May 30, 2012

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my strong support for the candidacy of Heather Howard in the upcoming Council election. I have gotten to know Heather over the past couple of years, during which she has been my colleague at the Woodrow Wilson School of the University. She is a remarkably bright, well-informed and sensible person, with a deep commitment to public service.

In my view Heather is the consensus candidate in the wide field of dedicated citizens running for seats on the new Princeton Council. Her background is remarkable. She served in the White House as senior policy advisor to Hilary Clinton, in New Jersey as commissioner of Health and Senior Services, and today is charged with directing a major national program at the Woodrow Wilson School implementing President Obama’s health care reform. In her short time on the Borough Council, she’s already demonstrated leadership, diving into consolidation and finance issues and promoting transparency and a more responsive government. And, in a time when we unfortunately see continuing polarization and government dysfunction, Heather knows how to build consensus through civil dialogue and good humor.

Heather is open-minded, responsive to constituents, and a profound listener. I hope you will join me in casting your vote for Heather Howard on June 5, so that she can continue her good work for Princeton.

Stanley N. Katz

Clover Lane

To the Editor:

We support Heather Howard as a candidate for Princeton Council and will be voting for her in the Democratic primary on June 5. We think she has an extraordinary background in government at every level, an exceptional record of community service both local and statewide, and outstanding skills professional and personal that will be invaluable for the challenges facing a consolidated Princeton Council.

But it’s Heather’s excellent and proactive work on Borough Council this year that makes us most excited to support her. Working tirelessly on consolidation issues, reforming our public meetings, and helping maintain a no-tax-increase budget on the Borough Finance Committee, Heather has fulfilled all she promised Princeton voters. And as safety-conscious Jugtown residents, we are so grateful to her for helping organize the recent public safety forum regarding a spate of burglaries in our neighborhood.

Heather has proven herself as the very best example of public servant, and we urge every Democrat and Independent to vote for her on June 5.

Connie and James Camner

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

We write in support of Scott Sillars for the new Princeton Council and urge our fellow citizens to do the same in the Democratic primary on June 5. Consolidation is now a reality and whether you supported it or not, it is critical to have the most thoughtful people on Council who can implement it successfully. Scott believes that consolidation’s success will be measured by how it benefits ALL our citizens. Issues of development and affordability are critical to Princeton’s future. He will work to defend our diverse neighborhoods in the face of development by insisting on a more engaged and proactive planning process. Scott has the financial expertise and is already very familiar with the complexities of merging two governments because of his work on municipal finance committees and on the Transition Task Force. He will be a new face on council, but will be ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work on day one. Please vote for Scott on June 5 — we need his unique skills on council.

Deborah Kaple, Miguel Centeno

Pine Street

To the Editor:

We are voting for Scott Sillars for Princeton Council because we believe he has the skills necessary to work effectively on the critical issues facing our town. We have known Scott and his wife, Margaret Griffin, for a number of years, and have witnessed first-hand his action and concern for the well-being of our community and beyond. From starting a low-income residential weatherization business for Isles, Inc. in Trenton, to his work managing Red Cross hurricane shelters, his support for the Princeton Public Library and other local organizations, to his foot-soldiering in the Mercer4Obama effort in ‘08, Scott has demonstrated that he can lead as well as follow, and that what’s most important is getting the job done. We need Scott on the new council because he will bring his considerable financial acumen, as well as a lot of heart, to the job. We urge our fellow Democrats to vote Sillars on June 5.

Shelly Yedlin, Charlie Yedlin

Beech Hill Circle

To the Editor:

On June 5, Princeton has the opportunity to vote for the candidate representing the Democratic slot on the general election ticket. There are two worthy choices and while Liz Lempert would make a good mayor, Kevin Wilkes will make a great one. I’ll tell you why.

Kevin has the skills to preside over consolidation. As an architect, he’s used to managing a design and construction team for demo, design, and reconstruction. Those skills have translated to his record as a Borough Councilman. But beyond execution, Kevin will know how to plan for it, or, to stick with the construction theme: he knows how to stage it.

This transition won’t be seamless and it could be turbulent. Princeton will need a thick-skinned taskmaster with a political gift bigger than just good communication skills and an eye toward sustainability.

Princeton needs a mayor who can bring an ecumenical cadence to the public trust who will then hook up the utilities for two separate communities now living in an under construction, split level home, as a family of one. Getting the foundation poured and the framing right is the first task at hand and most important stage of this consolidation. Kevin Wilkes will be that mayor.

He’ll be that mayor because this is what Kevin has done successfully all of his life. The new consolidation phase will also need a leader who is calm, but ready for a storm as different visions converge. Princeton will need a leader who can build these things, then after the sheetrock dust has cleared, turn around and inspect the job better than anyone else. The only person I know who can do this consolidation project the best is Kevin Wilkes, because Kevin Wilkes works for this town and he loves this town.

And he will always work for Princeton. Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz once said that Kevin Wilkes was a tireless worker; not because he never gets tired but because he keeps working when he is tired. It’s true: Kevin is indefatigable.

I can’t wait for all residents to know what so many Princetonians already know about Kevin’s public life, but also his contributions to the town as a private citizen. One of the things that will emerge out of his legacy will be more public art in our town. The Princeton Writer’s Block on then-undeveloped land along Paul Robeson Place was achieved out of his own commitment to irrigate his community’s public art desert, keeping it watered for other things to come. In the two public art projects that I have worked on with Kevin, he always said two things to me, “We’ve got to keep this thing rolling and we have to pull it to the finish line.” Princeton needs this energy and this attitude in the nascent throes of a consolidation. Kevin will assess consolidation, address any problems, and you can be sure he’ll get Princeton landing on its feet.

Peter Soderman

Hamilton Avenue

To the Editor:

Tamera Matteo is a newcomer to politics but a familiar face among the community organizations in town. The president of the John Witherspoon Middle School PTO, a CASA volunteer, a Corner House Foundation board member, and a volunteer for McCarter Theater, to name just a few of her community leadership roles, Tamera has a stellar reputation among those who have worked with her. She’s a good listener who solicits input from a diverse community; she’s a collaborative leader who builds consensus; she is results-oriented. She brings a professional approach and a customer-service perspective, borne of her decade-long ownership of a local retail business, to all that she does.

We have worked alongside Tamera on the John Witherspoon (JW) Middle School PTO, and strongly support her for the new Council. She brings the experience, temperament, perspective and commitment that the new Princeton needs and deserves.

As JW’s PTO president, she was a wonderful bridge between the leadership of a principal who had headed the school for over 30 years, and a new principal who had to quickly learn the lay of the land. She was able to make even better the many positive aspects of JW. The highlights of her tenure as PTO president include:

Turning a negative PTO cash balance into a $20,000 surplus;

Assisting parents in developing the first JW swim club;

Being appointed by the District to participate in the Principal search committee for JW;

Redesigning the JW spiritwear to make it more appealing to the kids, thereby improving school spirit, and helping to raise more funds; and,

Finding an equivalent in quality/less expensive Washington, DC tour for the 8th graders.

Tamera’s ability to improve both the tangibles, such as cash balance and sports offerings, as well as the intangibles, such as school spirit, bodes well for her future success as a member of the Princeton Council. For this reason, we enthusiastically endorse her candidacy for Princeton Council.

Elizabeth Collier

Snowden Lane

Susan Kanter

Christopher Drive

Roxanne List

Jefferson Road

Leah McDonald

Journeys End Lane

Joan Morelli

Walker Drive

Lucy Quach Saengtawesin

Gallup Road

Elizabeth Samios

Bertrand Drive

AnaMaria Silva

Stonewall Circle

Jeanette Timmons

Marion Road East

Diana Traquina

Van Dyke Road

To the Editor:

On June 5, voters in the Democratic Primary election will nominate six candidates for the position of council person in the new consolidated Princeton government. Nine candidates are seeking the endorsement. All supported consolidation and all promise to work to fulfill its promises of efficiency and savings. All bring impressive talents and varied experience. How to choose? As members of the Joint Consolidation/Shared Services Study Commission, we urge you to give one of your votes to a newcomer, Patrick Simon. Pat served on the JCSSC as a citizen member from the Borough. Over the months that we worked together to develop the recommendation that led to the consolidation referendum, Pat demonstrated the qualities needed to serve our new united community. He brings formidable analytic talents, most notably his ability to unravel the arcane complexities of municipal finance and explain, in plain language, the financial impacts of policy decisions. He is fair and open minded. He worked with us on the Community Engagement Subcommittee and continually sought and carefully considered views from everyone in the Princeton community. He has demonstrated the ability to work with all sectors of the community – including Princeton University — and to find the common ground that will enable Princeton to continue to thrive as the stimulating, diverse community we all value. Pat will be a newcomer to elected office and we applaud that, but he has proven that he has the acumen and temperament to serve our community well. Please join us in giving one of your votes to Pat Simon.

Valerie Haynes

Mount Lucas Road

Anton Lahnston

Elm Road

Carol Golden

Snowden Lane

Ryan Lilienthal

Maple Street

Alice K. Small

Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

Four years ago in the lead-up to the 2008 election, I met and worked for the young woman who was organizing the regional New Jersey-Pennsylvania effort to elect Obama. She was a model of capability, efficiency, calm, and intelligence. I was amazed at how much she constantly accomplished, what a fine leader she was, and how unflagging her drive was, from the beginning of the Obama campaign right through the day of the election.

You will not be surprised to know that this young woman was Liz Lempert. Since then I have watched with ever-growing admiration as Liz assumed significant responsibilities when she was elected to Township Committee and later took on leadership positions in the Consolidation and Transition Task Force processes. Liz has been unflappable and sensible at every turn and in every public meeting in her various roles. She radiates a sense of fairness, confidence, and quietly positive energy, encouraging those who work with her to give their best and find the most effective solutions to problems.

The next few years will inevitably bring their own strains as we work our way toward creating a merged municipal entity. The person we elect as mayor must be able to handle the huge array of consolidation processes and issues — to say nothing of unforeseen situations — with wisdom, aplomb, and good humour.

Liz has amply demonstrated all the necessary executive and managerial skills that will be required to be mayor of a combined Princeton. We are the poster child for consolidation, and other towns and municipal nonprofit groups are watching us closely. We have a crucial responsibility to consolidate with success. For this, we need a seasoned and effective leader as mayor. Liz Lempert is that person. Please vote for her on June 5.

Casey Lambert

North Road

To the Editor:

The Princeton community — Borough and Township — has long been defined and distinguished by three physical elements: (i) the woods and fields that separate Princeton from its neighbors; (ii) Nassau Street, Palmer Square, and our core downtown neighborhoods; and (iii) the historic portions of the Princeton University campus.

Jo Butler and Jenny Crumiller have demonstrated that they understand the fundamental relationship between Princeton’s three defining elements and the still unique character of our now rapidly growing community. They understand that Princeton will be diminished – substantively, immediately, and recognizably — if we permit any of our town’s three defining elements to be impaired.

Change is inevitable. But there are degrees of change, and change is not always beneficial. People instinctively resist transformative change. Governments are created and empowered to limit transformative change. Princeton’s many defenses include elected bodies, ordinances, master plans, a regional planning board, historic preservation review committees, and shade tree commissions. Sometimes those defenses are effective; more often they collapse limply whenever there is a promise of new tax revenues or a threat of litigation.

Notwithstanding the lamentable porosity of its defenses, Princeton Borough’s survival as an independent entity served until this year to prevent upheaval in our core downtown neighborhoods. Consolidation, however, changes everything. I suggest that the primary duty of our newly elected Council will be to combat the drive to transform our downtown into an urban hub. Doing so successfully will require wit and tenacity. Jo and Jenny have demonstrated those attributes in spades. They are courageous. They are resourceful. Their instincts are sound. They do not run for cover when attacked. I am comfortable entrusting our future to them. They have my strong support and I fervently hope they will have yours on June 5 and November 6.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

I support Jo Butler for Princeton Council. I have known her for several years, working closely with her as the Borough Liaison to the Joint Recreation Board and can state first hand that she is a professional, no-nonsense individual, who brings an open mind to every issue with which she is faced. Never coming to a debate with a hidden agenda, Jo Butler listens well, asks good questions, is smart and does all the necessary background work to get her mind around the issues at hand.

From the start Jo Butler has been a champion of the new Community Park Pool. Once she listened to all the disparate points of view, she made up her mind and was integral in ending the ceaseless debates in the Borough about the pool and got the project moving forward. As a result, our beautiful new pool is opening this weekend, on budget and on time. Our community owes a debt of gratitude to Ms. Butler for those efforts.

Jo Butler also supports a combined Parks and Recreation Department, which would allow for more coordinated and efficient passive and active recreation services for all of our citizens. She is a thoughtful and decisive leader who also embodies that rare quality among public servants – she is selfless. We need Jo Butler. I urge like-minded members of the community to vote on June 5 for Jo Butler for Princeton Council.

Thomas Zucosky

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

I believe Liz Lempert is the right candidate at the right time for a new Princeton. She has the unique ability to build bridges and trust between the two communities as we move to a consolidated municipality. Her accomplishments and abilities will only be more profound in the new Princeton:

• Liz is the only candidate to have support from Township Committee and Borough Council members. This speaks volumes for her ability to unify our new
community.

• She led the way on preserving the Princeton Ridge resulting in 60-plus acres of total preserved land in perpetuity. From promoting walking and biking, food waste recycling to sustainability certification Liz’s record on the environment and sustainability is unsurpassed.

• Her common sense approach in working with our Citizens’ Finance Advisory Commission and negotiating with Princeton University has resulted in both zero tax increases and our first-ever contribution from Princeton University to help ease residents’ tax burdens.

Liz’s open-mindedness, energy and spirit of collaboration provide just the right combination for our newly consolidated municipality. I encourage you to vote for Liz on June 5.

Chad Goerner

Mayor, Princeton Township

To the Editor:

Many of you worked very hard to promote consolidation and were rewarded with its passage in 2011. I suspect that the opponents of consolidation now want the transition to be as smooth and as seamless as possible. We will be one Princeton. We want this to work, and we want to choose the best candidate to help make it work for all of us.

I have had the pleasure of working with each of the three candidates for mayor and feel that Princeton is much the better for having had their representation as leaders in this community. However, I support Kevin Wilkes to lead us in 2013 because he has clearly demonstrated over the years that his ability to listen, to work with others with varying views to reach resolution, to communicate with all members of our diverse community, to work (with ease) with members of our residential, educational and business communities, is the kind of leadership that we will need going forward. The decisions made within the next few years could determine the quality of life we will have in Princeton for years to come. I want the person leading that group to possess the caliber of qualities and leadership that have been demonstrated by Kevin.

I hope that he can count on your support on June 5.

MILDRED T. TROTMAN

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

With all the hype about new beginnings and fresh ideas, Princeton voters choosing a government for their newly merged town may want to ask themselves: But, why are we doing all this?

No one can answer that question quite as well as Bernie Miller, a former mayor of Princeton Township who is following through the consolidation process from beginning to end. He first started as an ally of Jay Bleiman, then mayor of the Township, on the 1977 Consolidation Study Commission. Bernie has stayed active ever since. He’s been a Township Councilman, a member of the most recent Consolidation Commission, and now one of the elected officials on the Transition Task Force.

He’s the chair of the Facilities Subcommittee, where I watch him sensitively balancing multiple interests as we physically bring staff together from separate departments and agencies into new collaborative relationships. Bernie’s even-handedness is making a difference.

In the midst of all that might seem new, there’s a place for institutional memory and balance. Vote June 5 to keep Bernie Miller on the new town council.

Marvin Reed

Former Mayor Princeton Borough

May 23, 2012

To The Editor:

As Princeton residents, we support Patrick Simon’s candidacy for the new Princeton Council. We believe Pat has the highest qualifications and commitment to public service and we urge you to join us in voting for him in the June 5 primary.

Pat will be an excellent Council member because he is committed to producing results through teamwork and collaboration. As a member of the Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission, he worked with the other members to successfully produce a road map to consolidation, create an open process that engages the community, and prioritize continuity of government services. He is committed to fully realizing the intended benefits of consolidation: cost control and savings, maintaining the quality of services we enjoy, and creating a more effective government. We are confident that he will help manage the consolidation process in a way that will preserve the unique character and diversity of our community and also maintain the quality of life here in Princeton.

We are also confident that Pat will be an effective Council member on any issue facing him. As a Commission member, Pat was diligent in exploring the many difficult issues surrounding consolidation and has built an impressive knowledge base of the issues that concern members of our community. In his talks with us, he has displayed his ability to grasp the “big picture” while managing the minutiae surrounding the complex aspects of consolidation. Pat is thoughtful, prudent, and measured; these are qualities we look for on the new Princeton Council.

Finally, his candidacy has been endorsed both by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) and the two Democratic Party Municipal Committees. He is the only candidate to be endorsed by these organizations who is not currently serving on one of the elected town councils. We support this newcomer to politics and urge you to do the same on June 5.

Doreen Blanc Rockstrom,

Maidenhead Road

Laurie Harmon,

Spruce Street

Mary Clurman,

Harris Road

Peter Lindenfeld,

Harris Road

Seth McDowell,

Pine Street

Yan Bennett,

Markham Road

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Scott Sillars for Council in the new Princeton.  Scott has served as chairman of the Township’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee since 2007 and is currently serving as vice chairman of the joint Borough/Township Transition Task Force.  I am also serving as a liaison to the Transition Task Force and have observed first-hand Scott’s dedication to ensuring that the transition from two towns to one goes as smoothly as possible.  Further he brings financial expertise to the table and is committed to ensuring that the savings contemplated by the Consolidation Commission will be realized, without compromising the level of service Princeton residents have come to expect.

He is a thoughtful person who listens.  And, when he speaks, his is a voice of reason. I am confident that Scott will work toward open and frank communication with Princeton University. We need public servants like Scott and we will especially need them on the new Council. There will remain work to be done as our towns continue the transition from two towns to one unified town and Scott will provide the necessary leadership to help us achieve our goals.   I urge you to vote for Scott on June 5.

Barbara Trelstad

President, Princeton Borough Council

 

To the Editor:

Recent meetings gave me the opportunity to talk at length with and to listen to presentations by Scott Sillars.  This prompts me to strongly recommend that Scott Sillars be elected in June as a member of the new consolidated Princeton Council!

Why?  Scott has the unique combination of a sharp businessman’s and a dedicated civil servant’s mind.  His organized, clear thinking and determined drive to accomplish results is impressive.  He has a clear picture of the priorities for our new Council:  Successful and generally beneficial consolidation, cost control, balanced diversity, a vibrant business downtown, and professional dialogue with the University for its contribution.

Scott’s career background in corporate finance, then chairing for years our Finance Advisory Committee, charitable volunteering and managing community projects with Isles in Trenton and for the Red Cross presents him as a most respectable and qualified citizen of our community

Helmut Schwab

Westcott Road

 

To the Editor:

We write in support of Scott Sillars for Princeton Council. We have observed first-hand the qualities that made him outstanding as the Chairman of the Citizens’ Financial Advisory Committee: Attention to detail, financial experience and a determination coupled with the moral courage to achieve the savings Consolidation promises for us all, if truly implemented. We can’t, as a community, afford not to vote for him.

David and Claire Jacobus

Cleveland Lane

To the Editor:

I am voting for Kevin Wilkes to be the candidate for mayor of Princeton in the June 5 Democratic primary. I would like to present my reasons and show why you, fellow Princetonians, should mark your ballot for him, too.

Kevin came to live in Princeton in 1975 when he started his architecture studies at Princeton University. So, for over 25 years he has been both Township and Borough resident. He has also served as a Borough council member for the past four years.

Mr. Wilkes in an architect. Architects are artists, creators of tangible beauty.  However, architecture studies are not easy. In fact, they are quite complex, for they give the artist concrete knowledge of what could and should be done when building.  In architecture school, these dreamers acquire so much through a host of subjects that “ground” them so they can not only dream about beauty, but understand how to make it happen. Architects not only draw; architects know about physics laws, stability and structures. Architects know about planning, zoning, and to integrate the landscape into the buildings and their functions.  Architects know how to prepare budgets and meet deadlines.  Architects know how to listen to their clients, complete projects with quality materials while solving last minute crises that are always encountered while involved in a construction.

With this vast knowledge and years of experience, Kevin Wilkes can’t be fooled. He gets the job done, within budget, no excuses.

As an artist, he created “Quark Park” and the “Writers’ Block”, both entrepreneurial art projects that embellished the Princeton brand across the country.

Kevin knows about diversity. For him, diversity is not the overused/misused fad of the moment.  His mother was a visionary, who sent young Kevin to spend his summers in Spain. There he mastered a new language , lived and appreciated a different culture, which left in Kevin’s psyche, the indelible gift of an open mind.

In combination with his professional and public life, Kevin has worked with our Hispanic population. He knows firsthand their work ethic, aspirations, and problems. Through his work with LALDEF and the  Latin American Task force, the Latinos here trust Kevin to look out for their interests.  Kevin feels and shows empathy towards them with actions.

On June 5, please vote for Kevin Wilkes in the Democratic primary to be the candidate for mayor of unified Princeton

Sandra J. Bierman

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

I write to urge my fellow Princetonians to support Liz Lempert for mayor in the coming election. As the president of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I have attended many Township Committee meetings during the time Liz has served on Committee, and have also worked with her on a number of important land preservation projects and conservation issues. I have been consistently impressed by Liz’s openness, thoughtfulness, quickness to grasp an issue, and ability to see things through. She is responsive to citizen concerns, and concerned about our most vulnerable citizens.

Liz has been a leader in working to protect the eastern Princeton Ridge and create a Princeton Ridge Preserve. This benefits our town in many ways, not just because we have more passive-recreation open space and preserved critical habitat, but because the protected lands provide “environmental services” such as flood protection, carbon sequestration, counteracting the urban heat effect and reducing the public costs of too-intense development. Liz is knowledgeable about environmental issues, but she is not a one-issue person, and to my observation she contributes in all of the areas that Committee takes up.

My husband knows Liz through his work for the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, where she is an active volunteer and supporter. Liz obviously appreciates the important connections between libraries and the welfare of children, and makes time in her very busy schedule to support this critical institution.

We are blessed in Princeton to have many capable and intelligent individuals who are willing to run for and serve in our government. I believe that Liz is a standout even in this outstanding field.

Wendy Mager

Cherry Hill Road

To the Editor:

On November 8, 2011, voters in the Borough and Township of Princeton approved a ballot measure to consolidate their two local governments into one Princeton.  Because of the municipal consolidation, and due to population shifts in census numbers, Princeton election districts and polling locations may have changed from those in which votes were previously cast. The Mercer County Board of Elections earlier this year approved these new polling locations.

As Mercer County Election officials, we want Princeton voters to be aware of these changes as we approach the Primary Election on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, and the General Election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Princeton voters, you will find your newly assigned polling locations and election district information on your sample ballots —which will be sent to all registered voters in the coming weeks.  Please be mindful that your sample ballot will clearly indicate the district and location of the polls where you should vote.  You can also find your current polling location online by visiting the “Voter Information” section at www.njelections.org.

Should Princeton voters have any questions regarding the location of a current polling place, please contact the Mercer County Board of Elections directly at (609) 278-6522 or the Princeton Township Municipal Clerk’s Office.

Catherine DiCostanzo,

Mercer County Superintendent of Elections

Joanne Palmucci,

Chairwoman, Mercer County Board of Elections

Paula Sollami Covello, Esq.

Mercer County Clerk

To the Editor:

For as long as I have served or lived in Princeton, I knew that I could always count on Jenny Crumiller. She has been a tremendous asset to Princeton and the surrounding communities and schools. Her volunteerism and commitment to local governmental services make her stand out, as well as her true character in always standing up for what she believes in.

As a Princeton Borough Council member, Jenny has consistently demonstrated her intelligence, dedication to the community, ability to organize, and deeply held Democratic values. As president of the PCDO, she transformed the organization by greatly increasing membership and encouraging openness and transparency in the democratic process.

With Princeton’s best interests in mind, I support Jenny Crumiller’s run for Princeton Council.

Reed Gusciora

(D-Mercer/Hunterdon), Assemblymember, LD15

To the Editor:

I am writing to strongly endorse Jo Butler for election to the new Princeton Council. Since the beginning of the year, I have served on the Princeton Consolidation Transition Task Force and have had the honor to get to know, and work with, a number of elected officials from both Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. Although it is fashionable to bash politicians, I generally have been impressed by the quality of Princeton’s public officials; I plan to vote for several of them in the upcoming primary and in the fall election.

So why Jo? Jo and I have worked closely together on a number of matters relating to the Princeton consolidation and I have found her to be remarkably hard-working, thoughtful and balanced. She is a “roll up your sleeves and get it done” type of person, entirely comfortable getting down into the weeds on an issue while at the same time keeping in mind the greater goal. Although there has been a great deal of “noise” about Princeton Borough vs. Princeton Township over the past several years, Jo has already embraced the paradigm shift of thinking about one Princeton. And while she brings a passion about certain important issues to the table, her instinct is to listen to other points of view and then seek ways to get to a workable resolution. In short, Jo is much more interested in good public policy than personal political gain. (I wish we had more like her in Washington!)

From my vantage point as a member of the Transition Task Force, I will be interested to see how the newly consolidated Princeton works in 2013 and beyond. With people like Jo Butler on the new Princeton Council, I will have high hopes that a consolidated Princeton community will become even more vibrant and livable.

Brad Middlekauff

Hibben Road

To the Editor:

We citizens of Princeton are lucky to have a deep bench of able candidates to choose from in the upcoming Democratic primary election on June 5. I am writing to throw my support behind one council candidate in particular — Heather Howard. I’m not sure everyone in town realizes just how impressive her resume is; from a senior position on Hillary Clinton’s staff when she was First Lady, to serving as New Jersey’s Health Care Commissioner under Governor Jon Corzine, Heather has played in the major leagues and brings all the skills and contacts she developed in those positions to our little “field of dreams” here in Princeton. She has a passion for progressive causes that shines through after only a couple minutes of conversation, but she tempers that passion with political acumen and know-how that enables her to really get things done. In her first year on Borough Council she introduced and passed a reform that moved public sessions up on the agenda, allowing more citizen input and greater transparency. This is just one example of her dedication to the principles of good governance, and her grasp of how to accomplish her goals with minimal fuss and bother. Please join me in voting for Heather on June 5.

David E. Cohen

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

A matter of civic dismay: Princeton Hospital has left, but hospital leadership has not explained to the community why it has selected AvalonBay to develop the old hospital site with plans that violate Borough Code and the 2006 Master Plan. Why has the hospital sold out greater Princeton, which gave it $100M to relocate?

On May 7, 2012, Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods / Witherspoon raised these issues in a letter sent to Barry Rabner, President and CEO of the University Medical Center at Princeton (UMCP) and to all trustees. To date, no response has been received.

Why will hospital leadership not explain why it has reneged on commitments it made? Mr. Rabner was himself a primary participant in Health Care Task Force discussions, and his team negotiated a very high housing density (280 units) in exchange for specific commitments to large public plazas, bike/pathways crossing the site, compliance with LEED-certification, and building-heights in scale with the neighborhood.

Not one of these commitments is being honored by AvalonBay, the contract-buyer.

Hospital leadership has an obligation to fulfill its commitments. The burden of desperately poor urban planning with which Princeton is otherwise left is too heavy to be borne; AvalonBay plans a “gated community” (prohibited by the Master Plan), and that will drag down all of Witherspoon Street, together with the idea of what Princeton stands for.

It’s time for the hospital to exercise pressure. Contract negotiations are not yet settled. Indeed, the “word on the street” is that there are disputes between the hospital and AvalonBay, and that Barry Rabner will no longer engage in discussions with AvalonBay’s representative, Ron Ladell—“One of last year’s most polarizing top 10 picks — you either think he’s a joke or a rock star” (NJBIZ, Real Estate, 2011).

And it’s time for the hospital to honor its commitments. How can the hospital’s CEO step away from formal agreements in which he participated? Barry Rabner gained the hospital a decent selling price; he’s been leading tours of the new hospital for weeks.

It’s high time he and the hospital trustees rededicated themselves to the Princeton they’ve left in the lurch. We want a written response. And we want action: a better developer who will honor Borough Code at the insistence of hospital leadership. Anything less is betrayal.

Miki Mendelsohn

Hickory Court

To the Editor:

On behalf of the “Morven in May: A Celebration of Art, Craft and Garden” committee, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to all who helped make this year’s special event possible, including too many individuals to mention here.  A special thank you to our corporate sponsors who provided both financial and in-kind support, including Baxter Construction; Callaway Henderson International Realty; Howard Design Group; Jack Morton Exhibits; Masterminds Advertising; PrincetonScoop; RBC Wealth Management; Robert Wood Johnson IV Charitable Trust; and Suplee Clooney, & Co.

The weekend commenced with a festive preview garden party under a grand tent on Morven’s Great Lawn.  Three hundred of our friends and neighbors enjoyed delicious fare provided by Main Street Fine Catering while perusing the beautifully crafted art objects on display by our talented invited artisans.  Over 700 attended the art show throughout the weekend alongside our traditional heirloom plant sale, which, this year, sold three times the number of plants than ever before!  All proceeds from Morven in May fund Morven Museum & Garden’s historic gardens, exhibitions and public programs.

Thank you, again, and we look forward to seeing you next year!

Leigh Constable Bartlett

Betsy Griffith

Ruth Wilson

2012 Morven in May Co-Chairs

To The Editor:

As a Princeton resident, a parent, and a novelist for teens, I was disappointed by the lengthy May 16 Letter to the Editor mischaracterizing the services HiTOPS provides our community.

HiTOPS empowers young adults with the knowledge to make informed health decisions. If HiTOPS presented sexual activity as “unproblematic” (as the letter writers allege), such education, support and prevention programs wouldn’t be necessary. I’ve personally engaged with tens of thousands of young adults throughout my career. I know firsthand how dangerous misinformation—or no information at all—can be to their physical and emotional well-being.

It’s important to note that the money raised by the Princeton Half-Marathon is specifically targeted for providing adolescents access to mental health screenings. This speaks to the HiTOPS mission to treat young adults like whole people and not just the sum of their private parts.

I did agree with the final point in the letter, which read in part: “We should remind ourselves and teach our teens that sometimes it is necessary to consider other voices and to rethink our own assumptions if we wish to get closer to the truth.”

If only more individuals offering this kind of advice were better at following it themselves.

Megan McCafferty

Fisher Avenue

To the Editor:

I am a 35-year-old professional who is happily married with two children, and a resident of Princeton Township.  After having conferred with my husband about my feelings regarding the letter you published on May 16 (“Not All Parents Think the HiTOPS Approach to Sex Education Valuable”), I’d like to disclose that 20 long years ago I was a client.

As maybe was more common then than now, I “experimented” as a young teen and found myself in need of medical assistance that I could never, ever tell my parents about.  I still remember distinctly a friend of mine driving me over to Rt. 206 in a snowstorm so I could obtain an STD test I badly needed (for the public record, thankfully, it was negative).  I remember leaving HiTOPS, thinking as only a fifteen-year old who had just received a critical free service could, “God, why are they, like, so judgmental?”  With 20 years to reflect, I realize the lady who did my test that day gave me much-needed counseling on responsibility and self-respect.

I was a boarder at the Methodist Pennington School with conservative parents, and still I found myself in need of HiTOPS services. I have children, and I too hope they will delay becoming sexually active.  However, the human record shows that doesn’t tend to happen on parental timetables, and sometimes kids need help that they need to keep private, even from their own parents.  I would hope that when my children are older they would feel comfortable coming to me if they needed help despite any disappointment I might show, but if they didn’t, I would be satisfied that an option exists where “diversity” beyond what my own personal hopes for my children might be lets them stay healthy, private, and whole.

Liz Winslow

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

I deeply respect and appreciate the sentiments expressed by four parents regarding sexuality education provided by HiTOPS (Town Topics, May 16). Being a parent myself and having been involved with the organization for almost 20 years, I can tell you that HiTOPS wholeheartedly agrees with the authors that parents have the right and the responsibility to provide information about sexuality to their children within the context of family values, religious beliefs and cultural norms.

HiTOPS’ mission to promote adolescent health and well-being is accomplished in part by providing age-appropriate education to middle school and high school youth within a public health context. Our lesson plans are in alignment with the New Jersey Department of Education Core Curriculum Content Standards in Health Education for all New Jersey public schools. Health education on any subject is designed to give students the information and skills they need to make decisions that eliminate or reduce their risk for negative health outcomes.

HiTOPS provides health education throughout New Jersey on a range of health topics, including bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, postponing sexual involvement, abstinence, dating violence, sexual assault prevention, appreciating differences, healthy and unhealthy relationships, pregnancy prevention and STI/HIV prevention. Lessons provide factual information, as well as a forum for discussion, to help youth understand the consequences of certain actions and make decisions that are in line with their values and protect their health. Many parents rely on these programs and know that the issues are covered under state mandate. Other parent may choose to opt their children out of these classes.

Some Princeton High School students participate in a class called Teen PEP, where students learn to be peer leaders on similar topics. Freshmen at PHS receive these peer-led programs as part of their health classes. The 900-page manual to which the authors refer in their letter is the training manual for the Teen PEP class, and it is only used by the PHS Juniors who apply and are accepted to be part of the Teen PEP program. Teen PEP is a program developed and implemented by HiTOPS and the Princeton Center for Leadership Training, and funded by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. This program was also developed in conjunction with the content standards and has been evaluated rigorously for medical accuracy.

While this community is fortunate in so many ways, the fact remains that the U.S. suffers the highest teenage pregnancy rate and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases amongst teens than all developed countries. National studies are reporting that it is not that they are more sexually active, but that they just do not have the same information as their global peers to protect themselves. Experts around the world agree, HiTOPS’ approach — providing accurate, unbiased information and access to resources and care — is the best approach for reducing risks and promoting health-enhancing decisions.

Elizabeth M. Casparian, PhD

Wiggins Street

May 16, 2012

To the Editor:

We urge our fellow Democrats in Princeton to support Tamera Matteo for Borough Council in the primary on June 5. She believes that united Princeton deserves the best Borough Council. We agree.

A vote for Tamera would be a vote for results-oriented leadership and an end to the petty squabbles that have paralyzed our Borough government. Drawing on her ten years as a small business owner in Princeton, she would bring elements of our community together for win-win solutions to problems ranging from downtown parking to cost sharing by local tax-exempt organizations. She would draw on her civic activism as a Parent-Teacher Organization president and community volunteer to engage a broad cross-section of Princeton residents in shaping our common future.

A vote for Tamera would be a vote for transparency and against the local party machine. Meeting behind closed doors, the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee gave current Borough Council members Jenny Crumiller and Jo Butler favored positions on the June 5 primary ballot despite Crumiller and Butler’s failure to win the full endorsement of the membership of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. Tamera is not beholden to the party machine and will make decisions that she independently believes are in the best interest of our community.

Consolidation offers the voters of the new Princeton the opportunity to create a vibrant new civic culture. We believe that Tamera Matteo will make that happen.

Ted Mills, Henry Vega

Quarry Street