Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 38
 
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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The ‘Good Guys’ White Hat Doesn’t Fit Entrenched Members of Borough Council

Roland Foster Miller
Hawthorne Avenue
Republican Candidate for Borough Council

Township Faulted for an “Ineffectual Response” to “Bungled Assessments”

Lynn and John Irving
Longview Drive

Health Care Ministry Deserves Notice For Helping Elderly Remain in Homes

Carol L. Olivieri
Executive Director
Health Care Ministry of Princeton

Seminary Event On False Prophets Resembled Pro Barack Obama Rally

Rev. Vanessa McCauley
Princeton Kingston Road

Proposal to Do Away With the Dinky Fails the Most Basic Economic Tests

Rodney Fisk
Birch Avenue

Drawing Attention to the October 2 March for Peace, Jobs, and Justice

Alice Artzt
Hawthorne Avenue

On Vandalizing of Holt Lawn Signs: Complaints About the Complaining

(2 Letters)


The ‘Good Guys’ White Hat Doesn’t Fit Entrenched Members of Borough Council

To the Editor:

It is interesting but sad to see some incumbent members of the Princeton Borough Council trying on the big white hat to look like they’ve been the “good guys” all along in the divisive and inequitable revaluation fiasco. They sat smugly on the dais when early reports came in that people living in the borough were confronted with a tax burden that has in many cases doubled. People took up the cause of the oppressed residents from all walks of life, and the entrenched Council sat quietly by, chanting: “Reappraisal is fair, all is well.”

The simple fact is that the big white hat doesn’t fit those who would govern you. Try as they may it is just too big for them. The Council has ignored the needs of the community for too long, even going so far as to push forward a $6.1 million pool at Community Park as Princeton residents face the real possibility of losing their homes to a skewed and unfair revaluation, and this during one of the worst economic climates ever seen in the United States.

The revaluation mess affects almost all of the many faces of Princeton — lower income families, middle-income families, the elderly and the young and all those in between. For too long, the one-party Council has become the representative of itself, not of the people. It has taken for granted Princeton residents, ironically and especially those in the neighborhoods who can least afford it and most often lend the Council their support. Council members expect your vote on Nov. 2, no matter what they have done to you and your families and your homes and lives.

What was Council’s response when confronted by scores of residents at the recent overflow meeting at Borough Hall? “It’s not our fault your being forced out of your homes. We didn’t do anything wrong, and, even if we did, we can’t do anything about it. Reappraisal is fair, all is well.”

Well, the residents of Princeton can do something about a Council that is shuffling for image repair after the damage to the community has been done. You can show those who would now portray themselves as good guys that what they did was wrong.

It is time to redo the revaluation, and it is time to redo Borough Council.

Roland Foster Miller
Hawthorne Avenue
Republican Candidate for Borough Council

Township Faulted for an “Ineffectual Response” to “Bungled Assessments”

To the Editor:

Liz Lempert’s letter of two weeks ago begs one to suspend all disbelief that somehow this spring she was not present when Witherspoon Jackson homeowners bearing bungled assessments began appearing one-after-the-other before the Township committee. They sought only relief for their sadly misguided tax estimates and statements. Township committee’s service to distressed taxpayers then, in April, consisted of telling them: deal with it and no, I am sorry, there was nothing they, their representatives, could do to change it. Former Mayor Jim Floyd appeared with many of these frustrated citizens as did Jim Firestone and they can attest to the ineffectual response of your elected officials.

To make matters worse, months later in August Ms. Lempert and her committee partner, Lance Liverman, finally had the courage to stand in front of voters at public hearing at the Muni Complex and say ‘we feel your pain but there is still nothing we can do. It is out of our hands.’ Sadly, it has taken voter turn-outs in public meetings with media coverage to move our present band of township representatives toward any defense or problem solving on behalf of those who elected them.

Lynn and John Irving
Longview Drive

Health Care Ministry Deserves Notice For Helping Elderly Remain in Homes

To the Editor:

In a recent article about the Human Services Department’s Summer Youth Employment Program (Topics of the Town, August 25), the Health Care Ministry of Princeton was not included in the list of participating agencies. That was unfortunate because this year was the first year we were participating and we look forward to being included next year. The Health Care Ministry is a non-profit with a mission of assisting the elderly to remain in their homes as long as that is safety possible. With a very lean budget, we direct our energy and the charitable dollars we receive toward providing services. All office support we have comes from volunteers. I look forward to Cynthia Mendez contacting us when she plans for next year’s program.

Carol L. Olivieri
Executive Director
Health Care Ministry of Princeton

Editors Note: Our apologies for the omission.

Seminary Event On False Prophets Resembled Pro Barack Obama Rally

To the Editor:

My friend, a Christian minister and I, also a minister, looked forward to attending the event in recognition of the U.S. Constitution at the Princeton Theological Seminary on September 17. The program, which was part of the Pastor’s Monthly Round Table, was entitled “The Church’s Prophetic Function to Discern and Condemn False Prophets while Supporting Good Politics.” The aim of the meeting was to explore how the church could better exercise its prophetic voice and how an individual could better discern between true and false prophets.

We were particularly interested in hearing Dr. Peter J. Paris, the event’s moderator. We expected that Dr. Paris, the author of numerous books including Black Religious Leaders: Unity in Diversity and The Social Teaching Of The Black Church, would present his views in an academically rigorous, even handed, and yes, even inclusive manner.

Sadly, the event proved to be not as advertised. From the outset, Dr. Paris remarks resembled a “pro” President Barak Obama “rally” even describing Mr. Obama’s works in our nation and the world as that of a prophet though he was a politician. Dr. Paris also spoke lengthily and admiringly of President Obama’s pastor for over 20 years, Jeremiah Wright. He either did not know or chose to overlook the fact that Mr. Wright has long espoused racial bigotry and divisiveness and that President Obama had been obliged to sever all contact with him.

Rev. Vanessa McCauley
Princeton Kingston Road

Proposal to Do Away With the Dinky Fails the Most Basic Economic Tests

To the Editor:

Where does fiduciary responsibility begin? At what level must a public body acknowledge that it cannot evade the obligation to the broader community to say “no” — and say so decisively — to something so wrong, so economically flawed, as the proposed obliteration of the Dinky, Princeton’s unique rail shuttle? The rejection is admittedly made more difficult, even painful, when the concept is so strongly advocated by such a respected and admired figure as former Borough Mayor Marvin Reed.

Most communities would trade their city hall for a rail shuttle to the Northeast Corridor. But not Princeton, or at least not some of its leading public officials. The ($400,000) Bus Rapid Transit study, the official basis for Reed’s zealous support, values the current Dinky at $48 million. Then it recommends removing its entire infrastructure at a cost of $4 million and replacing it with a busway for $35 million. The study projects an additional 150 daily passengers when the new bus service begins. What rational entity would endorse a capital cost of over $500,000 for each new user of a system? How could anyone in these times of diminishing public resources honestly recommend diverting $87 million in public funds to convert the Dinky to a sure-to-fail bus link? What do we say when shown that a dedicated busway from Plainsboro to I-295 in Lawrence, serving all transit nodes in between, could be built for about the same? Based on the small operating cost savings of bus vs. rail, it would take 150 years to pay back the capital expenditure. At zero interest. Bottom line: The proposal fails the most basic economic tests, discounts traffic-congestion realities, belittles historical consideration, and belies simple common sense.

Now NJ Transit, our state transit organization is joined and cheered on by Marvin Reed. Together they sincerely argue for us to buy into this most ill-advised allocation of tax dollars since the “bridge to nowhere.”

Borough Council and Township Committee seem strangely enamored of the Reed Plan. It rests therefore upon the Regional Planning Board to accept without equivocation its role as the responsible steward of public assets and reject this proposal with as much finality as the law allows.

Come see if they do. By far the most important gesture of support would be your attendance at the critical meeting of the Regional Planning Board at Princeton Township Hall on Thursday, September 30 at 7:30. More details at “Save the Princeton Dinky” on Facebook.

Rodney Fisk
Birch Avenue

Drawing Attention to the October 2 March for Peace, Jobs, and Justice

To the Editor:

I cannot understand why the Tea Party activities, even insignificant groups of a few people yelling and waving signs around, get wall-to-wall news coverage, whereas I have not read one word about the truly important and historical March for Peace, Jobs & Justice that will take place on October 2. Free buses will take anyone in N.J. who wants to go to Washington. Rides will include a lunch and free T-shirt and free transportation to the Mall. Many many thousands of people are expected to come. Why is this tremendous effort being ignored? Can’t we show our fellow citizens that progressives can be active and involved in working for a sane and fair government? Anyone interested in getting more information about the march should go to: www.onenationforpeace.org/

Alice Artzt
Hawthorne Avenue

On Vandalizing of Holt Lawn Signs: Complaints About the Complaining

To the Editor:

I was amazed to see the pettiness in the letters of David E. Cohen and Carol Golden in the September 15 Mailbox where they immediately pounced on Scott Sipprelle or his supporters because their lawn signs were stolen. In the same Mailbox an independent candidate had written a letter seeking support yet he got no blame for these alleged thefts. Mr. Cohen alleges that on a nightly basis signs are stolen or vandalized in his neighborhood. I find this hard to believe and would love to see this supported by the multiple police reports that he and his neighbors surely filed. There are lots of reasons why someone might steal or vandalize a lawn sign e.g. someone does not like you personally or perhaps they wanted a HOLT sign for their own lawn or the sign got blown away in the recent windy weather. If you wish to write in to support your candidate do so honestly and do not try to impugn the character of a decent hard-working American business man.

Thomas Rooney
Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

In response to Carol Golden and David E. Cohen’s letters of September 15 complaining about the disappearance of Rush Holt lawn signs, I have heard that “Sipprelle for Congress” lawn signs have disappeared as well. I, for one, would never hold Congressman Holt responsible for the mischievous behavior of juveniles, or adults who behave like juveniles.

Beverly T. Elston
Quarry Street

For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.

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