September 30, 2015

To the Editor:

The following is a letter we wrote to our Assemblywoman Donna Simon last year. She and our Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli have never voted to override Governor Christie’s many vetoes even on overwhelming bi-partisan-supported legislation they both voted for. We do not need “rubber stamp” representation in the state legislature and that is why we are supporting and voting for Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella as highly qualified and independent thinkers not beholden to the whims and ambitions of our governor.

However, Princeton and other voters had a shamefully low voting record in last year’s election. Less than 35 percent of registered voters voted in that non-presidential year, which we have coming up again this November 3. That is one of the key factors that changed the makeup of the U.S. Senate. Those who are not registered or who need an absentee ballot can call the Office of the Clerk of Mercer County at (609) 989-6465. Here is the letter sent to Assemblywoman Simon:

“We, and many others we know, are very disturbed by your anti-environmental voting record on key issues such as open space funding and voting against banning importation of fracking waste to New Jersey from out of state.

On the latter issue, you apparently go along with the governor in again vetoing this measure, which has overwhelming bi-partisan support. His argument on the constitutionality of the proposed ban has not been an issue in other states which have banned fracking waste importation. Why would a legislator vote to import more toxins to New Jersey, which already has more than its share of toxic waste from its days as a heavily industrial state (most superfund sites in the U.S.) as well as from current practices? A better model would be to follow the more enlightened example of your colleague, Senator “Kip” Bateman, especially on environmental and public health protection.

The first responsibility of those who represent the public is to protect from harmful practices. As a relatively new legislator we hope you will think more deeply and independently on far reaching issues, especially protection of our environment, usually related to public health. This is a critical issue for many in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S.”

Grace and Frank Sinden

Ridgeview Circle

To the Editor,

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, is less than six weeks away. This year, the race at the top of the ticket here in Princeton is for state assembly, a race that many people – even regular voters – don’t pay much attention to. But there are real reasons to care about the assembly races and urgent reasons to vote. Gun control would be one relevant example. Yesterday and today, there were threats at Riverside Elementary School (the school my children attended) and Princeton High School (again, where my children attended). Although, thankfully, those threats and similar ones last year have turned out to be hoaxes, they are frightening nonetheless. In the wake of Sandy Hook and so many other shootings, I want stricter, sensible controls on firearms in place. Yet our Republican representatives in the State Assembly, Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon, don’t share this goal; both of them voted twice (Assembly bill #2006, 5/2014 and A1329 2/2013) against reducing the maximum size of ammunition magazines, and in February 2013 they both voted against background checks prior to a firearms purchase. It’s no wonder that the NRA awarded Simon an A+ rating and Ciattarelli a B+ rating. These proposed restrictions are not radical, but are commonsense solutions to a real problem. Simon and Ciattarelli have also failed to support minimum wage increases, spending on women’s health, investigating possible corruption due to Bridgegate, and to prohibit fracking waste from being released into the environment.

But Princeton voters do have an excellent alternative this November in Democrats Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella. Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton University, is committed to making decisions based on evidence and science rather than on ideology. Maureen Vella, a former judge and a practicing mediator, is aware of the real impact that laws have on people and works hard to see all sides of an issue. They will bring a progressive perspective to representing our district in Trenton and help to fight against Chris Christie and the Republicans’ misguided priorities. This election is likely to have record low turnout. Your vote matters! Please join me in voting for Zwicker and Vella for State Assembly.

Vote by mail by filling out this simple form to request an absentee ballot – ( and you won’t have to worry about getting to the polls on November 3.

Eve Niedergang

Forester Drive

To the Editor:

We can all agree that New Jersey’s state of affairs is dysfunctional — to put it mildly — owing, in large part, to hyper-partisanship. (See Beth Healey’s letter, “Our District Representatives Get High Marks From the NRA, Vote Against Faily Planning,” Mailbox, Sept. 23.) Given our challenges, the last thing we need is a shortfall in leadership. Thankfully, Princeton’s state representatives, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon, have stepped in to fill that void.

I genuinely doubt that any other representatives throughout the state are as responsive, considerate, compassionate, and knowledgeable about such a wide array of issues. These two legislators make it a point of operating on a plane outside the petty opportunism and political posturing that too often characterize Princeton.

If anyone cares to look closely enough, they’ll find that Assembly members Ciattarelli and Simon put their talents to good use to address complex policy matters in a rational and productive way, all the while doing their very best to serve Princeton. New Jersey would do well to elect more reasonable and less duplicitous representatives like Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon.

Mary Robbins

Overbrook Drive

To the Editor:

Now that the kids are back in school or vacations are finishing, it would be perfect to get new laces for your sneakers and sign up for the Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey Affiliate Race for the Cure, Sunday, October 4, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson call (844) 668-7338 or email:

Why participate? Here are three great reasons. 1) Become an “awareness” messenger. Join the 8,000 expected and “voice” a vital message that early detection saves lives. Women’s lives are important! When breast cancer is diagnosed early, before it spreads beyond the breast, the five year survival rate is 99 percent. Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. 2) Help your neighbor. Seventy-five percent of funds raised stay in local communities for education and screening for medically underserved and uninsured women and 25 percent support innovative breast cancer research. 3) Celebrate survivors and remember loved ones.

There are separate women and men’s 5K runs, 4K and 1 mile walks or Sleep in for the Cure. All athletic abilities are welcome. It is not necessary to be a serious running aficionado. This race is much more than competing to the finish line; it is a run or walk for life.

What to do for breast and overall health? Be proactive. Know your risk. Speak with your physician and family members about your health history. Get screened. Begin at age 20, and then have a clinical breast exam at least every three years. Women age 40-plus should have a mammogram every year. Know what is normal for you. If you notice any changes in your breasts including lumps, see your doctor. Do a healthy lifestyle makeover including diet, exercise, and sufficient rest.

If a woman cannot afford a mammogram or needs to know where to obtain one, please call the Komen office at (609) 896-1201.

Rochelle F. Hammer

Volunteer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Central and South Jersey Affiliate, Plainsboro

To the Editor:

A recent letter writer invoked Donald Trump in an attempt to criticize our excellent, solutions-oriented state legislators, Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon. (See letter from Beth Healey, Mailbox, September 23.) Any honest assessment of the facts would reveal that Ciattarelli and Simon are nothing like Trump. Rather, Jack and Donna have earned endorsements from both small business and organized labor; are routinely voices of reason and calm in a sea of partisan rancor in Trenton. They cross party lines with an open hand and constructive and reasonable suggestions. Both have worked hard to represent ALL of Princeton with dignity and distinction.

I am disappointed that the letter writer undeservedly tries to taint Ciattarelli’s and Simon’s excellent record by linking their candidacy with Trump’s presidential ego trip run. It’s frankly a shame to see people in our town so blinded by partisan ideology that they can’t see that good ideas exist in both parties, and good candidates do, as well.

I urge all registered voters to examine the records of Assemblyman Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Simon and to get to know them personally. They are dedicated, level headed, and conscientious. They pride themselves in representing everyone in their district. Check the facts, not the suppositions and vitriol. I am proud to have them as my representatives in the Assembly. Once you learn who they really are, I believe you will too. They deserve re-election on their own merits.

James Hockenberry

Randall Road

To the Editor:

We would like to thank our Princeton community for showing their support for Princeton High School at our Homecoming Weekend Celebration. Homecoming would not have been possible without the following support: The Princeton High School Student Council, the PHS administration and personnel, the PHS Football Boosters, the Town administrators, the superintendent and facilities crew, as well as, countless students, volunteers, teachers, and custodians that all came together to pull off this amazing event. Special thanks go to our Homecoming Chairs, Roxanne List and Tamera Matteo, for their continued support and infectious spirit, and to Ann Marciano, who illuminated our efforts with her expertise. With over 2000 people in attendance at our Friday Night under the Lights Football game, it was a sight to behold. The celebration continued into Saturday with more games and festivities including JWMS annual Super Saturday Celebration.

Thanks to everyone, including PHS neighbors and the greater community, for all their support! This truly has been a community event that the students will remember for years to come…a great tradition at PHS that the community can enjoy.


September 23, 2015

To the Editor:

There is currently a petition circulating in Princeton collecting signatures to present to the mayor and Council. It requests that they vote to deny any future application from the organizers of the annual Communiversity festival to hold the event on Sunday. Some petitioners have been rather aggressive in their quest to gather signatures. I was chastised when I refused to sign. They are also getting signatures from non-Princeton residents. In order for a petition to be considered, the signers must live or work in the town.

The petition was started by former Mayor Jim Floyd and an ad-hoc group of residents of the Witherspoon-Jackson community who claim that the decision by the festival organizers to move the event from Saturday to Sunday caused “parking nightmares” and had a “devastating effect” on the African American churches in their community. The festival places a burden on all the churches in the heart of town on that Sunday, but some members of the Witherspoon-Jackson churches are the only ones who have made it an issue. It’s only one Sunday.

Two years ago, the festival day was changed to Sunday when the Nassau Street merchants complained that Communiversity had a negative impact on their Saturday sales because people shopped at the festival and not in their stores. The merchants said fewer people shopped on Sunday, so their sales were not as severely impacted. Some Jewish residents said they felt left out because Saturday was their Sabbath and they were not able to participate in the festivities.

I am a member of the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, one of the churches in the Witherspoon-Jackson Community. I and members of our Outreach Committee have happily joined the celebration with a booth at Communiversity for the past five years. It is always a fun and exciting experience.

I attended a review meeting following the 2014 festival that included Jeff Nathanson, the executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, which sponsors the Communiversity festival, representatives of the police and fire departments, representatives of the merchants of Princeton, pastors and members of other churches in the Witherspoon-Jackson Community. The discussion revolved around the Saturday vs. Sunday issue. Mr. Nathanson, and the members of the police department, promised to reach out to members of the Witherspoon-Jackson Community to remind them of the changes for that one Sunday. The representatives of the churches said they would notify their members of the changes. It appeared to me the issue was settled.

Communiversity was started in 1971 to unite Princeton University and the Princeton communities in a day of celebration and mutual respect. Now, as we all know, it has become a beloved annual regional event that draws almost 45,000 people. The petition could change all that by igniting an ugly and divisive “us vs. them” debate that would undermine the very concept of Communiversity — bringing the communities together. It would be a shame to let that happen.

Alyce Bush

Loomis Court

To the Editor:

There may be those like the Republican state legislator [Senator Christopher Bateman] who recently asserted that Princeton Democrats should support our Republican state representatives in the upcoming election in a spirit of nonpartisanship [Mailbox, Sept.16].

That argument may fool Donald Trump voters, but the reality is that politics is partisan and that partisan legislative voting is a tangible manifestation of our values. Princetonians should understand that we are currently represented in the assembly by three Republicans who consistently and reliably support Governor Christie’s right-wing agenda.

For example, Assemblywoman Donna Simon received an A+ rating from the NRA. She has always voted against funding for family planning, and she was endorsed by the tea party. Jack Ciattarelli is slightly less right-wing, receiving a B+ from the NRA, but he also rejects all funding for family planning.

When New Jersey’s governor brags in national debates about how he has advanced his conservative agenda in a Democratic-leaning state, we can thank Princeton’s current assembly representatives. But on Election Day, November 3, we can get ourselves to the polls and vote for new representatives. We have two excellent Democratic candidates: Maureen Vella, a former judge, and Andrew Zwicker, a physicist. I hope you will join me in turning our district in a new direction and support Zwicker and Vella for Assembly.

Beth Healey

Moore Street

September 16, 2015

To the Editor:

As the election season gets under way, I want to remind Princeton voters that this year we have the opportunity to unseat our two Republican state assembly representatives by voting for Democratic candidates Maureen Vella and Andrew Zwicker.  Princeton and the rest of the 16th legislative district deserve representation that reflects our values, not those of a right-wing governor.

Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon have a 100 percent voting record with Chris Christie. They have supported Christie in cutting women’s health funding, blocking corruption reform at the Port Authority, and preventing property tax relief for struggling homeowners after Hurricane Sandy.

Andrew Zwicker, as a Princeton University scientist, brings his experience of relying on evidence, not political ideology or rhetoric, in making decisions.  Maureen Vella as a former judge looks at all sides of an issue before making a decision.  Princeton deserves representatives who are independent thinkers.

I urge residents to mark their calendars for November 3 and to vote for Zwicker and Vella for Assembly.

Dan Preston

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Unfortunately, over my years of public service, politics has grown more partisan.  Nowhere was this more evident than a recent letter-to-the-editor submitted by Scotia W. MacRae [Town Topics, Sept. 2, “Did You Know That Three Republicans Represent Princeton in N.J. Legislature?”]

The letter underscores the unwillingness by some to open their hearts and minds to others simply because they don’t share the same party affiliation.  Clearly demonstrating disrespect and intolerance, Ms. MacRae would seemingly lead one to believe that my fellow District 16 legislators and I have some type of hideous, deadly and contagious disease.

Yes, it is true that for the past three and one-half years, Princeton has been represented by state legislators who are Republicans, me being one of them.  Republicans, mind you, who have received endorsements from organized labor unions and pro-environment groups, as well as from business and taxpayer watchdog groups.

The delegation, which includes Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon, has worked extremely hard to effectively represent the newly aligned District 16, including Princeton.  We’ve been more than accessible and responsive to Princeton, putting progress before party in working closely with its local elected leadership on various issues important to the community.  I can honestly say that, on issues specific to the environment, transportation, infrastructure, affordable housing and fiscal matters, we have worked to improve the quality of life in Princeton.

Each election cycle provides an opportunity for candidates and their supporters to distinguish themselves for integrity.  Let us assertively compete, but let us also conduct campaigns that encourage, not discourage, fellow citizens.  Most importantly, let us conduct ourselves in a way that demonstrates respect and tolerance.  The alternative only serves to intensify the hyper-partisanship and polarization that gridlocks Washington and Trenton.

Senator Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman


To the Editor:

  New Jersey Assemblypersons Donna Simon and Jack Ciattarelli have represented Legislative District 16 since 2012.  I have been impressed with how they handle their legislative responsibilities. Their sincere interest in constituents’ concerns and achievements is more than impressive.

There are few politicians – Assembly or otherwise – that take such pride in their district and the people who make up their constituency.  Given that Legislative District 16 is highly diverse and there are varying opinions coming from all sides, Assemblypersons Simon and Ciattarelli handle complicated issues with tact, always seeking a logical, reasonable, middle ground approach.

In a short period, they have proven time and again that they are absolutely qualified to represent the district and Princeton. Having Assemblypersons Donna Simon and Jack Ciattarelli re-elected on November 4 can only benefit our Princeton community.

George Fox

Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

Regarding the problem of leaf blowing noise, I wonder if zones could be established as we have for leaf pick-up? A zone could have two designated days when lawn service blowing and mowing would be allowed. The rest of the week would be quiet. Residents who do their own yard work would be encouraged to do so on the designated days.

Carol Rothberg

Winant Road

To the Editor:

Early this year, the Princeton government began work on a Bicycle Master Plan. That is commendable, given our future of declining fossil fuel supplies. On the Princeton website, there is even a questionnaire for Princeton residents to print out and complete. But the questionnaire has no instructions for where and when to submit it! I have not found any other related web pages with such instructions.  Indeed, the work done on the Master Plan appears to have had no public input.  Is this another example of our local government discouraging or ignoring input from its constituents?

Furthermore, there is a timeline graphic web page with a meeting scheduled for this month, but the date is not given. With this month almost half over, is the meeting announcement going to be on such short notice so that when nobody shows up, our leaders can claim a lack of public interest in developing a bicycle plan?

There is now a NJDOT grant to Princeton of which a portion was allocated to bicycle planning. If the government can claim there is no interest, can the grant funds be shifted from bicycle plans to other items the government deems more important?

I think it is important for local government to affirmatively act to stay within the trust horizon of their constituents, especially at a time when larger governments and other institutions are losing popular confidence.

Of course, my concerns might be unfounded, in which case the Town Council and whoever prepared the questionnaire just did not give it the forethought it deserved.

Ronald C. Nielsen

Humbert Street

To the Editor:

New Jersey is such a partisan state. It is considered “blue” outside the state, but it’s a checker-board in-state with very red areas and very blue areas and darn few “swing” districts. It has been this way for a long time.

Bipartisan cooperation, compromise and collaboration by politicians make progress possible. Not really as rare as most cynical voters think. New Jersey needs reasonable policies addressing real solutions to real problems. AARP supported helping family caregivers with the CARE Act signed into law by Gov. Christie last year. Over the years, AARP supported new laws providing protections against unwanted telemarketing calls and predatory lending, identity theft, reforming the long-term care system, defending property tax relief programs from budget cuts… We win some, we lose some but we never stop advocating.

Legislators need to work together to send reasonable bills to Gov. Christie’s desk before the end of the year. Pass the Secure Choice Savings Act which has strong bipartisan sponsorship to help small businesses help their employees save for retirement. Pass legislation to address the health insurance out-of-network issue. Establish a rational, reasonable earned paid sick leave state-wide benefit and maybe even address property taxes.

Douglas Johnston

AARP New Jersey interim State Director

To the Editor:

Christine’s Hope for Kids congratulates the 2015 Hopewell Block Party Committee on another wonderful evening! A great time was had by all at this annual event that brings together local vendors, musicians and volunteers for a great night of community spirit.

During our fifth anniversary year, we are honored to be the recipient of a $1,500 donation from the Block Party Committee.  This generous donation has helped us send many kids to summer camps in Mercer County.  We would like to thank the entire committee, the vendors who supplied the delicious food and drinks, the wonderful band and all our friends and neighbors who attended the event for your generosity and support.  We are proud to be part of such a giving community.

Jean Gianacaci

Founder, Christine’s Hope for Kids

September 2, 2015

To the Editor:

Many people in Princeton do not realize that their representatives in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly are all Republicans. Yes! It’s true.

If you don’t believe me go to:

How did this happen? As a result of the 2010 national census, New Jersey State Legislative Districts were redrawn. Princeton was transferred from State Legislative District 15 — represented by three Democrats — to State Legislative District 16, represented by three Republicans, one of them endorsed by the Tea Party. All of them have voted to back Gov. Chris Christie’s initiatives to roll back environmental advances, decimate funding for women’s health care, and divert money intended for transportation infrastructure (including turning down $3 billion from the federal government to build a second train tunnel from New Jersey to New York), while blaming teachers for everything that is wrong with the state.

We have two excellent Democratic candidates running this year for the New Jersey State Assembly: Andrew Zwicker, a scientist and educator, and Maureen Vella, an attorney who gave up a judgeship in order to run. Check them out at:

Your vote will be crucial on November 3, 2015. It is an off-year for elections to national office, which usually means that turnout will be low. If you don’t vote, State Legislative District 16 will continue to be represented by Republicans. If you do, there’s a good chance it won’t. Better yet, don’t wait until November 3 to vote. You can get an application for a mail-in ballot that you can fill out ahead of time so you don’t need to worry about getting to the polls. You can request a vote-by-mail application from the Mercer County Clerk, or better yet, pick one up at the Zwicker/Vella headquarters in Princeton in the McCaffrey’s building, on the second floor down the hall from the ballet studio and the dentist.

Make your vote count!

Scotia W. MacRae

Evelyn Place

August 19, 2015

To the Editor:

[What follows is unkind to Princeton’s hard-working professional lawn mowers, but it was written during a 7:30 a.m. cutting/blowing. It is really about the rest of us.]

I like getting my act going by 7:30 or so in the a.m., half hour before legal, make sure folks know I’m here. Within a couple of minutes I take a whole quiet block and turn it into something that makes Newark Airport sound like a country club on a Sunday morning. You want decibels? I’ll give you noise your ears won’t forget. Get a couple of my super-riders going at the same time and you know the night is gone. Yards here are the perfect size, big enough to take a while, small enough to keep you in earshot of 20 neighbors. Seems like forever to you but then comes the real fun. That’s when I crank up my leaf blowers. Remember rake and broom? Nothing really much to blow, but we like three blowers at once so you think we’re really doing something, and it’s like a Boeing plant right here on your own property. We do a regular symphony, one blower high, one low, one just going up and down, turn ‘em off and on, get the rhythm really going. Nobody dozing in this concert hall. You can see raccoons and possums hustle off down toward the lake, the birds start shrieking just to hear each other, the dogs get to barking. It’s a regular neighborhood party. If you left a window open, you’ll slam it shut fast. If you’re drinking hot coffee listening to the morning news, you can quit right now. Can’t hear it anyway, can’t even swallow. If you missed a full night’s sleep, don’t want to go to work, you’ll hustle right off anyway to the quiet of a good office. We can raise your blood pressure a full ten points, dilate your pupils, give you bloodshot eyes like a cartoon character, reconfigure the relationship between you and your wife, make you carp at your kids. You’ll wish they’d never invented grass. I think about this while I’m working. It keeps me going. When I’m done I just mosey on three or four houses further down and do it all over again. All day long.

What’s fun is, folks, you’ve got a fancy-written public nuisance code. Makes it “unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, continuous or excessive noise or any noise which … annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within Princeton.” It guarantees that blowers be “adequately muffled.” Love that word, “adequately.” Words, words, we know who’s boss. Grass gotta be short. Laws or no laws, me and my machinery, we’re home free.

Jerome Silbergeld

Philip Drive

To The Editor:

No one can deny: the community is changing. Our town is remarkable and many want to move here. Thus, I agree — higher income people are going to move to Princeton and will buy more expensive homes than our existing stock. Rather than lamenting the change, our community should figure out rules to ensure those changes are positive. Here are some ideas.

1. In the case of tear-downs, have a building permit fee for those homes that markedly increase the square footage. Use these funds for low-income housing and open space preservation. I suggest $400,000.

2. Develop architectural standards that require homes to be interesting to the streetscape.

3. Enact a mansion tax to lower everyone’s property taxes in general.

4. Change the tax code to measure home size in cubic feet.

I believe that with the above changes, the homes will still be built, newcomers will still come. We are simply collecting too little for the changes that are occurring.

Phil Ludmer

Caldwell Drive

August 12, 2015

To the Editor:

Over the past year, many residents have discussed this topic at length, especially after the bag fee referendum question on the November ballot passed overwhelmingly in Princeton. The local papers have recently been writing stories about the importance of reducing single use bags in our community, in response to the announcement by The Princeton Merchants Association (PMA) that they are inaugurating their own “ABC Program” for the voluntary reduction of single-use bags. We are happy to see how important the business community thinks this issue is. We are pleased that they have taken some first-step actions towards controlling this global problem at the local level. It’s now clear that the residents and businesses agree that there is a single-use bag issue.

The writers of this letter have been leading the conversation about this topic. Our group has for years pushed for an ordinance to place a ten cent fee on both single-use plastic and paper bags, just as so many other towns, counties, states, and countries have done. The draft ordinance was also adopted unanimously by the Princeton Environmental Commission. As you probably know, voluntary programs have been shown to be largely ineffective in reducing the number of single-use bags in circulation or in waste streams. However, the first part of the draft ordinance called for an education campaign, and we are glad to see that the merchant group has started this part of the process. We hope things can be different in Princeton.

In the spirit of collaboration, we think the Town, the business community, and residents can work together to achieve the best possible outcome of this program — a truly significant reduction in single-use bags in our community, not just the recycling of bags. While recycling is one of the prongs of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” it is the third and least effective because it does nothing to curb production/consumption of new bags. Methane, a major emission in the manufacture of plastics, is also a primary contributor to global warming and its disastrous effects.

Thus, every attempt should be made to focus on reduction and reuse. Additionally, we hope the Town and business community will be very meticulous with their data collection to demonstrate a decrease in the number of single-use bags used in our community after the roll-out of this program.

Lastly, recent discussions have ignored the environmental cost of paper bags, which are actually more costly to produce and ship; they consume more energy. Our draft ordinance focused on all types of single use bags. This is a critical component. For now, if stores continue to give away paper bags, they should be 100 percent post-consumer recycled bags.

We again applaud PMA and the Town for joining with the residents of Princeton in recognizing the need for action on the single-bag issue, the plastic film overabundance, and the need to change from the status quo. We hope we can continue the conversation and document real change.

The Bag Ordinance Group.

Stephanie Chorney

Race Street

Daniel A. Harris

Dodds Lane

Bainy Suri

Chestnut Street

To the Editor:

Princeton has a powerful lobby for bicyclists. Who is looking after pedestrians?

The time is right to establish a consistent 25 mph speed limit for all residential roads.

In 2012 Princeton adopted Complete Streets policy with the goal of making Princeton a more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly community. A Complete Street is a roadway that is safe not only for motor vehicles, but also for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Residential roads, especially roads near schools, parks, and a community hub (Princeton Shopping Center), need to be zoned no higher than 25 mph so people can walk to nearby destinations.

A 25 mph speed zone posting informs motorists they are traveling through a residential district and they need to slow down and watch out for children, seniors, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Township traffic officials have a long history of assigning high speed zones on residential streets — Terhune Road 30 mph, 35 mph; Snowden Lane 35 mph; North Harrison 30 mph; Stuart Road 35 mph.

Posting high speed postings on residential roads directly contradicts Complete Streets Policy.

Princeton Council cannot in good conscience adopt a Bicycle Plan into the Master Plan without also adopting a 25 mph speed limit policy for all residential roads. Most residential roads are already zoned 25 mph.

The difference between a posted 25 mph speed limit and a posted 30 mph means little to a motorist, but it can mean the difference between life and death to a cyclist or a pedestrian.

Carolyn Barnshaw

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

The recent launch of the Learning Our ABC’s Campaign by the Princeton Merchants Association (PMA), Sustainable Princeton, the municipality, and local merchants is a perfect example of what can be done when we come together in a positive way to address environmental issues in Princeton.

Sustainable Princeton believes that positive change happens through collaboration. We believe in the carrot — not the stick — to solve environmental issues. We also believe that when it comes to waste, sending less to the landfill and creating less overall, is the best way to preserve our land, air, and water.

Our organizational goals are to reduce waste and energy in Princeton by working with residents, businesses, schools, and the municipality. We are pleased that the PMA and others have embraced our goals through this campaign.

Many people don’t know that we are an independent nonprofit group. We receive the majority of our funding through grants and individual donations. Thanks to this outside funding, we have launched a number of very successful community-wide energy and waste reduction programs, such as the EnergySmart Homes and Buildings Campaigns, Build a Bin, the zero waste Great Ideas Breakfast series, and now among others, the ABC’s Campaign with PMA.

This campaign is attractive because it offers a stepping stone to voluntary reduction of plastics through recycling and, more importantly, encourages shoppers to BYOBag. The campaign calls on merchants to Ask First if someone needs a bag so customers can be encouraged to adopt the habit of bringing their own. We hope the community will grab their favorite reusable bags and do just that!

With the continued help of forward thinking organizations such as PMA and a host of committed volunteers, we look forward to working together to reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve, and continue to create new ways to solve important environmental issues in Princeton.

Diane M. Landis

Executive Director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

In congratulating Mayor Liz Lempert for “standing firm on Princeton’s intent to remain a sanctuary city for immigrants” [Mailbox, Town Topics, July 29], a recent writer put the YWCA of Princeton in the same camp as that of a mayor whose policies flout federal laws of which illegal immigrants are in clear violation. And last week [“Mayor, Council, Others Respond to Letters Pro and Con on the ‘Sanctuary City’ Issue,” Mailbox, August 5], Mayor Liz reiterated her support for policies that contravene local participation in enforcement of federal law that calls for the registration and fingerprinting of all aliens here more than 30 days, not only, but also threaten anyone who knowingly (in lay terminology) gives aid, comfort, transportation, shelter, and/or sanctuary to an “illegal alien” (to be consistent with the language of the law). Moreover, the letter in question included signatures of numerous other local government officials who, by inference, share the mayor’s embrace of Princeton’s illegal immigrants.

To explain such an embrace, it is reasonable to hypothesize that tolerance of illegal immigration and its human embodiments has led to consequences conceptually analogous to those ensuing from tolerance of vice, described more than two centuries ago by Alexander Pope [in “An Essay on Man”] as follows: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,/As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;/Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,/We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” Having thus come to “embrace” the cause of illegal immigration and illegal immigrants, any effort to shake that embrace is encumbered by the force of [Everett] Dirksen’s Inequality: “The mind is no match with the heart for persuasion; constitutionality is no match for compassion.”

Princeton’s YWCA director, the mayor and city officials who co-signed her most recent letter, likely would agree with the admonition that laws or policies adopted with the best of intentions frequently only pave the way conceptually to Hades, but due to circumstances outlined above, it is probable that none of them (or their supporters) is able to perceive the consequences of their “aiding and abetting” illegal immigration in a negative way (likely true in whole or in part of their counterparts in more than 200 localities nationwide).

Citizens who have not yet succumbed to the effects of Pope’s Law and Dirksen’s Inequality, continue to hope for restoration of unselective law-and-order enforcement in localities such as Princeton. That hope is reinforced by House passage of “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009)” designed to “block federal grants to U.S. states and cities that provide safe haven to illegal immigrants.”

As to whether such logical legislation will become law, quien sabe? But its passage in the House is, at least, a step in the right direction.

Ken Wilson


August 5, 2015

To the Editor:

On July 1, 2015, Kathryn Steinle was shot in broad daylight in San Francisco. She later died. Since the alleged perpetrator of this heinous crime is an undocumented immigrant, debate has flown around the country challenging the wisdom of municipalities, like San Francisco, which adopt policies that embrace immigrant members of their communities regardless of their immigration status. Although the scope of these policies varies, towns that take inclusive steps are often called “sanctuary cities.” While not calling itself a sanctuary city, Princeton has made crucial strides to build a welcoming community for our town’s immigrant population, and we appreciate and respect the contributions that immigrants, both documented and not, make — as they have throughout our history.

In response to the thoughtful pro and con letters addressing this issue that appear in The Town Topics’ July 29, 2015 issue, it’s important to keep in mind several points.

1) Princeton does not have a policy that provides a safe-haven for criminals.

2) Unlike the federal government’s immigration enforcement agencies, Princeton’s local police, and the municipal government in general, is charged with ensuring the safety and welfare of all individuals living or spending time in our town. The primary mission of federal immigration enforcement officers is not public safety, but enforcement of immigration laws. In keeping with this framework, federal immigration agencies are funded to enforce immigration laws. Princeton police are funded to keep the community safe.

3) While the murder in San Francisco raises understandable concern, Princeton’s continuing challenge has been to gain the trust and cooperation of undocumented immigrant victims and witnesses of crimes, not with a rash of undocumented perpetrators. Because immigrants, particularly undocumented ones, fear the possibility of immigration consequences, they do not report crimes, even when they are victims. Several of us, who work with immigrants, have been called upon by the police to encourage immigrants to help in the investigation of crimes that include victims within and beyond the immigrant community. The lack of trust within immigrant communities, amplified by immigration officers presenting themselves as public safety officials (even wearing clothing identifying themselves as “police”), undermines public safety not just for immigrants, but for the entire community.

To the benefit of all Princeton residents and those who value what our town has to offer, Princeton’s policy embracing immigrants strengthens public safety, not weakens it.

Liz Lempert

Mayor of Princeton

Heather Howard

Princeton Council

Ross Wishnick

Chair, Princeton Human Services Commission (PHSC)

John Heilner

Chair, Immigration Committee, PHSC

Leticia Fraga

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Latin American

Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF)

Maria Juega

Executive Director, LALDEF

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly

Mason Drive

Ryan Stark Lilienthal

Maple Street

Roger Martindell

Prospect Avenue

To The Editor:

For many of us, living in New Jersey is like living in the United Nations because of the diversity of our state’s population and its many immigrants. Many of our state’s residents, like me, celebrate and treasure our friendships, social and business relationships with the legal immigrants who have come to our state and community. Our legal immigrants have made significant contributions to our state’s academic, cultural, and business environments. Often they have taken leadership roles in our local civic and service clubs, business associations, churches, and academic institutions. Some have become famous. But those immigrants contrast sharply with immigrants who have shown disregard for our country’s laws by sneaking into our country illegally or overstaying their visitor’s visas. My many legal immigrant friends regard them, at best, as line-breakers.

For Judy Hutton, CEO of the YWCA, to refer to Princeton’s illegal immigrant residents as “undocumented immigrants,” in her letter to the editor published July 29 [“YWCA Applauds Mayor Lempert’s Stand On Princeton Remaining a Sanctuary City”], is just as absurd as calling a shoplifter an “undocumented shopper” or referring to an illegal drug dealer as an “undocumented pharmacist.” Those, like Ms. Hutton, who apparently favor shielding these lawbreakers by promoting sanctuary city status for Princeton, blur the language to confuse the discussion. The senseless and brutal murder of 24-year-old Kathryn Steinle on July 1 at a popular tourist destination in San Francisco allegedly by Francisco Sanchez should be a wake-up call. He is an illegal Mexican immigrant, who had been deported five times and convicted of no fewer than seven felonies, yet San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy shielded him from the justice that could have saved Kathryn Steinle’s life.

Let’s not unnecessarily put Princeton’s valued tourists and resident population at risk by shielding law-breaking illegal immigrants with so-called sanctuary city policies. It’s not “racial profiling” or denial of “justice,” as Ms. Hutton implies in her letter, to expect our residents to obey and abide by our country’s laws. Princeton police should cooperate with our federal law-enforcement organizations to help ensure the safety of those who are here legally and are obeying our nation’s laws.

Lewis Edge

Cleveland Road West

To the Editor:

As a resident of Princeton for just over a year I am continually delighted by the wonderful array of pleasant activities the town offers.
There are so many I have enjoyed but I wanted to praise this past weekend’s Stuffed Animal Sleep Over at the Princeton Public Library. My three visiting grandsons were highly entertained by the singing, stories, and especially by the pictures they received the next day of their furry friends’ shenanigans the night before.
The library is truly the best living room in town.

Anne Woodbridge

Palmer Square