Letters: Mercer County Freeholder Chairman Andrew Koontz Weighs in on Princeton Council Democratic Candidates

Butler Understands Vital Role of Elected Officials

To the Editor:

We write today in support of one of the three Democrats who are running for two seats on Princeton Council this year. We have known and worked with all three candidates for years, and have no doubt of the ability of all to serve us well on Princeton Council. But Councilwoman Jo Butler truly is a special elected official. We support her candidacy whole-heartedly, and would like to briefly explain why.

Throughout her years of service, Jo Butler has shown that she is an energetic, intelligent, and hard-working woman. She clearly does her homework, she has the courage to ask tough questions, and she waits until she has all relevant information before making a decision. Isn’t this exactly what we expect of our elected representatives? As to her devotion to her community, it is without question that Jo Butler cares deeply about the town in which she lives. Does her approach put her at occasional odds with the town’s administration? Sure, but by the same token doesn’t the Council have a responsibility to act as a legislative check on the Mayor’s and Administration’s authority? We believe it does, and Jo Butler has demonstrated that she understands this vital democratic role that our elected officials should play.

We do not believe, as some have maintained, that there exists in Princeton a bloc who desires Princeton Council be some kind of “rubber stamp”. But we do believe that Jo Butler is in no way a “rubber stamper”. Her service should be rewarded with a second term.

Very truly yours,

Andrew Koontz
Laurie Harmon

Princeton Arbor Seeks Candidates for Initial Council

The Tree Street residents have spoken – on January 1, 2015 we will officially de-consolidate from Princeton.  The newly formed municipality, called Princeton Arbor, will hold elections this November for three people to serve as the Arbor’s initial Council of Elders (a motion to call it the Council of Alders has been rejected after being considered too cute).  All interested parties should submit their applications in care of the Director of Elections at Arbor Hall.

No formal job description has been developed, but it is expected that the jobs will be similar to those in Princeton.  It is, however, noted in Arbor by-laws that the Council of Elders is strongly encouraged not to form sub-allegiances that may lead to a homogenous voting bloc within the Council.  Arbor founders believe that such voting blocs ultimately lead to a less representative form of government in which decisions are made by the few, rather than by the many.

As a working model for independence, potential nominees are encouraged to study the service record of Jo Butler, who has served with distinction on the Borough Council and more recently on the first Council of the consolidated Princeton.  In her tenure Jo has shown herself to be an effective advocate for open government, a tireless worker on every committee on which she has served, and above all an independent voice.   The Arbor would be well served to have three people of Jo’s caliber serving as Elders following the election.

There have been continuing rumors that the Arbor is looking to annex the road on which Jo Butler lives so that she can serve on the Council of Elders.  While appealing, state regulations prohibit such an annexation.

Jim Levine
Un-elected, un-appointed, un-named (and perhaps un-wanted) representative of Princeton Arbor

Bad Political Move Has Backfired

First there were two municipalities.

Almost 15 years ago, when I first came to live here, I was shocked at the facts that there were two mayors, two municipal buildings, two police departments, and so forth. I never knew the borders of each, neither did I care. Consolidation seemed only logical and I still think it is. Savings? Realistically,  we won’t be able to figure out the actual numbers right away and it is understandable.

I mention the topic because people are talking about consolidation again, as if the problems happening in Princeton council are actually  the never ending “battles” between the Township and the Borough.  When both municipalities merged, all good things of both should have been kept and all bad things of both should have been discarded. I admit that I am not knowledgeable of all the facts and that I am only using plain common sense on this. I also hope this is not the reason.

I do not understand, though, the division that has been created amongst Princeton Council, composed only by Democrats.  Might the reason be that as they all belong to the same political party, this is then, a battle of egos? I am a registered Democrat; however, I consider myself politically independent and I call all independents and Republicans in town to run for the available seats this year; it might help clean up this gigantic mess.

Let’s examine them. Bernie Miller, brilliant and experienced. Heather Howard, she could not be smarter and  approachable. Lance Liverman, I don’t really know or hear much about him. And “new” to this group is Sue Nemeth, who actually has been around for a while and wants to get back in the game. Then, there is Patrick Simon, whose analytical mind can not be questioned, Jenny Crumiller, bright and very outspoken, and Jo Butler.
Well,  it seems to me that there is a “puppeteer” behind the first group, now been known as the “elite”‘ the “cool kids” and so on.  The strings apparently are being pulled by someone that I would rather call  “political advisor” and that he/she should be “fired”.

Perception is reality and what I perceive is a very bad political move that backfired.

Why trying to oust an intelligent, hardworking, efficient council member from their own party? Is it because she speaks out? Is it because thanks to her questioning, a conflict of interests policy was put in place?  Is it because she wants to see numbers and she is good at it? Is it because she wants transparency and open door sessions?  What exactly is the reason why this group wants Jo  Butler out? Is it arrogance? Or is it, sadly, that they are not the savvy politicians they believe they are and act impulsively? Why exactly is Jo the pebble in their shoes? Is it because Jo doesn’t let it go? Would you like the U.S. attorney to stop “digging” into “Bridgegate” and move forward?

Sure, let’s just put all the files in the drawer and get back to them later, hoping that people forget;  let’s all get along nicely like we were in a kids ‘playground; let’s hold hands and play “follow the leader”.  But watch out, those  who don’t will be shunned because we should all always agree.

For God’s sake, let all the opinions be heard, let the questions be asked, welcome the participation and the challenges, this is democracy.   Be strong on what you believe but also admit that you are not the only possessor of the truth.  If you do so, then be out there assuming responsibility when mistakes are made, don’t try to sweep them under the rug, be brave like Jo Butler, act consciously as she always does, and apologize when you didn’t do it right.

Sandra Jordan