Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 43
 
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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Holt Supporter Says Sipprelle Profited From Revaluation Process He Assisted

Scott Sipprelle

The Holt-Sipprelle Debate: Mud-Slinging Instead of Lively Exchange on the Issues

Brad Middlekauff
Hibben Road

Physician Attacks Healthcare Overhaul, Says Holt Staff Ignored Patient Petitions

HARVEY S. WEINGARTEN M.D.
Brooks Bend

Contrary to Opponent’s Accusation, Holt Has Always Been Accessible

Adria Lique
Van Dyke Road
Hopewell

Candidate Blames “Unrestrained Spending” for Revaluation Threat to Borough Character

Peter Marks
Moore Street

A Vote Against Rush Holt is a Vote for Big Business and Bush Policies

Mark Feigenson
Cedar Lane

“Leader, Teacher, Visionary,” Holt Should be Returned to Congress

Brian M. Hughes
Clover Lane

Witherspoon PTO and Super Saturday Carnival Committee Extend Thanks

Roxanne List and Bonnie Itkoff
Co-Chairs
JWMS Super Saturday Carnival

Several Reasons Why One Party Rule in Township Is Undesirable

Anna Marty
Herrontown Lane

Initiatives Pursued by Lempert and Liverman Critical to Keeping Businesses in Princeton

John Cashman
VP - Product Development - JAGTAG


Holt Supporter Says Sipprelle Profited From Revaluation Process He Assisted

To the editor:

As a candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Scott Sipprelle advocates comprehensive tax reform. While that sounds great, I think we need to look closely at his experience, where his ideas come from, and how they would affect the average resident of New Jersey.

Sipprelle was a member of the Citizen’s Revaluation Committee that provided guidance on the Princeton revaluation process, which is one of the very few hints of any interest in public service on his resume. Many Princeton residents saw their property taxes increase, but Sipprelle’s property taxes were cut by 25 percent even though his house is now valued at $3.17 million. So, as Princeton residents struggle to figure out how they can afford to pay their property taxes, Scott Sipprelle — a multimillionaire who sat on the Citizen’s Revaluation Committee — will pay less.

Scott Sipprelle ran a hedge fund, Cooper Arch Capital, which he liquidated just before the downturn in the financial markets. His gains from the $966 million dollar fund were subject only to a 15 percent capital gains tax, rather than the higher income tax rates faced by ordinary Americans when they earn good salaries. Efforts to correct this inequity have been blocked by Republicans in Congress.

Further, as Sipprelle admitted in the recent debate in East Brunswick, he set up an offshore account for his hedge fund specifically to avoid paying taxes. Average Americans, making a lot less money than Scott Sipprelle, pay their taxes, so why should they trust him to chart a course for tax reform?

Rush Holt released his income tax information to the public. Scott Sipprelle has refused to do so. What else does Sipprelle want us not to know?

I’m voting for Rush Holt on election day. He is a someone whose integrity and values I trust; he cares about policies that help many Americans, not just the elite. Scott Sipprelle’s experience and ideas add up to something ordinary people can’t afford: tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases for the the rest of us.

Peter Wolanin
Spruce St


Mr. Sipprelle offered the following response:

Running for Congress has given me a whole new appreciation for the destructive forces that work to preserve the broken status quo that defines our political process. Even as I remain committed to running a positive issue-based campaign focused exclusively on my opponent’s factual voting record, I have been forced to navigate through an incessant stream of smears, misrepresentations, and personal attacks launched by Mr. Holt or his surrogates.

When the fabricated claims that I am in favor of privatizing Social Security or opposed to equal pay for equal work for women failed to gain traction, my opponent chose to launch advertising dripping with even more odious innuendoes. First, he claimed that I operated an offshore investment fund in order to elude U.S. taxes. My former firm, Copper Arch Capital, like every American money manager seeking to attract foreign capital to invest in the American economy created an offshore corporation to separate the foreign funds, which are not subject to U.S. tax withholding, from the accounts of U.S. taxpayers. This is not an option, this is a requirement. Attracting foreign money to America is good economic policy that creates American jobs.

My opponent has also claimed that I somehow manipulated Princeton’s Tax Assessor and the independent appraisal firm hired to conduct a town-wide reassessment in order to write my own tax bill. This slanderous claim, which was described as “ludicrous” by the Tax Assessor, is a very sad example of the the “win at all costs” form of political campaigning that is ripping this country apart. America deserves better, and I am committed to deliver a change in the tone and substance of government in America if you elect me to serve.

Scott Sipprelle

The Holt-Sipprelle Debate: Mud-Slinging Instead of Lively Exchange on the Issues

To the editor:

Last evening, my wife, two sons (ages 11 and 13), and I attended the Holt-Sipprelle debate hosted by Young Israel of East Brunswick and moderated by Eric Scott of NJ 101.5 Radio. We were looking forward to a lively exchange of ideas on the many critical issues facing the 12th Congressional District and our nation. What we got was a juvenile mudslinging contest. This was a disappointing outcome for several reasons.

First, there is general agreement about the problems we face both at home and abroad. To spend so much of the hour-long debate focusing on ad hominem attacks, innuendo and guilt-by-association does a disservice to the real problems facing all of us. As my son put it, “these guys sound like third graders on the playground.”

Second, I believe that each of the candidates is a good, decent man, who wants to do what he thinks is best for the people of the 12th Congressional District and the country. Each exhibited an impressive level of intelligence, creativity, and grasp of the issues. Each wants to commit his professional life over the next two years to public service, a path that entails family and economic sacrifices.

As any student of American politics will tell you, there is a long history of vitriolic personal attacks in campaigns at all levels, a tradition that continues to this day throughout the United States. I expected more of these candidates. How refreshing it would have been last evening if, toward the end of the debate, when asked by the moderator to say something nice about his opponent, one of the candidates had responded, “[Rush] [Scott] has my admiration. I may disagree with him on many issues and I do not like where he wants to take this country, but I appreciate the commitment he is bringing to this campaign and to solving the problems facing our district, our state and our country.”

Instead we got more mud.

Brad Middlekauff
Hibben Road

Physician Attacks Healthcare Overhaul, Says Holt Staff Ignored Patient Petitions

To the Editor:

As a practicing Family Physician for the past 27 years it is so disturbing to witness the potential dismantling of the profession I humbly and graciously enjoy practicing each and every day.

I daily encounter Medicare patients who are very fearful of the looming cuts made by President Obama and Congressman Rush Holt of 500 Billion dollars over the next 10 years. They worry who will be their family doctor? Where will they have to go for medical care? That is why we must all vote November 2 and elect representatives who will listen to us and our concerns.

I personally witnessed the arrogance of Rush Holt in March before the vote on health care. I faxed 3 pages of patient’s petitions against it to Rush Holt on the Wednesday before the vote on the bill. I traveled to Washington on Saturday March 21, hoping to discuss the pending legislation with my congressman. Instead I found his staffers at his office but not Mr. Holt who was in New Jersey avoiding the protestors. I asked if Mr. Holt saw my petition and was told, “we have no idea what you are talking about.” It is now 200-plus days and no one has had the courtesy to call me back. I hope we can elect people this November who will listen to us and not ignore us.

In New Jersey we have great medical facilities and when you need a MRI to save your life, no government official should decide if the test is medically necessary. One of my patient’s children with newly diagnosed cancer experienced the true reality of nationalized health care as a 20-year-old student in London last month. When she called the British Health Services after finding a breast mass, their response was “the next appointment will be in 6 weeks.”

I know that we, as Americans, would never accept such a flawed health system. But if we don’t rid our Congress of the individuals who rammed this bill down our throats you will be that cancer patient who will just have to wait in line for care. I say No! Stop the insanity now! Please vote and remove every Congressman who voted for a bill that no one read in entirety. It makes sense when Nancy Pelosi said, “You will have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” If a physician prescribed medications without learning about the medication, it could be malpractice. I want congressman to live by the same standards we physicians must abide by. We must make Congress liable for any lies they make to us.

I am truly humbled by Americans who over the past months have listened and stood up to protect what is so special to me, the best health care system the world has ever seen.

HARVEY S. WEINGARTEN M.D.
Brooks Bend

Contrary to Opponent’s Accusation, Holt Has Always Been Accessible

To The Editor:

I was shocked to hear Scott Sipprelle accuse Congressman Rush Holt of not serving his constituents! I have never known a Congressman to be as accessible to his constituents, and transparent in his voting record as Rush Holt (e.g. Holt has responded to all voter guide questionnaires while Sipprelle has refused to disclose his views). He is always ready to help those in the 12th District from Social Security snafus to child abduction by estranged parents, from veteran suicides to weather related crop losses sustained by farmers. Rush Holt helps resolve constituent problems.

Furthermore, all Americans are helped when Rush Holt fights for integrity in elections with a voter verified paper ballot and an audit, or when he protects consumers against the unfair practices of the health insurance industry, the banking industry, and credit card companies, or as he protects the environment. It is not surprising that the millionaires and Big Business are trying to unseat him by pouring vast sums of money into the dissemination of lies and distortions. Rush Holt stands with us ordinary Americans, to give us a fair shot at the American Dream, and prevent us from being trampled by corporate power. We are grateful for his integrity as he serves the public, and encourage everyone to reelect this excellent Congressman!

Adria Lique
Van Dyke Road
Hopewell

Candidate Blames “Unrestrained Spending” for Revaluation Threat to Borough Character

To The Editor:

The recent reassessment made clear the extent to which soaring property taxes are threatening to alter the character of Princeton Borough. To date, most criticism has been directed at the revaluation process. The real villain, however, is unrestrained spending.

A few facts:

• The Borough of Princeton has a landmass of 1.7 square miles and a resident population of 7,952 people (excluding students at Princeton University, Westminster Choir College, and Princeton Theological Seminary).

• Projected Borough expenditures for calendar 2010 are $24.7 million — $11,427 per Borough residence — excluding the public school system, the County, and the parking meter maintenance division.

• The Borough’s 2010 payroll cost is $12.3 million, an average of $97,110 for each of the town’s 127 employees. Those figures exclude the parking meter division, which is reported off budget and employs an additional 15 people.

• Payroll costs and benefits represent fully 55 percent of employee wages and salaries — more than double the payroll burden assumed by private sector employers.

The issue is not the insufficiency of Borough revenues, but rather the profligacy of Borough spending. Our first priority must be to trim the size, scope, and cost of Borough government. Nonessential departments should be eliminated. Others should be consolidated, with a view towards reducing aggregate staffing levels. Defined benefit pension plans should be phased out. Healthcare plans should require meaningful contributions from covered employees.

Borough Council should solicit the assistance of our governor — who supports efforts to reduce or eliminate burdensome State mandates. One good place to start would be the rule that requires mediation in the event that contract negotiations with public sector unions become deadlocked. Another would be the many expensive mandates imposed upon our school system.

We need to decide what kind of town we wish the Borough to be. For me, smaller is better. I therefore pledge, if elected, to do everything in my power to reduce the burden of Borough government in all its forms — property taxes, parking charges, permit fees, ordinances, code requirements, and fines — with the object of restoring our town as a place in which it is easy for ordinary people to live, work, and do business.

Specifically, I promise that I will vote to reject any budget — in any of the three years of my term — that exceeds in aggregate the $24.7 million budgeted for calendar 2010.

Peter Marks
Moore Street

A Vote Against Rush Holt is a Vote for Big Business and Bush Policies

To The Editor:

The old saying, “be careful what you wish for,” applies to the anti-incumbent fever raging in the U.S. and in District 12. A vote against Rush Holt, who has been a tireless supporter of Main Street Americans, is a vote for big business and a return to the Bush policies favoring Wall Street.

Challenger Scott Sipprelle is a former Wall Street hedge-fund manager whose emphasis is on government assistance for the wealthiest in our society, with the hope that it will trickle down. Like most Republicans, he objects to reforming the Wall Street practices that caused the Great Recession. Sipprelle’s positions protect corporate America, not Main Street Americans, as his policies would greatly worsen the deficit by giving tax breaks to corporations and extending tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent. Meanwhile, he advocates cutting social security benefits, opposes the provision of consumer protection, and wants to diminish environmental protection. Sipprelle speaks about the importance of job creation, yet he has supported, defended, and profited from companies that ship jobs overseas, a significant cause of American job loss.

In contrast, Rush Holt has always stood up for the needs of his constituents. He has been a leader in creating jobs in New Jersey (through the New Jersey Technology Center) and nationally by helping small businesses with tax credits. He has worked to provide middle-class tax relief, make college more affordable, strengthen social security and Medicare, make prescriptions more affordable for seniors, promote clean energy, and stop banks from charging unfair credit card fees and rate increases.

There is a clear choice here between Wall Street and Main Street. Sipprelle supports big business and would move us back to the very policies that crashed the economy and created the greatest disparity between the wealthy and the poor since the age of the Robber Barons. Rush Holt works hard to address the concerns of Main Street because he feels the American Dream belongs to all of us.

Mark Feigenson
Cedar Lane

“Leader, Teacher, Visionary,” Holt Should be Returned to Congress

To The Editor:

It is critical that the voters of the 12th District of New Jersey return Rush Holt to Congress on November 2.

Congressman Holt has represented his constituents in Mercer County well. In Washington, he has fought for and secured funding for common sense initiatives: pay raises for our National Guard reservists, tax credits for teachers, and local transportation improvements.

He has focused on getting results for central New Jersey, not divisive politics. His comprehensive understanding of the issues facing America has earned him the respect of his colleagues in Congress from both parties, a rare feat in today’s political climate.

Rush Holt understands the tough challenges facing all of us. That’s why he’s fighting for tax relief for middle class families, pushing to ensure equal pay for women and to raise the minimum wage, and seeking to enhance medical coverage for our seniors and veterans.

These issues have a real impact on the everyday lives of New Jerseyans. We need a leader, teacher, and visionary like Rush Holt to continue to fight for us in Congress.

Brian M. Hughes
Clover Lane

Witherspoon PTO and Super Saturday Carnival Committee Extend Thanks

To The Editor:

On behalf of the John Witherspoon PTO and the Super Saturday Carnival Committee, we would like to thank everyone in our community who attended our largest fundraiser of the year. The funds raised benefit JWMS students directly. A special thanks to all our donors: The Arts Council of Princeton, Pepsi Cola, Alfonso’s Pizza, Incredible Me, Joe Canal’s, YMCA, McCaffery’s, Wegman’s, ShopRite and Michelle Warren-Williams. We would also like to thank our fun-spirited teachers and volunteers who braved the dunk tank and made it a huge success: Mr. Mathews, Dr. Carson, Ms. Simon, Mr. Viviens and Mr. Itkoff (in his clown suit). This is a great community event and we look forward to seeing everyone at the JWMS Super Saturday next Fall.

Roxanne List and Bonnie Itkoff
Co-Chairs
JWMS Super Saturday Carnival

Several Reasons Why One Party Rule in Township Is Undesirable

To The Editor:

We have had one party rule in the Township for a number of years. That is not a desirable condition for several reasons. First of all, one party rule tends, over time, to proliferate a single attitude throughout the many boards and commissions they appoint. They begin to believe they know better than we do what is best regardless of how we feel as individuals. For example, a few years ago sidewalks were thrust on people who did not want them, and then were forced to pay for them. Arrogance grows over time, and it requires someone from another party on the inside to question controversial decisions and bring things back into balance. Boards tend to hold hearings when they are legally required, but they don’t feel compelled to listen. Ordinances get passed that infringe on individual property rights like requiring permission from the Township to remove one of your own trees, and zoning laws are even changed over neighborhood objections for high density projects.

Never forget that our elected officials work for us. Restore a two party system with open discussion and different points of view. It is time to elect Stuart Duncan and Douglas Miles to Township committee this year.

Anna Marty
Herrontown Lane

Initiatives Pursued by Lempert and Liverman Critical to Keeping Businesses in Princeton

To The Editor:

I am writing to endorse Liz Lempert and Lance Liverman for Princeton Township Committee. As an executive with a fast growing start-up company located in Princeton, I have been impressed with the quality of Ms. Lempert’s leadership. She demonstrated an ability to control costs during a recession while at the same time preserving the community services we sometimes take for granted. During a sluggish recovery, leaders like Ms. Lempert have provided companies like mine the services we require to grow and bring in employees and dollars to the Princeton community.

Initiatives like safer routes for walkers and bikers, which Ms. Lempert has pushed forward, are critical to keeping companies and local business in the Princeton area. Why? Because with such services, our employees can enjoy a safe urban environment to walk into town and enjoy lunch, a little shopping, a bit of coffee or even a well deserved happy hour. This is important, because not only does it put more money back into the Princeton economy but having an engaged and stimulated work force makes our company much more productive, generating additional revenues and more money in the Princeton economy. Some may consider these sorts of initiatives money ill spent, but those that do lack not only vision but simply fail to see the sense in investing in our community. Liz Lempert and Lance Liverman have the vision and the common sense to invest in Princeton. I heartily endorse Ms. Lempert and Mr. Liverman for Princeton Township Committee and ask you to consider and vote for them on November 2. All the best,

John Cashman
VP — Product Development — JAGTAG

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