in the Township. Sixteen hundred Borough voters cast ballots in local elections, compared to 3,600 in the Township. Yet, the Borough has 44 percent of the school board seats and has 29 percent of the taxable real estate. The Borough is about 1/3 of the combined municipalities, but by being separate, it has half the power. Why would anyone want to give up this advantage?

Of course, Borough residents pay more for the privilege, but only half, the Township pays the other half. It is like an older sibling who can still dominate a younger brother, long after he has grown bigger and stronger.

Of course, if the Township really got tough, and told the Borough that failure to consolidate would really mean separation, no joint recreation committee, no shared fields, or pools; consolidation would carry in a landslide. It is time for Borough voters to grow up and man up.

A middle road might be to consolidate as a city with wards, each electing a councilman from a local geographic area. That way historical Princeton Borough could retain its identity within a consolidated, affordable government.

Joshua Leinsdorf
Atlantic Highlands

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