July 3, 2012

To the Editor:

If Roger Martindell wants to save himself the time and expense of responding to a legitimate request for documents under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, he is directing his attention to the wrong party in the lawsuit that gives rise to this request (Mailbox June 20, “University’s “Unconstitutional” Demand for Dinky Communications “A Chilling Exercise of Legal Power”). The only reason this request was made is because a group of plaintiffs has challenged a 1984 contract between Princeton University and New Jersey Transit that has already been reviewed and found valid by the state Attorney General’s office, the Township attorney, attorneys hired by the Borough, and attorneys for both parties to the contract. The Plaintiffs have challenged this agreement in a baseless lawsuit, clearly as a tactic to try and block the University’s proposed Arts and Transit project. This is an important project to the community and the University, and we intend to defend the lawsuit thoroughly.

If Mr. Martindell prefers not to reveal his communications as a public official, he should be trying to persuade the plaintiffs (who are not parties to the contract they now challenge) to withdraw their nuisance lawsuit, rather than trying to persuade the University not to defend itself in a legal action. Mr. Martindell knows the importance of discovery in any litigation.

As was pointed out at a recent Borough Council meeting, in a different but related matter, one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit admitted publicly that in that matter she was following the instructions of a member of Borough Council. The University has a right to learn whether she or other plaintiffs in this case were similarly receiving direction from elected officials, or whether there were other communications that are germane to this case if and when it goes to trial.

Finally, our law is clear — there is no constitutional first amendment right for elected officials to maintain confidential communications with constituents. New Jersey has recognized the preeminent importance of transparency in government, even when it makes participants in the process uncomfortable.

Richard S. Goldman

Attorney for Princeton University

June 27, 2012

To the Editor:

Sometimes it takes an entire community to keep our young people safe. On May 23, the day before the Princeton High School prom, junior and senior students witnessed a graphic and frighteningly realistic simulated drunk-driving car crash. From the first words of the amplified 911 call to the reading of the “obituary” of the “fatality,” the event sent a powerful message to its audience — drinking and driving can be lethal.

The re-enactment has been staged every two years since 2006 so that every 11th and 12th grader at PHS has the opportunity to witness how life can change in a matter of seconds. Putting together such a major event takes a great deal of energy, cooperation, and coordination, and many members of our Princeton community gave their time, their talents, and their support to the effort.

The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad created, ran, and narrated an elaborate scenario in which two cars (provided by Stewart Towing) were involved in a head-on crash. Princeton Township and Borough police were on the scene in minutes, just as they would be in a real accident, and they performed a field sobriety test and subsequently “arrested” the “drunk driver.” The Princeton Fire Department and The Capital Health System also played important roles, as did Mather Hodge Funeral Home, which provided a hearse to remove the body of the “deceased.” As the PHS students watched the event unfold, their faces reflected horror, shock, and disbelief.

Crash Committee members from the community who must be thanked in person include Director Frank Setnicky; Greg Paulson, and Shannon Koch, of PFARS; Kim Hodges and Michael Cifelli, Princeton Township Police; Robert Currier and Steven Riccitello, Princeton Borough Police; and Robert Gregory from the Princeton Fire Department. Thank you to Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder; Kurt Zimmerman, Media Department; PTO Presidents Cheryl McCormick and Bonnie Itkoff; Substance Awareness Coordinator, Gwen Kimsal; Diana Lygas; Jessica Baxter; the PHS guidance counselors who assisted at the debriefing; and Tony Diaforli, grounds crew at Valley Road. Coordinated by their English teachers, John Witherspoon Middle School sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students wrote persuasive essays to every PHS junior and senior, asking that they not drink and drive. These letters were heartfelt and passionate, and showed a wisdom beyond the students’ years.

Corner House and the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance have been involved in and committed to this effort from the very beginning. The actors were all members of the Corner House Student Board, a group of seniors from Princeton High, Princeton Day School, Stuart Academy of the Sacred Heart, and The Hun School. They did a remarkable job. They, and their peers, are the reason why so many people come together to work on this project every other year. It is hoped that every student who saw the simulation will remember the message and stay safe and sober. May we never experience this tragedy in real life.

Wendy Jolley

Crash Simulation Committee

To the Editor:

Just last week I read with great interest an article about ParaTerra, a company which advises developers, architects, home owners, etc. about the many new, sustainable, money-saving products available across the country. This is in response to a need and desire by many to build for the 21st century to lessen environmental impact, including energy and water conservation and also benefit financially by doing the right thing socially.

Unfortunately, AvalonBay Communities, which proposes to build a 280 apartment monolithic structure on the old hospital site, lacks sufficient social conscience to go beyond a very limited sustainability effort and has outright rejected using LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Development) the certified standard which would leave a legacy of which Princeton could be proud. AvalonBay’s failure to adhere to its “Green Living…Sustainable Commitment” articulated on its website is yet another example of AvalonBay’s disregard of Princeton values, especially so since Princeton was pronounced by the state of New Jersey as a sustainable municipality because of its continuing efforts in this area. One wonders why the residents of three AvalonBay Communities developments — two in California and one in Washington — have benefited from LEED certification and Princeton will not and why Princeton will not even benefit from LEED standards.

Could it be that AvalonBay Communities and its chief spokesman, Ronald Ladell, have chosen to use a State loophole that lets them avoid LEED because of an affordable housing component in their proposed building, despite the fact that Princeton’s Master Plan requires LEED? If one watches Mr. Ladell closely during public meetings wherein LEED is discussed, you will see him mouth the words “cost generative” to Borough Attorney Chou. Yet to date Mr. Ladell has failed to demonstrate why AvalonBay should be exempted from Princeton’s Master Plan requirement for LEED. There have been no cost analysis or comparisons and no projection of savings in the long term that would mitigate ‘cost generative’ measures during the construction phase.

What is at stake is that people of lesser means will not have the environmental benefits of sustainable building because AvalonBay has a short-term view to sustainability and environmental protection. On average they retain their developments for 16 years and then sell leaving the residents of towns like Princeton with a less than sustainable monolith structure. This is unconscionable. We all lose while AvalonBay ups their profit margin.

Kate Warren

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

A deal is a deal. The hospital, the Borough, and the neighborhood that surrounds the hospital’s old site on Witherspoon Street, agreed to a deal in 2006. Re-zoning was done specifically for the hospital’s benefit, in a way that would allow it to receive a good price for the site. In exchange, the hospital agreed to requirements that would benefit the neighborhood and the community.

The new zoning is still in place. The Borough and the neighborhood are not challenging it. The hospital has a tentative buyer for the site and has received the benefit of that part of the deal. But AvalonBay, the hospital’s tentative buyer, is not adhering in any significant way to the agreements the hospital made that would benefit the neighborhood and the community.

I was interested to read a recent letter to the editor from the hospital’s CEO. I expected him to deny that the agreements exist. Interestingly, he did not deny them. Instead, he did not mention them. He ignored their existence.

Ignoring the agreements will not make them go away. Community members will continue to remind everyone of them. The Planning Board is fully aware of them. Everyone knows that a deal was made in good faith.

The hospital needs to uphold its part of the deal. It needs to require the buyer of the site — whether AvalonBay or some future buyer — to fulfill all the requirements in the agreements. A deal is a deal.

Anthony C. Lunn

Hawthorne Avenue

June 20, 2012

To The Editor:

I was disappointed to learn that Princeton’s Curbside Food Waste Recycling Program is in jeopardy for lack of adequate participation in the pilot program.

Instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, where it produces methane (a greenhouse gas with a warming effect more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide), Princeton residents can now send it to an organic waste recycling facility designed to speedily turn it into compost.

As participants for the past year, we separate our organic waste into a green compost cart collected by the hauler as part of our weekly trash pick–up. I use biodegradable bags or a sheet of newspaper and deposit our waste in the green can daily, a simple procedure since we throw this stuff in our trash anyway, don’t we? We have never had bugs or any other undesirable consequences.

To my surprise, I found that curbside pickup accepts many items that cannot be composted in my backyard, including meat, fish, dairy and cheeses, bones, fat, sauces, greasy pizza boxes, paper food wraps, paper cups plates and napkins, paper towel and tissues, hair, orange rinds, vacuum cleaner and dryer lint, and every other organic item, even natural fiber clothing!

Princeton is reportedly the first town in New Jersey and one of the first on the east coast to offer this program. Full participation would bring a reduction of 30 percent in the trash Princeton generates, which would mean a large reduction in municipal trash disposal costs as well.

The program needs 500 participants to ensure its continued operation. Princeton residents, contact Janet Pellichero at (609) 688-2566 ext. 1478 to become part of an important Princeton initiative.

Barbara Cuneo, Alan Kesselhaut

Herrontown Road

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough and Township — soon to be the Town of Princeton — have reasonable zoning laws to protect the character and quality of this community. Those laws must be honored. Do not let Avalon Bay build a monstrosity in our midst.

Rev. Carol S. Haag

Unitarian Universalist Minister, retired

Ridgeview Circle

To the Editor:

In the June 6 edition of Town Topics, the new owner of the Princeton Shopping Center refused to commit to having a contract Post Office in the Shopping Center (Topics of the Town, p. 5). Jodie McLean says in the article that “our role is to enhance community”. With the upcoming loss of the Palmer Square Post Office, allowing one of the Shopping Center’s businesses to include a contract Post Office would be a great way to serve the Princeton community. The Shopping Center has the benefit of ample parking. If the Shopping Center’s popular Ace Hardware store is still willing to commit space to a Post Office as a way to serve the community, it would be a win-win situation for both merchants and customers at the Shopping Center.

Joyce Howe,

Walnut Lane

To the Editor:

On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I urge that the governing bodies of the Borough and Township vote on June 26 to submit a blended open space tax of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to the voters this November. This will enable a united Princeton to continue good stewardship of its recreation and passive open space and make key acquisitions contemplated by our joint Master Plan. Studies of the finances behind this number show that it is more than justified.

In the past, voters in the Township have voted twice to support an open space tax (2 cents/$100), and one was also passed separately by Borough voters (1 cent/$100). Because those entities will cease to exist on December 31, it is necessary to have a new ballot question to re-authorize the “joint” tax. The Joint Consolidation Commission included a 1.7-cent tax in its calculation of the tax savings of consolidation, and it was recommended by the Finance Subcommittee of the Transition Task Force. Without an open space tax, the unified Princeton will lose its access to Green Acres Planning Incentive Grants and much of its ability to leverage purchases and recreation projects.

Beyond the aesthetic and health benefits we enjoy from preserved lands, open space helps decrease costs caused by flooding, heat-sink effects and loss of species diversity, and dampens the need for expensive infrastructure. By protecting open space at the same time we proceed with various contemplated developments, we can achieve a balance that will keep our united community a financially viable and environmentally desirable place to live.

We encourage all Princetonians to urge your representatives to support this measure on June 26. The voters will have their say in November; they should not be deprived of that opportunity.

Wendy L. Mager

President, Friends of Princeton Open Space

To the Editor:

Do AvalonBay’s revisions to their plans for a 280-apartment complex on Princeton’s hospital site comply with Borough Code or Master Plan? Not yet. I write to inform residents about AvalonBay Communities’ revisions, presented at Borough Council, June 6.

Other than the reduction in height of the complex to four stories, the revisions were fairly minor. The height reduction was not a concession, according to the SPRAB chair, but was required because a six-story wood-framed complex violates international building codes. Wood-framed buildings can be dangerous — a wooden apartment complex that AvalonBay built (and subsequently sold) burned to the ground in Quincy, Massachusetts. A state-ordered investigation called because similar fires had occurred in other large-wooden apartment complexes determined that in Avalon’s building “draft stopping was not built in accordance with the State Building Code and the sprinkler systems were not installed according to the accepted standard” (Department of Fire Services, Mass., Nov 1 2011).

Other revisions to AvalonBay’s plans:

The driveway from Witherspoon into the complex has been moved slightly north to create a green area of about 15,000 square feet. This is less than half the size of the 34,000 sq. ft. park that was part of the concept plan resulting from two-years of meetings between the community, town officials, and the hospital. Also resulting were a Master Plan for the site and new Borough Code to which AvalonBay is in non-compliance — and is bullying the town by threat of lawsuit so that officials will not enforce the code. In the concept plan (as opposed to Avalon’s current plan), there is no driveway interfering with the park along the Witherspoon side of the block, which is meant to be a pedestrian zone; the other two entrances to the garage were deemed sufficient.

A 25-foot-wide arch has been added into the smaller of two interior courtyards (the other private courtyard has a swimming pool). This arch was described by Avalon’s architect as the “main entrance” to the complex. This one passage into the complex does not change AvalonBay’s “community” from a closed one to an open one. Still missing is the open space that provides “linkages between and through the development,” and the “public walkway system” “crossing the site” — required by Borough Code. Nor can the front lawn between the apartments and the sidewalk, with walks up to individual units and Avalon’s signage, be considered usable public space.

Asked about green building construction, so necessary to the public well-being, the AvalonBay Senior Vice President Ladell said that he would comply with “zero” LEED standards.

Towards the meeting’s end, the citizen’s representative and the chair of SPRAB, both on the ad hoc subcommittee which has been negotiating with the developer out of sight of the public, tried to speak about the revisions to MRRO-zone Code that the Planning Board had requested (vote of 9-1) and were shut down by Mr. Ladell and his lawyer, with the acquiescence of Council.

Please join Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods and help us achieve a better solution: princetoncitizensfor@gmail.com.

Alexi Assmus

Maple Street

To the Editor:

In its lawsuit with Save the Dinky, Inc., Princeton University has demanded copies of all written communications between all representatives of Save the Dinky, Inc. and all Princeton Borough employees, including elected office holders, since January 2006, regarding the proposed movement of the Dinky terminus 460 feet south.

The University’s legal counsel admitted that the demand is a litigation strategy to discover potentially embarrassing communications between Borough residents and their elected representatives. While that strategy may possibly advance the University’s private litigation goals, it imposes substantial cost on taxpayers and infringes on the constitutional right of the public to petition its elected representatives. This letter is to publicly request that the University withdraw its demand.

Aside from its unconstitutional dimension, the University’s demand over-reaches: it will require potentially dozens of persons employed by the Borough to search their records for communications for more than six years, comprising thousands of emails and other documents. Such a broad request will adversely impact the functioning of Borough government and cost thousands of dollars, simply to advance the University’s private litigation interest.

But the University’s demand also violates the federal and state constitutional guarantees of the right-of-petition government. If every communication between a Borough resident and an elected representative is subject to University inspection and attack simply because it references the Dinky, will Borough residents have confidence that they can freely communicate (petition) their elected representatives?

No. And that’s why the University’s demand is unconstitutional; it cannot but chill Borough residents’ First Amendment rights.

The University’s demand for documents is disguised as a request under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, a progressive statutory program that protects openness in government. But the demand is not for disclosure of documents pertaining to any governmental action; instead, it is for the disclosure of private communication between elected office holders and their constituents. Thus, the OPRA policy of open government is not advanced by the University’s demand. The only goal advanced by the demand is the University’s own private interest in defeating Save the Dinky in litigation.

If every constituent private communication with his or her elected representative is subject to inspection by private litigants simply because the communication may touch on a public issue, constituents would be reluctant to be free and frank in their communications with their elected representatives. Thus, the University’s demand is an unconstitutional exercise of its OPRA rights and a chilling exercise of legal power that the community should resist.

Roger Martindell,

Member, Princeton Borough Council

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

Many thanks to the Princeton Athletic Club (PAC) for Wednesday night’s wonderfully run — in every sense of the word — Community Mile at Princeton High School. On a glorious June evening dozens of runners, ranging in age from grade-schoolers to senior citizens, turned out to test themselves with a four-lap effort around the PHS track. There were fast times, close finishes, plenty of cheering from friends, family, and fellow runners, and — when everyone had caught their breath — smiles on a lot of faces.

The meet was accessible, affordable, and very smoothly run. At a time when the promotion of healthy physical activity is more important than ever, events like this are an inspiration and a huge boon to the community. We should all — runners and spectators alike — salute the PAC. And turn out for their next event with running shoes laced tight!

Richard O’Brien

Linden Lane

To the Editor:

I want to say “thank you” to the registered Democrats in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township who voted to endorse my candidacy for the new Princeton Council in the primary election on June 8.

To Tamera Matteo and Scott Sillars, the two new candidates for municipal office who were not successful, I offer my thanks for making this a most interesting primary race. As the campaign showed, you have much to offer our community and I hope that you will continue to remain involved in both the political and municipal life of Princeton.

I have been an advocate for consolidation since I first worked on the consolidation study commission in the 1970s, and I firmly believe that the new Princeton can be better than the sum of its two individual parts. With your continued support in the general election in November, I pledge to work to make the merger of our two Princetons a success and to bring the benefits of consolidation to all of the residents of our community.

Bernie Miller

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Liz Lempert for winning a hard fought primary. Congratulations also to Heather, Lance, Patrick, Bernie, Jenny and Jo for their strong finishes. Scott and Tamera are to be thanked for their spirited campaign. For relative newcomers, they ran good races and we sincerely hope they run again.

Special thanks to Kevin Wilkes and Roger Martindell. Kevin did a yeoman’s job as Council president. It isn’t widely known but we appointed Kevin assistant building inspector in the Township when Phyllis Marchand and I were members of the Township Committee in the early 1990s. Kevin was hugely helpful to Betty Jablonski, our late building inspector.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to Roger for an incredible 23 years of unbroken and unblemished service on the Borough Council. I had the pleasure of overlapping with Roger, and his institutional knowledge and willingness to speak up – even when it was unpopular to do so – will be sorely missed.

Potholes don’t belong to any known political party. National and state political agendas should have no place in local government. For that reason, our campaign this year will be a complete departure from the past — a strictly nonpartisan campaign, a tent big enough to comfortably hold all Princetonians who want real change, Democrats, Independents, Republicans and every party in between. The campaign will emphasize that we are one Princeton moving forward with one spirit in mind – a brighter future.

January 1, 2013, marks the beginning of a challenging and important era in Princeton’s history. If we don’t deliver on the ambitious promises of the Consolidation Study Commission it will be at least another 50 years before a New Jersey town seriously considers merging with a neighboring municipality. We cannot afford to let the voters down. There is a lot more riding on consolidation than the reputations of the governor and the Consolidation Study Commission.

In that spirit, I encourage all candidates and their supporters to keep the rhetoric cool and focus on the only things that really matter, namely, cooperation and getting dedicated, competent and experienced leaders elected for what promises to be a tough couple of years.

Geoff Aton and I look forward to a vigorous campaign this fall filled with debates, passion and maybe a little humor and excitement — “One Princeton – One Spirit”

Richard C. Woodbridge

Candidate for Mayor, Prospect Avenue

June 13, 2012

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone in the Princeton community who supported me in the primary campaign. Whenever I asked for your help or came to your door, you encouraged me and you made me feel welcome in your homes, regardless of whether we agreed on all of the issues.

Thank you also to my fellow candidates. I recognize the contributions that each of you has made and continue to make to the Princeton community. Together we shared a common goal to work for the betterment of our community, and that shared sense of purpose surpassed the competitive aspect of the campaign.

This was an unprecedented and historic vote, the first time we voted as one Princeton, and I am proud to be part of that. I am honored to have been chosen as a Democratic candidate for Council, and I remain committed to delivering on the promise of consolidation for our community, focusing on the safety and security of Princeton during weather and other emergencies, and nurturing more collaborative and productive relationships between our town and its key institutional stakeholders.

Finally, thank you to all who voted in the primary on Tuesday June 5. Through our collective participation, we recognized and expressed our differences while at the same time helping to set Princeton more firmly on its path to a promising future as one united town.

Patrick Simon

Harriet Drive

To the Editor:

The Nearly New Shop (located above Redding’s, at the corner of Nassau and Chestnut Streets, and open since 1947) is scheduled to close at the end of July, by directive of the Head of Princeton Day School, which oversees the second-hand clothing shop. We and our friends deeply value the Nearly New Shop, and are distressed about the announced closing. We appreciate the shop as a way to recycle goods within the local community and often come there for economical clothing for both ourselves and our children. We love the cheerful ladies who manage the shop so wonderfully and have kept it going all these years. We especially appreciate the store as a pleasant and convenient center-of-town donation location for both clothing and other household goods — in fact, this is the only such donation location in central Princeton that is an actual store rather than a faceless “drop-box” for charity operations. Most important of all, we appreciate all the good the shop does in the community by providing truly affordable quality clothing and other goods to local people in need.

We ask the Princeton Day School to reconsider their decision to close the store. If it is simply no longer possible for the Princeton Day School to support the Nearly New Shop, then we hope this letter might inspire another institution, perhaps another local private school, to take over the shop and keep it going, rather than close it altogether.

Julie Landweber, Tom Hagedorn

Chestnut Street

To the Editor:

New Jersey’s State Senate is considering a bill freeing private universities like Princeton from needing planning-board approval for expansion — like Princeton’s $300-million performing-arts classrooms. This means that any land the University can buy, it can exempt from property tax.

Since public colleges can already develop without municipal approval, private colleges shouldn’t need approval either, according to the bill. The approval process is often “quite time consuming and expensive,” the bill says. It can delay “important educational programs and facilities for students” and divert “critical funding away from educational purposes.” A university’s “vital public mission should not be unduly limited or restricted” by the municipality that hosts it.

But if the bill passes, couldn’t universities limit or restrict their municipalities? The new legislation tries to correct this new imbalance: exemption from planning approval “must be exercised in a reasonable fashion.” Private universities contemplating development must still “allow for input in order to minimize potential conflicts with local governmental interests.”

I no longer expect Princeton University to act in “a reasonable fashion,” however. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Vice President Durkee “allow for input” by saying “We’d be happy to look at that,” I’d be happy too.

Everyone in Princeton supports the arts. But the University’s proposed Arts “and” Transit “Neighborhood” still needs planning approval:

Would a new 75-seat dance studio, 75-seat black box theater, and 80-seat “orchestra rehearsal room” benefit us substantially?

Would bulldozing every inch of land between Alexander Street and the Dinky tracks, from University Place halfway to Faculty Road, improve our environment?

Would moving the Dinky station out of light traffic into horrendous traffic lessen our carbon footprint?

Could the University build its performing-arts classrooms somewhere else?

Even on Alexander, could it build those classrooms without moving the Dinky?

Would off-street parking much farther downhill benefit McCarter Theater?

Would a restaurant four blocks from Nassau Street help downtown merchants?

Suppose you answered every question in the University’s favor. Should the University’s expansion always be unrestricted?

To read the bill, visit www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/S2000/1534_I1.PDF. And, for the names and phone numbers of our new District 16 legislators, see www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/districtnumbers.asp#16. Then you can really have input.

Anne Waldron Neumann

Alexander Street

To the Editor:

On behalf of The Spirit of Princeton Committee and the entire Princeton community, I would like to offer a most appreciative thank you to the dozens of committed volunteers who made the Memorial Day Parade festivities such a success. Through their efforts, the Princeton community was able to honor the nation’s veterans in a festive and dignified manner.

Kam Amirzafari, as chairperson of the parade, and Mark Freda, as vice-chair of the Spirit of Princeton, were the quarterbacks of the event. A special community service honor (Bud Vivian Community Service Award administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation) was presented to The Spirit of Princeton founders Herb Hobler and Ray Wadsworth, who still serve as chairpersons of the group. They donated the award money to The Spirit of Princeton, a charitable non-profit organization producing the Memorial Day Parade, Flag Day Ceremony, Independence Day Fireworks, and Veterans Day Ceremony.

The following groups and individuals gave their invaluable support to the parade (please forgive any omissions — everyone’s role was noteworthy): the sailors, marines, and airmen from Ft. Dix, McGuire, Lakehurst, and Weapon Station EARLE, Princeton Borough Administration, Princeton Township Administration, Princeton Borough Police Department, Princeton University, Princeton Borough Public Works, Princeton Recreation Department, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Operation Shoe Box NJ, bai Drinks, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton Fire Department, Princeton Avenue Neighborhood, Princeton Rotary, Jackie Wadsworth, Commander Frank Sequin, Lorraine Simbala, Lee Wofford, Brad Ackerman, Nancy Kieling, Rod Hirsch, Bill Spadea, Teena Cahill, Linda Twining, Michael Marino, Eric Payne, Sherry Maclean Maurer, Jerry Maclean, Doug Dreger, Emma Dreger, Jack Dreger, Caitlyn Harms, Trevor Harms, and Karen Woodbridge.

We look forward to seeing the community at the Flag Day celebration on June 14, 2012, noon, at Princeton Township Municipal Building Plaza and then again on July 2 for the Independence Day Fireworks on the fields next to Princeton University stadium below Western Way.

Pam Hersh

On behalf of The Spirit of Princeton Committee

To the Editor:

Picture this: You’re driving down Route 1 south toward South Harrison Street. The light turns red, changed by an approaching ambulance. You’re first in line at the light and you turn right onto South Harrison, right into the path of an approaching ambulance. There is no “No Right Turn on Red” sign at the corner of Route 1 south and South Harrison Street. An unsuspecting motorist, not knowing that an ambulance driver has changed the traffic light, makes a right turn. An ambulance could be in the lane of the unsuspecting driver because the two right turn lanes on South Harrison, approaching Route 1 are jammed with traffic, so the ambulance swings around them into the lane for the traffic that heads north on Harrison Street from Route 1. Due to thick shrubs on that corner, a motorist would not see the approaching ambulance until actually turning the corner.

I wonder why the “powers that be” never thought of this potential for disaster? I’ve traveled that route twice now and it occurred to me each time that there was a major slip-up in the planning. This situation can be fixed by simply adding a “No Turn On Red Sign” at the Route 1 south corner at South Harrison Street. I find it impossible to believe that engineers who design the roads and install signs never saw this potential hazard.

There is a problem, a fixable problem. A sign could save lives.

Claudette Ramsey

Linden Lane

To the Editor:

On behalf of all of us at the YWCA Princeton, I would like to thank Amy and Barry Rabner for their generosity in hosting the “Tantalizing Tastes of Tuscany” benefit on May 19. Due to their generosity and hospitality, more than $5,000 was raised for the YWCA’s Bates Scholarship Fund. This important program enables women and their families throughout Mercer County to take advantage of programs and services they would otherwise be unable to afford. In addition to Amy and Barry, I want to thank the many YWCA supporters who attended the event; evening chef Fred Mechini; and the numerous volunteers who worked to make this evening a success, including Margaret Coppola, Beth Crutcher, Ilyndove Healy, Karen Klein, Kyle Mechini, Lorine Murray-Mechini, Doodie Meyer, Maria Sypek, and Arthur Sypek.

Judy Hutton

Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Princeton

To the Editor:

I want to thank the voters for choosing me as the Democratic nominee for mayor in last Tuesday’s primary. Special thanks to my campaign team, including Wendy Kaczerski, Bob and Betty Fleming, Claire Jacobus, Anne Burns, Sarah Smith, John Cashman, and Chad Goerner, and to all the volunteers who hosted parties, walked door-to-door, made phone calls, wrote letters, stuffed envelopes and waved signs. I’m proud we ran a positive, grassroots campaign that aimed to unify our community — it’s exactly the kind of campaign I plan to run for November.

I want to congratulate Kevin Wilkes on a hard-fought and well-run campaign, and thank him for his continuing service to the community. I also want to acknowledge Roger Martindell for his decades of service, and council candidates Tamera Matteo and Scott Sillars. Tamera offered fresh ideas and through her campaign gave voice to groups who have felt unheard. Scott continues to help make our government stronger by lending his financial skills to the Township’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee and the Transition Task Force.

Congratulations to all of the nominees for Council. I look forward to working with you to make consolidation a success.

Liz Lempert

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

I would like to thank everyone who came out in the Democratic Primary to support my efforts to become a member of the new Princeton Council. Although I was not successful in my bid for the nomination, I take great pride in the fact that we ran a positive and inclusive campaign. We were able to motivate many Democrats to get excited about local politics for the first time while also engaging longtime party supporters. The experience was very rewarding.

I would like to congratulate the six candidates who won the primary and congratulate Liz Lempert on becoming the Democratic candidate for mayor of the new consolidated Princeton. I pledge my support to the Democratic slate for the November election.

On a personal note, I would like to thank “Team Tamera,” which grew to include too many wonderful friends to name individually, but who all know how much I appreciate them! I would especially like to thank my family, Joe, Lucia, and Luke, for their unwavering support of my efforts.

Public service is a fundamental aspect of who I am, so I promise to stay actively involved in our community and to do the best I can to advance the community values that we all cherish.

Tamera Matteo

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

I have always been extremely proud to be a resident of Princeton. This is a community that values its uniqueness of accepting and respecting others of different view points. These recent primary elections of June 5 clearly exemplified the caring and trust this community has placed in their elected officials. I am humble and honored to be one of the chosen elected officials.

I pledge to continue to be respectful, thoughtful, honest, caring, and available to all members of our community. I pledge to work with any candidate chosen to represent you on the new Princeton Council. My dream is that the days of bickering and non-agreements simply to prove a point are over. My dream is that days of inefficient local government are over. My dream is the days of poor customer service from our municipal or elected officials are over. Your vote on June 5, should have sent a clear message that you want the new Princeton council to work. If you want these dreams to be a reality, we must keep fighting and vote on November 6, 2012, for the council members that are also dreaming of a terrific working Princeton Council. I would like to especially thank my lovely wife, Latonya Kilpatrick-Liverman, and my children Kelsey, Ashlyn, Savanna, and my mother Minnie Rhodes for sharing me with the Princeton community. A special thank you to Elizabeth Bates and Ross and Leslie Wishnick for hosting events leading up the election. I must also thank Walter Bliss, John Durbin, and Peter Wolanin for tons of logistic help. Last but not least, my thanks go to two treasurers who worked to keep all finances under control, Jacqueline Tillman and Adele Agin.

“Ready to Serve.”

Lance Liverman

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

Princeton approaches an historic moment as our two municipalities combine to create one town – one Princeton.

When I embarked on my journey to become the Democratic nominee for mayor this fall, my focus was to lead the Princeton residents toward the realization of the goals of consolidation: a leaner and more efficient government.

Obviously, losing the primary last week was not part of my plan. But in order to realize the full potential of municipal consolidation, I firmly believe that Princetonians must unite behind the Democratic mayoral nominee Liz Lempert and the entire Democratic slate in November’s general election.

I want to offer my congratulations and support to Liz and the rest of the Democrats who will be on the ballot in November. I will continue to devote my energies to ensure that consolidation and our future in Princeton respond to the hopes and promises for which we have campaigned.

I will continue to serve the residents of the Borough as their elected Councilman building the foundation for a strong and stable Princeton until my term ends in December. I will also focus on the restoration of Paul Robeson’s boyhood home on the corner of Green and Witherspoon Streets as a community resource center that will honor Robeson’s legacy while promoting public good throughout and beyond the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. This is a commitment I have made to the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church and I am excited to dig into the hard work of fundraising and construction.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of my friends, supporters, staff, and volunteers who have given me so much of their time and energy over these past couple of months. I am forever grateful.

Onward toward a united Princeton!

Kevin Wilkes

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough and Township voters took the opportunity to retire me from local government at the end of this year by voting in greater numbers for other candidates in the Democratic primary election June 5. The vote occurred as I completed 23 years on Borough Council.

I have mixed emotions about the election outcome, as I wanted to pursue the promise of consolidation, which I have supported since the 1990s. But I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve all Princeton residents, taxpayers, and voters during three decades, continuing a family tradition.

In the time remaining, I intend to continue working to:

• Aggressively pursue property tax restraint

• Use consolidation to enhance municipal services at no cost increase

• Refuse to enter into consolidation with a “Township” or “Borough” bias

• Seek greater contributions in lieu of taxation from non-profits

• Improve the quality of municipal negotiations with community stakeholders

• Articulate middle ground — e.g., we can support the arts district AND the Dinky right of way; they are not mutually exclusive

• Insist on comprehensive, vigorous land use planning

• Analyze issues carefully, not relying on slogans or group-think

• Set the highest standards for local police, and hold them to it

• Advance the liberal ideals of the Democratic Party, with a libertarian bent

With thanks to all!

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

June 6, 2012

To the Editor:

Throughout the spring, the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative brought New Jersey chefs and farmers into two of the Princeton Young Achievers after-school programs to introduce children to flavors of local produce and to trace that produce back to the farm. The program was an extension of our Garden State on Your Plate program that provided school-wide tastings at Community Park and Littlebrook elementary schools last year.

We want to thank the chefs — Christopher Albrecht of Eno Terra, Gab Carbone of bent spoon, Craig Shelton of American Hospitality Group, Scott Anderson of elements, Linda Twining of TwinHens, and Stu Orefice and Rick Piancone of Princeton University — and farmers — Chris Turse of Double Brook Farm, Mike Rassweiler of North Slope Farm, Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm, Fred Bowers of Princeton Soil Institute, David Zaback of ZFood Farm, and Pier Guidi of Bamboo Hollow Apiaries — who made the program a success. With their help the children learned why eggs from pasture-raised chickens make the best ice cream, examined seeds and soils, learned about beekeeping and tasted the differences amongst honeys from different flowers. They also prepared a kale salad, seasoned a spring Garden State vichyssoise, and shook ice-filled balls to make ice cream — all of which they ate enthusiastically.

The students glimpsed the quality of New Jersey farm products while learning about the workday life of farmers and chefs. Amidst their experimenting, exploring, and exclaiming, we were heartened to see that some children showed a deep interest in food, agriculture, and the culinary arts. We ask that the Princeton community nurture that interest, as well as a love and appreciation amongst all of our students for the delicious and diverse bounty of the Garden State.

Fran McManus, Karla Cook

Princeton School Gardens Cooperative