October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

New Jersey is a small state with very large problems. Under Governor Chris Christie, our burdens have multiplied with one poor administrative decision after another, the unfinished cleanup of Hurricane Sandy still on our agenda, and the lingering shadows of scandal, to name just a few. We all know that Governor Christie’s attempts to present himself as a viable presidential candidate are unsuccessful, nationally as well as here in his own state. His vision is flawed and his policies are just as wrong for us as for the country as a whole.

Thanks to this administration, New Jersey has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates and an intolerable debt rating. At the same time, the Christie administration refused to support the job-creating and critical third tunnel into New York City, which would have been paid for largely by the federal government; has failed to support a hike in the laughably low gasoline tax; is attempting to defund Planned Parenthood which provides health care for working women (and men); is undermining our public school system; and is fighting hard to revoke conservation easements already in place, gutting the entire concept of forever green, which is deeply important to the future of this crowded state.

Is this what we want more of? I say it is time for a change. We need to elect fresh, energetic, and sensible representatives for the 16th District. Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella, a physicist and judge, respectively, have the background and experience to help turn New Jersey around. Both Zwicker and Vella are accustomed to dealing with difficult issues in the worlds of science, technology, education, social policy, and civil liberties — Andrew at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and Maureen in New Jersey’s courts. New Jersey needs representatives like Zwicker and Vella who can lead us once again to prominence in corporate scientific endeavors, in education, in women’s rights, in environmental preservation, in medical research, and other essential public policy arenas.

Anyone who runs for public office deserves our gratitude. But it is time for a clean sweep. We must bring in forward-looking representatives with the vision and talents to bring New Jersey into the future. On Nov. 3, vote for Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella.

Casey Lambert

North Road

To the Editor:

As a member of the sandwich generation caring for aging parents and young children, I wholeheartedly endorse the Liverman/Howard team for their expressed passionate commitment to making Princeton safe for the senior and youth populations alike. And setting a great moral example for every Princeton citizen, they also have publicly declared a determination to guarantee the safety of everyone no matter what their ethnic background.

These two incumbents, who serve as Princeton Council’s liaisons to the Public Safety Committee, worry about the safety of my parents and my children as though they were related to me. They are sickened by the swatting incidents in the schools and the often unexpressed but very real terror felt by the school children under psychological attack. And simultaneously they worry about the safety of the vulnerable seniors, often home alone and targets for physical attacks and fiscal scammers.

Lance and Heather have been very active in helping the police department come together in a more efficient operation after consolidation. The department achieved savings while actually enhancing services, by instituting community policing (Safe Neighborhood Bureau). And given the national debate and tragedies in Ferguson and elsewhere, they are committed to continue their work to strengthen law enforcement ties to the community — so that everyone in town feels they are represented and protected.

Lance and Heather — it is a safe bet that I will be voting for you both on November 3.

Tracey Craig

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

We are writing in support of the candidacies of our mothers, Lynn Lu Irving and Kelly DiTosto for Princeton Council. They are prepared to demonstrate the same commitment to Princeton that they demonstrated to their families. As Councilwomen, they will repay Princeton for the safe and nurturing environment in which we, their sons, learned and flourished.

Our mothers patiently pushed us to excel in our classes at Princeton High School and, as Councilwomen, they will urge other Council members to be thoughtful and astute in decision-making. Our mothers never missed an ice hockey or lacrosse game and as Councilwomen will never miss a Council meeting. They cared for us back then, and will care for the welfare of all Princeton residents in the same way.

As we, the next generation of citizens are about to finish our college educations and begin our professional lives in Princeton and beyond, we look back to the victories we achieved in our classrooms and on the rink and sports fields and remember the selfless devotion and commitment of our mothers Lynn Lu Irving and Kelly DiTosto They are what Princeton Council needs to meet today’s fiscal, social, and moral challenges. Please elect them to the Princeton Council!

Michael Lu Irving

Longview Drive,

Dean DiTosto

Bainbridge Street

Katie Heins

To lead, one must be able to motivate others, to summon their best efforts in order to attain a successful result. Pinceton resident Katie Heins is such a leader.

Former president of the Garden Club of America (GCA) and Stony Brook Garden Club of Princeton, she has held numerous positions of responsibility in these organizations. Through her effort, energy, and expertise, she has helped them to become more productive, responsive, and influential.

As her friend of 30 years, Princeton resident Susan Levy, points out, “The productivity of any organization, it is often said, reflects its leadership. The Garden Club of America is better for having had Katie as its president. It is more productive, more cohesive, and more directed. Katie inspires by her own remarkable example, adhering to the highest standards, eager to take on challenges.” more

October 21, 2015

To the Editor:

It was my honor and privilege to represent the people of Central New Jersey and to work to improve your quality of life. As a member of Congress and as a professional scientist, I’ve always believed that policy decisions should be based on evidence, not ideology. On November 3, you have a chance to elect two people to the New Jersey General Assembly who will do just that.

Andrew Zwicker is a physicist and the Head of Science Education at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory, where I was once the assistant director. Many years ago, I hired Andrew and it was clear to me that as good as he was as a scientist, he was even better at relating to people. Andrew has devoted his career to finding solutions to difficult problems such as developing a new source of clean energy and training the next generation of students to compete in a global economy. I wasn’t surprised when he called me and said he wanted to be involved in public service and I said, without any hesitation at all, that I would like to help.

Maureen Vella is a former municipal judge, a family practice lawyer, and a professional mediator. Maureen understands that legislation needs to be carefully crafted so that unintended consequences are few and far between and is a patient negotiator who works toward an acceptable compromise that will produce positive action. New Jersey needs leaders like Andrew and Maureen now.

Rush Holt

Pennington Rocky Hill Road

To the Editor:

In the Town Topics article “Princeton Professor Wins Nobel Prize” (page one, Oct. 14), four Princeton University winners of the prize in economics are listed. Professor W. Arthur Lewis is omitted from the list. In 1979, Sir Arthur Lewis “was awarded the Nobel Prize along with Theodore Schultz for ‘pioneering research into economic development with particular consideration of the problems of developing countries’.”

Biographer Princeton professor Robert Tignor described him as “one of the foremost intellectuals, economists, and political activists of the 20th century. Professor Lewis was “the first black person to win a Nobel Prize in a category other than literature or peace.”

I find the omission of Professor Lewis’s accomplishments puzzling. I imagine that many friends, colleagues, and family members of Sir Arthur and Gladys, Lady Lewis, and their daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara, would join me in requesting that this Princeton professor receive his due in print. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Cecełia B Hodges

Glenview Drive

Editor’s Note: The article in question was based on the Princeton University press release, which listed “several other Princeton faculty members who have received a Nobel Prize in economics in the last two decades.” Two other Nobel laureates not mentioned were visiting professor of economics Thomas Sargent, in 2011, and Eric S. Maskin, visiting lecturer with the rank of professor of economics, in 2007. 

To the Editor:

Two Princeton Council candidates, Lynn Lu Irving and Kelly Ditosto, have been friends since their sons played on the same lacrosse team at Princeton High School, so juggling careers and motherhood is second nature for them. Each is the mother of three children, five of whom have graduated from Princeton High and attended college. Two are college graduates with responsible positions in business and as a Marine Corps Judge Advocate General Officer. Ms. Irving’s youngest child, a daughter and a Princeton High freshman, is a talented singer and musician and a member of the nationally recognized, PHS Jazz Vocal ensemble.

Ms. Irving, of Guangzhou, China, is a real estate broker, who through her work has seen families leave Princeton and disrupt their children’s education because of high property taxes. She believes that property taxes seem only to be of concern to the Council at election time. Ms. Irving has contributed to the Princeton community in many ways, including being a founding member of Cafe Improv — which showcases musical talent at the Paul Robeson Center — and serving as a host family to international students attending Princeton University.

Ms. Ditosto, who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Villanova, believes in fiscal responsibility and the importance of the Council’s having a carefully crafted budget, much as Princeton families do. She was dismayed by the pay increase that the Council recently voted for its members, which was a retreat from earlier pledges and is also an unprecedented conflict of interest. At Princeton High School, she chaired a booster club for her children’s hockey teams.

Princeton voters would be hard pressed to find two more qualified and committed Council candidates. Ms. Irving and Ms. Ditosto’s election to the Princeton Council will ensure that Princeton will experience the changes it so badly needs.

Roland Foster Miller

Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

We, as members of Represent.Us Central New Jersey, asked the four Assembly candidates in District 16 whether they would support, yes or no, anti-corruption legislation. Represent.Us is a national, cross-partisan campaign to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states across the country so we can stop lobbyists and special interests from bribing politicians who are supposed to be representing us.

On July 14, 2014, Princeton made history as the nation’s first municipality to approve a resolution based on “the American Anti-Corruption Act.” The resolution called on “representatives [of] the 16th district New Jersey state legislature to support and introduce anti-corruption legislation.” We took up the cause.

An Anti-Corruption Act has three primary outcomes:

Stop political bribery by overhauling lobbying and ethics laws.

End secret money by dramatically increasing transparency.

Give every voter a voice by creating citizen-funded elections.

It ends the vise-grip that Big Money and Power have on our politics and restores the People as the most important stakeholders in our political system.

We gave the Assembly candidates an October 1 deadline to respond. How did we do?

On the Republican side, the two incumbents either said “no” or ignored us. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said, “In my mind, [there] is not justification necessarily for introducing bills on issues as weighty as these.” Assemblywoman Donna Simon ignored us.

As for the Democrats, Andrew Zwicker said “yes” and committed to introducing and supporting anti-corruption legislation. His running mate, Maureen Vella, did not reply.

When you mark your Assembly ballot this fall, you need to move these positions to the top of your list. No matter what you care about — taxes, schools, repairing roads and bridges, gun violence — nothing significant will happen until we end the corruption and strangle-hold of Big Money on our politics.

David M. Goodman

Duffield Place

To The Editor:

On November 3rd we will be voting to re-elect Heather Howard and Lance Liverman to the Princeton Council. They bring deep experience to our local government, but more importantly know how to use that experience effectively with efficiency and with compassion. They prioritized the return of community policing. Both are working to increase transparency through Access Princeton and both are instituting new budget controls to help achieve the promise of consolidation. They are, moreover, acutely aware of the underserved and sometimes voiceless members of our town.

We hope others will add their votes to ours.

Claire and David Jacobus

Cleveland Lane

To the Editor:

Having lived in Princeton for 25 years, I have personally witnessed many instances of political divisiveness, extreme partisanship, and ideological nastiness, but nothing can match the malicious and mean-spirited tone of several recent letters that have misrepresented our dedicated and capable representatives to the State Assembly, Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon.

Yes, Ciattarelli and Simon believe in free markets, lower taxes, and individual responsibility, but the reality is that both have demonstrated a fierce independent streak. Contrary to the statements of some of the letter writers, they have not endorsed Donald Trump and have not always agreed with the positions of the governor. It is an insult to the intelligence of Princeton voters to imply that our representatives do not vote according to their own convictions and on behalf of the best interests of their overall district.

For instance, both opposed Governor Christie’s “Return Home” program, which would have forced more than 300 adults with developmental disabilities to leave residential care programs over the objections of their families, and both oppose the Penn-East Pipeline. Individually, Ciattarelli spoke out forcefully against Iowa Congressman Steve King — a close ally of the governor — when King made offensive remarks about Mexican immigrants. To her credit, Simon sought state tax reforms that would have dedicated more money to public pension payments.

At a time when many Princeton taxpayers are suffering from the excessive property taxes of three separate local taxing authorities, Ciatterelli and Simon continue to work hard for the necessary revision of state school funding and state assistance to local government. They are very knowledgeable of our current local tax burden and the urgency to overhaul the disastrous state and local tax structure in New Jersey.

On election day, I will be voting for Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon for State Assembly.

Frank Wiener

Loomis Court

To the Editor:

Our children have either graduated from high school or currently attend the public schools, so we share a passion for the quality, diversity, and inclusiveness of our schools and for their excellent stewardship. We therefore strongly support the re-election of Patrick Sullivan to the school board on November 3.

No other candidate has Pat Sullivan’s broad experience and deep, detailed understanding of the district’s complicated budget and financial picture and its complex operations and programs. Pat also brings impressive legal and analytical skills to his decision-making. Importantly, Pat understands that making decisions in the best interests of students is almost never a simple or obvious process. As a fiduciary for our children and our public schools, Pat has demonstrated great discernment and painstaking care in understanding complex situations, weighing competing interests, and making difficult, nuanced choices.

Just as important as his expertise and experience are Pat’s great compassion and concern for the children in our schools. During his board service, Pat has tenaciously focused on enhancing the educational experiences for our children who have unconventional learning needs or strengths, and on expanding opportunities for children who come to our schools at a disadvantage due to family income, native language, or background. Through his hard work on the district’s Strategic Plan Steering Committee, Pat made certain that inclusiveness and individualized learning, combined with high expectations and hopes for all children, were a driving principle in each of the Strategic Plan’s five goals.

We are lucky to have Pat Sullivan serving this community on the school board. We urge you to vote for him (ballot position #3) on November 3.

Leticia Fraga Nadler, 

Larry Spruill, Ross Wishnick

Edgerstoune Road

October 14, 2015

To the Editor:

Appearing in the October 7 Mailbox was “An Open Letter to Mayor and Council Concerning Jefferson/Moore/Harris/Carnahan Neighborhood” written and signed by 46 people that seems to imply that residents of the Witherspoon/Jackson (WJ) community are in support of particular aspects of the letter regarding the development of affordable housing sites referenced in its content.

Nothing could be further from the truth and what is more startling is that the letter makes a veiled attempt to both speak for and represent the people and the opinion of the WJ community without one attached signature from anyone who lives here, and a pre-emptive warning strike to mayor and Council that the decisions made with regard to the development of the Franklin Avenue lot site will be met with strong opposition and impact future electability.

Since when did any consortium or group of people speak for the WJ community other than those of us who live here? Certainly not in 2010 when property taxes doubled and tripled in some cases, forcing families to sell, and negatively impacting racial diversity and the socio-economic mix of a proud neighborhood.

While those who live within close proximity to the AvalonBay development share concerns on the impact it will have on the neighborhood, the Franklin Avenue parking site is situated in the center of town and in the only area that historically has promoted affordability and cultural diversity.

The fact that the letter also recalls that Jackson Street (where only people of color lived) was replaced by Palmer Square residences is laughable for two reasons — it’s not near the Jefferson Road and Moore Street neighborhood, and it happened over 50 years ago — and while absolutely relevant to the African American community, has not now or ever held any significance to those who live on Jefferson Road, Moore Street, Harris Road, or Carnahan Place.

Mayor and Council have responsibility for all of the citizens of this town, and the decisions they make must represent a broad consensus of all the people who live here. To bend, bow, or break for the wishes of a few, who no matter how packaged or presented, want only to promote their own agenda would be unfair and discriminatory.

In the coming months, Princeton along with other towns in New Jersey will receive their “fair share” affordable housing obligation. It will be up to leadership to ensure that what comes after will allow people of low income, immigrants, and the disadvantaged the ability to live and work here, educate their children here, and not be victimized or negatively impacted by exclusionary zoning.

Leighton Newlin

Birch Avenue

Editor’s Note: The letter in question came from 46 residents in the Jefferson/Moore/Harris/Carnahan neighborhood. The names were given but not the street names. Space constraints made it impossible to run 46 names and street names, Town Topics policy being that each resident’s street name be included.

To the Editor:

The Town Topics story on environmental hazards at the former hospital site (“Test Results Give Green Light to AvalonBay,” Sept. 30, page one) may have given the impression that the site received a clean bill of health. It did not. The site is contaminated and must be remediated. AvalonBay proposes to “cap” the site, perform biennial inspections, and advise in the deed that the site is contaminated and under continuing NJ-DEP scrutiny. Is this a green light? “Jersey yellow” would seem more apt.

Here is the background: AvalonBay hired a contractor to haul away stockpiled debris known as “Reworked Site Materials,” a demolition amalgam of crushed concrete, asphalt, and soil. The contractor had the amalgam tested, PCBs and PAHs were found, and a New Jersey DEP case file was opened. Because AvalonBay had spread Reworked Site Material as fill throughout the site, detailed testing was performed, not just on the stockpiled materials but on samples from fill material buried onsite. Results showed no problematic PCBs. However, PAH levels exceeded residential exposure levels in almost 75 percent of the samples and even exceeded industrial standards in some. The PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) involved are compounds that have been identified as causing cancer, genetic mutations, and birth defects. The tests also found levels of arsenic, nickel, and vanadium above residential standards and mercury levels that exceeded groundwater impact standards.

AvalonBay’s consultant EcolSciences, Inc., a licensed site remediation company, performed the tests and recommended capping in various ways, including one to two feet of clean fill in open areas and either concrete or special materials in other areas, such as the playground. EcolSciences proposes no further evaluation of potential groundwater hazards.

This is not a feel good story. During the hearing process, community members and their experts raised repeated concerns about environmental hazards. Thanks to community pressure, Princeton’s Council included its own consultant’s recommended testing requirements for soil and crushed concrete in the final Developer’s Agreement. But, AvalonBay sued, arguing that it was being asked to do more than legally required. The suit led to a settlement approved by Princeton’s Council that dropped the testing requirements but added another dust monitor.

The upshot: Thanks to a developer’s aggressive opposition to testing, a site in a residential neighborhood within walking and breathing distance of three public schools is now contaminated. The capping remedy ignores the problematic mercury findings and proposes to handle issues with utilities buried in contaminated fill by relying on monitoring when repairs are needed.

In my opinion, AvalonBay should be asked to excavate and remove the contaminated material. Residents should not be asked to live with a toxic repository next door. The value of capping depends on consistent and reliable monitoring, and New Jersey does not have a good track record with monitoring. Having resisted testing, AvalonBay surely assumed the risks that follow from failure to test. Our elected officials should take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that this site is cleaned up, not covered up.

Virginia Kerr

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

I would like to clarify the characterization of a question I raised about Princeton’s shifting age demographics during a Council meeting in last week’s Town Topics (“PSRC Director Comments On Council’s Questions About Proposed Expansion,” Oct. 7, page one). I feel my remarks were taken out of context and appear to be hostile to older people, which was not my intention.

Susan Hoskins, executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center, cited data from the latest census showing that the average age of Princeton residents has risen and that the Princeton community has become older than average. This prompted my question about why she thought this was so, and I said that I hoped we were keeping our town attractive to young people and young families rather than “becoming an old community.” The question was answered as if it were out of the blue rather than in response to the demographic data she reported.

Especially given that our population includes a significant number of students from our institutions of higher education, I feel it’s reasonable to question news that our community is aging more rapidly than others. As a grandmother who hopes to live here for many more years, greatly appreciating and supporting all we do for the older population, I nevertheless believe our community should also strive to be welcoming to young people, as it was once welcoming to me and my young family.

Jenny Crumiller

Library Place

To the Editor:

I recently had the opportunity to attend a debate among the four candidates for state assembly in New Jersey’s 16th legislative district. While I am grateful for all of the candidates for taking the time to make their views known, the result was a clear contrast in many areas between Democratic candidates Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella and Republican incumbents Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon.

Zwicker and Vella supported returning funding to our broken pension system so that our state’s credit can be restored, while Ciattarelli touted his plan that transfers much of the state’s debt onto the shoulders of municipal governments. On the issue of gun violence, the Democrats argued for common sense gun control measures, including expanded background checks and longer waiting periods, which could help prevent the sort of mass shootings that have occurred far too frequently in recent years. Simon, who has received an A-plus rating from the NRA, chose instead to advocate for harsher sentencing measures that would do nothing to deter the murderers responsible for these tragedies.

On the environment, Zwicker, a Princeton University physicist, spoke strongly for investments in renewable energy while his opponents suggested a more cautious approach of waiting for other states and nations to take the lead. Mr. Ciattarelli grudgingly acknowledged that human activity was probably a factor in global climate change, but his argument that renewable energy technology will improve significantly in the coming years, and is therefore not worth significant investment now, is deeply misguided. Our state should be pushing hard for innovation and should be a leader, not a follower, in this area.

The debate brought home to me how key the differences are between the candidates and how important it is to support new voices with new ideas.

You can find the debate on the website of the Princeton League of Women Voters.

Samuel Weiss

Forester Drive

To the Editor:

Council candidate Lynn Lu Irving has the inside story on affordable housing in Princeton because Ms. Irving’s mother, Joan Liang, lives in Senior Affordable Housing at Spruce Circle. Ms. Irving visits her mother daily, and through the years, has become a knowledgeable expert on the importance of affordable housing as well as finding solutions to the issues that affect the residents.

The residents of Spruce Circle are Ms. Irving’s and Ms. Liang’s friends. Ms. Liang was also a close personal friend of the late, beloved Evelyn Voorhees, who was a commissioner on the Housing Authority of Princeton, and worked at Spruce Circle. Ms Liang sang in Chinese at the memorial service and garden dedication for Ms. Voorhees which took place at Spruce Circle in late July 2013.

Ms. Irving greatly admires and supports the camaraderie that exists between Spruce Circle residents and the fact that they are always willing to help each other. She helps those who are infirm, in need of a meal or a friend and she often drives residents to church, medical appointments, and shopping.

Ms. Irving is a Council candidate who not only talks the talk, where the welfare of Princeton residents is concerned, but, more importantly, walks the walk. It is with admiration and pleasure that I plan to vote for Ms. Lynn Lu Irving for Princeton Council and I urge you to do the same.

Esther Mills

Birch Avenue

To the Editor:

We are so grateful to our amazing Princeton community for supporting John Witherspoon Middle School’s Super Saturday event. What a fantastic way to kick-off the 2015-16 school year! We especially would like to the thank the following local businesses and organizations for their support: Angelone Homes, Barbour Princeton, Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, Greg’s Landscaping, Hamilton Dental Associates, The Bank of Princeton, The Majeski Foundation, and Palmer Square.

We are also incredibly grateful to the following hometown favorites for their donations: BAI, The Bent Spoon, Bon Appetit, Hamilton Dental Associates, Hoagie Haven, Jammin’ Crepes, Jazams, Olives, Arlee’s Raw Blends, Princeton Pi, Princeton Soccer Experience, Princeton STEM, Small World, Terra Momo, Tico’s Eatery and Juice Bar, Waffle de Lys, and Starbucks!

Last but not least, an enormous thank you to the JW administration, teachers, staff, and custodians as well as the army of tireless volunteers whose time and efforts helped put together such a fun, community-building event.

We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

John Witherspoon Middle School’s


September 30, 2015

To the Editor:

The following is a letter we wrote to our Assemblywoman Donna Simon last year. She and our Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli have never voted to override Governor Christie’s many vetoes even on overwhelming bi-partisan-supported legislation they both voted for. We do not need “rubber stamp” representation in the state legislature and that is why we are supporting and voting for Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella as highly qualified and independent thinkers not beholden to the whims and ambitions of our governor.

However, Princeton and other voters had a shamefully low voting record in last year’s election. Less than 35 percent of registered voters voted in that non-presidential year, which we have coming up again this November 3. That is one of the key factors that changed the makeup of the U.S. Senate. Those who are not registered or who need an absentee ballot can call the Office of the Clerk of Mercer County at (609) 989-6465. Here is the letter sent to Assemblywoman Simon:

“We, and many others we know, are very disturbed by your anti-environmental voting record on key issues such as open space funding and voting against banning importation of fracking waste to New Jersey from out of state.

On the latter issue, you apparently go along with the governor in again vetoing this measure, which has overwhelming bi-partisan support. His argument on the constitutionality of the proposed ban has not been an issue in other states which have banned fracking waste importation. Why would a legislator vote to import more toxins to New Jersey, which already has more than its share of toxic waste from its days as a heavily industrial state (most superfund sites in the U.S.) as well as from current practices? A better model would be to follow the more enlightened example of your colleague, Senator “Kip” Bateman, especially on environmental and public health protection.

The first responsibility of those who represent the public is to protect from harmful practices. As a relatively new legislator we hope you will think more deeply and independently on far reaching issues, especially protection of our environment, usually related to public health. This is a critical issue for many in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S.”

Grace and Frank Sinden

Ridgeview Circle

To the Editor,

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, is less than six weeks away. This year, the race at the top of the ticket here in Princeton is for state assembly, a race that many people – even regular voters – don’t pay much attention to. But there are real reasons to care about the assembly races and urgent reasons to vote. Gun control would be one relevant example. Yesterday and today, there were threats at Riverside Elementary School (the school my children attended) and Princeton High School (again, where my children attended). Although, thankfully, those threats and similar ones last year have turned out to be hoaxes, they are frightening nonetheless. In the wake of Sandy Hook and so many other shootings, I want stricter, sensible controls on firearms in place. Yet our Republican representatives in the State Assembly, Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon, don’t share this goal; both of them voted twice (Assembly bill #2006, 5/2014 and A1329 2/2013) against reducing the maximum size of ammunition magazines, and in February 2013 they both voted against background checks prior to a firearms purchase. It’s no wonder that the NRA awarded Simon an A+ rating and Ciattarelli a B+ rating. These proposed restrictions are not radical, but are commonsense solutions to a real problem. Simon and Ciattarelli have also failed to support minimum wage increases, spending on women’s health, investigating possible corruption due to Bridgegate, and to prohibit fracking waste from being released into the environment.

But Princeton voters do have an excellent alternative this November in Democrats Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella. Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton University, is committed to making decisions based on evidence and science rather than on ideology. Maureen Vella, a former judge and a practicing mediator, is aware of the real impact that laws have on people and works hard to see all sides of an issue. They will bring a progressive perspective to representing our district in Trenton and help to fight against Chris Christie and the Republicans’ misguided priorities. This election is likely to have record low turnout. Your vote matters! Please join me in voting for Zwicker and Vella for State Assembly.

Vote by mail by filling out this simple form to request an absentee ballot – (http://nj.gov/counties/mercer/officials/clerk/pdf/clerk_votbymailappeng.pdf) and you won’t have to worry about getting to the polls on November 3.

Eve Niedergang

Forester Drive

To the Editor:

We can all agree that New Jersey’s state of affairs is dysfunctional — to put it mildly — owing, in large part, to hyper-partisanship. (See Beth Healey’s letter, “Our District Representatives Get High Marks From the NRA, Vote Against Faily Planning,” Mailbox, Sept. 23.) Given our challenges, the last thing we need is a shortfall in leadership. Thankfully, Princeton’s state representatives, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon, have stepped in to fill that void.

I genuinely doubt that any other representatives throughout the state are as responsive, considerate, compassionate, and knowledgeable about such a wide array of issues. These two legislators make it a point of operating on a plane outside the petty opportunism and political posturing that too often characterize Princeton.

If anyone cares to look closely enough, they’ll find that Assembly members Ciattarelli and Simon put their talents to good use to address complex policy matters in a rational and productive way, all the while doing their very best to serve Princeton. New Jersey would do well to elect more reasonable and less duplicitous representatives like Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon.

Mary Robbins

Overbrook Drive

To the Editor:

Now that the kids are back in school or vacations are finishing, it would be perfect to get new laces for your sneakers and sign up for the Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey Affiliate Race for the Cure, Sunday, October 4, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson call (844) 668-7338 or email: race@komencsnj.org.

Why participate? Here are three great reasons. 1) Become an “awareness” messenger. Join the 8,000 expected and “voice” a vital message that early detection saves lives. Women’s lives are important! When breast cancer is diagnosed early, before it spreads beyond the breast, the five year survival rate is 99 percent. Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. 2) Help your neighbor. Seventy-five percent of funds raised stay in local communities for education and screening for medically underserved and uninsured women and 25 percent support innovative breast cancer research. 3) Celebrate survivors and remember loved ones.

There are separate women and men’s 5K runs, 4K and 1 mile walks or Sleep in for the Cure. All athletic abilities are welcome. It is not necessary to be a serious running aficionado. This race is much more than competing to the finish line; it is a run or walk for life.

What to do for breast and overall health? Be proactive. Know your risk. Speak with your physician and family members about your health history. Get screened. Begin at age 20, and then have a clinical breast exam at least every three years. Women age 40-plus should have a mammogram every year. Know what is normal for you. If you notice any changes in your breasts including lumps, see your doctor. Do a healthy lifestyle makeover including diet, exercise, and sufficient rest.

If a woman cannot afford a mammogram or needs to know where to obtain one, please call the Komen office at (609) 896-1201.

Rochelle F. Hammer

Volunteer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Central and South Jersey Affiliate, Plainsboro

To the Editor:

A recent letter writer invoked Donald Trump in an attempt to criticize our excellent, solutions-oriented state legislators, Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon. (See letter from Beth Healey, Mailbox, September 23.) Any honest assessment of the facts would reveal that Ciattarelli and Simon are nothing like Trump. Rather, Jack and Donna have earned endorsements from both small business and organized labor; are routinely voices of reason and calm in a sea of partisan rancor in Trenton. They cross party lines with an open hand and constructive and reasonable suggestions. Both have worked hard to represent ALL of Princeton with dignity and distinction.

I am disappointed that the letter writer undeservedly tries to taint Ciattarelli’s and Simon’s excellent record by linking their candidacy with Trump’s presidential ego trip run. It’s frankly a shame to see people in our town so blinded by partisan ideology that they can’t see that good ideas exist in both parties, and good candidates do, as well.

I urge all registered voters to examine the records of Assemblyman Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Simon and to get to know them personally. They are dedicated, level headed, and conscientious. They pride themselves in representing everyone in their district. Check the facts, not the suppositions and vitriol. I am proud to have them as my representatives in the Assembly. Once you learn who they really are, I believe you will too. They deserve re-election on their own merits.

James Hockenberry

Randall Road

To the Editor:

We would like to thank our Princeton community for showing their support for Princeton High School at our Homecoming Weekend Celebration. Homecoming would not have been possible without the following support: The Princeton High School Student Council, the PHS administration and personnel, the PHS Football Boosters, the Town administrators, the superintendent and facilities crew, as well as, countless students, volunteers, teachers, and custodians that all came together to pull off this amazing event. Special thanks go to our Homecoming Chairs, Roxanne List and Tamera Matteo, for their continued support and infectious spirit, and to Ann Marciano, who illuminated our efforts with her expertise. With over 2000 people in attendance at our Friday Night under the Lights Football game, it was a sight to behold. The celebration continued into Saturday with more games and festivities including JWMS annual Super Saturday Celebration.

Thanks to everyone, including PHS neighbors and the greater community, for all their support! This truly has been a community event that the students will remember for years to come…a great tradition at PHS that the community can enjoy.


September 23, 2015

To the Editor:

There is currently a petition circulating in Princeton collecting signatures to present to the mayor and Council. It requests that they vote to deny any future application from the organizers of the annual Communiversity festival to hold the event on Sunday. Some petitioners have been rather aggressive in their quest to gather signatures. I was chastised when I refused to sign. They are also getting signatures from non-Princeton residents. In order for a petition to be considered, the signers must live or work in the town.

The petition was started by former Mayor Jim Floyd and an ad-hoc group of residents of the Witherspoon-Jackson community who claim that the decision by the festival organizers to move the event from Saturday to Sunday caused “parking nightmares” and had a “devastating effect” on the African American churches in their community. The festival places a burden on all the churches in the heart of town on that Sunday, but some members of the Witherspoon-Jackson churches are the only ones who have made it an issue. It’s only one Sunday.

Two years ago, the festival day was changed to Sunday when the Nassau Street merchants complained that Communiversity had a negative impact on their Saturday sales because people shopped at the festival and not in their stores. The merchants said fewer people shopped on Sunday, so their sales were not as severely impacted. Some Jewish residents said they felt left out because Saturday was their Sabbath and they were not able to participate in the festivities.

I am a member of the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, one of the churches in the Witherspoon-Jackson Community. I and members of our Outreach Committee have happily joined the celebration with a booth at Communiversity for the past five years. It is always a fun and exciting experience.

I attended a review meeting following the 2014 festival that included Jeff Nathanson, the executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, which sponsors the Communiversity festival, representatives of the police and fire departments, representatives of the merchants of Princeton, pastors and members of other churches in the Witherspoon-Jackson Community. The discussion revolved around the Saturday vs. Sunday issue. Mr. Nathanson, and the members of the police department, promised to reach out to members of the Witherspoon-Jackson Community to remind them of the changes for that one Sunday. The representatives of the churches said they would notify their members of the changes. It appeared to me the issue was settled.

Communiversity was started in 1971 to unite Princeton University and the Princeton communities in a day of celebration and mutual respect. Now, as we all know, it has become a beloved annual regional event that draws almost 45,000 people. The petition could change all that by igniting an ugly and divisive “us vs. them” debate that would undermine the very concept of Communiversity — bringing the communities together. It would be a shame to let that happen.

Alyce Bush

Loomis Court

To the Editor:

There may be those like the Republican state legislator [Senator Christopher Bateman] who recently asserted that Princeton Democrats should support our Republican state representatives in the upcoming election in a spirit of nonpartisanship [Mailbox, Sept.16].

That argument may fool Donald Trump voters, but the reality is that politics is partisan and that partisan legislative voting is a tangible manifestation of our values. Princetonians should understand that we are currently represented in the assembly by three Republicans who consistently and reliably support Governor Christie’s right-wing agenda.

For example, Assemblywoman Donna Simon received an A+ rating from the NRA. She has always voted against funding for family planning, and she was endorsed by the tea party. Jack Ciattarelli is slightly less right-wing, receiving a B+ from the NRA, but he also rejects all funding for family planning.

When New Jersey’s governor brags in national debates about how he has advanced his conservative agenda in a Democratic-leaning state, we can thank Princeton’s current assembly representatives. But on Election Day, November 3, we can get ourselves to the polls and vote for new representatives. We have two excellent Democratic candidates: Maureen Vella, a former judge, and Andrew Zwicker, a physicist. I hope you will join me in turning our district in a new direction and support Zwicker and Vella for Assembly.

Beth Healey

Moore Street