Princeton Council candidate Sue Nemeth has issued a written apology to fellow Democrat Jo Butler for mischaracterizing Butler’s position on public education. The apology was issued at the request of the executive board of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.
Nemeth told Butler in the written statement that she was confused about Butler’s position on public education.
Previously Nemeth claimed to former state Assembly candidate Marie Corfield that Butler did not support the budget for the public schools and had the budget “in her cross hairs.” Nemeth’s claim has also been spread through the rumor mill to public schools supporters. Butler has never voiced opposition to the school budget.
Nemeth has not responded to a request from Planet Princeton for comment regarding the issue. The request was made more than 48 hours before the story was published.
“I certainly appreciate Sue Nemeth’s acknowledgment of wrong doing,” Butler said of Nemeth’s apology. “Her misleading statements were damaging to me. I’m glad she has set the record straight. I’m in the education field as a professional. I’m a product of the public education system. Everyone in Princeton supports the public schools. It’s the reason people move here. It’s important to me and my husband to live in a community that values education.”
The issue stems from a January meeting. At a Princeton Community Democratic Organization meeting to plan programs for the organization’s monthly meetings, Mary Clurman asked about the school budget. Butler suggested that the school budget might be a good topic for an educational forum. “I saw it as another opportunity for the school board to educate the community about the budget and the challenges the school district faces,” Butler said.
After the meeting, Nemeth sent Corfield the following message via Facebook:
“Hi Marie: Not sure if it registered anywhere outside of Princeton, but I’m running for council and am hoping I can impose on you to write a letter to the editor supporting me and Bernie Miller. I’ve reached out to a number of public school supporters because our opponent has the public school budget in her cross hairs. She actually asked PCDO to convene a meeting to challenge the school budget. I and another member of the Executive Committee immediately thwarted the effort, but she’s not likely to let it go. The letter need not be more specific than you support us for Princeton Council, but it wouldn’t hurt if you acknowledged our strong support of public education. Happy to discuss specifics. Yours, Sue.”
Executive committee members who attended the meeting all say Butler never suggested that the group hold a meeting to “challenge” the school budget.
“We were having a general discussion. She then mischaracterized my position, and she alone was the only person who was confused,” Butler said. “It was also violation of collegiality.”
Butler said the falsehood is being used against her as a quiet campaign tactic.
“It’s completely reprehensible, and it is confusing to the voters,” Butler said. “Also, the Princeton Council has no impact or control over the school budget. One has to ask whether they want to support a candidate who would deliberately confuse the public.”
Planet Princeton was alerted to the issue and the apology by a member of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization’s executive board who was angered about the issue and the fact that Nemeth’s apology has not been sent to the executive committee or the membership of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.