Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 44
 
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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His Parks Alliance Work Commends Andrew Koontz for Borough Council

CRAIG PROVORNY
Cedar Lane

Riverside School’s Trick-or-Treaters Seeking Support for UNICEF Tonight

WILLIAM BENTHEM DE GRAVE, JAKE CADDEAU, KEKE MAHIRI FRANKIE YANDRISEVITS
4th Grade Do Something Club Members
Riverside Elementary School

Township Voters Are Urged to Reelect Phyllis Marchand and Lance Liverman

MINNIE L. RHODES
Witherspoon Street

Mismanagement of Downtown Project Is Reason for New Council Leadership

FERNANDO GUERRERO
Hodge Road

Biking on Princeton’s Crowded Streets Now Requires “Urban Cycling Attitude”

BURTON ROTHBERG
Winant Road

With Downtown Developer Negotiations Needing Sunlight, Why Not from Council?

LINDA SIPPRELLE
Nassau Street

Vanity Address Prompts Home Owner to Consider a Name for His Driveway

KURT TAZELAAR
Grover Avenue


His Parks Alliance Work Commends Andrew Koontz for Borough Council

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of the reelection of Andrew Koontz to Princeton Borough Council. As Princeton faces serious issues in the coming years — particularly property taxes, the downtown redevelopment project, and negotiations with Princeton University concerning contributions in lieu of property taxes — Andrew Koontz is the person best suited to address those concerns.

I have gotten to know Mr. Koontz over the past six years, both on a working and personal level. For the last several years I have worked with him on the Princeton Parks Alliance, which he serves as president. He has shown a dedication to improving all of the parks in Princeton, and spearheading fundraising drives for the rehabilitation and lighting of the Princeton Battle Monument, the proposed skateboard park, and the rehabilitation of the Harrison Street Park. As President he has worked tirelessly, devoting countless hours to improving Princeton for all of us.

As a member of Borough Council Mr. Koontz has demonstrated the same dedication he has shown as president of the Parks Alliance. He has also shown a willingness to vote his conscience to protect the interests of the citizens of Princeton. Most recently, the majority of Borough Council voted to continue negotiations with NHKT in closed session. Mr. Koontz and Roger Martindell were the only two members of Borough Council to vote in favor of conducting the negotiations in a public session, so the veil of secrecy could be lifted.

In his service on Borough Council and the Princeton Parks Alliance, Mr. Koontz makes certain to study all sides of every issue before casting a vote. He is the type of leader we need to help lead Princeton in the coming years to help us address our growing concerns. That is why I will be casting my vote for him for Princeton Borough Council on November 6.

CRAIG PROVORNY
Cedar Lane

Riverside School’s Trick-or-Treaters Seeking Support for UNICEF Tonight

To the Editor:

We are the Do Something Club at Riverside Elementary School in Princeton. We are trying to collect money for UNICEF. Our goal is to collect $1,700 this year on Halloween with our orange UNICEF boxes. The money goes to help people in need around the world. UNICEF is so important because it will help children who do not have food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, or education. We are asking the people of Princeton to please help us reach our goal when we come trick-or-treating on October 31.

We really like our club because we want to help make the world a better place.

WILLIAM BENTHEM DE GRAVE, JAKE CADDEAU, KEKE MAHIRI FRANKIE YANDRISEVITS
4th Grade Do Something Club Members
Riverside Elementary School

Township Voters Are Urged to Reelect Phyllis Marchand and Lance Liverman

To the Editor:

On November 6 Princeton Township voters should reelect Mayor Phyllis Marchand and Committeeman Lance Liverman. They have served our town with responsibility and care, and always make decisions based on sound principles and a concern for the long-term benefits for the entire community. Princeton Township is a well-managed community and a wonderful place to live. Let’s keep it that way by re-electing these two outstanding leaders.

MINNIE L. RHODES
Witherspoon Street

Mismanagement of Downtown Project Is Reason for New Council Leadership

To the Editor:

As Borough Princetonians face municipal tax increases of over 44 percent in the last five years, continued lack of transparency in regard to the downtown redevelopment project, symptoms of gang violence, and a low standard of fiduciary responsibility in the form of millions of dollars in unbilled charges to the Township, can there be any doubt that our beloved community needs a fresh approach in Borough Council?

As many have pointed out, the mismanagement of the downtown redevelopment project illustrates three serious Borough Council shortcomings: lack of transparency; revenue that has been lost and will continue to be lost if further concessions are made; and the ultimate cost of higher property taxes.

Furthermore, one has to question the judgment of pushing on with the next project (Building C) with the same developer. To quote Councilman Martindell, “We are essentially volunteer persons unschooled in development work and we are negotiating with pros who have a lot of money at stake, and there’s a fair amount of hubris that we have the skills to match them at the negotiating table.” Our town deserves better!

One has to wonder why the Borough has essentially stonewalled requests from interested citizens and local media for a public accounting of its dealings with NHKT. Why? Is it really that embarrassing?

Staying the course comes at too high a price. I proudly support Linda Sipprelle, a candidate with demonstrated ability and common sense for Borough Council on November 6.

FERNANDO GUERRERO
Hodge Road

Biking on Princeton’s Crowded Streets Now Requires “Urban Cycling Attitude”

To the Editor:

As a bicyclist in Princeton for several decades, I was saddened by the death of Dominique Wenzel (Town Topics, October 17). While the particulars of that incident may never be known, I have noticed that some cycling residents are putting themselves at risk. Over the years, Princeton has morphed from quiet college town to a small but crowded city. The days in which one could get on a trusty three-speed and pedal to the bakery are gone. If you want to cycle in Princeton now, you have to adopt an urban cycling attitude.

What’s an urban cycling attitude? Most of all it means putting all your mental resources into riding your bicycle. It means always scanning up and down the road, looking for possible dangers, breaks in the traffic, and potential escape routes. It means looking for keys to what cars will do next, such as the face of the driver or the turn in its wheels. It means recognizing that many modern vehicles such as SUVs restrict the driver’s nearby field of vision. It also means a somewhat aggressive attitude if called for: taking the whole lane if need be or establishing yourself in an intersection where your presence is obvious. This kind of riding is somewhat akin to playing a video game, which is probably why so many young men enjoy it.

I know what I say will sadden many. It certainly saddens me. Thirty years ago, the Princeton area was one of the bicycling meccas of the Northeast. Cyclists made trips from New York and elsewhere to enjoy our towns and country roads. Now it’s city and suburb. However, the bicycle can still be a great way to get around town. Just be careful out there.

BURTON ROTHBERG
Winant Road

With Downtown Developer Negotiations Needing Sunlight, Why Not from Council?

To the Editor:

I agree with Councilman Martindell’s assertion that conducting negotiations with the Council’s downtown developer, NHKT, behind closed doors and an unwillingness to embrace public disclosure only serve to highlight the weakness in Council’s negotiating ability and tactics (Town Topics, October 17).

This is a sorry state of affairs indeed. All the more so because it is costing taxpayers money.

I also applaud the Councilman’s effort to make residents aware of these shortcomings in Borough governance. My question is: How will the Councilman and his Council running mate, the latter now a supporter of transparency on this issue, rectify the problem?

There appears to be no legal impediment which would preclude the Councilmen from themselves making the outlines of these deliberations known to the public. Borough Council’s behind-closed-doors decision-making is justified by one council member on the grounds that public “involvement” before a final decision is reached would be “damaging,” but without convincingly explaining why.

Now that Councilman Martindell and his running mate have “talked the talk,” Borough residents might well expect that they “walk the walk” and tell us what is really going on.

LINDA SIPPRELLE
Nassau Street

Vanity Address Prompts Home Owner to Consider a Name for His Driveway

To the Editor:

With the addition of Barsky Court as Princeton’s newest street, I would like to rename my driveway Teardown-Waiting-To-Happen Avenue.

KURT TAZELAAR
Grover Avenue

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