May 23, 2018

To the Editor:

Sunday, May 6 marked the last day of the Hospital Rummage Sale, an institution in Princeton that for 100 years, using volunteer labor, earned money for our local hospital by reselling goods of all kinds that residents brought to their door. The volunteers were the original recyclers. And what they sold helped people who needed a bargain.

When a hospital representative first told the volunteers of the rummage sale group that they would lose their storage space and thus have to go out of business, the news was sugar-coated with the promise of a recognition dinner and an article in Town Topics and other local newspapers. None of that happened.

My own view is that the powers that be at Princeton Hospital (I call it by its old familiar name) realized that calling attention to what they were doing could only bring the hospital embarrassment. Here they were destroying an organization that had brought money into the hospital and good will in the community for 100 years. And with one stroke, in coming years, through what will now be the destruction of unwanted but usable goods thrown into the trash, they have made a contribution to global warming as well.

I am not grateful.

Dawn Day

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

As a candidate, I have two characteristics that distinguish me from the others in this election:  lifetime residence in Princeton and a lifetime of public service.  In other words, I have the best perspective on how Princeton has changed and demonstrated service to the community.  These characteristics are the framework for how best to make decisions to meet the challenges of the future.

I’ve had the pleasure to debate and to pursue a position on the Princeton Council. However; I believe now is not the best time for me to continue my pursuit of this positon. I am a first-time candidate and have discovered that my organization and finances are not what they should be for success. Accordingly, I am withdrawing from the race. This doesn’t mean that I am also suspending my extensive commitment to public service, for example, the town will need to provide affordable housing for a maximum of 751 units and I intend to be involved in helping the town meet this goal.

I’ve also had the pleasure to meet and compete against five capable candidates. To be sure, Princeton is facing some significant issues, such as affordable housing and how to control growth while maintaining diversity in all its forms.  While all the candidates are capable of meeting the town’s future issues, I believe that Dwaine Williamson and Eve Niedergang best qualify to meet the town’s needs.

Alvin J. McGowen

Leigh Avenue

To the Editor:

Princeton is evidence that even smart people can make big messes. We let the PCDO determine who sits on our Council – with the result that the Council is dominated by activists with little experience in the commercial world. Not surprisingly, they tend both to focus on their pet causes and to be oblivious of the harm those causes are inflicting on our lovely little town.

We are instructed to prize diversity, equality, and sustainability. Diversity, of course, does not extend to ideology. Equality seems to exclude Princeton’s residents. And sustainability is evidently limited to building materials.

Perhaps that is why we hear so few objections to Judge Jacobson’s recent decree that Princeton must create at least 500 new “affordable” housing units (i.e. units heavily subsidized by existing residents). The learned judge clearly thinks a lot of herself – and little of the people whose lives she is upending. Not surprisingly, her decision has been applauded by our affordable housing lobby and accepted by our Counsel. We will probably meet the target with set asides that shift the burden of construction costs onto developers. As a quid pro quo, those fortunate developers would be permitted to build four market rate units for every “affordable” unit – with the result that our housing stock, currently ca. 8,000 units, would increase by ca. 2,500 units (31 percent). Residents will be saddled with the property taxes occasioned by an increase in land values, the burden of infrastructure and school expansion costs necessary to support a massive increase in our town’s size, the degradation of our core down town neighborhoods, and the departure of hundreds of longtime residents whose taxes are already only borderline affordable – all so that New Jersey’s indigent population can be relocated to one of the state’s most expensive communities.

There is nothing fair about Judge Jacobson’s decree. It is an assault on property rights – and makes unaffordable dozens of existing homes for each “affordable” unit that it will create. We should ignore her ruling. The courts’ bias makes litigation futile, but we already have a precedent in “sanctuary” cities for selective enforcement of the law. The state is highly unlikely to seize control of our municipal government, and we would likely obtain the support of hundreds of similarly affected New Jersey communities. Why would we ever seek to comply?

If we ignore Judge Jacobson’s edict, there would be no good argument for the ill-conceived school expansion proposed by our School Board. We could eliminate the current over-crowding by terminating the contract that subsidizes Cranbury residents by letting them avoid the cost of building and operating their own high school. Doing so would spare us the hundred million dollar construction cost, the related increase in operating costs, and another extravagantly tasteless modification of our formerly lovely high school.

Is it too much to ask that Princetonians open their eyes, set aside their prejudices, and use their well credentialed brains to preserve the scale that makes our little town so sustainably attractive?

Peter Marks

Moore Street

May 16, 2018

To the Editor:

Regarding the proposed bond referendum, one question won’t go away: if we didn’t have Cranbury’s 280 students, would we need to expand the high school? And even if we did, would we need to do it so quickly? Behind this one question are many that really haven’t been answered:

• The Cranbury send-receive agreement can, by law, be terminated. (See NJSA 18A:38-21 and NJSA 18A:38-21.1.) How would the legal fees associated with termination, a problem noted at one Board of Education (BoE) meeting, compare with the price of the proposed bond?

• How does Cranbury’s annual contribution compare with the annual interest expected on the full bond of $130M?

• Do people live inexpensively in Cranbury so their children can go to PHS? If we are forever tied to this agreement, and must we rebuild to accommodate it, could a better contract be negotiated so that Cranbury pays its share of capital costs?

• Does it ever pay to rush into an expensive deal, or to ignore the concerns of those who must pay for it? Although these questions and more remain unresolved, the BoE has set May 22 for approval of this 10-year agreement. If the BoE truly wants community support, it must openly and fully respond to the voters.

Write now to the Board of Education with copies to Mayor and Council. Tell the BoE they must delay the vote until all questions are answered.

We are one community. All of us support good schools.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

To the Editor:

I live in Princeton Junction and read Town Topics pretty often. I am writing to you with respect to your latest immigration article on DACA [“DACA Remains for Now; Dreamers Look for Permanent Resolution,” page 1, May 2]. I am a DACA recipient and I appreciate that the article mentions that we need a permanent solution, because we do. I came to the U.S.A., to Princeton, when I was 10 years old, along with my mom, and two little brothers; one was 5 years old and the other was 7 years old. We came without inspection and this has caused a series of issues for all of us that 20-plus years later, we still cannot fix, and that only immigration law changes can fix. On April 13, 2018, both of my brothers were raided by ICE and taken away from us. Without a permanent solution, I run the risk of having a similar fate, and that is extremely frightening. 

I wanted to thank you for writing about the subject and wanted to encourage you to write more in the future. I have been sharing my story with a lot of people lately and I am amazed at how little people know about immigration and the nightmare its laws can be. The more that is known about this issue, the more they will understand how black and white immigration law is and how inhumanely undocumented people are treated.

Brenda C.

Princeton Junction

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Eve Niedergang for Princeton Council. I first met Eve when our children attended Riverside Elementary School together. I found her to be intelligent and organized, but more importantly, a parent and later PTO co-president who truly cared about all the children in the school. Eve advocated for an equity agenda at Riverside, ensuring that all children could participate in all programs regardless of their ability to pay.

I am chair of the Board of Trustees of Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP). We work with low-income families and individuals who are homeless or facing imminent homelessness to enable them to transition to permanent housing and sustained self-sufficiency. We offer housing to these families and provide individualized services to enhance their life skills so they can achieve these goals. Ever since I spoke with Eve about this organization, she has been an enthusiastic supporter of HIP. Eve believes strongly that building affordable housing in our community is a moral obligation as well as a legal obligation. Her support of our work reflects this passion.

It is timely that Eve, a person with a long history of commitment to social justice in all areas, is running for Council. As we know, Princeton has recently received its mandate for new affordable housing. No doubt this will be a process marked by strongly differing points of view.

I’ve seen Eve in other situations where complex decisions had to be made. She listens carefully to all voices and makes what she thinks is the best choice, no matter how tough. At the Princeton Community Democratic Organization’s endorsement meeting, she stated that “you may not always agree with my decisions, but you will know you’ve been listened to.” (At that meeting, Eve received 77 percent of the votes cast and won the organization’s endorsement.)

Princeton faces many challenges in the years ahead. Vote for Eve on June 5 to help us meet them.

Carol Golden

575 Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

On behalf of McCarter Theatre Center, I want to thank all who helped to make our annual gala on Saturday, April 28, such a tremendous success! This year, longtime friend of McCarter Audra McDonald performed for a packed-to-the-rafters theatre as the centerpiece of the evening. Our guests were treated to an extraordinary 90-minute performance of beautiful songs and personal stories and anecdotes by Ms. McDonald, the remarkable Tony Award®-winning star of Broadway.

Thank you to our lead sponsor, BNY Mellon Wealth Management; as well as our major sponsors: Bloomberg Philanthropies, CURE Auto Insurance, Drinker Biddle, Maiden Re, Mathematica Policy Research, and Merrill Lynch. We also wish to thank Bryn Mawr Trust; Joshua Zinder Architecture and Design; and longtime supporter Saul Ewing, Arnstein, and Lehr, LLP for their early support which helped us reach our fundraising goal. McCarter is deeply grateful for their support and for that of many other corporate and individual sponsors and advertisers who helped to make this event such a wonderful success.

We want to extend a special thanks to our Gala Committee and to Gala Committee co-chairpersons: Liza and Sky Morehouse, Sonya and Bill Sappington, and Courtney Lederer and Mark Thierfelder who orchestrated a glittering evening for our guests. Thank you also to Sebastian Clarke of Rago Arts and Auction Center for conducting our live auction and to Starr Catering and Viburnum Designs of Princeton for all their help with the event.

During the course of the evening, it was my great pleasure to introduce McCarter’s new managing director, Michael S. Rosenberg, to our guests. Mike comes to us from the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and has assumed his new role as of Monday, April 30. He joins Emily Mann and Bill Lockwood in leading McCarter towards even greater artistic heights in the years ahead.

The proceeds from this special annual event support McCarter’s artistic, education, and engagement programming throughout our region. McCarter partners with several local school districts to provide curriculum design assistance. In schools from Trenton to New Brunswick, McCarter helps train and support teachers, send our teaching artists into local classrooms, and create opportunities for all to participate in our classes and camps and so much more. The gala is the largest fundraiser of the year for McCarter and is critical for the success and breadth of these programs.

Again, my heartfelt thanks to all involved for their support of this great institution. We are so deeply grateful!

Leslie Kuenne

President, Board of Trustees, McCarter Theatre Center

To the Editor:

We would like to thank all of those who made the 14th Annual Princeton Festival Gala on April 21 such an enjoyable and successful event. The Gala helps support our 2018 season of performing arts presentations, from opera to jazz to Broadway, and our free community educational programs, which this year include four workshops and over a dozen lectures and presentations (www.princtonfestival.org has all the details and ticket information).

Our thanks go first to the members of the Princeton community who supported us with such enthusiasm. We had the largest crowd ever, and the busiest dance floor. Gala goers really got into the spirit of the event, from the pre-dinner cocktail hour through the live and silent auctions. We were also honored to have Governor Philip Murphy join us.

Of course we are enormously grateful to our Gala chairs: Marcia Bossart, Helene Kulsrud, Anastasia Marty, and Susan Rhoda-Hansen. Their planning and hard work paid off with a wonderful event, ably executed by executive chef Chris Krail and the banquet staff at Cobblestone Creek Country Club. Susan Hoover deserves special credit for her decorations.

We also want to recognize Harry Fini’s contribution as both cocktail pianist and auctioneer. He set the perfect mood in both roles. Our guest artists, Jordan Bunshaft and Janara Kellerman, entertained everyone with wonderful songs from opera and the Broadway stage, accompanied by pianist Akiko Hosaki. Jordan will be in this season’s musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, opening June 10, while Janara takes a major role in Madama Butterfly, opening June 16.

This kind of support makes it possible for the Festival to bring the best in performing arts to central New Jersey year after year, and to conduct community enrichment programs around the region. Our sincerest thanks go to everyone involved.

Richard Tang Yuk

Executive and Artistic Director

Costa Papastephanou

Board Chair, The Princeton Festival

To the Editor:

A video of the forum for Democrats running for Princeton Council will be aired on Princeton Community TV (Comcast Channel 30 and Verizon’s FIOS Channel 45) on May 18 at noon, and on May 19 at 8 p.m. The video is also available online at www.lwvprinceton.org.

To read responses from candidates to the League of Women Voters’ questions, go to www.VOTE411.org, where you will also find a link to the video. The League’s goal is to provide voters with non-partisan information to make an informed choice on June 5. Please visit our sites and vote. Thank you.

Chrystal Schivell

Monroe Lane, Voter Service,

League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

To the Editor:

Like some other taxpayers, I’ve been thinking about the Princeton-Cranbury agreement since learning of the upcoming facilities referendum. Initially, it seemed that if Princeton High School is significantly over capacity, then ending the send-receive relationship would be an option to consider, just on an available space basis — and nothing against the great Cranbury students, who have been attending since 1991 and are, by all accounts, valued members of our high school community.

At first glance, the idea sounds reasonable, and there’s been some talk about it online and in the papers.

The problem, though, as I’ve learned, is that it’s not nearly so simple as that.

Even if Princeton wished to unilaterally end the agreement, it is not up to Princeton. It would (solely) be up to the State of New Jersey.

The district wishing to end the relationship is required to pay for and submit a feasibility study to the State Commissioner of Education that must demonstrate no adverse impact to either district in terms of three factors: educational, financial, and racial composition. In other words, Cranbury would need to have someplace else for their 280 students to go that is as good or better than Princeton, for the same or lower cost, and without materially affecting overall student diversity. What’s more, there would need to be no negative effects on Princeton kids either.

So even if Princeton Public Schools (PPS) wished to end the agreement, Cranbury doesn’t, and the ultimate decision is not the call of PPS – it is, by law, exclusively the decision of the N.J. Department of Education. And if one party didn’t like how the State ruled, there could be lawsuits and appeals, and the whole thing could drag on for years with no operational change or resolution, just animosity and extra expense.

Look up all the issues in Englewood over the past three decades for how hard it is to break these unions, unless both parties want it and furthermore the State agrees. In fact, no receiving district has ever been able to unilaterally end such an agreement in 32 years of case law. Even in some cases where both districts wanted to split, the State still struck it down because of adverse impacts — in quality of education, financial terms, or racial balance — to the students of either or both districts (which is the State’s only concern).

Importantly, the State also sets the tuition that Cranbury pays Princeton, on a per-student basis, using audited financials. Last year, this amounted to $4.81 million, or about one-third of the total PPS discretionary budget.

So while on the face of it, attempting to sever (or not renew) the Cranbury send-receive relationship might seem a partial solution to help reduce overcrowding, it appears to be a non-starter. Presuming it were even feasible, PHS would nevertheless remain over its capacity of 1,423 students, even if Cranbury’s students were to depart gradually in the coming years.

All in all, our energies may be best spent in working to help the referendum encompass what is needed to make our students and teachers safe, secure, and comfortable in their schools. Let’s keep focusing on the “must-haves” and continue eschewing the “nice-to-haves,” in order to address the critical needs and infrastructure problems happening today in our schools.

The legal aspects of send-receive relationships were covered extensively at the public meeting on April 24th. See http://bit.ly/CranburyVideo for a replay of session, and http://bit.ly/CranburySlides for the presentation slides.

James Bash

South Harrison Street

To the Editor:

Our mothers, along with several other adult volunteers of the Princeton Service Unit, were recently honored at the Celebrate Adult Awards Ceremony for the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey. This event recognizes the contributions of the more than 10,000 adults who volunteer every year to support Girl Scouts in this area. We want to honor Lauren Sanders (alumna), Laura Felten, Barbara Thomas, Sue Evans, Mary Eckert, Betsy Armstrong, and Karen Freundlich, along with all of our Girl Scout leaders in Princeton for their contributions.

Girl Scouts in Princeton has provided unique opportunities for all girls over the past 60 years. The network of volunteers includes professors, professionals, and non-profit experts who make the Girl Scout troop experience possible for over 300 girls in Princeton every year. We have benefited so much from their efforts. Our participation in Girl Scouts has given us opportunities to hike, camp, rock climb, and go whitewater rafting, to earn the Silver and Gold Awards, to travel, to perform, to practice business and entrepreneurship, to serve our communities, to attend the National Convention, and to attend and work at summer camp. Our adventures have challenged us, turned us into leaders, created friendships and support networks, and made us ready to become adults who make the world a better place. On behalf of all Princeton Girl Scouts, we want to thank our mothers and all the other volunteers who make Girl Scouts the best girls leadership experience in the world.

Lilly Armstrong

9th grade, PHS

Grace Freundlich

12th Grade, Stuart

To the Editor:

The BoE’s (Board of Education) claim that the high school is overcrowded while continuing to admit 280 students who do not live in Princeton is outrageous. The School Board would have us believe that these students — 1 in 6! — are somehow invisible, that the high school would be overcrowded whether they were there or not, and that it’s not really costing us anything to educate them, so the tuition they pay us is free money. This is nonsense. The BoE loses more than $2,500 on every one of them, and this figure does not include the money they now want for new construction so that they can keep on doing so. 

The bond issue would be for $130 million. Each of the owners of the approximately 7500 taxable properties in Town would be borrowing approximately $17,000 on average. This is real money, real debt. We’ll have 30 years to pay it back, plus interest.

There is no reason to expand Princeton High School at the present time. The Board’s insistence otherwise only undermines its claims about overcrowding elsewhere in the system. If the Board wants us to take those claims seriously, they should first stop admitting students who do not live here. 

Ken Fields

Linden Lane

To the Editor:

I want to share a conversation I recently had with Michelle Pirone Lambros about the biggest problem in our downtown — the consistent exodus of retail stores and their replacement with empty store fronts decorated with “space available” signs. After listening to Michelle, it is clear she is a successful business person who knows how to solve problems. From our discussion I came away impressed with her ability to recognize a problem, develop a research process for analyzing the problem, conduct her research, come up with creative solutions, and make it all look easy. Michelle has spent considerable time researching possible solutions, including listening to, and getting feedback from, local business owners, property owners, and property managers. With Michelle Pirone Lambros joining Princeton Council, we can expect her to be a major contributor to reversing the prevalence of “space available” signs in our downtown — either by well-thought out analytical solutions or her convincing personality.

Bill Hare

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

As a business that has supported biking in Princeton for over 40 years, we are excited to see all of the activity in town aimed at encouraging biking. Biking contributes in so many ways to the health of our community and we hope that the town’s efforts to create safer bike routes will inspire more residents to choose to bike rather than drive when running errands and commuting to local schools and jobs.

Each May, in celebration of National Bike Month, the Whole Earth Center takes to the streets of Princeton to encourage and reward cyclists. Now in its 13th year, our annual Random Acts of Community program distributes over $2,000 in gift cards from local businesses to cyclists in town. We also give each of the 30 cyclists that we reward a safety sheet outlining the most common types of car-bike accidents.

We love and appreciate the chance to work with so many of our fellow local businesses and the municipality on our annual bike reward program. Our partners in this community-wide effort include Mediterra, Teresa Caffe, Eno Terra, Terra Momo Bread Company, Blue Point Grill, Witherspoon Grill, Nassau Street Seafood, Yankee Doodle Tap Room, Nassau Inn, Agricola, Cargot, Two Sevens, the Dinky Bar, McCarter Theatre, small world coffee, bent spoon, LiLLiPiES Bakery, Princeton Record Exchange, jaZams, Olives, Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar, Princeton Tour Company, Princeton Soup & Sandwich Company, Town of Princeton, Labyrinth Books, greendesign, Kopps Cycle, Local Greek, Olsson’s Fine Foods, Hinkson’s, and the Princeton Family YMCA.

Jennifer Murray

Whole Earth Center Manager

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Adam Bierman for the June 5 Democratic primary for a seat on the Princeton Council. A Princeton native, Adam has acquired a great deal of experience working with local politics. Also, as a member of the PCDO, Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee. and working with Princeton TV.

After evaluating the other candidates, I decided to vote for Adam Bierman. I urge others in town to do the same. He has pragmatic and honest insights into Princeton’s issues and future. He has an outstanding reputation and is known for his generosity, intelligence, and dedication in doing his utmost in the challenges for Princeton.

Mary Anne Haas

Founder of the Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposiun, Former Executive Assistant to the

President of International Schools Services, Princeton

To the Editor,

The June 5th primary will be here before we know it and it is time to take a serious look at the candidates and what assets they can bring to the Princeton Council.

I am writing to strongly endorse Dwaine Williamson: he can provide competence, experience, and a proven ability to work with others to reach a consensus. These are important and needed qualities. Heather Howard and Lance Liverman, who are leaving Council, brought both legal expertise and years of community involvement: their experience will be missed as they exit the Council.

Dwaine brings experience both in town government, serving on the Planning Board at a key time for our town, and in other leadership positions both in Princeton and Mercer County. As a member of the Planning Board, he has worked on issues of neighborhood character and factors influencing affordability. He chaired the committee to harmonize borough and township ordinances into a single code for our consolidated community. This will be valuable experience as the town moves to implement affordable housing.

I served with Dwaine on the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) Executive Committee and saw his leadership qualities as he quickly moved to the position of first vice president. He received the support of the organization at their recent meeting and passionately spoke of his commitment to Princeton and his vision for a sustainable and inclusive town. He recognized challenges of keeping a viable commercial sector and addressing affordability issues for longtime residents and young families.

Dwaine embodies the American dream. He was born in Jamaica and emigrated at a young age with his family. He grew up in Mercer County and graduated from Trenton High before going on to Georgetown and then receiving a Law degree from Rutgers. He is a lawyer in private practice with a focus on finance. He has lived in Princeton for 20 years and has been active in the community.

As an immigrant himself, he is a strong supporter of Princeton’s commitment to being a welcoming community with diverse and stable neighborhoods.

I am delighted that Dwaine decided to run for the Princeton Council. I believe he will be a great asset.

Kathleen Cassidy

Mt. Lucas Road

To the Editor:

The Afternoon Tea, given to support the Trinity Church Choir’s upcoming 2021 tour of England, was a wonderful and happy event on May 6. Guests enjoyed a traditional English tea of savories and sweets, as well as a short choral selection given by the choir. The choir then sang Evensong in the historic church, which rounded out a special and unique event. Thanks to all who enjoyed this afternoon with Trinity Church members, guests, and choirs.

PEGI STENGEL

Prospect Avenue

May 9, 2018

To the Editor:

As mayor and Council president, we would like to respond to community concerns about the court-mandated process for determining Princeton’s affordable housing sites. We share the dissatisfaction of those who question why Council hasn’t been drafting its preliminary plan in open session. We have been cautious for two reasons: Since this is considered litigation, it is only discussed in closed session, and, in choosing sites, negotiations with owners of private property are sometimes required. It is in the taxpayer’s interest to conduct real estate negotiations privately and to enable our attorneys to provide their advice freely and in a confidential setting.

Given these constraints, we, along with our Council colleagues, are trying our best to communicate as fully as possible without compromising the municipality’s interests. We all want our seniors to be able to afford to grow old in our community, our children to afford to move back as adults, and our families who have lived here for generations to continue to do so. Princeton has a long-established practice of building affordable housing to help address these goals. Affordable units provide a reliable source of housing for low-, moderate-, and very low-income families and individuals and add to the diversity of housing options.

Long before New Jersey’s legally mandated affordable housing requirements even existed, both the former Borough and former Township constructed a significant number of affordable homes beginning in 1938. These include Franklin and Maple Terrace, Clay Street Hageman Homes, Spruce Circle, Princeton Community Village, and Redding Circle. After 1985, when the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) established affordable housing requirements for New Jersey, Princeton saw the construction of two dozen affordable housing developments of various sizes in the former Borough and Township, including Elm Court and Griggs Farm, among others.

Since 1999, when COAH’s last set of valid affordable housing rules expired, Princeton continued honoring its commitment to affordable housing and has constructed more than 200 additional units. Most recently, we’ve seen the construction of 12 affordable units at Copperwood, 56 units at AvalonBay, 56 units at Princeton University’s Merwick-Stanworth, and four at Carnevale Plaza on Nassau Street. We’ve also opened three group homes for disabled adults.

In March, the court determined that Princeton has incurred an affordable housing obligation of 753 housing units to cover the period from 1999 to 2025, with many of the units built since 1999 counting toward that total. The next step in the litigation is to have our housing plan approved by the court. We are scheduled for a hearing in late July.

The Council and Planning Board will hold a joint public meeting on May 17, when we intend to present the proposed sites to the public and invite community feedback. In the meantime, we have posted an updated FAQ on affordable housing on the municipal website, princetonnj.gov.

Liz Lempert, Mayor

Jenny Crumiller, Council President

To the Editor:

As a supporter of the Princeton Festival, I wish to compliment the gala committee which organized the ”Fanfare for the Festival” on April 21. It was a splendid affair, celebrating the upcoming 14th season. Excellent hors d’oeuvres and dinner were provided. Entertainment included singers from this summer’s musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and opera, Madama Butterfly.

This year, the Princeton Festival will offer several baroque and chamber music performances, a piano competition, and a jazz concert. There will also be numerous free lectures and workshops associated with this year’s events, with everything scheduled from late May to the end of June.

The Princeton Festival provides a premier musical and educational program each summer. It is an important component of the area’s annual slate of cultural events.

Norman Harvey

Florence Lane

To the Editor:

For those of you who missed attending the League of Women Voters debate at Princeton town hall, it was very telling.

The good news is we’re fortunate to have six passionate, smart, civic minded candidates vying for the two vacant positions in the June primary.

All six vary little in their philosophies and desires to make Princeton an even better place to live.

The reality is we’re losing two very seasoned and accomplished council members in Lance Liverman and Heather Howard.

In January, the Council replaced two vacancies with once again, smart, passionate people who have working knowledge of the town and council in David Cohen and Leticia Fraga. With the selection of the next council members, we need people who will have already studied the budget, understand the laws surrounding School Board vs. Council, understand the intricacies of affordable housing, and will be ready to hit the road running. That’s where if you watched the debate you saw some differences.

I’ve been impressed with several of the candidates. Most impressive, by way of knowledge and willingness to be prepared, is Eve Niedergang. She’s a calm, intelligent, solutions-oriented person who is not afraid of standing strong for what she believes in without being combative.

I plan on voting for Eve. I hope you will too.

Mary Anne Greenberg

Lytle Street

To the Editor:

My dog is angry over the town officials’ proposal to cut down all the trees on Spruce Street. She said she heard people talking about it on her daily walk. They were told at a meeting only diseased trees would be removed. If they remove all the trees, how can I express my territorial imperative, she asked. I reminded her we don’t have a tree in front of our house. Wake up, she said, where were you when your neighbors asked the mayor about zoning changes and sudden increases in taxes? I was at that meeting, I said. They were concerned about old tear-downs and new building on the same site causing immediate real estate tax increases on adjacent homes. The mayor explained the town had no control over tax assessments. It’s coming from above, she said, pointing upward. Well what are you going to do, the dog asked, let the state destroy this beautiful village? Listen, I said, New Jerseyans have complained about constantly rising real estate taxes for half a century to no avail. No governor or legislator has been able to stop it. Maybe they don’t want to, the dog said.

Louis Slee

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

(The following letter was sent to the Patrick Sullivan, president of the Board of Education on May 7. I wish to share it with the public.)

I have been following the news articles and letters to the editors concerning the upcoming construction referendum. There are three important points that neither the school superintendent nor anyone from the Board of Education has addressed openly in public. It’s time you did so.

At a February public meeting Mr. Cochrane mentioned major pedagogical changes that would be instituted. These should be presented to all citizens but especially parents of our students. They should have a say in whether or not they want such drastic changes.

Why has no one explained why we retain Cranbury students when the high school is so overcrowded and Princetonians subsidize each student at a rate of over $2,000 per year?

What is the source of the growth projections? Where did the data come from? What methods were use to analyze them and how were the conclusions reached? 

I would appreciate a response but more importantly, I encourage you to go public and inform everyone in Princeton.

Sheila Siderman

Bouvant Drive

To the Editor:

The Princeton BOE (Board of Education) has reduced the bond issue to $129 million, but includes the purchase of Herrontown Road property for $1.75 million to park school buses and other commercial vehicles. An OPRA request indicated that the municipality has numerous vacant land parcels, such as the large River Road parcel, that could potentially be utilized for parking.

The BOE response to this suggestion was that it has no control of municipal property. While we pay taxes to one “Princeton,” it appears that two separate government entities exist. If we truly have one Princeton, then the municipality and the BOE need to function together to share assets and minimize tax increases to the residents.

Peter Madison

Snowden Lane

May 2, 2018

To the Editor,

When I was first informed that Dwaine Williamson would run for one of the seats on Princeton Council, my immediate response was that he would certainly have my support. That was my response because I know Dwaine and have had the opportunity to work with him over the past few years on the Princeton Planning Board, with PCDO matters, and in other venues. I know him to be committed, responsible, and totally dedicated to making Princeton work for all of us. He has demonstrated the ability to listen and absorb before expressing an opinion; to do his homework; and he presents as a fair-minded and level-headed person who would continue to demonstrate those qualities as a councilperson. Were you to get the opportunity to know Dwaine, to hear his extraordinary personal history of moving to this country after his birth, of his educational background here in Princeton and beyond, and his civic contributions to Princeton, I am sure you would be as impressed as I am.

There are many issues to be addressed by Princeton Council in the future and it is my hope that Dwaine will be one of the leaders making those decisions on our behalf. Please vote with me to support Dwaine Williamson on June 5th.

Mildred T. Trotman

Former Mayor, Princeton Borough

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

In recent years, we have seen businesses leave Princeton, some moving out to other towns, some closing their doors for good. It is a loss for our community to lose flagship stores, services, and offices that have been part of the Princeton community. Many of these businesses had been a part of our local tradition, supporting our community’s economy and contributing to Princeton’s unique character for decades. Businesses in Princeton pay a significant amount of the real estate taxes remitted to the town, lessening the burden on residents. 

Knowing that most research shows that for every dollar spent with a local business or service provider the return to the community is $4 to $8, I believe in order to keep our downtown area vital we need more support from the local government for infrastructure investment, lessening of zoning restrictions, and solutions for parking. In addition to these issues, we also need to attract more tourists, as Princeton is a wonderful destination both for overnight stays as well as day trips, and increased foot traffic will help our businesses grow and thrive.

There is only one candidate for Princeton Council who has the business savvy and vision to impact our business community and help bring about the needed changes in our approach, to think out of the box for solutions to these issues, and to show the dedication needed to find ways to solve problems.

The person to do this is Michelle Pirone Lambros.

We need leadership to develop plans to attract investment, develop events that will attract tourists, find ways to make the town more business friendly, and ensure that we have better transportation to move residents around town. All of these ideas come from Michelle Pirone Lambros, whom I am supporting for Princeton Council.

We need innovative solutions to the challenges the business community is facing today, and I am confident that Michelle offers the leadership skills to accomplish this. Vote for Michelle on June 5th.

Hank B. Siegel

Hamilton Co., Jewelers