November 21, 2012

To the Editor:

Thank you to the voters of Princeton for electing me to the new municipal council, and thank you to our local campaign team, supporters, and canvassers. In particular, while many people helped to make the campaign a robust effort, I would like to particularly note my personal appreciation to Walter Bliss, Helen Heintz, Dan Preston, Peter Wolanin, Jon Durbin, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, Sue Nemeth, Caroline Hancock, Owen O’Donnell, Margaret Griffin, James and Connie Camner, Valerie Haynes, Liz and David Cohen, Peter Lindenfeld, Mary Clurman, Elizabeth Bates, Claire and David Jacobus, Pamela Hughes, Andrew Koontz, and Bill Scholfield. I especially appreciate the wonderful support and education I received from my running mates, Liz Lempert, Bernie Miller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Jenny Crumiller, and Jo Butler. I would also like to thank the Republican candidates Dick Woodbridge and Geoff Aton, who waged an engaged effort and furthered the spirit of electoral contest in Princeton. And a special thanks to my spouse, Marc Weiner, as well as to our family and friends for their support.

I appreciate the trust placed in me by the people of Princeton, and I look forward to serving on the new council. As we unite to form one Princeton, I will work with the new mayor and council and with the community to realize savings for the taxpayers while sustaining and improving current services. I look forward to being part of a more responsive and open and transparent consolidated municipal government, to working to improve municipal emergency management, and to developing more collaborative relationships with our key institutional stakeholders.

Our new local government is a collaboration open to all members of the community, and we will especially need to hear from diverse points of view as we come together to form one town. We are still taking applications to serve on our local boards, commissions, and committees, and I encourage all interested citizens to apply. You can find the application online at www.princetonnj.gov. I look forward to working with you, and appreciate your support.

Patrick Simon

Harriet Drive

To the Editor:

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and in all of Princeton’s all-too-frequent power outages, communication was key. I’d like to commend the almost-merged Township and Borough officials for frequent updates from their reverse 911 notification system. And special kudos to Krystal Knapp of Planet Princeton and Greta Cuyler of Princeton Patch, whose constant stream of wide-ranging critical information, provided online at all hours of the day and night, was absolutely invaluable — a real community service.

It can be tricky to receive these communications when power is out. The reverse 911 messages are by phone. If you can’t rely on a hardwired landline when power is out, I recommend registering a cell phone number online at princetontwp.org (link to Register for Emergency Telephone Notifications from the homepage).

If you’ve been thinking about getting a smartphone, I highly recommend it, as mine was an essential lifeline for my family in this crisis. Through the good graces of the always-reliable Verizon Wireless and a generous friend with a generator, for constant recharging, I could always get the news and be in touch with friends and family. I had never before understood why anyone would want to use Twitter, but became an instant convert in this emergency. With a Twitter feed from Planet Princeton and Princeton Patch, I knew pretty much everything I needed to know. I cannot thank them enough.

Amy Goldstein

Snowden Lane

November 14, 2012

To the Editor:

As I write, the Planning Board has just voted to ask Borough Council’s agreement to retain Sovereign Consulting to review the AvalonBay (AB) Environmental Impact Statement and related documents. That EIS contains serious misrepresentations, as indicated by Aaron Kleinbaum, legal director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods, in a series of letters to the Planning Board and the Princeton Environmental Commission.

To its credit, the Planning Board understands the public health issues at stake. But if the review does no more than evaluate the documents thus far submitted, it will be inadequate. Mr. Kleinbaum has called for an independent investigation of the MRRO site, including soil samples that test for contaminant leakage and sewer overflows, before construction — not simply a review of documents to date. Mr. Kleinbaum has recommended sampling throughout the site, including testing underneath the garage. Steve Miller of the Princeton Environmental Commission has noted that the technology exists to test soils underneath concrete, and he supported such testing of the garage at its meeting on October 24 2012. The shortcoming of the Princeton Environmental Commission’s recommendation to the Planning Board is that it recommends “independent testimony … regarding whether the testing was adequate” (not new testing), and “To the extent that it is concluded that the testing was inadequate, we recommend that you request adequate testing from the developer.” The developer? — AvalonBay? hardly an independent party.

Indeed, Avalon is so lax in its environmental practices, and so glib on its website about supposedly sustainable measures (13 pages of fluff) — that AB’s corporate leadership has been called to task. On April 11, 2012, the Office of the Comptroller for New York City, which manages pension funds for its employees, issued a memorandum to AvalonBay shareholders setting forth substantive reasons why AB has “lagged behind” its peers in the commercial rental market: inadequate reporting on greenhouse emissions, water conservation, waste minimization, energy efficiency, and other environmental and social impacts (full text available from Daniel A. Harris).

We don’t know the scope of work the Planning Board requests, nor what Sovereign Consulting will recommend. We must hope that its proposals insist on an absolutely clean building site and that any further consideration of AvalonBay’s application by the Planning Board be postponed until such a clearance is given. Indeed, Sovereign will not be able to complete its work prior to November 15, when AB will demand that the Planning Board approve their site plan for the garage. But the Planning Board has ample legal grounds to deny this minor site application on the basis of insufficient evidence (as well as New Jersey case law upholding the rights of municipalities to deny developer’s applications on the basis of concerns about public health). Next step: if Sovereign cannot responsibly complete its report until after December 15, when the supposed “clock” for a Planning Board decision runs out, then the Planning Board will be absolutely within its legal rights to deny AvalonBay’s application on the grounds of inadequate and insufficient information.

Jane Buttars

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

I want to thank the people of Princeton for electing me as your mayor. And I especially want to thank my amazing campaign team, including Walter Bliss, Sue Nemeth, Chad Goerner, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, Helen Heintz, Bob and Betty Fleming, Peter Wolanin, Dan Preston, Jon Durbin, Anne Burns, Sarah Lewis Smith, John Cashman, and the newly elected members of council: Jo Butler, Jenny Crumiller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Bernie Miller, and Patrick Simon. I also want to thank my opponent, Dick Woodbridge, who has a long record of service to the community and who ran a strong campaign. Now that the election is over, it is time for us to come together for the benefit of the community. As mayor I will listen to everyone and represent everyone.

Consolidation presents us with a tremendous opportunity to both save money and improve the job we do. I look forward to working with the new council and the community to seize upon these opportunities and to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

We are still collecting applications for our volunteer boards and commissions. Volunteering as a commissioner or board member is a great way to give back to our town, and the work will be especially interesting and rewarding in the coming years in light of consolidation. For an application and more information, go to: www.princetonnj.gov.

Liz Lempert

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor,

I am writing to thank the voters of Princeton for voting in the recent election. Despite the difficulties caused by the storm, Princeton once again proved itself an engaged and involved community by still making it out to the polls. I appreciate the support I received and will be honored to serve on the new Princeton Council. I look forward to working with the community to achieve the promise of consolidation: fiscal savings, enhanced services, and a more efficient government.

To that end, I encourage all those interested in participating in the consolidated government to apply to serve on one of the municipal boards, committees, and commissions, all of which will be reconstituted in the New Year; applications can be found at www.princetonnj.gov.

Heather Howard

Aiken Avenue

To the Editor,

I want to thank Princetonians for electing me to the new Princeton Council. It is an honor to serve you. Our new beginning presents a golden opportunity for positive change. With our new mayor and fellow council members, I will work diligently to fulfill the promises of our united Princeton.

Jenny Crumiller

Library Place

To the Editor:

On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I want to thank the citizens of Princeton for their support of the open space tax ballot question in our recent election. The outcome was compelling: almost 77 percent voted “yes” for a blended open space tax of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which will continue to raise the same amount of annual funding, post-consolidation, as the two municipalities together raised before.

The open space tax has already helped us to preserve almost 290 acres of land, as well as to develop athletic fields at Smoyer Park. Friends of Princeton Open Space looks forward to working with the town of Princeton, the state Green Acres fund, our non-profit partners, and generous individual donors to put the open space tax funds to good use protecting land in the future.

We are grateful to live in a community that is so supportive of open space preservation.

Wendy L. Mager, President

Friends of Princeton Open Space, Inc.

To the Editor:

On behalf of the district election workers whose districts were moved to Jadwin Gym on Nov. 6, I would like to express sincere appreciation to Princeton University and, in particular, to Kristen Appelget and her staff for their very generous assistance and hospitality.

They helped in a number of important ways. They set aside plenty of parking for workers and voters, and had people there in the wee hours of the morning to guide us. They arranged all of the voting machines and furniture into a well-organized set-up for the seven districts. And, most importantly because of this year’s redrawn districts and because of the storm, they had complete lists of registered voters and guided them to the correct voting places. They even supplied generous nourishment for the tired election workers.

Our heartfelt thanks!

John Schivell

District Election Judge, Princeton District 20

To the Editor:

I was very interested to read both Anne Levin’s piece (“Five Year Strategic Plan Outlined at Sexuality Education Fundraiser,” p. 7, Oct. 17) and the co-authored reply proposing a public debate on sex education (“Supporters of Abstinence Education Dispute Claims in Recent Article. Ask For Public Debate,” Mailbox, Oct. 24). While a student at Princeton University several years ago, my classmates and I founded a student group that aimed to enrich the University’s sexual health programming by providing additional resources on building healthy relationships and on the benefits of sexual abstinence. The students we represented and served came from a variety of educational, ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds, and some did not practice any faith at all. But all shared the same frustration. The sex education they had received prior to college and continued to receive while at Princeton was failing them. My peers found that they struggled to understand the role of sex within the greater context of human intimacy, and that their education – and the habits and attitudes that spawned from it — left them ill-equipped when pursuing more significant romantic relationships.

From my undergraduate and professional experience, I know the importance of educating young men and women to be confident in and responsible with their sexuality. And I have seen the effect their sexual education can have on their ability to relate to others in a meaningful and deeply personal way. I enthusiastically support the proposal for a public debate on sex education, because it is essential that we — as parents and as a community — honestly evaluate our programs and how it prepares our youth to be confident men and women who are able to develop successful and stable relationships down the road.

Cassandra Hough

Loetscher Place

To the Editor:

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Emergency Management Team, the Police and Fire Departments, Rescue Squads, and all of the municipal employees for their tireless work on behalf of the residents of the Borough and Township. Not only did they do yeoman’s service in preparing us all for the devastating storm that was predicted to hit our town, but they were on the job during and in the immediate aftermath of the storm. In more than one instance, these folks had personal situations related to the storm that were set aside in order that they could do their jobs bringing our town back to life as quickly as possible.

I have worked with many of our municipal employees over the past few years and I know that they are dedicated and hardworking and have the interests of the residents at heart. But their dedication to duty during the storm and in its aftermath far surpasses anything written in their job descriptions. Thank you one and all!

Barbara Trelstad

President, Princeton Borough Council

To the Editor:

At this year’s UFAR 5K to Combat Riverblindness, more than 100 runners helped to keep people from going blind in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are grateful to the Princeton Theological Seminary for hosting the start and finish of this race, which goes through some of Princeton’s loveliest scenery. Our sponsors also included Merck, Princeton United Methodist Church, Princeton Eye Group, Sight Savers International, Road ID, Rocky Hill Inn, Songbird Capital, Trader Joe’s, and Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center.

All runners received T-shirts, and we were able to give nine prizes, thanks to the generosity of these donors: Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Anthony Rabara Pilates Studio, Rocky Hill Yoga, Forest Jewelers, Princeton Running Company, Landau of Princeton, and the Optical Gallery of Princeton. Race results and photos are posted at www.riverblindness.org.

UFAR is the African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit charitable organization that aims — in partnership with other organizations — to eradicate onchocerciasis, known as riverblindness. This is a horrific disease that causes severe itching and, eventually, leads to blindness by the age of 40. It afflicts more than 13 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to the World Health Organization, the disease can be eradicated by 2020. The medicine for riverblindness is provided free by Merck & Co., but distributing it to remote villages is difficult yet only costs 58 cents per person per year for 10 years.

Daniel Shungu,

Founder, UFAR

Charles Phillips and Liz Meggitt,

Race co-chairs

To the Editor:

We need to have a community discussion about our unreliable utility system and the possibility of putting utility wires underground over a 5 or 10 year period. I’ve been told it’s too costly. The threat to public health and life, the economic loss to our businesses and to residents who cannot get to work, is also very costly. With climate change and increasing numbers and severity of destructive weather events likely in the future, we should get ahead of the situation rather than being in reaction mode with each event. That is also very costly in staff use, and time and equipment.

New developments here and elsewhere have underground wires. We can start the process in currently developed areas of Princeton and move gradually over a period of years as necessary. But we need to get started in early 2013 in discussing this issue and see what can be done and not allow it to fade as this latest emergency gets dimmer in our memories.

We need local leadership in getting this discussion started soon with our engineering and other technical staff as well as with PSE&G and knowledgeable and interested residents.

In the larger context, such infrastructure improvements will also create much needed jobs and help our overall economy.

Grace Sinden

Ridgeview Circle

November 7, 2012

To the Editor:

In the words of Bill Sword, Jr., thank you for all of your tender mercies.

In the midst of the chaos and devastation that our community experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, our family was embraced with extraordinary love, care and thoughtfulness.

On behalf of our entire family, we want to thank the Princeton Police and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, who risked their lives in the storm to come to Bill’s aid, our incredible Princeton community of friends, and especially our Nassau Presbyterian Church family for the warmth that you brought to all of us during this very difficult time.

With our deepest gratitude,

The Sword Family

To the Editor:

The residents of the Bouvant/White Oak/Stuart neighborhood would like to thank PSE&G for all they have done to restore our power. We realize that this was the worst storm in their history and their task was monumental. Yet under these extreme circumstances, they quickly prioritized what needed to be done and then carefully, safely, and expeditiously started bringing power back. Everyone that we dealt with at PSE&G, from the people working in the streets to those manning the phones, to management, were nothing but helpful and professional during this catastrophe. We also appreciated the status reports, even when we weren’t happy with what we heard. Job well done.

Faye and Hamed Abdou, Amy Borovoy, Jonathan Morduch, Sherri and Vic Garber, Ruth and Rob Goldston, Mary Anne and

Don Greenberg, Adam and Irina Irgon,

Susan and Ashok Kapoor, Sheila and Suresh Kumar, Indrani and Rajiv Malhotra, Carol and Myron Mehlman, Jill Morrison, Greg Peel, Karen Ohringer,

Henry Echeverria, Reba Orszag,

Candace and Marvin Preston,

Carol Rosenthal, Helene and

Paul Shapiro, Sheila Siderman, Jerry Palin, Ann and Rudy Skalka, Naomi Vilko,

Sid Goldfarb, Hui and John Weihe.

The Bouvant/White Oak/Stuart neighborhood

To the Editors:

My children and I were among the lucky beneficiaries of the Princeton Public Library’s generosity in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I am writing to extend my deepest thanks to every one of the staff who worked tirelessly and selflessly (long hours without breaks and food) to provide a comfortable, fun, clean, and supportive environment for all of us camped out there. You were no doubt personally affected by the storm yet you managed to not only get to work but to show those of us gathered there remarkable compassion, patience, and kindness. I will never forget — and will always be inspired by — you.

Liz Erickson

Howe Circle

To the Editors:

I am writing to thank the Princeton Public Library for its generosity in the days following the storm. I imagine that in many other communities there was really no place to go, but in Princeton we could come down to the library, recharge our cell phones, check email, warm up, read in the light, and even have a cup of coffee. In fact, I’m still here at the library writing this letter a week after the storm. Thank you to the library staff for your patience and kindness amidst the hordes of people and to the administration for making the generous decision to open your doors wide, not just to Princeton residents, but to the greater community as well.

Susan Danoff

Clover Lane

To the Editor:

Princeton has survived yet another storm, and this was one for the record books. We’re grateful for the tireless efforts of our first responders and utility crews, who had their hands full. In addition, we would like to acknowledge the special contributions made by a few local institutions and businesses that went beyond the call of duty to make this ordeal more manageable: the Princeton Public Library, whose staff graciously accommodated the multitudes that descended on the library to study, to commune with their fellow townspeople, to recharge their batteries and to seek that elusive wi-fi; McCaffrey’s, whose giant generator allowed them to keep us supplied with food and ice, as well as another refuge for charging batteries and staying warm; Smith’s Ace Hardware, whose flashlight-wielding sales personnel led us through the darkened shelves to find needed supplies; and WWFM whose staff managed to keep the station on the air, providing beautiful music to accompany our candlelight dinners. Thank you.

Bill and Joanne Dix

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

AvalonBay demands a building for 324 units (to maximize profits) for the bonus of 44 over 280 originally planned. They want only 17.3 percent affordable housing units, seeking to override the Master Plan and Borough Code, which admirably stipulate 20 percent. They want more floors than the International Fire Code permits.

AvalonBay wants to do less in other areas: less sustainable building than the Master Plan’s (MP) goal for new or remodeled buildings as “models of environmental, economic and social stewardship” (2006 MP, page 39). They’ve committed publicly only to using EnergyStar appliances, stating that they’ll discuss other green, sustainable measures “at the appropriate time” — unnamed: a refrain echoed March 2012. And almost zero public open space, despite Borough Code requirements.

Aggressive withholding of information has been an AvalonBay method. At the SPRAB meeting on October 10, 2012, they provided so few documents that SPRAB Board member Harry Cooke remarked that “given the fact that items such as reports requested by the PEC and engineer, use of the garage and traffic studies are not complete, and particularly that the design does not meet the established Princeton Design Standards, he could not, in good conscience recommend that the Planning Board approve this application” (SPRAB Report, 10/20/12, pp. 4-5). Ron Ladell, for AvalonBay, said all questions would be answered in a “letter”; he did not say when.

Probably not in time for municipal staff or committees to consider the responses. People should know that AvalonBay turned in replies to Borough and Township engineer’s reports so late that staff could not review them before the first Planning Board meeting on October 25. The replies that came in are refusenik: everyone should hang tight until formal “testimony” before the Board — including issues about parking calculations, ADA — compliant parking spaces, fire protection information (for this all-wood building), the physical connection between the garage and the apartment complex, etc. Right now, there’s still no accurate Environmental Impact Statement (requested by Derek Bridger at PEC on October 10), and no complete Traffic Impact Study.

The Planning Board should push back against such disrespectful shenanigans and repudiate AvalonBay’s attempt to intimidate the community. AvalonBay claims that, because it has finally consented to build 20 percent affordable housing (Code requirements), every moment lost before an approval is granted is somehow a communal violation of an “inherently beneficial use” of the hospital site (for affordable units). This is nonsense. So is Avalon’s calculated withholding of information necessary for Princeton staff and Planning Board members to conduct a responsible review. Yes, 20 percent affordable housing is beneficial; and yes, Princeton will follow its own Code, and any developer will have to provide it.

But of course AvalonBay’s Princeton is not our “Princeton.” Its “private community” would be named “AvalonPrinceton.” Are we ready to have the new consolidated town’s name absorbed into a monolith that defies years of intelligent urban planning?

Helmut Schwab

Westcott Road

To the Editor:

Princetonians should know that AvalonBay has rashly misrepresented plain facts about the Borough Code related to the old hospital site. At the Planning Board meeting on Oct. 25, 2012, Jeremy Lang (for AvalonBay) stated that “The garage has nothing to do with design standards.” He was seconded by Anne Studholme, attorney for AvalonBay.

Both people are incorrect. The garage will abut seamlessly against the new apartment complex (if the Planning Board votes to approve the application). The “location” of the seamless join is in Princeton Borough; it is consequently governed by Borough Code. That Code stipulates that “the development shall have an enhanced system of public open spaces and pathways that provide linkages between and through the development” (17A-193B.d.4; see also d.1).

As the SPRAB report of 10/10/2012 indicates, the seamless abutment of residential complex and garage in fact eliminates the present public walkway from Witherspoon Street to Harris Road. If AvalonBay insists on closing off this public linkage, it must surely consent to provide others — and thus break up the monolithic cubes. Because the garage would become an appendage to the residences, enlarging the total overall footprint, the Planning Board needs to understand that the AvalonBay site plan is a direct and unacceptable violation of the Borough Code.

A development designed to be fully open to public access “crossing the site” is what the 2006 Master Plan envisages. Countless individuals spent hundreds of hours (and meetings) contributing to the plan. Barry Rabner, president and CEO of the Medical Center, through his architect-consultant Robert Hillier, “signed on” to the plan (as transcripts of Planning Board hearings show), in exchange for an excessive density of 280 units.

The design standards for the site define any development on this property. A stipulation such as the public’s ability to “[cross] the site” can be demonstrated by eye, hand, or foot. Either you can or can’t walk through and between the buildings. The design standards are written in such a way that a single monolithic building is not allowed — unless the present seven-story towers are sustainably retained.

The Planning Board must understand that the garage cannot be evaluated without reference to design standards in Borough Code and that there should be only one application.

The Planning Board must also follow these principles: 1) Design standards are not “vague” or “subjective” (as some have carelessly stated) — “crossing the site” is very specific. 2) The burden of proving that a design standard is “vague” or “subjective” falls on the developer, not on the municipality in whose code the standard is embodied. 3) The only legitimate venue in which a developer’s claim of “vagueness” or “subjectivity” can be upheld or denied is a court of law. 4) The only person who can sustain or dismiss such a claim is a judge.

I call upon the Planning Board to honor its responsibilities to Princeton, to invoke design standards wherever appropriate, and to deny the AvalonBay application completely.

The next Planning Board meeting falls on November 15, 2012. Please come and speak.

Cecil Marshall

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Between 2010 and 2012 the Township’s tax rate remained flat but the County tax rate increased by 5.6 percent and the Regional School tax rate increased by 9.13 percent. We just heard (Packet of 10/19/12) that the Consolidation Task Force revised its estimate of 2013 savings up to $2.2 million. Should we go out and celebrate? Absolutely not.

Future taxes in the new Princeton will continue to go up even if the new mayor and Council will find a way to keep the future tax rates unchanged. That is because we have no say in what the county does, nor have we any jurisdiction over the schools’ budget. We have a history of past Township Committees failing to exert pressure on the Board of Education to reduce expenses and lessen the burden imposed on the middle class of Princeton.

Lest we forget Princeton University, and all other federally tax exempt institutions, that own about 53 percent of all land in Princeton, where we go to every year, hat in hand, begging for a few kopecks with scant results.

Just look at the numbers, the school bond cost of carry in 2013 will be more than $1.2 million and the rise of normal school expenses due to contractual obligations (salaries, pensions, etc) may probably go up close to a million dollars, wiping out all the savings that consolidation worked so hard to achieve.

Yes, the new mayor and Council have no jurisdiction over the School Board, the county and all federally tax exempt institutions that are part of Princeton. But unless they are willing to exert great pressure on all these entities. Unless the school system will reduce its annual 3 percent tax rate rise. Unless the University which has about a $17 billion endowment fund will find its way to increase its annual PILOT payments to about 25 percent of the estimated $28 million tax bill they would have had if not for the federal exemption. If nothing changes, the middle class in Princeton will be forced to either reduce their standard of living or sell their houses and move to another town.

We should be aware that for middle class senior citizens and retirees the average property taxes in Princeton are larger than their average Social Security payments. We can not increase their taxes year after year.

The new mayor and Council must address this problem with the same urgency as they will address consolidation. In ten years, if we continue as in the past, the tax rate will be up another 50 percent and Princeton will be a town without a middle class. The time to act is NOW.

Ralph Perry

Random Road

November 6, 2012

To the Editor:

It is very important for Princeton citizens to vote ‘yes’ on November 6 on the ballot question about continuing our open space tax (OST). The Township first passed its open space tax in 1997, with the Borough following in 2001. The tax has been instrumental in preserving at least 289 acres of open space, as well as helping to develop recreational facilities at Smoyer Park and to maintain existing parks. The preserved lands include Coventry Farm on the Great Road (92 acres conservation easement, 50 acres purchased in fee); Greenway Meadows Park on Rosedale Road (53 acres purchased); Tusculum Farm on Cherry Hill Road (35 acres purchased, 6+ acres conservation easement); the Ricciardi property between Terhune and Bunn Drive (14+ acres purchased); and the Gulick property between Princeton-Kingston Road, River Road and Herrontown Road (27.5 acres purchased, 11.6-acre conservation easement).

The proposal would authorize a “consolidated” tax of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which would keep funding level to what it is now with the two separate taxes. We need these funds to be eligible for Green Acres 50 percent matching grants, as well as to match grants from the County. These funds will be critical for acquiring over 350 acres of additional lands and trail linkages identified for protection in our joint community Master Plan. Importantly, the OST gives Princeton the financial flexibility to be able to strike while the iron is hot, to acquire tracts that are needed to maintain our clean lakes and streams, for protection from flooding, and for the preservation of critical habitat.

The 1.7-cent Open Space Tax was recommended by the Transition Task Force and is supported by both mayoral candidates. It will help maintain the quality of life we treasure in Princeton for the future. We urge everyone to vote “yes” for it on November 6.

Wendy L. Mager President

Friends of Princeton Open Space

Dear Editor:

What wonderful open spaces we in Princeton have preserved over the years. We have protected natural habitats and critical wetlands, sweeping meadows and pristine woodlands – Mountain Lakes, The Institute Woods, Coventry Farm, Greenway Meadows and Barbara Smoyer Park to name just a few. Our many successful preservation projects in the 21st century have been realized thanks to our municipal open space taxes and partnerships with D&R Greenway Land Trust, the Friends of Princeton Open Space, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Mercer County and the State of New Jersey’s Green Acres program.

On November 6 we have an opportunity to make certain that open space preservation continues in Princeton. As a current board member of the D&R Greenway Land Trust and a former mayor of Princeton Township, I urge voters to vote “yes” on the Open Space ballot question in the upcoming election. I’m also a long-time resident who so enjoys the open spaces that we have successfully preserved over the years. Let’s continue the good work of Princeton Township, Princeton Borough and our nonprofit and government partners in preserving open space in our community by voting “yes” on November 6.

Cate Litvack

Laurel Road

To the Editor:

Princeton residents have an important opportunity to protect clean water and the environment on Election Day. A “yes” vote for the Princeton Open Space Trust Fund public question will continue Princeton’s long, successful tradition of land preservation. The Princeton Community has made great strides in preserving a variety of types of lands to protect clean water and the environment and provide both active and passive recreation for residents. For that to continue, voters must act.

The job of preserving land in Princeton is not complete. In fact there are several hundred acres that are neither developed nor protected. Building on these areas would cause more congestion, more traffic, and require more costly services, while preserving land protects our water and our quality of life.

A “yes” vote for the Princeton Open Space Trust Fund public question will continue the open space levy after consolidation of the new Princeton is complete. All residents of the consolidated town will pay the same rate of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed property value, about $1.60 a week on a $500,000 home. Under the ballot measure, roughly the same amount of funding will be available for open space protection and management as is currently collected by the Township and the Borough.

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with Princeton on a number of preservation efforts and with a “yes” vote on November 6 is eager to continue that partnership. We are proud to have supported the establishment of the Princeton Ridge Preserve to further protect the mature forests, abundant wetlands, steep slopes, and boulder fields, the Princeton Ridge, among the most important and sensitive environmental features in central New Jersey. We are eager to help continue that effort and to help protect additional lands along the town’s streams, an important strategy for protecting clean water and protecting against worsening flooding.

The Watershed Association has worked to protect clean water and a healthy environment in central New Jersey region through conservation, advocacy, science, and education since 1949. Learn more about us at thewatershed.org.

Jim Waltman

Executive Director, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

To the Editor:

I write this letter in strong support of Dick Woodbridge for Mayor of our consolidated Princeton. As a former Democrat Councilman, I worked with Dick on Borough Council, and I have known him for many years after that.

It’s fair to say that Dick has much more government experience and community involvement than his opponent, and this expertise is very important if we’re going to be successful in making consolidation work.

But I want to underscore an equally important fact about Dick — his ingrained sense of fairness and inclusion. In my view, these have not been the hallmarks of the politics we’ve had in the Princetons over the past several years.
I encourage your readers to take very seriously Dick’s proven ability to listen to and work with folks of diverse backgrounds and different views.

A mayor’s term is four years. We need to get the right mayor who can get us through the transition to a well-adjusted, highly-functional consolidated Princeton. Dick’s the best candidate to be the right mayor.

Gus Escher

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

In any election season when voters are often drawn to support their choice of candidates solely on the purported political promises or positions of the candidate it seems that the issue of character may often be overlooked either completely or given lesser importance than the politics.

Accordingly, Richard Woodbridge deserves strong consideration by voters if only by the quality of his character.

Local politics often become identified with state and national party positions at the expense of electing a representative who genuinely qualifies as the best local candidate. Richard Woodbridge is one who understands Princeton and has the experience as a longtime resident and business person in the community; and more importantly has been and will be an elected official who is willing and capable of compromise and honest dialogue among those of opposing views while keeping in mind the long term benefits due the community as a whole.

The integrity and honest forthrightness that Richard Woodbridge has demonstrated in the past as mayor of Princeton Twp. and a successful business resident in the community clearly identifies him as one who can be trusted to do what is best for the community as a whole disregarding private interests and those with absolute uncompromising ideologies.

I am pleased to present this opinion of Richard Woodbridge as a 35-year resident of the greater Princeton area community, former New Jersey teacher, school superintendent and director of various nonprofit public service organizations in our area.

Robert A Freda, Ed.D.

Andover Drive

To the Editor:

We are running for Council in the consolidated Princeton and strongly support Liz Lempert for Mayor. We have worked closely with Liz and seen her leadership, commitment, and vision for Princeton. We believe she has the right experience to lead Princeton and together, we can achieve the promise of consolidation.

As Deputy Mayor of Princeton Township, Liz has an unsurpassed record of results for taxpayers. The Township has had two consecutive years of no tax increases, and is one of the few municipalities in New Jersey to maintain a AAA bond rating. She also has promoted sustainability and environmental protection, spearheading efforts to preserve the Princeton Ridge. And she was a leader in the effort to approve consolidation last year and since then has worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition.

Time and again, we have seen Liz work to find common ground on contentious issues by listening and developing solutions that work for the community. She has the right experience to lead us in the new Princeton. We hope you will join us in supporting her for Mayor.

Jo Butler,

Hibben Road

Jenny Crumiller,

Library Place

Heather Howard,

Aiken Avenue

Lance Liverman,

Witherspoon Street

Bernie Miller,

Governor’s Lane

Patrick Simon,

Harriet Drive

To the Editor:

We in Princeton are very fortunate to have such a hard-working and decent Assemblywoman as Donna Simon. In the few months she has represented the 16th Legislative District, she has established an outstanding record of accomplishments:

• Route 1 Corridor: Donna successfully worked behind the scenes to reverse the NJDOT closure of the jug-handles.

• Consolidation Relief: Donna is a prime sponsor for consolidation relief, easing the costs of transition for the people of Princeton.

• Earned Income Tax Credit: Donna is a prime sponsor of a bill that raises the Earned Income Tax Credit back up to 25 percent. This bill will greatly help working families make ends meet- many of whom are working two or more jobs.

• Tax Rebates: Donna is a prime sponsor for a property tax rebate on your state income tax.

• School Funding: Assemblywoman Simon is asking tough questions about school funding, “Where’s the money going with our schools, because it isn’t reaching the classrooms.” She’s fighting hard for students and teachers alike.

• Economic Growth: Donna is outspoken in her support for smart growth, championing economic development on the municipal, county, and state levels.

• Pro Business Groups and Unions Endorse Donna: Donna has earned the endorsement of PENPAC, NEW JOBS, Operating Engineers, and IBEW.

• Donna is a “big tent” Assemblywoman who serves ALL the people of her district: Donna readily reaches out across the aisle for the benefit of her constituents and the people of New Jersey.

Donna Simon is decent, dedicated, delivers and has thus earned our votes this November.

Bonnie and Mark Scheibner

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

Anyone who has contacted Liz Lempert during her tenure as a Committee Woman and Deputy Mayor, knows that she is accessible, open-minded, knowledgeable, hard-working, and thorough. We have approached her about several issues and have found her to be a thoughtful, engaged listener who addresses concerns with well-reasoned responses supported by facts, explaining her reasoning with analysis of all possible solutions. Her skills have served Princeton well as she addressed the highly nuanced and multi-faceted issues facing the township, not the least of which were consolidation and negotiating the first voluntary contribution from the university. Liz has been involved in the consolidation process from the start and is the only candidate for mayor who can hit the ground running during the first year of consolidation, where recent experience and institutional knowledge about the complex decisions made during the process will be most critical.

Equally important, Liz has been a leader and innovator with ideas that have moved Princeton forward in many areas. When we moved back to Princeton 20 years ago, Dick Woodbridge was in his last year as the Republican mayor of the Township, and Princeton was a very different place. For years after our return, we found Princeton to be behind comparable neighboring and college towns in terms of recycling, biking, and sustainability. In the last four years, Liz has been actively involved in moving Princeton forward into the 21st century in these areas—preserving open space, achieving certification from Sustainable Jersey, promoting safe bicycling, and establishing the curbside composting program—while holding taxes flat for the last several years. She has an impressive record of success in achieving environmental, budgetary, town/gown, and technology goals.

Liz has earned our votes, and we hope you will join us in making her unified Princeton’s first mayor.

Ann Summer, Mark Feigenson

Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

I am enthusiastically supporting Geoff Aton for Princeton Council. Geoff’s background in business and finance will help to ensure that the ambitious goals of municipal consolidation will be realized to the taxpayers’ benefit. His open-minded approach to the issues at hand, willingness to listen to both sides of an argument and sound judgment, are just what we need in a climate of local governance which too often seems to get side-tracked by personal agendas and rancor.

Geoff is a graduate of Villanova University and is a partner with the owners of Princeton’s Ivy Inn. His previous experience was with large firms in the financial field. He is a current member of the Princeton Township Zoning Board. Geoff is deeply involved in his community, a strong supporter of our public schools and believes in having a council that will be the voice of the people.

I urge all my fellow Princetonians to join me in voting for Geoff. I particularly urge my Democratic Party friends to cross over and cast one of your six Council votes for Geoff. With Geoff on a more inclusive, transparent and diverse Council, his fresh perspective can only result in better decision-making and outcomes.

Please give Geoff Aton the opportunity to work for you.

Carol Wojciechowicz

Former Princeton Township Committeewoman,

Herrontown Road

To the Editor,

Having worked with every member of this year’s Democratic slate for the new Princeton municipal council and mayor, we feel lucky to have the opportunity to vote for this stellar group of individuals: Liz Lempert, Jo Butler, Jenny Crumiller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Bernie Miller, and Patrick Simon. They represent a true cross section of the Princeton community – tradition-embracing long-time residents and energetic, forward-looking relative newcomers; policy wonks and big-hearted big-picture types; wise seniors and engaged parents of school-age children. Amidst all this diversity they have one thing in common – a devotion to our community which boggles the mind. They have collectively logged thousands of hours just over the past year in service to Princeton, and over the course of their lives in public service, many times that amount. Sometimes they agree on the issues, sometimes not, but they always share a mutual respect that allows them to work effectively together and get things done for the benefit of all Princeton residents. We urge you to vote for every one of them, not because of their party affiliation, but because the absence of any one of these gifted and dedicated public servants from our new government would be a grave loss to the community.

David & Liz Cohen

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

Princeton is going through a remarkable transformation as it continues on its way toward becoming a single unified community. There is a lot still to be worked out, and we are fortunate with the Democratic candidates that are running together for the new Council. They may be in a single slate, but it would be hard to find a more diverse group of people. Each one comes with a different background, different experiences, and different interests. Financial experience, management experience, government experience, business experience, it’s all there.

I look forward to voting for Bernie, Heather, Jenny, Jo, Lance, Pat, and, of course, for Liz!

Peter Lindenfeld

Harris Road