May 9, 2018

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

To the Editor:

In front of the Historical Society’s Bainbridge House on Nassau Street is a small plot of dirt that is an eyesore, filled with weeds and garbage. Are there any plans to clean it up?

Steven Weiss

Madison Street

To the Editor:

With much appreciation, on behalf of Sustainable Princeton’s Trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters, we thank the Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton University’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Community and Regional Affairs, the Municipality of Princeton’s Public Works Department, and event attendees for their support of our sustainable initiatives at this year’s Communiversity ArtsFest.

We were so pleased to be able to bring Resource Recovery Tents to provide composting bins and recycling education in an effort to reduce Princeton’s carbon footprint. It was wonderful to see hundreds of visitors, who cared about the destination of their waste, visit our tents and use our water refill stations. We applaud the many people who chose to get to Communiversity in a sustainable way — we saw a lot of bikes and walkers!

At Sustainable Princeton, we are committed to the motto, Change a Habit, Change the World. This year, great strides were made to make Communiversity a more sustainable event. We look forward to building on this progress in 2019 through partnership with leadership of the Arts Council of Princeton and Communiversity ArtsFest event coordinators.

Molly Jones

Executive Director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Arts Council of Princeton’s Board of Trustees and staff, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this year’s Communiversity ArtsFest. With over 200 participants consisting of artists, merchants, food vendors, and nonprofits, plus hundreds of volunteers and the tens of thousands of visitors who came through downtown Princeton, it was an amazing day for all.

This year, we turned our focus to Princeton-based artists and businesses to give the event that special hometown feel. If you attended, you noticed art was everywhere and in every form. There were seven stages featuring musicians and dance performers of all ages.

It is always a delight to see artists set up their easels sporadically throughout the town and on campus enjoying plein air painting. The interactive children’s art activities, ceramics and painting demonstrations, and perennial favorite sidewalk chalk murals along Palmer Square were some of the highlights for art lovers.

Sustainable Princeton did an incredible job executing several new sustainable initiatives, including Resource Recovery Tents and water refill stations. We look forward to continuing our work with them. Thanks to the good work from the Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee, an impressive amount of people rode their bike to Communiversity or walked.

As a Princeton-based nonprofit with a mission of building community through the arts, we are appreciative of the collaborations with community partners that helped us to produce another hugely successful town-gown event. With much appreciation we thank: the students of Princeton University, University President Christopher Eisgruber, and the Office of Community and Regional Affairs; Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert; the Princeton Police Department; Princeton Fire Department; Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad; Princeton Regional Health Department; Princeton Public Works Department; the Princeton Clergy Association; Princeton Merchants Association; the Princeton Public Library; Sustainable Princeton, Mary Harris Events; consultants Sue Bannon and Ellen Malavsky; our major sponsors AT&T, Baker Auto Group, Palmer Square Management, Princeton Garden Theatre; and the local media. You can find a complete list of all of the generous Communiversity ArtsFest sponsors and in-kind sponsors at artscouncilofprinceton.org.

Thank you all for making the 48th annual Communiversity ArtsFest a wonderful homegrown event!

Taneshia Nash Laird

Executive Director, Arts Council of Princeton

To the Editor:

Juniors and seniors at Princeton High School recently witnessed a very realistic and graphic simulation of a drunk-driving car crash. The event, which is presented every other year, sent a powerful message — drinking and driving can be lethal, and lives can change in a matter of seconds.

Many organizations and people are to be thanked for their support and cooperation. The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, under the direction of Frank Setnicky; squad member Greg Paulson, who narrated; the Princeton Police Department and Chief Nick Sutter; the Princeton Fire Department; Mather Hodge Funeral Home; and Stewart Towing were all instrumental in coordinating this major undertaking. Kurt Zimmerman of the Princeton High School Media Department; Shannon Koch, who prepared the student actors for their roles, complete with frighteningly real-looking “injuries”; Tony Diaforli and the district grounds crew; the PHS Guidance Department; Gwen Kimsal, Student Assistance Coordinator; Assistant Principal, Angela Siso Stentz; and Principal Gary Snyder were invaluable.

The actors, who were all members of Princeton High School’s SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter, are to be commended for doing a remarkable job. They, and their peers, are the reason why so many people came together to work on this project. It is hoped that every student who saw the horrifying simulation will remember to always stay safe and sober, particularly during the prom and graduation seasons ahead. May we in Princeton never experience this tragedy in real life.

Wendy Jolley

2018 Crash Simulation Committee

To the Editor,

Last month Princeton Day School hosted its first annual Empty Bowls evening. Students, faculty, and parents came together to play a role in addressing hunger. With over 120 people attending, the event on every level was a wonderful success and $4,000 was raised. The proceeds were split between Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and Feeding America. With these donations, 22,000 meals will be provided.

Started in 1990, Empty Bowls is an international initiative to fight hunger that is personalized by organizations on a community level. The evening, which included a dinner of soup, bread, and water, was designed simply to remind guests of hunger in the world. Guests chose a handcrafted bowl to keep among over 300 that were designed by PDS ceramics students from grades 4 and 8, and the Upper School. We would like to thank Brick Farm Market, D’Angelo’s, Flik, Olives, and the Rocky Hill Inn for donating the delicious soups.

One student commented, “I thought that Empty Bowls was a great idea and wanted to support it. I got a sense of accomplishment out of this. I was happy that I got to help the community and happy that so many people participated.” We look forward to Empty Bowls becoming a PDS tradition as our school community strives to help in the fight against hunger.

Eric Rempe

Ceramics Teacher, Princeton Day School

Margie Gibson

Director of Service Learning, Princeton Day School

To the Editor:

Rider University, having decided to sell Westminster Choir College, is in negotiations with a Chinese company which, until very recently, was called the Jiangsu Zhongtai Bridge Steel Structure Co. These negotiations have not been concluded after many months; meanwhile, Rider is facing two separate lawsuits alleging that it cannot sell the College — and many friends of the College, including townspeople in Princeton, have become increasingly worried that the transaction, if concluded, will fundamentally change the nature of the school.

Perhaps there is a better way to resolve this matter: considering the excellent education that the Choir College has given its students for so many decades, and the prestigious, nationally acclaimed school that it has always been, suppose the town of Princeton were to float a bond issue and buy the Choir College from Rider University, thereby keeping the college alive and functioning.

Obviously the college would have to repay the town for its generosity, perhaps by allowing a portion of its land to be made into housing for the community, but since Rider is only interested in getting its money wherever it comes from, Princeton’s contribution would maintain the College in the form that it is in, while investing in an institution that perfectly fits the residential area it has so long graced.

Westminster is too valuable an asset to the town of Princeton to simply let it disappear or change in deeply fundamental ways. I urge the government and the people of Princeton to appreciate the wonderful school that they have in their midst and raise the money to restore to Westminster the independence that it once enjoyed. That would surely be the greatest gift that Princeton could give to the amazing students and teachers of Westminster Choir College.

Marvin Harold Cheiten

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

We are delighted to endorse Eve Niedergang’s candidacy for Princeton Council.

We have both known Eve for many years as a friend and volunteer colleague. Through our commitment to the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, we have witnessed Eve’s repeated and successful management of the Friends Book Sale. During her eight years working on and organizing the sale, the income consistently and impressively increased. An important part of the event’s success can be attributed to Eve’s real knack for working with people. She did a fabulous job with the 70-plus book sale volunteers, who were loyal, inspired, and hard-working under her leadership. Thousands of people attend the book sale, and Eve’s feeling for our community and her welcoming nature contributed to the wonderful esprit de corps of the event.

If you don’t already know Eve, we can tell you that she is as bright as can be, thoughtful, caring, and organized. Plus, she understands and cares deeply about this town. She is the best kind of team player — we have seen her as an able leader as well as a cooperative and willing “player.”

Eve is a wonderful listener and, when coupled with her extraordinary ability to analyze problems and outline a plan of action, she will quickly become a valued and very productive member of the Council.

We recommend her to you with enthusiasm and without reservation. Please join us in voting for Eve in the June 5th Democratic primary.

Sherri Garber

Bouvant Drive

Pam Wakefield

Prospect Avenue

April 25, 2018

To the Editor:

When John Borden passed away on April 11, Princeton lost a most sincere and effective advocate for the housing needs of our community. On behalf of Princeton Community Housing (PCH), I am writing to express our condolences to John’s family and friends and to let others how much John meant to our organization and to Princeton.

John was indeed a wonderful man — the kindest man I have ever met, without exaggeration. I will miss his smile, his easygoing delivery, his wisdom, and friendship. John was a gentleman in every respect and a man I hoped I could be. His sense of duty to the community and the manner in which he approached this duty are the reasons why he leaves an incredible legacy in his service to PCH and the Princeton community.

This legacy includes his role as one of the pioneering and founding members of PCH in 1967 and his service on the Board of Trustees as a representative for Princeton Monthly Meeting. John was a significant contributor to the work and accomplishments of our organization, particularly over the past year, helping us to promote our mission to provide, manage, and advocate for affordable housing opportunities in town. During his tenure on the PCH Board, John often led our fundraising and development efforts, by word and by deed, and also chaired the Development Committee.

John worked quietly, but tirelessly, diligently, and effectively, to ensure that the community understood the necessity of ensuring that Princeton was a town in which everyone — seniors, families, people at every income level — could have a home.

Our fond memories of his one-of-a-kind personality, effective leadership, and steadfast advocacy help ease the sadness of our loss and inspire us to continue our mission and help the community to offer the variety of housing opportunities that are essential to maintaining the vibrancy and socioeconomic diversity that defines our town.

Edward Truscelli

Executive Director, Princeton Community Housing,

On behalf of the trustees and staff of the PCH entities

To the Editor,

We write in strong support of Dwaine Williamson for Princeton Council. Dwaine brings experience and commitment to this role, and to his vision of an affordable, sustainable, and inclusive town. As a member of the Princeton Planning Board and chair of its Zoning Amendment Review Committee, Dwaine participated in the difficult work of harmonizing former borough and township ordinances into a single code that made sense for a consolidated community. This experience has uniquely prepared Dwaine to hit the ground running in addressing the immense challenges involving land use issues that now confront the town. Dwaine has demonstrated the ability to work collegially with Council as well as the town’s administration and staff — essential as Lance Liverman and Heather Howard step down.

Dwaine’s personal story is a compelling one: an immigrant born in Jamaica, raised in Trenton, and the first member of his family to attend college. Dwaine is a graduate of Trenton High, and went on to receive a BS in international politics from Georgetown and a law degree from Rutgers University. He moved to Princeton in 1998 and, with his wife Trina, raised their family and spent the last two decades contributing to civic life in our community. After graduating from Princeton High School, and then with honors from Rutgers, Dwaine’s son went on to serve as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His daughters are currently students at Princeton High School.

For the last 20 years, Dwaine has demonstrated an indefatigable, unwavering commitment to our community — as a volunteer for Committed and Faithful Princetonians, as vice chair of the PCDO, as a municipal Democratic committeeman for District 22, and as a member of the Planning Board. He is also an active member of the African American community in town, and currently serves on the advisory board of the Witherspoon-Jackson Development Corporation.

Dwaine is known for his diligent preparation, attention to detail, and as a keen problem solver committed to prudent stewardship of our public funds. His dual background in finance and law has given him the ability to come to grips with complex issues in a short span of time and would serve him well on Council.

Please join us on June 5 in voting for Dwaine Williamson for Princeton Council.

Julie Capozzoli

Evergreen Circle

Molly Chrein

Ridgeview Road

Veronica Olivares-Weber

Edwards Place

Felicia Spitz

Haslet Avenue

Ross Wishnick

Edgerstoune Road

To the Editor:

Princeton suffered a dramatic loss of trees due to the recent winter storms, but we are fortunate that we live in a town that is dedicated to preserving its tree canopy. As a contribution to the effort to restore our community’s trees, the Princeton Shade Tree Commission (STC) is delighted to announce that, at Communiversity this coming weekend, it will be giving out, free of charge, 750 seedlings provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Forest Service.

At its booth (#99B), the STC will have three species of evergreens and five species of deciduous trees, including oaks, maples, and dogwoods. And this year, each person is permitted to take home four trees!

The STC will also be offering visitors something just as important: an illustrated handout showing the proper and improper way to mulch their new seedlings, as well as their established trees. Now that tree planting and landscaping are beginning again in earnest, people who care about tree survival are becoming concerned about the proliferation of “mulch volcanoes” in yards all over the community.

The STC reminds residents and landscapers that piling mulch up around a tree trunk and enveloping the root flare traps moisture and prevents water from reaching the roots, causing decay and damage. Fine rootlets issue from the trunk in response to being smothered by mulch and can dry out and die or girdle the trunk, further stressing the tree. Volcanoes can also attract destructive insects, rodents, and fungus, thereby ensuring that young (and even older) trees will not thrive. And yet this practice is ubiquitous. When questioned about this habitual way of mulching trees, many landscapers reply that they are only doing what the homeowner wants.

Residents who are informed about proper and improper mulching are better able to persuade their landscapers not to engage in this harmful practice and to resist doing it themselves.

More information about mulch volcanoes, including the proper way to mulch your trees, can be found at the STC website, www.princetonshadetree.org. And for guidance in planting your new Communiversity seedlings, visit the NJ Forest Service’s website, www.forestnursery.org.

Janet Stern

Monroe Lane, Member,

Princeton Shade Tree Commission

To the Editor:

As a Princeton resident and local businessman, the upcoming Council race really matters to me. I have known Eve Niedergang for more than a decade and she is someone whom I deeply admire. I consider her a champion of progressive causes and a person who is guided by a strong moral compass. By now, you may know of her tireless work at the Princeton Public Library and various other community organizations and at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Her commitment to volunteerism seems limitless, an important characteristic in a municipal representative. When she announced her candidacy, we met to discuss her mission as councilwoman and the thing that impressed me most is her willingness to lead. Eve will be thoughtful and thorough in her decision making and will firmly lead our community in the right direction.

The businesses that I own with my brother, Tay River Builders and Willard Brothers Woodcutters, do much of their work in Princeton. We focus on reducing our town’s carbon footprint by building or renovating homes to make them energy efficient. We are interested in innovative types of housing, like micro and accessory dwelling units, that will encourage economic diversity and can allow people from a range of incomes to live side by side in the same walkable neighborhood with a lowered energy impact. We also remove trees, dry the wood, and turn it into furniture. Environmental initiatives that can be enacted locally to reduce Princeton’s carbon footprint and general environmental impact are important to me and mesh with my businesses. Princeton can and should lead in these arenas: we should change the way we think about home energy consumption, disposable waste, and the utilization of the natural resources that our town provides. Eve is ready to tackle these difficult issues through her guidance at the various municipal offices and by encouraging grass roots movements.

I interact regularly with the Construction and Zoning Boards and other local government agencies which do everything from granting zoning approval to inspecting construction. Princeton also cares deeply and is protective of its tree canopy under the Shade Tree Committee within the Department of Infrastructure, which businesses like mine deal with during tree removal. The Princeton Council helps shape the business climate for us and other business owners and it is important to have council members who are committed to minimizing bureaucracy while also ensuring that we protect our town, its architectural character, and our tree canopy. Eve understands that change must be shaped to support the goals of social and economic diversity as well as to protect our environment and natural settings, goals I support both personally and professionally.

For all of these reasons, I’m voting for Eve in the Democratic primary on June 5 and urge you to do so. Eve will be good for the environment, good for business and great for our community.

Abel Smith

Leigh Avenue

To the Editor:

We are so fortunate in Princeton to have many well-qualified candidates willing to give their time to serve our community. It is sometimes difficult to decide which candidate to vote for. For me, this year is different. I intend to vote for Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Council, and I’d like to tell you why.

There are many reasons to vote for Michelle, but there is one in particular that resonates with me. Both Michelle’s family and mine — as well as many others — came to this community as immigrant workers, stone masons, gardeners, builders, and small business owners a century or more ago. Yet, sadly, many of us have seen friends and family members, who have helped to make Princeton what it is, leave their homes because they could no longer afford to live here. When we lose these people, many of them in their senior years, we lose our history: we lose an important thread in the fabric of our community.

Michelle is committed to finding creative ways to hold on to what she refers to as, “the diverse flavor of our community.” She has the education, business background, determination, and willingness to do the hard work it will take to mitigate this tragic loss. Moreover, without the burden of other commitments, Michelle has the time it will take to do the job.

Already, as a candidate, Michelle has uncovered a state program that can help some of our seniors remain in their homes. The Senior Tax Freeze provides a rebate for seniors on their property taxes each year and freezes in place their base payment depending on when they become eligible for the program.

You can visit www.pironeforcouncil.com to learn more about this program and Michelle’s platform of “Preserving Our Past, Shaping Our Future.” I hope you will join me in voting for Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Town Council on June 5.

Rose (Dede) NinI

Littlebrook Road

To the Editor:

After celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 15-21), VolunteerConnect would like to reflect on our 20 years of connecting the amazing people in central New Jersey to opportunities that are so desperately needed by nonprofit organizations in the region. Originally named Hands On Helpers, our organization was founded with the goal of connecting volunteers to nonprofits. Today, our name and scope of volunteerism have evolved to focus on the skilled needs of organizations, but our commitment to ensure the growth and capacity of area nonprofits has remained steadfast and can’t be done without the support of volunteers.

The one constant over the years has been the wonderful ability of people to step up and help — not just in times of crisis, like Hurricane Sandy with many thousands of people providing relief with personal effort and financial support, but day-to-day heroes who help in our soup kitchens or provide after-school arts education, counseling services, animal rescue, environmental awareness, and so much more. In addition, there are volunteers who are working with us to support nonprofits with their business needs in short-term projects and many who are particularly committed to long-term engagement by joining a nonprofit board of trustees.

What we’ve seen during our 20 years of service is that regardless of the time, financial, or skill level available, New Jersey volunteers have a strong desire to help others and a passion for social change. VolunteerConnect would like to thank the more than 1.6 million volunteers in our state for their much-needed service and greatly applaud all of you for thinking outward and moving forward.

Amy Klein

Executive Director, VolunteerConnect

April 18, 2018

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time for collective visioning.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todd Tieger

Dorann Avenue

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Shenwei Zhao

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

TAMMY L SANDS

Winant Road

April 11, 2018

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patricia A. Taylor

Richard Court

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

Jane Jemas

Riverside Drive