October 9, 2019

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
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

To the Editor:

Thank you to all who came and enjoyed a delightful afternoon with Trinity Church members, guests, and choir. The Afternoon Tea, given to support the Trinity Church Choir’s upcoming 2021 tour of the U.K., was a happy and wonderful event on Sunday, October 6. Our guests enjoyed a delicious traditional English tea of savories and sweets followed by the choir singing Evensong in the beautiful church, rounding out a special and unique event. Thank you for your support for this exceptional choir.

The Trinity Choir Tea Committee

October 2, 2019

To the Editor:

Climate demonstrations like the Hinds Plaza gathering in Princeton may help prod our government to take action against global warming, but it’s going to take concerted follow up by all citizens to ensure that the U.S. moves away from fossil fuels in time to prevent irreparable harm to our Earth.

We have no time to wait before we pick up our phones, pens, and computers and remind our elected representatives that 70 percent of their constituents want action now.  We can even suggest a great place to begin — placing a steadily increasing fee on all oil and gas extracted from ground in the U.S. or imported into the country. Rising costs of fossil fuels will impel all sectors of the economy to develop new and cheaper sources of energy, and the fee revenues can be returned to consumers to make up for short-term price increases. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of The Petey Greene Program, we would like to thank all the many sponsors and ticketholders who helped to make our first public fundraiser on September 26 a success!

The evening’s guest speakers were Princeton native and Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and Roger Durling, ED of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Peddie School trustee. Both speakers praised Princeton as a community that allowed for ‘big ideas’ and then supported those ideas with philanthropic support. The Petey Greene Program is one such ‘big idea,’ a nonprofit established by Princeton alumni in 2008 that trains university students to tutor incarcerated students in weekly one-on-one sessions. This academic enrichment greatly improves the odds for incarcerated students and at the same time awakens university students to the injustices of mass incarceration in America.  more

To the Editor:

Vote-by-mail ballots arrived in Princeton mailboxes last week.  In Column A of the ballot, voters will find highly competent and concerned Democratic candidates, including Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Council.

Mia and Michelle, who are ready to take on the responsibilities of Council members, have made public service a priority. Each has a vision for Princeton that includes sustainability, affordability, and socioeconomic diversity, as well as a robust and thriving local business community.

Currently a member of the Princeton Planning Board and its Master Plan subcommittee, Mia has served on the Princeton Environmental Commission, on Princeton’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, and on the Complete Streets Traffic Calming Committee. In addition, she serves on the board of Sustainable Princeton, the Resiliency Working Group for Princeton’s Climate Action Plan, and Princeton’s Municipal Green Team.  more

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone who supported Send Hunger Packing Princeton’s (SHUPP’s) Fall Fest.  Our September 15th “Friendraiser” food packing event was an opportunity for the community to learn more about our program, which has provided over 140,000 supplemental meals to food insecure children in Princeton.  The event was well attended and our eager participants packed over 400 weekend meals for our elementary school children. We greatly appreciate the support of those who attended. Please visit www.SHUPPrinceton.org to find out more or make a donation.

Martha Land, Molly Chrein
SHUPP Board Members and Fall Fest Organizers

To the Editor:

One of the issues that Princeton residents in all parts of the municipality have voiced concerns about is speeding. Based on citizen complaints and their own observations, our police department deploys mobile signs that remind drivers of the speed limit and tracks how fast they are actually going. Through this citizen-driven process, we have collected a lot of data about the speed of traffic on different streets in the town. Speeding can be somewhat subjective; a large bus or truck on a narrow street can appear to be going substantially faster than it is actually going. And not every street that we collect data about appears to have, objectively, a major problem with speeding. But the collected data does reveal that there are definitely roads on which cars consistently go well over the posted speed limit. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for the Board of Education. I’ve known Dafna since our children started kindergarten together at Littlebrook Elementary School in the fall of 2012. I’ve long been impressed by Dafna’s commitment to the education and wellbeing of all of Princeton’s students; by her ingenuity in devising creative solutions to budgetary challenges; by her deep respect for our district’s teachers; and by her dedication to open, transparent communications with all town residents.

Dafna’s many achievements since she was first elected to the Board demonstrate the tenacity and vigor with which she approaches her role as a steward of our schools. Aware of the fiscal constraints facing our district, for instance, she established in 2018 an ad hoc Board committee on alternative revenue sources that secured approximately $800,000 in voluntary payments from the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton Theological Seminary, among others. A lawyer by training, Dafna discovered last year that the Cranbury Board of Education was not meeting its contractual obligation to fully compensate Princeton for special education services; as a result, our district will bill for the additional $150,000 for the 2019-20 school year. As an advocate of equity for all students, Dafna ensured that special education issues were added to teachers’ professional development topics; revised the district’s dress code to remove a prohibition on head scarves; and lobbied for aggressive recruitment efforts at HBCU [historically black colleges and universities], resulting in a marked increase in the hiring of teachers of color. Alert to the importance of Board transparency and community engagement, Dafna added opportunities for public comment at Board meetings and introduced the practice of emailing summaries of monthly Board meetings to all district parents and staff. And as someone both deeply aware of the extraordinary contributions of the district’s teachers and committed to safeguarding the district’s financial resources, Dafna skillfully led negotiations to extend all three labor union contracts through 2020, turning what could have been an acrimonious, costly, and time-consuming ordeal into a mutually satisfactory process. more

To the Editor:

The Choir College is missing its most promising option for continuing its programs: creating a contemporary/popular voice program.

There’s a huge demand for popular voice programs — we saw that in touring colleges with our son, who’s now a senior at Belmont University in Nashville, studying commercial voice with an arranging focus. (He was also accepted at Berklee College for a similar program.) Voice is the top major of Belmont Music students and was certainly the most common interest of those who toured Berklee when we did. There’s no comparable contemporary voice program in our area — so why doesn’t Westminster create one? It already has classical voice staff and can draw other staff from New York City and Philadelphia to teach pop, jazz, rock, and other styles. Offering a cappella performance, arranging, choreography, and teaching — a natural fit. Additional income can also come from workshops, camps, and performances, partnering with local universities and lower schools, and offering songwriting classes as well.

A popular voice program could fund keeping Westminster where it is. Why not have Westminster remain a unique and prosperous center for voice teaching of all kinds?

Ruth Greenwood
Grover Avenue

The writer is co-coordinator of the Princeton Songwriters group.

To the Editor:

We are writing to strongly support Greg Stankiewicz’s re-election to the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. We’ve gotten to know Greg over the past few years and have found him to be a humble, fair, and compassionate steward of our schools. His first term started just as our children entered kindergarten together at Community Park School and we began paying much closer attention to the Board’s work — especially the challenges our district faces as a result of an increasing student population and aging facilities.

Greg has dedicated thousands of hours of volunteer time to his work on the Board, bringing his integrity, intelligence, and a commitment to equity to everything he has done. Whenever we came to him with a question or concern, we knew we could trust that he had the best interests of all of our children at heart. We want to highlight three of the many initiatives that have benefited from Greg’s time and expertise:

Greg joined the School Board Facilities Committee in January 2019 and became chair. In that role, he is helping to oversee the $26.9 million referendum. To increase transparency and public participation, Greg instituted bi-weekly public meetings and provided regular updates to the full Board and community. The first three projects of the referendum were implemented this summer: installing air conditioning at the high school gym; upgrading the electrical systems in all the elementary schools; and installing new HVAC units at Riverside Elementary School. more

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of Adam Bierman for Princeton Council and to report what I feel is the political chicanery that is depriving all of us voters, and Adam, of a transparent and open candidate’s debate. Let me put this in context.

Local Princeton elections have a proud history of having town hall type debates. These forums are a chance for the community to get together and discuss significant issues with their local candidates. They allow the aspiring contenders to gain insight, understanding and appreciation for their constituents’ concerns.

It is also a two-way dialogue where the candidates are tested for their speaking style, command of the issues, and grace under pressure when potentially unexpected questions are thrown their way.

There is no substitute for this face-to-face dialogue. It is real engagement; one cannot hide with a stale canned speech. In this isolating and digital age, meeting face-to-face is more important than ever to get the community pulse on issues that truly matter to people, like our tax rates, affordable housing, or how much the latest corruption/public health scandal at the River Road facility is going to cost taxpayers.

Unfortunately, the October 22 Princeton Council forum will not continue the open, transparent tradition.

Due to logistical issues, it will be held in the tiny Princeton TV studio with no live audience. The losers will be openness and transparency for the citizenry. Adam’s opponents, I have heard, were too busy to set a date for the event earlier. When they finally did set a date, no large venues were available. Could this have been a premeditated political calculation? Here’s a thought, does anyone else have a venue they want to offer for a robust, audience-filled debate?

P.S. I would like to thank Chrystal Schivell and the League of Women Voters for their support of our democratic ideals and the tenacity in finally being able to get this forum scheduled even without the voters.

Walter J. Krieg
Laurel Road

September 25, 2019

To the Editor:

Cokie Roberts, journalist and ABC television and NPR radio anchor and commentator, died of cancer this week after a legendary career. It is also as an exemplary human being and loving family member that we, and many others living in Princeton and Mercer County, will remember her and deeply mourn her death.

The two of us knew Cokie best as the sister of Barbara Boggs Sigmund, who served as mayor of the Borough of Princeton from 1983-1990. As she was dying of cancer, at 51, Barbara wrote a volume of poetry, An Unfinished Life, that included a poem about her sister reprinted below. She noted that it was written at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, November 9, 1989. Its title, “Cokie in the Hospital.” more

To the Editor:

Cokie Roberts was a classmate of mine at Wellesley in 1964. When I moved to Princeton, I became a political advisor and campaign manager for her sister, Mayor Barbara Sigmund. These two women, along with their wonderful mother Lindy Boggs, were so successful in the most competitive of arenas not because they were women but because they were good.

In Barbara Sigmund’s campaigns for U.S. Senate and Borough mayor, Cokie was at her side with humor, advice, and counsel. This family and their search for the good has changed Princeton in the last 40 years. Many of today’s Mercer County public officials came into public life because of this family. Cokie had a critical role in that transformation.

Your good deeds will follow you.

Beth Healey
Moore Street

To the Editor:

I was saddened to read in the media last week about the death of veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, and even more distressed to learn that the cause of her death was complications from breast cancer. Besides being a prolific journalist and a pioneer for women in the profession, Ms. Roberts also had a tie to the Princeton community. Her sister was Barbara Boggs Sigmund, founder of Womanspace and mayor of Princeton Borough from 1983 until her death in 1990. Sadly, Mayor Sigmund also died of complications from cancer.

With all that in mind and Breast Cancer Awareness Month fast approaching, I wanted to write to call attention to the great work of the Princeton YWCA’s Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC), located on Rosedale Road on the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s campus. The BCRC provides comprehensive resources and programming to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, survivors, family members, caregivers, and “anyone in between.” Further, and most importantly for those with limited financial resources, BCRC programs are provided free of charge. more

To the Editor:

On September 14 and 15 a dozen volunteers attended STREAM School at the Watershed Institute Jacob’s Creek in Hopewell Township and Zion Crossing Park in Montgomery Township in order to learn how to conduct stream habitat assessments for the purpose of evaluating and documenting the health and water quality of a stream.

STREAM (Sourland Team of Resource and Ecology Assessment Monitors) School is sponsored by the Sourland Conservancy, the Watershed Institute, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and NJ AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program and partially funded by a 2018 Watershed Institute Grant.

The purpose of STREAM School is to cultivate a cadre of volunteer stream monitors, most of whom will monitor Sourland streams and track their health over time. The collected stream data will also be sent to NJDEP’s water quality-monitoring database, “Water Quality Exchange” (WQX). more

To the Editor:

As a Democrat, I have been laser-focused on the national political scene, working to do everything I can to make sure Trump is defeated in November 2020. But in New Jersey, November 5, 2019, is also an important election.  We must elect Democrats to municipal and state office who will counterbalance, to the fullest extent possible, the destructive policies of this Republican administration on our environment, on our voting rights, on the fairness of our immigration system and our elections, on our civil rights, on the very integrity of our political institutions.

In Princeton, two Democrats, Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros, are running for the two open seats on Princeton Council. I am an advisor to their joint campaign, and I strongly urge you to support them in their goal to ensure that Princeton is a fair, welcoming, well-planned, and environmentally sustainable community; one that is governed with transparency and accountability. Mia and Michelle offer a valuable combination of progressive politics coupled with practical wisdom and innovative solutions. more

To the Editor:

While it is difficult to say that there is a consensus on the butterfly mural being affixed to the building at the corner of John and Leigh, it is I believe fair to say that in general the W-J neighborhood is not against the use of public art.  What was stressed in the recent [HPC and W-J] meetings was indeed a consensus that the neighborhood wants to be involved in the concept, design, and application of public art projects at the beginning of the process.

My personal takeaway from the meeting was that most of the people who were not in favor of the mural did not necessarily have a problem with its application but rather thought that the first application of this sort should represent the African American experience; the basis for the historic designation.

It is my belief that the Latino experience and history in Princeton, while not on the same scale as the African American experience and history in Princeton, also has significance and I have no issue with it being expressed through the use of public art as long as there is community engagement and agreement on “the process.” more

To the Editor:

My girlfriend and I are frequent walkers of the D & R Canal…so beautiful, pristine, serene, lots of wildlife, turtles, blue heron, so calming. Unfortunately, there are many on the canal who do not know the “rules of the road.” I’m speaking to the cyclists. We are often walking while they ZOOM by from behind, on our right, on our left, in the middle without announcing themselves and practically sideswiping us as they pass.

Might I offer a suggestion…when we bike, anywhere, we use a bell or a yell signaling “on your left” to let the walker know we are approaching. It just seems like common courtesy to do this, rather than scaring the dickens out of the walker by zooming by at a high rate of speed.

I would like to see a sign posted by the D&R, to assist cyclists in this endeavor. Something like…”If you have a bell please use it to notify walkers, if you do not, please give a yell upon approach.”

Robert O’Brien
West Windsor

To the Editor:

We need someone on the Board of Education who looks for ways to avoid spending all through the year, not just in a mad scramble during budget season, when it turns out that revenues and expenses for the coming year are not going to balance.

The district’s ordinary personnel costs have been rising faster than the district’s ordinary revenues for years. One-time extraordinary revenues have let the administration and the Board avoid making hard choices, but that can’t go on forever.

We need Debbie Bronfeld to continue her efforts to get the growth of costs down to a rate the available revenues will be able to support, while continuing to provide a high-quality education to every student in our schools.

Please re-elect Debbie Bronfeld to the Princeton Board of Education.

Rod Montgomery
William Patterson Court