November 16, 2016

To the Editor:

Thanks for the courtesy, Princeton drivers!

This past Saturday I rode my bike on my way to and from the Mayor’s Ride. (In case you didn’t know: Princeton’s cool Mayor Lempert, with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, hosts a bike ride every fall; you can enjoy some of Princeton’s parks at their most colorful, plus a cup of hot cider at Mountain Lakes House).

On this Saturday, no fewer than four motorists, at four different intersections, stopped their cars for me as I waited to cross the road, and waved me across. They did this, even though none of the intersections had signs prompting drivers to give the right of way to those on foot or on bike.

I want to thank these drivers, and all the drivers who have given me the same courtesy on other occasions. I can’t see your faces through the windshield, so I don’t know who you are. But I want you to know that it is immensely heartening to me that there are more and more of you who empathize enough with those on bike and on foot that you are willing to punctuate your trip with a short stop, to let us cross the road in front of you. You set a great example of kindness and courtesy, and I hope you inspire others to do the same. May your wheels, whether four or two, always roll smoothly.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

November 9, 2016

To the Editor:

Residents in the northern part of Princeton should be advised that the juvenile black bear sighted in August in the vicinity of Cherry Hill Road and Montadale Drive is still in the immediate area. While the media has lost interest in the story, the bear appears to remain stubbornly interested in our neighborhood. It has caused property damage and has raided garbage cans and bird feeders over the past several months, which begins to define it as a nuisance bear that is becoming habituated to humans. We have notified NJDEP/Fish and Wildlife and the Animal Control Officer, but it is largely up to us as residents to take steps to discourage the bear from deciding to make the Princeton Ridge its home.

We can make a difference by ensuring that there are no sources of food in our yards. Bird feeders are a prominent target as are garbage cans left out overnight and piles of acorns. Consider taking down feeders for now (the birds will be fine) and putting out your garbage cans in the morning rather than leaving them outside on the street. Do not leave pet food outside. This bear is capable of climbing a wire deer fence and breaking into containers in search of food. Fish and Wildlife has also advised that hanging towels or rags soaked with ammonia may also discourage bear activity. Bears are crepuscular, so they are much more likely to be active at dawn and dusk and less likely to be seen in broad daylight.

By taking these precautions, we can help persuade the bear to move on to other areas.

For more information on bear safety, see

T. Jeffery Clarke 

Balcort Drive

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) held its annual Rent Party on Saturday, October 22, where over 120 people gathered to enjoy food, drinks, and music while raising money to help HIP provide transitional housing with supportive services for working families who are facing homelessness and to provide emergency rental assistance for those who need a one-time payment for a security deposit or for back rent. A big thank you to all of our supporters, attendees, and the more than 30 sponsors of the event!

In addition to the all-volunteer HIP board who worked tirelessly to make the event a success, HIP has a bunch of people to thank: Lydia and Johan Pfeiffer for hosting us in the beautiful Grover Cleveland house; our incredibly talented caterer, Blawenberg Café; Tap Tap Caribbean/American Cuisines for the incredible desserts; Anne Fahey, for the fantastic invitations; Jennifer Cohan for vigorously planning and promoting the event; Pam Hersh for her appealing press release; Anna Brouwer for staffing the Giving House so expertly; our brave bartender, Ben Dixon; Applied Harmony, the awesome jazz band that serenaded us through the night; Paul Jeanes, auctioneer extraordinaire, and Derrick Avila and Abel Onofre for directing all of our attendees to parking.

And, last but not least, thank you to Mira DeMartino, Anja Zimmermann, and Ralph Neuneier, and the Bent Spoon for their generous donations to our live auction.

Our whole community truly came together … neighbor helping neighbor to keep our community diverse and vibrant!

Carol Golden

Interim Chair, 

Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Mercer Street

To the Editor

As generational residents of Princeton, we remember hearing our parents debate whether the two former Princetons could ever become one Princeton. Although our parents and grandparents did not live to see the merger, we are proud that we have experienced its success, which we attribute in large part to Mayor Liz Lempert’s diligent and even-handed guidance.

Mayor Lempert also has impacted our lives in other ways. In our capacity as presidents of Committed and Faithful Princetonians (CFP), a YMCA-based group committed to preparing youth for a life of high achievement, Mayor Lempert encouraged us to have CFP children participate in various issues important to the community, such as providing their input about changes to Mary Moss Park in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. Mayor Lempert also has supported other efforts, such as CFP’s community service project for landscaping at Redding Circle, commending the youth group on their hard work.

In general, Mayor Lempert has been great for the youth of Princeton. She has established a Youth Advisory Committee so that our leaders and officials can see our community through the eyes of our youth and respond to their input. Our mayor is not just a mayor but a friend to the community.

Larry and Fern Spruill

Oak Lane Princeton

To the Editor:

Each month, 4,000 people in Princeton and Trenton use the three food pantries operated by Arm in Arm, formerly The Crisis Ministry, to supplement their need for adequate food supplies for themselves and their families. These pantries offer free food and nutritional advice to those with low incomes, the unemployed, veterans, the elderly and, sadly, many, many children.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, the need for extra food becomes even more poignant. Who wouldn’t want a turkey as the centerpiece of their festivities? Unfortunately, Arm in Arm doesn’t have enough funds or donated turkeys to provide all those who wish one. Hence, the purpose of this letter. Yes We CAN! Food Drives, a volunteer group that collects food for the needy, is asking the community to donate either fresh or frozen turkeys for our neighbors. The turkeys will then be added to the supply and distributed to the clients by lottery number. The more turkeys, the more who will win a turkey (at no cost to them, of course).

Our Yes We CAN! volunteers will be collecting the turkeys on Saturday, November 19, from 9 to 1, on the final day of the season at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. Should you wish to donate cash, our volunteers will buy turkeys on your behalf from a local supermarket.

Look for our Yes We CAN! tent at the farmers’ market, which is located off Alexander Road on Vaughn Drive, on the way to the train station. Parking is free. Thank you for your support.


Publicity Chair, Yes We CAN! Food Drives,

To the Editor:

Recently I was issued an overtime parking violation in the Griggs Corner parking lot. It turns out that the new “improved” parking meters no longer grant a 10-minute grace period, unlike all of the other meters in Princeton. The ticket was issued at 11:59 a.m.; I was back at the car at 12:01 p.m.; missed it by two minutes, well within the ten-minute grace period that is no longer granted.

I discovered this the next day when I walked to the lot, found an expired meter and deposited a nickel. The meter displayed 2 minutes, counted down to 1 minute, then expired — no grace period.

However, I noticed that the 2 minutes seemed to go by too quickly, so I deposited yet another nickel and timed the countdown with my watch. The display started at 2 minutes as before, but in only about 40 seconds went to 1 minute, then 60 seconds later displayed “Expired.”

Then I did the math: the rate is $1.75/hour, which translates to 20.57 seconds/cent. So a nickel actually buys you 5 times that, i.e., 103 seconds, which is 1 minute and 43 seconds. Therefore although the meter displays 2 minutes, it actually gives you only 1 minute and 43 seconds.

A worse case occurs if one deposits 15 cents. In that case the display shows 6 minutes, but you only get 5 minutes and 9 seconds. So in the time it takes you to make a note of the time and walk away thinking you have 6 minutes, you actually have 5. Makes it easy to get an overtime parking violation.

Either way, I would call the meter display “deceptive.” (I’m guessing that the reason for the previously granted generous 10-minute grace period was to avoid this issue).

But wait, there’s more: it turns out that as of July 1 this year, the municipality of Princeton no longer operates the Griggs Corner lot (check, but it does enforce the meter usage using the Parking Enforcement Unit. Does this make Princeton complicit in the deception?

Although my parking violation was dismissed, I still had to pay a $20 court fee. One might argue that all overtime parking violation fines (and court fees) should automatically be dismissed until this issue is addressed.

I have now spent enough time, effort, and money researching this. I leave it in the hands of the legal professionals and the politicians.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Diesso

Harrison Street 

P.S. I would like my $20 court fee back.

P.P.S. The phrase “Boycott the Lot” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

To the Editor:

The Princeton-Blairstown Center’s (PBC) second annual Soirée Under the Stars gala held Sept. 30 at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton raised more than $50,000 for PBC, and more specifically for our Summer Bridge Program, which addresses the “summer learning gap” for at-risk youth.

PBC participant, Mehki J., an 8th grader from Trenton, spoke about his experience during the Summer Bridge Program and won the crowd over with his description of his time at the Blairstown Campus. The culminating event of the evening was presenting the Frank Broderick Award to Dr. William A. Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. The Frank Broderick Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, compassion, and selflessness — qualities that supported Dr. Broderick in his courageous efforts to achieve racial integration of PBC’s predecessor organization, the Princeton Summer Camp, and to mobilize those who advocated for racial integration of Princeton University in the 1940s.

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 would like to thank the 140 guests who came out in support of the work we do for vulnerable youth.

Thanks to our benefit committee: Minda and William Alena; Barbara and Fred Borsch; Victoria and Tim Bridges; Anita and Larry Chevres; Jill Dolan and Stacy Wolf; Denise H. Frederickson; Jane Fremon; Mr. and Mrs. Jotham Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Kaemmerlen; David Palladino; Angelica and Jason Pedraza; Nurit Pegrish and Scott Levy; Kay and Ev Pinneo; Peter T. Smith; and Linda and Ken Twining.

Special thanks to our benefit co-chairs, Christina Bailey and Praveena Joseph-de Saram, for all their hard work and leadership surrounding this very successful event.

Pam Gregory

President and CEO

November 2, 2016

To the Editor:

I have been actively involved in educating our community regarding the issue of gun violence prevention, a topic of the utmost concern for our children, our community, and the country.

Mayor Liz Lempert has been highly supportive of the efforts of those working to decrease gun violence. In addition, she has expressed her support for the gun safety technology initiative.

Therefore, I urge you join me in voting for her on November 8, 2016.

Sally L. Steinberg-Brent

Shady Brook Lane

To the Editor:

Bill Hare’s positive mind-set combined with sound decision-making ability would make him an excellent Princeton Board of Education member. Bill has the balance of skillfulness, spirit, and devotion to work as a team with the Board to create the best possible environment for Princeton students, teachers, and the overall community.

Diana and Ken Griebell

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Mayoral candidate Peter Marks’s performance at the League of Women Voters debate was stellar! As a native of Princeton and with his background and experience in finance, Marks demonstrated that he not only understands the financial issues affecting our Princeton community, but has practical solutions to these problems.

In responding to a question from the audience on the high cost of financing some of the perhaps unwarranted expenditures for the Princeton Public Schools (such as a new auditorium when there are many available in town), Marks stated that he received a unique and high-quality education while attending a one-room school in the country of Jordan when his father was on a teaching sabbatical. Strategic spending — not extravagance — is the key to resolving our financial challenges.

With a mother living out her last days, Marks’s response to a question dealing with seniors “aging in place” hit home. His comments demonstrated that love and commitment to family are more than words. Marks responded to the question of housing for seniors by saying that the fact that his father, who suffered from dementia for several years, was able to stay in the home he loved until his death brought him great joy. Marks aims to keep this option available to Princeton residents.

Peter Marks is a man who not only “talks the talk, but walks the walk” when it comes to commitment to family. As mayor, he will demonstrate the same commitment to the well – being of the Princeton community.

Peter Marks has my vote on November 8 and I hope he has yours as well.

Barbara Brock Mount

Lucas Road 

To the Editor:

Locally, the Princeton Regional School Board Election and Mayor Lempert’s published views on public education pre-ordain huge increases in real estate taxes in Princeton. The most important outcome of Princeton’s increasingly excessive expenditures on education is many millions less being available to support alternative, critical community-wide needs. The following, supporting this conclusion, is based on years of experience in leadership and business/financial management roles in educational institutions in both public and private sectors, including the Princeton area.

First, let’s look at just one financial performance metric “Actual Per Pupil Cost” for comparable “High Performing Districts.” Without citing years of published data, the basic facts are that New Jersey Top 10 rated West Windsor schools per pupil costs are over 30 percent lower than Princeton Regional School District’s costs. This gross disparity between districts performing at the highest level in the same county is unjustified and unacceptable. Just because it’s Princeton? The Princeton Board and prior superintendent have been questioned publicly to state what specific STUDENT outcomes justify this large disparity. On an annual budget in the $60 million range, this represents $18 million tax dollars that could be used for other alternative community needs.

Second, the real question is not whether we can afford it or do our students receive a first rate education. Yes to both without question! However, accountability and fiscal responsibility for the public purse demand cost effectiveness in the delivery of public services. The PRS Board has not done the job! The good news is, finally, the electorate has a general election vote. We must each year elect a Board with a strong sense of their responsibility to the community at large and the impact of their huge costs on other priority government programs. Unfortunately, there was no detailed discussion of costs, but pledges of support for whatever is needed for our highly rated district. Only a few general statements were voiced on school budgets and efforts to control growth in costs.

Last, important and of serious concern, were assertions from some stating their belief that the Princeton Regional Schools are “under-funded”! Although not mentioned, this follows the same “Princeton Schools are under-funded” published statement by Mayor Lempert. Candidate Greg Stankiewicz gave his unequivocal support for increased funding of Princeton Schools plus a wholesale endorsement of SAVE OUR SCHOOLS (SOS) activist notions supporting higher taxes for all schools statewide. His spouse is Professor Sass Rubin of Rutgers, co-founder of SOS, and a strong advocate for teacher’s unions. Given key union negotiations early in the new year, can Candidate Stankiewicz participate in negotiations or must he recuse himself as having conflicts of interest?

Rhetorically, on what basis can a candidate for School Board before ever serving in Princeton state unequivocally “Princeton schools are ‘underfunded?’” Seriously? Vote for fiscal responsibility and cost effectiveness in delivery of quality education.

John Clearwater

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

We are writing this letter as a statement of our strong support for Debbie Bronfeld; she is running for a position on the Princeton Board of Education.

We have been friends with Debbie for over 16 years. We met when her youngest and our only child were babies, and we have had the pleasure of watching our children grow and flourish, in their own ways, in the Princeton public schools.

Running for the Board of Education makes sense given what we know about Debbie. She has always been civic minded. Her choices of employment, for example, reveal how she wants to help others. For example, she was the executive director of Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organization that helps women become economically independent by providing professional clothing and the tools needed to succeed. In more recent years she has worked for Mercer Street Friends Food Bank as a program associate, first as a volunteer, then as an employee. Her responsibilities there include helping people sign up for food stamps, and providing seniors with needed food supplies. In addition, she runs a program that provides backpacks of child-friendly, non-perishable food that goes home each weekend with children in 18 schools across Mercer County. She also helps her community outside of work, most recently spending each Sunday registering Princeton citizens to vote.

Debbie has long been a champion of Princeton schools, and she has great long-term reasons to be involved. Both her sons have been in the Princeton Public schools for their entire education, first Littlebrook, then JWMS, and now Princeton High School. Her older son, Harrison, recently graduated from Princeton High and her younger son, Max, is now a junior there.

Not content to just enjoy the benefits of the Princeton school system from the sidelines, Debbie has long been involved in being an active school parent. She was a member of the Parent Teacher Organization at Littlebrook. She volunteered as a room parent, as a worker in Littlebrook’s library and at JWMS’s book fair. She has frequently attended school board meetings as an interested parent. A frequent presence at school functions, Debbie has always been counted on to show her support at concerts, football games, and musicals. Want more evidence of her support? Look across the Princeton High School football field: cups on the fence spell out “Go Tigers!” “Go Blue!” in white and blue. Debbie had a hand in that too.

Debbie is running for a spot on the Board of Education because she wants to work to ensure that all children in Princeton get the quality education that they deserve. We are writing this letter today because we fully support her candidacy.

Wendy Heath, Stephen Kaplan

Benjamin Rush Lane

To the Editor:

Writing for ourselves and not on behalf of the Board of Education, we enthusiastically support Greg Stankiewicz for election to the Princeton Board of Education. Even in a well-credentialed community like ours, Greg is a stand-out; he is brilliant and well-versed in the complexities of educational policy and public finance. His professional experience with the New York City education department, the New Jersey state management and budget office, and nonprofit organizations makes Greg superbly qualified. It’s hard to recall there ever being a school board candidate with a stronger record of relevant expertise.

Even beyond his credentials, Greg is distinguished by his principles. He is passionately committed to providing an excellent individualized education to every child in our community, regardless of their background. He believes our public schools should educate and nurture the “whole child,” and that the arts, athletics, community service, social skills, emotional resilience, and wellness are critical to learning and progress. He knows that engaging teaching can only occur when our educators are well-supported and allowed to develop innovative, student-centered practices. He is dedicated to working with the superintendent and administrators in a transparent partnership towards the community’s shared educational aspirations for our children.

Greg is also one of the most kind-hearted, energetically optimistic people we know. While we regret that we won’t have the privilege of serving with him, we know that our schools will be in good hands if he is elected. Please vote for Greg Stankiewicz (ballot position #2) for school board on November 8.


Editor’s Note: Ms. Chrein and Ms. Spalla are current members of the Princeton Board of Education. Their terms expire on January 1, 2017. They write as private citizens, and not on behalf of the Board of Education.

To the Editor:

I thank mayor and Council for considering the reinstatement of the Civil Rights Commission as an independent agency. I am a former member of the Commission directed by Ms. Joan Hill. I’ve also used their services.

In 72 years I have experienced a good deal of racial discrimination and/or harassment. One incident stands out. A Sicklerville construction company was hired by the Borough to construct/reconstruct Griggs Corner. While there was a gaping hole, the company parked their trucks in the middle of Witherspoon Street from Hulfish to Paul Robeson Place. As I walked home for lunch one afternoon, the workers were sitting around in their trucks and on the steps of the adjacent buildings having lunch. As I passed, one of the truck drivers sitting high in his truck started loudly singing a song about “Jigger boos.” The other workers joined the chorus. I could not believe my ears. Since they were hired by the Borough, I called the Borough to make a report. Surely someone would assure me they would investigate. My call was transferred to many extensions. Finally, I was able to speak with someone and this is what I was told: “walk another way,” or “just ignore them.” Needless to say, following this exchange I was seething. I called Ms. Hill and told her my experience. She too felt their response was unacceptable. I also called my pastor to alert him that others in the John Witherspoon neighborhood more than likely had been or would be harassed as they passed the site. My concern was that if one of the young men from the neighborhood was approached in this way, there would be bloodshed. My Pastor also contacted Ms. Hill.

When I returned to my office I wrote a letter to the mayor of the Borough. However before I could mail my letter, Ms. Hill, whom everyone knew was a “no nonsense” director, had taken care of the matter. The next day she checked with me to see if I had problems going to or from work. I had none. She told me that the contractor was put on notice that further incidents would mean they would be off the job.

The point is, I had complete confidence in going directly to the Civil Rights Commission with my concern, not through another Borough department. While I know times have changed for the better to some degree, many people in the community would prefer going directly to an independent Civil Rights Commission that they know will address all claims in a timely manner and that has their back.

I’ve heard that “This is Princeton. We don’t need an independent Civil Rights Commission. Princeton does not have these problems.” We know this is not true. This is why I am appealing to the Mayor and Council to reinstate the independent status of the Civil Rights Commission whose sole charge would be matters of Civil Rights.

Jacqueline L. Swain

Lytle Street

To the Editor:

I have known Alex Martin and his wife Maria Sophocles since they moved to Princeton in 2007 from Italy with their four children. For nearly ten years, they have been active members of the community, supporters of the arts and a number of charities, and they have been strong advocates of educational excellence. I was delighted to learn that Alex was seeking a position on the Princeton Board of Education because I believe that he would be a real asset to our school system. From my many discussions with him, I know that he is sympathetic to the needs of a community like ours, which values public education but also understands the challenges of working within a restricted budget. Alex is a good listener and I have witnessed him being tough as well as fair. His four children will all be graduates of Princeton High School in the coming years and therefore he has a vested interest in making improvements where necessary and even changes if appropriate. He has always been approachable and would be receptive to new ideas for approaching old problems. I believe that Princeton is looking for a person who can effect positive change. Alex should be at the top of everyone’s list to help make that happen. I endorse him with enthusiasm and confidence that he will bring commitment and talent to the Princeton School Board.

Ruth Miller

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

In 2025, my son will graduate from Princeton High School, 75 years after his great-grandparents arrived in Princeton to raise a young family. They chose Princeton for the same reasons I moved back to raise mine, as did my mother before me. We cherish and have benefited from the intellectual vibrancy, excellent school system, thriving cultural life, urban proximity, progressive values, and diverse international population.

Princeton’s appeal, as evidenced by the increasing demand for real estate, has led to a critical juncture in the town’s history: how can we preserve the essential character and qualities which make it so desirable without retreating to a nostalgia that paralyzes our capacity for action? Liz Lempert has demonstrated an exceptional ability to actively engage and personally connect with a wide variety of community members. This will equip her in facilitating a coherent planning process that is ethical, equitable, economically productive, and environmentally sound.

In her time as mayor, I’ve had the chance to view Liz through the lens of three generations residing in Princeton — each with its own set of distinct needs and concerns — and to witness her competence in finding balanced, innovative solutions that strengthen the social fabric of our community. She understands that an effective leader must create the conditions for greater civic engagement and has worked with Council to make local government more open and accessible.

Liz is the ultimate antidote to forces that threaten our collective well-being: isolation, entitlement, and indifference. With her as mayor residents are heard, supported, valued, and included in bringing about the changes they envision. Please join me on November 8 in voting to re-elect Mayor Lempert, and in working with her the next four years to shape the future of Princeton.

Mia Sacks

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

Over 2,100 homeless or formerly homeless kids went back to school with new clothes, new shoes, and new back packs filled with necessary school supplies because of the wonderful caring community we live in.

I am once again deeply gratified to report that HomeFront’s Back to School campaign was met with overwhelming support from Mercer County residents. Many individuals, corporations, congregations, and organizations contributed generously so that HomeFront kids were able to start the new school year with confidence and a feeling of fitting in.

HomeFront bears witness daily to families who are unable to house, feed, or clothe their children. While the back to school donations may seem like a small step, they contribute greatly to the children’s self-esteem, which is a critical foundation for their success. The donations also fit into a much bigger picture of getting these children to school and helping them to stay there to finish their educations — and ultimately for them to become productive, self-sufficient adults.

Thank you for all you do for these children. It is a delight to see their excitement as they begin their day with a full backpack and a new outfit. With your caring support, we are fighting poverty and have hope that we can end it one day.

Connie Mercer

Executive Director, HomeFront

To the Editor:

I write to share a few observations about running for Princeton Council and to urge everyone to vote all the way down the ballot on Nov. 8. The sample ballots released last week list “No Nomination Made” in the Republican column for Princeton Council, but neither Jenny Crumiller nor I saw this as a license to take the fall off. With Mayor Liz Lempert, we’ve run an active campaign centered on Princeton and recognizing the broader implications of this election.

We’ve walked the neighborhoods listening to the concerns of citizens, sharing our knowledge of local resources, and offering our vision for an inclusive, welcoming, and well-run Princeton. Our local campaign will culminate at a Coffee With the Candidates event on Saturday, Nov. 5, 8:30-10 a.m. at the joint Princeton/New Jersey For Hillary Headquarters, 138 Nassau St., second floor. We hope you can join us.

What I’ve learned campaigning with them is that Liz and Jenny are remarkable leaders with a passion for a Princeton that works for everyone, from those born here to those who are moving in this week. We believe government can be a force for positive change in our town. As Democrats, our fundamental motivation is to do the most good for the most people.

Jenny, Liz and I were early adaptors of Hillary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan and it proved to be a fitting choice for our joint campaign. We believe the same is true for Princeton: we are stronger together.

Tim Quinn

Wilton Street

October 26, 2016

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned members of the board of Princeton’s antiracism, interfaith organization Not in Our Town (NIOT), write to comment on the proposed ordinance that would once again establish a separate Civil Rights Commission in Princeton. The proposal is good, and NIOT’s members support it. At the same time, we have one strong suggestion for a change in the current draft.

As you know, the principal reason for a Civil Rights Commission is to increase awareness about continuing discrimination, ongoing stereotyping, and subtle forms of racism. The ordinance calls for the commission, among other tasks, to “develop mutual understanding and respect among all racial, religious, cultural, and ethnic groups in Princeton and work to prevent discrimination practices against such groups.” That’s all good.

The proposed ordinance also calls for the commission to “aid in seeing that no person is deprived of equal services in this municipality,” and it gives the commission a role — in appropriate cases — in informally resolving the complaints of persons claiming to be aggrieved. This provision is also good, but it leads to our strong suggestion.

Currently, and the proposed ordinance makes no change in this practice, any complaint about discrimination is filed with the Human Services Department of the town. Certainly that route to make a complaint is fine, and we ourselves have confidence in the Human Services Department. But we cannot assume, and Council should not assume, that each and every potential complainant will have confidence in any particular office of municipal government, nor should we further burden the Human Services Department by making it the sole repository for citizens’ complaints. Moreover, it’s conceivable that a complaint may even be against the Human Services Department, or there may be a perception that the staff would be hard pressed to make a finding against the very entity responsible for its livelihood.

Because of this potential, we believe that the ordinance should include an alternative route for complaints, a second way to file, so that any person who feels aggrieved may be confident and comfortable in making their complaint. Filing the complaint directly with the new civil rights commission seems to be the obvious alternative route, and there should be a paragraph added to the ordinance that authorizes the commission to accept complaints directly.

We applaud the Council for re-establishing this commission, and we look forward to its success as Princeton continues its effort to overcome any and all instances of discrimination. Providing an alternate route for complaints is yet another way to help assure that the aims of this ordinance will be met.

Ziad A. Ahmed, Barbara F. Fox, Ted Fetter, Fern Spruill, Wilma Solomon, Joyce Turner

To the Editor:

I moved to Princeton in 2007 with my family after living abroad in Europe for six years; my wife, Maria Sophocles, wanted to open up a medical practice in a community where we could be in striking distance of our parents, and we both needed to have access to top quality public education. Princeton was the obvious choice for us since we are from the suburbs of New York and Philadelphia respectively, and upon arrival in Princeton we enrolled our four children in Johnson Park. Today we have a sophomore in college, a senior and a sophomore at Princeton High School, and an 8th grader at the Princeton Charter School. Our children have benefited from the school system, and for nearly 10 years we have been collecting facts and opinions from friends, parents, and people in the community about what they believe are the strengths and areas for improvement in the Princeton Public Schools. While there are many great ideas, one of the greatest challenges is funding. I have decided to run for the Board of Education because I believe I can help find alternative sources of funding for the district without leaning on the existing tax base. Any community with a strong school system wrestles with how to maintain the quality without taxing its residents to death. And since Princeton has a large number of residents who send their children to private schools, and still others who are here primarily for the University, the tax question is even more difficult because not everyone is benefitting directly from the public school system. And yet, even with the current 2 percent property tax cap, taxes will double for residents in the next 35 years.

My proposal is simple: let’s raise an endowment. I have served on multiple boards in my professional life, and have raised money for the last 25 years. An endowment can tap into different donors than the Princeton Education Foundation and help provide a reliable income stream to complement other fundraising initiatives. There are many examples of great public schools that have created endowments, and there is no reason we could not do the same for Princeton Public Schools. If elected to the School Board, I will make this a priority. Since three of my children will still be graduating from PHS, I have a vested interest in improving the school system; as someone who hopes to retire here someday, I also have a strong desire to make Princeton an affordable option. An endowment is not the only answer, but most certainly could be part of the solution.

I hope on November 8 you will give me the opportunity to give back to the community and elect me to Board of Education.

Alex Martin

Hun Road

To the Editor:

We strongly endorse Greg Stankiewicz’s candidacy for the Princeton Board of Education. Over the past 30 years that we have known him, Greg has impressed us as a thoughtful and analytical thinker who is also a consensus builder. From his previous experience with the New York City Board of Education where he focused on issues of equity in funding, to his more recent work with non-profit community development financial institutions that served low income communities in New Jersey, Greg formulates opinions and makes decisions that are in the best interest of the whole community. Greg believes in the right of every child to receive an equal educational opportunity, regardless of race, socio-economic background, or intellectual ability. His previous experience will be very helpful in solving the growing student population issue that the district is currently facing. If class sizes continue to grow, it will become more difficult for teachers to teach effectively and for children to learn to the best of their abilities, especially those with learning differences. Greg would be a staunch advocate for his trusted constituency, the very children who represent our future. Princeton would be lucky to have an intelligent and hardworking individual like Greg Stankiewicz making sound decisions as a member of the Princeton Board of Education.

Betsy and Darma Ie

Carriage Way

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Debbie Bronfeld for the Board of Education (BOE) elections this November. I have known Debbie for over 10 years; as a volunteer at school and as a friend. She is a true supporter of the Princeton Public Schools and a true believer in our town.

During our children’s elementary years, Debbie volunteered as room parent, library volunteer, garden club, field day, and has been an integral part of the Board on PTO. During her years as vice-president of Community Service, she worked on service learning projects for each of the six grades at Littlebrook, food drives with themes that operated all year long, clothing drives and UNICEF. The communication between her and the teachers and the parents was vital in order to be so successful. During our children’s time at John Witherspoon and PHS, she was integral to the annual Book Fair, engaged in Super Saturday, and volunteered to help with Prom and PHS Band Events. Being a part of her children’s school lives, both as a parent and volunteer, she discovered that she really wanted to make a difference in school. She attended BOE meetings during the teacher contract negotiations as she wanted to voice her support for the teachers and for the programs for our younger children and those children coming up behind ours. She attended town meetings during the AvalonBay planning as the population entering would affect the population of our schools.

Her main platform is to preserve the quality of education for our students despite the growth in enrollment and the challenges of the school budget. She wants our school system to continue its success. And most importantly, she wants to ensure that each child is valued and each child is safe in our schools.

Beverly Kuo-Hamilton

Franklin Avenue

To the Editor:

Having lived in the Princeton area for the past 12 years, I’ve always been impressed with the passion at which my fellow residents take up certain issues. I may not always agree with their opinions, but no one can deny the passion.

I’d like to highlight a safety-related issue that will be virtually impossible for anyone to take the other side.

It’s the epidemic that exists in our town with texting while driving. As an avid runner, it’s very likely you’ve seen me running through the neighborhood on a weekend morning. What I see, unfortunately, is an unbelievable amount of people who are texting while driving. This behavior needs to stop. There’s absolutely no excuse for anyone to ever text while driving. If you’re looking down at your phone, then you’re not looking at the road. I see people blatantly holding up their phones directly in front of their faces, believing they have a better chance of reading their phones in addition to seeing the road. I can assure you both cannot be seen at the same time.

My children will soon be getting old enough to ride their bikes around the neighborhood on their own. The fear I have of them being run over by a distracted driver will very likely prolong my letting them ride on their own. I see our police “hiding” out looking for speeding cars, giving out tickets. While I applaud those efforts, what steps are being taken to reduce distracted driving? Stand anywhere along a busy Princeton street and watch 100 cars go by. Tell me how many are texting. Something needs to be done. Mayor Lempert and town council, what are you doing to keep my family safe?

Bret Jacknow

Farrand Road

To the Editor:

It took a few hours to figure out why they would take our shoelaces and belts. Another day to comprehend why trash cans held paper bags, not plastic, why towel hooks behind bathroom doors swiveled to prevent their staying upright, why towel racks and shower curtain hooks were absent, why they confiscated bags with straps and disallowed hand sanitizers and Q-tips, why they observed us as we shaved, and why they inspected our rooms every 15 minutes, during the first 24 hours, sometimes longer.

Yet it took no time at all to see how a community of patients struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction or more could develop a bonding affinity and love for one another at the Princeton House In-Patient facility. Regardless of who we were, our professions, socio-economic background, gender, religious or sexual identity, or our propensity for self-harm, we were each like anyone else, and we are each like you as well. If you disagree, look into yourself deeply, we are none of us much different from one another. Two weeks ago I was terrified to walk into a ‘psychiatric hospital’ — yet it was no ‘cuckoo’s nest’ — rather a safe sharing space — and walking out with increased awareness and self-recognition is an affirmation of the importance of caring for our most crucial asset — our minds.

I lost two friends to suicide last year, both in Princeton, and last month mourned the loss of Owen Bardzilowski — one of two students lost to suicide within five years at Princeton High School. Whether or not you know someone with a mental illness, and regardless of your perception of your own mental health, I’m certain there’s a good reason why you should partake in a conversation on mental health and suicide prevention. Over 40 of your neighbors attended a community forum on suicide prevention this past Sunday in Princeton. Please get involved by sharing your own story creatively on November 12 at the IYCC Poetry Slam ( and by supporting SPEAK OUT, Princeton Teens at their first community meeting on December 3 ( There is #NOSTIGMA in walking through vulnerability — isn’t THAT how we get to the door of courage?

Adnan Shamsi

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

Peter Marks, who is running for mayor of Princeton, is a lifelong resident and a problem-solver who understands Princeton’s current challenges — challenges that will determine our town’s future for years to come. Marks believes that current local policies are incoherent. Although support of “sustainability,” “diversity,” and “affordability” are voiced, there is no concern for the unsustainable burden of population growth which will result when the many huge housing developments are completed. Marks realizes that if this continued development is permitted, the character of our cherished Princeton neighborhoods and the small town feel of the community will be forever lost. To begin to solve the threat of over development, Marks, as mayor, will ensure that differing Borough and Township zoning regulations will be combined and rationalized after over four years of delay under the current administration. (Can you imagine that consolidation is still nor complete?)
I love Princeton and for this reason I’m supporting Peter Marks for mayor and I urge you to do so as well.

John Irving

Longview Drive