November 4, 2015


Dr. Aly Cohen is on a mission. Board-certified rheumatologist, integrative medicine physician, and environmental health specialist, she is the founder and medical director of The Smart Human.

Dr. Cohen is recognized as one of the leading authorities on the harmful effects of exposure to everyday chemicals in the U.S. Helping people to make smart choices in a world in which they are constantly bombarded by chemicals is her goal.

“The Smart Human seeks to educate, coach, and empower everyday people to make safer, smarter choices for human health,” explains Dr. Cohen. “We help hospitals, schools, and manufacturers make changes to reduce unsafe chemical exposure to the children and adults whom they serve.” more

October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

Betsy Kalber Baglio, who is running for a seat on the Princeton Board of Education, was my student at Princeton University 20 years ago. She was a member of my Senior Seminar in Education and student teaching in Hopewell simultaneously.

Sometimes you just know that a person is a natural! While teaching requires the development of a complex set of skills and a knowledge base that far exceeds that of many professions, Betsy came with a character and personality that was just about perfect for the work. She is intelligent, cheerful, hardworking, and committed to improving the educational community. She did outstanding work as a student in my seminar and in the classroom, and has continued to grow in her professional life and learning since then. She has been a successful elementary school teacher, a teacher working with other teachers to develop their skills, a wife, mother, and active community member. It was a joy to me when she and her young family moved back to Princeton and we have continued to be friends.

Betsy brings to this work her gift for helping individuals and groups to collaborate, a talent I have seen grow over the years I have known her. She did it as a student in my seminar and continues to hone that skill. It is certainly the perfect time in our town’s educational history to bring that gift to the Board of Education. We are one town now; we have come through a difficult period which threatened to do serious damage to our schools; we can now work together to make a good educational system so much better for all our students. Betsy Baglio can and will do that. As her former teacher and her friend, I am immensely proud of her work, and I urge all to vote for her on November 3rd.

Marue Walizer

Hartley Avenue

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse the candidacy of Dafna Kendal for election to the Princeton Board of Education and to encourage others to vote for her on Tuesday, November 3.

I grew up in Princeton and returned to raise my children here because of the unique and enriching environment that the town offers and the high quality of the education provided by our school system. Dafna is committed to maintaining that quality while also incorporating the innovation and new ideas that Princeton Public Schools need to continue to be a state — and nationally — recognized “lighthouse” school district. This combination is critical as the world and the educational needs to prepare our children to thrive in it rapidly evolve.

As a fellow member of the Littlebrook and JWMS parent communities, I have observed first-hand Dafna’s service to our schools in her leadership positions on the Littlebrook PTO as well as in numerous other volunteer roles. Dafna is always the first to raise her hand when help is needed in the classroom or during events. She has also regularly attended Board of Education meetings and has an in-depth knowledge of how our school system operates.

In addition to her passion, commitment, and service, Dafna has been an attorney for 15 years and has the highest level of competence, skills, and training to assess and analyze complex issues; generate meaningful and pragmatic solutions; and work with others to consider and implement them.

Our Board of Education, our schools, and our community will benefit from Dafna’s balance of pragmatism with passion; tradition with innovation; and business/legal expertise with above-and-beyond service orientation. I urge you to join me in voting for Dafna Kendal on Tuesday, November 3.

Anne Desmond

Tee-Ar Place

To the Editor:

The future is now for Andrew Zwicker and his political partner Maureen Vella. Their opponents have been lockstep in support of Governor Christie’s job-depleting, infrastructure-depleting agenda — policies that were implemented to nihilistic “Tea Partyers in Iowa. New Jersey continues to rank near the bottom in job creation and our bond rating keeps plummeting.

Physicist Zwicker offers hope to reverse the calculated mismanagement of his opponents. He has a proven record as head of Science Education at Princeton Plasma Physics in investing in people (check out his Wikipedia page).

To meet Andrew is to like and admire his curiosity and pragmatic policy initiatives. See for yourself, YouTube Andrew Zwicker. If former Congressman Rush Holt had a younger brother, it would be Andrew.

Please vote for Andrew Zwicker for New Jersey National Assembly 16th district on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

This election promises to be close, so every vote will count.

Adam Bierman

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

As concerned parents of students in the Princeton Public Schools, we support Rob Dodge and Dafna Kendal for seats on the Board of Education.

At Board meetings throughout this past year, Rob has regularly brought up important points about the budget and increased overcrowding in our schools, advocating preparation now and a close working relationship with the municipal council to effectively manage future class sizes and resources for our children. Beyond these core concerns, Rob has a clear and nuanced understanding of the wide variety of local, state, and even national issues that are important to our schools.

Dafna has shown a rare willingness to ask tough questions, and her training as a lawyer helps her get to the root of thorny problems. She is committed to providing all students in the district with the best possible opportunities to learn, from those who need extra help to learn effectively to those who thrive with extra enrichment. Dafna will be sure to keep the Board focused on the central issue: The quality of our children’s education.

Rob and Dafna have both shown their concern for the future of our school system, for their own children and all of our children. As Board of Education members, they will work hard to ensure that “Princeton” remains synonymous with “education” at all levels.

Owen O’Donnell, Amy Goldstein

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

Some people pride themselves in claiming that they “vote for the person, not the party.” While it’s essential to vote for candidates of excellent character and leadership abilities, party is equally important. Why? Because of policies and priorities.

I support Heather Howard and Lance Liverman for Princeton Council. Because of who they are, I know they will continue to be responsive to our residents, and work hard for the good of all. Because they are Democrats, I can be confident that they will seek progressive solutions to whatever problems our town may face. Because that’s what Democrats do.

As members of a team of Democrats, Heather and Lance helped make sure that our town was ready to implement marriage equality faster than any other town in Mercer County. They worked to build trust between our immigrant neighbors and the police, and supported local efforts to combat wage theft. In the wake of yet another massacre, Heather and Lance stood with other Democrats from the town and across the state to demand laws to rein in gun violence. And both are working to pass an earned sick leave ordinance to benefit workers and families in Princeton. These are the kinds of actions that reflect core Democratic values from the national level on down, and which Republicans (with rare exceptions) typically oppose.

On November 3, I will vote for Heather, Lance, and the other Democrats on the ballot. Vote for the person AND the party, because policies and priorities matter.

Dan Preston

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Mercer County has been governed by the Democratic party for decades. As Mercer County deals with the many challenges facing our county, it is now time to bring new leadership, thinking, and expertise to the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

We have known Ira Marks for 35 years. During that time, we have seen Ira do a remarkable job on the Lawrence Township School Board by reducing school taxes without sacrificing educational quality. Ira was also one of the leaders who fought the developer-driven Lawrence Township Council back in the 1980s. As a result, Lawrence Township is a beautiful town today, with a Master Plan designed appropriately.

He is that candidate for Freeholder who will bring new leadership, thinking and financial expertise to the Board of Freeholders. Ira, a CPA, has over 30 years of experience dealing with financial issues in both the private and public arenas. Ira has the expertise to deal with Mercer County’s $325 million budget. Ira’s goals include seeking tax revenues from sources other than our Mercer County homeowners and enhancing the quality of life for Mercer residents in all areas of our county.

Ira was named one of the state’s leading CPAs by New Jersey Monthly Magazine earlier this year. Change is good — Ira is the nominee to bring that needed change to Mercer County. Vote for Ira on November 3.

Michael and Mary Cleary

Pembroke Court

To the Editor:

As current and former school board members writing as Princeton voters (not on behalf of the Board of Education), we are proud that our public school community has surmounted many challenges in recent years. Our district has become stronger, more financially stable, and is operating better than ever. Many people worked hard to bring our district to this point, but few more so than Patrick Sullivan. The strength and ongoing improvement of our school district hinges upon the election of extremely capable, dedicated, selfless people like Pat.

Pat is highly intelligent, thoughtful, and earnest. We have had the privilege of working closely with him on the school board on a wide variety of matters. To every problem, Pat applies exceptional financial and legal acumen, incisive analytical skills, and a pragmatic, results-oriented approach. In every discussion, Pat raises the level of discourse by his courteous, professional demeanor and his ability to empathize with varied, often conflicting, perspectives on complex issues. A natural thought leader since his first day on the board, Pat never tries to impress or dominate. His board work is marked by a collegial approach, insightful contributions, creative ideas, and hard work.

Pat has a nuanced understanding of the often politically charged issues in public education at all levels. He is the ideal steward of the district; never reactive, never shortsighted. Pat makes his decisions as a board member based both on his long-term vision of what our schools can and should be for all children and a sharp, unwavering focus on what’s best for the children and educators now.

Please join us in voting for Pat Sullivan (ballot position No. 3) for the Board of Education on Tuesday, November 3.

Anne Burns,

Molly Chrein, 

Daniel Haughton,

Martha Land, 

Timothy Quinn,

Andrea Spalla

To the Editor:

I have lived in Princeton for 53 years, and care about our elected state officials. Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon are doing an outstanding job for the 16th Legislative District, which represents Princeton. They are honest, hard-working, dedicated, and are not afraid to reach across the aisle to achieve goals they feel are important for our district. Because they have made a name for themselves by conscientiously serving all constituents, we need them representing us in Trenton.

Jack and Donna are up for re-election to the State Assembly on Tuesday, November 3. I urge you to support these experienced candidates.

Joan Bassett

Harriet Drive

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