April 18, 2018

To the Editor:

Before all else, it’s important to understand that members of the Mayor’s own Task Force on Affordable Housing have openly praised the cooperative attitude of neighbors, our responsiveness to dialog, and our thoughtful approach to housing issues. Similarly at BOE meetings on school expansion, neighbors regularly present courteous, sensible, moderate criticisms and questions. Clearly, given the opportunity before decisions are pronounced, Princeton neighborhood residents seek to help, not obstruct, when the town has a problem.

Therefore, now that the town has the judge’s numbers to work with, it is time for the process of developing affordable housing here to become open and public, i.e., finally transparent. Why work behind closed doors, when there is so much to offer out here?

On affordable housing, two issues concern us: the number of units and where they are built.

We clearly need more low-income housing. We are also losing middle-income housing. Since there are few municipal properties available to build on, they must be used efficiently, but without crowding. However, expensive apartments – Palmer Square, Copperwood, AvalonBay — do not fix the problem. And the bigger the development, the more municipal, school, sewage, police, and traffic problems they bring. Mayor and Council need sensible, low-cost solutions that will work in Princeton. Why not ask those of us who live here? How can our representatives represent us if they don’t know what — and how — we think???

When two or more groups work together to resolve a mutual problem, it’s called visioning. All sides look at the issues, and at each other’s concerns, and at possible solutions. Our authority is purely consultative: we don’t implement ideas; that’s the job of elected officials. But we can provide background facts so that Mayor and Council have an informed basis on which to decide zoning, regulations, and resolutions. The Butler Tract neighbors resolved their concerns with the University by meeting with them and talking. Will Mayor and Council accept input from neighbors?

It’s time for collective visioning.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

To the Editor:

A recent letter from Jian Chen regarding the costs of serving the Cranbury students in the Princeton Schools is worth further comment.

As a former member of the Princeton School Board, I learned that sending district (Cranbury) costs are covered by state law and are intended to reimburse the receiving district (Princeton) for all per-cost student expenses. In fact, we receive more per-student from Cranbury than we expend within the district on a routine basis.

However, what is not covered in these agreements, are the capital expense budgetary needs for school districts such as ours, which come under stress when projected higher enrollment might require issuance of a bond or other forms of budget increase to cover the costs of new facilities. This is apparently the current situation.

Despite limitations in current state law, a real budget requires consideration of both running expenses and capital expenditure needs.

While I am not certain, I would bet that current state law forbids sending/receiving districts to even negotiate a capital budget agreement.

So what can we do? I would like to see the Princeton schools actively engage the Cranbury community to see if some sort of goodwill gesture is possible that would encourage them to contribute to our capital budgetary needs. A precedent can be found in the efforts of the Princeton government to obtain similar goodwill agreements with tax-free, non-profit institutions (e.g., Princeton University, Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Princeton Theological Seminary) to contribute to the municipal government budget. 

Ultimately, any negotiation of this sort requires awareness of what real leverage we bring to the table. At this point we have the power of persuasion, but also an implied threat of terminating the sending/receiving relationship entirely.

When I sat on the Princeton School Board, we learned of the positive contributions of the Cranbury students to our school system, and I hope that persuasion on the merits of the issue will carry the day. Failing that, we have to be ready to act on our own behalf and consider options for the budget that seriously consider termination of the relationship.

I hope the School Board will represent to Cranbury that there are many people in Princeton who want to see some gesture to address a disproportionate cost to us as a receiving district. The fact that state law does not seem to recognize those impacts should not stop us from pursuing this matter as soon as possible.

Todd Tieger

Dorann Avenue

To the Editor:

As a Princeton taxpayer, I have observed the handling of this Cranbury Agreement renewal for quite some time now. Besides communicating to the Board of Education directly in one of the recent meetings, I have talked to other fellow taxpayers, many of whom also repeatedly express their concerns and questions directly or indirectly to Board.

Since there are so many unaddressed issues and with the Board’s fairly clear indication of their intention to renew the agreement regardless of different opinions expressed, I would like to publicly express my disagreement on the way this issue has been handled by the Board and PPS.

Due to the fact that the Board may take a vote on this issue in very near future, I would like to request this to be published as soon as possible. A copy has been sent to Board members separately.

Shenwei Zhao

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

It will be Earth Day on April 22, an excellent time for me to talk about the environmental qualifications of Eve Niedergang, who is running for Princeton Council in the June 5 primary election. I myself am a member of the Princeton Environmental Commission, and serve as the municipal policy specialist at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the first environmental organization of Central New Jersey that protects clean water and the environment through a combination of conservation, advocacy, science and education.

I have worked closely with Eve at the Watershed, so I have seen her in operation. Eve has a key position at the Watershed — coordinator of volunteers. Eve has done remarkable things in this position. She grew the volunteer program from 60 volunteers when she started the job to over 250 volunteers now — a great achievement. The Watershed is a nonprofit organization with a lean staff and various programs that heavily rely on volunteers. Eve’s ability to augment the number of volunteers from 60 to 250 continues to enhance our ability to conquer many environmental challenges.

Although high turnover of volunteer staff may create difficulties for organizations, Eve’s ability in attracting, training, and retaining so many volunteers reveals a lot about her as a person. She is a leader who works well with people, motivates them, and makes them want to stay. In addition to her fine work with the volunteers, Eve is well respected by her colleagues and serves as a valued member of the Watershed staff.

Eve is a strong advocate for the environment. She cares deeply about Princeton’s sustainability and reducing Princeton’s carbon footprint. She has been a proactive leader in supporting measures to make our community more sustainable. For example, she testified before Princeton Council on the importance of Princeton taking leadership on controlling storm water runoff. Princeton is one of the first municipalities in our area to have enacted these important environmental regulations. Additionally, Eve takes her own personal commitment to the environment seriously; she drives a hybrid car, is part of the municipal composting program, and made renovations to her home to conserve energy after having a home energy audit.

Eve’s values and experience with environmental issues will make her an excellent member of Princeton Council. Please vote for Eve on June 5.

TAMMY L SANDS

Winant Road

April 11, 2018

To the Editor:

Ever mindful of the comment that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, I have come across the following information.

The Cranbury students make up about 17 percent of Princeton High School’s population. The high school facilities would not now and would not for at least 10 years be above capacity if the Cranbury students were not included in the high school population. Without the Cranbury students, there would be no need for an addition to the high school.

Furthermore, the tuition rate per Cranbury student is about $17,200. According to the New Jersey Department of Education’s Guide to Education Spending, the budgeted costs amount per pupil in the Princeton Public Schools for 2016-2017 was $19,964.

In addition, according to U.S. News, Princeton High School ranks sixth among 424 high schools in New Jersey.

I have seen little of any of the above reviewed in presentations for the $137 million bond referendum. And there is little mention of how maintenance for expenses would significantly increase if the referendum covering the addition and reconfiguring of the high school is passed.

It would be helpful to all voters if the above were discussed in detail before we are asked to approve the bond.

Patricia A. Taylor

Richard Court

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Eve Niedergang for Princeton Council. I’ve known Eve since I was co-president of the Riverside Elementary School PTO from 2003-05 and I found in Eve a person who was willing to pitch in and who could work with a wide range of people. She ran the annual Book Fair at Riverside for several years and expanded its funding so that every child walked out of the Book Fair with a book, regardless of means. She also started the trick-or-treat for UNICEF program at the school to encourage our children to collect money to help poor children throughout the world. Equity was always one of her chief concerns. No wonder I worked hard to persuade Eve to succeed me as PTO co-president in 2005.

My faith in Eve’s abilities was well justified. As the PTO co-president, she expanded access to after-school and enrichment programs so that every child could attend. Similarly, every child received a Riverside T-shirt annually, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. She also revitalized and expanded the PTO’s program of mini-grants to teachers. These grants allowed teachers to pursue new instructional goals and to purchase equipment and supplies for special projects. Our School Garden program was already under way but Eve raised money to fund year-round care of the garden, expanding the time period that the garden was available as a resource for teachers and students.

Eve also made sure that the PTO supported the arts and music. One year the PTO funded an opera residency in collaboration with Opera New Jersey that culminated in an opera that the students wrote, produced, and performed in. She also spearheaded a fundraiser to acquire a piano for the school’s music department. Due to the enthusiasm with which parents greeted these programs, the PTO was able to not only expand the programs it offered but also to build up a surplus to use for future programming. In short, Eve took a good organization and made it even better, always mindful that every child should have the same opportunities as her own children.

Eve would bring all of the qualities exemplified in her leadership of the PTO to the Princeton Council: an ability to engage with all members of a community; a zeal to include all; support for innovative approaches; and a commitment to the environment, the arts, and education. I urge all of you to join me in voting for Eve Niedergang in the Democratic Primary on June 5.

Jane Jemas

Riverside Drive

To the Editor:

We should all applaud the Princeton Board of Education’s decision to delay a vote on the proposed $137.1 million bond referendum. Now, we all must urge the Board to take the next difficult but important step: Declare a total moratorium on the bond issue for now.

Let’s be clear. This call for a moratorium is not a judgment on the Board’s stewardship of public education in Princeton. Most of us who live and pay taxes in Princeton are proud of our schools and the teachers and administrators who serve our kids.

But, we in New Jersey are in a financial crisis resulting from the Federal Income Tax Law of 2017. Until the legislature and governor can effect a workable and legal remedy, adding more bond debt is irresponsible. The 2017 Tax Law reduces the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) to $10,000. For high tax states, like New Jersey, California, and New York, this is draconian and punishing – and may have been intentionally so – but it is the law.

Governor Murphy may join with other states to fight this law but that outcome remains to be seen. For now, adding anything to the tax impact on assessed homes should be declared a non-starter. If the Board cannot step outside its own thinking on this issue, then, regrettably, voters must reject the referendum on October 2.

The Princeton Board of Education is a non-partisan body and must stay out of politics. Instead, we citizens and voters must urge our state legislators and governor to come up with a reasonable solution that is sustainable in this new federal tax era and allows communities, like Princeton, to resume funding needed improvements.

David M. Goodman

Duffield Place

To the Editor:

The recently completed 87th annual Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale could not have been the resounding success it was without the help of over 100 volunteers and Princeton Day School. Our volunteers work throughout the year to collect and sort donated books, then expend a great deal of time and energy setting up and running the sale. Thank you for your dedication!

We are also grateful for the warm and professional collaboration we enjoy with the PDS staff during the event when we sell over 80,000 books in just five days. Together we raise college scholarship funds for Bryn Mawr and Wellesley students from throughout central New Jersey.

Elizabeth Romanaux

President, The Bryn Mawr Wellesley Book Sale

To the Editor:

By now, the debris from Hinds Plaza has been swept, the air above Nassau Street quieted, and our tears wiped from our faces. I have lived in Princeton for 22 years and nothing has made me prouder to call it home than seeing Witherspoon Street flooded with people of all walks of life at the March for Our Lives. Despite this tense and sobering reminder about how gun violence cannot simply be someone else’s problem, odds are many from the March will return to their lives around town, which can often be called “quaint,” “comfortable,” or “idyllic.” There will be a strong urge to return to normal.

There will also be a strong urge to say “what can I really do?” or “we can never really eliminate gun violence or even make a dent.” A lot of the measures being proposed in Congress and even in Florida won’t do much to curb gun violence as a whole. Not only is there a massive advocacy network with rock-solid financial backing in the firearms industry, but there are a lot of Americans, some of them our elected officials, who genuinely believe that guns not only make us safer, but are important cultural touchstones. Guns are durable, transportable goods; so here in Princeton, what good can we really do?

The only problem with that line of thinking is that every great accomplishment in history has been impossible until it wasn’t. I have met so many of the most impressive, courageous people in my life in Princeton who continue to inspire me to this day, and I’m sure there are just as many more that I haven’t had the good fortune of meeting. It would be an incredible shame if that ability and that skill set could not be channeled into collective action on problems as difficult and as urgent as gun violence, but also issues like mental health, race, and privilege.

Princeton has the opportunity to turn this energy into action. Imagine a community where things like violence, anxiety, masculinity, and their effects on people could be talked about in an open forum — students and adults alike. Imagine being an example for the rest of the country on how to make our schools safer not with guns or metal detectors, but teaching students how to be active and informed citizens.

Survival of our students is far too low a bar to clear for a community I have seen so much from. Our goal should be for every student to flourish not only in the classroom, but as a person. Let us take advantage of the opportunity for reflection and bring students and young people to the table and have a discussion.

Zack DiGregorio

William Livingston Court

To the Editor: 

The primary election to be held on June 5 for the two open Princeton Council seats will likely determine the ultimate winners in the November general election. Given that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by five to one in Princeton, the Democratic Primary has produced the final general election outcome in recent council and mayoral elections.

In reflecting on recent elections, some voters have expressed that they don’t have a voice in our local government.

Many of the over 6,700 unaffiliated voters in Princeton may not realize that they can easily vote in the Democratic primary, either by changing their party affiliation prior to the election or by simply declaring that they would like to vote on the Democratic ticket at the polls on June 5. 

For Republicans who would like to participate in the Democratic primary, they can do so by submitting a political party declaration form by April 11. All voters can check their party affiliation on the website www.njelections.org, where they may also print the Political Party Affiliation Declaration forms. There is no limit to the number of times voters can change their political party affiliation.

Historically, voter participation for “off-year,” or non-presidential year, primary elections is very low, with fewer than 10 percent of registered voters turning out to the polls. The more voters participating and voting in the primary election, the better representation the election will have for the population at large.

Our Council is the main legislative body that makes important decisions affecting our community. With many critical issues facing us and two open seats to fill, this is a very important election.

I encourage everyone to vote in the primary. Let your voice be heard.

You can find out more about me and my platform at www.pironeforcouncil.com.

Michelle Pirone Lambros

Grover Avenue,

Candidate for Princeton Town Council

April 4, 2018

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area supports students in their March for Our Lives and urges those who can vote to become informed about their candidates and then vote. On May 1 at 7 p.m. in Witherspoon Hall, 400 Witherspoon Street, the Democratic candidates for Princeton Council will meet in a forum co-sponsored by the League and Princeton Community TV, which will videotape the forum. The video will be rebroadcast and posted on its website and on www.lwvprinceton.org.

Be sure you are registered with the party of your choice. If you are currently unaffiliated, you may declare your party at the polls on June 5. If you mistakenly registered as an Independent, you cannot vote in the primary since only Republicans and Democrats hold a primary election. The deadline for changing Party Affiliation for the June primary is April 11. Political Party Declaration forms are available at www.njelections.org and must be received at your county clerk’s office by April 11.

The deadline to register for the June primary is May 15; your voter registration form must be postmarked by that date. Applications for vote-by-mail ballots can be downloaded and must be received by your county clerk at least seven days before the election, May 29. All forms are available at www.njelections.org, where you will be directed to your county clerk.

Please attend or watch the forum and VOTE.

Chrystal Schivell

Voter Service chair,

League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area,

Monroe Lane

To the Editor:

The facilities referendum that calls for spending $137M on a new 5/6 school, PHS expansion, and various other upgrades will have a huge financial impact on our town decades after the current School Board members’ term expires. The need for this spending is driven by the projected increase in student enrollment. According to the third-party consultant retained by the district, enrollment is estimated to grow about 10 percent (with a 5 percent standard error) by 2022.

What if we have an opportunity to reduce that enrollment growth to only 3 percent (±5 percent) by 2022? Will that change the need, or at least the timing of the need to spend? $137M amounts to almost a year and half of the school district’s budget, definitely not a small number. For every year this $137M spending is postponed, the district would effectively put $5 million back into residents’ pocket.

Under the existing send-and-receive agreement, our district educates 280 high school students from Cranbury, or 18 percent of PHS enrollment. By terminating the agreement with Cranbury, the district can achieve an immediate 7 percent reduction in enrollment. This agreement is scheduled to expire in June 2020. The school district owes residents a detailed explanation as to why extending this agreement is still in our best interest. To justify an extension by only focusing on the $4.8 million we receive but not the corresponding costs of serving the Cranbury students makes no sense. It is disappointing that the district told us that any cost reduction from terminating the Cranbury agreement will be minimal because there are on average only 3-4 Cranbury students in each of the high school’s 85 classes. This picture of averaging is misleading and far from the reality. I urge our elected officials to make smart and pragmatic decisions on our behalf rather than take the path of least resistance.

Jian Chen

Ettl Farm

March 28, 2018

To the Editor:

Many residents live here because we value the ethnic and economic diversity of Princeton, not to mention the excellence of its schools. Now we have to absorb significant costs and potentially higher taxes for another expansion of our schools and the construction of potentially 753 affordable housing units. The exact number of units is unknown since discussions about the New Jersey Court ruling have been conducted in two closed Council meetings.

Princeton residents (and taxpayers) need to be included in the resolution of these issues. Creative solutions can then be sought from all, and not just implemented at will by our elected representatives, municipal staff, and the School Board. For example, Princeton has significant passive land resources that should be considered to reduce the cost impact of both these requirements. Remedial zoning could also contribute to the solution.

Simply increasing our taxes will only drive out the long-term residents who have contributed to the diversity of Princeton. Transparency is needed so we can all participate in the solution.

Peter Madison, Lorraine Skidmore

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

Two-and-a-half months after the tragic December 27, 2017 fire at Griggs Farm, nearly all of the 34 displaced residents who needed to find temporary housing have secured affordable homes in the area, enabling them to maintain key community, school, and employment connections over the next 10-12 months while the building is being reconstructed. Princeton Community Housing (PCH), a nonprofit organization, and the Human Services Department (HSD) of the municipality of Princeton have been working closely with the residents throughout this time.

PCH greatly thanks all the donors who provided generous support to help the residents. Recent gifts have provided financial support to all the displaced residents, including instances where funds were needed for security deposits or to close the gap between the monthly rent for temporary affordable homes and the monthly rent a resident was paying at Griggs Farm (approximately 30 percent of their income). Previous gifts, as noted earlier, helped PCH to pay for six weeks of emergency housing, as well as to provide money, gift cards, food, clothing, and other items directly to the residents.

Because we have reached this temporary housing milestone and distributed this financial and other support to the displaced residents, we know we have helped them regain a measure of stability and independence to move forward with their efforts to bring normalcy back to their lives. We will continue to work with residents to help them identify the area organizations that can best provide the resources other than temporary housing that the residents may need. While PCH will be transitioning from active solicitation for donations to the Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund, we will distribute to residents any additional contributions we may receive.

We will be focusing efforts on working with the Griggs Farm Condo Association to restore the building — and on moving forward with our larger mission to build, manage, and advocate for affordable housing opportunities in Princeton. The challenges PCH and HSD faced in locating temporary affordable homes for the residents demonstrate the significant need for additional affordable homes in the area. PCH was not able to place the Griggs Farm residents in other PCH apartments because there are no vacancies and wait lists are 12-24 months long.

In Princeton, six percent of families are below the federal poverty level and another 18 percent are below the “ALICE Threshold” (the United Way’s measuring a Household Survival Budget). Additionally, because only about 10 percent of Princeton homes are deed-restricted as affordable for low- or moderate-income households to rent or buy, there’s a wide gap between the supply and demand for affordable housing.

We continue to welcome unrestricted contributions for PCH to support our mission. These gifts will be used for the programs benefiting the over 1,000 current residents, as well as ongoing efforts to expand the inventory of affordable homes in the area. To make a gift, please see our website: www.princetoncommunityhousing.org.

Edward Truscelli

Executive Director

To the Editor:

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, the Historical Society of Princeton held its public annual meeting, with the Board and staff extending gratitude to the community partners, members, donors, and volunteers who all help execute the important work of HSP. I want to echo those sentiments here.

2017 was an exciting time of growth and innovation for HSP, a hub for experiential history education and stewardship of collections and places. By promoting historical curiosity at all ages, we are building citizens who are critical thinkers, who consider nuance and multiple perspectives, and who know how to make informed decisions. This is essential for healthy civic culture.

With this in mind, we devoted our energies in 2017 to expanding the diversity and reach of our public programming, often partnering with other like-minded community organizations, which ultimately doubled the audience for our history education services.

We launched the Historical Fiction Book Group, with the Princeton Public Library, the Open Archive series, the Speaking of History series of panel discussions, and family programs such as the Chasing George! bike ride. Walking tours, including new themed tours, continued to grow in popularity.

We amped up our co-curricular support for schools, completing third-grade local history curriculum units, offering professional development free-of-charge to teachers, and piloting outreach programs for high school students that promote exciting, skills-based history classrooms.

These are just a few of the many public history programs HSP provides, benefiting thousands of people each year. Our supporters and partners make this work possible. In particular, I would like to celebrate the efforts of HSP’s stellar volunteer trustees. I am thrilled to announce that the HSP Board elected four new trustees during the Annual Meeting. All are members of the Princeton community and together form a cohort of unprecedented quality.

Peter Gibson is the founder and owner of Princeton Online, a hyper-local community web presence in Princeton. He has served on many local nonprofit boards, including those of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (now Learning Ally).

Caroline Hayes is a co-founder and principal of Finitive, a technology company that facilitates direct institutional investment into the alternative lending sector. She has over a decade of experience advising and investing in companies within the financial services industry.

Matthew Henderson is a managing partner at Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, where he handles the firm’s finances. He is a Princeton native, and previously worked for Bear Stearns on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and in brand management for Johnson & Johnson.

John Marshall is a 45-year Princeton resident and the former owner of Main Street Café, Bistro, and Catering from 1988-2016. He is currently the president of the Princeton Merchants Association and has also served as the president of the Friends of Carson Road Woods since 2003.

The annual meeting culminated in a lively lecture by Seton Hall University’s Professor Emeritus Richard J. Connors. In honor of the centennial of World War I, he delivered a talk entitled New Jersey and the Great War, outlining New Jersey’s important economic function in the war, and the lasting impact of the war industry. HSP supplemented the talk by displaying collection items that illuminated the war’s effect on Princeton.

The annual meeting is always a happy celebration of the Princeton community and HSP’s contributions to its vibrancy. We thank everyone in attendance and all those who help advance the work of the Society throughout the year.

Izzy Kasdin

Executive Director, Historical Society of Princeton

To the Editor:

Princeton residents deserve more information before the budget vote for new school construction. We have been told that the architectural plans are based on new pedagogical approaches. Why haven’t we been given information about what they are? Or are the building schemes driving the pedagogy?

It’s time for the superintendent and Board of Education to open up and share. Why does it seem that every major decision in Princeton is made behind closed doors? Let the sunshine in and let the public and the media see what is proposed so that a real discussion can take place.

Sheila Siderman

Bouvant Drive

To the Editor:

On Sunday, March 18, the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) met to endorse candidates for local and county office. After a spirited and informative debate among the seven candidates for Princeton Council, I was honored to receive 77 percent of the votes cast by the more than 200 PCDO members present and, thus, the endorsement of the PCDO. I would like to extend my appreciation to the PCDO executive board, which worked hard to plan and orchestrate the endorsement meeting; to the members of the PCDO who devoted three hours of their Sunday evening to attend the debate and vote for their candidates of choice; to Nicole Plett of the League of Women Voters, who moderated the debate; and to Mercer County’s three incumbent Democratic Freeholders — Ann Cannon, Sam Frisby, and Pat Colavita — who also addressed the audience and took questions on Sunday evening.

The energy in the room and the interest in the political process was tremendous; it is an exciting time to be a candidate here in Princeton. As I said in my remarks on Sunday, Princeton is a vital community, but we face some serious challenges (among them affordability, sustainability, and how to deal with development). I want to listen to your concerns so that we can work together to surmount these challenges in a way that enhances Princeton’s unique character. I ask for your vote in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 5. Further information about my candidacy and my contact information can be found on my website, eveforprinceton.org.

Eve Niedergang

Forester Drive

March 20, 2018

To the Editor:

It was heartening indeed to hear of the gallant and successful efforts of PSE&G workers to rescue an elderly lady from her all-electric home. However, if the lines were underground the power would not have been lost. Maybe it is cheaper, as PSE&G claims, to keep repairing downed lines rather than burying them, but it is not cheaper for residents and the inconvenience is enormous. European countries do not have this problem. Maybe Princeton council can do something to push PSE&G into the 20th century or even the 21st!

Helen Goddard

Maxwell Lane

March 14, 2018

To the Editor:

I write as a supporter of Eve Niedergang for Princeton Council. At 7 p.m. on March 18 the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) will hold its Local Candidates Forum and Endorsement meeting. I ask you to join me in voting to endorse Eve for the Democratic Primary Election in June, and help her take the first step toward election to Princeton Council.

The Endorsement Meeting will be at the Suzanne Patterson building, located behind Monument Hall. If the Monument Hall parking lot is full, there is parking on the south side of Stockton Street and on Mercer Street. In order to vote for endorsement you must be a resident of Princeton, a registered Democrat, and a member of PCDO with dues paid for 2018 by March 4. Voting will be by secret ballot and you must be present to cast your ballot.

The Endorsement vote follows the Candidates Forum. The Forum will follow a Q&A format and will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. There are seven Democrats contending for two open seats on Council. Even if you are not qualified to vote for endorsement, the Forum will provide a unique opportunity for you to meet, assess, and form your own judgment about the candidates.

Eve has been active in the Democratic Party for more than 10 years. She has served two terms on the PCDO Executive Board, and as the Democratic Committeewoman for Princeton’s 18th Election District since 2014. She has worked on the campaigns for local, state, and national Democratic candidates.

I believe that Eve is the best qualified candidate for Princeton Council. She has worked in the field of education both as a professional and a volunteer. As a leader of volunteers she has helped establish the Friends of Princeton Public Library Book Sale as one of the most important non-property tax sources of revenue that provide the funds for the books and other media that we all borrow. Eve currently works for environmental sustainability as coordinator of volunteers at the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association.

Eve is a demonstrated leader who has shown that she listens carefully to all sides of an issue, uses available data to define the issue, and arrives at a solution that works for our community.

We need Eve on Princeton Council to ensure that Princeton remains a diverse, welcoming, and affordable community in which to live, work, and raise our families. Please join me to help get Eve endorsed by PCDO on March 18, and together we will work to elect Eve to Princeton Council in November.

Bernie Miller

Campaign Chair, Eve for Princeton Council, 

Former President, Princeton Council

To the Editor:

The municipality is currently looking to improve our curbside organics pick up program and we need your help! If your household has never taken prt in the town’s organics program, please consider signing up to be one of 50 households to participate in a study. If your household is chosen you will receive a free compost bin and free curbsided organics pick up for the rest of 2018. For more information and to sign up please visit www.princetonnj.gov.

Liz Lempert

Mayor

To the Editor:

Many thanks to the amazing PSE&G crew on Rosedale Road, Lawrence Township.

Today we needed to get our elderly mother out of her all-electric home, since there was no power following the storm on March 7, 2018. The volume of snow, closed roads, felled trees and power lines made it impossible to reach her. Hearing our dilemma, a group of PSE&G workers immediately offered their assistance. Within 20 minutes they guided our car into her driveway, careful to avoid the downed power lines, helped to shovel a path to her home, escorted her to our car, and made sure we navigated safely back onto the road.

All in a days work was their attitude, glad we could help. We are sure there are hundreds of stories like this one. We wanted to share this one with you.

Susan and Mark Gordon

Sergeant Street

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Arts Council of Princeton, I am writing to express my sincerest thanks to our friends at Nomad Pizza. On Wednesday, February 28, they generously hosted a fundraiser in their Princeton location to benefit our organization. Hundreds of friends and supporters in the Princeton community, and beyond, came out to enjoy their favorite hometown pizza and salads from Nomad. A special thank you to Lauren Sabogal, Stalin Bedon, Tom Grim and all of the staff at Nomad Pizza for coordinating and supporting this special event for the Arts Council of Princeton.

Taneshia Nash Laird

Executive Director

March 7, 2018

To the Editor:

Here we go again! PPS holds a hard sell meeting for “Innovative Educational” change in our schools and no parent challenges the validity or requires concrete evidence for the success of such changes!

My family fell victim to such “innovative change.” We lived in New York and by the time our children were in middle school, the halls were filled with screaming, running children. Ancient history was deemed “irrelevant.” Math became a joke. Students never read a decent book and they could barely spell their names. When parents asked for a comparison of SAT scores with past scores, the information suddenly wasn’t available. John Dewey’s theories have been around a long time and have proved rather unsuccessful.

As a senior citizen who is a graduate of Princeton Public Schools and who received a remarkable education and opportunities as a result, I hope the community will wake up to its responsibilities and demand concrete evidence for its futuristic innovative plans. A democracy cannot survive without an educated citizenry. Do not “dumb down” our children, their education, and their country.

Barbara Dollard

Elm Ridge Road

To the Editor:

Reading the coverage of the PPS’s proposal to transform our education system reminds me of a failed experiment in open classrooms which occurred in an adjacent school district when I was attending high school. The other school district built a new, open school building, which was touted as the latest and greatest in education. Ultimately, the building had to be re-designed and remodeled into a more sensible (and conventional) structure. The costs, both financial and educational, of this debacle were enormous.

The mantra of the proponents of the current proposal in Princeton seems to be that our current system is a relic from the beginning of the industrial era. Both of my sons graduated from Princeton High School and I spent considerable time at the school while they were students. I did not find any vestiges of the early industrial age. Instead, I saw caring, well-educated teachers, attractive and well maintained physical facilities, and a lively environment conducive to inquiry and learning.

Of course, educational systems need to change to meet the demands of a changing society. However, our school system had changed and adapted as necessary and can continue to do so without risking our children’s future on a repeat of a prior failed experiment.

Finally, I wonder if the funds being expended on presentations and consultants could be better used if they were spent on items relating directly to our students’ education — for example, teachers’ salaries.

Mary Ann Witalec Keyes

Franklin Avenue

To the Editor:

Recently, in pursuit of a belt for an ailing vacuum cleaner and some vacuum bags, we discovered that American Sew-Vac, a longtime Princeton icon, had disappeared from the Princeton Shopping Center without a trace. Standing there in puzzlement, we were approached by a total stranger, who informed us that the store had moved to somewhere in Pennington. We understand that the rent was raised beyond what the proprietors could afford. That’s right — like Jordan’s.

According to the shopping center’s website, the store is still there. In real life, it’s not. It now resides at 129 Route 31. Fortunately, they kept their old phone number, and we were able to track them down.

The store’s own website, as of this writing, does not reflect the move either — like the store, the website is somewhat old-fashioned and unsophisticated. But it’s a great store, invaluable if you own a sewing machine (or if you ever have occasion to thread a needle), and pretty darned handy if you own a vacuum cleaner.

At the time of the move, a sign was posted to tell customers of American Sew-Vac’s new location. The management of the shopping center would not permit the sign to remain in place. We can’t imagine why, since no one else is using the space yet. Leaving the sign up — or possibly, if it was deemed unsightly, replacing it with a better-looking one — would have been the neighborly thing to do.

The cozy usefulness of Princeton Shopping Center has been reduced. Yet again.

Eva Foster

Ewing Street

Sue Tillett

Moore Street

Carolyn Barnshaw

Terhune Road