To the Editor:
Jo Butler — a lifelong progressive Democrat and dedicated public servant — deserves a second term on the Princeton Council. Her focus on budget details and her commitment to fiscal discipline have already saved tax dollars. In my neighborhood (in the former Township), she is known as a hands-on elected official who cares about preserving Princeton as a diverse community with walkable neighborhoods, a sustainable transportation system, and superb public schools. She is conscientious in responding to constituent concerns. As Borough Council liaison to the Recreation Board, Jo resisted pressure to rush through an unpopular pool design; the resulting collaboration with citizen volunteers preserved green space and a simplicity missing from the original proposal. At the pool dedication, municipal staff praised Jo for bringing to the discussion “a renewed sense of energy and leadership that was crucial to getting the project passed.” When the revaluation left many with steep property tax increases, Jo recruited volunteer professionals to hold information sessions at the library to provide guidance on the tax appeal process.
Jo is fully committed to realizing the benefits of consolidation, which she wholeheartedly supported. Nothing in the factual record supports the silly claim in a recent letter that Jo is an obstructionist and architect of gridlock. According to a recent Planet Princeton article, Council members agreed 94.4 percent of the time in 340 votes taken in the first year of consolidation. Jo voted with the majority 97 percent of the time, as did the two Council members who support her candidacy. This is not a picture of gridlock. The facts show that Democrats on Council have diverse viewpoints and that there are two voting blocs. On issues that have divided Council, Jo has consistently favored greater citizen participation and government accountability. She opposed a proposal to partially privatize and place commercial advertising on the kiosks on Nassau Street. She favored making Council the ultimate authority over the police, favored evaluating a plan for a civilian police director, and has argued that selection of a new chief should be deferred until the litigation risks from the Dudeck matter are fully understood. She has also pressed to find out whether campus or town police will handle sexual assaults or other emergencies in the new Dinky parking lot.
As is common in politics, the bloc opposing Jo, supported by the mayor, hopes to replace her in order to gain a secure majority for its viewpoint, a viewpoint that seems to equate democratic debate with dysfunction. Yet, as the pool example shows, there are key issues on which getting it done right is always preferable to getting it done quickly. Part of getting it done right requires the willingness to listen to and respect the views of constituents. Jo Butler listens.