September 23, 2015

To the Editor:

There may be those like the Republican state legislator [Senator Christopher Bateman] who recently asserted that Princeton Democrats should support our Republican state representatives in the upcoming election in a spirit of nonpartisanship [Mailbox, Sept.16].

That argument may fool Donald Trump voters, but the reality is that politics is partisan and that partisan legislative voting is a tangible manifestation of our values. Princetonians should understand that we are currently represented in the assembly by three Republicans who consistently and reliably support Governor Christie’s right-wing agenda.

For example, Assemblywoman Donna Simon received an A+ rating from the NRA. She has always voted against funding for family planning, and she was endorsed by the tea party. Jack Ciattarelli is slightly less right-wing, receiving a B+ from the NRA, but he also rejects all funding for family planning.

When New Jersey’s governor brags in national debates about how he has advanced his conservative agenda in a Democratic-leaning state, we can thank Princeton’s current assembly representatives. But on Election Day, November 3, we can get ourselves to the polls and vote for new representatives. We have two excellent Democratic candidates: Maureen Vella, a former judge, and Andrew Zwicker, a physicist. I hope you will join me in turning our district in a new direction and support Zwicker and Vella for Assembly.

Beth Healey

Moore Street

September 16, 2015

To the Editor:

As the election season gets under way, I want to remind Princeton voters that this year we have the opportunity to unseat our two Republican state assembly representatives by voting for Democratic candidates Maureen Vella and Andrew Zwicker.  Princeton and the rest of the 16th legislative district deserve representation that reflects our values, not those of a right-wing governor.

Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon have a 100 percent voting record with Chris Christie. They have supported Christie in cutting women’s health funding, blocking corruption reform at the Port Authority, and preventing property tax relief for struggling homeowners after Hurricane Sandy.

Andrew Zwicker, as a Princeton University scientist, brings his experience of relying on evidence, not political ideology or rhetoric, in making decisions.  Maureen Vella as a former judge looks at all sides of an issue before making a decision.  Princeton deserves representatives who are independent thinkers.

I urge residents to mark their calendars for November 3 and to vote for Zwicker and Vella for Assembly.

Dan Preston

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Unfortunately, over my years of public service, politics has grown more partisan.  Nowhere was this more evident than a recent letter-to-the-editor submitted by Scotia W. MacRae [Town Topics, Sept. 2, “Did You Know That Three Republicans Represent Princeton in N.J. Legislature?”]

The letter underscores the unwillingness by some to open their hearts and minds to others simply because they don’t share the same party affiliation.  Clearly demonstrating disrespect and intolerance, Ms. MacRae would seemingly lead one to believe that my fellow District 16 legislators and I have some type of hideous, deadly and contagious disease.

Yes, it is true that for the past three and one-half years, Princeton has been represented by state legislators who are Republicans, me being one of them.  Republicans, mind you, who have received endorsements from organized labor unions and pro-environment groups, as well as from business and taxpayer watchdog groups.

The delegation, which includes Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon, has worked extremely hard to effectively represent the newly aligned District 16, including Princeton.  We’ve been more than accessible and responsive to Princeton, putting progress before party in working closely with its local elected leadership on various issues important to the community.  I can honestly say that, on issues specific to the environment, transportation, infrastructure, affordable housing and fiscal matters, we have worked to improve the quality of life in Princeton.

Each election cycle provides an opportunity for candidates and their supporters to distinguish themselves for integrity.  Let us assertively compete, but let us also conduct campaigns that encourage, not discourage, fellow citizens.  Most importantly, let us conduct ourselves in a way that demonstrates respect and tolerance.  The alternative only serves to intensify the hyper-partisanship and polarization that gridlocks Washington and Trenton.

Senator Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman


To the Editor:

  New Jersey Assemblypersons Donna Simon and Jack Ciattarelli have represented Legislative District 16 since 2012.  I have been impressed with how they handle their legislative responsibilities. Their sincere interest in constituents’ concerns and achievements is more than impressive.

There are few politicians – Assembly or otherwise – that take such pride in their district and the people who make up their constituency.  Given that Legislative District 16 is highly diverse and there are varying opinions coming from all sides, Assemblypersons Simon and Ciattarelli handle complicated issues with tact, always seeking a logical, reasonable, middle ground approach.

In a short period, they have proven time and again that they are absolutely qualified to represent the district and Princeton. Having Assemblypersons Donna Simon and Jack Ciattarelli re-elected on November 4 can only benefit our Princeton community.

George Fox

Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

Regarding the problem of leaf blowing noise, I wonder if zones could be established as we have for leaf pick-up? A zone could have two designated days when lawn service blowing and mowing would be allowed. The rest of the week would be quiet. Residents who do their own yard work would be encouraged to do so on the designated days.

Carol Rothberg

Winant Road

To the Editor:

Early this year, the Princeton government began work on a Bicycle Master Plan. That is commendable, given our future of declining fossil fuel supplies. On the Princeton website, there is even a questionnaire for Princeton residents to print out and complete. But the questionnaire has no instructions for where and when to submit it! I have not found any other related web pages with such instructions.  Indeed, the work done on the Master Plan appears to have had no public input.  Is this another example of our local government discouraging or ignoring input from its constituents?

Furthermore, there is a timeline graphic web page with a meeting scheduled for this month, but the date is not given. With this month almost half over, is the meeting announcement going to be on such short notice so that when nobody shows up, our leaders can claim a lack of public interest in developing a bicycle plan?

There is now a NJDOT grant to Princeton of which a portion was allocated to bicycle planning. If the government can claim there is no interest, can the grant funds be shifted from bicycle plans to other items the government deems more important?

I think it is important for local government to affirmatively act to stay within the trust horizon of their constituents, especially at a time when larger governments and other institutions are losing popular confidence.

Of course, my concerns might be unfounded, in which case the Town Council and whoever prepared the questionnaire just did not give it the forethought it deserved.

Ronald C. Nielsen

Humbert Street

To the Editor:

New Jersey is such a partisan state. It is considered “blue” outside the state, but it’s a checker-board in-state with very red areas and very blue areas and darn few “swing” districts. It has been this way for a long time.

Bipartisan cooperation, compromise and collaboration by politicians make progress possible. Not really as rare as most cynical voters think. New Jersey needs reasonable policies addressing real solutions to real problems. AARP supported helping family caregivers with the CARE Act signed into law by Gov. Christie last year. Over the years, AARP supported new laws providing protections against unwanted telemarketing calls and predatory lending, identity theft, reforming the long-term care system, defending property tax relief programs from budget cuts… We win some, we lose some but we never stop advocating.

Legislators need to work together to send reasonable bills to Gov. Christie’s desk before the end of the year. Pass the Secure Choice Savings Act which has strong bipartisan sponsorship to help small businesses help their employees save for retirement. Pass legislation to address the health insurance out-of-network issue. Establish a rational, reasonable earned paid sick leave state-wide benefit and maybe even address property taxes.

Douglas Johnston

AARP New Jersey interim State Director

To the Editor:

Christine’s Hope for Kids congratulates the 2015 Hopewell Block Party Committee on another wonderful evening! A great time was had by all at this annual event that brings together local vendors, musicians and volunteers for a great night of community spirit.

During our fifth anniversary year, we are honored to be the recipient of a $1,500 donation from the Block Party Committee.  This generous donation has helped us send many kids to summer camps in Mercer County.  We would like to thank the entire committee, the vendors who supplied the delicious food and drinks, the wonderful band and all our friends and neighbors who attended the event for your generosity and support.  We are proud to be part of such a giving community.

Jean Gianacaci

Founder, Christine’s Hope for Kids

September 2, 2015

To the Editor:

Many people in Princeton do not realize that their representatives in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly are all Republicans. Yes! It’s true.

If you don’t believe me go to:

How did this happen? As a result of the 2010 national census, New Jersey State Legislative Districts were redrawn. Princeton was transferred from State Legislative District 15 — represented by three Democrats — to State Legislative District 16, represented by three Republicans, one of them endorsed by the Tea Party. All of them have voted to back Gov. Chris Christie’s initiatives to roll back environmental advances, decimate funding for women’s health care, and divert money intended for transportation infrastructure (including turning down $3 billion from the federal government to build a second train tunnel from New Jersey to New York), while blaming teachers for everything that is wrong with the state.

We have two excellent Democratic candidates running this year for the New Jersey State Assembly: Andrew Zwicker, a scientist and educator, and Maureen Vella, an attorney who gave up a judgeship in order to run. Check them out at:

Your vote will be crucial on November 3, 2015. It is an off-year for elections to national office, which usually means that turnout will be low. If you don’t vote, State Legislative District 16 will continue to be represented by Republicans. If you do, there’s a good chance it won’t. Better yet, don’t wait until November 3 to vote. You can get an application for a mail-in ballot that you can fill out ahead of time so you don’t need to worry about getting to the polls. You can request a vote-by-mail application from the Mercer County Clerk, or better yet, pick one up at the Zwicker/Vella headquarters in Princeton in the McCaffrey’s building, on the second floor down the hall from the ballet studio and the dentist.

Make your vote count!

Scotia W. MacRae

Evelyn Place

August 26, 2015

“When new patients come in, I let them know I have a lot of tools — a big tool box!” explains Dr. Edward Feldman of Feldman Wellness Center in Kingston. A Doctor of Chiropractic and Diplomate of the National Board of Chiropractic, he is also registered in Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy, certified in the Feldenkrais® Method and in the advanced Clinical Nutrition Response System.

“I was always interested in the natural approach to healing: the mind/body approach,” he points out.

This philosophy led him to investigate chiropractic, and after graduating from the State University of New York at Buffalo, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College.

“Chiropractic is complementary to traditional medicine,” explains Dr. Feldman. “The course of study is similar to that of medical school, a four-year program, but with special emphasis on anatomy.”

Proper Alignment

In chiropractic, the emphasis is on the spine and nervous system and keeping both at a level of optimum function. If the spinal vertebrae become misaligned, a number of problems can result, including headache, backache, shoulder and neck pain, sciatica, and more. Through a series of adjustments to the spine, the chiropractor can help restore the spine to correct alignment.

“Chiropractic can be helpful to people of all ages, including children and babies,” reports Dr. Feldman. “Regular treatments can restore proper alignment and function.”

Sometimes, however, even after chiropractic treatment, patients may continue to experience problems,” he points out.

“Often after an incident, such as a car accident, a fall, etc., a person may seem recovered, but in fact, there can still be a problem internally. The body is incredibly resilient, and after a fall, accident, etc., it can seem to get better, but there has actually been a long-term reaction, which has never been fully resolved.”

In this situation, Dr. Feldman frequently utilizes CranioSacral Therapy. This is a special hands-on therapy during which he identifies the palpable rhythms of the cerebral spinal fluid.

“These rhythms are likened to the pulses that the heart produces,” he explains. “When the heart beats irregularly, your body feels uncomfortable and can indicate unhealthiness. However, when it is beating regularly, you would never think twice about it. Similarly, when I make contact with the body, I am looking to feel movement throughout your whole body, trying to sense the inner rhythm of your nervous system. We call this inner rhythm the breath of life. When this life force of energy is not moving properly, it becomes blocked and your body is no longer moving as a whole system. Chronic issues, such as back or neck pain, headaches, digestive issues, or breathing problems can begin to arise.

Sense of Safety

“There are many reasons why the breath of life can become blocked,” continues Dr. Feldman. “These include physical or emotional trauma or chronic stress. This blockage can manifest in many different ways. That pain in your wrist could actually be a manifestation of a problem elsewhere in your body, such as your neck/shoulder junction. That headache you are experiencing could be a result of the fall you had many years ago that left a restriction in your tail bone. That TMJ you have could have arisen from whiplash in a car accident, or even from too much dental work.

“What is unique about this therapy is the client’s sense of safety during a session that allows the nervous system to settle. Now, the body has time to open up and feel again after being shut down both mentally and physically for so long.”

Benefits can include restored energy and vitality, alleviation of pain, and improvement in digestive disturbances.

In addition to CranioSacral therapy, Dr. Feldman often incorporates the Feldenkrais Method as part of the healing process. Developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, with whom Dr. Feldman studied, this is a special therapy, which helps train the body to adapt to new patterns of movement. As Dr. Feldman explains, “This extremely effective movement therapy is based on sound neurological principles that benefit your body and mind through sequences of gentle, no-stress movements. Learn how changing some of your habitual ways of moving can increase your energy and alleviate chronic pain and fatigue.

“Lessons include guided attention and easy movements that teach you how to reduce unnecessary muscular effort and improve your awareness of the whole self in action. Results can be extraordinary and may include greater vitality, more flexibility, decreased tension and stress. Doing regular Feldenkrais classes is a great way to keep your body tuned and in balance.”

The Wellness Center offers both individual and group sessions in the Feldenkrais Method.

First Meeting

“I highly recommend CranioSacral therapy and the Feldenkrais Method,” notes a patient, who has been helped by Dr. Feldman. “In my very first meeting, all the tension in my neck went away within less than half an hour, when he applied CranioSacral Therapy. Through Feldenkrais exercises, I not only began to alter the way I moved, but also strengthened my neck and arm, as this method complemented the CranioSacral Therapy.”

Most recently, Dr. Feldman has added another treatment option to his Wellness Center: Advanced Clinical Nutrition. He completed a post-graduate training program in Nutrition Response Testing, and has found it to be of great benefit to his patients.

“This is a non-invasive method of analyzing the body to determine the actual root causes of health conditions, and assists the practitioner in determining the patient’s nutritional deficiency or imbalance so it can be corrected,” he explains.

Dr. Feldman works with patients to make specific changes to diet, eating habits, and routines to bring about the best results. Through these diet changes, and consuming whole food supplements (actual food in capsule form), patients have been able to lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and alleviate food allergies, says Dr. Feldman. It is a very individualized therapy, customized to each patient.

As he points out, “The body has the full potential to fully repair itself when given the right nutrients.”

Adds a pre-diabetic patient, who has benefitted from Nutrition Response Testing: “Dr. Feldman tested me, and found out what organs in my body were weak and needed to be boosted and which foods were adding to this weakened condition. I followed his recommendations exactly as he laid them out for me, and my improvement was immediate. After only one week of healthy eating and taking my supplements, my digestive problems vanished, and I lost two pounds.

Energy Level

“My second week on the plan was even more successful. Besides dropping an additional three pounds, my energy level was supercharged! My thinking is clear. My focus is great. My health has improved tremendously. I could not have put myself in better hands.”

Dr. Feldman now looks forward to helping even more patients at the Wellness Center. “All the treatments are very individualized. I take into consideration the whole person, including their lifestyle. With this treatment approach, and incorporating the different therapies, I feel we can help people who were not helped before. We are trying to make a permanent resolution of the problem, not just a quick fix that doesn’t last.

“I’d like to get the word out to more people, so they can benefit from our in-depth model. Essentially, our method is an in-depth treatment of the body as a whole. Our therapy emphasizes not just local treatment of a shoulder or neck or hip, but identifies global patterns of action throughout the body and how it moves or doesn’t move as a whole integrated system.”

Dr. Feldman sees patients Monday, Tuesday, Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, Wednesday until 7, and Saturday morning. He can be reached at (609) 252-1766. Website:

August 19, 2015

To the Editor:

[What follows is unkind to Princeton’s hard-working professional lawn mowers, but it was written during a 7:30 a.m. cutting/blowing. It is really about the rest of us.]

I like getting my act going by 7:30 or so in the a.m., half hour before legal, make sure folks know I’m here. Within a couple of minutes I take a whole quiet block and turn it into something that makes Newark Airport sound like a country club on a Sunday morning. You want decibels? I’ll give you noise your ears won’t forget. Get a couple of my super-riders going at the same time and you know the night is gone. Yards here are the perfect size, big enough to take a while, small enough to keep you in earshot of 20 neighbors. Seems like forever to you but then comes the real fun. That’s when I crank up my leaf blowers. Remember rake and broom? Nothing really much to blow, but we like three blowers at once so you think we’re really doing something, and it’s like a Boeing plant right here on your own property. We do a regular symphony, one blower high, one low, one just going up and down, turn ‘em off and on, get the rhythm really going. Nobody dozing in this concert hall. You can see raccoons and possums hustle off down toward the lake, the birds start shrieking just to hear each other, the dogs get to barking. It’s a regular neighborhood party. If you left a window open, you’ll slam it shut fast. If you’re drinking hot coffee listening to the morning news, you can quit right now. Can’t hear it anyway, can’t even swallow. If you missed a full night’s sleep, don’t want to go to work, you’ll hustle right off anyway to the quiet of a good office. We can raise your blood pressure a full ten points, dilate your pupils, give you bloodshot eyes like a cartoon character, reconfigure the relationship between you and your wife, make you carp at your kids. You’ll wish they’d never invented grass. I think about this while I’m working. It keeps me going. When I’m done I just mosey on three or four houses further down and do it all over again. All day long.

What’s fun is, folks, you’ve got a fancy-written public nuisance code. Makes it “unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, continuous or excessive noise or any noise which … annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within Princeton.” It guarantees that blowers be “adequately muffled.” Love that word, “adequately.” Words, words, we know who’s boss. Grass gotta be short. Laws or no laws, me and my machinery, we’re home free.

Jerome Silbergeld

Philip Drive

To The Editor:

No one can deny: the community is changing. Our town is remarkable and many want to move here. Thus, I agree — higher income people are going to move to Princeton and will buy more expensive homes than our existing stock. Rather than lamenting the change, our community should figure out rules to ensure those changes are positive. Here are some ideas.

1. In the case of tear-downs, have a building permit fee for those homes that markedly increase the square footage. Use these funds for low-income housing and open space preservation. I suggest $400,000.

2. Develop architectural standards that require homes to be interesting to the streetscape.

3. Enact a mansion tax to lower everyone’s property taxes in general.

4. Change the tax code to measure home size in cubic feet.

I believe that with the above changes, the homes will still be built, newcomers will still come. We are simply collecting too little for the changes that are occurring.

Phil Ludmer

Caldwell Drive

August 12, 2015

FAMILY BUSINESS: “Customer service is the reason we are one of the few independent stores still in operation. Customers know they can count on us, and on the quality and value of our product line — including our focus on office and school supplies, and so much more.” John Roberto (left) and Andrew Mangone, co-owners of Hinkson’s, The Office Store, are proud of their long-time family business.

FAMILY BUSINESS: “Customer service is the reason we are one of the few independent stores still in operation. Customers know they can count on us, and on the quality and value of our product line — including our focus on office and school supplies, and so much more.” John Roberto (left) and Andrew Mangone, co-owners of Hinkson’s, The Office Store, are proud of their long-time family business.

There aren’t many left anymore. Those familiar family-owned, independently-operated businesses that used to line Princeton’s downtown and streetscape are now largely part of its past, not its present.

Fortunately, Hinkson’s, The Office Store, continues to thrive. Quality products, personal service, a helpful, knowledgeable staff, and loyal customers are all part of the Hinkson success story. Its tradition and reputation have truly stood the test of time. more

To the Editor:

Over the past year, many residents have discussed this topic at length, especially after the bag fee referendum question on the November ballot passed overwhelmingly in Princeton. The local papers have recently been writing stories about the importance of reducing single use bags in our community, in response to the announcement by The Princeton Merchants Association (PMA) that they are inaugurating their own “ABC Program” for the voluntary reduction of single-use bags. We are happy to see how important the business community thinks this issue is. We are pleased that they have taken some first-step actions towards controlling this global problem at the local level. It’s now clear that the residents and businesses agree that there is a single-use bag issue.

The writers of this letter have been leading the conversation about this topic. Our group has for years pushed for an ordinance to place a ten cent fee on both single-use plastic and paper bags, just as so many other towns, counties, states, and countries have done. The draft ordinance was also adopted unanimously by the Princeton Environmental Commission. As you probably know, voluntary programs have been shown to be largely ineffective in reducing the number of single-use bags in circulation or in waste streams. However, the first part of the draft ordinance called for an education campaign, and we are glad to see that the merchant group has started this part of the process. We hope things can be different in Princeton.

In the spirit of collaboration, we think the Town, the business community, and residents can work together to achieve the best possible outcome of this program — a truly significant reduction in single-use bags in our community, not just the recycling of bags. While recycling is one of the prongs of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” it is the third and least effective because it does nothing to curb production/consumption of new bags. Methane, a major emission in the manufacture of plastics, is also a primary contributor to global warming and its disastrous effects.

Thus, every attempt should be made to focus on reduction and reuse. Additionally, we hope the Town and business community will be very meticulous with their data collection to demonstrate a decrease in the number of single-use bags used in our community after the roll-out of this program.

Lastly, recent discussions have ignored the environmental cost of paper bags, which are actually more costly to produce and ship; they consume more energy. Our draft ordinance focused on all types of single use bags. This is a critical component. For now, if stores continue to give away paper bags, they should be 100 percent post-consumer recycled bags.

We again applaud PMA and the Town for joining with the residents of Princeton in recognizing the need for action on the single-bag issue, the plastic film overabundance, and the need to change from the status quo. We hope we can continue the conversation and document real change.

The Bag Ordinance Group.

Stephanie Chorney

Race Street

Daniel A. Harris

Dodds Lane

Bainy Suri

Chestnut Street

To the Editor:

Princeton has a powerful lobby for bicyclists. Who is looking after pedestrians?

The time is right to establish a consistent 25 mph speed limit for all residential roads.

In 2012 Princeton adopted Complete Streets policy with the goal of making Princeton a more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly community. A Complete Street is a roadway that is safe not only for motor vehicles, but also for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Residential roads, especially roads near schools, parks, and a community hub (Princeton Shopping Center), need to be zoned no higher than 25 mph so people can walk to nearby destinations.

A 25 mph speed zone posting informs motorists they are traveling through a residential district and they need to slow down and watch out for children, seniors, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Township traffic officials have a long history of assigning high speed zones on residential streets — Terhune Road 30 mph, 35 mph; Snowden Lane 35 mph; North Harrison 30 mph; Stuart Road 35 mph.

Posting high speed postings on residential roads directly contradicts Complete Streets Policy.

Princeton Council cannot in good conscience adopt a Bicycle Plan into the Master Plan without also adopting a 25 mph speed limit policy for all residential roads. Most residential roads are already zoned 25 mph.

The difference between a posted 25 mph speed limit and a posted 30 mph means little to a motorist, but it can mean the difference between life and death to a cyclist or a pedestrian.

Carolyn Barnshaw

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

The recent launch of the Learning Our ABC’s Campaign by the Princeton Merchants Association (PMA), Sustainable Princeton, the municipality, and local merchants is a perfect example of what can be done when we come together in a positive way to address environmental issues in Princeton.

Sustainable Princeton believes that positive change happens through collaboration. We believe in the carrot — not the stick — to solve environmental issues. We also believe that when it comes to waste, sending less to the landfill and creating less overall, is the best way to preserve our land, air, and water.

Our organizational goals are to reduce waste and energy in Princeton by working with residents, businesses, schools, and the municipality. We are pleased that the PMA and others have embraced our goals through this campaign.

Many people don’t know that we are an independent nonprofit group. We receive the majority of our funding through grants and individual donations. Thanks to this outside funding, we have launched a number of very successful community-wide energy and waste reduction programs, such as the EnergySmart Homes and Buildings Campaigns, Build a Bin, the zero waste Great Ideas Breakfast series, and now among others, the ABC’s Campaign with PMA.

This campaign is attractive because it offers a stepping stone to voluntary reduction of plastics through recycling and, more importantly, encourages shoppers to BYOBag. The campaign calls on merchants to Ask First if someone needs a bag so customers can be encouraged to adopt the habit of bringing their own. We hope the community will grab their favorite reusable bags and do just that!

With the continued help of forward thinking organizations such as PMA and a host of committed volunteers, we look forward to working together to reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve, and continue to create new ways to solve important environmental issues in Princeton.

Diane M. Landis

Executive Director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

In congratulating Mayor Liz Lempert for “standing firm on Princeton’s intent to remain a sanctuary city for immigrants” [Mailbox, Town Topics, July 29], a recent writer put the YWCA of Princeton in the same camp as that of a mayor whose policies flout federal laws of which illegal immigrants are in clear violation. And last week [“Mayor, Council, Others Respond to Letters Pro and Con on the ‘Sanctuary City’ Issue,” Mailbox, August 5], Mayor Liz reiterated her support for policies that contravene local participation in enforcement of federal law that calls for the registration and fingerprinting of all aliens here more than 30 days, not only, but also threaten anyone who knowingly (in lay terminology) gives aid, comfort, transportation, shelter, and/or sanctuary to an “illegal alien” (to be consistent with the language of the law). Moreover, the letter in question included signatures of numerous other local government officials who, by inference, share the mayor’s embrace of Princeton’s illegal immigrants.

To explain such an embrace, it is reasonable to hypothesize that tolerance of illegal immigration and its human embodiments has led to consequences conceptually analogous to those ensuing from tolerance of vice, described more than two centuries ago by Alexander Pope [in “An Essay on Man”] as follows: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,/As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;/Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,/We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” Having thus come to “embrace” the cause of illegal immigration and illegal immigrants, any effort to shake that embrace is encumbered by the force of [Everett] Dirksen’s Inequality: “The mind is no match with the heart for persuasion; constitutionality is no match for compassion.”

Princeton’s YWCA director, the mayor and city officials who co-signed her most recent letter, likely would agree with the admonition that laws or policies adopted with the best of intentions frequently only pave the way conceptually to Hades, but due to circumstances outlined above, it is probable that none of them (or their supporters) is able to perceive the consequences of their “aiding and abetting” illegal immigration in a negative way (likely true in whole or in part of their counterparts in more than 200 localities nationwide).

Citizens who have not yet succumbed to the effects of Pope’s Law and Dirksen’s Inequality, continue to hope for restoration of unselective law-and-order enforcement in localities such as Princeton. That hope is reinforced by House passage of “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009)” designed to “block federal grants to U.S. states and cities that provide safe haven to illegal immigrants.”

As to whether such logical legislation will become law, quien sabe? But its passage in the House is, at least, a step in the right direction.

Ken Wilson


August 5, 2015

To the Editor:

On July 1, 2015, Kathryn Steinle was shot in broad daylight in San Francisco. She later died. Since the alleged perpetrator of this heinous crime is an undocumented immigrant, debate has flown around the country challenging the wisdom of municipalities, like San Francisco, which adopt policies that embrace immigrant members of their communities regardless of their immigration status. Although the scope of these policies varies, towns that take inclusive steps are often called “sanctuary cities.” While not calling itself a sanctuary city, Princeton has made crucial strides to build a welcoming community for our town’s immigrant population, and we appreciate and respect the contributions that immigrants, both documented and not, make — as they have throughout our history.

In response to the thoughtful pro and con letters addressing this issue that appear in The Town Topics’ July 29, 2015 issue, it’s important to keep in mind several points.

1) Princeton does not have a policy that provides a safe-haven for criminals.

2) Unlike the federal government’s immigration enforcement agencies, Princeton’s local police, and the municipal government in general, is charged with ensuring the safety and welfare of all individuals living or spending time in our town. The primary mission of federal immigration enforcement officers is not public safety, but enforcement of immigration laws. In keeping with this framework, federal immigration agencies are funded to enforce immigration laws. Princeton police are funded to keep the community safe.

3) While the murder in San Francisco raises understandable concern, Princeton’s continuing challenge has been to gain the trust and cooperation of undocumented immigrant victims and witnesses of crimes, not with a rash of undocumented perpetrators. Because immigrants, particularly undocumented ones, fear the possibility of immigration consequences, they do not report crimes, even when they are victims. Several of us, who work with immigrants, have been called upon by the police to encourage immigrants to help in the investigation of crimes that include victims within and beyond the immigrant community. The lack of trust within immigrant communities, amplified by immigration officers presenting themselves as public safety officials (even wearing clothing identifying themselves as “police”), undermines public safety not just for immigrants, but for the entire community.

To the benefit of all Princeton residents and those who value what our town has to offer, Princeton’s policy embracing immigrants strengthens public safety, not weakens it.

Liz Lempert

Mayor of Princeton

Heather Howard

Princeton Council

Ross Wishnick

Chair, Princeton Human Services Commission (PHSC)

John Heilner

Chair, Immigration Committee, PHSC

Leticia Fraga

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Latin American

Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF)

Maria Juega

Executive Director, LALDEF

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly

Mason Drive

Ryan Stark Lilienthal

Maple Street

Roger Martindell

Prospect Avenue

To The Editor:

For many of us, living in New Jersey is like living in the United Nations because of the diversity of our state’s population and its many immigrants. Many of our state’s residents, like me, celebrate and treasure our friendships, social and business relationships with the legal immigrants who have come to our state and community. Our legal immigrants have made significant contributions to our state’s academic, cultural, and business environments. Often they have taken leadership roles in our local civic and service clubs, business associations, churches, and academic institutions. Some have become famous. But those immigrants contrast sharply with immigrants who have shown disregard for our country’s laws by sneaking into our country illegally or overstaying their visitor’s visas. My many legal immigrant friends regard them, at best, as line-breakers.

For Judy Hutton, CEO of the YWCA, to refer to Princeton’s illegal immigrant residents as “undocumented immigrants,” in her letter to the editor published July 29 [“YWCA Applauds Mayor Lempert’s Stand On Princeton Remaining a Sanctuary City”], is just as absurd as calling a shoplifter an “undocumented shopper” or referring to an illegal drug dealer as an “undocumented pharmacist.” Those, like Ms. Hutton, who apparently favor shielding these lawbreakers by promoting sanctuary city status for Princeton, blur the language to confuse the discussion. The senseless and brutal murder of 24-year-old Kathryn Steinle on July 1 at a popular tourist destination in San Francisco allegedly by Francisco Sanchez should be a wake-up call. He is an illegal Mexican immigrant, who had been deported five times and convicted of no fewer than seven felonies, yet San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy shielded him from the justice that could have saved Kathryn Steinle’s life.

Let’s not unnecessarily put Princeton’s valued tourists and resident population at risk by shielding law-breaking illegal immigrants with so-called sanctuary city policies. It’s not “racial profiling” or denial of “justice,” as Ms. Hutton implies in her letter, to expect our residents to obey and abide by our country’s laws. Princeton police should cooperate with our federal law-enforcement organizations to help ensure the safety of those who are here legally and are obeying our nation’s laws.

Lewis Edge

Cleveland Road West

To the Editor:

As a resident of Princeton for just over a year I am continually delighted by the wonderful array of pleasant activities the town offers.
There are so many I have enjoyed but I wanted to praise this past weekend’s Stuffed Animal Sleep Over at the Princeton Public Library. My three visiting grandsons were highly entertained by the singing, stories, and especially by the pictures they received the next day of their furry friends’ shenanigans the night before.
The library is truly the best living room in town.

Anne Woodbridge

Palmer Square

To the Editor:

The recent Council decision to pay for sidewalk building and repair was a nice benefit for those in large properties without pre-existing sidewalks. In other words, significantly skewed toward properties in the former Township. This decision was no doubt a response to complaints from those in that part of town, who had not had sidewalks before. They already had gained another freebie following consolidation of the town: garbage collection.

The former Borough has had sidewalks, on both sides of the street, for a long time. There are few streets where a brand-new sidewalk will be needed. We have paid for 50 percent of their cost and repair over the years. On my street, we had to pay one more time just a few years ago when the street was redone.

By contrast, in another area, a previously existing service has been significantly cut back. Council has been told for some years about the continuing need for year-round brush pickup, especially for residents with dense old-growth trees and small plots — notably the former Borough. Council has not taken action on our request not to cut this pre-existing service. The town instead suggested we deal with it ourselves in ways that are impractical (compost it — branches don’t compost), or environmentally undesirable (each resident drive it themselves to Lawrenceville).

Instead, incredibly, our town is now aggressively spending money for enforcement of brush “violations” and to actually fine us for them. A more constructive approach, not taken, would have been to restore periodic pickups of brush, or perhaps to provide the recently available compost collection service at no charge. The latter can cope with moderate amounts of brush.

Punish the Borough, fine its residents, reward the Township. Is this what consolidation means?

I wonder how Council can institute a new provision to finance sidewalks, but cannot “afford” restoration of the brush pickup service we had and still need.

Yes, there have been some accomplishments and benefits from consolidation. The oft-repeated claim that there has been no loss of services is not one of them. Nor, it seems, is equitable treatment.

This letter has also been sent to our mayor and Council.

Anthony Lunn

Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

I applaud the sentiment expressed by Stewart and Mary Ann Solomon in their July 22 letter to the editor [“Do Tear-Downs Mean That Only the Rich Will Be Able to Live Here and Pay the Taxes?”]. Apparently, Princeton is well on its way to becoming Short Hills. Diversity will totally disappear as the town becomes populated by cookie-cutter McMansions that have as their only prominent features their size and cost (and thus the property taxes that both generate).

The Solomons referenced the quote in the July 15 issue by Kevin Wilkes of Princeton Design Guild in which he disparages as “cramped” and “little boxes” the many small homes that used to dot Princeton and which are now becoming relics of a past age. Wilkes said: “Families today want an open first floor plan ….” Really? More like, HGTV insists that families want an open floor plan. Or builders insist that families want an open floor plan because builders buy the same house plan and build it over and over again, so it’s all there is to buy unless you go custom.

News flash: Some of us don’t want to live in a noisy, open barn. Some of us don’t want to live in a huge monstrosity on a lot so small that we could probably reach out a second floor window to shake hands with our neighbor. Some of us don’t want to live in or look at yet another huge but undistinguished McMansion.

Small homes still serve a purpose: They can be charming, which these huge monstrosities cannot. They can be starter homes for young families. They can be homes for seniors to downsize to … or age in. They can house people whose choice of profession does not lend itself to six-figure salaries but which nonetheless makes them valuable contributing members of the community. If Princeton managers weren’t so greedy, they would limit the number of these McMansions in order to try to preserve the diverse character of the town.

Paula Berg

Overbrook Drive

NTU Total Home

Peace of mind. That is what Total Home Manager offers its clients — from the smallest repair to the largest renovation to an on-going coverage and maintenance plan, with 24/7 emergency service.

Imagine not having to worry about the leak in the roof, cleaning the gutters, shoveling the snow, waiting for the plumber to arrive, or painting the house. more

July 29, 2015

To the Editor:

The shooting earlier this month of Kathryn Steinle in broad daylight on a popular pedestrian pier in San Francisco has become a matter of national debate.  Kathryn’s murderer was an illegal immigrant and seven-time felon who had previously been deported from the United States five times. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was on his way to a sixth deportation earlier this year, but was instead sent from prison to San Francisco at the request of the Sheriff’s Department to face prosecution in a 1995 drug case.  Local prosecutors, however, dropped the drug charge without notice to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and released Lopez-Sanchez onto the streets of San Francisco where he would murder Kathryn Steinle.

In a TV jailhouse interview after his arrest for the murder, Lopez-Sanchez admitted killing Steinle and said he knew San Francisco was a “sanctuary city” where he would not be pursued by immigration officials.

   Sound familiar?  It should, because less than two years ago, Democrats on Princeton Council proposed a “sanctuary” plan, barring police from enforcing immigration laws and from cooperating with ICE officials. Councilwoman Heather Howard summed up the Council’s reasoning by saying that local police cooperation with ICE would be “detrimental to both public safety and the peace of mind of Princeton’s growing immigrant community.”  Cities such as San Francisco were held up as models of immigration reform.  Yet today, we witness the outcome of misguided “progressive” policies and the potential deadly consequences of such a sanctuary scheme to law-abiding Americans.

In the aftermath of the San Francisco tragedy, from the politically correct bubble in which Princeton politicians operate, Mayor Liz Lempert doubled down on Princeton’s status as a “sanctuary city.”  Rather than an apologia, the public would have been better served by a straightforward statement by the mayor that Princeton will not be a safe haven for alien criminals who constitute a threat to public safety and should be deported.  As it now stands, the message is muddled.

I keenly appreciate the value and talents immigrants bring to our country.  I also agree that our federal immigration policies need to be reformed, but this must be done at the national level, not by municipalities which can wind up sending the wrong message to individuals who would endanger the safety of our communities. “Feel-good” public policy at the local level can have unintended consequences, in the San Francisco instance, the loss of an innocent life and a national backlash which can in the end impact negatively on immigrant communities.


Chairman, Princeton Republican Committee

Nassau Street

To The Editor:

I was as gladdened by the July 22 response of Stewart and Mary Ann Solomon as I was disturbed by the quotes of Kevin Wilkes and Neal Snyder in the front page article, “Tear-downs Indicate Healthy Home Sales Market” (Town Topics, July 15). Princeton may be missing an opportunity to address both sustainability and affordability in facing the spike in tear-downs. The first principle should be to reduce such activity because the reuse of existing stock aids sustainability. A recent statement from a group of architects in Santa Monica, California stated that “Adaptive re-use is one of the most interesting approaches to sustainability and growth. Is it not preferable to see new life breathed into an older building instead of simply throwing it away? Sustainability has many facets, and as is often said, ‘the greenest building is the one not torn down.’ Updating older buildings can contribute significantly to our town’s goals of sustainability. Our codes need to be improved to insure that demolition is not the only viable option.”

Princeton’s situation is similar. (We also have lost many beautiful and sustaining trees through teardowns.)

What are Princeton’s goals of sustainability? Perhaps this exchange will illuminate what the goals are regarding housing. I acknowledge that such new construction will continue, but when it does the community should benefit. Why not increase the water hookup or other fees paid to Princeton to $50,000? Our local government could earmark that money for affordable housing. Such a strategy is in place in other communities that care about both affordable housing and retaining a mix of income groups in their towns.

I agree with the Solomons that the sentiments expressed in the article by current and former local government officials are worrisome, but I think their appearance may provide an opportunity to open a conversation about a trend toward destruction of existing stock that at least some residents deplore.


Gulick Road