Letters Regarding Princeton Council Race

Princeton Council Power Struggle an Embarrassment

Dear Editor:

In demanding the voting public take sides in their control and power struggles, the Princeton Council leadership has done more harm to the entire community than the reelection of any single Council member ever could. The bitterness they’ve engendered will last long after the election.

Such “leadership” is an embarrassment. Its heavy handed sacrifice of community cohesion to achieve its own ends is immature and self indulgent. And its concocted slate is an affront, designed not only to remove a dissident voice, but to confer virtually dictatorial powers on Bernie Miller.

I did not support Jo Butler when she ran for Borough Council and might have had reservations in supporting her now. But to remove her from Council at this point would certify Bernie Miller’s power grab and would validate the cynical use of voters to fight a battle that, however disguised, is a personal one. It would be a mistake.

Leo Arons

Butler Deserves to Get Re-elected

Dear Editor:

We believe that when elected representatives do a good job – advocating for shared values, keeping their promises, getting things done – they deserve to be re-elected. Jo Butler has done an exemplary job during her first two years on Town Council. She has worked to sustain Princeton as an affordable and diverse community. She has kept the promises of Consolidation, voting for a tax decrease and against Council pay raises. She has provided critically important leadership, most notably in Council’s enactment of a conflict of interest policy and other measures to foster good government. Please join us in voting on June 3 to nominate Jo Butler for re-election.

Walter and Mary Bliss

Three Candidates for Two Seats

Dear Editor:

As the June 3rd Democratic Primary approaches, I feel compelled to write to present some needed clarity to the upcoming election.

There are no teams running! There are 3 candidates, who should be judged on their individual merits, running for two seats.

When registered Democrats go to the polls, each voter should choose either one or two of the best qualified of the three candidates to represent our consolidated Princeton. Yes, if you feel really strongly about one candidate over the other two, you can vote for one. Some people call it “bullet voting”, but I see it as a strong vote of confidence for the best qualified candidate. The numbers in the Democratic primary are so low that several votes can determine the results. By voting for 2 candidates, you could be providing the vote which defeats your first choice candidate.

Personally, I feel so strongly about the qualifications of Jo Butler, I plan to vote only for her. She has amazing credentials and experience. Her only agenda is to do what is best for our consolidated Town. She has no personal agenda or State or National ambitions. Should she have a perceived conflict of interest, she would be the first to recuse herself. Serving us is not a stepping stone. It is a mission. We are so fortunate to have her and to have her care about us.

Please join me on June 3rd to affirm the service of this talented woman, resident of the former Boro and citizen of our new Town. Vote for Jo Butler that she may continue to represent us on Town Council.

Ruth Sayer

Butler Responsive to Constituents’ Concerns

To the Editor:

In the ten years that I have known Jo Butler, I have found her to be a conscientious person who cares deeply about Princeton and who does more than her fair share no matter what organization she belongs to. I feel Princeton is fortunate to have such a smart, thoughtful person on its Council and urge all to see that she continues to serve by voting for her in the June 3 democrat primary.

Jo and I first met when we served on the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, where she did an outstanding job in handling the silent auction at its annual fundraiser as well as asking good questions and pointing out possible alternatives.

When I realized last summer that the plantings around the old hospital would be destroyed during construction, I contacted Jo for help in saving them. She set up all the right government contacts and ensured that all followed through. As a result, hundreds of shrubs and perennials were transferred to public parks and housing throughout Princeton.

Thus, I am endorsing Jo because I have worked with her and have seen first hand what an effective and efficient person she is and know that a lot of her good works are not publicized. She is the kind of person we need on Council to oversee all interests and I urge all to vote for her.

Patricia A. Taylor

Butler Approaches Issues in the Open

To the Editor:

I am supporting Jo Butler in the June 3 Democratic primary and I hope that Princeton voters will too. Jo Butler is to be respected for approaching difficult issues in the open before the public with their weigh-in and opinions heard for consideration in the decision-making process. She listens to and respects the points-of-view of constituents and when she believes their views are correct she goes to bat for them. Her work on the community pool is a good example. So were her efforts to preserve Princeton’s train service to the University Place.

On consolidation, Jo Butler argued to skeptics (including myself) that it was the right thing to do. Despite all sorts of criticism that her attention to detail slows things down, she has held to the promise of the consolidation referendum that the new Council operate under the Borough form of government which assumes that Council members will directly respond to resident concerns and which allows them to directly communicate with staff members to resolve problems. Some have said that she cares too much, but to my mind our details are what Council should care about. A call to Jo Butler about a brush pick-up or some other problem with services will get results.

On finances and taxes, it is noteworthy that, in fact, Jo is the only candidate running who has never voted for a tax increase, and is also the only candidate who has saved us money on professional services by closely scrutinizing contracts. It is really hard to understand why she has been criticized for this.

I hope that Princeton Democrats will reward Jo Butler’s hard work and integrity by voting for her in the June 3 primary. If she is defeated, it will be Princeton’s loss.

Anita Garoniak

Council Election Should Be About Substance

To the Editor:

Voting in the Primary Election on June 3rd should be about the substance of a candidate’s stated positions, demonstrated work ethic, and their knowledgeable role in crafting responses that lead to positive results. This is exactly what guides my choices in every election.

In a Primary…
It is not enough to state your Party, that is a given.
It is not enough to outline issues and upcoming tasks that face the Council, those are facts.
It is not enough to suddenly seek support of a constituency without already being engaged in the issues that concern them.

About Candidates…
I prefer them to refrain from bouts of soliloquy, uninformed posturing, and vacuous platitudes.
I prefer them to devote time to listen, do the research, and understand the depth of issues of concern to citizens.
I prefer them to vote in representation of my best interests, as well as those of my neighbors, and our community as a whole.

For an Effective Democracy…
We should demand the willing disclosure by our elected officials of important facts on issues.
We should expect a climate that encourages each member to express different points of view, whether personally held or from citizens.
We should want a level of comfort that a varied set of analyses are employed by our elected officials to ensure that our community’s values and citizen concerns remain at the forefront of decision making.

On “Keeping Up Appearances”…
I’ve been surprised by some who feel the Princeton Council should act behind closed doors like a corporate board of directors.
I’ve been particularly disappointed by some who feel open disagreement is “divisive.”
I’ve been dismayed by the belief that Princeton Council should be a monolith where all “Democrats” are assumed to be of the same foundation or opinion when they are not.

In Making Decisions…
I want a Princeton Council that is deliberative, focusing not only on the assumed expediency of accord, but a body that brings true wisdom to open discussion on the dais – right before the citizenry.
I want elected officials to state the substantive rationale for their decision making.
I want elected officials to solicit the views of diverse populations before any vote is taken.

I do not always agree with every member of Princeton Council on every issue. And that is OK.
I do not believe our community is well-served by back room, pre-bickered, or group speak type of public performances.
I do not agree with the tactics to configure a Princeton Council on the basis of creating unanimous consent.

There is One Candidate who…
Solicits the views of citizens, does their homework, establishes a broad framework for analyses, and takes informed positions because,
1. She has the stamina to “get in the weeds” on issues that we, as citizens, are concerned about;
2. She has the skills to “find the thorns” that threaten the best interests of our community; and
3. She has the courage to dissent, particularly when a block of accord may result in mediocrity at best.

That candidate is Jo Butler.

Yina Moore
Former Mayor, Princeton Borough

Editor’s Note: This will be the last round of letters we publish before the June 3 primary race. We have published every submission we have received, and have posted information on social media about how to send letters to the editor. We gladly post all views about all candidates for every race if letters are sent to us.


    1. If the slate is boycotting this site, what does it say about them? They have so few supporters that they can control them all? No Princeton residents who support the slate support it energetically enough to post on their own? No one who supports the slate cares enough about our town to read Planet Princeton? Please add your own reasons.

      If the slate isn’t boycotting this site, what does that say about them?

  1. “The slate” and it’s supporters don’t like open debate — either in the Council or in the Campaign. — Hat’s off to Leo Arons and Yina Moore — who’s only “skin in the game” is logic and who understand and are willing to state what, in their informed opinions, motivates each of the three candidates. Too many Princetonians are blind to our local version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

  2. It’s really sad how this election has revealed that while Princeton is supposed to be liberal and progressive, there are many Democrats in town who don’t support transparency or open discussions in government. I’m particularly disappointed in the Mayor, who I voted for. She could have been a great mayor, but has decided to take the low road. There are larger values at stake here (the type of public discourse) than simply which people win the primary.

    1. Of course, there is freedom of speech and of voting for the candidate we like; but as an elected official to publicly take sides is not only dumb but an immense political mistake that shows arrogance at the highest level. I did not endorse Liz Lempert when it was between she and Kevin Wilkes, I thought that he was the one qualified for the job and I still do. I didn’t vote for her when it was between Dick Woodbridge and she for I thought that he was the one qualified for the job and still do. And former mayor Goerner, who doesn’t even live in Princeton anymore, pulling the strings as the puppeteer, manipulating the current mayor, as he pleases…it is sad and tragic. Voting for a slate because of fear of ruining friendships? Seriously? One of the candidates in the slate is quite delusional and arrogant, she saw no wrongdoing in writing a letter with distorted facts to Marie Corfield, after running a dirty campaign against her…why? Sense of entitlement, desperation to be elected, or a strong need to prove herself. Those are not valid reasons to vote for her. I like Bernie Miller, but he lost my vote from now on. Hopefully, independents in town get their vote out in this primary, and also, hopefully, they just vote for Jo. And democrats, vote for the independent voice, because she is smart, experienced, hardworking, fearless, detail oriented, mature and classy. Class is important here, too; tackiness turn me off.

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