October 30, 2019

To the Editor:

On Tuesday November 5, Princetonians will have a chance to vote not only for candidates running for town Council and School Board but also for members of our state assembly. Our two incumbents here in the 16th State Legislative District, Democrats Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman, are both terrific candidates who deserve reelection and who need a massive show of Democratic strength here to counter Republican strength in other areas of the district. I know that many of us worked hard in the recent 2018 congressional elections and many plan to work hard again in 2020, but I’d like to point out that state legislative races matter too and deserve your attention and commitment. more

To the Editor:

We are honored to serve on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. We have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to do the difficult work that is required on our Board, and the importance of collaboration, creativity and integrity. We are writing as citizens, not as Board members, nor on behalf of the Board. As citizens, we strongly support Greg Stankiewicz and Susan Kanter for election to the Board of Education.
Both Greg and Susan have the most important skills needed for the challenges that our district faces in the coming years — the ability to work collaboratively and selflessly, to focus on the (complex) big picture, and to unify our community through transparency, compassion, and a genuine commitment to equity, wellness, and inclusivity for all children.

As the Board’s vice president, Greg has strengthened our Board’s governance and increased openness, transparency, and community engagement. He has led in the development of strong student-centered policies around restorative justice and addressing the problem of vaping. Greg has also led a major effort to advocate for increased aid from the state. An early success was $1.7M of additional one-time state aid that Princeton received as partial reimbursement for Special Education expense — a boon to our budget. Greg’s sophisticated, knowledgeable advocacy is essential to address our district’s structural fiscal challenges. more

October 23, 2019

To the Editor:

We support Debbie Bronfeld for the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. Knowing her over the years, we’ve seen how she has demonstrated her passion for inclusive public education at PPS where we live to learn and learn to live. Debbie’s focus is on providing services and programs to every student, along with support for our teachers and staff. She is fully immersed in the process, reading the materials and asking questions of the stakeholders. We especially appreciate Debbie’s perspective on wellness and her ability to understand the need to be fiscally responsible, wanting to be sure our tax dollars drive student performance and teacher professional development. She gets it…it’s all about the schools!

Debbie is an avid supporter of all programs and proposals that are fiscally responsible. Where she believes the request will waste taxpayer money or where student and teachers will not benefit, she will vote no. Check her record! With Debbie on the Board, our tax money has a steward with an eye on how public education benefits our community and our future. Debbie participated on the finance committee that recommended solutions to manage increasing health care costs, but instead the Board voted to increase the tax levy by almost $500,000. Keeping the school’s community in mind, she has asked for a technology plan versus approving piecemeal technology investments. The December referendum allowed for facility and building upgrades in our schools. Debbie did not approve the contractor’s bid that the board approved, which was not only over budget but resulted in Riverside opening a day late. And finally, she voted against hiring a consultant to work on a feasibility study for harmonizing resources between the school and the town. She believes that our town and Board don’t need to pay $30K, as that is part of the committee’s responsibility. more

To the Editor:

As a representative of the Jewish community of Princeton, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. According to our tradition, the world was created 5,780 years ago and we have just celebrated two major holidays to mark this time in our calendar. Both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are unique days that include rituals and prayers — apples with honey and casting away our sins of the past as we move into the future. Among the prayers that we recited at The Jewish Center this year was a special prayer for our country and our community when I acknowledged both the challenges of anti-Semitism and the gratitude we have for those who support us as we fight against these and other acts of hatred. We are proud to be a part of a greater community that accepts us for who we are and that allows us to worship and come together for special occasions. We know we have many friends and allies in this community and we appreciate the support and partnership with so many of you who stand with us.

There is one group of people who have gone above and beyond to help us at The Jewish Center and I want to publicly thank them. I am referring to Chief Nicholas Sutter and the members of the Princeton Police Force. These men and women work so hard every day to keep us all safe and comfortable and we all owe them so much gratitude. When we came together as a congregation for our recent holidays, many Princeton Police officers were with us to help us address our security concerns and to make sure everything went smoothly. Whenever we had a question or concern before the holidays, we received quick and professional responses from the officers. As our congregation came together in large numbers for the holiday services, the officers who were with us did their job with warmth, kindness and a high level of professionalism and care. more

To the Editor:

I write in support of Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Municipal Council and to urge all eligible voters to exercise their privilege to vote on November 5. Voter participation in non-presidential election years is notoriously, and regretfully, low. However, the outcome of local and state elections is of as much or more importance to our everyday lives, than that of presidential elections. Taking elections for granted, and underestimating the power of our individual vote, can bring unintended consequences, as we saw in 2016.

This year we have contested elections at the local level — both for Council and Board of Education and the State Assembly. It’s incumbent upon each of us to do our due diligence and carry out our duty in selecting those who will best represent our principles and defend the public interest. more

To the Editor:

On November 5, Princeton residents will vote for three candidates for School Board, and we urge you to vote for Susan Kanter. Susan offers the very special combination of a fresh new voice on the Board of Education, while also bringing extensive relevant school experience from more than a decade of volunteering as PTO co-president in the high school and PTO treasurer in the middle school. In these capacities, with her positive approach to problem solving, Susan developed strong working relationships with PTO presidents from all the local schools, as well as with teachers, parents, students, administrators, and even School Board members. We cannot think of a person who is better qualified to bring a new, positive, and informed perspective to School Board deliberations than Susan. more

To the Editor:

Voters who believe that more money and buildings will solve the schools’ problems are the voters most apt to turn out on November 5.

Your vote can help change that. Princeton schools need a BoE majority that will determine the reasons for PPS’s continuing budget shortfalls. A Board’s job is to lead, not to follow. BoE members must seek, and find, real alternatives. Of all four candidates (for only three seats), Dafna Kendal and Deb Bronfeld are the most likely.

To those who say, “The schools can’t wait,” note that enrollment numbers will not be known until:

1. The judge’s final rules on Affordable Housing are announced publicly.

2. Public hearings are held and evaluated.

3. The town opens bids.

4. Construction is completed (AvalonBay took more than two years to be built, much less affect enrollment).

5. The Mt Laurel rules require only that building be made possible through zoning changes, and allows ten years to build.

6. Until the town re-zones, and site plans are presented, it won’t even be clear which schools we need to expand.

7. Thus expansion can wait at least until the current debt is paid, in 2023. Likewise another bond referendum. more

To The Editor:

On November 5, the voters of Princeton will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in what has been characterized as an “off-year” election. The very phrase “off-year” has a negative connotation, implying that an off-year election is of lesser importance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While the Democratic Party is running excellent candidates who deserve our support for the positions of Mercer County Executive and Mercer County Freeholder, Princeton is located in New Jersey Assembly District 16 where we are represented by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and Assemblyman Roy Freiman, both Democrats. Historically, the 16th is a district that had not been represented by Democrats. This was changed by the support, and especially by the turnout of Princeton voters. Only by achieving another large turnout of Democratic voters can we assure the re-election of Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman to the New Jersey State Assembly. more

To the Editor:

We are writing to enthusiastically support the re-election of Greg Stankiewicz for Princeton’s Board of Education.

One of Greg’s priorities is to strengthen the school district’s finances — a task for which he is well prepared because of his strong background in public finance. Greg worked as a budget specialist at the NJ Office of Management and Budget and wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Princeton on state and local finance.

Greg’s knowledge and experience are particularly important right now because the Board of Education may once again face tough decisions when planning next year’s budget, due to rising enrollments and the continual underfunding of the district by the state.

In his tenure on the Board, Greg has focused on ways to increase revenues and reduce costs for the district. He supported and helped facilitate the hiring of a firm to evaluate how the district and municipality can most efficiently share services. He also encouraged the district to join a coalition that convinced the legislature to provide additional state aid for extraordinary special education costs, which resulted in Princeton receiving an additional $1.7 million this year. more

October 16, 2019

To the Editor:

I’m a 14-year resident of Princeton Community Village, the oldest and largest of Princeton’s subsidized housing developments. One day, I found myself unexpectedly chatting with Adam Bierman, who explained that he was running for a Princeton Council seat. This was my first such encounter in the Village, which is located off the beaten path. It showed savvy to want to reach so many potential voters, but, more meaningfully, his coming out to meet me and my neighbors showed an awareness, sensitivity, and genuine concern for a less affluent population that might be otherwise overlooked. I was further impressed that he and I had a real conversation. He didn’t just want to tell me to vote for him and quickly move on, he listened carefully to what I had to say. He had my vote.

As a lifelong resident of Princeton, Adam lives his life embracing the spirit of a place that takes great pride as a center of learning. In Adam’s case, I particularly mean two things: valuing the ability to think for oneself, and using what you learn as a call to action. As an Independent Democrat, Adam Bierman would be an outstanding addition to the Princeton Council. He has insights into every aspect of life here. His commitment to all the people of Princeton is without question.

Erica Mosner
Princeton Community Village

To the Editor:

The recent defeat of the incumbent in June’s primary should be a wake up call to the mayor and Council, that there is a need for fresh ideas and new leadership.

Michelle Pirone Lambros is not only critical of the way major projects are being handled, such as the new parking meter implementation and the relocation of the fueling station, she is working on solutions. For instance, with the parking meters, she helped get the meter rates lowered from $2.25 per hour to $1.75, and the length of parking times from 2 to 3 hours in the central business district. Some other improvements, such as adding back the 10-minute grace period, were ideas she helped broker between the merchants who were so adversely affected by the rate increase during the 2018 holiday season and the town, which relies on parking revenue in the municipal budget. more

To the Editor:

We very strongly endorse Greg Stankiewicz and Susan Kanter for election to the Princeton Board of Education.

Greg and Susan have the commitment, personalities, and work ethic to continue to make our schools more equitable and inclusive. Both of them are passionate about these issues and have worked tirelessly to improve our public schools for every child.

This commitment to equity is reflected in the experiences of our students of color and low income. We work with many of these students in our organization Committed and Faithful Princetonians, and we believe they are graduating high school and going to college much better prepared and likely to succeed than in the past.

We have to make sure that Princeton Public Schools are not just for some, but FOR ALL OF OUR CHILDREN. To accomplish that, we need School Board members who will battle for our kids and work as a team to problem solve. That is why we so strongly support the election of Greg and Susan.

Fern and Larry Spruill
Oak Lane

To the Editor:

This is an important time for our public schools and for our community. Our public schools have an annual budget that exceeds $100 million. This spending represents 48 percent of our overall property tax bill. We must spend our money thoughtfully and wisely to maintain great schools and to keep Princeton affordable.

I am pleased to support Debbie Bronfeld and Dafna Kendal for election to the Princeton Board of Education. Independent oversight of our schools is vital for students, families and the community at large. Board members must strike a delicate balance with decisions on curriculum, personnel, class size, facilities, and affordability.

I have been working collaboratively with BoE member Debbie Bronfeld since my term began in January, 2019. She cares deeply about our students, teachers, and community. She works exceptionally hard on multiple committees. She asks probing questions and is focused on academic excellence, equity, and fiscal sustainability. Debbie is an independent thinker and votes no on wasteful spending. She wants to keep Princeton affordable and she prioritizes teachers over expensive new facilities. more

To the Editor:

We the undersigned want to congratulate Mayor Lempert and the Princeton Town Council on their leadership in approving Resolution 19-278: “Declaring that the Second Monday in October shall be known as Indigenous Peoples Day in the Municipality of Princeton; Encouraging other Institutions to Recognize the Day; and Reaffirming the Municipality’s Commitment to Promote the Well-Being and Growth of Indigenous Communities.”

We thank the Town Council as a body for having the vision and courage to approve this resolution, which recognizes the oft-ignored history of the thriving indigenous peoples on this land prior to European colonization, their survival against the odds of racism and forced removals, and the value of their continuing presence in our community. We thank Mayor Liz Lempert for her immediate positive response after listening to proposals for such a day made by Princeton citizens at the Princeton Council meeting on October 8, 2018. We thank the Civil Rights Commission and its ad hoc Committee members for their work in bringing this resolution to fruition. Our sincere gratitude to the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape and Ramapough Lenape Nations for their support for this resolution. more

To the Editor:

You think the 2020 election is important to our country? How about the November 5 election right here in our town!  Leadership in Princeton is about to take a journey into the future … our shared future. In three weeks, we must decide who will be navigating the good ship Princeton on this all-important voyage.

This should not be a popularity contest. What Princeton desperately needs are the best, the brightest, and the most competent leaders at the helm. At the top of that list is Mia Sacks. Her lengthy track record of leadership speaks for itself. From her exhaustive background in this nation’s leading social justice organizations, to her efforts on behalf of our children in Princeton Public Schools, to her work on smart planning and sustainability in Princeton, Mia is someone others go to when they want or see a need for action. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of myself and probably most of the overflow crowd at Labyrinth Books on October 11, I would like to sincerely thank Dorothea von Molkte for introducing us to her remarkable grandfather, Helmuth James von Molkte and his efforts to counter Nazi human rights abuses in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. Helmuth was a founding member of the Kreisau Circle, whose members discussed the prospects for Germany based on moral and democratic principles after Adolf Hitler. Helmuth was against the assassination of Hitler, believing that if one succeeded, Hitler would become a martyr. For his activities in the Kreisau Circle, Helmuth was imprisoned in Tegel prison in Berlin in late September 1944 and executed on January 23, 1945. more

October 9, 2019

COOKIE CRAVINGS: “Everything is made from scratch, with fresh ingredients, and special recipes. We also have many gluten-free cookies, and we are nut-free.” Lauren Ariev Gellman, owner of Milk & Cookies, the popular Princeton cookie shop, center, is shown with daughters, Rose, left, and Audrey.

By Jean Stratton

The word is out. Milk & Cookies is a happy place!

Located at 14 Chambers Street, this delightful cookie shop offers an array of delicious cookies, brownies, and other treats guaranteed to tempt the taste buds.

Owner and baker Lauren Ariev Gellman is busy every day baking 200 to 300 cookies, all with fresh ingredients, and often incorporating her own special recipes.

“I’m always creating new cookies and flavors,” she reports. “Many of the cookies have crisp edges and soft middles. It’s personal taste as to the preferred texture — whether people like soft or crispy cookies. Tastes can be generational too.” more

To the Editor:

We strongly endorse the re-election of Greg Stankiewicz to the Princeton Board of Education. We’ve known Greg for 30 and 15 years, respectively, and can attest to his integrity, his commitment to building social equity, his belief in consensus and coalition building, and his public policy expertise — not to mention his very likeable and levelheaded personality. During Greg’s first term, we saw these qualities at work, and we believe they are indispensable. The board is facing the daunting challenge of managing a growing student population under strict fiscal constraints in a town with tremendous concern about steadily rising property taxes. Greg has the fiscal, planning, and policy experience — and the right temperament — to tackle the complexities of this job. more

To the Editor:

In one month, on November 5, we will have an important election in Princeton. Our two Democratic candidates for Princeton Council — Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros — are thoughtful problem solvers who would bring distinct and complementary talents to the job. They share a commitment to Democratic values in Princeton, as evidenced by their focus on promoting affordability; maintaining a welcoming town that finds strength in our economic and cultural diversity; and elevating community engagement, transparency, and accountability in local government. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my support for Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for the Princeton Board of Education. Dafna and I served on the Board together for two years, and when I look back at her service on the Board, I am struck by two characteristics of her service: students and finances. 

Dafna was always focused on the students and always considered their needs first by asking the right questions — will this spending be the best use of the money for the students, how does this purchase help the students? She is concerned for the students who need more — the students with special education needs, the students who don’t have the financial means to take part in the activities our schools offer, the students who don’t have the support at home to keep up in school. Dafna put her money and energy where her heart was by mentoring students in need and helping to found a nonprofit organization to support students in our community needing financial support. more

To the Editor:

The Princeton task force on permit parking will be holding an open forum to introduce and invite feedback on its efforts to develop a comprehensive permit parking plan for neighborhoods within walking distance of the central business district and high school, including the Tree Streets, Witherspoon-Jackson, Jugtown, and portions of the Western Section. All Princeton residents, business owners, and employees are invited to the forum, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 at 400 Witherspoon Road. Participants will hear short presentations and then break into rotating smaller groups where they can raise questions and offer ideas to members of the task force. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Adam Bierman for a seat on the Princeton Town Council.

For the past few years, I have worked with Adam on numerous film and TV projects around Princeton. While filming him on the campaign trail, it is easy to see his intelligent and engaging interpersonal skills at work. He talks with, and really listens to, his fellow Princetonians. He is an activist, and a creative problem solver who thrives on challenges, displays grace under pressure, and can get the job done. As a member of the Princeton Town Council he will bring truth and transparency, and work diligently to provide solutions to the many important issues that confront Princeton now: our schools, safety in the community and working towards more affordable taxes.

Please consider voting for Adam Bierman for Princeton Council on November 5.

Patrick McDonald
Cranbury
Director, Princetonia NOW, Princeton Community Television

To the Editor:

It has been just a year since the Princeton Period Project started its work to help provide an affordable, reliable supply of feminine hygiene products, addressing what’s called “period poverty” that exists in the Princeton area and around the world. We’ve distributed more than 60,000 period products in the Princeton public schools, at our parent organization Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen, and at agencies such as Womanspace, Arm in Arm, HomeFront, LifeTies, Rescue Mission of Trenton, and more.

The items we distribute come from collections done by local businesses and employers such as Princeton University Press, Gloria Nilson & Co., YogaStream, Princeton Alumni Corps, University League Nursery School, Gratitude Yoga, FitBody Boot Camp, and others, as well as from “period parties” hosted by individuals for their friends and neighbors. more

To the Editor:

We are writing to encourage Princeton residents to vote for Susan Kanter as one of their three school board choices on November 5. In Susan’s five years as PHS PTO co-president, five years as JWMS treasurer, and the treasurer of the 101 Fund, and Princeton Children’s Fund, Susan consistently has put students first, used evidence to guide her decisions, built strong relationships with school leadership and stakeholders, and repeatedly found intelligent, actionable solutions. Her 23 years of experience as VP of Operations of a $250 million division of a multi-national company honed her ability to manage a significant budget in a fiscally responsible manner. more

To the Editor:

We want to thank the approximately 4,600 community members who contributed to the creation of Princeton’s Climate Action Plan. We greatly value the input you provided through in-person discussions and online comments, as well as the participation in educational events such as Princeton’s GreenFest. Thank you!

In particular, we want to express our gratitude to the more than 50 community members who served on the Steering Committee and five Working Groups that vetted and finalized the plan’s 84 specific strategies. These individuals gave detailed thought, and careful consideration, to the review of each strategy to ensure the plan articulates Princeton’s best path forward. more