November 23, 2016

To the Editor:

On November 24 our great country will pause to observe a national tradition of expressing gratitude. While you might find it amazing to think a guy can be grateful for his mother-in-law, I feel compelled to share the many fine qualities of selflessness expressed by a woman who won’t be sitting with us around the Thanksgiving table this year.

It is clear that we are living in troubled times. Fame, opportunity, and wealth would seem to rush at a small percentage of our population, while too many experience tragedy, loneliness, and frustration. Brother David Steindl-Rast, author of Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness, asked this probing question that reminded me of my mother-in-law, “Do we find it difficult to imagine that gratefulness could ever become our basic attitude toward life?”

It was impossible not to be inspired by the shining example of everyday thanksgiving and selfless love exemplified by my mother-in-law, Inge Minc. How did she develop this kind, compassionate, and easily flowing love? While she never spoke about it to me or my wife, it was as if adversity compelled her to make an early choice between an expansive or narrow life. Perhaps she intuitively knew the old saying, “if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.”

Certainly nothing in my suburban and sheltered childhood could help me imagine the significant challenges that Inge faced as a young girl when she and her family found themselves trapped in Germany during World War II. There was the terror of air raids along with near starvation conditions. Fortunately, she and her family survived to make the voyage home to Brazil. In 1968 they left Brazil for the promise of a better life in America.

I will always appreciate the significant contributions Inge made to our family. On countless occasions she cared for our kids when my wife and I had to work or when we needed time for ourselves. Her family dinners were replete with sumptuous food prepared by a woman whose only earthly riches were her family.

Those who don’t have an Inge to share the holiday with might consider joining community members for an hour-long service on Thanksgiving Day at First Church of Christ, Scientist in Princeton (csprinceton.org).

Steve Drake

Tenacre — A Ministry of Christian Scientists

To the Editor:

Your front page article [Community Leaders Speak to an Anxious Crowd at Post-Election Gathering,” Nov. 16} about the post-election Community Leaders gathering has some very ambiguous language in paragraph four.

Without quoting anyone in particular the reporter states that Princeton is “considered” a Sanctuary City.

This is an issue of significance. If Council has voted to make us one, there are likely major ramifications going forward. Sanctuary Cities are a clear violation of Federal law. Love Obama or not it’s indisputable that this was a law that our current president chose to ignore. Soon we will have a new sheriff in D.C. town who is unlikely to take such liberties with federal law.

If we insist on designating our town as a Sanctuary City, Princeton is likely to lose federal funding for all Town programs. They must be cut back or funded with additional taxpayer monies.

“Considered” is not the word Town Topics should use in describing Princeton’s status as a Sanctuary City. We are or we aren’t one … and the distinction is about to become relevant.

Nelson Obus

Russell Road

Editor’s Note: After being contacted by Town Topics, Mayor Lempert said this: “We are a ‘welcoming community’ and Council voted to make Princeton part of the Welcoming America network. Police Chief Sutter issued an order back in 2013 clarifying the role of our police in protecting local public safety. Here is a link to the order: www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/1_-_princeton_police_detainer_order.pdf. The order makes it clear that the role of the police department is to protect public safety, and that to be effective, the police must foster trust within the communities they serve so that victims and witnesses feel safe in coming forward to report crimes.

To the Editor:

On November 10, Dress for Success Mercer County (DFSMC) held its annual Cocktails for a Cause event at Greenacres Country Club. This year’s theme, Designing the Future, celebrated the women who have had the courage and determination to take steps to make a better life for themselves and their families. At Dress for Success it all begins with a suit, but we are so much more. We are support, we are encouragement, and we are an opportunity for women to learn, grow, and design a better future.

Empowering women to achieve economic independence is what drives the staff and the volunteers at Dress for Success every day. Since 2007 more than 4,000 women have been through our programs. This year alone, we will have served more than 1,000 women.

At DFSMC, we understand the challenges faced by low-income, underserved, and underrepresented women seeking to break the cycle of poverty. Through our personalized career development programs, we support women through every stage of their professional development, starting with their job search and leading to sustained employment. We are the only community program that responds to the career development needs of this vulnerable population.

Our Cocktails for a Cause event was an incredible success and I would like to congratulate this year’s honorees Dr. Jianping Wang, president of Mercer County Community College, PNC Bank, and Hamilton Jewelers.

The services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of the community. A tremendous thanks to our Designing the Future sponsors, guests, event committee, and all of the individuals and businesses that contributed auction prizes. Your generosity will help Dress for Success Mercer County continue its legacy of providing quality programming and support to women who are ready to enter and thrive in the workforce.

Melissa Tenzer

Executive Director

November 16, 2016

To the Editor:

I want to thank the people of Princeton for re-electing me as your mayor for a second term. And I especially want to thank my amazing campaign team, including Mildred Trotman, Dwaine Williamson, Roger Shatzkin, Wendy Kaczerski, Scotia MacRae, Helen Heintz, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, and Peter Wolanin; and my running mates, Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller and Councilman-elect Tim Quinn. I also want to thank my opponent, Peter Marks, who ran a strong and civil campaign.

Much of our attention since November 8 has been focused on the outcome of the presidential race, and I continue to hear from residents of their desire to more fully engage in our community through involvement in local government. I welcome your participation.

We currently are soliciting applications for our volunteer boards and commissions. We need commissioners for the newly created Civil Rights Commission, and well as volunteers for a variety of boards ranging from zoning to social services. For an application and more information, go to: www.princetonnj.gov and click the blue box labeled “Volunteer Opportunities.” Please submit your application by Friday, December 2 in order to be considered for appointment in January.

Princeton is fortunate to have a community with a wealth of expertise and talent, combined with a spirit of giving back. I look forward over the next four years to working with my colleagues on Council, our incredible municipal staff, and with all of you in the community to address the many challenges facing us, and to make Princeton an even greater place to live.

Liz Lempert

Mayor Elect, Princeton

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Central New Jersey businesses, organizations, families, and community groups who stepped up to the plate to help hit heart disease and stroke out of the park at the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s 2016 Central New Jersey Heart Walk. The fundraising and wellness event, which was held on Friday, September 30 at Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder in Trenton, was the first-ever night time Heart Walk in the state.

I’m happy to announce that the event raised over $413,000 for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Donations to the Heart Walk support such life-saving efforts as funding research and education, advocating for better health, improving patient care, and reaching at-risk populations.

Nationally sponsored by Subway and locally sponsored by NRG Energy, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, NJM Insurance Group, WIMG 1300 AM, and WWFM 89.1 FM/JazzOn2; the Central New Jersey Heart Walk encouraged participants to learn more about heart disease and stroke risks and to take the steps to help prevent these diseases in our community.

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans. The American Heart Association is committed to helping individuals and businesses foster a culture of health, and to providing science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public.

For more information about the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, please visit www.heart.org.

David R. Hill

Chair, Central New Jersey Heart Walk, Princeton

To the Editor:

Our town of Princeton has many organizations, all of which are trying hard to be helpful in one way or the other. I know, because I try to reach out to as many as I can. There is one that stands out from all the others in my mind — HomeFront. These families need us desperately. Their children need to grow up in a home! There are so many people who have no homes who are right here in our own back yard. HomeFront helps.

Let’s all be aware!

Barbara Straut

Longtime Princeton Windrows resident

To the Editor:

The Princeton Community Thanksgiving Day service at Princeton University Chapel is an annual tradition of about 70 years. The one hour service this Thanksgiving, November 24, will be at the University Chapel at 11 a.m. and will feature music by University Organist Eric Plutz, a community choir and singer Minister Carter, a reading of the President’s Thanksgiving Proclamation by Mayor Lempert, readings and prayers by clergy of various faith traditions, and Thanksgiving hymns, ending with a rousing singing of “America the Beautiful”.

People are urged to bring nonperishable food in non glass containers to donate to The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County. The Community Choir will rehearse at 9 a.m. at the Chapel and all singers of whatever age are invited to join forces to make a big sound. It is a great opportunity to sing in Princeton University Chapel.

Julia Coale

Princeton Clergy Association

To the Editor;

I congratulate Mayor Lempert on her re-election. She won decisively, and she did so with a campaign that was both decent and focused on issues.

I am grateful to Dudley Sipprelle for giving me a voice, to the Princeton Republican Party for ensuring that my voice was heard, to the more than 3,000 voters who gave me their support, and to the many Democrats who supported me at the risk of political oblivion. It was a privilege to represent all of you.

Princeton has some difficult choices to make. I continue to believe that our best hope of preserving our distinctive small town character is to stabilize our population, mitigate the worst of the state mandates, and get more control of our budgets and zoning.

I would like to think that the not insignificant number of crossover votes I received will cause Mayor Lempert and her council to consider more seriously the policies that I have suggested — with the hoped for result that our town can be restored as the sustainably affordable, inclusive, and diverse community in which I grew up.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Thanks for the courtesy, Princeton drivers!

This past Saturday I rode my bike on my way to and from the Mayor’s Ride. (In case you didn’t know: Princeton’s cool Mayor Lempert, with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, hosts a bike ride every fall; you can enjoy some of Princeton’s parks at their most colorful, plus a cup of hot cider at Mountain Lakes House).

On this Saturday, no fewer than four motorists, at four different intersections, stopped their cars for me as I waited to cross the road, and waved me across. They did this, even though none of the intersections had signs prompting drivers to give the right of way to those on foot or on bike.

I want to thank these drivers, and all the drivers who have given me the same courtesy on other occasions. I can’t see your faces through the windshield, so I don’t know who you are. But I want you to know that it is immensely heartening to me that there are more and more of you who empathize enough with those on bike and on foot that you are willing to punctuate your trip with a short stop, to let us cross the road in front of you. You set a great example of kindness and courtesy, and I hope you inspire others to do the same. May your wheels, whether four or two, always roll smoothly.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

November 9, 2016

To the Editor:

Residents in the northern part of Princeton should be advised that the juvenile black bear sighted in August in the vicinity of Cherry Hill Road and Montadale Drive is still in the immediate area. While the media has lost interest in the story, the bear appears to remain stubbornly interested in our neighborhood. It has caused property damage and has raided garbage cans and bird feeders over the past several months, which begins to define it as a nuisance bear that is becoming habituated to humans. We have notified NJDEP/Fish and Wildlife and the Animal Control Officer, but it is largely up to us as residents to take steps to discourage the bear from deciding to make the Princeton Ridge its home.

We can make a difference by ensuring that there are no sources of food in our yards. Bird feeders are a prominent target as are garbage cans left out overnight and piles of acorns. Consider taking down feeders for now (the birds will be fine) and putting out your garbage cans in the morning rather than leaving them outside on the street. Do not leave pet food outside. This bear is capable of climbing a wire deer fence and breaking into containers in search of food. Fish and Wildlife has also advised that hanging towels or rags soaked with ammonia may also discourage bear activity. Bears are crepuscular, so they are much more likely to be active at dawn and dusk and less likely to be seen in broad daylight.

By taking these precautions, we can help persuade the bear to move on to other areas.

For more information on bear safety, see www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm.

T. Jeffery Clarke 

Balcort Drive

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) held its annual Rent Party on Saturday, October 22, where over 120 people gathered to enjoy food, drinks, and music while raising money to help HIP provide transitional housing with supportive services for working families who are facing homelessness and to provide emergency rental assistance for those who need a one-time payment for a security deposit or for back rent. A big thank you to all of our supporters, attendees, and the more than 30 sponsors of the event!

In addition to the all-volunteer HIP board who worked tirelessly to make the event a success, HIP has a bunch of people to thank: Lydia and Johan Pfeiffer for hosting us in the beautiful Grover Cleveland house; our incredibly talented caterer, Blawenberg Café; Tap Tap Caribbean/American Cuisines for the incredible desserts; Anne Fahey, for the fantastic invitations; Jennifer Cohan for vigorously planning and promoting the event; Pam Hersh for her appealing press release; Anna Brouwer for staffing the Giving House so expertly; our brave bartender, Ben Dixon; Applied Harmony, the awesome jazz band that serenaded us through the night; Paul Jeanes, auctioneer extraordinaire, and Derrick Avila and Abel Onofre for directing all of our attendees to parking.

And, last but not least, thank you to Mira DeMartino, Anja Zimmermann, and Ralph Neuneier, and the Bent Spoon for their generous donations to our live auction.

Our whole community truly came together … neighbor helping neighbor to keep our community diverse and vibrant!

Carol Golden

Interim Chair, 

Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Mercer Street

To the Editor

As generational residents of Princeton, we remember hearing our parents debate whether the two former Princetons could ever become one Princeton. Although our parents and grandparents did not live to see the merger, we are proud that we have experienced its success, which we attribute in large part to Mayor Liz Lempert’s diligent and even-handed guidance.

Mayor Lempert also has impacted our lives in other ways. In our capacity as presidents of Committed and Faithful Princetonians (CFP), a YMCA-based group committed to preparing youth for a life of high achievement, Mayor Lempert encouraged us to have CFP children participate in various issues important to the community, such as providing their input about changes to Mary Moss Park in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. Mayor Lempert also has supported other efforts, such as CFP’s community service project for landscaping at Redding Circle, commending the youth group on their hard work.

In general, Mayor Lempert has been great for the youth of Princeton. She has established a Youth Advisory Committee so that our leaders and officials can see our community through the eyes of our youth and respond to their input. Our mayor is not just a mayor but a friend to the community.

Larry and Fern Spruill

Oak Lane Princeton

To the Editor:

Each month, 4,000 people in Princeton and Trenton use the three food pantries operated by Arm in Arm, formerly The Crisis Ministry, to supplement their need for adequate food supplies for themselves and their families. These pantries offer free food and nutritional advice to those with low incomes, the unemployed, veterans, the elderly and, sadly, many, many children.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, the need for extra food becomes even more poignant. Who wouldn’t want a turkey as the centerpiece of their festivities? Unfortunately, Arm in Arm doesn’t have enough funds or donated turkeys to provide all those who wish one. Hence, the purpose of this letter. Yes We CAN! Food Drives, a volunteer group that collects food for the needy, is asking the community to donate either fresh or frozen turkeys for our neighbors. The turkeys will then be added to the supply and distributed to the clients by lottery number. The more turkeys, the more who will win a turkey (at no cost to them, of course).

Our Yes We CAN! volunteers will be collecting the turkeys on Saturday, November 19, from 9 to 1, on the final day of the season at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. Should you wish to donate cash, our volunteers will buy turkeys on your behalf from a local supermarket.

Look for our Yes We CAN! tent at the farmers’ market, which is located off Alexander Road on Vaughn Drive, on the way to the train station. Parking is free. Thank you for your support.

FRAN ENGLER 

Publicity Chair, Yes We CAN! Food Drives, 

www.yeswecanfooddrives.org

To the Editor:

Recently I was issued an overtime parking violation in the Griggs Corner parking lot. It turns out that the new “improved” parking meters no longer grant a 10-minute grace period, unlike all of the other meters in Princeton. The ticket was issued at 11:59 a.m.; I was back at the car at 12:01 p.m.; missed it by two minutes, well within the ten-minute grace period that is no longer granted.

I discovered this the next day when I walked to the lot, found an expired meter and deposited a nickel. The meter displayed 2 minutes, counted down to 1 minute, then expired — no grace period.

However, I noticed that the 2 minutes seemed to go by too quickly, so I deposited yet another nickel and timed the countdown with my watch. The display started at 2 minutes as before, but in only about 40 seconds went to 1 minute, then 60 seconds later displayed “Expired.”

Then I did the math: the rate is $1.75/hour, which translates to 20.57 seconds/cent. So a nickel actually buys you 5 times that, i.e., 103 seconds, which is 1 minute and 43 seconds. Therefore although the meter displays 2 minutes, it actually gives you only 1 minute and 43 seconds.

A worse case occurs if one deposits 15 cents. In that case the display shows 6 minutes, but you only get 5 minutes and 9 seconds. So in the time it takes you to make a note of the time and walk away thinking you have 6 minutes, you actually have 5. Makes it easy to get an overtime parking violation.

Either way, I would call the meter display “deceptive.” (I’m guessing that the reason for the previously granted generous 10-minute grace period was to avoid this issue).

But wait, there’s more: it turns out that as of July 1 this year, the municipality of Princeton no longer operates the Griggs Corner lot (check www.princetonnj.gov/parking.html), but it does enforce the meter usage using the Parking Enforcement Unit. Does this make Princeton complicit in the deception?

Although my parking violation was dismissed, I still had to pay a $20 court fee. One might argue that all overtime parking violation fines (and court fees) should automatically be dismissed until this issue is addressed.

I have now spent enough time, effort, and money researching this. I leave it in the hands of the legal professionals and the politicians.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Diesso

Harrison Street 

P.S. I would like my $20 court fee back.

P.P.S. The phrase “Boycott the Lot” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

To the Editor:

The Princeton-Blairstown Center’s (PBC) second annual Soirée Under the Stars gala held Sept. 30 at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton raised more than $50,000 for PBC, and more specifically for our Summer Bridge Program, which addresses the “summer learning gap” for at-risk youth.

PBC participant, Mehki J., an 8th grader from Trenton, spoke about his experience during the Summer Bridge Program and won the crowd over with his description of his time at the Blairstown Campus. The culminating event of the evening was presenting the Frank Broderick Award to Dr. William A. Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. The Frank Broderick Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, compassion, and selflessness — qualities that supported Dr. Broderick in his courageous efforts to achieve racial integration of PBC’s predecessor organization, the Princeton Summer Camp, and to mobilize those who advocated for racial integration of Princeton University in the 1940s.

PBC seeks to transform the lives of vulnerable young people through integrated experiential and adventure-based programming in schools and at our outdoor campus. We collaborate with schools, university partners, and community-based agencies to develop in youth a deepened self-awareness, responsible decision-making, teamwork, and leadership skills. Our volunteers strive for a future in which young people exhibit personal resilience and compassion, embrace expanded possibilities for their lives, and enact positive change within their communities and the world.

We would like to thank the 140 guests who came out in support of the work we do for vulnerable youth.

Thanks to our benefit committee: Minda and William Alena; Barbara and Fred Borsch; Victoria and Tim Bridges; Anita and Larry Chevres; Jill Dolan and Stacy Wolf; Denise H. Frederickson; Jane Fremon; Mr. and Mrs. Jotham Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Kaemmerlen; David Palladino; Angelica and Jason Pedraza; Nurit Pegrish and Scott Levy; Kay and Ev Pinneo; Peter T. Smith; and Linda and Ken Twining.

Special thanks to our benefit co-chairs, Christina Bailey and Praveena Joseph-de Saram, for all their hard work and leadership surrounding this very successful event.

Pam Gregory

President and CEO

November 2, 2016

To the Editor:

I have been actively involved in educating our community regarding the issue of gun violence prevention, a topic of the utmost concern for our children, our community, and the country.

Mayor Liz Lempert has been highly supportive of the efforts of those working to decrease gun violence. In addition, she has expressed her support for the gun safety technology initiative.

Therefore, I urge you join me in voting for her on November 8, 2016.

Sally L. Steinberg-Brent

Shady Brook Lane

To the Editor:

Bill Hare’s positive mind-set combined with sound decision-making ability would make him an excellent Princeton Board of Education member. Bill has the balance of skillfulness, spirit, and devotion to work as a team with the Board to create the best possible environment for Princeton students, teachers, and the overall community.

Diana and Ken Griebell

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Mayoral candidate Peter Marks’s performance at the League of Women Voters debate was stellar! As a native of Princeton and with his background and experience in finance, Marks demonstrated that he not only understands the financial issues affecting our Princeton community, but has practical solutions to these problems.

In responding to a question from the audience on the high cost of financing some of the perhaps unwarranted expenditures for the Princeton Public Schools (such as a new auditorium when there are many available in town), Marks stated that he received a unique and high-quality education while attending a one-room school in the country of Jordan when his father was on a teaching sabbatical. Strategic spending — not extravagance — is the key to resolving our financial challenges.

With a mother living out her last days, Marks’s response to a question dealing with seniors “aging in place” hit home. His comments demonstrated that love and commitment to family are more than words. Marks responded to the question of housing for seniors by saying that the fact that his father, who suffered from dementia for several years, was able to stay in the home he loved until his death brought him great joy. Marks aims to keep this option available to Princeton residents.

Peter Marks is a man who not only “talks the talk, but walks the walk” when it comes to commitment to family. As mayor, he will demonstrate the same commitment to the well – being of the Princeton community.

Peter Marks has my vote on November 8 and I hope he has yours as well.

Barbara Brock Mount

Lucas Road 

To the Editor:

Locally, the Princeton Regional School Board Election and Mayor Lempert’s published views on public education pre-ordain huge increases in real estate taxes in Princeton. The most important outcome of Princeton’s increasingly excessive expenditures on education is many millions less being available to support alternative, critical community-wide needs. The following, supporting this conclusion, is based on years of experience in leadership and business/financial management roles in educational institutions in both public and private sectors, including the Princeton area.

First, let’s look at just one financial performance metric “Actual Per Pupil Cost” for comparable “High Performing Districts.” Without citing years of published data, the basic facts are that New Jersey Top 10 rated West Windsor schools per pupil costs are over 30 percent lower than Princeton Regional School District’s costs. This gross disparity between districts performing at the highest level in the same county is unjustified and unacceptable. Just because it’s Princeton? The Princeton Board and prior superintendent have been questioned publicly to state what specific STUDENT outcomes justify this large disparity. On an annual budget in the $60 million range, this represents $18 million tax dollars that could be used for other alternative community needs.

Second, the real question is not whether we can afford it or do our students receive a first rate education. Yes to both without question! However, accountability and fiscal responsibility for the public purse demand cost effectiveness in the delivery of public services. The PRS Board has not done the job! The good news is, finally, the electorate has a general election vote. We must each year elect a Board with a strong sense of their responsibility to the community at large and the impact of their huge costs on other priority government programs. Unfortunately, there was no detailed discussion of costs, but pledges of support for whatever is needed for our highly rated district. Only a few general statements were voiced on school budgets and efforts to control growth in costs.

Last, important and of serious concern, were assertions from some stating their belief that the Princeton Regional Schools are “under-funded”! Although not mentioned, this follows the same “Princeton Schools are under-funded” published statement by Mayor Lempert. Candidate Greg Stankiewicz gave his unequivocal support for increased funding of Princeton Schools plus a wholesale endorsement of SAVE OUR SCHOOLS (SOS) activist notions supporting higher taxes for all schools statewide. His spouse is Professor Sass Rubin of Rutgers, co-founder of SOS, and a strong advocate for teacher’s unions. Given key union negotiations early in the new year, can Candidate Stankiewicz participate in negotiations or must he recuse himself as having conflicts of interest?

Rhetorically, on what basis can a candidate for School Board before ever serving in Princeton state unequivocally “Princeton schools are ‘underfunded?’” Seriously? Vote for fiscal responsibility and cost effectiveness in delivery of quality education.

John Clearwater

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

We are writing this letter as a statement of our strong support for Debbie Bronfeld; she is running for a position on the Princeton Board of Education.

We have been friends with Debbie for over 16 years. We met when her youngest and our only child were babies, and we have had the pleasure of watching our children grow and flourish, in their own ways, in the Princeton public schools.

Running for the Board of Education makes sense given what we know about Debbie. She has always been civic minded. Her choices of employment, for example, reveal how she wants to help others. For example, she was the executive director of Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organization that helps women become economically independent by providing professional clothing and the tools needed to succeed. In more recent years she has worked for Mercer Street Friends Food Bank as a program associate, first as a volunteer, then as an employee. Her responsibilities there include helping people sign up for food stamps, and providing seniors with needed food supplies. In addition, she runs a program that provides backpacks of child-friendly, non-perishable food that goes home each weekend with children in 18 schools across Mercer County. She also helps her community outside of work, most recently spending each Sunday registering Princeton citizens to vote.

Debbie has long been a champion of Princeton schools, and she has great long-term reasons to be involved. Both her sons have been in the Princeton Public schools for their entire education, first Littlebrook, then JWMS, and now Princeton High School. Her older son, Harrison, recently graduated from Princeton High and her younger son, Max, is now a junior there.

Not content to just enjoy the benefits of the Princeton school system from the sidelines, Debbie has long been involved in being an active school parent. She was a member of the Parent Teacher Organization at Littlebrook. She volunteered as a room parent, as a worker in Littlebrook’s library and at JWMS’s book fair. She has frequently attended school board meetings as an interested parent. A frequent presence at school functions, Debbie has always been counted on to show her support at concerts, football games, and musicals. Want more evidence of her support? Look across the Princeton High School football field: cups on the fence spell out “Go Tigers!” “Go Blue!” in white and blue. Debbie had a hand in that too.

Debbie is running for a spot on the Board of Education because she wants to work to ensure that all children in Princeton get the quality education that they deserve. We are writing this letter today because we fully support her candidacy.

Wendy Heath, Stephen Kaplan

Benjamin Rush Lane

To the Editor:

Writing for ourselves and not on behalf of the Board of Education, we enthusiastically support Greg Stankiewicz for election to the Princeton Board of Education. Even in a well-credentialed community like ours, Greg is a stand-out; he is brilliant and well-versed in the complexities of educational policy and public finance. His professional experience with the New York City education department, the New Jersey state management and budget office, and nonprofit organizations makes Greg superbly qualified. It’s hard to recall there ever being a school board candidate with a stronger record of relevant expertise.

Even beyond his credentials, Greg is distinguished by his principles. He is passionately committed to providing an excellent individualized education to every child in our community, regardless of their background. He believes our public schools should educate and nurture the “whole child,” and that the arts, athletics, community service, social skills, emotional resilience, and wellness are critical to learning and progress. He knows that engaging teaching can only occur when our educators are well-supported and allowed to develop innovative, student-centered practices. He is dedicated to working with the superintendent and administrators in a transparent partnership towards the community’s shared educational aspirations for our children.

Greg is also one of the most kind-hearted, energetically optimistic people we know. While we regret that we won’t have the privilege of serving with him, we know that our schools will be in good hands if he is elected. Please vote for Greg Stankiewicz (ballot position #2) for school board on November 8.

MOLLY CHREIN, ANDREA SPALLA

Editor’s Note: Ms. Chrein and Ms. Spalla are current members of the Princeton Board of Education. Their terms expire on January 1, 2017. They write as private citizens, and not on behalf of the Board of Education.

To the Editor:

I thank mayor and Council for considering the reinstatement of the Civil Rights Commission as an independent agency. I am a former member of the Commission directed by Ms. Joan Hill. I’ve also used their services.

In 72 years I have experienced a good deal of racial discrimination and/or harassment. One incident stands out. A Sicklerville construction company was hired by the Borough to construct/reconstruct Griggs Corner. While there was a gaping hole, the company parked their trucks in the middle of Witherspoon Street from Hulfish to Paul Robeson Place. As I walked home for lunch one afternoon, the workers were sitting around in their trucks and on the steps of the adjacent buildings having lunch. As I passed, one of the truck drivers sitting high in his truck started loudly singing a song about “Jigger boos.” The other workers joined the chorus. I could not believe my ears. Since they were hired by the Borough, I called the Borough to make a report. Surely someone would assure me they would investigate. My call was transferred to many extensions. Finally, I was able to speak with someone and this is what I was told: “walk another way,” or “just ignore them.” Needless to say, following this exchange I was seething. I called Ms. Hill and told her my experience. She too felt their response was unacceptable. I also called my pastor to alert him that others in the John Witherspoon neighborhood more than likely had been or would be harassed as they passed the site. My concern was that if one of the young men from the neighborhood was approached in this way, there would be bloodshed. My Pastor also contacted Ms. Hill.

When I returned to my office I wrote a letter to the mayor of the Borough. However before I could mail my letter, Ms. Hill, whom everyone knew was a “no nonsense” director, had taken care of the matter. The next day she checked with me to see if I had problems going to or from work. I had none. She told me that the contractor was put on notice that further incidents would mean they would be off the job.

The point is, I had complete confidence in going directly to the Civil Rights Commission with my concern, not through another Borough department. While I know times have changed for the better to some degree, many people in the community would prefer going directly to an independent Civil Rights Commission that they know will address all claims in a timely manner and that has their back.

I’ve heard that “This is Princeton. We don’t need an independent Civil Rights Commission. Princeton does not have these problems.” We know this is not true. This is why I am appealing to the Mayor and Council to reinstate the independent status of the Civil Rights Commission whose sole charge would be matters of Civil Rights.

Jacqueline L. Swain

Lytle Street

To the Editor:

I have known Alex Martin and his wife Maria Sophocles since they moved to Princeton in 2007 from Italy with their four children. For nearly ten years, they have been active members of the community, supporters of the arts and a number of charities, and they have been strong advocates of educational excellence. I was delighted to learn that Alex was seeking a position on the Princeton Board of Education because I believe that he would be a real asset to our school system. From my many discussions with him, I know that he is sympathetic to the needs of a community like ours, which values public education but also understands the challenges of working within a restricted budget. Alex is a good listener and I have witnessed him being tough as well as fair. His four children will all be graduates of Princeton High School in the coming years and therefore he has a vested interest in making improvements where necessary and even changes if appropriate. He has always been approachable and would be receptive to new ideas for approaching old problems. I believe that Princeton is looking for a person who can effect positive change. Alex should be at the top of everyone’s list to help make that happen. I endorse him with enthusiasm and confidence that he will bring commitment and talent to the Princeton School Board.

Ruth Miller

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

In 2025, my son will graduate from Princeton High School, 75 years after his great-grandparents arrived in Princeton to raise a young family. They chose Princeton for the same reasons I moved back to raise mine, as did my mother before me. We cherish and have benefited from the intellectual vibrancy, excellent school system, thriving cultural life, urban proximity, progressive values, and diverse international population.

Princeton’s appeal, as evidenced by the increasing demand for real estate, has led to a critical juncture in the town’s history: how can we preserve the essential character and qualities which make it so desirable without retreating to a nostalgia that paralyzes our capacity for action? Liz Lempert has demonstrated an exceptional ability to actively engage and personally connect with a wide variety of community members. This will equip her in facilitating a coherent planning process that is ethical, equitable, economically productive, and environmentally sound.

In her time as mayor, I’ve had the chance to view Liz through the lens of three generations residing in Princeton — each with its own set of distinct needs and concerns — and to witness her competence in finding balanced, innovative solutions that strengthen the social fabric of our community. She understands that an effective leader must create the conditions for greater civic engagement and has worked with Council to make local government more open and accessible.

Liz is the ultimate antidote to forces that threaten our collective well-being: isolation, entitlement, and indifference. With her as mayor residents are heard, supported, valued, and included in bringing about the changes they envision. Please join me on November 8 in voting to re-elect Mayor Lempert, and in working with her the next four years to shape the future of Princeton.

Mia Sacks

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

Over 2,100 homeless or formerly homeless kids went back to school with new clothes, new shoes, and new back packs filled with necessary school supplies because of the wonderful caring community we live in.

I am once again deeply gratified to report that HomeFront’s Back to School campaign was met with overwhelming support from Mercer County residents. Many individuals, corporations, congregations, and organizations contributed generously so that HomeFront kids were able to start the new school year with confidence and a feeling of fitting in.

HomeFront bears witness daily to families who are unable to house, feed, or clothe their children. While the back to school donations may seem like a small step, they contribute greatly to the children’s self-esteem, which is a critical foundation for their success. The donations also fit into a much bigger picture of getting these children to school and helping them to stay there to finish their educations — and ultimately for them to become productive, self-sufficient adults.

Thank you for all you do for these children. It is a delight to see their excitement as they begin their day with a full backpack and a new outfit. With your caring support, we are fighting poverty and have hope that we can end it one day.

Connie Mercer

Executive Director, HomeFront