June 6, 2012

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to the apparently heartfelt message about HiTOPS in the May 16 mailbox. Although I can empathize with the feelings of the four people who signed the letter about what is happening in our society, I must respectfully disagree with their opinions about HiTOPS “moral neutrality.”

As the father of three, stepfather to five, and grandfather of four, I am only too aware of the challenges of rearing children in a society where explicit sexual messages are in the media, in our movie theaters, in popular song lyrics, on the web and even in the news. It would be naive to believe that we can insulate and isolate our children from all of that. HiTOPS is not to blame.

HiTOPS does not “promote” or “encourage” sexual activity between teens as the letter-writers assert. The mission of HiTOPS is not to teach or preach morality, as the letter-writers would obviously like to see. That, in my opinion, is the responsibility of parents and religious institutions. What HiTOPS does do is to inform teens, who have already made the decision to become sexually active or who may become sexually active, how to avoid STD transmission and pregnancy. HiTOPS also provides contraception, pap smears, and Gardasil vaccines for young men and women against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer. Their other valuable services include emotional and psychological support services to fragile adolescent populations, including survivors of sexual assault and gay and lesbian youth.

If HiTOPS were to begin preaching and moralizing to the teen population that they hope to serve, the organization would come across as judgmental and sanctimonious. Doing that would cause its message to be lost on much of their target group and reduce the organization’s effectiveness. Rather than hand-wringing and sermonizing over the state of our society, HiTOPS is performing a valuable service to our community’s young men and women and their parents and has earned their respect. I also believe that HiTOPS deserves our community’s support.

Lewis A. Edge, Jr.

Cleveland Road West

To the Editor:

Newly retired in Princeton after years of teaching gifted children, I was in search of a way to keep intellectually active within my local community. This, of course, is not hard to do around here. But I wanted the intellectual rigor of a University-level experience without the requisite reading load which an audited course would entail. I found just what I was looking for at the Evergreen Forum. First, I took a course entitled Exploring Princeton Architecture. The course description read: “We will focus on the social, communal, and cultural settings in which Princeton’s buildings were commissioned, designed, used, preserved, viewed, and assigned meaning.” I was hooked. Armed with this new knowledge, I was able to bring an additional depth of understanding to my walks through the town and on campus. This course was taught by both a Princeton Museum Docent/Historical-Society guide and a recently retired Princeton University architect and director of that institution’s physical planning department.

This spring I took “More Shakespeare off the Page: As You Like It.” Again, I was drawn in not only by the teacher’s love of the play and knowledge of the theater as well as the Bard, but also by the interactive part of the class. We read and dramatized as we were learning the ins-and-outs of Shakespearean language, as well as seeing in depth the meaning of the play within the context of its time. All of this, while role-playing and learning to read the lines in an effort to express all their inherent meaning and emotion. The teachers in both courses asked us to do some additional reading, which was well within my expectations. Overall, I was impressed with the wealth of talent and knowledge that is part of the fabric of our community. So for all new retirees out there looking for additional opportunities to learn while enjoying themselves, I highly recommend The Evergreen Forum.

Nancee Goldstein

Vandeventer Avenue

To the Editor:

We recently opened our front door and came face to face with a white-tailed hawk. The hawk stood immobile and appeared injured. It certainly could not fly and after some time hobbled off into our yard.

Tremendous thanks to Princeton Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson who arrived today and handled the situation with tremendous care and experience. By listening to her cries from the rear of our house, Mark quickly located the very young hawk in the woods. The hawk had fallen from a nest on our property and had not yet learned to fly.

We were so impressed by and thankful for Mark’s ability to locate and gently control the pet by its feet. The plan is to nurture the hawk at the Mercer County Wildlife Center until she can fly and be released back to the wild of our woods.

Peter and Janet Brav

Highland Terrace

To the Editor:

I was delighted to learn about New Jersey Transit’s new bus service from Princeton to our new hospital in Plainsboro. As a 13-year former member of the Princeton Regional Health Commission during the planning period for the new hospital, I recall that the Commission gave input to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services on issues the Commission considered important in this move. Two issues were paramount:

1. That Witherspoon neighborhood residents (who have walked to the old hospital) and others have easy access to the clinic and other new hospital services;

2. That there be improved access via Harrison Street to the new hospital.

Congratulations to hospital officials for their persistent efforts in both of these goals and to Princeton University for sharing the transit costs with the hospital.

I noted with concern, however, that five diesel buses are scheduled to be used. Diesel is not as clean burning as natural gas with which some New Jersey Transit and other buses are already equipped. Knowing that service will run every 40 to 75 minutes daily (and with air pollution from existing heavy traffic), I urge that, as soon as possible, the switch be made to cleaner fuel technology such as currently available natural gas (or hybrid) — or electric vehicles — which are well suited for relatively short run repeat routes. This is especially important since we are transporting people to a facility for the promotion of health.

Grace Sinden

Ridgeview Circle

To the Editor:

AvalonBay (AB) wants to build a closed compound of 280 units on the old hospital site: the hugest building in Princeton, with a private swimming pool in the main courtyard. Why should this development be allowed in our community? The 2006 Master Plan explicitly prohibits gated communities. AB prides itself on creating closed “communities.” Other municipalities have thwarted AB developments: Highland Park, N.J.; Greater Huntington, N.Y.; Scripps Ranch, Calif. We ought to reject AB in Princeton.

A closed compound is out of sync with Princeton values of diversity and openness. The proposed development would physically impede connectivity between our neighborhoods (Witherspoon/Jackson and Harris/Jefferson) — a goal of relatedness that the Witherspoon Corridor Study Group spent much time promoting. The Task Force for rezoning the hospital (now the MRRO zone) was adamant that any development should, as a matter of public policy, permit public plazas and pedestrian access routes “crossing the site” (Borough Code 17A-193B.d.1). It called the hospital’s departure a “unique opportunity” for area renewal and re-connection. Hospital leadership (including Barry Rabner, CEO and President of UMCP) signed on for this smart urban design (in exchange for a zoning for “up to 280 units”), and even suggested the obvious value of limited retail stores to assist with people-flow and economic vitality. (Who wants to waste gas driving to the shopping center for toothpaste?).

As far as is now known, AB has refused public access “crossing the site.” Talks about a pedestrian passageway that would connect a public plaza on Witherspoon to Harris Road have yielded little. The pedestrian thoroughfare proposed in the 2005 concept drawings (commissioned by the hospital), running between the garage and any building on the east (now perhaps to be AB’s big cube) has not been incorporated into new plans.

This is an outrage, an affront to civic values. The Master Plan and Borough Code both call for public access across the 5.6 acres. Who can imagine an enclosed four-story high wall of enclosed bridges between the garage and the AB cube so that residents don’t have to get wet, climb or descend stairs, or use elevators, and can remain on “their same floor” in order to reach apartments. No other garage I know of has “same-floor transition” to housing units. Princeton does not need a Berlin Wall.

Not all of the fault belongs to AB; their people are simply taking advantage of weak zoning regulations that should have been strengthened as soon as AB came poking around in the fall of 2011. Planning Board staff had ample time to advise Borough Council that potential dangers of a blockbuster development lurked (AB did not submit concept renderings until March 12, 2012). Proper guidance from Planning Board municipal leadership has been missing.

Princeton needs both market-rate and “affordable” rental units, but not at any price. All municipal bodies must ponder well the price-tag AB brings.

Jill Stein

Gulick Road

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Barry Rabner.

To achieve “evidence-based design … guided by experience [and] instinct.’ your “design team articulated a set of guiding principles … based on the understanding that a building is more than a container.” The design had to “achieve very important … goals,” and thus “used focus groups with patients,” at one point making “more than 300 changes to the existing design.”

A similar process resulted in the design standards for the structure to replace the hospital on its old site, in the Witherspoon neighborhood of Princeton. The goals here were of course not patient-based but neighborhood-based: low rooflines, open and inviting public space, walkways, a mix of commercial and residential uses. Like you, we wanted to be “up-to-date,” urging ‘green’ design because, also like you, we knew that “lowering operating costs” would help both the developer and the community.

Like your goals, ours were specific — but they bear no fruit in the design offered by the company to which you are selling this part of our neighborhood. Merely the highest bidder, this developer specializes in standardized plans for gated communities — not in neighborhoods. Plaudits for 20 percent affordable housing, we need all we can get. But must it be in a backward-looking monolith that cuts corners, as testified to by its tenants in other U.S. cities? (See tenant reviews posted at www.simplesite.com/princetonview.)

It may be too late to reject this particular bid, but it is not too late to expect the bidder to honor standards known at the time of bidding. Ron Ladell offers to negotiate. Great, but his company has already received all that Princeton needs to give: the high density needed for high profits. It is his turn to give open access, not a closed enclave. There is no reason why there cannot be a public walkway through the development: in one side and out the other.

We beg you to support community efforts to enforce the kind of design standards you yourself advocate. To quote N.Y. Times architecture critic Richard Kimmelman, writing recently, “Architecture … acts as part of a larger social and economic ecology, or else it elects to be a luxury, meaningless except to itself” — and to those who profit from it.

Let us have development that is sensitive to the needs of the community it serves.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the way in which the recent bear episode was handled by the Princeton authorities. I wonder what part of “b-e-a-r” our governmental officials do not understand. My fourth grade daughter’s school was on lock down due to this wandering wild animal. I received a robocall from the Princeton police department indicating that there was a bear on the loose and that it was “being monitored.” Have these people never heard of a tranquilizer dart? Why the bear was not immediately tranquilized and transported away from the area is quite beyond me. The Princeton authorities who ineptly managed this matter ought to be extremely thankful that no small child was hurt or killed by this wild animal running amok in our town. Merely monitoring the situation is the height of incompetence.

With sincere disbelief,

Rev. Dr. Gordon S. Mikoski

Mercer Street

May 30, 2012

To the Editor:

There are a dozen reasons I am supporting the six candidates for Council endorsed by the Democratic Committees of the Borough and Township. The first six reasons are the candidates themselves. Each has a record of extraordinary leadership and service, an in-depth knowledge of local government, and the seasoned judgment needed to meet the challenges ahead.

The other six reasons these candidates deserve our support:

1. they are determined to deliver the savings and the efficient and responsive government promised by consolidation;

2. they will defend our time-tested commitments to diversity, affordable housing and the preservation of our neighborhoods;

3. they will protect open space and the environment and the sustainability of our community through growth management;

4. they will work as a team by reaching across the old municipal boundaries to ensure that our new government is truly representative of the entire community;

5. they will strive to maintain an effective working relationship with Princeton University as a respected partner in shaping our community; and

6. they have the confidence of grassroots Democratic committee people who know them best.

Please vote for HEATHER HOWARD, LANCE LIVERMAN, PATRICK SIMON, BERNIE MILLER, JENNY CRUMILLER and JO BUTLER. They are six strong individuals who also represent a mix of talent and experience best able to lead the new Princeton.

Walter Bliss

Moore Street

To the Editor:

I am a Democratic candidate for the new Princeton Council in the Primary Election on Tuesday, June 5. I am extremely proud that the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, the Joint-Municipal Committee and the Mercer County Democratic Committee have all recommended me as 1 of the 8 candidates in the Democratic column. This means that Democrats may choose 6 candidates who will run for the new Princeton Council in the General Election in November. I am asking for your consideration that you cast 1 of your 6 votes for me.

Princeton is very special to me. I moved to Snowden Lane 15 years ago with my husband, Joe, to raise our family. Since then, I have owned and operated my own business in town. I have spent countless hours in our wonderful library, pool, parks and schools with my family. I have invested my time and talents in many non-profits in our community, in particular as a member of the Corner House Foundation board and as President of the John Witherspoon Middle School PTO, where I led the way towards significant improvements in the overall middle school experience. Consolidation provides us with a rare opportunity to reset the way local government serves our residents and manages our resources. To make this happen, the new Princeton needs new leadership, new vision and new ideas. On Council, I will treat our residents as I treated my customers in my store – with care and respect. I will work collaboratively with residents, businesses and local non-profits to find practical and prudent solutions to the issues that matter to our community. Please help me work towards a brighter future for Princeton by casting 1 of your 6 votes for me on Tuesday, June 5 for the new Princeton Council.

Tamera Matteo

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Jenny Crumiller’s candidacy for the new Council in the upcoming primary. Jenny has worked collaboratively behind the scenes for many years to involve more citizens in local politics. The success of consolidation, the recent years of zero tax increases in the Borough, and our highly competitive Democratic primary all bear witness to this work.

Jenny’s commitment to open government is matched by her aversion to telling her own story. Few know that she is a tech whiz and that she and Jon have a blended name. Few know that she supported herself after high school with a factory job and service work, that she funded her early college years with Pell grants, and that that she finished her degree at Rutgers (Phi Beta Kappa) while raising three children and handling a full complement of civic activities. Jenny has not forgotten what it means to live on a shoestring, and she can be counted on to bring that perspective to spending proposals that may add to the tax burden.

Jenny’s interest in preserving Princeton as an affordable community with excellent public schools and a small town atmosphere is well-known. I first met her 20 years ago at a meeting in a Moore Street living room to discuss the hospital’s plan to raze four houses on Harris Road to make way for a bigger parking garage. The Township Zoning Board had approved the plan after a brief hearing. Notice was sent only to residents living within two hundred feet. The one Harris Road homeowner who objected was not fluent in English and was no match for the hospital attorney. Everyone saw the unfairness. Everyone saw the threat to the fabric of a neighborhood at the core of our public school system. However, some argued that the cause was lost or too costly or unpopular to fight.

Not Jenny. She helped lead a grueling neighborhood struggle to change the outcome, and the outcome was eventually changed. Three houses were spared, the garage was pulled back with a modified design, and Harris Road was preserved as a residential street. The experience led Jenny to municipal politics where she has worked consistently to ensure that citizens are informed of proposals that will affect them, that the decision-making process is fair, and that development projects are vetted intelligently.

Space does not permit me to go into the particulars of all of the help Jenny has given over her years in Princeton to organizations and people who have sought advice or assistance. When Jenny serves on a Board, she is more than a name on a letterhead. She gives her all. I urge you to support her on June 5.

Virginia Kerr

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

As election season approaches, it is incumbent upon us, as citizens of this great country, to make the most informed decisions we can about our elected officials, in a community as profound as Princeton, its legacy and historical relevance are maintained by the elected officials who represent our interests locally. With that said, it is with utmost sincerity that I urge my fellow Democrats to support my friend and colleague, Bernie Miller, for the new consolidated Princeton Council on June 5, so he can carry forward the work of the Consolidation Commission and ensure that our community can realize the benefits of Consolidation.

As a 17-year-resident of Princeton and United States Space Technology Hall of Fame Inductee, I have been honored to work with Bernie Miller for over 20 years, both professionally and as a volunteer for the Princeton community. In the 1990s I worked with him when he was the Project Manager for a complex and sophisticated telecommunications satellite and I saw how he used his management skills and experience to guide the early development of this satellite concept. Even during his tenure as an engineer, Bernie excelled. He received the NASA Public Service Award in 1965 for management of the NASA Ranger Program. This satellite took the first close up, high-resolution images of the surface of the moon to aid in the selection of the landing sites for Apollo. Later we worked together on the Council of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library where as Treasurer, Bernie used his financial acumen to manage the resources of the Friends. More recently, I have seen him bring his vision for the future of our community to bear on the Consolidation Study and the Transition Task Force to facilitate the merger of our two communities.

Having served as Princeton township committeeman since 2002 to the present, and Mayor in 2009 and 2010, Bernie’s pedigree and commitment to Princeton are without a question. In 2011, Bernie led the Princeton Township team that negotiated the first voluntary payment of $500,000 by Princeton University to the Township and played a pivotal role in opening of the Princeton Community Park Pool. As Township Deputy Mayor and Mayor Bernie worked very closely with his colleagues on Borough Council on issues shared by our two municipalities and on the Joint Princeton Finance Committee on the funding of services and projects that our two municipalities share.

Based on my experience, I have no doubt of Bernie Miller’s commitment and dedication to the town of Princeton. I support the candidacy of Bernie Miller for endorsement in the Democratic primary election. Please join me in voting for Bernie Miller for Princeton Council on June 5.

Surinder Sharma

Christopher Drive

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my strong support for the candidacy of Heather Howard in the upcoming Council election. I have gotten to know Heather over the past couple of years, during which she has been my colleague at the Woodrow Wilson School of the University. She is a remarkably bright, well-informed and sensible person, with a deep commitment to public service.

In my view Heather is the consensus candidate in the wide field of dedicated citizens running for seats on the new Princeton Council. Her background is remarkable. She served in the White House as senior policy advisor to Hilary Clinton, in New Jersey as commissioner of Health and Senior Services, and today is charged with directing a major national program at the Woodrow Wilson School implementing President Obama’s health care reform. In her short time on the Borough Council, she’s already demonstrated leadership, diving into consolidation and finance issues and promoting transparency and a more responsive government. And, in a time when we unfortunately see continuing polarization and government dysfunction, Heather knows how to build consensus through civil dialogue and good humor.

Heather is open-minded, responsive to constituents, and a profound listener. I hope you will join me in casting your vote for Heather Howard on June 5, so that she can continue her good work for Princeton.

Stanley N. Katz

Clover Lane

To the Editor:

We support Heather Howard as a candidate for Princeton Council and will be voting for her in the Democratic primary on June 5. We think she has an extraordinary background in government at every level, an exceptional record of community service both local and statewide, and outstanding skills professional and personal that will be invaluable for the challenges facing a consolidated Princeton Council.

But it’s Heather’s excellent and proactive work on Borough Council this year that makes us most excited to support her. Working tirelessly on consolidation issues, reforming our public meetings, and helping maintain a no-tax-increase budget on the Borough Finance Committee, Heather has fulfilled all she promised Princeton voters. And as safety-conscious Jugtown residents, we are so grateful to her for helping organize the recent public safety forum regarding a spate of burglaries in our neighborhood.

Heather has proven herself as the very best example of public servant, and we urge every Democrat and Independent to vote for her on June 5.

Connie and James Camner

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

We write in support of Scott Sillars for the new Princeton Council and urge our fellow citizens to do the same in the Democratic primary on June 5. Consolidation is now a reality and whether you supported it or not, it is critical to have the most thoughtful people on Council who can implement it successfully. Scott believes that consolidation’s success will be measured by how it benefits ALL our citizens. Issues of development and affordability are critical to Princeton’s future. He will work to defend our diverse neighborhoods in the face of development by insisting on a more engaged and proactive planning process. Scott has the financial expertise and is already very familiar with the complexities of merging two governments because of his work on municipal finance committees and on the Transition Task Force. He will be a new face on council, but will be ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work on day one. Please vote for Scott on June 5 — we need his unique skills on council.

Deborah Kaple, Miguel Centeno

Pine Street

To the Editor:

We are voting for Scott Sillars for Princeton Council because we believe he has the skills necessary to work effectively on the critical issues facing our town. We have known Scott and his wife, Margaret Griffin, for a number of years, and have witnessed first-hand his action and concern for the well-being of our community and beyond. From starting a low-income residential weatherization business for Isles, Inc. in Trenton, to his work managing Red Cross hurricane shelters, his support for the Princeton Public Library and other local organizations, to his foot-soldiering in the Mercer4Obama effort in ‘08, Scott has demonstrated that he can lead as well as follow, and that what’s most important is getting the job done. We need Scott on the new council because he will bring his considerable financial acumen, as well as a lot of heart, to the job. We urge our fellow Democrats to vote Sillars on June 5.

Shelly Yedlin, Charlie Yedlin

Beech Hill Circle

To the Editor:

On June 5, Princeton has the opportunity to vote for the candidate representing the Democratic slot on the general election ticket. There are two worthy choices and while Liz Lempert would make a good mayor, Kevin Wilkes will make a great one. I’ll tell you why.

Kevin has the skills to preside over consolidation. As an architect, he’s used to managing a design and construction team for demo, design, and reconstruction. Those skills have translated to his record as a Borough Councilman. But beyond execution, Kevin will know how to plan for it, or, to stick with the construction theme: he knows how to stage it.

This transition won’t be seamless and it could be turbulent. Princeton will need a thick-skinned taskmaster with a political gift bigger than just good communication skills and an eye toward sustainability.

Princeton needs a mayor who can bring an ecumenical cadence to the public trust who will then hook up the utilities for two separate communities now living in an under construction, split level home, as a family of one. Getting the foundation poured and the framing right is the first task at hand and most important stage of this consolidation. Kevin Wilkes will be that mayor.

He’ll be that mayor because this is what Kevin has done successfully all of his life. The new consolidation phase will also need a leader who is calm, but ready for a storm as different visions converge. Princeton will need a leader who can build these things, then after the sheetrock dust has cleared, turn around and inspect the job better than anyone else. The only person I know who can do this consolidation project the best is Kevin Wilkes, because Kevin Wilkes works for this town and he loves this town.

And he will always work for Princeton. Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz once said that Kevin Wilkes was a tireless worker; not because he never gets tired but because he keeps working when he is tired. It’s true: Kevin is indefatigable.

I can’t wait for all residents to know what so many Princetonians already know about Kevin’s public life, but also his contributions to the town as a private citizen. One of the things that will emerge out of his legacy will be more public art in our town. The Princeton Writer’s Block on then-undeveloped land along Paul Robeson Place was achieved out of his own commitment to irrigate his community’s public art desert, keeping it watered for other things to come. In the two public art projects that I have worked on with Kevin, he always said two things to me, “We’ve got to keep this thing rolling and we have to pull it to the finish line.” Princeton needs this energy and this attitude in the nascent throes of a consolidation. Kevin will assess consolidation, address any problems, and you can be sure he’ll get Princeton landing on its feet.

Peter Soderman

Hamilton Avenue

To the Editor:

Tamera Matteo is a newcomer to politics but a familiar face among the community organizations in town. The president of the John Witherspoon Middle School PTO, a CASA volunteer, a Corner House Foundation board member, and a volunteer for McCarter Theater, to name just a few of her community leadership roles, Tamera has a stellar reputation among those who have worked with her. She’s a good listener who solicits input from a diverse community; she’s a collaborative leader who builds consensus; she is results-oriented. She brings a professional approach and a customer-service perspective, borne of her decade-long ownership of a local retail business, to all that she does.

We have worked alongside Tamera on the John Witherspoon (JW) Middle School PTO, and strongly support her for the new Council. She brings the experience, temperament, perspective and commitment that the new Princeton needs and deserves.

As JW’s PTO president, she was a wonderful bridge between the leadership of a principal who had headed the school for over 30 years, and a new principal who had to quickly learn the lay of the land. She was able to make even better the many positive aspects of JW. The highlights of her tenure as PTO president include:

Turning a negative PTO cash balance into a $20,000 surplus;

Assisting parents in developing the first JW swim club;

Being appointed by the District to participate in the Principal search committee for JW;

Redesigning the JW spiritwear to make it more appealing to the kids, thereby improving school spirit, and helping to raise more funds; and,

Finding an equivalent in quality/less expensive Washington, DC tour for the 8th graders.

Tamera’s ability to improve both the tangibles, such as cash balance and sports offerings, as well as the intangibles, such as school spirit, bodes well for her future success as a member of the Princeton Council. For this reason, we enthusiastically endorse her candidacy for Princeton Council.

Elizabeth Collier

Snowden Lane

Susan Kanter

Christopher Drive

Roxanne List

Jefferson Road

Leah McDonald

Journeys End Lane

Joan Morelli

Walker Drive

Lucy Quach Saengtawesin

Gallup Road

Elizabeth Samios

Bertrand Drive

AnaMaria Silva

Stonewall Circle

Jeanette Timmons

Marion Road East

Diana Traquina

Van Dyke Road

To the Editor:

On June 5, voters in the Democratic Primary election will nominate six candidates for the position of council person in the new consolidated Princeton government. Nine candidates are seeking the endorsement. All supported consolidation and all promise to work to fulfill its promises of efficiency and savings. All bring impressive talents and varied experience. How to choose? As members of the Joint Consolidation/Shared Services Study Commission, we urge you to give one of your votes to a newcomer, Patrick Simon. Pat served on the JCSSC as a citizen member from the Borough. Over the months that we worked together to develop the recommendation that led to the consolidation referendum, Pat demonstrated the qualities needed to serve our new united community. He brings formidable analytic talents, most notably his ability to unravel the arcane complexities of municipal finance and explain, in plain language, the financial impacts of policy decisions. He is fair and open minded. He worked with us on the Community Engagement Subcommittee and continually sought and carefully considered views from everyone in the Princeton community. He has demonstrated the ability to work with all sectors of the community – including Princeton University — and to find the common ground that will enable Princeton to continue to thrive as the stimulating, diverse community we all value. Pat will be a newcomer to elected office and we applaud that, but he has proven that he has the acumen and temperament to serve our community well. Please join us in giving one of your votes to Pat Simon.

Valerie Haynes

Mount Lucas Road

Anton Lahnston

Elm Road

Carol Golden

Snowden Lane

Ryan Lilienthal

Maple Street

Alice K. Small

Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

Four years ago in the lead-up to the 2008 election, I met and worked for the young woman who was organizing the regional New Jersey-Pennsylvania effort to elect Obama. She was a model of capability, efficiency, calm, and intelligence. I was amazed at how much she constantly accomplished, what a fine leader she was, and how unflagging her drive was, from the beginning of the Obama campaign right through the day of the election.

You will not be surprised to know that this young woman was Liz Lempert. Since then I have watched with ever-growing admiration as Liz assumed significant responsibilities when she was elected to Township Committee and later took on leadership positions in the Consolidation and Transition Task Force processes. Liz has been unflappable and sensible at every turn and in every public meeting in her various roles. She radiates a sense of fairness, confidence, and quietly positive energy, encouraging those who work with her to give their best and find the most effective solutions to problems.

The next few years will inevitably bring their own strains as we work our way toward creating a merged municipal entity. The person we elect as mayor must be able to handle the huge array of consolidation processes and issues — to say nothing of unforeseen situations — with wisdom, aplomb, and good humour.

Liz has amply demonstrated all the necessary executive and managerial skills that will be required to be mayor of a combined Princeton. We are the poster child for consolidation, and other towns and municipal nonprofit groups are watching us closely. We have a crucial responsibility to consolidate with success. For this, we need a seasoned and effective leader as mayor. Liz Lempert is that person. Please vote for her on June 5.

Casey Lambert

North Road

To the Editor:

The Princeton community — Borough and Township — has long been defined and distinguished by three physical elements: (i) the woods and fields that separate Princeton from its neighbors; (ii) Nassau Street, Palmer Square, and our core downtown neighborhoods; and (iii) the historic portions of the Princeton University campus.

Jo Butler and Jenny Crumiller have demonstrated that they understand the fundamental relationship between Princeton’s three defining elements and the still unique character of our now rapidly growing community. They understand that Princeton will be diminished – substantively, immediately, and recognizably — if we permit any of our town’s three defining elements to be impaired.

Change is inevitable. But there are degrees of change, and change is not always beneficial. People instinctively resist transformative change. Governments are created and empowered to limit transformative change. Princeton’s many defenses include elected bodies, ordinances, master plans, a regional planning board, historic preservation review committees, and shade tree commissions. Sometimes those defenses are effective; more often they collapse limply whenever there is a promise of new tax revenues or a threat of litigation.

Notwithstanding the lamentable porosity of its defenses, Princeton Borough’s survival as an independent entity served until this year to prevent upheaval in our core downtown neighborhoods. Consolidation, however, changes everything. I suggest that the primary duty of our newly elected Council will be to combat the drive to transform our downtown into an urban hub. Doing so successfully will require wit and tenacity. Jo and Jenny have demonstrated those attributes in spades. They are courageous. They are resourceful. Their instincts are sound. They do not run for cover when attacked. I am comfortable entrusting our future to them. They have my strong support and I fervently hope they will have yours on June 5 and November 6.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

I support Jo Butler for Princeton Council. I have known her for several years, working closely with her as the Borough Liaison to the Joint Recreation Board and can state first hand that she is a professional, no-nonsense individual, who brings an open mind to every issue with which she is faced. Never coming to a debate with a hidden agenda, Jo Butler listens well, asks good questions, is smart and does all the necessary background work to get her mind around the issues at hand.

From the start Jo Butler has been a champion of the new Community Park Pool. Once she listened to all the disparate points of view, she made up her mind and was integral in ending the ceaseless debates in the Borough about the pool and got the project moving forward. As a result, our beautiful new pool is opening this weekend, on budget and on time. Our community owes a debt of gratitude to Ms. Butler for those efforts.

Jo Butler also supports a combined Parks and Recreation Department, which would allow for more coordinated and efficient passive and active recreation services for all of our citizens. She is a thoughtful and decisive leader who also embodies that rare quality among public servants – she is selfless. We need Jo Butler. I urge like-minded members of the community to vote on June 5 for Jo Butler for Princeton Council.

Thomas Zucosky

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

I believe Liz Lempert is the right candidate at the right time for a new Princeton. She has the unique ability to build bridges and trust between the two communities as we move to a consolidated municipality. Her accomplishments and abilities will only be more profound in the new Princeton:

• Liz is the only candidate to have support from Township Committee and Borough Council members. This speaks volumes for her ability to unify our new
community.

• She led the way on preserving the Princeton Ridge resulting in 60-plus acres of total preserved land in perpetuity. From promoting walking and biking, food waste recycling to sustainability certification Liz’s record on the environment and sustainability is unsurpassed.

• Her common sense approach in working with our Citizens’ Finance Advisory Commission and negotiating with Princeton University has resulted in both zero tax increases and our first-ever contribution from Princeton University to help ease residents’ tax burdens.

Liz’s open-mindedness, energy and spirit of collaboration provide just the right combination for our newly consolidated municipality. I encourage you to vote for Liz on June 5.

Chad Goerner

Mayor, Princeton Township

To the Editor:

Many of you worked very hard to promote consolidation and were rewarded with its passage in 2011. I suspect that the opponents of consolidation now want the transition to be as smooth and as seamless as possible. We will be one Princeton. We want this to work, and we want to choose the best candidate to help make it work for all of us.

I have had the pleasure of working with each of the three candidates for mayor and feel that Princeton is much the better for having had their representation as leaders in this community. However, I support Kevin Wilkes to lead us in 2013 because he has clearly demonstrated over the years that his ability to listen, to work with others with varying views to reach resolution, to communicate with all members of our diverse community, to work (with ease) with members of our residential, educational and business communities, is the kind of leadership that we will need going forward. The decisions made within the next few years could determine the quality of life we will have in Princeton for years to come. I want the person leading that group to possess the caliber of qualities and leadership that have been demonstrated by Kevin.

I hope that he can count on your support on June 5.

MILDRED T. TROTMAN

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

With all the hype about new beginnings and fresh ideas, Princeton voters choosing a government for their newly merged town may want to ask themselves: But, why are we doing all this?

No one can answer that question quite as well as Bernie Miller, a former mayor of Princeton Township who is following through the consolidation process from beginning to end. He first started as an ally of Jay Bleiman, then mayor of the Township, on the 1977 Consolidation Study Commission. Bernie has stayed active ever since. He’s been a Township Councilman, a member of the most recent Consolidation Commission, and now one of the elected officials on the Transition Task Force.

He’s the chair of the Facilities Subcommittee, where I watch him sensitively balancing multiple interests as we physically bring staff together from separate departments and agencies into new collaborative relationships. Bernie’s even-handedness is making a difference.

In the midst of all that might seem new, there’s a place for institutional memory and balance. Vote June 5 to keep Bernie Miller on the new town council.

Marvin Reed

Former Mayor Princeton Borough

Anne: “The Gerb Family Pool Bay is great! We really needed something like this for years.”
Brooke: ”I like the Gerb Family Pool Bay because I can bring the baby in with me and sit.”
—Anne (left) and Brooke Robotti, Princeton

“It‘s a lot bigger and a lot more spacious and there are a lot more cooler things, like the fish for the baby pool and the slide for the big pool.”
—Atticus Jamison, Princeton

“It’s very good. It’s more open and it’s laid out better, parents can see their children in the baby pool.”
—Jim Jones, Princeton

Morgan: “I really like it. I like water slides, so I really like the new slide.”
Sumaiyya: “I really, really like it. It’s very open and roomy.”
—Morgan Bestwick (left) and Sumaiyya Stephens, Princeton

Dahlia: “I like the changes, it’s bigger and a lot cleaner.”
Caroline: “I think the changes are good with the slide and the pool is much cleaner.”
—Dahlia Musa (left) and Caroline Giles, Princeton

Marco: “It looks better and there’s a big slide.”
Michael: “I like that the pool is way bigger.”
Isabella: “It’s big and it’s awesome.”
—Triplets (left to right and oldest to youngest) Marco, Michael, and Isabella Bahbah, Princeton 

Orlando: “I really like the slide.”
Julian: “I like that the pools are connected and that there’s an overhang over the pool for shade.”
—Orlando Chorney with son Julian, Princeton

NTU Polly 5-16-12

GRACEFUL GARDEN: “I love to work with plant combinations. That’s what makes a garden successful, using different textures and colors.” Master gardener Polly Burlingham, owner of Green Gardens & Polly’s Pots, is seated amidst a display of orange iris and ornamental grass in a garden she designed on Snowden Lane.

“A container garden personalizes things. Almost any plant can go into a container for a limited time, and what’s fun about containers is that you can start over again every year and experiment.”

Master gardener Polly Burlingham should know. She specializes in unique container gardens, including hanging baskets, and she knows what a difference they can make on a patio, terrace, or deck.

As owner of Green Gardens & Polly’s Pots for 10 years, Ms. Burlingham has designed innumerable container gardens for clients in Princeton and the surrounding area.

“I like to design and restore gardens, and I like creating intimate spaces,” she explains. “Most gardens have seasonal interest; things bloom at different times, and this creates variety. There can be fall colors, or interesting bark on trees, or texture that stands out in winter. Every season has something special.”

Master Gardener

Ms. Burlingham says she was always interested in creating beautiful gardens, a talent she shared with her mother. “My mom was a wonderful gardener, and I was a member of the Junior Garden Club.”

When she became a Master Gardener in 2001 (a process which entails a six-month study program, extensive volunteer work, and ongoing education), Ms. Burlingham became involved in the Barbara Sigmund Park. She has devoted many hours of landscaping, planting, and maintenance to the establishment of a garden there, which has provided a charming and colorful vista for the community.

“I also proposed doing a series of hanging baskets to the Borough, including on Nassau and Witherspoon Streets, and the Albert Hinds Plaza at the library.”

Her handiwork can be seen at all of these locations, as well as at the Princeton Shopping Center, the Peacock Inn, and Alchemist & Barrister. She is also known for the beautiful plantings in the elegant urns at Drumthwacket, the Governor’s mansion.

Ms. Burlingham’s clients depend on her throughout the year to combine her unique style with theirs to create a garden design that continues to provide pleasure, whatever the season.

“I enjoy choosing the plants,” she notes. “I’m very visual, and I also change my mind a lot. I shop for plant materials in a variety of nurseries, and find new combinations that I might not have thought of. This is the most fun — discovering a new plant or color combination.”

New Varieties

She adds that there are many more choices available today than in the past. “One of the surprises has been the emergence of so many new plants and varieties that are now available. The plant palette has expanded so much. Every year, there are new varieties to work with. It keeps it interesting.

“For example, there used to be a few types of geraniums; now, there are hundreds. Today, there are many different kinds of petunias. New varieties of old stand-bys keep us inspired.”

Placing a plant in the right location — whether sun or shade, wet or dry conditions — is crucial, Ms. Burlingham adds.

“The most important consideration is putting the plant in the right place. If a plant likes it dry, you don’t put it in a wet area. It’s good to put like plants together — that is, those that do well in similar types of soil and conditions. Although in container gardens, you have a little more flexibility because you can make changes. And, of course, you also have to think about deer-resistant plants.”

The ability to mix and match the plants in container gardens — from season to season or even within a season — creates ongoing interest, points out Ms. Burlingham. “I like to try several new plants every year. It’s great to experiment. I enjoy including more unusual plants. For example, in summer, you could have angelonia, coleus, and plectranthus. In spring, a container garden might include mini daffodils, herbs, such as rosemary, pansies, violas, and grape hyacinth.

“I also like to include succulents; they have so many interesting shapes and textures. And, I’ll use edible plants like herbs, kale, and lettuce. In addition, I like perennials, grasses, and small shrubs in containers.”

Textures and Colors

“I really specialize in interesting plant combinations, making the most of the textures and colors. My hanging baskets are a good example. There can be coleus (which does well in sun or shade), asparagus ferns (for a feathering look), trailing petunias, and upright angelonia. I can also add a big bold leaf like caladium.”

A winter basket could contain decorative branches, pine cones, berries, and evergreens, she adds.

Ms. Burlingham also provides the container for the plants, and this is another important part of the visual effect. “I use glazed containers, clay pots, wooden boxes, and unusual pieces of logs handcrafted by area artist Peter Soderman.

May and June are especially busy, but Green Gardens & Polly’s Pots is an active year-round operation. Ms. Burlingham has a part-time staff for digging, planting, and installation.

“Fall can also be busy,” she adds. “It is an excellent time for installing new gardens because traditionally, it’s a little wetter. Also, you can put in beautiful grasses, fall-blooming perennials, and a chrysanthemum as an accent. I often start with new clients in the fall, and it’s nice, too, because a lot of the containers are on sale.

“I have a real mix of clients,” she continues. “Some like to be very involved hands-on gardeners. Others just like to sit back and admire the lovely garden setting.”

Of course, budget is always a consideration in terms of the plant material and size of the project. In some cases, projects are on-going and done in increments, continuing over time. A work in progress can be very engaging, and more people seem to be taking an interest in improving their outdoor space, reports Ms. Burliingham.

“In some cases, people are not taking such expensive vacations as in the past, and they want to make their home environment more appealing. I love to help them, and I love to visit all the gardens. Many times, the clients have become good friends, and I really think of it as visiting my own garden!”

Green Gardens & Polly’s Pots can be reached at (609) 947-1015. Website: www.pollysgreengardens.com

—Jean Stratton

NTU Cafe 44 5-16-12

GREAT TASTES: “We thought it would be a good idea to have a place that offers breakfast all day and have a space that is easy to get to, with a down-to-earth atmosphere, and reasonable prices.” Jennifer Jefferis, owner of Cafe 44, and manager Matthew Miller, are happy their new coffee house is off to a rousing start.

“The best French toast ever!”

“The best ham and sausage omelette I’ve ever tasted!”

“It’s a great addition to the town — a real neighborhood gathering place.”

“Super food and friendly staff!”

These are just some of the rave reviews that are making the rounds about the hot new coffee house, Cafe 44 on Leigh Avenue.

Opened in March by Jennifer Jefferis, it is located in the former space of Tortuga’s Mexican Village, which has moved across the street, and which Ms. Jefferis also owns.

Great Response

‘We’ve had a great response,” she says. “There has been great word-of-mouth. People like to come, and they seem to enjoy everything. We have a friendly atmosphere; it’s fun, down-to-earth and good value for the money.”

Manager Matthew Miller has had extensive experience in the cafe business  and is a barista. “We roast our own coffee, and it is very popular,” he reports. “People are really commenting on how good the food is, and we have lots of repeat customers. Our staff is excellent, very reliable, and capable.”

The space, which is inviting and relaxing, was totally renovated, he adds. The new wood floors are handsome, and a side room, featuring leather sofas, comfortable chairs, and book shelves, attracts customers who appreciate a cozy “library” setting in which to sip coffee and also take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi.

“The main dining room’s tables and chairs can accommodate 34 people. Together, both rooms provide seating for nearly 50.

The cafe also offers rotating artwork, and on June 3, an artist’s reception will be held for Bucks County photographer Donna Lovely from 2 to 4 p.m.

Other than diners, not many places offer breakfast all day, and this has been a big draw. As a neighborhood customer reports, “There was a need for a place like this to serve breakfast all day. And what they have is delicious — generous portions and very high quality. I love to come for brunch. And you never feel rushed, even when it’s full of people.”

Fresh and Local

Fresh and local ingredients are emphasized, adds Mr. Miller. “This is important. We are a local establishment, and we support area farmers and vendors.”

“Some of the most popular items are the challah French toast, the peasant omelette (with red potato, onion, cheddar cheese, and bacon, ham, sausage or pork roll), and the home fries,” says Ms. Jefferis. Other favorites are pancakes, Belgian waffles, and the variety of omelettes, and scrambled or fried eggs.

Weekends are especially popular for brunch, but lunch is another option, and lunchtime customers are increasing in numbers. “We want people to see what a great place this is to come on week days, too. Parking is not difficult, and you can walk here from nearby offices. It’s just about a 10-minute walk from Nassau Street.”

Soups, sandwiches, and salads are on the lunch menu, and favorites include grilled turkey, brie, and green apple; also, the avocado BLT (with avocado added to the traditional bacon, lettuce and tomato). Other choices are grilled chicken with bacon, Swiss cheese, and honey mustard dressing, and grilled veggies with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Spinach, chef’s, Caesar, and mixed greens are all popular salads.

Cafe 44 is also noted for its scrumptious baked goods from Sweetmama. Muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, brownies, cupcakes, and cookies are all big sellers.

A variety of coffees covers the spectrum, from a cup of Joe to espresso, cappuccino, latte, au lait, mocha, and macchiato, among others. Assorted teas, juices, sodas, and smoothies are also offered.

French Toast Fans

Prices include two eggs any style for $5, pancakes and French toast at $6, grilled sandwiches from $7, and salads from $6.

Take-out and catering service are also provided, and while Ms. Jefferis and Mr. Miller are very happy with the response to their daytime hours, they are looking forward to providing dinner within a few months. “We plan to be open Thursday through Sunday, and we also hope to have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.”

The focus is on Princeton customers, but as word gets out, people are coming from the surrounding area as well. “They really like the unpretentious atmosphere, quality food, and reasonable prices, note Ms. Jefferis and Mr. Miller.

Cafe 44 is very family-friendly, and many parents come in with children. The edibles and the surroundings attract all ages!

The reviews and critiques continue to be excellent, both in person and on-line, such as on Yelp, the user review website.

“We’ve had a great response, and I really enjoy connecting with the people,” says Ms. Jefferis. “I like to see them enjoying themselves. All they have to do is come in and taste what we have, and they’ll be back!”

Cafe 44 is open Tuesday through Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (609) 924-3900. Web: www.cafe44princeton.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/cafe44princeton.