October 30, 2018

To the Editor:

We are writing to thank everyone who attended the Not in Our Town Princeton Forum for the candidates for the Princeton Board of Education at the Princeton YWCA on October 14. Thank you to the approximately 70 audience members who attended in person and the 617 people who have watched the live-stream of the forum so far for taking the time to make an informed decision. more

To the Editor:

We write to urge our fellow Princetonians to vote for Brian McDonald for a seat on the Board of Education.  Brian is an incredibly talented and dedicated member of our community, and we believe that his service on the Board is particularly needed at this pivotal time. more

To the Editor:

What a terrific time I have had serving the fine residents of Princeton. Serving for 15 years on Princeton Council has been a rewarding and fulfilling job. I want to thank each and every one of you for the respect, positive comments and acts of kindness given to me during my political career.  I love Princeton and will always do what’s best for this beautiful town.  more

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to Town Topics [“Endorsing Two Candidates for Council Who Will Deliver ”Message of Resistance,” Mailbox, Sept. 12], the chair of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee exhorted voters to vote the “entire Democratic ticket from bottom to top” as a “message of resistance.” Voters should consider exactly what they are being asked to resist. more

To the Editor:

Of five candidates for three seats on the Board of Education, two challengers bring fiscal experience. The two incumbents represent the old Board, which has responded to community distress by dividing the same $130M in two: one part now, and one to be brought up next year.  more

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Dafna Kendal and Betsy Baglio for Board of Education re-election.

With each School Board election, we put our trust into people we believe will have the commitment, energy, thoughtfulness, and experience to make the best decisions for our kids and community.  These two outstanding women have each proven over the past three years that they possess all of these qualities in spades. more

October 25, 2018

To the Editor:

Around October 12, all parking meters were removed in Princeton.  Since that time there has been free parking for everyone every day.  During this period, the amount of money that has been lost to Princeton government coffers is substantial.  Why were the old parking meters removed before the new ones were ready to be installed?

Linda Sipprelle
Victoria Mews

To the Editor:

I write in support of Mary Clurman’s candidacy for the School Board. Mary is patient, thoughtful, and persistent in her ongoing quest to be certain that all voices are heard on the most important issues facing our town. How we pay and support the education of the next generation is now on our minds. How we can afford to pay more in our property tax is also on our minds.  Mary understands that we need to listen to each other very, very carefully. She has been diligent and fair-minded in this debate and is deserving of your vote.

Sheldon Sturges
Cameron Court

To the Editor:

We are writing to urge our neighbors to vote for Brian McDonald for a seat on the Board of Education on November 6 (ballot position #5). We have worked with Brian for 13 years, both professionally and as volunteers, and know him to be a strong collaborator and consensus builder with the analytical acumen and temperament to successfully get things done. He is the only challenger with relevant professional credentials and proven service to our community. His demonstrated commitment to education and youth development is unparalleled.  more

To the Editor:

November 6 is a watershed moment for the Princeton Board of Education (BOE). It is clear that we need people with fresh perspectives and new skill sets to fill the three open seats.

One of many challenges is that the facilities originally planned by the BOE, the $130 million referendum, carried with them operating costs that exceeded our ability to pay. Costs that would have taken us beyond the revenue we are allowed to raise under the 2 percent state cap. In another words — we have just pulled back from the brink.  more

To the Editor:

Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson will fight to contain property taxes. Although local government spending is only 22 percent of the total amount raised by our property taxes, every increase in taxes is a potential threat to the continued economic diversity of the Princeton community.

Eve and Dwaine have pledged to build on the efforts of Princeton Council to reduce the budget in every responsible way possible. They have promised to question every service and program, for its need, scale, and effectiveness. Nothing will be off limits. more

To the Editor:

In the six years that I have served on the Board of Education of Princeton Public Schools, I have never witnessed an election that is as consequential as this one is for our district and our children. Our public school system is in many ways our community’s crown jewel, and in the past six years, the Board has strived to take a great system and make it even better — more inclusive, more equitable, and more sensitive to the natures of all our children, whatever their social and economic background or learning style.

We need to make sure we have good stewards on the Board who understand this, and truly care about kids first. This year, it is particularly important to elect incumbent Board members Betsy Baglio and Dafna Kendal, because they get it, and it’s not clear to me that all the candidates do.  more

October 17, 2018

To the Editor:

Mr. Cochrane and the Board of Ed tell us there are 200 more students at the high school than the high school has room for, and so they have included funding for four new classrooms in their latest bond proposal of $27 million. There are, however, 280 students from Cranbury who need not be there, so any overcrowding is the result of the Board’s policy of admitting these students. Despite this, just a few months ago the BoE signed an agreement to continue educating students from Cranbury for another 10 years. They have offered no credible rationale for continuing this policy. The tuition Cranbury pays does not even cover the costs of educating the students it sends, let alone providing surplus funds for new classrooms to house them.  more

To the Editor:

This is to recommend that registered voters (NJ registration ended October 16) consider using Vote by Mail Ballots in advance of this November 6 (and other) elections.  

Advantages include: Your vote will have been cast even If you are away, are sick, disabled, or if bad weather is a problem on Election Day. Also, New Jersey’s lack of verified paper ballots in voting machines may give Mail-In Ballots a greater measure of security. more

To the Editor:

As former elected members of Princeton’s governing body, we enthusiastically support Democratic candidates Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson for Princeton Council. Both have impressive records of service to our community. Both are leaders we can be proud of. The focus of their campaign is “A Princeton for All,” and they will work tirelessly on behalf of our community for a Princeton that is welcoming and inclusive, fiscally responsible, committed to affordability, and dedicated to sustainable growth. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge Princeton voters to join me in voting for Brian McDonald for Board of Education, ballot position #5. I’ve known Brian for more than a decade. He is someone I admire and respect immensely for his character, his strong analytical skills, and his deep commitment to this town. more

To the Editor:

I don’t know which I find most disappointing: Judge Jacobson’s decree imposing 750 subsidized housing units upon our little town, or our Council’s submissive acceptance of that decree, or the alacrity with which Princeton Future has endorsed the decree as justification for the group’s long standing vision of an urban core. more

To the Editor:

At Princeton Council’s meeting on 8 October, some of us asked that Council adopt an Indigenous Peoples Day to replace the traditional Columbus Day. We are grateful that our words fell on very receptive ears, and we particularly thank Mayor Lempert for her open embrace of the idea of declaring an Indigenous Peoples Day in Princeton. We also thank the mayor for asking Letitia Fraga, the Princeton Council liaison to the Civil Rights Commission, to initiate such discussions with the Commission, and we hope that the CRC will recommend such a declaration, with Princeton Council action to follow. more

October 10, 2018

To the Editor:

Ralph Perry’s letter [“Ideas to Help Solve Overcrowding In Schools and Reduce Cost of Bond,” Mailbox, October 3] presents a pair of interrelated data points whose joint significance appears to need emphasizing. He notes that the school system has plans to buy a particular property on Thanet Road for $12.6 million, on which its present owners are paying taxes of $230,000 a year. The selling price is disproportionate to the tax payments. Taxes of $230,000 per year project to an assessed valuation of approximately 9.7 million, not 12.6 million. If and when this transaction takes place, logically either the school system should pay less or the sellers should pay back taxes at least back to the general revaluation circa 2010 on the underassessment they have been benefiting from — preferably with interest.

John Strother

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

Regardless of which side you fall on the referendum, it is clear that Betsy Baglio and Dafna Kendal are working day and night, as current School Board members, to be positive change agents.

As a parent who has worked closely with the school board and administration over the past decade, I can understand that being a Board member is not an easy job. I appreciate Betsy and Dafna’s tenacity and resolve to delve into great detail on many topics, and actively work towards solutions. They do the hard work that I expect from a School Board member by asking tough questions and giving challenging answers. They are working to improve Board transparency and encourage community participation. I feel they are honestly trying to look at all sides, make compromises when needed, and be vocal on sensitive matters. more

To the Editor:

Princetonians attending the many School Board meetings on the proposed referendum this summer witnessed levels of division that rivaled our national political scene. The silver lining to emerge from that acrimonious process is that it propelled a truly exceptional candidate, Brian McDonald, to run for the School Board.  more

To the Editor:

As a student at Princeton High School, I have observed a number of problems that could be corrected if the proposed referendum is passed. The school is crowded, classrooms are often too hot to concentrate, and bathrooms are in disrepair.

Class sizes vary from small to large, which in my opinion is not as much of a problem as battling large crowds of students trying to navigate from class to class. The schedule allows for four minutes between classes, and it can be nearly impossible to get from one class to another in this amount of time due to the distances and crowds.  more

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) held its annual Rent Party on Saturday, September 22 when over 120 people gathered at the beautiful home of Melanie and John Clarke to help us “raise the rent” to assist low-income working families in our community. Through the generosity of our supporters — and the more than 40 event sponsors — HIP raised more than $48,000 which we will use to provide transitional housing with family-focused supportive services and emergency rental assistance to help families avoid homelessness and move towards long-term self-sufficiency.  more

To the Editor:

As a resident of the Littlebrook neighborhood, it has come to my attention via the newspapers and word of mouth that the School Board is proposing to move their administrative offices, as well as buses to the Thanet property off of Terhune Road.

I would like to make the following points with regards to this issue:

First: The school system/town should first provide all interested parties in the area of their plans in detail. To find out about a plan that will impact daily life in a neighborhood via the newspapers is entirely unacceptable and possibly illegal if it affects air quality, noise levels etc. in an area that is not zoned for their proposed use at least with regards to buses.  more

October 3, 2018

To the Editor:

It’s election time, and the League of Women Voters is compiling the responses of candidates— from Senate to Princeton Council and School Board — for its online Voters’ Guide, www.VOTE411.org. Princeton voters will be able to see their entire ballot on VOTE411 starting the week of October 8. more