June 25, 2014

To the Editor:

On a recent morning jog through Community Park, I saw five large trucks belonging to our Public Works Department parked smack in the middle of the path through the park, unoccupied. What was particularly irksome, however, is that every single one of them had the engine running, belching exhaust and burning tax dollars, as the crews idled nearby chatting before starting their workday.

In this age of acute sensitivity to climate change, shouldn’t we make it mandatory to turn off fossil-fuel-emitting machines owned by the town when they are not in use? And that goes for the government carts, cars, and trucks that idle endlessly in the center of town as well. In a community that regulates shrubs and jogging, we should also make it a priority to minimize government exhaust.

Scott Sipprelle

Hodge Road

 

June 18, 2014

To the Editor:

The Institute for Advanced Study is now into the third year of its formal efforts to obtain final approval of plans for faculty housing on its lands east of the Princeton Battlefield Park, with no end in sight of the litigation and regulatory appeals by the Princeton Battlefield Society, which opposes the Institute’s plans.

After extensive hearings, which involved detailed testimony by experts from both sides and a great deal of public comment, the Regional Planning Board of Princeton unanimously approved the Institute’s plan in 2012. The Society then sued to overthrow this decision, on the ground it was an “arbitrary and capricious” one.

For anyone who has observed the work of this Planning Board, whether one agrees with its decisions in a particular instance, it is anything but “arbitrary and capricious.” Indeed, as one who has appeared before perhaps 30 planning boards in four states over a 40-plus year period, including the Princeton Board, I can say this is about as intelligent, deliberate, and thoughtful a planning board as one could assemble, one of which the citizens and taxpayers of Princeton can be proud.

Judge Jean Jacobson of the New Jersey Superior Court, in a scholarly 77-page decision rendered in 2013, held that all the findings and conclusions of the Planning Board were valid, none were reached arbitrarily or capriciously, and threw out the Society’s case. The Society is appealing, which will of course extend the time considerably during which the Institute’s plans are suspended.

The Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission (DRCC) has jurisdiction of the Institute’s original plan because 1/3 of one acre of the project occurs within the 100-foot buffer administered by the DRCC. At the behest of counsel for the Society, the DRCC ruled in January of this year that such encroachment was not approved, by vote of 4 to 3.

The Institute is appealing that decision, but meanwhile it has adjusted its approved plan to remove any encroachment on the DRCC buffer. It has submitted its plan, with this slight revision, to the Planning Board. In response, the Society has asked the Planning Board to consider this an entirely new application, subject to complete review of all the many issues resolved previously by the Board and, in turn, upheld by the Court. If the Society is successful, one tiny adjustment of the Institute plan will force months of repetition of all the arguments raised by objectors, which go well beyond the “hallowed ground” arguments to various technical issues of zoning and regulation.

Not surprisingly, the Planning Board’s Coordinator has advised the Board that the application should be considered an amendment rather than a new application, since “… the relief sought from the original approval is minor ….” No one will be surprised, of course, if the Planning Board follows its Coordinator’s sound advice, reaffirms its prior decision, and the Society then appeals, yet again, to the courts, to force further delay.

Our legal system permits the Society to behave in this way. But for those of us observing this spectacle, the time has come to ask the Society to accept the verdict of the Planning Board, upheld so eloquently by Judge Jacobson, and put an end to what appears to be endless regulatory and litigious harassment of a superb institution which provides world-class scholarship and brings great honor on Princeton.

PETER A. BIENSTOCK

Stockton Street

 

To the Editor:

Every time Memorial Day comes around (or July 4th or Veterans’ Day, for that matter) it feels more disconnected from reality. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge those who died for our country. The parade is a spirited celebration of community. But are we fighting to protect the legacy of that past sacrifice? What I see is people going about business as usual, while the warnings grow that we are headed in a very dangerous direction.

This year, I went searching for meaning in the weekend’s speeches and sermons. A common theme was that soldiers face a difficult and sometimes perilous transition back to civilian life. Whether it was Iraq War veteran Elana Duffy, speaking at the ceremony in front of Monument Hall, or the Reverend Bill Neely eloquently recounting the ancient tragedy of Ajax the next day, the stories were of soldiers unable to adjust to a civilian world lacking in shared purpose or any outlet for a soldier’s engrained readiness to do battle.

Sergeant First Class Duffy spoke of a persistent desire to be part of something larger than herself, and finally found an outlet in Team Rubicon, a group that joins veterans and first responders in helping victims of tornadoes, floods, and storms like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan. For others, with an average of 20 veterans committing suicide each day and thousands being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, civilian life still brings a sense of isolation and alienation.

Meanwhile, there are those of us who have never worn a uniform, yet were deeply influenced by the afterglow of World War II — a time when civilians sacrificed for the war effort, when everyone found a way to contribute to a unified and ultimately successful struggle against a global threat. Many of us also find the dissipated energy of civilian life — the apathy, denial, pessimism, and reflexive political polarization — to be alienating and incongruous in a time when humanity again faces a global threat, this time of its own making.

Though veterans like Sergeant Duffy are finding meaning in helping repair the damage made worse by a destabilized climate, we will not truly be on the offensive again until we go beyond fighting symptoms and take on the causes of radical climate change. Only then can the giant and perilous chasm between uniformed and civilian outlooks be bridged, and a deeper healing of spirit, nation, and planet begin.

Maybe, if we as civilians show a willingness to engage in something larger, dedicating ourselves to a shared struggle for the future, changing our lives so that those who follow need change theirs less, returning soldiers will find it easier to be civilians once again.

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

 

To the Editor:

I agree with Anthony Lunn’s wish that there be a real effort to include differing views rather than to continue efforts to pack the Princeton Council with a coalition of like-minded candidates. His letter, however, perpetuates the idea of two Princetons, whether the labels are borough, center, township, or suburb. The word suburb is not going to win any friends among many of us in the former Township who value the “center,” walk rather than drive there, and consider ourselves Princetonians. I would love to see this community, and especially the Princeton Council, move on from the idea of a town/borough mentality.

The voting numbers show something that was not mentioned in Mr. Lunn’s letter: almost 70 percent of the registered Democrats did not vote. Moreover, it appears that about half the voters in this election only used one of their votes. It is hard to draw conclusions about how people feel in any part of the community based on those numbers. Paraphrasing Gail Collins: anything can happen when you have an election and no one comes. In my small world, most of the people I know in the former Town supported Jo Butler, and the only people I know of who supported the other slate were in the former Borough.

One lesson that I hope is learned from this election is that many Princetonians do not like to be told for whom to vote. The more important lessons are ones we teach our children: (a) You cannot change the people you work with so learn to cooperate with them, and (b) stop blaming the other side for disagreements because it takes two sides to feud and two sides to cooperate.

Ann Summer

Cedar Lane

 

To the Editor:

For many years the Institute for Advanced Study has been a responsible and public-spirited steward of its lands. Indeed, the preservation of the site of the Princeton Battlefield itself for public benefit results from the Institute’s generosity. We have every reason to have full confidence in the Institute’s continued sensitivity to this historic site and to the environmentally sensitive lands around it. Its amended plan for faculty housing is in full compliance and deserves the support of the Princeton community and the Planning Board.

Landon Y. Jones

Hibben Road

 

June 11, 2014

To the Editor:

I want to congratulate my colleagues, Bernie Miller and Jo Butler, for their victories last Tuesday. And I want to thank Bernie, Jo, and Sue Nemeth for stepping forward to run. Primary elections are often the most difficult, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid them. I think we can all agree that we are lucky to live in a community where we have people who feel passionately about local government and are willing to put themselves forward to serve.

This election has been hard fought and at times contentious. But now that the votes are in, it is time for us to come together. The fact is, this town belongs to all of us, and we all benefit when we can work together in making it a better place.

I’ve always felt government works best with mutual respect and collaboration. I now urge my colleagues to put aside the acrimony, backroom personal attacks, and grandstanding that have hindered this Council’s effectiveness. Robust debate in open meetings and committees need not be uncivil. Elected officials should strive to treat each other and our professional staff with respect. Disagreement need not preclude ultimate compromise.

It is important for Council to move on to focus on the challenges and opportunities facing us. We have an administrator position to fill, concerns to address over the demolition of the old hospital site, and significant work to do in combining the former Borough and Township ordinances. In addition, we need to continue our work on the long-term goals of making this a more affordable community, a more bikable and walkable community, and a place of innovation.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council, my fellow residents, and our municipal staff on the important work ahead.

Liz Lempert

Meadowbrook Drive

 

To the Editor:

To my fellow Democrats, words cannot begin to express my gratitude for your spirit and support throughout the primary season in Princeton. Though we may not always agree on which candidate to support, we all hold the values of our party dear. I applaud each of you for engaging in the political process and giving so much of your time and treasure to the campaigns of your choice.

Please join me in congratulating Bernie Miller and Jo Butler, our nominees for Princeton Council.

I’d also like to congratulate Bonnie Watson Coleman for her outstanding performance in the primary and encourage all of you to support her campaign and our entire Democratic slate through the November election.

Have a wonderful summer!

Sue Nemeth

Bayard Lane

 

To the Editor,

The most divisive event in Princeton since the Consolidation vote — is now over — thank goodness. The introduction of a “slate” of two candidates against one in the recent primary election for Princeton Council succeeded in reopening old wounds.

District-by-district voting data starkly reveals the unspoken reality of this little campaign. Every single voting district in the center of town voted Jo Butler number one, top of the three candidates. All but two voting districts in the outlying suburban regions voted Jo Butler dead last of the three. That this slate has reignited what is now a town/suburb (former Boro/former Township) divide could not be more clear.

It was never denied by the “slate” members that their objective was to oust a Council member who was said to cause “delays” in the Council. But the unspoken reality was different: the town/suburb division. A two-to-one ratio is the recurring theme. Two to one is the ratio of voters in the former Township to the former Borough; it is also the ratio of former Township members in the “slate” to the former Borough member.

The slate wished to move toward a Council that moves swiftly and with little debate. This is — surprise — reminiscent of the former Township Committee, famous for a strong mayor and not-always-transparent decisions. The voters in the center of town have indicated that they prefer a more democratic and deliberative body, albeit with strong debate on some critical issues, reminiscent of the former Borough Council.

The idea of Consolidation was to improve our town by combining the Borough with a Township twice its population. Will this mean a continuing effort to squelch the center of town by a 2 to 1 majority? Or will it mean a real effort to include the differing views of all? I hope it is the latter. Will there be “slates” to attack town candidates in future elections? I hope not.

Anthony Lunn

Hawthorne Avenue

 

To the Editor:

More than three years ago Special Olympics New Jersey was very proud to write, submit, and win the bid to host the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and sincerely appreciates everyone from throughout the state who supported and assisted in our selection.

Special Olympics New Jersey has served hundreds of thousands of athletes and family members in the last 45 years, with just as many volunteers and contributors supporting the growth and delivery of year-round sports training and competition in 24 Olympic-type sports. It is all of you, the athletes, families, coaches, volunteers, and contributors who have won this bid to host the USA Games. It is not one single person, but rather a Movement made up of individuals who champion social change through the successes and achievements of our athletes on the playing field, defining their purpose for inclusive sports play in schools and communities throughout the state.

While the USA Games are a national-level event, they truly are New Jersey’s Games, and will showcase the very best the Garden State has to offer: the passion and commitment of its volunteers, the generous support of the State of New Jersey and its corporations, and the true athletic talent of those who represent Special Olympics New Jersey. With the USA Games, we have an opportunity to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals and change the attitudes of millions more.

On behalf of all of us at Special Olympics New Jersey, I challenge the citizens of New Jersey to be champions for change. Let’s use the USA Games to show our Genuine Jersey Pride and to dedicate ourselves to building a bigger, better community that includes our athletes as teammates in play, as neighbors and as friends.

Thank you, New Jersey, for embracing our Special Olympics athletes and our 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

Marc S. Edenzon

President and CEO, Special Olympics New Jersey

Editor’s Note: For more information on the Special Olympics, see this week’s In Brief.

 

To the Editor:

I am delighted to be a Democratic nominee for Council in November 2014, and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to those who supported my candidacy. I did not win this primary on my own. My supporters won it for me, and I will not forget their hard work and vote of confidence in my service on Council. I also want to thank everyone who participated in the process and demonstrated for the larger community that Princeton Democrats value competition and a diversity of viewpoints and can shake hands and turn to the people’s business when the results are in.

I offer my sincere congratulations to Council President Bernie Miller on his primary victory, and I thank Sue Nemeth for her gracious words when the election results were final. Sue has given generously of her time and her talents to our community and has a record of dedication to public service that is commendable.

This campaign and election have been a lesson in democracy. Every vote counts! Now that the primary is over, it is time to move forward and focus on the work that Council has before it. It goes without saying, but I want to stress, that as a Council member my responsibility is to represent all Princeton residents to the best of my ability and to work with the mayor and my colleagues to serve the public and meet the goals we have set ourselves in order to fulfill the promises of consolidation.

Jo Butler

Princeton Council, Hibben Road

 

June 4, 2014

To the Editor:

McCarter Theatre Center would like to thank the many individuals and local corporations who helped to make our Annual Gala Benefit on May 17 such a great success! Our guests were entertained by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser the perfect centerpiece for an evening which began with an elegant dinner and ended with a happily packed dance floor.

Special thanks to our Gala Committee and to Committee Co-Chairs Judith Scheide, Timothy Andrews, and Tamera Matteo, who collectively put together a stunning Kentucky Derby-themed event with Joss and Jules Caterers and floral designs by Viburnum.

Seven outstanding local corporations supported this year’s gala at the Gold Level, including Wells Fargo Bank, Bloomberg, CURE/ NJ PURE, Fox Rothschild LLP, The Gould Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, Maiden Re, Mathematica Policy Research, and Saul Ewing LLP, who generously underwrote the post-performance party.

We also wish to thank our friends at Princeton University for their steadfast support of this event. From the logistics of raising a tent in an active construction zone to toasting our success inside the tent at the Gala dinner, they were amazing partners at every stage.

We could never contemplate an event of this magnitude and complexity without our superb team at McCarter. The entire staff had a role in creating this spectacular event and did so with great professionalism and grace. Thank you!

Finally, we are honored by this magnificent show of community support for McCarter. In addition to offering inspiring, world-class entertainment, McCarter offers educational opportunities to people of all ages in our region. Our annual Gala helps to support this work, and we’re profoundly grateful to all who participated.

Timothy J. Shields

Managing Director

Emily Mann

Artistic Director

 

To the Editor:

“Support your local merchants.” It’s kind of an old cliché. In a world of mega stores and the internet some of the old adages seem to ring hollow. Well, not this one. This morning my key broke in my office door rendering the lock inoperable. I was locked out of my own workplace with clients scheduled to start arriving within an hour. Now, you see, I had bought my aluminum office door from local merchants, Nelson Glass, years ago. And they have serviced the door for me a couple of times over the intervening period. When I walked into Nelson Glass’s Spring Street facility and explained my crisis, two craftsmen were immediately dispatched to extract my damaged lock and install a new one, all done within minutes. What could have been a major inconvenience ended up being nothing more than a lesson in the virtue of patronizing our neighbors. By the way I have always found Nelson Glass prices to be very reasonable validating another cliché that you always get the best for less in Princeton.

John Kuhn Bleimaier

Attorney and Counsellor at Law

 

To the Editor:

We would like to call attention to one of Princeton’s unique community assets: thriving school garden programs at all four public elementary schools. Through garden-based learning in many subjects, these programs give our children essential life skills in healthy eating, teamwork, sustainability, and environmental stewardship.

As parents and garden volunteers at Riverside Elementary, we are thankful that our community supports these school garden programs. In particular, we are grateful to all those who made our fourth annual “Healthy Children, Healthy Planet” school garden celebrationon May 17 a resounding success! Riverside’s garden residency, funded by this event, brings all of our children, Pre-K through grade 5, into the school gardens on a regular basis to cultivate, taste, and learn with garden educator Dorothy Mullen. Over 1200 children have experienced garden-based learning at Riverside since 2001!

Our major sponsors, including Church & Dwight, Princeton Lawn & Landscape, Pinneo Construction, Rhone Bryant, BlackRock and the Princeton School Garden Cooperative, make this program possible. Mason Griffin & Pierson, Agricola, The Dogwood Garden Club, McCaffrey’s, Michael Graves Design, and Rambling Pines Day Camp, also provide key support. And what would we do without our most loyal supporter, the Whole Earth Center, which sustains us with food for classroom tastings year after year! Local businesses, such as The Terra Momo Group, The Bent Spoon, Halo Farms, Bagel Barn, Cherry Grove Farm, Kopp’s Cycle, and Ace Hardware, all contributed goods to make our event special. The Supper’s Program, Dr. Holstein, and Drs. Tyl and Fogerty also helped our event. Finally, our school garden would not exist without the vision of Riverside’s principal, Bill Cirullo, and the hard work and wisdom of our garden leader, Dorothy Mullen.

Together we have created beautiful garden classrooms that give our children tools to lead healthier lives. Our challenge going forward is to sustain them and leverage their benefits more fully. Thank you, Princeton, for your support, and let’s keep these important programs growing!

Beth Behrend, Julie Capozzoli

Co-chairs, Healthy Children Healthy Planet 2014

 

To the Editor:

April was Parkinson’s Awareness Month and the Parkinson Alliance is grateful to area merchants and the Princeton community for two events that raised awareness of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and provided funds for much needed research.

For the fifth 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 $4700 was raised for research.

The following restaurants participated in the 5th Annual Princeton Dines Out for Parkinson’s Disease Research: Blue Point Grill, elements, Eno Terra, Gennaro’s, Mediterra, Mistral, North End Bistro, PJ’s Pancake House, Teresa Caffe, The Peacock Inn, and Witherspoon Grill. When diners enjoyed a meal at any of these restaurants during the last week in April, 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, The Parkinson Alliance

 

To the Editor:

Since the very beginning of HomeFront over 20 years ago, we have fought against homelessness and hunger. We saw hunger in the dingy motel rooms which used to house homeless families. We see hunger now as families line up at our front office to collect a single bag of groceries. We have worried that as our pantry shelves would empty, how could we ever turn families away?

Now as we are finishing our two-month Stop Hunger Now campaign, we see our pantry fully stocked and our food account with money to help us through the tough summer months ahead. I breathe a sigh of relief. And I am so grateful for the overwhelming response from our community to our plea for help.

Schools, businesses, and organizations held food drives. Individuals gave food or money. Children with their parents shopped at Sam’s Club. Families collected canned goods. Others shopped at our virtual grocery store.

My heart fills with pride, as it is apparent to me that we will not tolerate hunger in our community. Thanks to you, HomeFront will continue to distribute over 2,000 meals a week to families who cannot afford to buy food. And thanks to you, I realize how truly blessed I am to live in such a caring and responsive community.

Thank you for the difference you are making in the lives of families in need.

Connie Mercer

Executive Director, HomeFront

 

To the Editor:

On behalf of Mercer Street Friends, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the caring people who placed food donations by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 10, for pick up by their letter carrier as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Once again, our letter carriers, members of Branch 268 and Branch 380 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, did a yeoman’s job in collecting the food donations as they went along their routes. All the food has been brought to the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank and volunteers are busy sorting and boxing up the donations for distribution to our community for hunger relief.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive takes place at a time when we are traditionally low on food. When school meal programs that are vital to low-income families shut down during summer months, hundreds of children in our community must find alternate sources of nutrition. Stamp Out Hunger donations helps ensure that we have the food staples to meet this increased need and close meal gaps for children and families facing food hardships.

We thank everyone who participated in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive for supporting this effort to address hunger and food insecurity in our community.

Phyllis C. Stoolmacher

Director of Advancement, Mercer Street Friends

 

May 28, 2014

To the Editor:

Why do those who oppose Jo Butler’s re-election to the Princeton Council feel it necessary to distort the facts? If you look at the true, undistorted facts you will be compelled to vote for Jo.

A recent letter to the editor from two long time Princeton residents and political insiders [“Registered Princeton Democrats Should Endorse PCDO Line of Miller and Nemeth.” May 7 Mailbox], concluding that there is “overwhelming” support for Jo’s opponents, contains several inaccuracies that need to be corrected. All three candidates for Council have the exact same status as a result of the endorsement meeting of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. All received the 40 percent of the votes necessary to be “Recommended.” Not one received the 60 percent necessary to be “Endorsed.” Plain and simple there is no “overwhelming” result that can be ascribed to either the vote of the Municipal Committee (where the margin of victory was three votes) or the PCDO.

Furthermore, the PCDO is a political club whose members must pay dues to vote. While its goals may be lofty, one should not place undue stock in an organization that represents fewer than 5 percent of the registered Democratic voters and an even smaller percentage of all eligible voters in the Democratic primary. (Unaffiliated voters can declare party affiliation at the polls on June 3 and vote for Jo in the Democratic primary)

Other letters to the editor from Princeton’s old time establishment contain factually misleading endorsements and meaningless bromides. For example they repeat hearsay from one of Jo’s rivals that meetings are interminable because of her. Meetings may take a little longer than her opponents might like because she resists their attempts to push through items without debate on a consent agenda, because she argued long and hard for a conflict of interest policy, because she wouldn’t vote to overpay the town attorney. She had the audacity to ask to see the attorney’s contract before voting on it.

Apparently some supporters of Jo’s rivals would prefer that in the interests of collegiality she give her unthinking proxy to her colleagues. We pay the salaries of six council members; we are entitled to six independent votes. Each council member should have the strength and courage to run, be elected, and vote independently. Each voter should cast an independent thinking vote.

Those who know the facts and are capable of analyzing those facts for themselves are voting to re-elect the one truly independent Democratic candidate for Princeton Council, Jo Butler. Why do those who oppose Jo Butler’s incisive questioning of often hurried undeveloped proposals want to silence her? Vote like the independent thinking voter that you know you are. Read and heed the letters of Peter Marks and Alain Kornhauser [May 14 Mailbox], independents who urge you to vote for Jo. They cite the undistorted facts supporting her re-election. Please join us and the other independents and independent Democrats who will vote to re-elect Councilwoman Jo Butler in the Democratic primary on Tuesday June 3.

Alice K. and Joseph C. Small

Hawthorne Avenue

 

To the Editor:

A recent letter writer supporting Jo Butler indicated that Butler had his ‘first vote’ and wondered which of the two candidates running together, Bernie Miller or Sue Nemeth, would get his ‘second vote.’

In an election with one candidate running against a slate of two candidates it is better for a supporter of the single candidate to forego their ‘second vote.’ Here’s why: suppose 66 percent of voters were Butler supporters and voted for her but then cast their ‘second vote’ for either Miller or Nemeth. Meanwhile only 34 percent of voters supported Miller/Nemeth and voted for both Miller and Nemeth. Even with 66 percent support, Butler would lose to the 34 percent Miller/Nemeth vote plus the 33 percent ‘second votes’ cast for Miller and Nemeth by Butler supporters! It’s not quite fair unless Butler supporters suppress their desire to influence the secondary contest of Miller vs. Nemeth with their ‘second vote.’

Conversely, supporters of Miller/Nemeth who actually favor one over the other may want to consider which of the two candidates they prefer and then forego their ‘second vote.’ If Butler wins, the choice between Miller and Nemeth will have been made only by those voters who rejected voting for Miller/Nemeth.

Peter Kramer

Prospect Avenue

 

To the Editor:

Sue Nemeth is an excellent choice for Princeton Council; so much so that Council President Bernie Miller chose to run a joint campaign with her, and so much so that our mayor and two other members of Council chose to endorse Sue and Bernie in this election. It takes courage for four out of six of our elected officials to opt to support a candidate other than the incumbent. They must have very good reasons to take the uncomfortable position of passing over a member of their own party. Instead of suspecting our elected leaders of ganging up on the incumbent, we should be noting that our leaders feel compelled to upset Democratic party harmony by underscoring and highlighting to the voters of Princeton the urgency of making a change in Council for the benefit of Princeton.

Bernie and Sue know that the task of governing is the art of guiding disparate views to common ground. Collegiality is something to be valued in our elected leaders. Productive and efficient use of time in Council meetings saves taxpayer money, but more important, it permits us to remain focused on the big issues (in point: If Borough Council had spent less time on legal bills and pointless parliamentary games they would have had the time to read the agreement that permitted AvalonBay to have its way at the old hospital site). There is a difference between holding true to one’s convictions and intransigence, and Sue and Bernie understand the difference and have demonstrated their ability to govern with conviction, collegiality, and focus on the big picture.

Please join me in moving Princeton forward by voting for Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller for Princeton Council on June 3.

Scott Sillars

Patton Avenue

 

To the Editor:

I was very sad when Rush Holt announced this past March that he wouldn’t seek another term as our Congressional representative. I was eager, however, to learn about the candidates who were seeking his seat. I attended two debates in which all four candidates participated. I also researched the candidates’ stands on key issues and looked at their past voting records. It became clear to me that all four of the candidates are qualified to be in Congress and that all four of them are true progressives. However, I think that Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman stands out for three key reasons.

First, when a bill to abolish the death penalty came before the Assembly in December 2007, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman voted in favor of abolishing it; her main opponent in this race, Linda Greenstein (also in the Assembly at that time) voted in favor of retaining the death penalty (https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/22544/linda-greenstein/71/death-penalty#.U4OaDdq9KSN ).

Second, Bonnie Watson Coleman campaigned vigorously for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono at a time when many Democrats, in deference to Governor Chris Christie’s popularity, refused to do so. This is not the only example of Assemblywoman Watson Coleman standing up for her beliefs in the face of pressure from Governor Christie and even from her own party. When Barbara Buono endorsed Watson Coleman for Congress, she emphasized that the commitment that Watson Coleman had shown to her principles and to her constituents was a key factor in her own (Buono’s) endorsement decision.

Third, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman has proven that she can identify and move forward legislation that attracts the backing of both Democrats and Republicans. For example, she sponsored legislation that sends people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses to drug court and supervision rather than to jail and this money-saving legislation attracted the support of both Republicans and Democrats. For these reasons and many more, I will be voting for Bonnie Watson Coleman on June 3; I hope that you will join me.

Eve Niedergang

Forester Drive

 

To the Editor:

As the June 3 Democratic Primary approaches, I feel compelled to present some needed clarity to the upcoming election.

There are no teams running! There are 3 candidates, who should be judged on their individual merits, running for two seats.

When registered Democrats go to the polls, each voter should choose either one or two of the best qualified of the three candidates to represent our consolidated Princeton. Yes, if you feel really strongly about one candidate over the other two, you can vote for one. Some people call it “bullet voting,” but I see it as a strong vote of confidence for the best qualified candidate. The numbers in the Democratic primary are so low that several votes can determine the results. By voting for two candidates, you could be providing the vote that defeats your first choice candidate.

Personally, I feel so strongly about the qualifications of Jo Butler, I plan to vote only for her. She has amazing credentials and experience. Her only agenda is to do what is best for our consolidated town. She has no personal agenda or state or national ambitions. Should she have a perceived conflict of interest, she would be the first to recuse herself. Serving us is not a stepping stone. It is a mission. We are so fortunate to have her and to have her care about us.

Please join me on June 3 to affirm the service of this talented woman, resident of the former Borough and citizen of our new Town. Vote for Jo Butler that she may continue to represent us on Town Council.

Ruth Sayer

Library Place

 

To the Editor:

It is with regret and disappointment that I must advise Princeton voters that the Princeton Republican Committee will not be fielding candidates in the June 3 primary election this year for the two positions on the ballot for Princeton Council.

The reason is not a lack of highly qualified Republican candidates. In recent years, long time Princeton residents with outstanding qualifications have been candidates. They have included community activists, lawyers, businessmen, financial planners, diplomats, an art critic, teachers, minorities and NGO leaders. All conducted energetic and spirited campaigns focused on important local issues.

Unfortunately, most Princeton Democrats have a deep and difficult inability to rationalize prejudice against Republicans which is illustrated in the typical Democrat campaign ads which focus on party label rather than a candidate’s demonstrated competencies relevant to resolving local problems. Local Democrats would rather conjure up stereotypes based on outliers on the national political scene than discuss local issues and candidates on their merits. This approach results in a highly partisan, one-party Council and political stultification to the detriment of good government

Until Princeton Democrat elites who profess to champion “diversity” achieve logical consistency and accept that “political diversity” is a benefit to society, the community will be under stress and local government will continue to muddle along. Think high taxes and fees, bureaucratic regulation, potholes, a mountain of debt, bloated budgets, entanglement in lawsuits and expensive settlements, lack of transparency and political grandstanding about issues irrelevant to Princeton’s quality of life.

Princeton Republicans wish only the best to our Democrat friends and neighbors. I know that many of them have followed with interest the contentious lead-up to the Democrat primary election. The reality is that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the candidates. All three of the candidates are highly partisan taxers and spenders. The current Council votes unanimously 95 percent of the time. The outcome of the primary will not change this group-think. The tax savings ballyhooed to promote municipal consolidation will continue to be a pipe dream.

Princeton should be a beacon of municipal governance in New Jersey and match the excellence of other local entities. That it manifestly is not is an embarrassment to us all.

Dudley Sipprelle

Chairman. Princeton Republican Committee,

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

We believe that when elected representatives do a good job — advocating for shared values, keeping their promises, getting things done — they deserve to be re-elected. Jo Butler has done an exemplary job during her first two years on Town Council. She has worked to sustain Princeton as an affordable and diverse community. She has kept the promises of consolidation, voting for a tax decrease and against Council pay raises. She has provided critically important leadership, most notably in Council’s enactment of a conflict of interest policy and other measures to foster good government. Please join us in voting on June 3 to nominate Jo Butler for re-election.

Walter and Mary Bliss

Moore Street

 

To the Editor:

I am supporting Jo Butler in the June 3 Democratic primary and I hope that Princeton voters will too. Jo Butler is to be respected for approaching difficult issues in the open before the public with the public’s opinions heard for consideration in the decision process. She listens to and respects the points-of-view of constituents and when she believes their views are correct she goes to bat for them. Her work on the community pool is a good example. So were her efforts to preserve Princeton’s train service to University Place. On consolidation, Jo Butler argued to skeptics (including myself) that it was the right thing to do. Despite all sorts of criticism that her attention to detail slows things down, she has held to the promise of the consolidation referendum that the new Council operate under the Borough form of government which assumes that Council members will directly respond to resident concerns and which allows them to directly communicate with staff members to resolve problems. Some have said that she cares too much, but to my mind our details are what Council should care about. A call to Jo Butler about a brush pick-up or some other problem with services will get results.

On finances and taxes, it is noteworthy that, in fact, Jo is the only candidate running who has never voted for a tax increase, and is also the only candidate who has saved us money on professional services by closely scrutinizing contracts. It is really hard to understand why she has been criticized for this.

I hope that Princeton Democrats will reward Jo Butler’s hard work and integrity by voting for her in the June 3 primary. If she is defeated, it will be Princeton’s loss.

Anita Garoniak

Harris Road

 

To the Editor:

Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth are the right choice for Princeton Council. Sue and Bernie have those leadership qualities required for responsible and responsive local governance. They have demonstrated their ability to work with different constituencies and listen to all sides before crafting reasonable and workable compromises.

Bernie was the liaison to the Princeton Regional Health Commission when I chaired the Commission. I was always impressed with his ability to grasp the issues, ask probing questions, and devise reasonable responses and solutions. These are the precise qualities needed for effective governance.

Sue and Bernie have spent weeks walking through our community, talking and listening to us. They know of our concerns regarding parking zones, barriers to new business development, and tenant issues, among others. They are already devising ways to address these concerns. In the past, they have proven their effectiveness in moving this town forward by working together to bring new senior housing to Princeton and to bring our new Community Park pool to fruition.

Bernie and Sue are the right choice for Princeton. I urge all Princetonians to come out and vote on June 3 for Bernie and Sue.

Susan Kapoor

Bouvant Drive

 

To the Editor:

Princeton needs the skilled experienced leadership of Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller. Sue and Bernie have a vision for our consolidated Princeton … one that includes a hard look at our zoning, a renewed commitment to our downtown business district, and continued emphasis on fiscal responsibility.

Bernie’s leadership during the recent negotiations with Princeton University provided Princeton with a long-term voluntary financial commitment from the University. Sue’s advocacy of the Community Park Pool project resulted in a renewed community asset completed at a price the community could afford.

Sue and Bernie are thoughtful, collaborative leaders. They are listeners and doers. They won’t waste time playing games, trying to score political points, and distracting us from the real work at hand. We encourage the voters of Princeton to support the team of Miller and Nemeth on June 3.

Lincoln Hollister

Ridgeview Road

 

To the Editor:

In their March 30 debate, the three Democratic candidates for Princeton Council were asked to name the most important issue facing Princeton. Incumbent Jo Butler named affordability. Indeed, she is the only candidate who has voted to lower property taxes.

Bernie Miller, running with Sue Nemeth as a slate, wanted a thriving downtown. But our downtown is thriving, as everyone knows who has actually tried to park there, especially on weekends.

Nemeth, finally, named zoning as Princeton’s most important issue. What did she mean? On walkableprinceton.com, each candidate answered other questions, including: with 21,000 people driving into town to work, what should Princeton do to reduce vehicle-miles-traveled?

Yes, 21,000! Butler stressed mass transit as well as convenient walkways. Nemeth and Miller both said that zoning should 兎encourage modest increases in housing density in downtown re-development projects so more people can live near work (Nemeth).

Butler replied that development means asking whether our infrastructure will support the density, considering the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, and predicting the burden on 登our already congested streets.

Many people believe that development brings higher tax revenues. But development also requires more infrastructure, parking, and police. New housing, in particular, may bring more schoolchildren, who eventually need more teachers, classrooms, even schools.

Meanwhile, Sue Nemeth claims that Jo Butler has targeted our school budget. Nonsense. First, Council doesn’t oversee the school budget directly. Second, by scrutinizing new development, Butler will help safeguard our school budget indirectly.

If you know anywhere near downtown where you’d like another AvalonBay, vote for Nemeth and Miller in the June 3 Democratic Primary. I support Jo Butler.

Anne Waldron Neumann

Alexander Street