October 9, 2013

To the Editor:

The lunacy in Princeton shows no signs of letting up. First, to appease shrub-loving snobs, hundreds of thousands in tax money was squandered in a cruel and ill-advised deer eradication program that is now in its 13th year. Rather than allowing nature to find a balance, predators such as foxes and coyotes are now on the hit list as well. Without predators, guess what happens to the deer population? Did Princeton’s “wildlife experts” sleep through Biology 101? Is killing and sanitizing the ecosystem really the best that officials can come up with? Princeton can and must do better.

Bill Laznovsky

Mandon Court

 

To the Editor:

I am writing to acknowledge a generous contribution made by the Church and Dwight Employee Giving Fund to the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative (PSGC). This donation will enable the PSGC to continue supporting the thriving garden education programs at the four elementary schools in the Princeton public school system.

The school gardens movement in Princeton’s public schools began as a grassroots effort almost a decade ago. The elementary school gardens are the foundation of PSGC’s vision for K-12 food education in Princeton. We would like every Princeton High School graduate to be able to be able to grow a salad, read a label, cook a meal, set a table, and understand the impact of their food choices on the world around us. Today — thanks to Church and Dwight’s contribution, the steadfast support of the individual school PTOs, school administrators, our enthusiastic teachers, and other grant-making organizations — every elementary school child in Princeton touches and is touched by the gardens.

What does this mean? Our children engage all of their senses in the school gardens. They plant seeds and bulbs, weed and turn compost, observe differences in light and temperature, hear the sounds of the insects and animals that share these spaces, taste and smell the fruits of their labor. Cooperation and patience are cultivated, too, as students work together to tend, harvest, and cook the foods they have grown. Academics are enhanced as science experiments, writing assignments, and history lessons are experienced in and through the gardens.

We are so grateful to Church and Dwight’s employees for supporting PSGC’s effort to make sustained, meaningful garden education part of every PPS student’s life.

Jennifer Jang

Princeton School Gardens Cooperative

 

To the Editor:

Diversity is an important component of the Princeton community. Why then should we not vote Fausta Rodriguez Wertz onto the Princeton Council? We could all take pride in making her the first Latina to hold the office in Princeton, but Ms. Rodriguez Wertz offers Princeton voters something more than her ethnic background. Electing her will provide the Council with new ideas, improved openness, and wider representation. Anyone who had a chance to see the debates last month could see that she is thoughtful, patient, and aware of the challenges our community faces. She will insist on greater transparency and improved financial discipline, things the Council badly needs. For example, I learned in the debates that Princeton, despite the benefits of consolidation, has a debt burden so high that it cannot float any more bonds for another six years. In other words, Princeton has effectively maxed-out its credit because of high interest costs. I didn’t know this. Did you? I find this situation outrageous. The current composition of the Council is four former Borough and two former Township residents and will remain so if the two other candidates are re-elected. Ms. Rodriguez Wertz lives in the former Township and is familiar with the needs of the outer community, something I’d welcome. Princeton takes pride in its diversity. Why not in its Council too?

James Hockenberry

Randall Road

 

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the members of the Princeton and Blawenburg Fire Departments as well as representatives from the Princeton Police Department for so generously helping make the John Witherspoon Middle School  (JWMS)Super Saturday Carnival such a success last weekend. The JWMS students and families attending were thrilled to watch Principal Jason Burr, and Assistant Principal Lynne Harkness ride up to the sky in the ladder truck’s bucket to drop thousands of ping pong balls. Many thanks also to Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, who announced that JWMS sixth grader Catherine Dyevich, whose ball landed closest to the target painted on the street, was the lucky winner of a set of Beats Dr. Dre headphones. Thanks also to the officers from the Princeton Police Department, some of whom are JWMS alumni, who were on hand to meet students. The event, which raised funding for the annual sixth grade overnight environmental science trip, was all the more successful thanks to the gracious participation by all of you.

Brigitte Delaney, Ann Marciano

JWMS parent volunteers

 

To the Editor:

The Friends of the Princeton Public Library held their Annual Book Sale the weekend of September 27 – 29. Aided by glorious weather and a book-loving community, the sale had its best year ever. We sold thousands upon thousands of books, some dating from the early 1700’s and some published just last month. We would like to thank our wonderful volunteers, whose work throughout the year made the sale possible. Thanks also to all those who donated books to the Friends; we are so lucky to have such great offerings from this community of readers. The book sale wouldn’t be possible, of course, without the support of the library’s wonderful staff and particularly the facilities crew, who gave us their wholehearted support over many, many, hours. Others provided valuable assistance as well: Witherspoon Grill and D’Angelo’s donated meals for our set up and clean up crews, Johnson Park Elementary School Principal Bob Ginsburg and the Princeton Public Schools lent us tables for the sale, and McCaffrey’s donated the bags for the Bag Sale.

All profits from the Annual Book Sale (and from our used book store, open daily and located just inside the library entrance) go to support the library. http://princetonlibrary.org/booksale.

Sherri Garber, Eve Niedergang

Friends of the Library Book Sale Co-Chairs

 

October 2, 2013

To the Editor:

I write today because I am so deeply disturbed by the arrogant attitude of Princeton University toward the town and community of Princeton.

The Dinky station has now been moved almost to College Road. The new location is a very long walk from the center of town, particularly if one is pulling or carrying luggage. Princeton was truly blessed with convenient rail connection to the main line. Most communities would value this connection as does the town of Princeton. However, the University seems to feel that just because it has the financial resources, it should be allowed to do exactly what it pleases without regard to anyone else, even if it includes truncating this resource.

The historic gateway to Princeton, which combined residential buildings, offices and retail, has been destroyed. What was good enough for Scott Fitzgerald, John Kennedy, Bill Bradley, and Brooke Shields will now become some sort of generic conglomeration.

I ask again what part of overpass and underpass does the University not understand? If the new, improved Arts Center must go in this location, why not have some consideration for the community?

Ruth Sayer

Library Place

 

To the Editor:

Town Topics readers don’t complain as much as they should about our awful roads, which such a wealthy town shouldn’t countenance.

The pavement on most Princeton roads

Can best be appreciated by toads.

Yes, these warted connivers

Can outwit all our drivers

Our potholes are their best abodes.

Charles Townsend

Hickory Court

 

Dear Governor Christie:

I applaud your efforts on behalf of the shore, but I am writing about New Jersey’s significantly historic Washington Crossing Park. I wish to “rock the boat” and ask that you give attention to this treasure in the State’s Park system, which needs your help and that of your administration.

The state park is our side of Washington’s famous “Crossing” of the Delaware. Using boats from up and down the Delaware, Washington and his army left Pennsylvania in 1776 and landed here and then moved on to Trenton. The Johnson ferry house, used by Washington and his staff, is still here. The Swan Collection of American Revolutionary War artifacts is here. It is the annual site of New Jersey’s History Fair. But the museum and its various structures are in desperate need of repair and the park itself needs major attention.

The park also has a great nature center, meadows, and trails for hiking, but many of the trails were affected by Hurricane Sandy and are still blocked. The historic family pavilions are also in rough shape along with park amenities like foot bridges, picnic tables, and bathrooms.

The park needs a “Friends” group to help, but it also needs a big push from the DEP. A “Friends” group is what I am in the process of forming to assist this beautiful park in its return to its former glory.

Your DEP Head Bob Martin has made numerous references to historic tourism and a relationship between the State and “Friends” groups. I hope to find out that he meant what he said and that includes what he said on your behalf.

Respectfully and wishing for your help to “Rock the Boat.”

Joe Carney

Organizer, Washington State Park Friends

 

September 25, 2013

To the Editor:

With a few other concerned Princeton residents, I attended the Princeton Council’s debate last Monday at the Monument Hall. The three candidates are two incumbents, Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon, and challenger Fausta Rodriguez Wertz. More citizens should have attended the debate, because the newly consolidated Princeton faces many of the old challenges and some new ones, and people should judge on a first-hand basis who seems best for the job. There is a lapse in leadership at the level of the Council. I think that patrolmen’s suit against former chief Dudeck was allowed to gain momentum by those on the existing Council. There was insufficient attention to the ever-growing congestion in Princeton. The borrowing for municipal expenses shows an inability to keep municipal salaries and other expenses in check. Somebody has to draw the line, and, in my opinion, the new candidate, Mrs. Rodriguez Wertz, is the right alternative.

Louise Russell Irving

Longview Drive

 

To the Editor:

Princeton Council has decided, on a trial basis, to “streamline” the way in which sessions are represented in the official minutes (as reported in Town Topics, Sept. 11, “Council Decides to Try Streamlined Minutes”). Minutes will now be limited to a register of Council members’ votes — that’s it. This reduction of the record is most disturbing. I hope the “trial period” does not last long.

Any governmental body must seek accuracy, accountability, and transparency. Council member Pat Simon had it exactly right when he said, “The things we say should be part of the public record, and should be easy to find” (as quoted in the story). Anything less encourages irresponsibility — and has the further negative effect of discouraging citizens from participating in municipal affairs.

Mayor Lempert, unfortunately, bowing to expediency and the acknowledged pressures of consolidation on municipal staff, is quoted as remarking that minutes “should be less of a transcript of what each person has said …. It would be easier to keep them [the minutes] up to date.” She was apparently not alone in her views. But “ease” cannot be the appropriate standard for recording official public sessions.

The idea of using TV30’s videos of each session as a kind of substitute “minutes” beggars the imagination. Anyone who has tried to use those videos in order to learn what a council member actually said (as I have, during the past several years) knows that the sound track is poor, government officials (and municipal staff) don’t speak clearly into the microphone, and a citizen’s labors in transcribing a council member’s statements (let alone a conversation) can take hours. As Mr. Simon rightly notes, the video cannot be searched — by keyword or any other means. TV30 does not provide “the best of both worlds.”

Hopefully, Council will soon devise better and more appropriate means for helping the recording secretaries do their work in a timely manner. The methods proposed for the “trial period” amount to an erasure of language (Council members’ actual views and positions, the nature and context of any given Council discussion, not just the final vote). They court a disaster for democratic transparency.

Let us hope that Mr. Simon and others can persuade his colleagues to return, soon, to acceptable methods that ensure that each elected official can be held accountable for what s/he says.

Daniel A. Harris

Dodds Lane

 

September 18, 2013

To the Editor:

As we are in full back-to-school mode, I want to thank the school board and PPS district staff for adding a composting collection to their waste contract in all of the public schools in Princeton. I am happy to know that my child can compost at home and now at school. Providing composting in schools also allows for a natural educational component as the next generation learns how to take care of their community and environment. This new composting program will hopefully be rolled out some time this fall.

If you have not already joined the residential curbside organics collection, it’s not too late. Since being part of this program for the past two years, my family and I have significantly reduced our landfill contribution, and we only need to put our trash out once a month. You can still compost on your property, but this program greatly expands the amount of things you can compost like all food scraps, dirty paper and pizza boxes, and yard waste. Additionally this summer, we were also able to use some of the beautiful free compost that was brought back from the curbside program to fill our garden beds. I encourage all of my fellow residents to try this program. It is easy to sign up and participate and you will never look at waste the same way again. Go to: www.princetonnj.gov/organic/CurbsideOrganics.html.

I also want to thank Sustainable Princeton and the municipality for working together to get recycling bins in Hinds Plaza and on Nassau Street. That is a great step! In the near future, I hope to see additional businesses in Princeton joining in with the residential and school recycling/composting programs so that Princetonians can be responsible stewards of their waste all around!

Stephanie Chorney

Co-Chair Green Schools Coalition/Sustainable Princeton

 

To the Editor:

On behalf of the residents of Elm Court and Harriet Bryan House, I would like to thank all the wonderful supporters who attended our annual Bake Sale on Friday, September 6. It was a huge success.

Harriet Bryan House and Elm Court provide housing for low income senior citizens and are managed by Princeton Community Housing. Each year our residents raise money for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS), a vital community organization that has been serving Princeton since 1938. This year, our bake sale doubled the amount raised in the previous year and contributed over $1,000 for PFARS.

We’d especially like to thank the following Princeton-based businesses for their generous support of lovely cakes: McCaffrey’s, Chez Alice, and the House of Cup Cakes.

Fay Reiter

Director of Social Services, Elm Court and Harriet Bryan House

 

To the Editor:

Signs advising that “Dogs must remain on leash” were posted in the Charles Rogers Wildlife Refuge and the Institute for Advanced Study Woods to help protect ground nesting and ground feeding birds in these vital habitats. Ovenbirds, Eastern Towhees, White-throated Sparrows, and other species that forage or nest in the leaf litter or understory, as well as ducks, egrets, and herons that frequent the marsh, are all vulnerable to predation from dogs that stray from the hiking trails. The signs were not posted to prevent dog fights, as a previous letter writer suggested. Public cooperation with this simple requirement (which is consistent with the leash law in Princeton) will help preserve the beauty and diversity of these natural areas, among the most important in Central New Jersey.

Fred Spar

Friends of the Rogers Refuge

 

September 4, 2013

To the Editor:

The manner in which Princeton University has gained approvals to dismantle the Dinky station and tracks has been shockingly dishonest for an academic institution. I believe it is important to set the record straight.

At the beginning of the rezoning process in 2011, University Vice President Bob Durkee and Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appleget invited me as a Borough Council member to view and discuss an architect’s model of the development. The buildings appeared to be located away from the path of the existing train tracks and it looked like a bridge for the tracks over the parking garage driveway would allow pedestrian and vehicle access. Mr. Durkee told me that the University had tried to find a solution that saved the Dinky, but that it was not possible. This strained credulity, given the University’s Washington Road overpass and similar architectural solutions to such challenges elsewhere in the world, but it was the University’s official position, and it was an important argument: there was no other way. However, University architects and engineers later stated in Planning Board and Borough Council meetings that none had been asked about preserving the station and no such alternatives were explored. No reasoning has been offered as to why a bridge is not feasible.

The University also claimed its plan would protect the Dinky in light of uncertain state funding. Former President Tilghman stated: “We have been told that if we fail to take advantage of this opportunity to improve the area around the Dinky it will remain vulnerable to further cutbacks.” The implication was that opposition risked losing train service entirely. Again, this was important to decision-makers. Yet NJ Transit officials later informed the Borough Council, on record in a public meeting, that the truth is the opposite. The Dinky is one of its better-performing lines and funding cuts were never being considered.

Most significantly, the University vowed in public and in a May 2011 letter that it would move the Dinky whether rezoning was approved or not. (There was, therefore, no need to explore alternatives, including a claimed request for state approval for a grade crossing, of which there is no record.) Elected and appointed representatives worked to make the best of the situation, given the University’s unequivocal position; it was no use to deny rezoning. Nearly every official who approved rezoning expressed opposition to moving the station. Yet, in testimony to state agencies and in public communications, the University cites rezoning approval as evidence of community-wide support for moving the Dinky.

At every opportunity the University characterizes opposition to moving the Dinky as the complaints of a small group of objectors. It is purposefully deceitful in equating community support for the arts campus with widespread support for moving the Dinky. The truth is that there has been widespread objection in the community and nearly universal opposition among elected and appointed officials to moving the Dinky for a very good reason: it is bad public policy.

Jenny Crumiller

Princeton Council, Library Place

 

To the Editor:

I don’t understand where the upside potential is for the litigation engaged in by Save the Dinky [“Citizen Group Still Fighting Dinky Move,” Town Topics, August 28). Without a court injunction against further demolition of the Dinky facilities, the situation is hopeless.

If Save the Dinky loses the suits, they’ll have to lick their wounds. If they win, there isn’t much to gain. The University will appeal, and take it to the N.J. Supreme Court if they lose the appeal. If the Supreme Court rules against the University, it will be years from now. The Arts Center will be complete and the old Dinky easement will be a vague memory. All that Save the Dinky could possibly expect is a fine for the University and the remote possibility of reimbursement for their legal expenses.

This is not to say that anyone should endorse the University’s flawed plan. It is reviled by many, including senior members of the University’s own Department of Architecture. It all boils down to a power struggle. The hubris shown by the University in the face of the lawsuits against it demonstrates that the University shouldn’t be exempted from local zoning laws despite the fact that zoning is not the issue here. Community welfare, parking, and traffic circulation are crying out for more enlightened plans, which the University refused to give the slightest consideration.

Alfred W. D’Alessio

Northeastern Communications Concepts, Inc.

Benford Drive

August 28, 2013

To the Editor,

I am a Princeton resident, member of Boy Scout Troop 43, and soon to be a senior at Princeton High School. This year, I received my Eagle Scout Award for a project that involved recycling shipping pallets into compost bins for many of the schools and gardens around Princeton.

What spurred this? I was first introduced to gardening and composting, alongside an excited young group of my peers through the gardening program at Riverside Elementary. With a fresh, variegated array of plants that could easily be picked and eaten on the spot, the garden was one of the most engaging and dynamic parts of the school’s property; there was an endlessly changing mixture of colors and shapes, transitioning with the seasons. Working alongside the garden coordinator, Dorothy Mullen, I learned to value both the healthy self-grown foods and the idea of sustainability that the garden and composting espoused.

Those values are ultimately what drove me, working for Sustainable Princeton, to contact the garden coordinators of the many unique gardens and schools around Princeton, ranging from the elementary level to those of the University’s graduate housing. The construction was completed with the aid of many tireless volunteers. By spreading the ideas of sustainability and renewability at the academic level, we hoped to spur further awareness, and perhaps elicit interest in a similar program called Curbside Composting that Sustainable Princeton was also promoting. Things went farther than I could even have imagined, though probably due more to hard work on Sustainable Princeton’s part than anything I cobbled together.

Fast forward a few months from the time of the project’s completion and the Princeton Regional School system has signed a waste hauling contract involving food pickup, in addition to a sustainability resolution relating to energy efficiency, waste management, composting, recycling, etc. In addition, membership to Curbside Composting has been growing.

I really have to applaud Princeton for leading this overall effort, as it is the first and only municipality in New Jersey with a curbside organic collection/compost program. Seeing as it is only a pilot at this time, however, I would really like to stress that it is still currently short on members. Perhaps this can drum up some more interest? With recognition of the program still quite limited, I can only encourage everyone to take a look for themselves. Most of the information can be found at Sustainable Princeton’s website http://sustainableprinceton.org.

I believe that the garden program and the composting have had a great personal impact on myself, and also perhaps the innumerable other individuals who have experienced them, and would like to acknowledge their enormous formative influence in the hopes that both continue to work their magic on residents, adults and children alike. If Princeton can continue to develop in this direction, I couldn’t imagine a better place to be.

Anthony Teng

Riverside Drive

 

To the Editor:

As an avid reader of the Mailbox for many years, I want to state my general feelings regarding the general theme of the environmental issues that have been discussed in previous letters.

On August 21, a writer suggested Princeton should have an electric bus system like Rome Italy [“Suggesting a Roman Solution for Princeton’s Giant, Gas-Guzzling, Traffic-Snarling Busses”]. The idea makes perfect sense to me. I visited Bordeaux and Nantes France this summer, and they have a wonderful electric tram system that serves large areas of these cities, quietly, without any obvious pollution, and they serve thousands of people daily. They go everywhere. Why can’t Princeton have incorporated a Tram system in it’s planning instead of the ridiculously oversized Dinky fiasco, the B and the Bus? I know people have asked these questions and continue to do so, but I believe the path we are taking simply proves that the Princeton area does not have an urban planning program that is as good and sustainable as it thinks. Certainly, it does not help that State and Federal funding is practically non existent.

Also, in April 3, 17 and 24, 2013 issues, people question, rationally and correctly, why Princetonions have been  subjected to the noise and pollution of leaf blowers, oversized lawnmowers, and piles of woody leafy litter in the streets. Why? Because people do not really understand that sustainability involves a certain amount of human effort. Instead of using fossil fuel and insisting on green and unsustainable lawns, a healthy ecosystem is easily achieved by encouraging organic matter to be recycled (composted) on the property; not hauled off to a big facility.

I think I am trying to say, “Hey Princeton, just how sustainable are we, really?” I believe we should expect a little more sustainability in the planning process than we are receiving, for the good of us all. Finally, as a citizen, I am proud of the people who have questioned these wasteful, annoying, and unsustainable practices. Keep writing letters and maybe something will come of it.

Fred Bowers

Snowden Lane

 

To the Editor:

The story in the August 21 issue [“Volunteers from Princeton Say They Won’t Abandon Capital City in Crisis”] is very enlightening regarding the problems in Trenton. Giving the children opportunities and activities is one way to help give them a future.

This is in reference to a couple of things in the story, such as Tony Mack shutting down the soccer league. Last year the Trenton City Council eliminated all funding for the Trenton baseball teams. It may be they did this to the soccer also.

About the idea of allowing neighborhood schools instead of sending all the city’s teenagers to Trenton Central High, what about those remaining who cannot go to a charter school? If you use public funds, they are subtracted from the city schools. You are pushing money to the charter schools, while those remaining at Trenton City Schools will suffer even more.

I know where these kids live because I am the girl’s tennis coach at Trenton Catholic Academy. Every day I pick my girls up from their homes, take them to practice and then take them home. Last week the last drop off was the 400 block of Stuyvesant Avenue. It was getting dark and my player said “stop the car, I am getting in the front seat so the people see there is a black person in the car.” She lives between the two gangs. Last month she watched a murder from her porch. Last June was attempted murder, where the victim was shot in the head while talking with her brother.

Yes, crime is out of control in Trenton. We have a murder a week and multiple shootings every week. The police need the support of the people of Trenton to work with them and the city. The block party on Saturday Night violated the rules. Was the correct response to send in a Swat Team along with the State Police and every police officer in Trenton and Hamilton? This sounds more like Egypt or Syria, than the U.S. I cannot even imagine being there. No violence was reported until the police demanded that they shut it down. A non-violent gathering may have been an opportunity. For Christie? For Mack?

Don Swanson

Stanford Place, Princeton Junction

 

To the Editor:

Princeton’s new yard waste collection policy needs to be changed. An unintended result of consolidation is that the Municipality Formerly Known as the Borough now finds itself subject to a policy originally designed for the Township. The problem is that conditions in the Borough are different from those farther out. Our lots are smaller — in many cases much smaller — so that even people who keep a compost pile and use the weekly Compostable Recycling Program as an additional outlet are left with a huge backup of yard waste between collections.

There’s a further problem. Many of us do our own yard work, so it takes us much longer than professional yard crews to get the weeding and clipping done. That’s why the 12-week interruption in yard waste collection — from May 20 to August 12 — was especially frustrating. (This probably accounts for the widespread ignoring of the ban on yard waste at the curb during June and July.)

Naturally, Princeton is concerned about DPW (Department of Public Works) costs, so here’s a suggestion: schedule brush-only collections for the end of both June and July. If that is considered too costly, here’s a further suggestion: restrict the June and July brush only collections to just the municipality Formerly known as the Borough, where they are so urgently needed.

LINDA DOWLING

Harriet Drive

 

To the Editor:

Last week I experienced kindness from a man in Princeton. I attended a conference and enjoyed being in your city. But a special action on Tuesday, August 13, will not be forgotten. This was the morning of the heavy rain. I was walking without a raincoat or even a cap or jacket, using my cane (I’m 86), on Nassau Street. A man in a car pulled over and walked to me to ask whether I needed an umbrella. I said, yes, so he went back to his car and brought me an umbrella. I scarcely had time to thank him, much less ask his name.

Later at the Nassau Inn, where I was staying, I told the desk clerk about the kind action and left the umbrella there for someone else who might need it.

Thanks, Princeton, for a generous citizen.

Robert G. Collmer

Waco, Texas

 

August 21, 2013

To the Editor:

Now that the southern access to the community has been compromised by the “Arts” construction, a critical element of our quality-of-life has been dramatized even more than under normal circumstances. Princeton is a small old town with narrow, winding streets and yet in the last years it has been supplied with giant-sized buses used for public transport, but created for long hauls, open roads, and large human capacity. In Rome, with its even more narrow, winding streets, the problem is moving toward solution with many routes of small buses (capacity about 10 seated and 10 standing) that work their way through medieval alley-ways, paths, piazzas, and main thoroughfares in the complex center of town, and they run on ELECTRICITY. The official “ATAC” electric buses are clean, quiet, and they fill the needs of the citizens and tourists. Princeton buses are a shameful over-kill. I have never seen these gas-guzzling giants with more than a handful of people aboard. Their engines pollute the air; their sheer size snarls traffic. Their use shows no imagination whatsoever on the part of the powers that be.

And while we’re on the subject of over-kill. Has anyone else noticed the exponential enlargement of lawn and gardening equipment trailers around town? I saw one this morning that not only had an enormous truck in front but included a gigantic trailer attached. Parked on Springdale, it turned traffic into one lane for several hours. Moreover, hand-held leaf blowers not only pollute with noise and over-use (seven days a week), but also with their gaseous exhaust from over-powered engines.

How difficult would it be to convert these motors to battery-operated electric power — lighter weight, less polluting and quiet?

Who rules on this subject? To whom can we apply for new guidelines and restrictions?
Marilyn Aronberg Lavin

Maxwell Lane

To the Editor:

As a Princeton resident and taxpayer, with no strings attached, I want to express my opinion on the Valley Road Building’s fate.

I support the letters written by Dick Woodbridge, Kip Cherry, Mary Clurman, Chuck Creesy and others, who favor the VRS-ARC proposal of reusing the building as a community center, with non-profit organizations as tenants, and who have clarified repeatedly facts, numbers, and ways needed to make this project a reality.

I want to make clear that Princeton Public Schools (PPS) did not seek proposals for the future of this building on its own. Actually, after years of ignoring it, they were forced to look into the issue due to the pressure and perseverance from a group of concerned citizens. This did not sit well with them.

I want to mention Andrea Spalla’s condescending attitude at a Board meeting years ago. During the same meeting, PPS deemed the building unsafe. What a contradiction, PPS allowed tenants to stay until as recently as May 2013.

PPS, not surprisingly, refuses to accept the $3.9 million estimated cost proposed by Spiegel Consultants, which has sufficient documentation backing up this amount.

PPS has shown an inability to give the proposal a “go,” delaying donations and the reuse of a building that would provide space for education, recreation, and counseling.

PPS has shown, for years, no intention of conducting any maintenance or repairs of a building held in their care.

PPS signed a Sustainability Resolution. I found this very hypocritical as they have the opportunity of showing how “sustainable” they are by reusing the building. I call on the abundant ecological/sustainable groups in town. They save streams, grow organic vegetables, make compost, and make garbage bags lighter. What is their view? I call on PPS parents. Do they want this building to be reused or do they want to “pitch in” with another tax increase, when it is too late?

I call on the mayor, who always says she is open to dialogue. Personal emails do not do the job as well as if she clarifies her opinion publicly.

Princeton Council Members, you recently considered the possibility of raising your salaries with not even six months in office. What do you say? “That’s dead, we’re done”? Mr. Liverman, are you done? Do you dismiss VRS ARC supporters’ signatures? Don’t you even think that the building could be used for future Princeton students?

PPS members exhibit behavior that disqualifies them from office. It seems to me that they are making this a personal issue and their bruised egos are blurring their objectivity. Unacceptable.

This historic building is left to perish at the cost of the taxpayers. It is not only sad. It is wrong. It is time to do our homework, express our voices, react and fight for what we believe is the right thing to do.

Quoting Anna Quindlen, “In a democratic society, the only treason is silence.”

Sandra Jordan

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

Princeton deserves a better parking meter service. On Tuesday I drove to the post office. There were many open parking spaces as it was in the morning. Naturally I looked for a meter that had some time left on it as I knew I was only going to be less than three minutes since I was merely picking up my mail from my box. I found a perfect spot in front of the steps leading up to the post office behind the Nassau Inn. The meter I found had nine minutes left on the clock and the one behind had 10 minutes. Perfect, I thought. I walked the short distance to the post office opened my box, got my mail and walked the short distance back. This trip took less than three minutes but what did I see? The parking officer driving away from my car. I knew it could not be a ticket as I was confident I had more time, however when I got to my car I saw that not only had the meter expired but the one behind it as well, and I had a ticket. These two meters are defective as there is no way my chore could have taken nine minutes. These meters are so outdated we need a system whereby we get receipts that we put on our dashboards showing the exact time of expirations. This system is used throughout many towns across New Jersey and the rest of the country. Relying on meters to be accurate is not fair to drivers. I am going to contest this fine but in the end it’s my word against a machine that has probably not been independently tested for years.

Joe Cauchi

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

It is said that life is a season of cycles. One such cycle is the school year. It begins in September and is exemplified by excitement and hope as a new journey for learning begins. May/June is a time of conclusion, final report cards are distributed and diplomas given. July and August are a time of reflection and this is particularly true for teachers and administrators. “What went well this year? What should my practice look like next year to better serve my students?”

My reflection at the close of the school year begins with appreciation to the 50 parents that entrusted their children to the Princeton Nursery School’s teaching staff to provide a nurturing learning environment in which to develop their child’s curiosity for learning and creating foundation for a life-long love of learning. As the executive director, I am humbled to be a part of Princeton Nursery School’s (PNS) 84-year legacy; the oldest early childcare center in Princeton and the fourth oldest licensed center in the State of New Jersey.

I have the greatest appreciation for the scores of individuals and organizations that have given of their resources in time and money in support of the PNS mission; to provide high quality early childhood education and childcare that is affordable for working families of modest means. I would like to publicly extend a thank you to the J. Seward Johnson 1963 Charitable Trust Foundation for a Legacy Grant of $250,000. Yes, $250,000! The annual interest earned from the grant will be used to provide scholarships for families from the greater Princeton community.

Thank you to the PNC Bank Foundation for the volunteers that helped with our summer garden and as chaperones on our trip to the zoo. Thank you PNC for the generous grants that further the PNS mission.

Thank you for the generous grants from The Bunbury Company, Karma Foundation, Nordson Foundation, and Princeton Area Community Foundation.  You recognize the important work done at Princeton Nursery for the youngest members of our community.

I look forward to Labor Day when 16 incoming Princeton University freshman will volunteer with several fix-it projects around this 100 year old building. And then, the first day of school with our new students and parents in tow. Our work is only accomplished through the support of the greater Princeton community. Thank You!

Wendy Cotton

Executive Director, Princeton Nursery School

Leigh Avenue

August 14, 2013

To the Editor:

Since 2007 the Princeton School Board has been trying figure out what to do with Valley Road School on Witherspoon Street. And the town’s plans for the building have come and gone. In the meantime neither party has maintained the building and its condition has deteriorated: sad fate for a once proud building. All parties continue their lip service to the building, and nothing gets done.

VRS-ARC has developed a plan that would give new life to the building without impacting the town’s or the school district’s finances. As if pre-determined, the plan has been rejected by the School Board, which cited what can be seen as easily overcome issues with the plan.

VRS-ARC decided to take its case to the public and has won incredible support to put the building’s fate in the hands of the voters. Everyone but the public has been considered regarding this resource. Isn’t it about time that Council and the Board let the voters weigh in? The Council has the power to do the public’s will and is hesitating. After all the issue is now about democracy, not just a building.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road