PRINCETON HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION
DYER, LtCol, USMCR (ret.)
To the Editor:
We commend Princeton Township for providing and requiring training for all personnel, including board and commission members, on "Sensitivity, Tolerance, and Diversity Prevention is the Key." Everyone police, public works employees, even volunteers was included.
All organizations, business or non-profit, should do the same. Every manager has the responsibility to see that their own personal interactions and those under them are appropriately respectful. Not just as protection against litigation, but because everyone gains from civility and consideration.
HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION
To the Editor:
The idea was circulated around town last week that the Borough race comes down to a referendum on the downtown redevelopment project. That notion couldn't be further from the truth. It's only wishful thinking. I believe that it is also an attempt to discredit the real opposition to the downtown redevelopment fiasco by using a straw man.
No Concerned Citizen should believe it. This election will not be a referendum. Only a referendum is a referendum. The next closest thing is a survey to see what the voters really think. As you know, Borough Council steadfastly stays away from doing that. (Herb Hobler's survey clearly showed 72 percent are against Council's plan.) Yes, Council was even asked by us to do their own survey, but chose to hide behind the fact that they were our elected representatives. Some even said they had a mandate. They skate on thin ice.
Princeton voters should be looking more carefully at why the notion was circulated. Yes, the people who try to get you to believe it would like to see the opposition to redevelopment go away in one fell swoop. What better way is there to convince the courts than to say that the voters of Princeton didn't vote in the other party, so, therefore, the public must approve of redevelopment.
What's far more important for the Courts and the voters is to begin thinking about the potential for conflicts of interest that occur in this process for all Smart Growth targeted towns in New Jersey, facing the "redevelopment area" designation. Ask who gets what, where, and how? There are big stories there for investigative reporting about influence peddling, most of which have been neglected. Some examples are:
The attempt by Princeton Future (appearing as a P.U.-paid public relations firm) to build "consensus" to represent the people of the town, claiming "we are you," when their leader Bob Geddes is on the board of New Jersey Future Smart Growth along with the Mayor's wife. As former paid University officials, aren't they really out after P.U.'s similar self-interest in growth which is different than the town's?
The role of Princeton Future in targeting the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood for a potential University expansion. Why aren't they up front with the neighborhood when soliciting their opinions about growth, acting as if they represent them, when they represent those with the plans?
The Council's misuse of the "redevelopment area" designation, where Mayor Reed testified "the neighbors all knew about it," depriving the voters of the right to petition through referendum. Was that a slick trick when no one knew what "redevelopment area" meant, so no one knew to come to the meetings?
The choosing of a former Councilman as the development partner without open competitive bidding. Is that the same procedure that led to corruption in our cities, yet now, the same process is misapplied in Princeton to a parking lot not suffering from blight'?
The Mayor's statement that when his term is over he's going "to work as a consultant to Smart Growth." Did Mayor Reed really represent the town's interest first? Concerned Citizens wonder.
If there are not yet proven conflicts of interest in the project, it is because our press isn't looking for them. The appearance of a conflict of interest is rampant. The Princeton public sees it. No, with all this happening, this election is no referendum. The issue is still before us in the courts which we rely on as our check and balance for good government.
To The Editor:
Princeton taxpayers, residents and students: Take it upon yourselves to look hard, now, at a lovely, historic town which may not long remain so. Unless serious and intelligent actions are put into motion to curtail and possibly reverse the run-away activities of a Borough government that has too long had free-reign over our town, so well preserved, Princeton as we now know it may no longer be.
The lobbyist group of Princeton Future would have everyone envisioning an idyllic, picture-perfect town, built upon artificially imposed needs and desires of an imaginary citizenry. It has played the major role of carrying out the self-driven aspirations of a Mayor and Council majority set upon creating a new town entirely by their own standards while ignoring real concerns of those who will pay for it. In considering this, are you, the taxpayer, going to buy something when you can no way afford it, and maybe don't even want it? But that's the deal you're getting, if you vote in the incumbent council members Benchley and Karcher, and Mr. O'Neill as Mayor.
Think hard about the current scenario in Princeton and question the reasoning of a major downtown development void of citizen involvement.
Please take a few minutes on election day to change this dismal situation by voting in a responsible team of individuals dedicated to bringing sound reasoning to the management of our town's future.
Princeton Party candidates Mark Alexandridis and Alan Hegedus are proven business leaders capable of determining the validity of all financial decisions involved in the management of a town.
Green Party candidate Steve Syrek, who is running for Borough Mayor following his first council run of last year, is well versed in the present and pressing issues which this town now faces. He talks about the reckless over-building in the name of progress vs. sustainable, responsible growth of a town. He presents a moderate approach to the handling of matters, and would, I firmly believe, strive for a balance of views within the Council.
A gem of a town, Princeton deserves much better than the status quo. On November 4, vote Alexandridis and Hegedus for council, Steve Syrek for Mayor. Don't wait until it's too late.
To the Editor:
The Spirit of Princeton Committee will conduct a Veterans Day Ceremony on Tuesday, November 11 at 11 a.m., in front of the All Wars Monument on Mercer and Nassau Streets in Princeton. The public is invited to attend.
The armistice that ended the fighting of World War One took effect at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). That war was the result of the conflicting foreign policies of the participants, and various treaties among them. The spark that ignited the conflagration was the assassination of the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia in June, 1914. The Austrian Emperor, Franz Joseph, born in 1830 and on the throne since 1848, perceived the response to the murder of his son inadequate and declared war on Serbia on July 28. Because of an existing alliance, Russia then declared war on Austria. Germany, allied with Austria, declared war on Russia and then France. Great Britain, allied with France, entered the fray. Turkey and Bulgaria joined with Germany and Austria, while Italy, Rumania and the U.S. eventually came in on the other side. The exact number of casualties is unknown, but historians cited in a BBC report estimate up to 10 million were killed and 20 million wounded.
Informal ceremonies began being held on November 11 in the U.S., France and Great Britain in honor of the sacrifices made by their veterans. In 1926, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution officially naming November 11 Armistice Day, in the idealistic belief that the war was so devastating that it was indeed "the War to end all wars." Unfortunately, 1939 brought World War Two, followed in 1949 by the Korean War. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 1 as Veterans Day, making it a day to honor those who have served America in all wars.
BROOKS DYER, Lt. Col.,
To the Editor:
Several things distinguish me from other candidates. I think our current system of school is inhumane and that turning out enlightened youth without such great cost is a primary concern of a strong community. Neither the vigor of independences, nor dynamism of group experience is conveyed well by current schooling. There are simply better ways to produce enlightenment and steadiness than having the young at a desk six hours a day 180 days a year. I'm not saying no infrastructure is needed, but I am suggesting putting our heads together to discuss a greater infrastructure that will make this community stronger, and that caring about the younger generation is part and parcel to strong community. I'm not saying schools don't encourage creativity, but they don't create creativity.
And that understanding dualism, the soul within the body division, is an important consideration of business and business sense and essential to good business and lowering taxes, if not producing income of metaphysical government.
And that if one reads the constitution one finds no reference to a separation of Church and state. Indeed, such separation seems to be referenced by the church. The goals of a more perfect union, and government making American life easier, are consistent with the goals of a more sinless society and a harmonious society that understands godly universal values.
And let me make the plea that great societies limit building knowing that urban and suburban areas are designed for the countryside and forest to remain, and that great societies have great and beautiful lands around the towns and connecting towns which now make deconstruction a pun on building.
And I add the caveat of considering taxes every year by renewal. I hope in this consists merit.
To the Editor:
Bill Hearon, a resident of Princeton since 1987, is a candidate for the Princeton Township Committee. In our view, his background is ideal for this position.
Mr. Hearon has an undergraduate degree in business administration, and a graduate degree in theology. He has been a teacher at the college level, and has had his own business for the past ten years. He has worked on a number of Princeton issues with other business leaders in the area. Among his areas of interest are housing, particularly for seniors, and transportation. More details on his background may be found on his website: www.billhearon.com.
We have seen Mr. Hearon in action within a local non-profit organization, and we believe that he has the leadership skills and the integrity to benefit Township residents if he is given the opportunity to serve as a member of the Princeton Township Committee.
To the Editor:
In a recent political advertisement, local Democrat candidates for office in Princeton Borough lauded their efforts in controlling taxes. Specifically, candidates O'Neill, Benchley and Karcher compared Borough tax rates to the county and schools increases for the past four years, taking credit for the lowest rates of increase. However, the facts as stated misrepresent and can lead to false interpretations.
First, county taxes are levied on municipalities proportionally to the ratable value of property within each taxing district. Princeton has long endured the double-edged sword of valuations increasing faster than, say, Trenton or Hamilton, with the consequence of being saddled with a proportionately heavier share of the county tax. County expenses have not risen faster than Princeton's, as the ad would suggest, but the allocation has. The relevant question that should be answered by incumbent officials is why no action has been sought to temper the increases from the county, or to insist that services rendered locally be commensurate with the outlays. Neither of these has been addressed with vigor.
Second, the comparison to the school board is carefully chosen to capture the four-year period during which the full debt service from the voter-approved schools expansion program began. The underlying school budgets compare quite favorably over a longer time span. Unlike municipal budgets, every year the schools must go before the voters for approval of the proposed budget, preceded always by full public discourse. Remember that just last year a two-day work stoppage occurred as the board and teacher's union wrestled over the very questions of salary expense and health care caps. When was the last time such a position was taken to achieve employee-related cost containment within the Borough?
Finally, real cost increases can be deviously avoided, and have been by Borough officials. For example, the recent contract for the downtown development project granted a ten-year tax exemption to the developer. Special "payments in lieu of taxes" will go to the Borough only; the schools are effectively on their own to collect higher taxes from current ratables for expected increases in enrollment. Another method of hiding true expenses is planned starting in 2004, when the first year of debt service should be due on the bonds for the project. Rather, the plan is to defer into the future such payments for the first 18 months, thereby enjoying immediate cash flow relief while "snowplowing" the repayment obligation years down the road.
Moody's has most objectively defined the fiscal condition of Princeton Borough as they recently downgraded our debt and credit rating for the second time. That's reality. Better to believe this than to trust a political ad two weeks before an election.
ALAN K. HEGEDUS
To the Editor:
We of the ad hoc Branch Library Committee call your attention to two issues that will be crucial to the success of establishing a permanent branch of the Princeton Public Library at the Princeton Shopping Center.
First, the Township election is on Tuesday, November 4, and we strongly urge everyone to vote. Two candidates for the Township Committee, Colin Vonvorys and Vic Federov, have publicly expressed interest in supporting a permanent Branch Library at the Shopping Center. In contrast, William Hearon prefers to wait until the new downtown Library is open and running before even considering a study of the Branch Library. However, if the Township Committee delays consideration of a Branch Library until the main library moves back to its permanent location downtown, it is unlikely that space in the Shopping Center for a Branch Library will still be available. For this reason, the Township Committee should take action on the issue of a Branch Library now. We urge you to keep this in mind when making your choices in the voting booth.
Second, we continue to collect signatures on the petition to place a referendum on the Township ballot regarding establishing a permanent Branch Library at the Shopping Center. More than 700 Township residents have shown their support for the Branch Library by signing the petition, but we are still approximately 300 valid signatures short of the required number. If you are a registered voter of the Township and can help collect signatures, please request a copy of the petition via e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor: Garrick Ohlsson was most impressive on October 24 at Richardson Auditorium. The orchestra was almost an hour delayed because of an accident on the Turnpike, and Mr. Ohlsson, without notice and without music, played Mozart's Sonata in C, KV330.
It was glorious. When the orchestra arrived he then performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22, KV482, as planned. An incredible performance!