July 29, 2015

To the Editor:

The Princeton Council has been discussing legislation that would allow nearly everyone who works in the town to earn sick time they can use for themselves or a loved one in the event of an illness. The Princeton Board of Health urges the municipality to pass the ordinance and join nine New Jersey municipalities that already guarantee earned sick time.

Any responsible doctor will tell someone with the flu to stay home, get well, and avoid spreading germs. But for over 40 percent of private-sector workers who don’t have any paid sick time, every illness presents an impossible choice. Do they stay home and take care of themselves? Or do they go to work to be able to pay their bills? Where employees aren’t even allowed an unpaid day off, staying home to recover from the flu can cost them their job.

When workers are forced to come to work sick it puts us all at risk. 1 in 5 food service workers have reported coming in with a stomach bug, and fear of job loss played a big role in their decision. Infected food workers cause 70 percent of reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, which is why the CDC recommends restaurants provide paid sick days to their workers.

The Princeton Health Department has investigated two foodborne illness outbreaks stemming from suspected ill workers in as many years. Both outbreaks resulted in over 50 individuals succumbing to symptoms associated with foodborne disease. The Health Department has investigated an average of 27 reportable foodborne illnesses per year over the previous five years (2010-2014). Each year on average, seven cases had a connection to a food handler.

Childcare providers and home health care workers also often lack access to paid sick time, and when they come to work sick they can transmit illnesses to some of our town’s most vulnerable residents.

Parents who can’t earn paid sick time are more than twice as likely to send a sick child to school or daycare, endangering students, teachers, and staff. In 2013 over 40 percent of the students at Eagleswood Elementary School in Ocean County contracted norovirus, forcing the school to shut down for days. A growing body of evidence suggests that allowing workers to earn sick days can also provide real savings for businesses and our local economy. Workers forced to come to work sick stay sick longer, are less productive and can infect their co-workers. Nationally our economy loses $160 billion a year to this kind of ‘presenteeism’ — more than the cost of absenteeism.

Workers without earned sick days are 40 percent more likely to delay medical care, turning treatable conditions into more serious and costly ones. Unsurprisingly they are also more likely to use the emergency room – contributing to New Jersey’s more than 1 million annual emergency room visits that would be entirely avoidable with timely primary care.

Finally, jurisdictions that have passed similar laws around the country are doing well. Jersey City, Seattle and San Francisco are gaining jobs faster than neighbors that lack similar policies. Connecticut enacted the first statewide earned sick time law, and the Department of Labor reports measurable gains in the sectors most impacted by the new law. Passing the earned sick time ordinance would help keep Princeton’s families, businesses and local economy healthy. We urge the Council to pass this critical legislation as soon as possible.


Princeton Board of Health, Chair

Monument Hall
One Monument Drive

To the Editor:

I would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to everyone who helped me this past week. Larry Jordan and the fleet of nurses: Kathy, Loretta, Sandy, Judith, Kate, Lauren.

Our beautiful new facility is spacious and graceful. Not knowing what to expect as a patient, I was impressed and pleased by the wonderful level of competence and compassion.


Cherry Valley Road

To the Editor:

We congratulate Mayor Liz Lempert for standing firm on Princeton’s intent to remain a sanctuary city for immigrants navigating the path to citizenship, despite fear and reaction following the recent tragedy in San Francisco where a woman was killed allegedly by an undocumented immigrant. Mayor Lempert and the Police Department are working hard to build trust throughout the community, including with the immigrant population, by providing “impartial policing” to all members of the community so people can feel safe to report crimes to the police.

 Our YWCA applauds that response as we remind our elected officials that the lack of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) has taken a devastating toll on countless immigrant families. In New Jersey, women make up 51.4% of the immigrant population.  Without CIR, these women and their families are needlessly marginalized. This will also serve as a time to focus on the “End Racial Profiling Act” (S. 1056/H.R. 1933), which has been re-introduced in Congress and would nationally define and outlaw the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement. YWCA believes all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin or gender – have the right to justice. This includes policies that eradicate racial profiling, increase immigrant rights, strengthen affirmative action and reduce hate crimes.

We strive to eliminate racism through awareness and educational programs. To that end, our YWCA provides our community with a well-respected English as a Second Language Program, high school equivalency preparation, and HiSET® testing in both English and Spanish, and a bilingual nursery school and child care program. We have also partnered with Latin American Legal Defense and Education (LALDEF) and Dress for Success Mercer to offer a free immigration workshop to our community members. The workshop, scheduled for Saturday, August 22 from 1-5pm, will focus on topics such as applying for citizenship/interview preparation, request/renew deferred action for youth, help with completion and review of application, translation of birth and marriage certificates, career planning, ESL classes, and more. Pre-registration is required and can be made by calling (609) 688-0881. Workshop will be held at YWCA Princeton on 59 Paul Robeson Place.


CEO, YWCA Princeton

July 22, 2015

To the Editor:

Regarding the Wednesday, July 15 issue, we find the page one article “Tear-Downs Indicate Healthy Home Sales Market” disconcerting and shortsighted.

Kevin Wilkes of Princeton Design Guild disparages the “tiny kitchens” and “cramped” features of earlier built homes. According to him, “Families today want an open first floor plan with kitchen and dining and family living all woven into a fabric of collective family enjoyment.”

Really? It seems to us that many Princeton folks raised happy families in those modest homes with spaces he describes as “discrete little boxes.”

Neal A. Snyder, CTA tax assessor for the municipality states that, “When a small house is torn down and replaced by a bigger one, there is an increase in assessment of the home.” Does this mean that only the rich will be able to live here and pay the higher taxes?

Finally, the replacing of modest homes with much larger structures requires the removal of a substantial number of trees, which is not only unsightly but is destructive to our environment.

As longtime Princeton residents we are thankful to live in this beautiful town, but we believe that not all changes merit applause.

Stewart, Mary Ann Solomon

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

In my experience, when presented with a complicated situation, such as the determination of the local property tax status of various Princeton University facilities, it is often helpful to step back and reassess the situation in the current context.

In this case I am at a loss to explain why a moderately sized community should be compelled to provide a significant financial subsidy (local property tax exemption) to an already well endowed institution that provides its services to individuals and institutions from across the U.S. and around the world.

Is it right that those that provide the subsidy (local property taxpayers) are not the primary beneficiaries of the services provided by the University? Perhaps if this were a charitable organization that primarily serves the local community then it would be a different story. The community providing the subsidy would be the same as the one receiving the benefit. But this is simply not the case.

Is it right for the many families in our community with limited means to be forced to provide a subsidy to a wealthy institution? Many government tax and benefit policies include a financial means test. Why wouldn’t a means test be relevant in this situation?

I believe that the affordability of our town is at stake. It is time for us to reconsider the purpose, basis, and fairness of providing property tax exemptions. It is time now to reform the laws and rules that were designed for a very different past.

Henry Singer

Laurel Circle

To the Editor:

I am writing in protest of the town’s policy to only pick up debris during the spring and fall. I think it is a shortsighted decision that is costing people in the town more money than they would spend in any extra taxes required to support an extra truck and driver.

During a recent rainstorm the crown from a maple fell down over our driveway, luckily missing our cars. We cut up the wood, which was a three-hour effort that included help from a friend who had a chain saw. With the thought that this was a “significant” storm event, we put it in the street. Over the next two weeks, as we were contacting people in the town (only one of whom returned a phone call as promised, although the mayor did reply to the email we sent), we noticed many, many piles of branches all over town.

Eventually, after the town had sent out a worker to give out notices that branches had to be removed or a fine would ensue, I visited Public Works, who told me that the police had to inform Public Works of a storm that was a “significant event,” then the police who sent me to the town administrator, Mark Dashield.

In the final phone conversation with Mr. Dashield, he told me that the town would send out a truck only if a significant storm brings down significant debris in a limited area of town.

The result of all this is that everyone in Princeton who has had branches fall down must either haul them to the designated location or call in someone to get rid of them, paying individually for something that could be done much more inexpensively on a neighborhood basis. (Of course that’s why we have government — it’s too hard for individual citizens to organize a group effort in a situation like this.) Ironically, when I spoke to the guy from Bartlett Tree Services who was at my neighbor’s, he looked at the pile and said, “The town will pick it up.” I apprised him of the reality (and hired Bartlett to shred the pile in front of our house).

Moreover, this does not deal with the reality that during the summer people often have more time and longer days in which to do yard work! But in Princeton, if they do, they have to find a place to leave the debris significantly away from the street, awaiting the first fall pickup time.

Michele Alperin

Robert Road

To the Editor:

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) came out with a proposal that will make sweeping changes to environmental policy (DEP Docket No. 05-15-04). The way for the public to learn about the proposal was to see a few small announcements in newspapers about the public hearings that took place on June 22 in Trenton and June 25 in Long Branch. The proposal creates a loophole through which industry can gain permits, without significant review, to develop currently protected areas and bypass presently active legislation: Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules.

We attended the June 22 hearing, and there we heard a sequence of testimonials from a variety of experts about the effects this relaxation of restrictions will have on riverine life and watersheds, with an emphasis on the increase in flooding vulnerability from which New Jersey especially suffers. The president of the N.J. Sierra Club, the lawyer for the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, and other dedicated scientists and volunteer community helpers all concurred on one thing: this will be a giant step backwards for New Jersey, its flooding difficulties, its access to clean water supply, its creatures, its people, as well as human dwellings and other property. The attending riverine experts were scientists who know, personally, professionally, the places and habitats to be affected. They cited massive data, all of it conclusively and convincingly damning the impending pro-business improvements.

A small handful of curious citizens attended — fewer than the speakers. Three from the Navesink area testified forcefully to the increase in flooding dangers to life and property resulting from permitting more, not less, destructive development practices. Who were to hear these impassioned individuals? There was no media of any kind in the room. It was a black box. For us, it is disheartening to further note that the commissioner of NJDEP was, himself, not present at the hearing. The proposal was informed by unnamed stakeholders, who also did not appear to be present.

To put things bluntly, some unnamed stakeholders worked with the Commission to come up with a way to bypass legislated rules that impact our environment. While the aforementioned rules were established through due legislative process, the Commission is now positioned to be able to approve its own proposal. To what or to whom do we have recourse before the new measures are approved by Mr. Bob Martin, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner? We have the freedom to contact his office’s attorney, Gary J. Bower, by mail or email, by July 31, 2015.

Is this democracy? We think not.

Sarah Spitzer

Humbert Street

Jennifer Harford

Lake Drive

To the Editor:

Having read several articles in Town Topics concerning the pros and cons of placing a tax on single use bags, I thought it would be informative to report my recent observations pertinent to the topic of pollution of the water courses by single-use plastic bags.

On July 15, 2015, after a very heavy rain event, I walked my dog along Harry’s Brook between Harrison Street and Harriet Street so she could get wet and have a drink. Within a distance of about 50 feet, there were at least 10 plastic bags and a plastic cup attached to low hanging branches and woody debris in the flood plain. Since the plastic bags were mostly elevated at about the level of the recent flood water, I suspect they were just recently transported there by the storm. If they had continued onward downstream, they would have ended up in Carnegie Lake. Now, they are simply an ugly reminder that man’s waste ends up as residual solid waste in an otherwise rather pristine brook in the middle of Princeton.

I believe that no matter how hard we try, non-point pollution will enter Harry’s Brook, and ultimately Carnegie Lake and the Raritan-Millstone River. We should keep this in mind when we use and dispose of single-use plastic bags.

Fred H. Bowers

Snowden Lane

NTU ArleesThe reviews are in, and they are good! In keeping with the growing trend of juice bars springing up across the country, customers are lining up to sample — and re-sample — the range of choices at Arlee’s Raw Blends.

Opened in April at 246 Nassau Street, the new juice bar is owned by the brother and sister team of Brian Moore and Paula Taylor. Their establishment, with its emphasis on cold-pressed juice and natural and organic ingredients, is special, they maintain.

Their background includes spending summers at their grandparents farm (owned by the family for three generations) in Georgia, and a familiarity and love of fresh produce and healthy eating.

“I’ve always been on the road to health and wellness, and my journey led me here,” explains Ms. Taylor. “The business evolved, and we grew into this. There is a movement toward healthy eating today, and we see that more and more people want to eat healthy.” more

July 15, 2015

To the Editor:

A June 26 New Jersey Tax Court decision has profound implications in the pending legal challenge to Princeton University’s property tax status brought by four local taxpayers.

The Tax Court decision held that Morristown Memorial Hospital is not qualified for blanket property tax exempt status because it treats many of its facilities not as strictly hospital uses but as profit centers, and therefore, cannot claim property tax exemption with respect to those facilities. The issue decided by the Tax Court is analogous to the issue presently in Princeton tax litigation and could result in the University losing property tax-exempt status with respect to its buildings that are not strictly educational in purpose.

The judge in the Morristown decision is the same judge who will hear the Princeton case; he’s the senior tax court judge; and he’s not known to be reversed on appeal.

The Princeton Council has taken a “neutral” position on the lawsuit. Whatever the rationale for Council members’ reluctance to get involved, regular residents of Princeton need not feel so constrained.

Indeed, there is a lot at stake here for the local taxpayer, who pays about twice in property taxes what would be required if the University’s property were not tax exempt.

Those who complain about high Princeton property taxes may do well to consider the argument that many of the University’s buildings have little to do with education and more to do with generating income through governmental grants (e.g., the Defense Department), the licensing of intellectual property to Fortune 500 companies (e.g., pharmaceuticals and engineering), and ticket sales to the general public (e.g., sports and cultural events). None of those University activities have much to do with traditional educational function that property tax exemption was designed to support.

Some University professors liken the University to a hedge fund. Others point out that the University not only serves the nation but the world. Whether in support of a hedge fund, the nation, or the world, Princeton taxpayers pick up most of the local property tax burden required to provide policing, firefighting, garbage removal, and a host of other municipal services provided to University students, staff and faculty and their invitees. On the face of it, there is an imbalance in benefit/cost impact of University programs on local taxpayers.

To correct that imbalance, local taxpayers should consider supporting the pending lawsuit brought by the four Princeton residents. Such support is particularly important when the governing body is not really involved. The undersigned solicits contact by persons interested in exploring ways to provide such support.

If successful, and success seems likely for the reasons expressed above, the lawsuit promises to do more to mitigate the financial hardship done by the town’s crushing property tax burden than has ever been done in Princeton by anyone. It represents a historic opportunity to modernize property tax law, with profound policy implications for Princeton and New Jersey for generations to come.

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

The Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) is very pleased to learn that Medicare has decided to cover people’s conversations with their physicians on healthcare decision-making. PSRC is participating in the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, “Conversations of a Lifetime” that aims to bring advanced care planning conversations to New Jersey communities. Princeton was selected by New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as one of three communities to pilot this initiative. Participating organizations, including PSRC, Princeton Public Library, Goals of Care, and Princeton Health Care System are presenting programs to educate the public and health professionals about the importance of planning and having these conversations with family and doctors.

PSRC staff are leading workshops to help people complete healthcare directives, facilitating a group called “Conversations on Being Mortal,” and assisting individuals with their questions. These programs will help people age 18-plus prepare for having these important conversations with doctors and family so they can confidently know how to make decisions that are consistent with their wishes when they are unable to do so.

Susan W. Hoskins LCSW

Executive Director, PSRC

Fashion was a passion for Christina DiDonato from the time she was a young girl. The creativity and ingenuity involved in putting together stylish outfits intrigued and inspired her at an early age. more

July 8, 2015

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Ms. Woelk’s letter “Can Nothing Be Done to Protect Homeowners from Not for Profits?” (Mailbox, July 1). I understand the concerns expressed about unwanted solicitations. When Ms. Woelk first raised the issue with me several months ago, I consulted with our municipal attorney about ways we could protect residents, and shared this information with Ms. Woelk. Unfortunately we were informed that we cannot require non-profit organizations to notify or register with the municipality before soliciting door to door because of constitutional free speech protections. But, recognizing that solicitations can be intrusive, the Council has set limits where we are legally able. For example, it is unlawful under sec. 14-10 of Chapter 14 for a person to peddle or solicit on a property which has a “No Soliciting or Peddling” sign displayed by the homeowner. In addition, canvassers are only allowed to go door to door during the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Residents should contact the police at (609) 921-2100 if they are contacted by someone outside of those hours.

Liz Lempert, Mayor

Witherspoon Street

July 1, 2015

To the Editor:

Much has been written over the years regarding this flag, what it means to those who fly it and what it means to those who are offended by it.

It’s interesting to note and there seems to be no coincidence that the flag first flew over the South Carolina state capitol in 1962 at the same time as the Civil Rights Movement was gaining traction and momentum.

The issue here is, simply put, that many are offended by this symbol, a symbol of a Confederacy that fought to preserve a way of life surrounded by and supported by a population of slave owners and rejected by the slaves.  What benefit can honoring this symbol have?  There are those who argue that the flag honors those that lost their lives in that war.   That argument fails to meet any test of logic or any test of humanity.

The lives that mattered then are the lives that matter now.  And the society that matters now is that which honors and respects all lives, and that includes black lives.

The flag should be removed.  Prejudice must be replaced with inclusion and the rule of law must be enforced.

If towns like Princeton declare their war against ignorance and prejudice one town at a time, then change can only follow.  Black lives matter.  All lives matter.

There is a movement afoot in South Carolina to encourage the leadership to remove the flag and there now appears to movement on the part of leadership to do just that.   It has been reported that due to overwhelming response to the shooting and due to the historic objection to the flag, Governor Nikki Haley has called for the flag to be moved.  By “moved” we hope, that similar to Florida, the flag be relegated to a museum in a place where it belongs as a relic of the past.

Our Princeton Human Services Commission, consistent with its mission to defend the rights and dignity of all those in need of a louder voice, implores the government of South Carolina to do the right thing and remove the flag from its current prominent position.

We hope they do.  We hope justice prevails.

Ross Wishnick

For the Princeton Human Services Commission

To the Editor:

It is so unfortunate that the Wednesday prayer vigil in Princeton for the massacre in Charleston was just another rambling forum for gun control and less about all the things that it should have been about.  Where was the real dialogue on race relations or an honest discussion about preventing the radicalization of youth, either as white supremacists or radical Islamists?  Community leaders who preach to limit the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights may get a rise from the crowd and enjoy some temporary sense of purpose, but ultimately provide a great disservice to all of us by wasting such a prime opportunity for identifying and addressing the root causes of violence in our society.

Aaron Bennett

Markham Rd

To the editor:

Quiet, non-polluting, and cardio-friendly, biking brings many benefits to both the cyclist and the community.

Unfortunately, because bicyclists share the road with cars, trucks, and buses, fear of being injured is a significant deterrent for many would-be bicyclists.  Research done at the University of British Columbia comparing deaths per 100 million trips shows that, when compared to automobile travel, bicyclists in the United States are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Thankfully, research also shows that the rate of accidents declines when more cyclists are on the road.

Whole Earth Center has long been a supporter of bicycling in our community. One way we support biking is through our annual Random Acts of Community campaign, which has delivered more than $7000 in gift cards to cyclists in Princeton. Twenty seven Princeton businesses participated in that program this year. Another way we support cycling is through our long-standing policy of giving a discount to bicyclists.

The goal of these programs is to incentivize biking in hopes of increasing the number of bikes on our town streets. More bicycle-friendly streets will, we hope, make a five- to ten-mile shopping trip by bike more appealing to shoppers who currently travel those distances by car. A significant rise in the number of bike trips from those distances will have a positive impact on our roadways and will free up more parking spaces for Princeton shoppers who must travel by car.

Our bike reward program is not, in any way, intended to say that we place less value on customers who travel to our store by foot or by bus or by car. We deeply appreciate all of the customers who have chosen to support our store and our mission over the past 45 years. Biking is simply the way that we, as one small, local food market, have chosen to focus our efforts toward making a positive impact on our town roads and quality of life.

Jennifer Murray

General Manager

Whole Earth Center

To the Editor:

I have had “not for profit” solicitors coming not only to my front door, but back door regularly since February. Apparently, they are registered with the local police for five hours or so at a time to canvass our neighborhoods.  If a resident does NOT want them on his or her property, one must post a No Trespassing sign. Not for profits are protected by both New Jersey and Federal Supreme Court Rulings to freely enter private property with whatever issue they feel is for the betterment of the public be it religious or of public interest.

I am not interested in having these people walking uninvited up to my door trying to convince me to support whatever cause. The last visit was for some children’s group campaign. The first one was for water issues. The police report that this last group had from 4-9 p.m. to bother us. How many children were home alone during that time after school? Or walking home from school with strangers walking near them? The man who came to our street with his brochures came a second time (two hours later) because some of us weren’t home. I have been told by our mayor there is nothing we can do about it — other than put up ugly No Trespassing signs in our yards. Even then, these people can claim they “didn’t see the sign”.

I offered the suggestion to our mayor that we register our addresses with the municipality/police department as a “do not solicit” address.  If the police can register these groups, they can certainly hand them an address list of homeowners who wish to opt out. This suggestion would keep our town looking beautiful. No Trespassing signs would not.  The mayor responded that that would be “too much trouble”. The Town has our addresses on file for everything else they need.  How could it be so much trouble to register an address for no trespassing?

Perhaps this can be addressed and implemented by those who manage our town. And perhaps ASAP or before the next wave of “not for profit solicitors” hit our neighborhoods again this summer. This is an invasion of privacy and a dangerous situation for out of school children.

Nancy Woelk

Maybury Hill Road, circa 1725

To the Editor:

The apocalypse is indeed near. Latest evidence: Just back from Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Garden Theater. Absolutely the most magnificent and wonderful Dream, or even Shakespeare, or even movie, I have ever seen. Splendid. Magical.

Yet – for this first of only two showings (next one Sunday, August 9, 12:30 p.m. – really), the small theater wasn’t close to full, and at least 95 percent of the audience was over 50 (as am I), many quite over.

So, where the heck was everyone else? No interest in glorious Shakespeare on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Our youth and civilization are clearly falling apart.

No, I have no financial interest in the movie or the Garden. I just can’t bear the thought of anyone missing this film. Seriously – see it. You can thank me later.

Brian Zack

Hageman Lane

To the Editor:

Right now, the New Jersey Legislature is working on the NJ Secure Choice Savings Program Act, which would help the more than 1.7 million working New Jerseyans who don’t have access to a retirement savings plan at work.

Secure Choice makes it easier to save so everyone can live the life they want after they retire.  It’s all about choice and control.   It makes it easier for people to build their own private retirement savings rather than having to depend on a government program.  Under Secure Choice it’s up to workers to decide if they want to contribute to their accounts.  And if they change jobs? Their accounts, and their retirement savings, follow them wherever they go, keeping them in control of their own futures.

Secure Choice provides businesses with a simple, hassle-free retirement savings program benefit they can offer to their employees at little to no cost to themselves.  Secure Choice is a professionally managed fund with no cost to the state government or taxpayers.

Research shows individuals are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so at work. AARP believes Secure Choice is a commonsense approach towards everyone’s retirement security.

Jeff Abramo

Interim Manager of Communications
& Community Outreach

AARP New Jersey

Forrestal Village

June 24, 2015

To the Editor:

Thanks to everyone who helped make PSRC’s BBQ and Line Dancing party such a great event!  The turnout was terrific and everyone loved dancing with the Silver Spurrs!  Business Bistro’s BBQ was delicious.

Thanks to our co-chairs, Victoria Leyton and Helen Burton, and to the many volunteers who transformed PSRC into a wonderful western ranch for the evening.  Once again Bloomberg volunteers stepped up and helped to make the whole evening move along smoothly.

We thank our sponsors and advertisers, too: Acorn Glen, B-Well Rehabilitation, LIFE St. Francis, Merwick Care and Rehabilitation, Bear Creek Assisted Living, Buckingham Place, Progression Physical Therapy, Memory Care Living, Heidi Joseph, Homewatch Caregivers, and Berkshire Hathaway Realtors.

Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW

Executive Director

To the Editor:

The purchase of 31-33 Lytle Street by the Town of Princeton presents an extraordinary opportunity to work in partnership with private and not-for-profit entities, and with the people of the community, to develop homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families. At the same time, the municipal body has a duty to all it’s residents (including those that are more financially well-off) to take every opportunity to develop ratable properties that increase—rather than reduce—the amount of land that is on the tax roles. The Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood where this property is located was most adversely impacted by the 2009 revaluation.  Removing any part of this property from the tax roles will not be helpful to anyone.  The current “compromise” being considered by the Town would allow for the construction of 1 to 2 units of affordable housing AND the expansion of the playground.  This is a half-step in the right direction.  I suggest that before “compromise” there needs to be “correction”; correction in the process, planning, and thinking about this potential development.  Doing so might produce 5-7 units of housing for sale to low and moderate-income families.

Why is the Town of Princeton even on this track eliminating ratables? Because without consultation with residents of the neighborhood, members of Council and the administrative staff began taking steps to purchase 31-33 Lytle Street with the intent of expanding the adjacent playground.  This action will allow the Town to “capture” Mercer County Open Space funds. But it will also remove the property from the tax roles. Clearly, this is an example of poor planning and process that should not be pursued further.  I have repeatedly asked the Council for its justification or rationale for using tax dollars to purchase this property with the intent of removing any part of it from the tax roles. My inquiries have received no response.

I support the Town’s purchasing of the entire property with Affordable Housing Trust Funds and the continuing of a process to develop affordable homes for sale to low and moderate-income families on all of it.  Further, I encourage the Town of Princeton to enter into an agreement with the Housing Authority of Princeton to include its former storage building—located off John Street and adjacent to the Lytle Street lots, and which in prior years was a residence—in development discussions for the entire area.  By including this property we could expand the potential marketing and sale to “low-low income” families.  There are housing developments in Witherspoon-Jackson and other neighborhoods where the building lot size approximates the dimensions of these properties.

The Town should take the opportunity to carefully and thoroughly consider housing development on this site, and in other parts of Princeton, as it anticipates its COAH fair-share obligation along with the need for more ratable property. A well thought out plan and process could achieve both good ends.

Hendricks Davis

John Street

To the Editor:

I am writing this public letter (my first ever!) because I am sorely in need of enlightenment (and admittedly, I also feel the need to vent). So if someone could please explain to me:

How on (Whole) Earth can it be, that our local organic food store will (laudably) provide a discount for shoppers when they use the FreeB bus or come by bicycle, but will NOT grant it when someone walks to the store? Isn’t the whole idea to encourage and reward behaviors that reduce fossil fuel consumption? Why is walking, of all things, ranked the same as pulling up with the SUV (possibly from just 2 blocks away)? What part am I missing here?

On Tuesday afternoon this week, in blazing sunny, 80 degree temps and 85 degree humidity weather, no less, my husband walked (actually walked!) the entire way across town, from Mountain Avenue (a whopping 4.2 miles round trip, according to Google) to the store and shopped. But when he asked for the discount at check-out, he was denied. Because he hadn’t biked. I thought he was joking at first when he recounted the encounter, that’s how surreal it felt.

But no; no joke. Even after pointing out that he had a broken and very visibly swollen wrist (four surgeries and counting) and most regrettably could not even bike; no matter. Inexplicable stubbornness reigned.

“No bike, no discount,” was, verbatim, the final flat verdict of the elderly gray-haired checkout man. Seriously? Where is the logic in that? For now, I am seriously, seriously miffed, because IF there is a punchline here, it’s that I, who have nurtured veggie patches and all things organic since my early 20s, was finally starting to make inroads in convincing my more economically-oriented mate to go more and more local and organic with me and adjust our budget accordingly. Needless to say, that was a bit of a setback. Hubby will not enter the store again any time soon; and neither will I any more.

Our business goes elsewhere from here on. We can stay local and buy our eco-cleaners and supplies, our Stonyfield yoghurts and milk all at McCaffreys; our CSA share and local Farmer’s Markets will cover the veggies, my Weleda products I may have to source from Germany, and for my spelt flour, I will just order in bulk online if I don’t find local. Can’t be helped.

I still would strongly encourage Whole Earth Center to reconsider their discount policy, to include the ambulatory specimen of humanity as well. I never thought that my formerly favorite store in Princeton could be so lacking in common sense, a sad surprise indeed.

Barbara Kaiser, RN

Mountain Avenue

June 17, 2015

To the Editor:

Ai Weiwei is a world-renowned artist with, at the moment, close ties to Princeton; however, many in the community might be unaware of his connection. The impressive installation in front of the Woodrow Wilson building that tends to draw photographers and plenty of Instagram-ers (#yearofthedragon) is his piece titled, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. It’s an interesting work that plays on ideas of repatriation, cross-cultural symbols, and authenticity. Unfortunately, there is no plaque explaining these themes for full appreciation by the viewer. I’m remiss not to have written this letter sooner, but it’s still not too late to install some type of identifier for the many visitors this site attracts. In the words of the artist, “Everything is art, everything is politics.” In regards to this piece, we can all appreciate the art, but it’d be great to appreciate the politics as well.

Patty Manhart

Linden Lane

To the Editor:

Many communities (Princeton University, to name a local example) recycle “all” plastics.

Why are we in Princeton and Mercer County limited to plastics #1 and #2? Allowing us to recycle all plastics would be of great benefit to our environment.

Brian Zack

Hageman Lane

To the Editor:

We are writing to thank voters for their support in the recent Democratic primary for the Princeton Council. We are proud of Princeton’s efforts to strengthen law enforcement’s relationships with the community and to address the needs of the most vulnerable, and we pledge to continue to work to create a more effective and responsive government and a welcoming and just community.

We look forward to the general election campaign and to hearing more about residents’ priorities for the coming years.

Heather Howard,

Aiken Avenue

Lance Liverman,

Witherspoon Street