February 26, 2014

To the Editor:

I was quite surprised to see a contested Democratic primary. From my vantage point I felt Council was working well together with balanced representation from both the former Township and Borough. If both incumbents are doing a good job why have a contested primary?

For this reason, I am writing to voice my support for Councilwoman Jo Butler. She is both pragmatic in getting business done and idealistic in making sure that decisions follow best practices and are right for our new Town. She has a strong business background (MBA) and a grounding in our community. She is always prepared and always follows through.

During consolidation she served on the Transition Task Force and was a co-Founder of the first Citizens Finance Advisory Task Force in the Borough which has continued through consolidation. During her tenure on Borough Council there were no new taxes. With Jo’s input on Town Council, there has been a shrinking budget as well as a reduced municipal tax rate. Jo was responsible for the creation of a much needed Conflict of Interest Policy for Council. Now the Town will know where everyone on Council stands on important issues which affect our town.

We must ask ourselves, “do we want a “rubber stamp” Council or one which follows a thoughtful, collaborative process”. The choice is ours and for that reason, Jo Butler should be re-nominated and re-elected to Town Council.

Ruth Sayer

Library Place

 

To the Editor:

I really enjoyed reading the article on Princeton University students volunteering their time to tutor prisoners [Town Topics, Feb. 19, p. 5]. I find this idea to be extremely promising. Not only does it allow young college students to step outside of their norms and interact with people who they would have otherwise not be given the chance to interact with, but the idea of improving literacy within the prison community to the degree that one is able to get their high school diploma is simply wonderful.

With an estimated 63 percent of inmates unable to read, the need for help is urgent. Since much of the interaction that prisoners have with their families is done through letter writing, the gift of literacy could prove to help strengthen the relationships between prisoners and their children. The tutoring that these college students are providing is almost guaranteeing these inmates a brighter future. With hope, these new skills, as well obtaining certificates of diplomacy, will be just the motivation these inmates need to put their lives on the right path.

I thank you for bringing this issue to reader’s attention, and hope that it inspires other universities to follow suit.

Jenica Heron

California State University, Northridge

Communication Studies Student

To the Editor:

I endorse Jo Butler for Princeton Town Council. Jo has worked tirelessly for the citizens of Princeton to assure that our tax dollars are well spent. She is a master of the fine print! Jo does not shy away from the difficult and sometimes tedious task of reviewing contracts and budgets. When something seems “off,” she is not afraid to ask pointed questions and to pursue her inquiry until she is satisfied that nothing is amiss. In fact, Jo addresses all challenges — big and small — by reading and listening, gaining a full and clear understanding of the issue at hand, before determining her position.

I was involved with Jo in the planning process for our new pool complex. As the Borough Council representative to the Recreation Department, Jo listened to citizens’ concerns and opened up a discussion that proved to be beneficial to everyone. If it hadn’t been for Jo and the Borough Council, we would be swimming in a stainless steel tub not unlike a kitchen sink!

I am discouraged by the direct attack on Jo, and the public campaign to oust her. Such divisive tactics do not belong in a newly united town. I have confidence that the citizens of Princeton will squelch the mean-spirited politics threatening our community and vote for Jo. She is doing a great job!

Ellen Randall

Crooked Tree Lane

 

To the Editor:

If the Sustainable Princeton (SP) Great Ideas Breakfast on January 31 at Princeton Public Library is any indication, reducing waste in our community is important to many of us. While there are worthy ideas for waste reduction in the planning stages, there is an easy way we can decrease the damage that tossed plastics have on our environment right now, and by doing so, we can also support local schools.

Terracycle, the local company that “upcycles” conventionally not-recyclable materials into new and useful products (like kites, pencil cases, and speakers), is well known to many Princeton residents, but did you know how easy it is to save commonly used plastics from the landfill (and from finding their way into our water, food, and air) while benefitting local schools? Littlebrook and Community Park Elementary schools both participate in Terracycle ‘Brigades’ by which the school collects a particular item like dairy tubs (all types and brands of containers plus lids and foil tops) and receives money in return for mailing these items to Terracycle.

You need not have children at these schools to donate to their brigades, and the money the schools receive in return support programs such as the Edible Garden at Community Park or Littlebrook’s Joe Fund, which provides need-based summer camp scholarships. Ted Holstein, a teacher and the Terracycle coordinator at Littlebrook School indicated that in the past six years LB has collected 21,801 energy/granola bar wrappers resulting in $1,252 for the Joe Fund.

Can you imagine how much waste can be saved from the landfill (and how many more resultant dollars could be invested in our schools) if a larger portion of the community participated? Do you currently toss these items? Bring them to a local Terracycle brigade instead! Check PTO websites (Littlebrook: https://sites.google.com/site/littlebrookespto/fundraising/terracycle, Community Park: www.cppto.org/activities/go-green)websites for accepted items and dates.

The choice is simple: do we resign ourselves to an unhealthy planet by filling our land with trash, or do we choose to “upcycle” it while helping local schools?

Alexandra Bar-Cohen

Snowden Lane

 

February 19, 2014

To the Editor:

Currently the Garden Theater is showing The Monuments Men, the subject of which is the extraordinary effort by the Allies during World War II to protect, preserve, and restore Europe’s cultural heritage. Ironically, at the same time the building next door, one of the prime artifacts of Princeton’s cultural heritage, faces an uncertain fate. The Historical Society of Princeton, which has occupied Bainbridge House for almost 40 years, has announced its intention to vacate the building, without reference to any plan for its future. A spokesman for its owner, Princeton University, rather reluctantly concludes that the exterior will be preserved because the building is within a historic district covered by a local ordinance. The interior, however, the best-preserved 18th-century interior in Princeton, evidently can be modified or even totally removed to suit whatever use the University plans for the building.

Constance M. Greiff

Windrow Drive

To the Editor:

Roger Martindell’s letter of February 12, [Proposing an Open Democratic Primary To Offset PCDO’s Endorsement Meetings”] is correct in describing how a candidate can win the endorsement of the club. He is mistaken, however, in suggesting that this endorsement has any further implications in the primary race. It is bragging rights, but nothing more. The Democratic County Chair(wo)man decides who goes in the column and who is permitted to use the slogan: “Regular Democratic Organization.” The only group who is, by statute, empowered to advise the chair(wo)man is the Democratic County Committee. This committee is made up of one man and one woman from each election district, elected in the primary in each even-numbered year. And, in fact, it is these elected representatives who elect a chairperson one week after the primary. I hope this clarifies the situation. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the executive committee of the PCDO and the Democratic Committeewoman in District 5 of the consolidated municipality; I was the longtime Committeewoman for Township district 13.

Ginger Lennon

Pardoe Road

To the Editor:

Princeton needs leaders on Council who will work as a team of six to navigate the many decisions that still need to be made to realize the benefits of consolidation, while simultaneously delivering the best services possible to all of our citizens. That is why I am supporting Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller for Council.

I have been intimately involved in our consolidation: I was vice-chair of the Transition Task Force and am currently chair of Princeton’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee. For the last 15 years I have resided equally in both of our predecessors. I have seen all members of Council and candidates (and their predecessors) work with staff and each other and have worked with them all. I think that Sue will be a crucial addition to Council and that she and Bernie will bring stability, diplomacy, and leadership to our Council.

We have yet to tackle the most difficult tasks of consolidation: Police Department staffing and leadership; selecting our next Administrator — and whatever happened to the easy one of merging parks and recreation? — to name a few. We need teamwork and cooperation among our six elected members of Council. That is why I want Sue and Bernie together on council.

Finally, I want to thank our mayor, Liz Lempert, for the excellent job she has done in leading our consolidation under extremely challenging conditions. She deserves (and we deserve) better cooperation from Council. That is why I support Sue and Bernie.

Scott Sillars

Park Place

To the Editor:

We would like to correct some wrong assumptions made in a February 12 article concerning our forum, Navigating Life’s Issues, to be held on Sunday, February 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Princeton United Methodist Church. The forum will discuss how the United Methodist Church is roiled in controversy over its policy on same-sex marriages. Some churches and pastors strongly support same-sex weddings, but the current official stance bans clergy from performing, and churches from hosting, same-sex ceremonies.

The Town Topics article stated that the New Jersey bishop decided to “defrock” a pastor and remove his ordination. The correct facts are that this was done at a church trial in another state! And the New Jersey bishop has strenuously objected to these trials.

In fact, the forum will open with a video of the New Jersey bishop’s anguished response to the trial that removed Rev. Frank Schaefer’s ordination for officiating at the wedding of his son to another man.

We wish to emphasize that we are grateful for the usually excellent coverage that Town Topics has provided to the churches and nonprofit organizations in the community.

Members of the community are invited to the forum, which is free; it will be conducted by Dr. Don Brash in coffee shop style, with coffee and dessert available. Princeton United Methodist Church is located at the corner of Nassau Street at Vandeventer Avenue (609-924-2613, www.PrincetonUMC.org)

Dr. Don Brash, Marvin Ostberg

To the Editor:

Alas! Poor Sustainable Princeton does not seem to be able to do anything right [“Efforts by Sustainable Princeton to Address Problems May Be Inadequate, Misdirected,” Mailbox Feb. 12]. Rain barrels to provide water for lawns (invented in England: Full Stop, my wife is English) are promoting an anachronistic display of wealth. Collecting and hauling away organic materials for composting makes people feel good but “does not address the need to relocalize critical future resources.” Giving awards is obviously of dubious value since it “may give recipients a false sense of achievement.” Using meetings to allow “peddlers” to promote their wares opens the way for the hucksters among them to deceive naïve, emotionally vulnerable Princeton residents (of which there are multitudes, as we know). Promoting “environmental” books and films seems also suspect since they might not, after all, inspire us to act intelligently. And all of this does not really matter since runaway global warming may be inevitable, leading to the extinction of the human race.

I hope Sustainable Princeton recognizes all of these criticisms as a manifestation of the adage: “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished,” and continue to expand its efforts to promote a better environment.

As for us, we will continue to use our green dumpster to compost everything organic in our waste, eliminating visits to our compost heap by raccoons, rats, and other undesirables, and hope the program will expand to include apartment buildings and businesses. We will also continue to buy wind energy off the grid to run our heat pump to heat and cool our home and charge our battery-powered Leaf. This will not only virtually eliminate our local carbon emissions but also will opt us out of supporting mountaintop removal, hydraulic fracturing, nuclear power and nuclear waste and war and terrorism in the Middle East.

It is critical that we not fall for the despair, fatalism, and depression promoted by the climate doomsters and eager catastrophists. There is much everyone can do to be part of the solution to the extremely serious issues of climate change and empire. We need organizations like Sustainable Princeton to provide information and encouragement and to recognize local leadership so that each of us understands what our own contributions might be.

Alfred Cavallo

Western Way

To the Editor:

I am writing as a Princeton Council colleague of Jo Butler’s to wholeheartedly support her reelection. Jo is an outstanding council member. Having served as a Borough Council representative on the Transition Task Force, she worked effectively and collegially with citizens and staff to bring consolidation to fruition. Our successful first year as a new governing body is in no small part due to her thoughtful collaboration. In particular, she has carried forward to our new Council the focus on budget detail that saved us money in the Borough and has now saved us money under consolidation.

Jo is as responsive to constituents as she is rigorous in encouraging the Council to follow the highest standards of integrity in the governing process. She led the Council in calling for the creation of a written conflict of interest policy, which reduces confusion regarding an issue that has concerned many residents. She has been a consistent voice for fiscal prudence with a voting record to prove it. She has scrutinized our service contracts, identified billing discrepancies, and pressed us to conform to the New Jersey State Comptroller recommendations for best practices regarding legal services.

Jo has no agenda independent of what is best for the residents and voters of Princeton; she believes in the core democratic values of government that is open and responsive to citizen concerns. There are currently three people running for two seats on Council, all good Democrats, and we can all hope that this contest among friends and neighbors will show our party at its best through a positive discussion of the issues. I am supporting Jo because of her crucial contributions to Council’s work in our first year under consolidation that have served us all well. There is no good reason why she should not be reelected, and there are many compelling reasons to elect her to a second term.

Princeton residents are fortunate to have Jo representing them. Democrats who want to take an active role in the election process should join the Princeton Community Democratic Organization by March 16 in order to take part in its endorsement election on March 30.

Jenny Crumiller

Library Place

To the Editor:

This letter is written because of a random act of kindness that occurred over the Christmas holidays. Every year my family takes pride in placing out hundreds of lights and countless decorations to show our love and appreciation for what Christmas means to us. We truly are thankful for all we have and enjoy sharing with family and friends. This Christmas though, something special happened as someone left two cards (Joy and Peace) in our mailbox with a handwritten note that made me tear up and touched my heart.

The letter indicated that they had had a difficult day and evening when for some reason they traveled past our house. The writer went on to say that they stopped and backed up their car and sat and stared at the decorations, feeling joyful and moved enough to pen this personal note. They also placed a gift card in the envelope with a big Thank You! and signed it “A Princeton Neighbor.”

Being very moved by this act of kindness, I have bought two new angel decorations for next year, one Joy and the other Peace, to say thank you to that unknown Princeton Neighbor! This Christmas, I hope you stop and knock on the door and come in and share with us all the magic of Christmas!

Angela Baldino and Family

Leavitt Lane

February 12, 2014

To the Editor:

Recent letters to the Editor have showcased the competition for the local Democratic club endorsement for Princeton Council between former Borough resident Jo Butler and a slate of former Township residents, Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth. Some see the choice anachronistically, as “Borough” versus “Township”. Princetonians of all stripes might welcome an alternative candidate selection process: an open Democratic primary this June.

It’s no secret that local Democrats control Princeton government. Less well known is that the local Democratic club (the PCDO) traditionally controls the primary and general elections by deciding at its March endorsement meeting whom to support for placement in the “Democratic” column and to whom to award the ballot label “Regular Organization Democrat.” Chances are, if you win the club vote in March, you get the favored ballot position and label in the June primary, which is tantamount to winning the general election in November.

Who votes in the PCDO’s endorsement meeting? In addition to 200-300 party stalwarts, the meeting may be packed by 50-100 “friends” of a particular candidate who, for as little as a $5 membership fee and a promise to show up on one night in March, “endorse” their candidate. These one-nighters may have no knowledge of the training, experience, temperament, values or commitment of their own candidate (much less other candidates) and no knowledge of local issues or the candidates’ stand on the issues.

The candidate who packs the PCDO meeting in March with the most buddies likely wins the PCDO endorsement — and consequently wins the favored position and label on the primary ballot, the primary itself, and the general election. It’s a peculiar way for a community of 30,000 to determine its political leadership.

This year, a better approach to selecting local candidates would be an open primary in June, with all Democratic candidates placed in the Democratic column without endorsement.

Recently, the PCDO and the Democratic municipal committee (about 40 persons) have been taking significant steps to liberalize the candidate selection process, for which they are to be applauded. Yet much work remains to be done. The anachronistic “Borough” versus “Township” Council contest taking shape this year presents a rare opportunity to consider an open primary in this nearly one-party town.

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

I just read the Town Topics obituary of the passing of Mrs. Ida Perna, whom I did not have the honor of knowing. It brought to mind all the Italian immigrants, and the first generation Italian-Americans that I knew when I lived in Princeton. I went to school, played ball, and worked with the Pernas, Sfarras, Ninis, DiMeglios, Tamasis, Mennellas, Cifellis, and Panelees. May they forgive me if I’ve left any out or mangled the spelling of their names. But I wonder if many Princetonians today, especially those new to the area, are aware of the huge contribution and legacy that some of the first Italians who came to Princeton left for us to appreciate. Many came from several areas of Italy that were steeped in the traditions and skills of stone cutting and masonry. Early in the 20th century several local construction companies, encouraged by Princeton University’s building program, brought these artisans to Princeton, where they built beautiful buildings, many emulated elsewhere. For many, I’m sure, it was a pulling apart of families, with the hope of a future reunion. May I suggest if you know an Italian family, ask them to tell you their story, how grandfather Sal made his way here, how the Italian community, like many immigrant groups, kept together in a strange land, how the incredible gardens they keep today are part of their heritage. And maybe as important, that they teach their kids Italian, maybe the best way to retain it all.

Eric Mihan

Kennebunk, Maine

To the Editor:

In just the second month of 2014, dirty water reports are an all too common occurrence, with major chemical and coal ash spills into drinking water sources in West Virginia and North Carolina, respectively. Here, in New Jersey, the majority of our waterways violate clean water standards for drinking, swimming, and fishing on a regular basis.

Water pollution in central Jersey includes bacteria and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Stormwater, rain and snow melt, wash these pollutants from the land and carry them to our waterways. By allowing new developments to proceed without proper regulations, water pollution in New Jersey will worsen.

That’s why the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, in partnership with seven other environmental groups, filed a petition this week requesting that the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) strengthen the requirements to control pollution and support cleaner drinking, swimming, and fishing waters.

The Watershed Association and other groups argue that New Jersey’s storm water rules are not meeting the requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act and should therefore be improved to protect and restore our waterways. New Jersey’s current storm water permits, set to expire on February 28, 2014, have proven ineffective in restoring clean water. Since New Jersey last updated these permits, states and cities around the country have used green infrastructure, such as the rain gardens which we are constructing to manage stormwater from our new environmental center, to reduce polluted runoff. New Jersey residents deserve clean water, and in filing this petition, the Watershed Association is working hard to protect and restore that water.

Jennifer M. Coffey,

Policy Director,

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

To the Editor:

If the planet is warming, then why have we been the ambivalent recipients of recurrent snowstorms and the coldest January in ten years? A brief tour of the globe via internet reveals just how much of a bubble we’ve been living in here in Princeton. While we had the eighth snowiest January in 120 years of record keeping, California has been suffering through a record breaking drought. Alaska has been unusually warm. Intense use of air conditioners during a 100 degree December heat wave in Buenos Aires, Argentina led to extended power outages, which in turn led to demonstrations. Australia, too, is suffering yet another extreme heat wave.

Our unusually cold winter was brought to us in part by the warming Arctic’s apparent impact on the jet stream, whose increasingly erratic behavior allowed a bulge of arctic air to settle for a prolonged period in the eastern U.S. This bit of global weirding allowed for four days of skating on Lake Carnegie. Very pleasant, but the planet continues to warm overall.

Ironically, the increasingly erratic weather in New Jersey and throughout the world is being caused by the very fossil fuels that deliver consistency to our daily lives. We depend on them for clearing our streets, keeping our homes comfortable, and delivering us to work each day. And yet the impact of that stability is a destabilization of weather and sea levels that will only grow more radical with time.

As well-meaning, generous people, we should not stand for this deepening contradiction that continually forces us to choose between present and future, and demand of ourselves and our leaders, in Princeton and beyond, a steady and expedited squeezing of these star-crossed fuels out of our lives.

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editors:

As a former president of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO), I would like to address a trend I have noticed in letters various members of our community have sent in support of the three Democratic candidates for Princeton Council in recent weeks. Some have ascribed the current tense atmosphere on Council to the fact that certain members refuse to accept municipal consolidation and move on with the business of governing our town. One tongue-in-cheek letter proposed secession of the tree street neighborhood from our newly united community! I strongly disagree that any members of the governing body reject consolidation. I know all of our Council members personally and can attest that all supported unification when it was under consideration, and still agree that it was the right thing to do.

I would like to offer an alternate explanation concerning friction on the Council in recent months: I believe there are differences in attitude and governing style between members of the former Borough Council and Township Committee, and each has strong opinions about whose preferences should prevail; this is in no way the same thing as wanting to turn back the clock or undo consolidation, rather it is a natural and proper process of accommodation that could have been predicted, and must be worked through in order for consolidation to succeed. If I had to summarize in a sentence what those stylistic differences are, I would say that former members of Borough Council tend to have an idealistic, process-oriented approach to governing, while former members of Township Committee generally have a more pragmatic, results-oriented approach. Both points of view have their virtues, and I would argue that we have a better government thanks to having both represented on the Council. Without the pragmatists, nothing much would get done, but without the idealists, community engagement and public support for the actions of Council would falter. There is a great old Tom Hanks movie from 1985 called Volunteers, which perfectly captures the tension and synergy between these contrasting styles of doing good – I urge you all to check it out.

This letter is not a plea for support of any individual council candidate. I hope my observations will help shed some light, and elicit some sympathy for all our public servants working through this challenging adjustment period. I suspect the pragmatists in the community already support the more pragmatic candidate(s), and the idealists support the more idealistic candidate(s). My hope is that there are many others out there like me, who value the presence of both, and will vote to keep a balance on the Council. And above all, I hope that members of the community will come to more fully appreciate that we are one town now, and that differences of opinion on public questions, even when they may roughly follow old municipal boundaries, do not constitute a rejection of consolidation. To assert that they do is to perpetuate old divisions and delay the synthesis of a new, vibrant, and united Princeton.

David E. Cohen

PCDO President 2009-10

To the Editor:

We are writing to support Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller for Princeton Council. While independent-minded, Bernie and Sue are able to work effectively together to produce positive results for our community.  They have worked to keep municipal taxes flat, negotiated with Princeton University for a significant payment-in-lieu of taxes, and led a successful transition to a consolidated government — producing real savings for our town.

These results don’t come by voting in “lock-step,” but by productive and civil debate. Bernie and Sue are cognizant of the fact that when you don’t get your way, you have to accept the vote and as a member of a governing body, make the decision work. You can’t hold government hostage.

It’s time to move forward, meeting our challenges with professionalism and resolve. Bernie and Sue will use their problem solving skills to tackle the difficult issues of the present while keeping a sharp focus on the promise of Princeton’s future.

Sara and Lincoln Hollister

Ridgeview Road

To the Editor:

The token efforts made by taxpayer-supported Sustainable Princeton to address future problems may be inadequate and misdirected. The following examples come from my hand-out, whose distribution at the January 29th meeting was not allowed by the Princeton Public Library:

• Rain Barrels were distributed to some residents for use in watering their lawns. The director of Sustainable Princeton informed me that the barrels were not for use in growing vegetables, but only for lawns. Sustainable lawns? Lawns originated in merrie olde England, where owning some land that did not have to be cultivated for food or used for grazing was an early display of wealth. In our era where living standards are declining because of the exhaustion of available crude oil, should lawns really have a priority call on resources in Princeton?

• Composting is certainly going to be a useful activity in the future. I compost my vegetable garden wastes on site in the downtown area. But the system promoted by Sustainable Princeton, to put your compostables in a plastic can, have them collected weekly and driven to Delaware to be processed misses the point. It wastes money and precious petroleum, and relies on actions of people far away. You pay to haul it away, and again if you want to get the compost back for your garden. This misallocation may make its participants feel good, but does not address the need to relocalize critical future resources.

• Giving awards, as Sustainable Princeton does, may give the recipients a false sense of achievement and divert us all from acquiring useful knowledge and skills for the incipient future. See John Michael Greer’s 1/15/2014 blog.

• Using Sustainable Princeton meetings to allow peddlers of various so-called “green” products to offer wares and services that exploit the purchasers’ emotional vulnerabilities seems to be of dubious real value. These products are all promoted because someone can make a buck from them even if the claims made for them are suspect (remember ethanol?). There are no hucksters for anything that does not offer profit opportunities, even if it really matters, such as growing vegetables, self-composting garden wastes, saving seeds, and working cooperatively with neighbors. Nor are they offering sustainable local solutions to other challenges, such as blackouts, unavailable fuels, no in-town hospital, and a vanishing willingness of non-local governments and people to provide aid should we need it (Katrina or Sandy, anyone?). PSE&G has notified Princeton residents that in the event of a power outage, backup generators may have insufficient natural gas pressure. That’s the future, and our efforts may be better rewarded if directed toward community self-reliance.

• “Environmental” films or books matter little unless they inspire us to act intelligently.

But does it really matter? Perhaps not. Runaway global warming may now also be inevitable, and could come sooner. If so, humans may become extinct from starvation because extreme heat destroys parts of the food chain. See Dr. Guy McPherson’s October 2013 lecture at DePauw University.

Ronald C. Nielsen

Humbert Street

To The Editor:

We write in enthusiastic support of Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth for Princeton Council because we believe that they will provide the kind of leadership our consolidated Princeton needs as we move forward.

Both have the professional and service backgrounds that make them highly qualified to do this work and both have shown themselves to be thoughtful and collaborative.

We live in a wonderful community. We are all currently benefitting from the accomplishments of consolidation. Unless we can deal with fundamental issues in a broad, conceptual, non-threatening and non-accusatory way, through our elected representatives, we will eat out the core of what we have placed our faith in and worked so hard to achieve.

Claire Jacobus,

Cleveland Lane

Carol Golden,

Snowden Lane

February 7, 2014

To the Editor:

I am once again struck by the tremendous generosity of our community. On January 18 Eden celebrated its 26th Eden Dreams gala at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. Considerable thanks to the Dreams committee, led by Peter Franco and Mary Ann Guarrieri for all of their hard work and effort to bring this magnificent event to fruition. Also, heartfelt thanks to the many individuals, corporate sponsors, and in-kind donors who contributed toward this outstanding event. Without their help Eden Dreams would not be possible. I commend the greater Princeton community for its continued support in helping Eden to improve the lives of children and adults with autism. The funds raised at Eden events help us to continue to provide the highest quality of services for our students and adults so that they can continue to be contributing members of our community. Fundraising is especially critical to Eden’s adult programs where government funding falls short of the true cost of operations. Events like Eden Dreams allow us to sustain our first rate residential and employment programs and celebrate the essential support of Eden’s friends and families.

Again, thanks to all those who help keep Eden’s dream alive by making it possible for children and adults with autism to learn, grow, work, and lead productive lives. I will be retiring from Eden at the end January. It has been an honor to serve as president and CEO of this remarkable organization.

Thomas P. McCool, EdD

President and CEO, Eden Autism Services

To the Editor:

As I was walking to work this morning, I passed a hybrid electric delivery truck, bikers using the bicycle Sharrows, and people walking with their goodies in reusable bags. The scene was heartening. We’ve come a long way as a town in just a few years. I wondered though, as the New Year dawned, how might Princeton further embrace sustainability?

To answer this question, I gathered some of Sustainable Princeton’s visionary volunteers to come up with a list of sustainable New Year’s resolutions for our town to aim for in 2014. One volunteer laid out her vision from the start, “I want Princeton to become the most sustainable suburb in the Mid-Atlantic.” So with that big goal in mind, we made our list. We envision:

Recycling bins on every downtown sidewalk;

The green Curbside Organic Waste bins in front of every home and business;

100 home energy assessments conducted by June 2014, and at least 25 Princeton homes completing the recommended energy upgrades;

A community that buys local first because it is good for our economy and the environment;

Fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables on the plates of every public school student, less plastic water bottles sold at school and an uptick in recycling at all public schools;

100 percent of shoppers using reusable bags rather than single use plastic bags that clog our oceans and sit for years in the landfill;

A sustainable vision for the town shared and acted upon by the government, schools, businesses and residents;

Princeton earning Silver Certification as a Sustainable Community from Sustainable Jersey;

50 new Sustainable Princeton volunteers to help us reach our goals and;

A vibrant, walkable, bike-able, earth-friendly, sustainable community to live in.

If you want to meet the people in our community who are making these goals a reality, there are two upcoming events you should attend at the Princeton Public Library: The Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards on January 29 at 7 p.m. and The Great Ideas Breakfast on January 31 at 8:30 a.m.

Diane M. Landis

Executive director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

I am one of eight residents challenging the Planning Board’s approval of AvalonBay’s Plan B through a legal appeal. Both sides have submitted briefs and the final public hearing is scheduled for Thursday February 13 at 2 p.m. in Trenton’s Civil Court.

A diverse group of residents joined forces to create the Association for Planning at Hospital Site LLC (APHS), and legal expenses to date have been paid by over 70 individuals. While APHS recognizes the need, and supports the redevelopment of Princeton’s old hospital site, we feel this should only happen after all concerns have been addressed — concerns that impact the entire town, the surrounding schools, and not just one neighborhood.

The Planning Board approved AvalonBay’s scheme without resolution, and in some cases, consideration, of substantial issues. Despite residents’ participation in the “process,” our legal appeal remains the only opportunity for critical improvements.

Since the redevelopment’s issues are complex, we developed an informational video, which can be viewed at www.APHSLLC.com. We’re concerned about the shortcomings in Princeton’s planning process in general and seek improvement to AvalonBay’s scheme in three major areas:

1. Size: we seek a reduction in bulk, mass, and footprint of the buildings, so that the development complies with all of the design criteria in the MRRO Zone ordinances.

2. Sewer: the developer, not the town, should pay for upgrading the overburdened sanitary sewer, which backed up into Henry Avenue homes on multiple occasions while the hospital was in operation.

3. Environment: we seek a commitment to resolve the outstanding environmental issues, including demolition process issues.

As an example of not prioritizing the health and safety of residents, the Hospital and AvalonBay didn’t disclose during the Planning Board hearings that an incinerator operated on-site for decades. That took a Princeton resident filing OPRA requests with NJ DEP. Why should such research rely on voluntary efforts by residents?

At the January 27, 2014 Town Council meeting, AvalonBay described the incinerator’s use for paper only. However, a 1990 document from NJ DEP contradicts this by calling it a “Pathological Incinerator” and a floor plan dating back to 1948 shows an incinerator room. Only now is AvalonBay considering soils testing for unspecified heavy metals — and this only if the incinerator room’s drain line shows cracks when scoped. As for all of the other drain lines that could have carried hazardous substances over the years — still no promises. APHS demands that independent expertise be retained to supplement the town’s professional staff in all phases of review, testing, and inspection related to demolition.

In the bigger picture, it’s time for our government to change its current “planning process.” The rezoning of this site was controlled by the hospital, without qualified checks and balances by our government. No fiscal impact analysis was performed on what is one of the largest construction projects Princeton has ever seen, with the potential for cost and tax implications hurting us all.

Yaron Inbar

Harris Road

To the Editor:

When it comes to election time in Princeton, it’s rare to have a choice. I am excited that we have one this year. I hope we have choices every year. That’s what democracy is supposed to be about — choice.

When I voted for consolidation, I was not voting for having the same town council year after year. I voted for choice, for different voices, for change. I voted for positive, energetic, forward-looking representation. I was, and am sick of, the “we did it this way, you did it that way” mantra. I happily acknowledge that Princeton Borough and Princeton Township have rich histories.

But now let’s get on with it and ensure that THE ONE AND ONLY PRINCETON has a rich future.

That’s why I am supporting Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller. Sue and Bernie worked hard for consolidation. They believe in one Princeton; they believe in representative, responsible government. Sue and Bernie ask tough questions and expect accountability. Sue and Bernie respect opposing opinions, and will work collaboratively to move forward. And they have the track record to prove it. I believe Sue and Bernie are the voices we need for the new Princeton. I encourage all Princeton residents to support the Nemeth-Miller team for Princeton Council.

Anne Burns

Baldwin Lane

To the Editor:

Last night we had the privilege of hosting a coffee for local Democrats in our Jugtown neighborhood to meet and talk with Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller, candidates for Princeton Council. Despite temperatures in single digits, people came from near and far, and our little living room was packed to standing room only. We had a mix of voters who were lifelong residents of Princeton, to new residents of just five months duration. We had folks who were retired; we had young families.

To this gathered assembly Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller spoke long and eloquently about why they want to serve. Miller, an incumbent with a long and distinguished resume, had much to say about the continuing challenges facing the council during the ongoing consolidation, a process that has been historically successful, but all too often drowned out by infighting on the council, a distraction which has actually cost taxpayers in time and money. That the council has been successful despite a few members still wanting to fight old fights (even to the point of still pitting Borough against Township) is a tribute to Bernie’s steady leadership in tandem with our Mayor Liz Lempert.

Sue Nemeth, who is bravely challenging an incumbent in her own party (not an easy thing to do, witness the recent petty act directed at her at the PCDO), has an equally impressive resume both in her professional life as a community activist, and in public service on countless boards, as deputy mayor of the former Princeton Township and on the PCDO Executive Committee. Hearing her speak on her specialty, financial matters, was illuminating and we both felt that Princeton will be lucky to have her serve on the Council. Sue displayed an impressive grasp of the challenges that lie ahead, real issues that include establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Princeton University, supporting the police department in their progressive community outreach, and realizing tax savings by keeping an eye on the big picture.

Last night Bernie spoke with old friends who knew him well, and Sue made them her friends and admirers as well. It was a stirring evening, as warm inside as it was cold outside.

James and Constance Camner

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Jo Butler for reelection to the Princeton Council. She has earned my respect and admiration for her tireless effort on behalf of the people of Princeton.

Through her independent sense of inquiry, investigation, and transparency, Jo Butler holds our local government and administration more accountable to the public. Her thoughtful, independent voice contributes constructively to the public debate of local issues, and to the spirit of checks and balances in our municipal government.

Her work as a member of the municipal council centers around keeping Princeton safe, attractive, and well-maintained, and keeping costs contained. Having worked with her, I realize that she expects the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and transparency of all of those who serve the public, including herself.

For these reasons I support Jo Butler’s candidacy whole-heartedly, and I ask my fellow Democrats to endorse her as she campaigns for reelection to the Princeton municipal council.

Patrick Simon

Democrat, Member, Princeton Council