June 22, 2016

To the Editor:

Wouldn’t it solve a lot of the litter problem if smoking was banned in Princeton? Smokers do not seem to realize butts are not biodegradable and are not acceptably disposed of in tree wells, sidewalks, etc.

A friend of mine in front of CVS on Nassau Street got a very expensive ticket for tossing a gum wrapper. I only wish someone was at the library to ticket the smokers in the “breathe free non-smoking” areas. I think they have misinterpreted the sign as a better place to smoke.

Elaine Staats 

Moore Street

Editor’s Note: Photos were enclosed showing cigarette butts on sidewalk on top of Moore Street across from St Paul’s Church.

To the Editor:

How interesting it would be to have Peter Marks as mayor of Princeton, since he was born here and knows the issues well. Peter graduated from Hamilton College as a Latin major and then received his MBA in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He has worked for several New York banks and is trained in public and real estate finance. He is also a developer and has served as a consultant to many businesses where he solves complicated problems.

Peter is not a politician but a student of government and his knowledge and approach would greatly enhance the work of the Princeton Council as it coordinates projects with Princeton University.

I urge all Princeton residents to carefully consider a new approach to governing this unique town and elect an individual who is not interested in power but rather exemplifies excellence in civic affairs.

Louise Russell Irving

Longview Drive

To the Editor:

Many of us have been, are, or will be a family caregiver, or are likely to need the help of one some day. Family caregivers are the backbone of services and supports in this country, the first line of assistance for people with chronic or other health conditions, disabilities, or functional limitations. Family caregivers make it possible for loved ones to live independently in their homes and communities. If not for them, the economic cost to the U.S. healthcare and long-term care systems would increase astronomically. In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers provided unpaid care at about $470 billion.

Our country relies on the contributions family caregivers make and should support them. Supporting caregivers also helps those they care for, as well as the economy and workplaces that benefit from the contributions. AARP urges Congress to enact the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S.1719/H.R. 3099). This bill would implement the bipartisan recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.

AARP thanks Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Tom MacArthur, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald Payne, Jr. and Chris Smith for co-sponsoring this important legislation, and urges other members of NJ’s congressional delegation to do the same.

Stephanie Hunsinger

AARP New Jersey State Director, Princeton

June 15, 2016

To the Editor:

Having reviewed the recently released draft plan of the bicycle network, the members of the Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee urge the Master Plan Subcommittee of the Planning Board to support the proposed Bicycle Master Plan. We endorse the intention of the plan, which is to “create a bicycle network that is continuous, connected, convenient, complete, and comfortable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.”

The proposed plan is measured, comprehensive, and respectful of the needs and concerns of all Princeton residents. It is designed to be implemented incrementally over time. When this plan is implemented, Princeton streets will be safer and less congested for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. In keeping with our community values of equity and social justice, the plan takes into account the needs of residents who rely on bicycling as a primary form of transportation.

As members of the Planning Board deliberate, we ask that they keep in mind the fact that making biking safer and easier, as this plan outlines, would be a tremendous benefit for our community, especially our children and grandchildren. The plan they have been given is a solid start and would be a huge step forward for Princeton. We trust that our decision-makers will embrace this opportunity.

Janet Heroux

Chairwoman

Laurie Harmon

Vice Chairwoman 

Martin Kahn

The Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee

To the Editor:

I want to congratulate Jenny and Tim on their win. Their campaign teams and supporters also deserve congratulations. And to Anne and her team, I commend them for running a positive and issues oriented campaign as well.

There are many wonderful people I want to thank: I need to say a personal thank you to my husband, Steven, and our children, Sofia and Benjamin. They have been the awesome home support necessary when running a campaign.

Thank you to Stacy Mann and Tommy Parker, who managed my campaign with enthusiasm and skill. We were all new to the process, yet their expert advice was always right on point and kept me motivated and inspired. Thank you to Chris Johnson, my campaign treasurer and long time friend, who worked diligently in this new role, and who also helped keep us on message. Thank you to Michael Soto, who brought his technology wizardry to the campaign and added immeasurably to our social media presence. Words alone cannot express how grateful I am that our stars aligned, and that we all came together as a team.

I want to personally thank all the people that helped with my campaign efforts, simply too many to list in this writing, but nonetheless so many people worked very hard on my behalf, from hosting events, writing letters, canvassing, forwarding emails, and contributing money or time, they continually motivated, and energized me to the end. I can’t express how much it means that so many believed in me and worked so hard for me — thank you. This campaign has truly enriched my life, widened my circle of friends, and given me renewed hope for the future.

Our campaign was successful in that it energized, and engaged individuals in our community from all ages, and all walks of life. From high school students who were voting for the first time, to new citizens who were excited to have this newly acquired right and exercised it with pride. I too, was excited for them.

Although we did not win the council race, our team did an amazing job and we can all be proud of what we accomplished. Yes, we were going for a win, but the fact that it ended up being such a close race, I believe is an affirmation that we were on the right path. It is evident that our message resonated with the voters. Our community still has hopes and needs that need fulfilling. No, our work is not done. I will continue to fight for the basic rights of all of our citizens, and when another opportunity arises, my team and I will work hard to ensure that everyone has a voice.

We will be back.

Leticia Fraga

Houghton Road

To the Editor:

The Senate of the State of New Jersey, in recognition of the harm caused by global climate change and the need for greater reliance on Class I renewable energy sources, has voted overwhelmingly to enact Senate, No. 1707, which is commonly known as the Renewable Energy Transition Act. The Renewable Energy Transition Act sets up a schedule where 80 percent of all electricity sold in the State of New Jersey by the year 2050 shall be from Class I renewable energy sources.

As members of the Princeton Environmental Commission, we are concerned about climate change, the energy future of our state, and the air quality for the citizens of Princeton. We recognize the great harm caused by climate change, the continued use of fossil fuels, the increasing use of natural gas derived from fracking, and the expansion of pipelines in the State of New Jersey and Municipality of Princeton, and similarly recognize the need to increase our reliance on Class I renewable energy sources.

The Princeton Environmental Commission passed a resolution calling for the endorsement of Senate Bill 1707, passage of Assembly Bill 2203, and for the governor to sign the legislation into law. We encourage the Princeton Council to add their voice to ours by passing a similar resolution, and we urge citizens to support our efforts by contacting the office of Governor Christie at www.state.nj.us/governor/contact/.

Heidi Fichtenbaum

Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission, 

Carnahan Place

Sophie Glovier

Vice Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission, Drakes Corner Road

To the Editor:

On June 5, Rock Brook School held its 2nd Annual Rock Brook Celebration, “An Evening of Creative Expression,” at the Lodge at Montgomery. The evening celebrated the arts by incorporating a painting party, led by Wine & Design Princeton as well as highlighting the creative talents of Rock Brook students by displaying various pieces of their artwork. A musical performance by a former Rock Brook student made the evening all the more special. For more than 40 years, Rock Brook has provided exceptional special education services to children, as well as support for families and professionals. We are so proud of our students and the hard work of our dedicated staff.

Several months were spent planning the event and I would like to acknowledge those who helped bring it to fruition. Special thanks to Rock Brook parents Mitch and Ann Bloch for providing the musical entertainment; as well as Lisa Huguenin, Michele Mammone and Ada Robayo, who served on the auction committee. Thanks to all the families and businesses that contributed prizes. Thanks to the Rock Brook students and staff who created the lovely centerpieces; and thanks to the Lodge at Montgomery, Blawenburg Café/The Catering Company, and Wine & Design Princeton for their generous support.

And finally, I’d like to thank our guests, sponsors, and donors. Your generosity will help Rock Brook School continue its legacy of quality education, providing support and ensuring success for children with communication and learning difficulties.

Mary Caterson

Executive Director, Rock Brook School, Skillman

To the Editor:

To the thief who stole the wheelbarrow from our patio in the middle of the night on June 11: the bright orange one with the thick wooden handles and base and a crack down the middle of the barrow, we want it back.

The wheelbarrow was on our patio and in our yard for the last three weeks after our neighbors tossed it out during their moving sale. It was old and well used, but still in good shape to be used for our gardening and yard chores. It was lightweight enough for our two little grandsons to play with and push around the yard during their recent visit. It was a pretty cool wheelbarrow, and we want it back.

Whoever you are, you should know that we filed a police report to document your offensive act of taking it from our property so you’ll know that you are officially declared a thief.

Please return it. We’ll leave the light on for you.

Alyce Bush

Loomis Court

To the Editor:

I write to thank the Democratic voters of Princeton for nominating me for Princeton Council in the November general election. I’m deeply honored. Congratulations to the other Democratic candidates, Jenny Crumiller, Leticia Fraga, and Anne Neumann, for campaigns that were well-run and focused on issues and experience.

I look forward to working with Ms. Crumiller and the rest of Princeton Council to advance the greater good. I pledge to work hard to represent everyone in our great town.

I want to thank my team. None of us had ever been involved in a municipal campaign and I’m so pleased that their efforts were rewarded with a win in the primary. Finally, I want to thank my wife Mary and my son George for their support. Working full time while running a shoestring campaign obviously left me less time to spend with them. Their patience and encouragement have always been the key to any success.

Tim Quinn

Wilton Street

To the Editor:

Bob Kiser, our Municipal Engineer, will soon retire from his post. He deserves thanks for the extraordinary work that he has done for our community. The grace, decency, and professional skill that he has brought to his job have allowed him to stand in the thick of controversy and calmly find the route to a fair and reasonable resolution. The results of Bob’s good judgment appear in the physical reality of Princeton, in projects large and small — from the beautiful stonework of the dams and retaining walls at Mountain Lakes, to the modest Guyot stream path that preserves a sinuous swath of nature running through my own neighborhood. Bob has always listened to the concerns of all parties with open-minded respect, and his attention to the people of the community he served has made our town a better place.

Ronald Berlin, A.I.A.

Jefferson Road

June 9, 2016

To the Editor:

The Princeton Council has launched an initiative to address the spate of teardowns and out-of-scale, out-of-place new construction occurring in many neighborhoods throughout town. As members of the Planning Board subcommittee tasked with spearheading this comprehensive review and revision of our residential zoning, we would like to update the community on the effort and provide an overview of the process. The initiative will depend on robust public engagement and citizen input, and as we move deeper into the process we will be setting up a website to keep the community informed and engaged. We will also be seeking input from residents through neighborhood meetings and town-wide meetings.

In May we retained the consulting firm RBA Group to help guide us through the process, and on May 18th we held our first organizing meeting to set the schedule and next steps. The Council decided to hire an outside consultant because the option of having our planning staff overhaul the zoning regulations was not feasible except as a long term project, and the growing pace of change in our neighborhoods requires an expedited response. After interviewing several consultants, we chose the RBA Group because they will be able to bring perspective and sensitivity to our challenges through their experience in working with other communities, as well as their depth of expertise in analyzing the economic and environmental impact of changing regulations that will help to inform our deliberations.

The consultants will be documenting neighborhood characteristics and outcomes of recent residential development and identifying areas of Princeton’s neighborhoods that share common characteristics and attributes. Based on the analysis they will recommend short term and long-term policy and regulatory actions. The recommendations may include additions or changes to zoning ordinances, site plan review ordinances, enforcement standards, and the master plan.

We are striving for as much public input as possible from residents, our most important stakeholders. We will also be seeking input from developers, real estate agents, and others with a stake in the process. We feel including everyone will result in the best outcome.

In addition to the more structured avenues for communication, we welcome residents to contact us directly with questions and concerns by email at llempert@princetonnj.gov and jcrumiller@princetonnj.gov.

We are hopeful that this initiative will result in land use controls that contribute to the enhancement of our tree-lined, walkable streets, and developments that honors existing neighborhood contexts, and we look forward to the work ahead.

Liz Lempert

Mayor

Jenny Crumiller

Councilwoman

To the Editor:

With the arrival of summer 2016, I must comment that last summer, some of Princeton’s downtown retail shops seemed to be trying to air-condition the universe. Walking along our town’s streets on hot days, too often one felt chilled air blasting from storefront doors propped wide open. This seemed to be an attempt to lure in those shoppers who might never otherwise have guessed that a modern emporium would have a temperature-controlled interior.

Even if an individual business can afford this incredible waste of energy, our warming planet cannot. (A law against this practice was recently passed in New York City.) Let us appreciate the fine local stores that show respect for both our intelligence and our environment, by keeping their doors closed when their air-conditioning is running. Those are the doors that we will be happy to enter.

Caroline Hancock

Laurel Road

To the Editor:

I came across a pro-Trump message that a supporter had fingered in the wet cement at the Princeton Shopping Center. Being an avowed Democrat and a Trump critic, my first inclination was to walk over to Ace Hardware, purchase some paint and a brush and add a preceding epithet to the Trump logo. I refrained knowing that I’d sully my brand or the brand of the candidate I support by doing so.

And ironically, letting the name stand or rather sit in the cement actually speaks more to why voters should not vote for Trump than anything I could add to his name. Whoever chose to finger his name in the cement was hewing to the Trump mindset of contempt and disdain for legal and social norms. Norms that are already perilously weakened as showcased daily in the media — social and otherwise.

All mock seriousness and snark aside, I’m really frightened by the current political state of affairs in our country as well as globally. I hope that the inherent sanity and goodness I believe exists in most people in America will prevail in November.

Andy Epstein 

Longview Drive

To the Editor:

Last month Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) held its first annual Links to Youth Golf Outing at Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg, N.J. The event raised more than $20,000 for PBC, and more specifically our Summer Bridge Program, which addresses the “summer learning gap” for at-risk youth.

More than 40 golfers participated in the event with several others joining for dinner and cocktails. The winning foursome included Mike Dawson, from New Brunswick; Varnell Johnson, from East Brunswick; Antoine Johnson, from New Brunswick; and Derek Simpkins, from Ringoes. Our longest drive winner was Scott Stogner, from Westfield and the closest to the pin competition winner was Al Gomez from Somerset.

PBC seeks to transform the lives of vulnerable young people through integrated experiential and adventure-based programming in schools and at our outdoor campus. We collaborate with schools, university partners, and community-based agencies to develop in youth, a deepened self-awareness, responsible decision-making, teamwork, and leadership skills. Our volunteers strive for a future in which young people exhibit personal resilience and compassion, embrace expanded possibilities for their lives, and enact positive change within their communities and the world.

We received all positive feedback from the day of the event. It was great to have so many generous new people come out in support of the work we do for vulnerable youth.

Thanks to our sponsors: Agricola Eatery; Christina Bailey; Brother’s Pizza; Brown & Brown/Sobel Affiliates; Susan Danielson; Dick’s Sporting Goods; Tim Downs; ESPN; Fox Hollow Golf Club; Gennett, Kallman, Antin & Robinson; Irish American Trading Company; McCarter Theatre; Metro North; Bruce Petersen; Pinneo Construction; Princeton Corkscrew; Princeton University Dining Services; Don Seitz; Trenton Country Club; Trenton Thunder; Triumph Brewing Co.; and Chris Van Buren.

Also thanks to PBC’s Board Chair, Sarah Tantillo and Board Treasurer, Tim Downs, who were our golf co-chairs, and Meredith Murray, director of development, for all their hard work and leadership surrounding the very successful event.

Pam Gregory

President and CEO

To the Editor:

April was Parkinson’s Awareness Month and the Princeton community displayed their strong support with donations and efforts to raise awareness of this disease. The Parkinson Alliance is grateful to area merchants for two events that raised awareness of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and funds for much needed research.

For the seventh straight year, McCaffrey’s offered their customers the option of donating to The Parkinson Alliance when they checked out at all four of their stores. As a result, over $5,500 was raised for research.

The following restaurants participated in the 7th Annual Princeton Dines Out for Parkinson’s Disease Research, Blue Point Grill, Despana, Eno Terra, Gennaroís, Mediterra, PJ’s Pancake House, Teresa Caffe, The Peacock Inn, Trattoria Procaccini, and Witherspoon Grill. When diners enjoyed a meal at any of these restaurants from April 22 through April 28, a percentage of the proceeds were donated to The Parkinson Alliance.

Our organization raises funds for the most promising PD research that will improve the quality of life for those living with PD and ultimately, help find a cure. While we fund research nationally, The Parkinson Alliance is a resource in our local area for those living with PD. We thank the community for its generous support.

Carol Walton

Chief Executive Officer

Helaine Isaacs

Event Director, The Parkinson Alliance

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) hosted a fundraiser reception for Matthew Desmond, author of the best-selling book Evicted, immediately following his talk at Labyrinth Books last month. Desmond’s heartbreaking book is considered a landmark work of scholarship that looks closely at the issue of poverty in our country by telling compelling stories of real people (mostly women) trying to find a decent place to live for themselves and their children.

The event was a wonderful success. Thank you to all who attended. We also want to thank those in the community who came together to help make it happen: Chambers Properties allowed us to use the vacant storefront at 20 Nassau as our venue, Jammin’ Crepes provided the delicious hors d’oeuvres, and Kelly Mitchell curated the wines provided by Cool Vines.

Partnering with Labyrinth Books was a sheer pleasure, and I hope HIP can work with them again to bring to Princeton important writers who can help inform all of us about the issues that our clients at HIP, and too many others, face.

And a huge thank-you to Matthew Desmond for making the journey from Boston and sharing his thoughts and, importantly, his feelings about the people he writes about. We all learned a great deal.

Carol Golden

Interim Chair,  Housing Initiatives of Princeton, 

Mercer Street

June 1, 2016

To the Editor:

Since being elected mayor in 2012, I have worked together with the Princeton Council, staff, and community to make consolidation a success, and to focus our newly unified government around the progressive values of openness, sustainability, and inclusion. I am writing to ask voters for your support in next week’s Democratic primary to continue these efforts.

Princeton’s historic consolidation has been a massive undertaking. We achieved the financial savings targets set by the Consolidation Commission and Transition Task Force, significantly reduced the size of the staff while enhancing services, and obtained a AAA bond rating.

We have focused on issues that impact the quality of daily life within our community. This has included working to tighten restrictions on home sizes and starting a comprehensive rezoning effort aimed at preserving neighborhood character. I have supported other quality of life initiatives such as tour bus controls and limits on overnight operating hours of businesses next to homes in residential districts.

Environmental sustainability has been another top priority during my term in office.  We developed a stewardship plan for the Princeton Ridge, and were successful in permanently preserving 40 acres of land purchased largely through outside funding. Last year work began on developing a solar farm on top of the old landfill. The town is creating a comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan and is launching a joint bike share program with Princeton University, paid for through a grant.

I have been honored to serve as your mayor, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I recognize that there is still much to do, and I look forward to meeting that challenge together. Please remember to vote on Tuesday, June 7.

Liz Lempert

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

I write in support of re-electing Jenny Crumiller to Princeton Council in the Democratic Primary on June 7.

Whatever the endeavor, Jenny provides a breath of fresh air and an open mind. Not one to take the status quo as a given, Jenny is always asking, how can we do things better? And how can we get more people involved and included?

This has been true throughout the 25 years that I’ve known and collaborated with Jenny. It began with neighborhood preservation efforts in the 1990s. In the next decade, she motivated the production of an antiwar TV ad featuring dozens of local people, and then spearheaded efforts to open up and democratize the local Democratic Party. She brought a level of professionalism and organization that made the Princeton Democratic headquarters in 2004 and 2008 a regional hub for campaign volunteers.

Others have written about her dedicated service in public office as a Councilwoman. Now she is one of four candidates seeking the two seats up for election this year. The fact that we have a robust field of candidates, competing openly, is thanks in large part to the challenge Jenny made to a then-closed party process over a decade ago. At the time, it wasn’t the popular thing to do, but it was obviously the right thing to do.

While Jenny has already accomplished a lot, it’s clear to me that she’s just getting started! Please join me in supporting her for another term on Council.

Dan Preston 

Moore Street

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Jenny Crumiller’s candidacy for re-election to Princeton Council. As an elected official, Jenny has been a forceful advocate for the preservation of our neighborhoods, our environment, and our identity as a progressive and inclusive community. She understands the complexities of the issues that face Princeton and can be counted on to continue a record of smart and thoughtful service to her constituents.

Jenny’s interest in preserving Princeton as an affordable community with excellent public schools and a small town atmosphere started shortly after she moved here. I first met her in 1992 when she helped lead a grueling neighborhood struggle to save the residential character of Harris Road. The experience led Jenny to municipal politics where she has worked consistently to inform citizens of proposals that will affect them, intelligently vet development projects, and spend taxpayer dollars wisely.

Thanks to Jenny’s willingness to examine financial details, Princeton received a payment of $85,000 for its easement to the Post Office building instead of the zero dollars offered by the developer. Thanks to her leadership, Princeton is about to open a much-needed group home for the developmentally disabled. And, thanks to her persistence, Planning Board hearings are now televised. These are just a few of her accomplishments, many behind the scenes and unsung, during her term on the Princeton Council.

If Jenny has a weakness in electoral politics, it lies in her aversion to self-promotion. She would rather get the job done than worry about who gets credit for it. Her extensive community service and involvement with local nonprofit groups includes more than a decade of active service on the board of the Princeton Committee of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a creative effort to bring media attention to opposition to the 2003 Iraq war, and extensive collaborative work to help promote progressive policies and candidates.

Virginia Kerr

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

When deciding to vote for a candidate for any office, I make an assessment of their demonstrated values and the positions that they have actively taken over time on issues that concern me, my neighborhood, my town, my country. I am not impressed by the freshness of faces that ascend to simply present change or a symbolic gesture. I tend to go on what is a known quantity based on a candidate’s engagement, knowledge, substance, and consistency. I support Anne Neumann. She is that candidate.

Anne Neumann’s candidacy is borne out of her extensive understanding of and longtime contributions to a wide range of community and neighborhood-specific issues. I admire her dogged persistence, as in her observations and recommendations during the budgeting process. She was the only candidate to come forth with a clear understanding of the budget and that it should be guided by more than just escalation goals. In our interest as taxpayers, she challenged the current Council to probe and aggressively consider reductions — and they did. I want a Council person who delves deeply and takes a stand that we can do better on many levels.

Anne exhibits a real intelligence and vigor, does her homework, and can convey her thoughts with clarity and wit, just as we would expect her to as a former professor!  She researches issues beyond the limits of local experiences and looks “outside the box” to identify solutions to issues.  For example, on the matter of property abandonment, she identified the practice of Washington, DC to assess fees for extended vacancies in order to address quality of life issues in some of our neighborhoods. She always consults stakeholders and professionals, but to fully understand community and neighborhood perspectives, she brings her years of active involvement in numerous organizations, committees, neighborhood associations, and efforts for the greater good of our environment, economy, and humanity.

Anne has been effective in engaging many citizens in understanding the details of our taxation policies during the revaluation process. She knows that it is naive to think that land use, zoning, and taxation policies are non-litigious in nature.  She knows that these policies are a municipality’s major tools and sources of revenue for the operations of services to all. As such, Anne is not intimidated and holds no conflicts with Princeton University as an employer or as a beneficiary of its discretionary contributions. The relationship between a town and gown has to be based on trust.  Anne would not place false limitations on serving us as taxpayers, and indeed, by any means necessary to ensure that we are not subsidizing the municipal services of the largest landowner, resident population, and employer.

I will be going to the polls on June 7 to vote for Anne Neumann as the best Princeton Council candidate in the best interest of our community. I ask that you do the same.

Yina Moore

Former Mayor, Borough of Princeton

Green Street

To the Editor:

Two seats are open on the Princeton Council. Of the four candidates vying for your vote, we feel strongly that Leticia Fraga is the best choice.

Leticia built her career in government working at the municipal, county and federal levels. In Seattle, throughout Washington State and overseas, she developed the kinds of expertise in civil rights enforcement, police-community relations, fair housing, and human service provision that Princeton sorely needs.

As chair of various commissions and boards, from the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund to the YWCA, Princeton Community Housing, Send Hunger Packing Princeton, and the Civil Rights Committee of Human Services, Leticia has impressed colleagues with her willingness to work hard, listen carefully, ask tough questions, reflect honestly, and speak with candor.

Don’t let her wide smile and warm demeanor fool you: Leticia can be tenacious, and she is a woman of action. She is responsible for the return of the Mercer County ID program to town. Since being introduced in Princeton in 2011, community IDs have been embraced by cities from New York to Philadelphia as a means of fostering inclusion among residents. Now, thanks to Leticia, each week a team of volunteers from Princeton High School, Princeton University and the wider community issue IDs to qualified residents out of a space in our wonderful Public Library.

A native speaker of Spanish, Leticia has led “Know Your Rights” trainings for various at-risk groups in town. She has also done outreach to and advocated on behalf of more than 20 unaccompanied minor refugees who fled violence in their home nations and now attend Princeton Public Schools.

As Vice Chair of Princeton’s municipal Human Services Commission, Leticia has spearheaded the movement to revive an independent Civil Rights Commission. Created in the late 1960s to mediate allegations of discrimination in housing, employment, education, and access to services, that Commission lost its independent stature in the 1990s. Leticia understands that an independent Civil Rights Commission fosters community trust and saves taxpayers money by avoiding costly lawsuits.

Our country stands at a crossroads. Bigotry is on the march.  We have the opportunity to make history. In a town that talks a lot about diversity, Leticia will be the first person of Latino/a heritage on Princeton Council.

Leticia understands that our town thrives on opportunity, affordability, transparency and inclusion.  We support her because we admire her talents, appreciate her values, and trust her instincts. At the end of the day, what else is there?

We hope you will join us in electing Fraga for Council on Tuesday, June 7th.

Anastasia Mann, Tommy Parker, 

Janice Fine, Carol Golden, 

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly,  

Dorothea von Moltke

To the Editor:

I write in support of Tim Quinn for Princeton Council. I first met Tim when I served as chair of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library. In addition to his considerable skills as a communicator, it became obvious that he is a natural leader as well. We collaborated on many fund-raising projects for the Friends. His suggestions and solutions to questions were always thoughtful and in the best interests of everyone involved.

Tim’s leadership was apparent when he led the successful and difficult effort to keep the library open after Superstorm Sandy. With the library director out of state, Tim spear-headed this huge task and kept our library open and running. For days after the storm, he was there around the clock making sure we had a warm safe place to shelter and stay connected to the outside world. He won a national award for that work. It came as no surprise to me. I had seen his leadership skills for years.

He will make a splendid member of Princeton Council.

Claire Jacobus

Cleveland Lane

To the Editor:

The Town of Princeton is proposing that the property tax be increased by nearly 50 percent for the next 20 years for all properties on “historic” Bank Street in downtown Princeton in addition to the recent tax increase.  After nearly 40 years of meetings, discussions and false starts, the Town is planning to replace the rotting infrastructure, improve the street surface and streetscape in this unique historic district after letting it literally fall apart for the past 40 years. The historic commission has been powerless to do anything except make people jump through hoops if they want to improve their property while the public domain falls apart.  The real issue is the overhead electric, cable and telephone lines by PSEG, Verizon, Comcast and Suneyes, which continue to hang even more lines without removing the unused ones or needing approval to hang new ones.  To place these lines underground will cost, the companies say, $1,940,000, or $ 6,000 to $8,000 per linear foot plus a $5,000 hook up fee for each structure.  The 28 structures along the street must cover the entire cost, so says the NJ Board of Public Utilities.  The alternative is to leave the poles and the gaggle of wires with the radiation from EMF’s literally feet in front of people’s bedroom windows and forever devalue the street.

There is no other street like it in Princeton and it could be a real architectural and historic gem that could enhance the character and quality of downtown and increase revenues from taxes from potential improvements.  If the owners of the majority of the properties along the street do not agree to this massive increase in property taxes to place the wires underground, the Town  is proposing an unimaginative, vanilla improvements with concrete curbs and sidewalks- no granite, no cobble stone, no historic lighting, no bollards, no traffic calming  just a standard asphalt suburban streetscape with new sewer and water lines.

Is this what Bank Street deserves after paying high taxes with few services for over forty years, to be just another old narrow ghetto street with gaggles of overhead wiring while paying extraordinary amount of taxes for all these years with few, spotty municipal services and no resident parking.  If it is to remain as this “ghetto” street, then perhaps the Township can accommodate at least one request- have it removed from an historic district and take the historic restrictions away. Perhaps that will be a way to pay for the undergrounding if a large developer purchased many properties and redeveloped it.  We were told that the University paid the utility companies their price for undergrounding the Arts and Transit district, and conceded to the demands of the Board of Public Utilities mandate.

What is happening and has happened to Bank Street is shameful. Even in Princeton, every owner cannot write out a check for $75,000.00 or be taxed for greater value than the house will appraise.

Tony Nelessen

Owner of 13 Bank Street for 38 years

Professor of Urban Planning and Design

May 25, 2016

To the Editor:

The question of whether or not Communiversity ArtsFest should be a ticketed event has recently been in the spotlight. Given that the Arts Council of Princeton has been the prime organizer of the annual event for more than 40 years — with the support of the town, the University, merchants, and houses of worship — we would like to weigh in.

Communiversity is a very special day in Princeton each year, both for local residents and the greater Princeton community. In addition to providing a rich array of food and entertainment, it provides an important platform for local arts, nonprofit groups and merchants to promote their offerings to an audience of tens of thousands. The fact that exhibitors come back each year, and pay for space, underscores the value of the event. Meanwhile, it is true the event has gotten so popular that the crowds have created some challenges.

To clear up any misconceptions, Communiversity ArtsFest is not a major fundraiser for the Arts Council. We raise about $70,000 per year from exhibitors and sponsors, which exceeds our hard costs. But when considering the hundreds of staff and volunteers hours involved with orchestrating the event, Communiversity is much more a service we love to provide to the community than a fundraiser for the Arts Council. We presume the University and town have similar motivations in dedicating significant resources. Their in-kind and hard costs are critical to the success of this community day.

There is a strong argument to keep the event free. So many of the cultural activities in Princeton and throughout the nation these days are expensive and out of reach for many members of the community. Communiversity, by definition, is an inclusive event and welcomes everyone, making it one of largest and most diverse events every year. Whether a nominal fee would keep people away, or reduce the number of attendees or cars, is hard to say. Common sense suggests that the people who would choose not to attend based on price are those who have the lowest incomes, so adding a mandatory fee might make it a less inclusive cultural festival.

Is it possible to raise more funds to offset both town and Arts Council costs? Logistically it wouldn’t be easy. Communiversity is not a “gated” event. It would be impossible, or very costly, to control and ticket every one who enters the event area, which can be accessed via several streets. But certain options — such as selling wristbands, which entitle the bearer to discounts or extra benefits — are worth exploring.

We also recommend that a fiscal impact study be conducted so that we can understand the true value, and expense, of the event. Is the town’s $30,000 expenditure a solid investment? Let’s more closely assess its full value to our community to help the town determine if it wishes to support and invest in this annual cultural festival.

Armed with such information, we are ready and willing to explore ideas that help both the town and the Arts Council recoup more of our costs. We encourage gathering this information and discussing all options — but are committed to keeping this community treasure as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Ted Deutsch 

President, Board of Trustees 

Jeff Nathanson

Executive Director

To the Editor:

To those interested in the future of Communiversity and whether to impose a fee on those attending, here’s some advice: go back to the event’s original purpose, keep it simple, and keep it free.

Communiversity was conceived as a celebration of University/community relations, fueled in particular by an appreciation of the arts and the spirit of non-profit community enterprises.

Today, it’s increasingly becoming a marketing tool for car dealers, banks, and realtors, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Princeton, threatening to turn a special local day into merely another regional commercial platform.

While Council candidates might consider charging an attendance fee to offset Communiversity’s cost to local taxpayers, such a fee will lead to more government regulation and expense and continue to drive away local participation and eclipse of the underlying purpose of the event.

Charging visitors to Communiversity is not only impractical; it would speed the unfortunate commercial tilt that the event has taken.

It would be wiser to simply pare down the effort to something closer to its earlier conception — a celebration of the arts and non-profits — and keep it free.

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue