January 22, 2020

To the Editor:

We would like to correct some misunderstandings contained in Phyllis Teitelbaum’s letter [Mailbox, January 15] regarding the recommendations coming out of the Permit Parking task force to be presented at the January 27 Council meeting.

First, we want to explain the general outline of the recommendations coming from the task force, though the specifics are still being finalized. The recommendations are to initiate a pilot program in limited parts of town, specifically the tree streets and the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were chosen because we most often hear complaints from the residents of these neighborhoods — the current parking policy in these neighborhoods does not serve the residents well and we want to correct that. All of the policies being proposed are intended to prioritize needs of the residents above other users of on-street parking. Resident permits are intended to be good 24 hours/day. The cost of resident permits will be based on simply covering administrative costs of the program and will not be revenue-generating. A few employee permits will likely be issued on a street-by-street basis, but with the intention to maintain plenty of open spaces for residents and their guests. This is completely in line with the recommendations contained in the Nelson-Nygaard report of 2017. The cost of employee permits will be revenue generating for the municipality, and generally based on market rates for similar privately available parking. Policies will be designed to shift business customer parking to metered spaces, with some added meters in locations with a current shortage. Lastly, the pilot program is intended to improve enforcement of parking regulations in these areas. more

To the Editor:

Happy New Year from the PPS Board of Education. We have reorganized and are pleased to welcome continuing member Debbie Bronfeld, returning member Dafna Kendal, and Susan Kanter, who joins us for her first term. Beth Behrend will return as board president, joined by Michele Tuck-Ponder as vice president. Betsy Baglio, Daniel Dart, Jess Deutsch, Peter Katz, and Brian McDonald continue their service. 

As we begin a new year, students, as always, remain at the center of our work. Often our meetings must focus on the details of buildings, budget and policy — but all of our efforts support the teaching and learning that takes place in our wonderfully diverse and dynamic district. 

We encourage you to visit our board website to see highlights from our work in 2019 — including the expansion of Pre-K and restorative practices, the smooth transition of key district leadership, as well as a strengthened financial position, community relationships, advocacy, and facilities stewardship. Looking forward, we plan to keep our sights firmly set on the mission of our district, “To prepare all of our students to lead lives of joy and purpose as knowledgeable, creative, and compassionate citizens of a global society.” All of our goals for the year support this mission. more

It is critically important that we maintain and expand PCTV as a regional media center.  We don’t have a WHYY, and The Times is but a shadow of the old Trenton Times.  Without public access paid for by cable TV users, we are limiting our options to be well-informed.

PCTV’s free public access is not just a communication media, it is an economic center, and that seems to be the rub. There seems to be a concern by Princeton Council that surrounding towns are not paying their fair share. That Princeton is subsidizing the surrounding municipalities and their viewers. 

Let’s look at this more carefully. First, PCTV is a nonprofit that is run almost entirely by volunteers from Princeton and the surrounding townships — all the hosts and guests volunteer to create programming. It could be argued that Princeton residents are the primary gainers. Maybe Princeton owes the surrounding townships compensation for these volunteers? The fact is that while these volunteers are working in Princeton, they also spend money — pick up some lunch, stop to buy a wedding gift, or tie in a visit to a doctor, all services from local business people who pay taxes. Princeton’s role as a regional economic center is a good thing and PCTV is part of that — financed as it has been by cable TV fees — not by Princeton property taxes, but by cable TV fees. more

January 15, 2020

To the Editor:

Do you live on a residential street in Princeton that has 2-hour or 3-hour parking or resident permit parking that is within a 15-minute walk of businesses on Nassau Street? If so, be aware — employees of Princeton businesses may soon be allowed to park all day on your street. And if you live near Princeton High School, high school students may soon be allowed to park all day on your street.

The Permit Parking Task Force is planning to present a report to Princeton Council that will propose allowing employees to park on these streets. 

I have been attending Task Force meetings. I have been impressed with the Task Force members’ hard work and good intentions. Unfortunately, in my view, the Task Force is going in the wrong direction. more

January 8, 2020

To the Editor:

As the executive director of Trinity Counseling Service, I feel a profound professional as well as personal loss as a result of Rabbi Adam Feldman’s death. As I joined hundreds of family, friends, colleagues, and parishioners at Rabbi Feldman’s funeral last Sunday, the theme of devoted friend, passionate colleague, and connector continued to emerge. People used phrases like “master of relationships,” and talked about the power of Adam’s ability to listen and join with people from all faith traditions and backgrounds. They talked about his investment in community partnerships as well as his commitment to constructive, civil discourse as a means of both connecting and healing. His commitment to modeling collaboration, partnership, respect, and support for others were hallmarks of Adam’s way of being in the world. He exuded gentle strength that was powerful. He could also be feisty, which was part of his charm. more

To the Editor:

I am delighted that Mark Freda has decided to run for mayor of Princeton. I had the privilege of serving with Mark in 2012 when I was one of the Borough Council’s representatives to the Consolidation Transition Task Force. Mark chaired the task force and we served on multiple subcommittees together. I quickly became a fan of Mark, both personally and professionally.

We were handed a road map that needed to be transformed into tangible product that would allow a consolidated government to be operational on January 1, 2013. Mark’s experience in government and his deep roots in the community were invaluable as the process unfolded. More than that, however, his leadership skills were outstanding. Although consolidation had passed overwhelmingly in both the Borough and the Township, it remained a delicate and controversial issue, and implementing the reality of consolidation meant working around the landmines of rules, regulations, various departments, and personnel. more

To The Editor:

Rider University’s attempt to impress the public that moving Westminster Choir College (WCC) students to Lawrenceville in the fall of 2020 is a done deal continues a misinformation campaign to get the public to believe that nothing more can be done to keep WCC in Princeton.

This is not a lost cause, and it is not a done deal. On the contrary, there are currently three different lawsuits challenging Rider’s legal rights to grab WCC for monetary purposes.

These suits will take a few years to resolve, cost a lot of money, especially to Rider which is losing money on it every year, and, by the time the issue is resolved, WCC may be an empty shell, unless the Princeton public will unite to support keeping it in Princeton. more

January 1, 2020

To the Editor: 

I am writing as a new member of Princeton Community TV who wishes that this valuable service to the community continues. I’m so sad that it took me so long to join, for I have wanted to for years but never made the time. I’ve been a guest on a few shows as a director and playwright. It is such a professional organization, and I was honored to be interviewed.

Now that I have made the time and have the inspiration to host my own show for kids on PCTV, I found out that the money from the town isn’t going to be given. I completely disagree with the thinking of those in charge of the purse strings. There is a huge need for more community organizations that bring together positive, creative people from all walks of life and all different ages to work together, especially to learn from one another. I have gained valuable skills from just a few workshops and gatherings at PCTV that I couldn’t have received anywhere else. I have learned how to work professional video cameras, create content that is worthy of an ever-increasing discerning audience, and gained valuable knowledge from those in the filmmaking business. Just having access to the professional equipment and technical guidance has not only helped me produce my own show but, as a theatre/film public school teacher, I am proud to be able to take this ever-changing modern technical knowledge and pass it onto future generations. more

To the Editor:

Single use plastics pose a serious threat to our health and environment, polluting our drinking water, clogging our storm drains, and littering our open space. State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein have cosponsored a statewide bill, S2776/A4330 that would prohibit the provision or sale of single-use plastic bags, single-use paper bags, and polystyrene foam food service products, as well as limiting provision of single-use plastic straws.

The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, New Jersey Audubon, New Jersey Environmental Lobby, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, and many others have been working closely with sponsors to strengthen the bill through amendments that incorporate lessons learned from plastic pollution ordinances passed in 100 New Jersey municipalities and 8 other states.  The bill only has a few more weeks to pass before the legislative year ends – otherwise they will have to start from the beginning.

Please call or email our state legislators, Assemblyman Roy Freiman, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, and State Senator Christopher Bateman to let them know if this is important to you.

Sophie Glovier
Drakes Corner Road
Heidi Fichtenbaum
Carnahan Place

December 25, 2019

To the Editor:

Princeton Human Services thanks donors for their contributions to its 21st Holiday Gift Drive. Princeton Human Services had its most successful Holiday Gift Drive this year thanks to the overwhelming number of donors who contributed. This year, the department distributed gifts to approximately 305 kids aged 12 and under.

The department would like to thank the Princeton Police Department, the PBA Local 130, the Princeton Recreation Department, Stone Hill Church, Lucy’s Kitchen & Market, Goldberg Segalla, JM Group, and Princeton Anesthesia Services for their support and contributions to the Holiday Gift Drive as well as municipal employees, police officers, and the many Princeton residents who made individual donations and sponsored children in our drive.  more

To the Editor:

This is not a political moment in our nation. This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.

This is not an event to celebrate. This is a solemn moment to finally acknowledge what our great country has lost.

This is not opposition to a candidate, a person holding office as we speak, or even a specific party. This is recognition of our Constitution and the protections therein.

This is not a gathering meant to vilify any individual. This is a movement meant to move us all forward to regain our national stature, both at home and abroad.

As we journey together as a people on this arduous and painful but ultimately rewarding path back to the rule of law in our great country, we at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice are proud to gather with a strong coalition of allies as well as with our greater community to organize this rally — one of hundreds collectively across the nation to amplify our patriotic voices and affirm our strong belief in the very foundations of our democracy. more

December 18, 2019

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Human Services Commission, we would like to publicly share with our neighbors in Princeton and the larger Mercer County region, our deep appreciation of the bravery and kindness of our migrant neighbors and friends.  We fully support their integration into our communities and applaud their efforts to find a better, safe, and secure life for their children and families. 

On December 18, 1990, the United Nation’s General Assembly adopted a resolution concerning the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. We ask our neighbors in the greater Princeton and Mercer communities to join us in celebrating International Migrants Day this year by commemorating the often difficult journeys of our migrant friends.  more

To the Editor:

It’s good to know that the long and complicated settlement between Princeton and Fair Share Housing Center may be heading toward conclusion [“Town May Be Close to a Settlement on Affordable Housing Obligation,” Town Topics, December 11, p. 12].

Not too many people know that there has been proposed legislation in the NJ Legislature (S854 / A1897) to make large multi-unit dwellings more fire safe. This legislation was introduced after the huge fire in Edgewater, N.J., where 500 people lost their homes on a cold night in January 2015 in the large Avalon Bay wood housing development, causing serious displacement of families.   This event was preceded in 2000 at that site when the same company’s development under construction went up in flames, destroying nine nearby occupied homes and 12 cars. Large fires have occurred at other such sites in New Jersey  (Maplewood and Lakewood) and throughout the country as combustible wood framing is used in ever larger and taller multi-unit dwellings.  more

December 11, 2019

To the Editor:

Well, it isn’t working is it? Leaf piles!

Driving home from the airport last Sunday through the first real (though luckily not major) snow of the season involved dodging around leaf piles of all sizes along the streets of Princeton. Later, the salting trucks were out, facing the same difficult situation.

It seems that when the printed pick-up schedule comes in the mail many homeowners do not read it, do not keep it in a safe place for future reference, or simply decide to ignore it.

Landscapers could be instructed to put the leaves they collect into bags instead of piling them at curbside. Alternatively, households that contribute to the potentially hazardous situation might have to be charged for the removal of their leaf piles.

Elizabeth Danson
Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

I was sorry to learn of the recent departure of senior registered environmental health specialist Keith Levine from the Princeton Health Department. Health specialist Levine was a dedicated civil servant who displayed professionalism, knowledge, efficiency, compassion, and caring in the performance of his duties and was always attentive to that call no matter how busy he was.

Health specialist Levine was the only official I contacted who was responsive to the complaints of tenants of Elm Court and Harriet Bryan House when management was complacent about trash piling up in the trash rooms and other problems too numerous to mention.

He will be greatly missed by everyone who had occasion to solicit his help and Princeton’s loss will certainly be someone else’s gain. We can ill afford to lose people of this caliber in Princeton.

Linda Ricker
Elm Court

To the Editor:

“U.S. Students Fail to Gain Ground in International Test” is the headline of an article in the Wednesday, December 4, issue of The Wall Street Journal. The exam, called the Program for International Student Assessment, is given to teenage students around the world. The American results are nothing to be proud of. In mathematics, for example, the average scores of the ten leading countries, located in East Asia and Northern Europe, ranged from a high of 591 (China) to a low of 515 (Poland). The average score for the United States was 478.

This is nothing new. For years we’ve seen the scores of American students lag behind those of most other civilized countries in reading, mathematics and science. more

To the Editor:

In a federalist system like ours, information about the issues and conflicts faced in local jurisdictions is essential to self-government.

Princeton government has faced budget crunches recently and spinning off the Princeton Community TV and Media Center saves the government money.

Princeton Community Access TV and Media Center, which is funded through regional negotiations with companies like Comcast, serves our  community’s  information needs in the digital age. It is a physical space dedicated to programming created locally and offers residents an outlet to express their views on local issues.

In 2017, former N.J. Governor Thomas Kean asked the state to support public TV after the spectrum auction win. “Public TV network provides critical local news and public affairs programming and also supports New Jersey through community engagement projects.” said Kean, NJ.com commentary. more

December 4, 2019

To the Editor:

I also attended the Mercer County Board of Elections meeting occasioned by the “discovery” of 800 missing mail-in ballots to which Scotia Macrae referred in her letter [“Spare No Expense to Safeguard Our Democracy,” Mailbox, Nov. 27]. In general, I agree with the observations and recommendations she offered. This year, the missing ballots didn’t make a difference in the outcome, but in a close election they could have if the “missing” were somehow not found.

Ms. Macrae raises the specter of potential Russian vote-tampering. The clear and present danger to our voting system is much more obvious, however. To quote cartoon character Pogo, “I have met the enemy and he is us.” That is, the processing, tabulating, and posting of votes are done by people. The possibilities for malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance are ever-present. The arbitrary rejection of mail-in ballots, including for supposed signature discrepancies, has been held unconstitutional in other states, but continues in Mercer County. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), I would like to thank the 100-plus members of the community who attended our OptOutside event on Friday, November 29 at the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. We were fortunate to have gorgeous weather; a great performance by the Andrew Yan Quintet, a jazz group comprised of PHS students; and a wonderful photography exhibit entitled, “The Beauty of Nature,” with beautiful images taken by Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart student Sam Mao. Friday kicked off our annual photography contest sponsored by REI, the outdoor gear and equipment coop that started OptOutside Friday, and closes all of its stores the day after Thanksgiving. more

To the Editor:

It appears that Rider University is now determined to close down the Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College and move the whole college or whatever parts they can pick up and ship it all to Lawrenceville. This academically excellent college has educated so many singers, choir masters, musicians, and composers, and has prospered in its beautiful Princeton campus, but is now to be melded with Rider’s rather banal university, which only became a university when Rider acquired Westminster. It seems inconceivable that Westminster will ever again be anything like what we have known and admired for so many decades. more

To the Editor:

As we approach the end of the year, we wish to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the larger Princeton community for its sustained generosity and support of the YMCA mission. On behalf of the Princeton Family YMCA’s board of directors, we are truly grateful to the many people who are by our side, join us in advancing our work, and help us make the impact we strive to achieve. The list of individuals and organizations is long, and they include special people who participate as members, program participants, volunteers, donors, and advocates. As a cause-driven charitable organization dedicated to strengthening this community, we simply couldn’t do it without you.

Our 2019 Centennial Awards reception was another resounding success, raising $90,000 for critical programs such as Princeton Young Achievers and for financial assistance to ensure that everyone has a place at the Y. We are thankful to all who joined us in October and to our wonderful honorees. This year, we were also the beneficiary of an unexpected and extraordinarily generous gift from an anonymous donor who has transformed our field with a beautiful state-of-the-art basketball court and new surface for the playground — a gift to the entire community! Words are hard to find to describe how thankful we are. more

To the Editor:

Some things disappear because something much better takes its place and there is just no need for it anymore.  Ice boxes, disposable cameras, and flip phones are just a couple of examples.

But some things are timeless and beautiful just the way they are, and one of those things is our special downtown that adds sparkle and life to this community. There is nothing quite like downtown Princeton.

Walking into your local coffee shop and having the barista greet you by name and ask how your vacation was.  Stopping by the wonderful little gift shop and buying that friend a handmade mug or homemade soaps or leather goods for the holidays, instead of ordering something from Amazon. Getting that haircut at the little local barbershop or hair salon where you can chat with your friends and catch up on the local “news.” These are all small things that build a community. more

November 27, 2019

To the Editor:

You have the key to unlock the tool chest to rejuvenate and save the most basic foundation needed to support human life. “And what is that?” you ask. It is the vast and quickly diminishing community of native pollinators of bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, flies, and small mammals that work together to supply 85 percent of the main global crops that feed people — fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and oils. This hardworking group also provides the food for many other animals, besides us, in the worldwide ecosystem. If they go, we go. And you can do something right now where you live to help them regenerate!

You can accomplish this, and it does not depend on the size of your yard, your balcony, your community garden, an empty urban lot, or on large corporate campuses. Plant and they will find you! You will discover the incredible beauty of the plants that are native to wherever you live and the knock-your-socks-off intricate and colorful patterns that our native pollinators are dressed in. Not even our most outstanding clothing designers can match the delicacy of detail on display. more

To the Editor:

On Thursday evening, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine offered a wonderful music performance to a very appreciative McCarter Theatre audience. It was a very wonderful evening with the Orchestra presumably being paid for their performance and with the audience showing their appreciation through their loud and extended applause. It was a wonderful example of a quid pro quo with presumably all parties, both audience and members of the Orchestra, receiving their just rewards. The difference between this quid pro quo and that receiving national attention is worth noting since the benefits provided by the Orchestra were not targeted at a single member of the audience but to the audience at large.

May we have many more such quid pro quos.

Joel S. Greenberg
Parkside Drive, Princeton

To the Editor:

It was recently discovered by the Mercer County Board of Elections that more than 300 vote-by-mail ballots from Princeton had not been counted in the recent election. There were more than 250 vote-by-mail ballots from Trenton that had not been counted; as well as smaller numbers (32 or fewer) from East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell Township, Lawrence Township, Pennington, and Robbinsville.

According to a Board of Elections Commissioner Anthony Francioso, who presided at the meeting, the uncounted ballots were locked and secured in the Board of Elections vault with the ballots that had been counted and the ballots that had been rejected.

On Monday, November 25, I and others attended a public meeting at the Board of Elections to witness the counting and scanning of the uncounted ballots, including the 362 from Princeton. more