Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 36
 
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
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Returnable Cigarette Butts Proposed to Help Remedy "Sidewalk Ashtrays"

CHRIS JOHNSON
Benjamin Rush Lane

Borough Council, Township Committee to Weigh Responses to Dog Attacks

RUTH RANDALL
Gulick Road
SUE TILLETT
Jefferson Road
DAMIAN UTKIEWICZ
Ewing Street
CAROL YAM
Linden Lane


Returnable Cigarette Butts Proposed to Help Remedy "Sidewalk Ashtrays"

To the Editor:

My favorite new law, if it's possible to have such a thing, is New Jersey's one and a half year-old ban on smoking in restaurants and bars. I love tasting my food and drink without a side of tar; and knowing that I am responsible for the stench on my clothes after a night out. Unfortunately, this law has had an ugly, unintended consequence. If you spend much time in downtown Princeton, especially in the morning, you'll notice that many of our sidewalks have become community ashtrays. It's especially troublesome on walkways where smokers gather outside of restaurants and taverns.

Surely I'm not the first person to notice this problem. But history shows it's difficult to appeal to the good sense of smokers, who pay $5 a day to kill themselves. So, pleas such as "Don't you live here too?" and "That butt will still be here in 13 years, will you?" won't work. I'm afraid what we need is more legislation &151; our most effective weapon against human sloth.

I propose resurrecting some version of the "Returnable Butt Bill," which, according to my Google search, was first offered by a Maine state legislator in 2001. The law would force smokers to pay a five cent deposit on each cigarette. A smoker would get back his deposit by returning the butts. The idea copies the soft drink and beer bottle return law in many states such as Maine.

Maine legislators quickly dropped the idea, saying it was impractical. I think they were shortsighted. Imagine the happy possibilities. Would you pick up a pile of nickels on the street? Would fewer people smoke if they had to pay the deposit?

The deposit program would be expensive to launch, but smokers are easy targets for new taxes. New Jersey could just levy an "Unsanitary Butt Tax" on each pack to pay for the program. Or, we could use some of that new seven percent sales tax, my least favorite new law.

CHRIS JOHNSON
Benjamin Rush Lane

Borough Council, Township Committee to Weigh Responses to Dog Attacks

To the Editor:

A walk in the park might not be just a walk in the park any more.

News reports of unprovoked attacks by vicious dogs in Princeton have reached an unprecedented level. There are doubtless many other incidents that go unreported. These attacks are a serious danger not only to our pets, but to children and adults as well.

To their credit, both the Borough Council and Township Committee are revisiting this issue in order to strengthen their ability to protect our families and our pets. The undersigned, dog lovers all, have experienced attacks of this nature. We encourage everyone to come to the following meetings to help build a safer Princeton.

The Princeton Township Committee will meet on Monday, September 10 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Township Hall. The Borough Council will meet on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall.

RUTH RANDALL
Gulick Road
SUE TILLETT
Jefferson Road
DAMIAN UTKIEWICZ
Ewing Street
CAROL YAM
Linden Lane

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