May 11, 2016

To the Editor:

Anne Neumann and her family are established residents of Princeton, and Anne and her daughter attended Princeton schools. Anne’s contributions to Princeton municipal affairs and her plans for a livable Princeton have earned my support.

Anne has pledged to help neighborhoods in Princeton retain their character at a time when many residents are concerned with insensitive development and overdevelopment. The tax burden of new development will affect all Princetonians. But Anne is well aware that some neighborhoods will bear the burden of new development in terms of density and traffic. Anne will, therefore, call for a delay on all new development near AvalonBay until AvalonBay’s effects on roads, drainage, sewers, and our school population are clear.

Anne is a champion of the town of Princeton, host to one of the nation’s most prestigious, well-endowed, and powerful universities, that has been unwilling to pay what Anne and many Princeton residents believe reflects its fair share of the financial burdens it imposes on us. Anne is knowledgeable and unafraid to take on the contentious issues of town and gown, including a Council member and mayor with ties to Princeton University.

Please see Anne’s creative ideas for preserving Princeton’s character and fostering an environment friendly to local residents and taxpayers — not shoppers who descend from tour buses — on her website www.anneneumannforcouncil.weebly.com. Please join me in voting for Anne Neumann!

Cecil Marshall

Moore Street

May 5, 2016

To the Editor:

Press reports have suggested that Princeton University’s tax remittances may increase significantly as a result of a lawsuit challenging the tax exempt status of some of the University’s buildings and activities.

The stakes are very high for the University. Its influence is considerable, but the climate is changing and a judge can do whatever he or she wants to do. As we are reminded daily, the “1 percent” are not very popular these days. Connecticut’s efforts to tax Yale’s endowment income suggest that the definition of the “1 percent” is broadening. Given the risk to the University of an adverse ruling, an out of court settlement seems likely.

Should there be such a settlement, the magnitude of our towns’ potential tax windfall would be significant. Voters should expect candidates for mayor and Council to specify what they would do with the incremental tax revenues.

My own position is simple. Incremental tax receipts, whether resulting from a ruling against the University or from a negotiated settlement, should be used exclusively to reduce property taxes. Millage rates should be reduced to the point at which there would be a dollar for dollar substitution of windfall revenues for existing tax levies. Windfall revenues should not be squandered on new projects and programs.

Voters should also expect candidates — at least those of us who are free of conflicts of interest — to express our views as to what an acceptable settlement might look like. Here, too, my position is simple: the negotiation should not be limited to money.

Preserving Princeton’s essential small town character is one of my top priorities. I would therefore favor a settlement that includes changes in prospective land use. We might, for example, seek to persuade the University to deed restrict Springdale Golf Course, setting it aside, in perpetuity, as open space — and abandoning the right, conveyed in current zoning, to construct a row of ten story buildings on one of our town’s defining green belts.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Bruce Afran, we seem likely to be offered one of life’s rare opportunities for a redo. Let’s make the most of it.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

Editor’s note: Mr. Marks is running for mayor in the Republican primary.

To the Editor:

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I saw Jenny Crumiller’s husband Jon at Ace Hardware. He mentioned that they had participated in the “Let It Go: Princeton Community Yard Sale” and that Jenny had decided not to charge for anything. I immediately asked jokingly if they had put up a sign saying “Free stuff! Vote for Jenny!” We then agreed that there is no such thing as “free stuff,” and went our separate ways.

This brief conversation reminded me why we need to re-elect Jenny to Princeton Council. “The truth is there is no free parking. Someone has to pay for it,” Jenny said at a Council meeting in September 2015 during a discussion of the costs to the town of providing a subsidy for two hours of free parking to every Princeton Public Library cardholder.

Princeton Council is currently reviewing the budget, looking for ways to cut $150,000 so as to pare down an increase in property taxes.

Residents should be aware that only about 23 cents of every dollar collected in property taxes goes to the town. The Princeton School Board controls the lion’s share of our tax dollars, more than 50 percent and growing, and Mercer County gets the remainder. The largest increases in property taxes are beyond the control of Princeton Council.

We need a frank assessment of the choices available to residents, and Jenny will provide just that. She has an impeccable record of supporting progressive values — visit jennycrumiller.com to read what she has done for Princeton and what her goals are for the future — but we also need the unvarnished and sometimes unpopular truths that Jenny is willing to articulate.

Jenny will help us make budget decisions that support our values and get us the most for our money. She will listen to us, tell us the truth, and do her best to make wise decisions for our future. Vote to reelect Jenny Crumiller to Princeton Council!

Joanna Dougherty

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

Princeton is a wonderful town and we are all lucky to live here. I’d like to suggest an addition that I feel could benefit the community — a dog park. Many other communities have this resource but the closest entail (no pun intended) a 15-20 minute ride from here.

The benefits are many. Besides offering dogs a place to exercise and socialize, an additional gain is the sense of community that a dog park fosters. I strongly feel that this would be a positive feature for Princeton to offer. Neither a fenced yard, nor a 3-hour walk offers the benefits of a dog park.

I’m hoping that by writing this letter, others who are interested may jump on the bandwagon. The Princeton Recreation Department is the office that handles local park offerings. Please speak up if you also may be interested in Princeton opening a dog park.

The concentration of resources in local parks seems primarily devoted to athletic fields. No question, this is important. However there are other uses of open space that could also greatly benefit our community.

Patty Koch

Florence Lane

To the Editor:

A response [“Another Point of View,” mailbox 4-27] to my letter about the pretty but highly invasive plant known as lesser celandine contained serious errors that need to be corrected. I wish we could always trust someone like Mike McGrath, the host of the You Bet Your Garden radio program mentioned in Ms. Haag’s letter. He may be knowledgeable about gardening, but when he writes about lesser celandine and other invasive species, he can display a seemingly willful ignorance about herbicides and ecology.

Contrary to his assertions, there are wetland-safe versions of the herbicide glyphosate available from companies other than Monsanto, and sometimes an aggressively invading plant can be more harmful ecologically than the small, targeted, very dilute and very effective dose of herbicide needed to prevent its spread. Western medicine, which few people are suggesting we do away with, is a useful analogy here. As one who has lived and written about the pleasures of non-chemical methods — using loppers, cardboard, and mulch to vanquish bamboo and English ivy — I usually find ways to avoid herbicides. Lesser celandine is an important exception.

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

I have known Tim Quinn for over a decade and I support his candidacy for Princeton Council. I first met Tim when I was working as director of development at Princeton Public Library. It soon became apparent to me that Tim loved Princeton and had a deep understanding of our diverse town. He was equally comfortable interacting with trustees, Town Council, donors, and library customers from all walks of life. He was a strong advocate for providing services to library customers and the town in general. His exemplary work at the library during super storm Sandy highlighted his dedication to our town. His leadership was instrumental in keeping the library open during the days following the storm, when thousands of people in Princeton were without power.

He brought a similar passion to his work on the Princeton Board of Education and his steadfast leadership during his time as president of the Board helped our school district through a leadership transition, among other challenges. My two daughters, and many other families in town, benefitted from his leadership.

Tim is a great listener, collaborator, and values the opinions of others. He is deliberative and gathers information before reaching a conclusion about a particular topic. Having considered an issue, Tim is able to explain complex policy matters in a way that makes sense. His understanding of local institutions, businesses, and Princeton’s history inform all of his work.

Lindsey Forden

Mercer Street

To the Editor:

Regarding the April 25 Council meeting and the need to resolve the municipal budget, I’m assuming Council members are aware of the April 13 article in U.S. 1 that reported that Princeton’s high property taxes are due partly to the fact that the town has more municipal employees than other area towns. For example, Princeton has one employee for every 127 residents compared to Hamilton which has one worker for every 162 residents. It seems a hiring freeze or rollback is in order for our local government as the council noted. I’d add that a reduction of employees should be achieved before anyone cries out for more money from the University.

Anne Witt

Lake Lane

To the Editor:

We are fortunate to have many qualified people running for Council. Leticia Fraga, however, is uniquely qualified to address some of the critical issues facing our community.

Affordable housing in Princeton becomes a bigger challenge every year as home prices rise. Working people have already been forced to leave the community because they could no longer afford to live here and the situation is getting worse, not better.

Princeton also needs a police and community relations committee to foster dialogue between our citizens and law enforcement. The controversy concerning the recent arrest of a Princeton University professor shows how badly this discussion is needed.

To address these needs effectively, Council needs a person with deep roots in the parts of our community that are most affected and understands their needs. That person is Leticia Fraga. She worked tirelessly on these issues and demonstrated the ability to work with people from all walks of life and to get things done.

Lewis Maltby 

Stone Cliff Road

To the Editor:

Women’s earnings are ever more important to their families. More than 40 percent of children under 18 live in households where the mother is the sole breadwinner. Yet, women still earn 79 cents to every dollar earned by men. This means that women who are often working multiple jobs and caring in many cases for children and older family members, are still not able to provide the financial support needed for their families.

It also means that many are not properly able to save for their own retirement futures.

As an AARP volunteer, I urge you to support S992, The New Jersey Pay Equity Act. SIGN THE BILL, Governor Chris Christie.

Elaine Muschal

Hamilton

April 27, 2016

To the Editor:

Princeton’s Council needs the skilled, experienced, and fiscally responsible leadership of Tim Quinn. As former members of the Princeton Board of Education, we saw first-hand his consensus building, and genuine respect for our town. His leadership on the Board helped save Princeton’s pre-K program and improved its focus on vulnerable and under-represented students. He helped Princeton buck the state trend of charging for sports participation or reducing arts and music in schools. Instead of taking the easy way out, he steered the Board toward thoughtful and fiscally responsible solutions to budget pressures.

Tim is a civic-minded and collaborative leader. We urge Princeton residents to support Tim Quinn for Princeton Council.

Anne Burns

Baldwin Lane

To the Editor:

It was a heartening moment on Wednesday night when a majority of the Princeton Planning Board refused to be coerced into supporting an ill-conceived subdivision of a narrow lot fronting onto Jefferson Road. Despite badgering from the applicant’s attorney, Planning Board members led by Jenny Crumiller, Liz Lempert, and Timothy Quinn courageously argued that “as of right” was never meant to sanction the drawing of zig-zag lot lines that violate very clearly stated guidelines. Instead of setting a dangerous precedent for the carving up of neighborhoods to maximize developers’ profits, the Planning Board fulfilled its mission of being a true steward for the community it serves.

Martin Kahn

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

We are supporting Jenny Crumiller in the upcoming Democratic primary election. Jenny has a strong record of promoting progressive values, from her decades-long support and involvement with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Princeton Committee, her anti-war activities, her opposition to the use of torture, and her support for progressive Democratic candidates, to her current work on the Council.

Jenny brought forth Princeton’s resolution supporting the Anti-Corruption Act, which is federal campaign finance reform legislation. Princeton became the first town in New Jersey to pass this resolution, which now has growing support across the country. She also introduced an anti-fracking ordinance and a resolution opposing the pipeline on the Ridge and calling for additional safety measures. She has supported anti-wage theft measures as well as policies limiting local police involvement in immigration enforcement. She is pro-environment and supported the composting program as well as preserving open space on the Ridge.

As the newly consolidated town was forming its new police department, she brought the ACLU-NJ in to consult with the council and promote recommended police practices for the department. She compelled the police to include race and gender statistics for police stops in their monthly police reports. She promoted a police ride-along program so that Council members as well as members of the public could ride along on a police shift to promote transparency in policing.

Jenny is currently a strong supporter of the earned sick leave ordinance, brought to Princeton by the Working Families Alliance, which would require Princeton employers to provide paid time off when employees are sick or need to care for a sick family member, a fair and humane measure that in our view is required by human decency.

We agree with these positions and that’s why Jenny has earned our enduring respect and our strongest support in this election. We encourage fellow Democrats to vote for Jenny on June 7.

Beth and Jim Healey

Moore Street

To the Editor:

When I hear that someone is running for Princeton Council, the skeptic in me naturally wonders: Why? It’s an often-thankless job that probably pays about $3 an hour.

I didn’t have any questions when I heard Leticia Fraga was running. I’ve known Leticia for more than 10 years, and her life’s work has been about helping others — bringing together people to make her community a better place. Her reward is simply the inherent satisfaction that comes from solving problems.

If that all sounds a little too sentimental for your political tastes, please understand that Leticia also has the experience and is willing to do the hard work to get things done. Her career includes serving as a professional civil rights enforcement investigator and facilitator, resolving cases that saved taxpayers hundred of thousands of dollars. As a volunteer in Princeton, she has helped launch programs that have provided meals to underprivileged children and ID cards to underrepresented adults.

In short, Leticia combines a “can do” attitude with a natural knack for relating to people from all backgrounds. If you want a Council member who is interested in accountability, affordability, and social justice, vote for Leticia Fraga in the Democratic Primary on June 7.

Chris Johnson

Benjamin Rush Lane

To the Editor:

I will choose Anne Waldron Neumann for Council in the Princeton Democratic primaries on June 7. A long time Princeton resident, Anne has produced tangible results in affordable housing, zoning, lowering taxes, and so forth.

I have great respect for her generosity, her fierce intelligence, her indefatigable determination to attain success in progressive causes that are dear to her heart. Anne does her homework. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of all sorts of topics relatable to the important issues of this town. Like all of us, she welcomes changes that benefit the town and its people.

Anne understands how important town-gown relations are; however, she will fight for what is only fair, no strings attached. And this is why Anne Waldron Neumann has my vote, hands down.

I encourage you to check her impressive resume and progressive goals at her website anneneumannforcouncil.weebly.com

Sandra Jordan Bierman

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

We read avidly Stephen Hiltner’s letter in the April 13 issue of Town Topics [“By Taking Our Local Nature’s Problems Seriously, We Also Build Community”]. Our garden yard and woods are filled with the “little yellow flower,” definitely an invasion.

However, the solutions suggested by Mr. Hiltner are not good ideas. Checking further with You Bet Your Garden, I learned: Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate, is not toxic, but the surfactants and other so-called ‘inert’ ingredients can wipe out frogs, toads, and other amphibians. So while attempting to eliminate one invasive plant we could be inadvertently killing fragile species that are being threatened already. In addition, Roundup may not even be effective against lesser celandine: a few years ago I tried it on a small patch and the plants barely blinked and then continued to thrive.

I agree that it would be helpful for everyone who sees first signs of lesser celandine to dig them up and throw them in the trash, not the compost pile. That seems to be the only effective approach not harmful to wetland species.

Rev. Carol S. Haag

Ridgeview Circle

Prof in Educ

ARTIST, TEACHER, PERFORMER: Steve Kramer reflects on his exciting career as performer and teacher—from jazz clubs, wedding bands and the “Ice Capades” to Littlebrook and Riverside Elementary Schools.

The resume of Steve Kramer, music teacher and band director at Littlebrook and Riverside Elementary Schools, goes on and on, with jobs in schools, colleges, multiple facets of the music industry, and the bakery business too. The list of celebrities he’s played with, pictured in photos with him on his website, skramer.com, looks like a list of Who’s Who in the world of popular music over the past 30 years.  more

April 20, 2016

To the Editor:

The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and the Board of Rabbis of Princeton Mercer Bucks condemn the beer pong game of “Jews vs. Nazis” that took place in Princeton. This activity demonstrates that there is still a great deal of work to do in educating people about the horrors of the Holocaust.

At the same time, we recognize Jamaica Ponder for her courage in speaking up and alerting our community to this disturbing incident. We have watched for too long as people have remained silent when such actions occur. We are grateful to all those who are working to ensure that these type of episodes do not occur in the future. We are happy to assist in any way that we can.

Jewish Federation 

Princeton Mercer Bucks,

Board of Rabbis 

of Princeton Mercer Bucks

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am writing to inform you that after 16 years, seven as executive director, Clare Smith is retiring this spring from Morven Museum and Garden.

With her commitment to historic preservation, her ability to attract the highest quality staff, her boundless dedication and gentleness of character, Clare has led Morven from a young to a maturing museum. The significant milestones achieved during her directorship include:

• Morven’s audience has increased significantly to an annual visitation of 15,000. Recent annual growth of 32 percent has been the product of increased programming, marketing, and collaborations.

• Recent exhibitions have been “game-changing” and underscore the Museum’s ongoing commitment to excellence. The Pine Barrens: A Legacy of Preservation, Coastal Impressions: Painters of the Jersey Shore, 1880-1940 and the current Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Couple of an Age have helped transform the museum and raise awareness of this important statewide resource.

• Morven annually offers over 100 public programs including the exceedingly popular recent lectures associated with the Lindbergh exhibit and extending to the July 4th Jubilee, Morven in May, a monthly book group, horticultural classes, and a wonderful collaboration with the Arts Council of Princeton that incorporates special access to Morven’s unique history and site.

• Lastly, under Clare’s direction Morven has fostered collaborations with local non-profit groups whose missions focus on underserved populations and includes Isles, Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, and TASK. She has been a determined advocate for them and others, as well.

These are just a few examples of how Clare Smith’s commitment to excellence has contributed to the strong trajectory of success Morven is experiencing.

I know you join the Board in extending our grateful thanks to Clare and every good wish for her well deserved retirement. We will miss her.

Georgia T. Schley

Morven Board President

To the Editor:

This April 22 is the 46th Earth Day! It all began in 1970 when millions of people called for environmental reforms resulting in the introduction of recycling, keeping plastics, glass, and paper from our landfills for reuse and recycling.

Where is Princeton almost 50 years later?

As the first town in New Jersey to offer curbside food waste pick up, we have moved beyond traditional recycling and created a model program that other towns are copying and adopting. In its first five years, the Municipality’s Curbside Organics Program diverted more than 500 tons of organic matter from the landfill, turning it into beautiful soil.

Princeton residents and retailers have also recycled almost 5 million plastic bags since last year through the ABC’s Recycling Campaign, diverting some 7 tons of plastics from the landfill. The ABC’s is a joint effort between Sustainable Princeton, the Princeton Merchants Association, The Municipality of Princeton, and McCaffrey’s grocery store.

Thanks to the advent of recycling and programs like those mentioned above, we estimate that Princeton now either composts or recycles approximately half of what we would have sent to the landfill on the first Earth Day in 1970.

Where do we go from here? To answer that question, Sustainable Princeton has formed The Zero Waste Working Group comprised of local restaurant owners, retailers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.

With your help, the working group looks forward to making measurable change between now and Earth Day 2017. We’ll begin by offering six ideas to get us all started toward a Zero Waste Princeton.

1. Commit to a zero waste mindset — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost.

2. Let it Go by hosting a Yard Sale on April 30th as part of the town wide Let It Go event. Sign up on the Princeton Public Library website.

3. Just say no to sending food waste to the landfill. Food scraps are a commodity to be turned back into soil. Residents can join the Curbside Organics Program by calling (609) 688-2566. Retailers can contact a number of compost facilities to pick up their food waste. And, those of us who compost in the back yard, should keep doing exactly what we are already doing!

4. Be Careful with Compostable Tableware — If you are in the Municipal Curbside Organics program, our current compost facility is unable to take compostable tableware such as cups and utensils. Keep putting food and uncoated paper waste in your organics bin — but please, while we’re working out details, direct anything else to recycling or trash. Be watching for more curbside composting information coming soon!

5. Watch for a How to Recycle Brochure to be published soon to help answer your questions about what goes in which recycle bin and where residents can take those hard to recycle items for recycling.

6. Stay tuned for updates about food waste compost options for Mercer County including AgriArk, a locally owned clean compost facility in Hopewell which is already turning food waste into fertilizer. Also, watch for a potential BioGas Facility in Trenton.

We look forward to working with you to reduce, reuse, and recycle to move our town closer to zero waste!

Diane Landis 

Executive Director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

I am voting for Tim Quinn for Princeton Council in the June 7 election and urge that all eligible voters do the same. Tim has demonstrated through his leadership roles on Princeton’s Board of Education and Planning Board that he has the character and skills to be an excellent addition to our council.

In our community, Tim demonstrated his leadership in tough circumstances. When he was president of the school board in 2011, Governor Christie cut the state aid contribution to Princeton schools by two-thirds — 5 percent of the budget — after appropriating most of the budget surplus in 2010. The school board had to take timely and critical spending actions that would impact students, teachers, and taxpayers. In this crisis situation Board members made the difficult decisions after thoroughly considering all perspectives. They communicated those decisions to constituents in a way that citizens understood their reasoning and that left everyone feeling that their individual concerns were heard and considered. This is the type of leadership that we need on Princeton Council.

I have been concerned that the intense passion with which our current Council considers and legislates some of the issues they face can diminish the decisions made, interfere in their pursuit of a longer-term agenda, and obscure opportunities and risks that are appearing in the distance. I think that Tim’s thoughtful and collected approach will be invaluable to the overall performance of Council and thus benefit the long-term well being of our town.

Tim has lived in Princeton for 25 years and works at the Princeton Public Library on its executive team. He is an avid cyclist. He believes in proactively planning and managing growth, expanding affordable housing, building strong neighborhoods, balancing affordability with quality municipal services, and building community consensus around positive changes.

Princeton is fortunate to have so many citizens dedicating their efforts to the well being of our town. We’re fortunate that Tim Quinn wants to be on Council and I urge Princeton voters to give him that opportunity.

Scott Sillars

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

Over the next few weeks registered Princeton Democrats will have the opportunity to evaluate the perspectives and agendas of the candidates running in the June primary. Anne Neumann possesses a pragmatic insight into Princeton’s problems and needs, and a willingness to examine the issues to find solutions. Her experience of civic involvement has afforded her insight into the workings of municipal government and, as a long-time resident, she has a unique perspective on our character and sense of place.

Anne’s forward-thinking initiatives focus on affordability, the environment, and sustainability, as well as maintaining the character of our unique neighborhoods. Among her initiatives, she advocates for the creation of a volunteer economic development commission to promote new businesses and to bring to fruition the Consolidation promise to establish Neighborhood Advisory Councils aimed at better communicating the specific concerns affecting localized residents. She proposes the adoption of zoning ordinances that facilitate private solutions to affordable housing such as accessory dwelling units and micro-housing. And as the municipality struggles to harmonize and adopt zoning policies, Anne calls for the expedited passage of a temporary moratorium on new construction to protect neighborhoods from over-development.

Anne possesses the intellect and tenacity to research effective ways to govern and to move Princeton forward. Please join me in voting for Anne on June 7 so Princeton can benefit from her varied experience as she furthers her commitment to public service by offering fresh ideas to create an even better community.

Kate Warren

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

I support Jenny Crumiller and Leticia Fraga for Council.

I support Jenny because she questions easy assumptions, taking a broad view of each question as it comes before the council. As a current Council member, she is a recognized advocate for neighborhoods, one who believes in protecting Princeton’s small-town character. We can count on Jenny to represent us fairly and objectively.

I support Leticia because, like Jenny, she is a worker, someone who sets out to solve problems and follows through. She sets concrete goals and achieves them.

The town’s civil rights commission was long ago folded into the Human Services Commission. Leticia, believing it should be revived, formed an advisory committee, studied Princeton’s civil rights experience, and interviewed previous commission members. As a result, Princeton is expected to introduce an ordinance later this month re-establishing an independent civil rights commission.

As chair of the Board of LALDEF, when the Mercer County Community ID card program was terminated here in Princeton due to location and staffing issues, and knowing how important the ID is to many members of our community, Leticia and Bill Wakefield worked with a group of talented volunteers to make the ID card available at the Princeton Public Library on a weekly basis. The Community ID cards help non-driving senior citizens and disabled individuals as well as non-citizens. Since the program was introduced at the library, more than 100 have been issued, 40 of them this month alone.

Leticia is an experienced professional negotiator and arbitrator who can work “across the aisle,” with different personalities and in response to different needs. She will be a creative and independent member of Princeton Council.

My two votes go to Jenny Crumiller and Leticia Fraga.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

April 13, 2016

To the Editor:

I am writing to support the candidacy of Jenny Crumiller for Princeton Council. She has consistently questioned authority and advocated zoning and other policies and regulations that will keep neighborhoods from becoming absorbed in a faceless city. She is a thoughtful steward of the community and an advocate for the variety and diversity that we cherish.

When she was elected president of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization some years ago, it was as a reformer to open up the group and make it more widely representative. I look forward to her election to Council to continue to play that role in the wider arena.

She is the candidate with the widest experience and the strongest record of accomplishments. It gives me pleasure to endorse her for another term on Princeton Council.

Peter Lindenfeld

Harris Road

To the Editor:

If you’ve noticed a little yellow flower starting to take over your lawn and garden, you aren’t alone. Appreciation soon turns to distress as the plant spreads to become a form of green pavement, outcompeting other plants, then leaving the ground bare when it dies back in early summer. It has lots of names — lesser celandine, fig buttercup, figroot because of its fig-shaped underground tubers, or the scientific name Ficaria verna.

Like many introduced species, it gains competitive advantage by being inedible to the local wildlife. Along with non-native shrubs that wildlife also avoid, like honeysuckle, winged euonymus, privet, and multiflora rose, lesser celandine prevents solar energy from moving up the foodchain from plants to insects to birds. This foiling of natural processes effectively shrinks the acreage of functional open space Princeton has worked so hard to preserve.

The most dramatic example of this plant’s dominance locally is in Pettoranello Gardens, from where it has spread downstream into Mountain Lakes Preserve. That situation is beyond control, but in homeowners’ yards, and many local parks and preserves, early detection and treatment can nip invasions in the bud. I’ve been encouraging homeowners and the town rec. department to take this work seriously, because one small infestation can quickly spread to affect downhill neighbors, parks, and preserves. Effective treatments can be found online, but typically consist of using 2 percent glyphosate, the active ingredient in products like Roundup, the wetland-safe Rodeo, and other similar formulations.

As with the abuse of antibiotics by the meat industry, glyphosate is now vastly overused to grow bio-engineered corn and soybeans. That abuse has in part driven a demonization of herbicides in general. But just as antibiotics remain a critical medicine, various herbicides remain a critical means of dealing with invasive plants. Personally, my avoidance of herbicides is nearly total, but in the case of lesser celandine, with its tuberous roots, no other approach is practical. Only if there are just a few plants can one dig them out, bag them up, and throw them in the trash, not the compost.

Adding to the distress of these radical transformations of our landscapes is a strange narrative that is showing up in places like the New York Times and the radio show You Bet Your Garden. Through a denial of both the problem and the solution, reminiscent of climate change, it claims that we should learn to love invasive species, and hate those who dare to take action against them.

This view cheats us of the deep satisfaction of identifying a problem and working together to solve it. This past weekend, as part of my work for Friends of Herrontown Woods, I was able to convince a couple neighbors of the preserve to treat their lesser celandine. By doing so, they will not only spare their own yards but also the stream just down the hill.

As a bonus, I got to meet some new neighbors. By taking our local nature’s problems seriously, we also build community.

Stephen Hiltner

President, Friends of Herrontown Woods, 

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

On behalf of everyone at McCarter Theatre Center, I want to express thanks to all who attended and supported our recent “relaxed” performance of “Sing Along with The Muppet Movie” on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day.

This is the fourth consecutive season that McCarter has offered a special performance for individuals who are on the autism spectrum or have sensory sensitivities and their family members. Slight adjustments to the lighting, special effects, and music allow for everyone to enjoy the thrill of live performance in a somewhat altered environment.

The Muppet Movie event was a joyous interactive afternoon performance for a family audience, many of whom have limited opportunities to enjoy theatre together with their entire family.

We thank The Karma Foundation for their leadership and support of these “relaxed” performances at McCarter. We are also grateful for the contributions of Jazams and Olives Deli to the Muppet Movie event, and of course, we thank our incredible volunteer ushers.

Timothy J. Shields,

Managing Director, McCarter Theatre Center

Emily Mann,

Artistic Director, McCarter Theatre Center