ROBERT B. ZAGORIA
AND BILL JEMAS
To the Editor:
It's time to get things straight once and for all. In recent weeks the continuing lawsuit by Concerned Citizens against the Borough to stop the downtown development has been criticized as "delaying tactics."
We have had no desire whatsoever to delay for the sake of delay. That obviously has potential financial impact. But it is the Borough Council and Princeton Future standing alongside that must take the responsibility for our continuing action.
Let's put it in perspective. We were formed last fall after the Borough refused to believe the survey of the community that said 72 percent of the community were against the present plans. Even discounting the results by 5 or 10 or 20 percent should have told them something. Council members then turned down a petition of 607 Borough citizens who wanted a non-binding referendum in November. Still they chose not to believe, nor, much more importantly, to get the message that they should conduct their own survey. When protests at meetings and scores of letters to the editors didn't reach them, we got another petition of 856 Borough registered voters in January for a bond referendum. Under their highly questionable use of a legal out, they didn't have to let the voters decide. And still they didn't get the message that the majority of registered voters simply are against the project. We emphasize that we don't want a "pyrrhic victory" that leaves a partially completed garage hulk should we win on appeal, as seems likely given the fact that last December Judge Feinberg was reversed by the appellate court in another case for making the same errors she made in this one.
We continue to have a responsibility to the future character of Princeton and to those thousands of Borough residents and over 30 merchants who disagree (and hundreds providing financial support). In the end it won't be our fault if, as we firmly believe, we win the appeal and the Borough has to stop at whatever point. It has been and it will be 100 percent on the backs of those who have refused to listen to the people.
Judge Feinberg's refusal to grant a stay was expected. Now we have to wait for an Appellate Division hearing. To avoid delay we decided there was a better way; we offered to join the Borough in mediation and arbitration. If we lost, we'd drop further action. If there was ever any doubt that the Borough Council has unilaterally proceeded from the start with no intent of serving the public at large, the fact that they said no to this suggestion tells all. After all, the only thing they could have lost was the case, which would have been a big embarrassment. Instead, they chose to wait week-by-week, perhaps month-by-month, while gambling with taxpayers' money. The Council rejected this as a "public relations ploy."
Presently, there are hundreds of parking meters being eliminated that are retailer and customer friendly. On behalf of thousands of taxpayers we shall continue to try to get the Borough to stop this unpopular downtown development.
We hope the Appellate Division will respond to our request for an expedited hearing and hear the case very soon.
To the Editor:
A vaccinated doe in Princeton's experimental birth control program was maliciously killed by a bow hunter last week.
Princeton currently allows this cruel "sport" on private property for the small minority of New Jersey residents who are hunters. The rest of us are left to suffer emotionally as we watch the endless suffering of the animals.
Township officials praise their deer management plan of cruelty, with its nets and bolts, bows and arrows, and high powered rifles, and they promise to continue with what they say is their "thoughtful" deer plan of mass slaughter.
This "thoughtful" plan has resulted in an increased fertility rate in the surviving deer, a known result of hunting pressure. The lack of competition for food and space has also allowed more deer from neighboring areas to move in.
We are seeing more fawns this year than in the past few years.
Over 1,000 Princeton deer have been killed by White Buffalo and hunters in the past three years. But the Township hasn't done anything to prevent car-deer collisions, which are still happening and are a threat to the remaining vaccinated deer in the experimental birth-control program.
The suburban deer question has so many diverse and thus far unexplored aspects that it should be the subject of deliberation by an interdisciplinary group of professional planners and engineers, as well as citizens with diverse viewpoints. The present Township Committee has repeatedly refused to establish such a bona fide Committee. It has deliberately denied those Princeton residents who oppose lethal measures any participation in decisions of gravity involving discharge of weapons in our local parks and wildlife "preserves," and humane treatment of native wildlife. There is no authentic suburban deer management committee, only a "kill-is-the-only-answer" committee.
Before opening up Princeton's public parks to even more bow hunting and wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars more on their useless deer plan the Township Committee should go back to the drawing board, inviting both objective professionals and public participation, to amend the existing plan in a way that will provide safe and effective protection of both the human and deer populations in a suburban setting.
To the Editor:
Just yesterday, a Riverside mom brought a clear drinking glass to school, held it under the fountain, and out came the water a brownish, yellow yech. Fortunately, our kids have only been drinking it for a few days.
For the past weeks, the mildew, dust and construction debris have been in the air. We do not as yet have test data. Again, it's just a few weeks, and the teachers and kids should be OK (pending the results of the delayed air quality testing).
For the past decades Riverside teachers have been coming to work days and, in some cases, weeks before the first day of school, to get their classrooms organized, and to prepare for incoming students. These dedicated professionals worked without additional pay, on their own time.
But, not this year. As late as Labor Day Monday no one was permitted to enter the building. Given the preparatory needs of our teaching professionals, why did the Princeton School Administration order the opening of schools on Thursday the 4th? Instead of days or weeks, the teachers were given one day to prepare.
In June, in preparation for construction, all supplies had been boxed and moved. By September, those materials had been fairly well shuffled and coated in layers of dirt and fine dust. Some teachers could not locate their boxes, or could not find basic supplies. This of all years, the teachers needed more, not less, time to ready themselves to teach our kids.
As Riverside parents, we want to take this opportunity to thank our teachers for the remarkable job they have done. Yes, the teachers worked like crazy and did manage to get their classrooms going as well as humanly possible, but to what benefit? Also, what is the cost in loss of morale and spirit on the part of a professional teaching staff compelled to play catch up due to administrative dictums.
With the Administration in a headlong charge to open the doors, they seem to have lost track of the essentials water, air, and teachers. So, we as parents hope in the future to see that health, educational and human needs are given priority.