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.

 DUDLEY SIPPRELLE

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.

T.J. ELLIOTT

Gulick Road

To the Editor:

I would like to offer an additional point of view regarding Princeton’s new, typically large housing stock.  Many of these new houses are built in middle-class neighborhoods having smaller, comfortably sized houses. The very expensive new houses add to tax revenues and exclude people with middle-class incomes. The two new houses under construction on Valley Road, call to mind dairy barns and stand far above their neighbors.  I know many people prefer the appearance of a capacious new house, but I wish that neighborhood context were considered more.  Why should building smaller houses be a problem?

STEPHANIE MAGDZIAK

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

The Princeton Council has been discussing legislation that would allow nearly everyone who works in the town to earn sick time they can use for themselves or a loved one in the event of an illness. The Princeton Board of Health urges the municipality to pass the ordinance and join nine New Jersey municipalities that already guarantee earned sick time.

Any responsible doctor will tell someone with the flu to stay home, get well, and avoid spreading germs. But for over 40 percent of private-sector workers who don’t have any paid sick time, every illness presents an impossible choice. Do they stay home and take care of themselves? Or do they go to work to be able to pay their bills? Where employees aren’t even allowed an unpaid day off, staying home to recover from the flu can cost them their job.

When workers are forced to come to work sick it puts us all at risk. 1 in 5 food service workers have reported coming in with a stomach bug, and fear of job loss played a big role in their decision. Infected food workers cause 70 percent of reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, which is why the CDC recommends restaurants provide paid sick days to their workers.

The Princeton Health Department has investigated two foodborne illness outbreaks stemming from suspected ill workers in as many years. Both outbreaks resulted in over 50 individuals succumbing to symptoms associated with foodborne disease. The Health Department has investigated an average of 27 reportable foodborne illnesses per year over the previous five years (2010-2014). Each year on average, seven cases had a connection to a food handler.

Childcare providers and home health care workers also often lack access to paid sick time, and when they come to work sick they can transmit illnesses to some of our town’s most vulnerable residents.

Parents who can’t earn paid sick time are more than twice as likely to send a sick child to school or daycare, endangering students, teachers, and staff. In 2013 over 40 percent of the students at Eagleswood Elementary School in Ocean County contracted norovirus, forcing the school to shut down for days. A growing body of evidence suggests that allowing workers to earn sick days can also provide real savings for businesses and our local economy. Workers forced to come to work sick stay sick longer, are less productive and can infect their co-workers. Nationally our economy loses $160 billion a year to this kind of ‘presenteeism’ — more than the cost of absenteeism.

Workers without earned sick days are 40 percent more likely to delay medical care, turning treatable conditions into more serious and costly ones. Unsurprisingly they are also more likely to use the emergency room – contributing to New Jersey’s more than 1 million annual emergency room visits that would be entirely avoidable with timely primary care.

Finally, jurisdictions that have passed similar laws around the country are doing well. Jersey City, Seattle and San Francisco are gaining jobs faster than neighbors that lack similar policies. Connecticut enacted the first statewide earned sick time law, and the Department of Labor reports measurable gains in the sectors most impacted by the new law. Passing the earned sick time ordinance would help keep Princeton’s families, businesses and local economy healthy. We urge the Council to pass this critical legislation as soon as possible.

CHARLES ROJER, MD

Princeton Board of Health, Chair

Monument Hall
One Monument Drive

To the Editor:

I would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to everyone who helped me this past week. Larry Jordan and the fleet of nurses: Kathy, Loretta, Sandy, Judith, Kate, Lauren.

Our beautiful new facility is spacious and graceful. Not knowing what to expect as a patient, I was impressed and pleased by the wonderful level of competence and compassion.

LYNN SANFORD

Cherry Valley Road

To the Editor:

We congratulate Mayor Liz Lempert for standing firm on Princeton’s intent to remain a sanctuary city for immigrants navigating the path to citizenship, despite fear and reaction following the recent tragedy in San Francisco where a woman was killed allegedly by an undocumented immigrant. Mayor Lempert and the Police Department are working hard to build trust throughout the community, including with the immigrant population, by providing “impartial policing” to all members of the community so people can feel safe to report crimes to the police.

 Our YWCA applauds that response as we remind our elected officials that the lack of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) has taken a devastating toll on countless immigrant families. In New Jersey, women make up 51.4% of the immigrant population.  Without CIR, these women and their families are needlessly marginalized. This will also serve as a time to focus on the “End Racial Profiling Act” (S. 1056/H.R. 1933), which has been re-introduced in Congress and would nationally define and outlaw the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement. YWCA believes all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin or gender – have the right to justice. This includes policies that eradicate racial profiling, increase immigrant rights, strengthen affirmative action and reduce hate crimes.

We strive to eliminate racism through awareness and educational programs. To that end, our YWCA provides our community with a well-respected English as a Second Language Program, high school equivalency preparation, and HiSET® testing in both English and Spanish, and a bilingual nursery school and child care program. We have also partnered with Latin American Legal Defense and Education (LALDEF) and Dress for Success Mercer to offer a free immigration workshop to our community members. The workshop, scheduled for Saturday, August 22 from 1-5pm, will focus on topics such as applying for citizenship/interview preparation, request/renew deferred action for youth, help with completion and review of application, translation of birth and marriage certificates, career planning, ESL classes, and more. Pre-registration is required and can be made by calling (609) 688-0881. Workshop will be held at YWCA Princeton on 59 Paul Robeson Place.

 JUDY HUTTON

CEO, YWCA Princeton

Obit Anderson 7-29-15Albert Wayne Anderson

Albert Wayne Anderson, 74, died peacefully in his sleep the morning of July 23, 2015. Wayne was born and spent his early years in Ettrick, Virginia. His parents, Albert Cornelius Anderson and Estelle M. (Floyd) Anderson predeceased him. Wayne is survived by his wife Susan and their sons Brian, his wife Krissa and their daughters Emma and Kelsea of Pawcatuck, CT, and Todd, his wife Carrie and their children Nathan and Natalie of Middlebury, VT, his son Michael and his wife Elena and their daughters Alexis and Zoe, and his daughter Carrie and her husband Jim and their children Samantha, Brittany, James, and Joshua, and 6 great grandchildren, all of Canada. A kind, gentle, and generous man, Wayne loved and was loved in return and will be greatly missed.

Wayne graduated with a BA from Nyack College in 1966 where he majored in philosophy and minored in science, and earned an MA from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1968 where he majored in education with a minor in religion. He loved the publishing world and worked for John Wiley & Sons from 1968 to 1988, working his way from textbook sales rep (back when sales reps visited campuses in person) to Promotions Manager and then to Acquisitions Editor. He was Vice President/General Manager of the Publishing Group at Peterson’s Guides from 1988 to 1991. Wayne returned to Wiley to complete his career as Publisher for Engineering, Mathematics, and Statistics from 1991 to 1996. He loved publishing and technology and enjoyed nurturing staff and authors.

Wayne was an assistant coach in the minor leagues of Hightstown-East Windsor Youth Baseball League for eight years and enjoyed watching baseball all his life. He particularly enjoyed his time with his companions at the Princeton Senior Resource Center discussion groups on Great Decisions and Currents. Wayne loved the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which he started visiting as a child in 1950, and will serve as the final resting place for his ashes.

Family and friends may call on Saturday, August 1, 2015, from 1 to 3 p.m. at A.S. Cole Son & Co., 22 N. Main St., Cranbury, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Wayne Anderson to the Scholarship Fund at Peddie School, 201 South Main Street, Hightstown, NJ 08520-3349. www.saulfuneralhomes.com.

———

Frances Crandall

Frances Freer (Lown) Crandall, 87, of Princeton, NJ, died on July 14, 2015.

“Frankie” to college friends and “Mère-Mère” to her grandchildren.

Fran was born on November 26, 1927 to Dr. Morton Lown (Cornell class of 1910) and Hazel Freer Lown in Kingston, NY. Her older brother once recounted that she was a total surprise to her two older siblings. One day they were told to go their neighbor’s house, and when they returned, there she was!

She met her future husband, Max, on his birthday (what a present!) in 1950 and they were later married in 1952 in Kingston, NY.

She is survived by her husband Maxson Crandall Jr., and children/spouses:  Maxson Crandall III (Anita), Brooks Crandall (Jill), Christopher Crandall (Ellen) and grandchildren: Cabe, Grant, Anya, Paige, Dane, and Beck Crandall.

Developing an interest in the arts from a young age, she always felt a connection to her great uncle and art collector, Charles Lang Freer (Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). Fran’s aspirations to expand her horizons beyond her small town and develop her artistic talents led her to Cornell University after graduating from Kingston High School in ’45. While at Cornell, “Frankie” was involved in a number of activities including the Riding Club (a passion that she maintained throughout her life), Sorority (Pi Beta Phi), The Sage Chapel Choir (she truly loved singing Hymns), and the design of the 1949 yearbook cover (which was proudly printed on t-shirts at their class reunions).  She graduated in ’49 with a BS in Human Ecology/Design and Environmental Analysis (Interior Design).Her first job was in the Big Apple working as a secretary at the leading manufacturer of fine woolen in America, Forstmann Woolen Company.  She later began her official interior design career as a junior designer at Jo Nesbitt Interior Design in Darien, CT. She moved onto advertising sales for “Shopping With Jane” in New Canaan, CT (notable for bringing her beagle Punch to sales calls). Not only a talented interior designer, Fran was also an accomplished watercolor painter and began to paint professionally in Holden, MA.  A true renaissance woman, she also applied her creative skills as a copywriter for Paoli and Sweeney, Cherry Hill, NJ.  In the late ‘80s, Fran began her own interior design business (FLC Interiors) in Brookfield Center, CT, and after moving to Princeton, NJ in the mid ‘90s, she continued working with clients up until her recent passing.

To say that Fran was active in her community would be a huge understatement. While living in Cherry Hill, NJ, she was co-chairperson for the “Friends of Barclay Farmstead” (colonial era historic site) and helped bring history back to life in the site’s restoration and preservation.  She also founded and functioned as chairperson for the Center for the Arts of Southern NJ and was a member of the Philadelphia Water Color Society. After moving to Princeton, she became a member of the Junior League of Greater Princeton and had the privilege of designing several rooms at various show houses over a five-year period.

Fran was an Award-winning watercolor painter and member of “Watercolorists Unlimited.” She studied under Lucille Geiser. She was also a Francophile and equestrian. Loving horses since her youth, Fran participated in the Riding Club at Cornell and cherised her horse “Beau Cheval,” a gift from her husband Max. Fran was also active in various churches throughout her lifetime.

A memorial service will be held for Frances Lown Crandall on August 1, 2015 at Princeton Meadow Church at 12:30 p.m.  Reception to follow at the church.

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Since neither Seurat nor Manet were on hand to paint the scene at Saturday’s Music Fest on Palmer Square, Town Topics’ Emily Reeves stopped by to capture this summer moment. Comments from some listeners are in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Hofer Museum

Princeton resident Margaret “Margi” Hofer has been appointed as Vice President and Director of the Museum Division at the New-York Historical Society.

With more than two decades of service, Ms. Hofer has contributed to or overseen New-York Historical’s decorative arts collections and exhibitions. She spearheaded the groundbreaking 2007 exhibition and publication “A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls,” which revealed previously unrecognized achievements of Tiffany Studios’ women designers. more

Art Topic

That’s the title of the newest exhibition at Gallery 353, 353 Nassau Street, Princeton, which opens with a reception Saturday, August 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. The show features local artist Nancy Dawn Merrill whose 36 x 48 inch rendering of “Maeve, Warrior Queen” is shown above. Ms. Merrill’s evocative figures and lush compositions are descried as “bold and colorful, and gush from a spring of ‘pure imagination.’” more

Poppins Theater

Bella Lundquist as Mary Poppins, and the cast of Mary Poppins perform an impromptu flash performance during their fundraiser outside of Cream King on Monday night. Just one of the many high energy dance and song numbers from the show which will take place at The Hopewell Valley Central High School Performing Arts Center on July 30 at 7 p.m. and August 2 at 7 p.m.  more

Stories

People & Stories/Gente 7 Cuentos of Trenton is one of five organizations in New Jersey to be included in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarding of $36.6 million in grants for 212 humanities projects. The grant, announced Wednesday, July 29, is for $408, 378. more

July 28, 2015

yoga sourland

Yoga at Sourland Cycles is offered every Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at their Hopewell location, 53 E Broad Street. Michelle and Greta will lead the class in alignment focused vinyasa style yoga (perfect for athletes getting ready for racing season). Weekly information can be found online at HopewellYoga. The cost to attend is $15. Guests should bring their own mats and water bottles.  more

Am GrafittiPrinceton University Art Museum will hold a free outdoor screening of the George Lucas film American Graffiti (1973) on Thursday, August 6 at 8:30 p.m. The film served as the launching pad for many well-known actors including Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, and Harrison Ford. Set in 1962, American Graffiti is based on Lucas’ own teenage years in early 1960s Modesto, California. In case of rain, the film will be shown inside of the Art Museum. American Graffiti is part of the Art Museum’s Summer 2015 film series celebrating the American experience. more

P TriangleWhen you think of college comedy revues, what comes to mind? Probably Harvard’s Hasty Pudding or the Princeton Triangle Show or Penn’s Masque & Wig. But in England, the “gold standard” for over 100 years has been The Cambridge Footlights Revue. Long established as a finishing school for the best of Britain’s comic entertainers, Footlights members have come to dominate British comedy, forging such groups as Monty Python and one half of the original Beyond the Fringe. Its alumni includes Hugh Laurie, Peter Cook, Eric Idle, Stephen Fry, and John Oliver, whom we now claim as our own. They will be joined on stage by two “improv” groups—Oxford’s Imps and Princeton’s own Quipfire, which is hosting this gathering of comedic talent from across the seas on Monday, September 21 at 7: 30 p.m. at McCarter Theatre. more

July 27, 2015

Facebook Terhune

Peaches are having a splendid season at Terhune Orchards. This year, their annual Just Peachy Festival includes a peachy paradise for local food lovers at the “Summer Harvest Farm-to-Fork Tasting” each day from noon to 4 p.m. Talented area chefs will use the juicy peaches and just harvested vegetables and herbs to prepare creative dishes celebrating summer’s bounty. This special tasting is $12 per person. Terhune Orchards Vineyard and Winery will also offer tastings for an additional charge. Admission to the Just Peachy Festival is $5 for ages 3 and up. Wagon rides, pedal tractors, barnyard of animals, music, play tractors, and children’s games included.

 more

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Princeton Garden Theatre presents a screening of Vincent van Gogh (2015), part of their Exhibition on Screen series on Monday, July 27 at 7 p.m. Made in collaboration with Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, this film marks a major re-showing of the gallery’s collection on the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death. Experience Van Gogh’s masterpieces on the big screen, in high definition, while world-renowned curators and art historians offer their interpretations and explanations of his work. more

July 24, 2015
Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Farmhouse Store located at 34 Hulfish Street were (left to right): Paula Stephens, Farmhouse Customer Service Manager, Mayor Liz Lempert, Stephen Suto, Farmhouse Sales Manager, Co-Owners Kristin & Ron Menapace and John Marshall, President Princeton Merchants Association.

Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Farmhouse Store located at 34 Hulfish Street were (left to right): Paula Stephens, Farmhouse Customer Service Manager, Mayor Liz Lempert, Stephen Suto, Farmhouse Sales Manager, Co-Owners Kristin & Ron Menapace and John Marshall, President Princeton Merchants Association.

On Thursday, July 23, the Farmhouse Store Princeton opened its doors to its new expanded location in Palmer Square on Hulfish Street next to Mediterra restaurant. Noted for its unique selection of handcrafted artisan gifts, pottery, glass, wood, textiles, metal, paper, home decor, and jewelry, the Farmhouse Store had outgrown its home for the last three years at 43 Hulfish Street. Having developed a loyal customer base and following, owners Kristin and Ron Menapace are very excited to expand. more

BN 1A collaboration of the aid organization Outreach Northeast and the Brooklyn-based So Percussion Summer Institute will bring the two organizations together on Sunday, July 26 to assemble 20,000 servings of nutritionally balanced meals for clients of The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County.

More than one and a half tons of the donated macaroni and cheese meals will be packaged Sunday at Princeton University’s Woolworth Hall, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The meals will then go Monday to The Crisis Ministry’s three food pantries for customers who are food-insecure.

So Percussion Summer Institute’s four members are performing in and around Princeton and leading percussion and composition workshops and master classes through August 2. The nonprofit Outreach Program, based in Iowa and with its Northeast branch in Massachusetts, is on track to package and distribute a total of three million meals to hungry people worldwide by the end of 2015.

That organization provides the ingredients for the meals and the materials and expertise for packaging. So Percussion participants raised the funds for the food, and will have 40 participants packaging and boxing on Sunday.  more

BN 3

The Princeton Merchants Association (PMA), in collaboration with local merchants, nonprofits and the Municipality of Princeton, has launched a single use plastic bag reduction campaign for the community.

“Learning our ABC’s” will encourage the reduction, reuse and recycling of single use plastic bags.  The effort will encourage merchants to “Ask First” if customers need a bag, encourage residents to “Bring Your Own Bag” (BYOB) and encourage the use of bins throughout town and homes for our residents and businesses to “Collect and Recycle” plastic bags. more

July 22, 2015

To the Editor:

Regarding the Wednesday, July 15 issue, we find the page one article “Tear-Downs Indicate Healthy Home Sales Market” disconcerting and shortsighted.

Kevin Wilkes of Princeton Design Guild disparages the “tiny kitchens” and “cramped” features of earlier built homes. According to him, “Families today want an open first floor plan with kitchen and dining and family living all woven into a fabric of collective family enjoyment.”

Really? It seems to us that many Princeton folks raised happy families in those modest homes with spaces he describes as “discrete little boxes.”

Neal A. Snyder, CTA tax assessor for the municipality states that, “When a small house is torn down and replaced by a bigger one, there is an increase in assessment of the home.” Does this mean that only the rich will be able to live here and pay the higher taxes?

Finally, the replacing of modest homes with much larger structures requires the removal of a substantial number of trees, which is not only unsightly but is destructive to our environment.

As longtime Princeton residents we are thankful to live in this beautiful town, but we believe that not all changes merit applause.

Stewart, Mary Ann Solomon

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

In my experience, when presented with a complicated situation, such as the determination of the local property tax status of various Princeton University facilities, it is often helpful to step back and reassess the situation in the current context.

In this case I am at a loss to explain why a moderately sized community should be compelled to provide a significant financial subsidy (local property tax exemption) to an already well endowed institution that provides its services to individuals and institutions from across the U.S. and around the world.

Is it right that those that provide the subsidy (local property taxpayers) are not the primary beneficiaries of the services provided by the University? Perhaps if this were a charitable organization that primarily serves the local community then it would be a different story. The community providing the subsidy would be the same as the one receiving the benefit. But this is simply not the case.

Is it right for the many families in our community with limited means to be forced to provide a subsidy to a wealthy institution? Many government tax and benefit policies include a financial means test. Why wouldn’t a means test be relevant in this situation?

I believe that the affordability of our town is at stake. It is time for us to reconsider the purpose, basis, and fairness of providing property tax exemptions. It is time now to reform the laws and rules that were designed for a very different past.

Henry Singer

Laurel Circle

To the Editor:

I am writing in protest of the town’s policy to only pick up debris during the spring and fall. I think it is a shortsighted decision that is costing people in the town more money than they would spend in any extra taxes required to support an extra truck and driver.

During a recent rainstorm the crown from a maple fell down over our driveway, luckily missing our cars. We cut up the wood, which was a three-hour effort that included help from a friend who had a chain saw. With the thought that this was a “significant” storm event, we put it in the street. Over the next two weeks, as we were contacting people in the town (only one of whom returned a phone call as promised, although the mayor did reply to the email we sent), we noticed many, many piles of branches all over town.

Eventually, after the town had sent out a worker to give out notices that branches had to be removed or a fine would ensue, I visited Public Works, who told me that the police had to inform Public Works of a storm that was a “significant event,” then the police who sent me to the town administrator, Mark Dashield.

In the final phone conversation with Mr. Dashield, he told me that the town would send out a truck only if a significant storm brings down significant debris in a limited area of town.

The result of all this is that everyone in Princeton who has had branches fall down must either haul them to the designated location or call in someone to get rid of them, paying individually for something that could be done much more inexpensively on a neighborhood basis. (Of course that’s why we have government — it’s too hard for individual citizens to organize a group effort in a situation like this.) Ironically, when I spoke to the guy from Bartlett Tree Services who was at my neighbor’s, he looked at the pile and said, “The town will pick it up.” I apprised him of the reality (and hired Bartlett to shred the pile in front of our house).

Moreover, this does not deal with the reality that during the summer people often have more time and longer days in which to do yard work! But in Princeton, if they do, they have to find a place to leave the debris significantly away from the street, awaiting the first fall pickup time.

Michele Alperin

Robert Road

To the Editor:

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) came out with a proposal that will make sweeping changes to environmental policy (DEP Docket No. 05-15-04). The way for the public to learn about the proposal was to see a few small announcements in newspapers about the public hearings that took place on June 22 in Trenton and June 25 in Long Branch. The proposal creates a loophole through which industry can gain permits, without significant review, to develop currently protected areas and bypass presently active legislation: Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules.

We attended the June 22 hearing, and there we heard a sequence of testimonials from a variety of experts about the effects this relaxation of restrictions will have on riverine life and watersheds, with an emphasis on the increase in flooding vulnerability from which New Jersey especially suffers. The president of the N.J. Sierra Club, the lawyer for the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, and other dedicated scientists and volunteer community helpers all concurred on one thing: this will be a giant step backwards for New Jersey, its flooding difficulties, its access to clean water supply, its creatures, its people, as well as human dwellings and other property. The attending riverine experts were scientists who know, personally, professionally, the places and habitats to be affected. They cited massive data, all of it conclusively and convincingly damning the impending pro-business improvements.

A small handful of curious citizens attended — fewer than the speakers. Three from the Navesink area testified forcefully to the increase in flooding dangers to life and property resulting from permitting more, not less, destructive development practices. Who were to hear these impassioned individuals? There was no media of any kind in the room. It was a black box. For us, it is disheartening to further note that the commissioner of NJDEP was, himself, not present at the hearing. The proposal was informed by unnamed stakeholders, who also did not appear to be present.

To put things bluntly, some unnamed stakeholders worked with the Commission to come up with a way to bypass legislated rules that impact our environment. While the aforementioned rules were established through due legislative process, the Commission is now positioned to be able to approve its own proposal. To what or to whom do we have recourse before the new measures are approved by Mr. Bob Martin, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner? We have the freedom to contact his office’s attorney, Gary J. Bower, by mail or email, by July 31, 2015.

Is this democracy? We think not.

Sarah Spitzer

Humbert Street

Jennifer Harford

Lake Drive