MARIA (CHARO) JUEGA
To the Editor:
Parents of the girls' softball and ice hockey teams have filed a suit against the school district charging violations of Title IX. Years of discrimination are not being acknowledged or addressed adequately, and the school district continues to deny the violations.
Rather than addressing the issues fairly, the Board has chosen to deny their validity through their lawyer. It is regrettable that they have forced the issue to the courts. Much valuable time has already been lost when preparations and fund-raising could have occurred.
The attorney for the Board states that inconvenience and proximity are not standards on which Title IX claims are decided; this demonstrates his lack of understanding regarding the core issues of this Title IX case.
The girls' softball fields are located in a public park. Their fields are open for use by anyone, and are used constantly by local softball and baseball leagues. The boys' baseball fields are surrounded and protected by a fence with multiple signs posted stating "Please Keep off the Field; Reserved for School Activities Only." The boys' fields are owned by the school district, and the district maintains them. There is a marked difference between the fields' amenities, condition, and accessibility. The girls' teams have no say regarding accessibility, and the district does not perform or oversee maintenance.
There is no electricity at Community Park, essential for the girls' pitching machine. It remains in storage at the high school.
There are no bathrooms or changing rooms at Community Park. The girls are provided portable toilets in late April, after Little League games begin, and nearly six weeks after the start of their season.
The girls must also walk a 1.9-mile round trip to the fields daily for practice or games, carrying their equipment and backpacks.
There are safety concerns as well, both because of accessibility to the trainer, and the long walk during rush hour. On April 12, a softball player was injured during a game and an ambulance was called. The player could not be taken to the hospital in the ambulance until the athletic trainer authorized it. The trainer was monitoring the high school games, and did not reach the field for about 20 minutes.
Two local attorneys, Jill Ray and Carol Novinson, Professor Ray Yasser, and national attorney Sam Schiller have reviewed the case and Title IX regulations. They have worked diligently with the parents, and together we are working to educate the community, the Board, and the superintendent in support of the students.
Additional information regarding Title IX can be obtained through the Women's Sports Foundation, a non-profit group that provides expertise and literature on the law. Two of their publications, Fair Play: Current Facts on Women's Sports, and Playing Fair: A Guide to Title IX, are available at the reference desk at the Princeton Public Library.
To the Editor:
I am a Snowden Lane resident who lives half a mile or so from the stretch of road where township officials are planning to build sidewalks. While my property is not in the area slated for sidewalks, I wish that it were.
If we did have sidewalks we would not have to take our lives into our hands every morning when we walk our children to school. Every morning, we shepherd our two boys across the street and walk alongside them on our way to school as traffic whizzes by. For several feet, we trudge through tall grass. Then there's a stretch of road with no shoulder at all where we have to walk a tightrope on the curb to avoid the cars. Now I know that residents are concerned about property values and shade trees and how sidewalks might change neighborhood character. They are naturally concerned about the cost of sidewalks. They might be happy to hear that one local real estate agent I spoke to believes sidewalks increase property values.
But all of those issues are trumped by this one: Will the children in the neighborhood be safer? The argument that sidewalks would increase traffic or traffic speed isn't logical. Let's face facts: Snowden Lane has become a local thoroughfare, not a country lane. It's not, nor will it ever be a "Queens Boulevard," as one resident predicted, but there is a lot of speeding traffic along the road.
For our family, not having sidewalks means skirting traffic to walk to Smoyer Park. It means my children can't walk to their friends' houses or ride their bicycles to school. That affects our quality of life. Lowering the speed limit will provide part of the solution, especially since the speed limit is 35 miles on our section of road. But changing the speed limit and enforcing the existing limits doesn't solve the problem of children dodging cars as they walk to school.
Maybe, as residents argue, there has never been an accident involving a pedestrian on Snowden Lane. That just tells me that we've been lucky so far. Here's what no one wants to say because it's so frightening: All it will take is one child being injured or, God forbid, killed on Snowden Lane on their way to or from school for residents to change their tune. That's when everyone will wring their hands and ask, "What could we have done to avoid this?"
I think we all know the answer to that question and it may mean sacrificing "rural character" and beautiful shade trees for the greater good. We need to ask ourselves: Do we want to be a community that cares first and foremost for appearances and property values or do we want to be a community of neighbors whose first priority is the children, whether they live next door or down the street?
To the Editor:
Hunting programs as they currently exist do not protect ecosystems, but rather are designed to promote the proliferation of individual species for the continuation of sport.
Since New Jersey's Division of Fish, (Game), and Wildlife (DFW) is dependent upon hunters for financial support via the sale of hunting licenses, its decisions are made largely to perpetuate the sport of deer hunting.
Hunters and the Division exist in a co-dependent relationship. The Division responds to hunters' demands so that these hunting consumers will continue to buy licenses. Through habitat manipulation the Division keeps deer numbers artificially high. Populations are managed that way so that hunters have a better chance to kill a deer.
Suburban sprawl and habitat manipulation explain why there is such a great number of deer in New Jersey's backyards. The hunter-DFW relationship raises questions as to whether the Division should be the only arbiter involved in disputes where suburban residents seek remedies for conflicts with deer.
DFW recommends killing as the solution to every conceivable problem. Their "solution" perpetuates the problems and solves nothing because deer hunts cause other deer to move in and fill the void, and because hunts don't reduce populations long term. The promotion of deer kills serves the Division's interests by masking its own responsibility for deer population growth, since deer kills also increase reproduction in the surviving does who become healthier due to the increased food supply available to them.
Only hunters and the Division of Fish and Wildlife benefit and profit from deer hunts. To promote deer slaughter, misleading and fabricated hype is presented to county and municipal decision makers as fact by those who profit from hunting.
Would residents support the cruel and ineffective hunting programs if they knew that it would increase deer numbers, and that increasing deer numbers is the goal of New Jersey's DFW?
To the Editor:
I am writing to express my great disappointment with the new Princeton Public Library. The layout of the library appears to have been designed by a group of people with marketing on their minds. The entire library is set up like a retail business and reminds me of a "big box" book store. For example, when you enter the library building you find yourself in a café! Personally, I would prefer finding books. The café should be on the third floor, not at the entrance. The return slot for books is out of the way down the hall, which reminds me of a high school hallway. Yes, Mr. Kang's delightful mural is there, yet I am unable to fully appreciate it because of the narrow and dimly lit hallway. The mural should be on the wall facing the street so that it welcomes you to the library. Since parking near the library building is no longer available, to run into the library for a few minutes to collect your children or just return your library materials is difficult, if not impossible. Parking in the parking building is not a realistic alternative, especially if you have another child in tow or an arm full of books. A return slot needs to be available from the outside of the library building, not at Palmer Square.
The library shop should not be right at the entry door, it should be with the café on the third floor. The space where the shop is should be used for changing community related exhibits similar to the ones shown in the original library's large picture window. Why is the reference section on the second floor and the children's department on the third floor? Both would serve best on the first floor.
There is absolutely nothing to entice me into the library. The stairs are difficult, dangerous and dark. The elevator is in the hallway. The general layout of the building is dull, boring, and without inspiration. How disappointing! Princeton had such a great opportunity to build an exceptional library.
On a related matter, the suggestions made to name the space in front of the library is another pretension. Library Plaza? Einstein Square? The size of the space is more of a patio, maybe a courtyard. The space does not need to be named. What the space needs is one of the follies from the Writers Block. I like the idea of placing the children's folly and a little garden with flagstones. The Writers Block is innovative, delightful, and charming. The concept of the Writers Block is what the library should have been. When I go to this space I want to read. Princeton will be a lesser place when the Writers Block disappears at the end of this month. Let's not let Writers Block disappear; let the follies be scattered around town to remind us all of what is possible.
To the Editor:
I have read with interest your recent articles about Princeton Borough's proposed stacked parking ordinance allowing Palmer Square to park two or more cars per space in their downtown Princeton parking garage. I have also seen, and agree with, Borough Council member Roger Martindell's opinion (Town Topics, October 13) that the Borough is missing an opportunity to increase its revenue and try to hold the line on future tax increases.
Putting aside the suggested value or obvious inconvenience of stacked parking, I assume this strategy will earn additional parking revenue for Palmer Square from its nearly 1,000 downtown parking spaces. Yet the Borough will only receive a small permit fee and will not earn anything from the additional future revenue.
Doesn't this proposal scream "opportunity" to anyone else on Borough Council?
Would someone representing the Borough please tell us:
A. Why the Borough spent several million dollars building our new 500-space municipal garage and yet endanger its financial success by allowing Palmer Square to radically expand its parking space supply at its neighboring garages in direct competition with the Borough's?
B. Why doesn't the Borough find a way for its taxpayers to participate in the additional income stream by charging Palmer Square for the privilege of stacked parking?
C. If we are to believe that stacked parking is so advantageous and convenient, does the Borough intend to adopt stacked parking in the Borough's garage to increase revenue and, if not, why not?
D. If stacked parking is such a good idea and a means to increase downtown parking, why didn't the Borough pass a stacked parking ordinance before spending millions to build the Borough's new garage?
Even Council member David Goldfarb used to think this way about revenue. On March 17 Town Topics wrote that he agrees "that it would be beneficial to the Borough to start using parking in town as a larger source of revenue for the Borough," and quoted him saying, "Parking used to be a much larger contributor to our revenue than it has in the last several years." Yet at the October 5 meeting he said, "Maybe it's time to stop using parking as a constraint on development."
Or maybe it's time for the Council to seize every opportunity to constrain our rising taxes.
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters offers the following tips to help potential voters on election day.
1. If your name is not on the list even though you are registered, get help from a poll worker to make sure your vote is counted. You may be sent to another polling place or given a provisional ballot.
2. Be sure to bring your driver's license, a utility bill, or some other document showing your address in case you are asked for an ID.
3. You should have received a sample ballot giving the address of your polling place, your voting district, and how to operate the voting machine. There should also be signs at your polling place with this information, a list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if those rights are violated. If you see any irregularity, call 1-866 OUR VOTE. This is a hot line established by a number of independent organizations to assure fairness.
4. If you have any questions ask a poll worker; they are there to help you.
5. Lines will move faster if voters are prepared to cast their votes. Look carefully at your sample ballot ahead of time.
To the Editor:
As I was driving through Princeton recently, my 3-year-old son, CJ, said to me from the back seat, "Boy, daddy, this street is bumpy." He was telling me what virtually every resident of Princeton has known for many years now the roads in this town are a mess.
So it was either a strange coincidence or remarkable timing, because later that same day while campaigning door-to-door, Princeton Township Committee candidates Paul Kapp and Irene White told me that one of their top priorities after being elected is to take better care of our roads. This commonsense approach to local government is definitely needed. I believe their vision, enthusiasm, dedication, and honesty would truly benefit the people of this town. That is why they'll receive my vote this year, and I encourage all voters in Princeton Township to elect Paul and Irene on November 2.
To the Editor:
Last week, in what by now has become a tragic and shameful ritual around Mercer County for some months, an invasion of two homes in Princeton by immigration agents took place with the cooperation of Borough Police. Eight Hispanic males who lacked immigration documents were taken away in handcuffs. All are likely to be deported within days. These men had been working for years as landscapers and cooks for local businesses. One female, mother of an 11-year-old U.S. born child, was released, but is also in danger of imminent deportation for failing to adhere to a "voluntary departure" consent agreement in 1996. She has been a Princeton resident for 14 years, an active member of her church, and a valued employee of a local convenience store.
Paradoxically, that same day we heard both presidential candidates speak of the urgent need for immigration law reform. In the words of President Bush, "The search for a better life is one of the most basic desires of human beings. Undocumented workers ...have entrusted their lives to the brutal rings of heartless human smugglers. It is not the American way; our laws should allow willing workers to fill jobs that Americans are not filling. We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane." Senator Kerry has said that "we need an earned legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We've got to start moving them... out of the shadows."
The Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchinson, in referring to the estimated 8 to 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, has said: "It's not realistic to say we're going to reduce that number. Americans have too much compassion to tell our law enforcement people to go out there and uproot those 8 million."
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which conducts these raids, has acknowledged it does not have the capacity to "remove all removable aliens," a list of 400,000 immigrants with outstanding orders of deportation. ICE's strategic plan, ominously titled Endgame, is to put the short-term focus of its scarce resources on "the removal of the criminal element of the illegal alien population" or the 80,000 who are convicted of criminal acts, who might pose a threat to our national security. How do these sweeps of Hispanic cooks and gardeners fit into this plan?
How does an immigrant get on the ICE list? Ironically, it is those who have attempted to work within the system, petitioned for legal status, paid several thousand dollars in legal fees, and waited 8 to 12 years to have their cases wind through a dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy, and under a code even more Byzantine than the tax code, only to be presented with a "voluntary departure" order at the end of the process. After making a life for themselves, forming families, obtaining stable jobs, our system expects these families to pack up and go.
What possible benefits can justify the inhumane, brutal immorality of expelling these hardworking, taxpaying, church-going immigrants from our midst? We must demand from whoever is sworn in as President in January to stop this senseless cruelty, and to put immigration reform at the top of his list.
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