October 25, 2023

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone who helped to make the Friends and Foundation of Princeton Public Library’s 2023 Annual Book Sale a huge success! An offering of 10,000 books was on display over the three-day event which was ably mounted and run by our faithful volunteers. This event takes months of planning, and relies on the commitment and skills of a small army of people.

We are thankful for our dedicated volunteers who work throughout the year sorting and pricing thousands of book donations, and for the volunteers and library staff who set up and ensured the event ran smoothly.

We are grateful for our faithful customers who return each year, and for the many new customers who visited us for the first time.

We owe our success in the annual sale and our year-round bookstore to the local community for their generous donations of new and gently used books and media throughout the year. more

To the Editor:

We are writing to endorse Beth Behrend for reelection to the Princeton Board of Education.

As fellow Princeton residents, we have known Beth for several years and have witnessed firsthand her unwavering commitment to community service and to the children of Princeton. Beth’s motivation to serve is based on a longstanding belief in the value of public education and the importance of taking on civic responsibility for the public good.

Beth has a tremendous work ethic. As an experienced lawyer, Beth is accustomed to putting in long hours researching complex issues and working with others to deliver results. She applies these skills to addressing the myriad of issues facing the Princeton Public Schools, always seeking first to understand and then to work toward solutions. more

To the Editor:

In our hearts, we hold a deeply-rooted belief — however trite or cliché it may sound — that our children, whether young or old, are the linchpin of our future. Although we find ourselves at very different points in our lives — with one of us embracing young adult grandchildren, and the other navigating the daily demands of parenting three young children, two of whom are currently in the Princeton Public Schools with the third soon to follow — we are bound by a shared commitment to the ideals that underscore the beliefs and values of raising children, education, and the prerequisites for a more promising tomorrow. It is this shared vision that compels us to lend our unreserved support for Michele Tuck-Ponder for the Princeton Board of Education.

Every child deserves the education that they need for success. This tenet transcends demographics and acknowledges that the color of a child’s skin, their socio-economic background, birthplace, primary language, or learning abilities should never be impediments to the quest for educational excellence. And every child deserves to be treated with equity, with no differentiation in how they are assessed, placed, rewarded, or punished. Equality means, without distinction, equal access to a broad range of opportunities. That means that every child has the same opportunity to participate in programs, sports, the arts, educational excursions, travel abroad, and the same opportunities to achieve academic excellence.  more

To the Editor:

The Friends and Foundation of the Princeton Public Library would like to thank everyone who joined us on Saturday, October 21, for our Beyond Words fundraiser to support the library. The evening began at the Nassau Presbyterian Church with our guest author Curtis Chin in conversation with Amy Jo Burns. We continued to the Quadrangle Club for cocktails, silent auctions, dinner, and dancing.

Many thanks to our corporate partners and business sponsors, auction donors, and attendees — your generous support enables us to provide funding for new print and digital collections, as well as amazing public programming for the library.

Thank you for making Beyond Words 2023 such a memorable and successful evening!

Courtney Lederer
Chair, 2023 Beyond Words

Rosalind Muir
President, Friends and Foundation Board

Shalu Naso
Vice President, Friends and Foundation Board

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

I’m writing to the community to offer some insight in how words carry impact and how our children need better support.

During a Board of Education meeting, while discussing the different long-term planning scenarios and DLI [Dual Language Immersion] program, the words “the DLI is a nice thing to have” were said, to which I took offense as it suggests a terrible narrative and can be detrimental to the Hispanic/Latine Spanish-speaking community.

I’m first generation. My family immigrated when I was 10 years old. I’m in my 30s now and still have the Spanish vocabulary of a 10-year-old. My parents believe the stigma that you have to fully assimilate to American culture and speak English with zero accent in order to have a prosperous future in this country, otherwise you’d be discriminated against, not just for our skin, where we’re from, but also our accent. My family chose a town where we would be able to distance ourselves from the Spanish-speaking community to avoid having an accent. I was one of two Latine students in my class in middle school, and one of two handfuls in the whole high school. My parents spoke to us in Spanish, and my sisters and I only responded in English. My culture was being erased out of fear of being discriminated against. I’m not the only case. more

To the Editor:

I am writing in opposition to the new Princeton Master Plan and the overdevelopment it mandates. The current group of developers, supported by our elected and appointed officials, has created the myth that Princeton is a blighted area in need of rescuing by profit-making businesses. This simply is not true. Far from being blighted, our town has the highest property values in Central New Jersey. Our community is rich in opportunities to pursue the arts, entertainment, and spirituality. The organizations which are propelling overdevelopment are active in our community simply to make a profit and leave us to deal with the problems they create.

They are not creating massive buildings in order to promote affordable housing. The developers cannot legally obtain the approvals they need without allocating 20 percent of their new buildings to affordable housing. Again, they are motivated by their own profit-making goals, not what is best for the community. The new Master Plan is flawed for the following reasons. more

To the Editor:

All of us at Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) want to thank the Princeton community for your outpouring of support, making our Fall “3 by Three” Rent Party a smashing success. Every contribution received helps HIP provide the support that families in our transitional housing program need to secure a better future.

We were thrilled to welcome surprise guest Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who presented the evening’s honoree, longtime HIP supporter and Former Councilman Lance Liverman, with a congressional proclamation extolling his leadership on promoting affordable, accessible housing in our community. more

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Eleanor Hubbard’s candidacy for the Board of Education (BOE) of the Princeton Public Schools.

I have known Eleanor for seven years as a fellow parent at UNOW, the daycare that serves Princeton University, and at the Riverside School. I am enormously impressed by Eleanor’s deep commitment to education and by her practical knowledge of how institutions function. I served with her on the UNOW Board of Trustees, where we worked together as co-chairs of the Governance Committee and on the board’s Executive Committee. In addition, I have benefited personally from Eleanor’s wisdom and guidance regarding how to help my own children get the most out of their educational experiences here in Princeton. more

October 18, 2023

To the Editor:

Writing on behalf of the boards of trustees, staff, and residents of Princeton Community Housing (PCH), we want to thank all those who helped to make our October 6 fundraising event, “Birds of All Feathers,” at Morven Museum & Garden a resounding success. The attendees at the sold-out event had a wonderful time, thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and staff, and our generous donors throughout the community. Together, we raised more than $100,000 to support PCH’s important work.

The “Birds of All Feathers” theme represents and celebrates the diversity of the people we serve and the many ways the residents of our affordable homes contribute to the region, as well as the many people who are part of our larger PCH community who advocate for our mission and purpose. The program also highlighted many aspects of our “PCH Difference,” the variety of programs and services we provide that enhance residents’ quality of life and support their success.  more

To the Editor:

I’m writing in support of Eleanor Hubbard’s candidacy for the Board of Education. I’ve known Eleanor for many years. I’ve always been impressed with her, and over the summer I urged her to run for the Board of Education. Eleanor’s experience, commitment to researching pressing issues, and good judgment make her the candidate we need.

Her experience: Eleanor is closely involved with the Princeton Public Schools. She has three kids enrolled at PPS. She has been an active parent in the PTO. She has experience as an educator: she was a public-school teacher before getting her Ph.D. and then taught at Princeton University for 11 years.  more

To the Editor:

I offer 70 words in my personal capacity (and not on behalf of the Board) describing why I support Beth Behrend for Board of Education.

Deep experience and levelheaded insight regarding school facilities and planning.

Proven advocate for the welfare of our students and teachers alike.  more

To the Editor:

We are at a critical point with the new master plan for Princeton. The town went through numerous surveys and listening sessions over the past 1 ½ years. September 27 was the first public session to “review the big themes of the master plan” and offered a first look at the “community’s’ blueprint for the future.” (engage.princetonmasterplan.org/nj/library/).

As per the town’s website, “the new master plan will enable the community to set policies and priorities to guide its decisions in the coming years, from housing to business to mobility and climate change. It is a document against which proposed changes can be evaluated, to be sure we’re changing in the direction we want to.”  more

To the Editor:

We are writing to endorse René Obregon with unequivocal support in his election for the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education.

We have known René and his family for eight years in both social and professional contexts and can attest to his strong personal character. René questions the status quo, does his research no matter what the issue, proposes well analyzed solutions, and has the persistence to get things done. He is able to focus on priorities and form intensely productive working collaborations to achieve results.  more

To the Editor:

The race for Princeton School Board is very important to our community. As a town, we allocate 48 percent of our budget to education. The electoral process for School Board is competitive, the candidates are sharing their records and intentions. We have forums discussing public issues and offering a place for citizens to share opinions or positions. Democracy is alive and you get to participate.

Elections enable voters to select leaders and then ideally hold them accountable for their performance in office. If one party, club, or coalition is so dominant, the result is effectively no choice for voters among candidates or more importantly policies. It limits democracy, it can undermine accountability. It is important that we have competitive races with good candidates. That is what we have with the Princeton School Board race.  more

To the Editor:

I just defended my Ph.D.! Before I was a graduate student, I was an undergrad (PU ‘15). I have lived here for over 10 years. I remember when there was a hospital downtown, when consolidation came up for election, when Hurricane Sandy paralyzed regional transportation (I got stranded), and when the “Dinky” was not a bar.

I have been involved. I served on the municipal Public Transit Advisory Committee, the only member without a car at the time. Together with Tineke Thio and others, I launched the 2021 Princeton Mobility Survey. We surveyed residents, making a concerted effort to hear from everyone. I authored two op-eds about issues near and dear to Princeton. I presented the results from the Mobility Survey at a Princeton Council Meeting. I ran the half marathon twice.  more

To the Editor:

In the recent candidates’ forums, we had the opportunity to hear from various individuals vying for a position that would shape the future of our community’s education. Among them, Adam Bierman stood out for his genuine commitment to addressing the issues of our district. Here’s why we believe he is the right choice for our community.

Equity: More Than Just Talk — Adam Bierman doesn’t just talk about equity; he lives it. As a dedicated educator working in a high school in Trenton serving children facing socioeconomic challenges, he has firsthand experience with disadvantaged students. While many in Princeton incessantly spew around the word equity, Adam Bierman practices it daily. If we truly desire someone with real-world experience in fostering equitable education, there’s no better candidate than him. more

To the Editor:

We enthusiastically support Beth Behrend for reelection to the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. Beth has served our school children and our community with integrity. She is a good person who uses her considerable experience and skills to benefit others. We appreciate Beth’s calm and thoughtful approach; she works to listen to all voices in our community, including the quiet ones, and to build consensus.

Beth’s time on the Board of Education has been marked by achievement that has benefited our children and our town. With her background in law, finance, and business, she has been instrumental in helping strengthen and stabilize the school budget and in properly maintaining and improving our aging school facilities. For several years now, Beth has led a careful planning effort to ensure we have room in school facilities for enrollment growth from new housing. During Beth’s tenure, our district has added nine new classrooms of free, state-funded Pre-K, better dyslexia screening, and teacher training in early literacy, all helping give our youngest learners a stronger start. As Board president during the pandemic, Beth helped ensure all students had devices and connectivity to learn remotely, and helped pull together community partners to safely deliver nutritious meals to nearly 500 students and their families.  more

To the Editor:

As I reflect on the past year, Princeton’s legacy, and Princeton’s future, I am moved to enthusiastically invite the community to join me in voting for Michele Tuck-Ponder for the Board of Education.

It is a critical time to support Black leadership in our school district for the good of all of our children, their education, and the culture of our community. Tuck-Ponder has a decades-long history of dedicated volunteer and elected service to Princeton and has been an effective leader for equity in our schools as chair of the District Equity Committee. Her service includes being a two-term commissioner for the Princeton Housing Authority, a town Council member, and mayor.  more

October 11, 2023

To the Editor:

On Friday, September 22, the Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) held its eighth annual Links to Youth Golf Outing at the Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg. This event drew 90 golfers and guests and raised $75,000, which will support PBC’s award-winning Summer Bridge Program. Each year, Summer Bridge offers hundreds of students from Trenton, Newark, and Camden a high-quality summer enrichment experience focused on social emotional learning, literacy, and STEM completely free of charge.  more

To the Editor:

I am writing to recommend Adam Bierman and Eleanor Hubbard for the PPS Board of Education. Both Adam and Eleanor will bring a wise and pragmatic point of view to the Board — qualities much in need at this time.  They each have long experience with education that will serve them well in these roles.  more

To the Editor:

I urge the Princeton community to join me in supporting Michele Tuck-Ponder for reelection to the Princeton Board of Education.

I first met Michele in 1993, and served as her campaign manager in her inaugural run for Princeton Township Committee. We have remained friends over the past 30 years. I have observed, up close, her dedicated service to our community and her skills as a public servant. She listens well, carefully considers all views and opinions, gathers facts and data, and makes decisions grounded in integrity and accountability.  more

To the Editor:

I am a parent of three PPS children (one each at Littlebrook, PMS, and PHS), and I’m writing to support the candidacies of Beth Behrend and Eleanor Hubbard for the Board of Education and the upcoming referendum to support the public schools.

Beth is running for reelection to the Board after having served two highly effective terms. During Beth’s time on the Board, the schools expanded free Pre-K and stabilized district finances while successfully and amicably negotiating a five-year labor contract that ensured our ability to retain top teaching talent at a time of nationwide teacher shortages. Beth’s tenure as president coincided with the darkest days of the pandemic, and I marveled at the grace, empathy, and good sense with which she navigated the competing imperatives of keeping our children and teachers healthy and keeping our schools up and running, all in the face of considerable public scrutiny. For the past several years, Beth has devoted her energies to the district’s future as the chair of the Board’s long-term planning committee, in which capacity she leads the Board’s crucial efforts to plan for considerable increases in enrollment and update our long-neglected facilities. As a seasoned attorney, Beth brings her legal and strategic acumen along with her deep knowledge of district finances and experience in board governance to this essential planning work, and I am profoundly grateful to Beth for running to serve another term to see this work through. more

To the Editor:

We have known Rene Obregon Jr. for more than 20 years, are thrilled to support his run for School Board. He is a tenacious, hard worker who stops at nothing to get the full information necessary to make difficult decisions. But besides that, Rene just has a lot of common sense.  more

To the Editor:

I am writing to lend my support to Beth Behrend’s candidacy for reelection to the Princeton Board of Education.

I was on the Princeton Board of Education for two terms 30 years ago. Beth lives in Riverside neighborhood, as do I, and our dogs are pals. On occasion we walk our dogs together and chat. I learn from Beth about what is happening at the moment in the Princeton schools and in the region. I know firsthand about the enormous amount of data and other relevant materials given to Board members. It is clear to me that she does her homework.  more

To the Editor:

We are supporting Michele Tuck-Ponder for a second three-year term on the Princeton BOE. The past three years have been challenging for our Board and our schools: keeping our students and staff safe through the COVID-19 pandemic, handling the high school principal controversy, and seeking solutions to our future facilities needs to address the exploding development in Princeton, just to name a few.

Princeton is not unique in that regard. Education is at the forefront of culture wars, and Princeton is not immune from those who advocate for a conservative agenda, and a public education system that serves the few, as opposed to all children. more