Planet Princeton

Former Princeton School Board Member Challenges Incumbents in 2016 Council Race

Tim Quinn, a former school board member for the Princeton Public Schools who is an employee at the town’s public library, announced today that he is seeking a seat on the Princeton governing body in the 2016 election.

Two three-year terms are up for grabs on the Council. Democratic incumbent Jenny Crumiller also said today that she will seek another term. Councilman Patrick Simon has not said yet whether he will run for a seat on the Princeton Council again or run for mayor.

In a letter announcing his campaign, Quinn, a Democrat, said he wants to build “a stronger, more inclusive and sustainable Princeton, where difference is celebrated and where all share in an abundance of municipal services and opportunities. In this stronger Princeton, newcomers will be embraced, and those, like me, who have lived here for a long time can continue to enjoy all our town has to offer.”

Quinn said he has “a great respect for all who serve their communities in any capacity,” including the current members of Council.

“In running, I seek to offer the voters of Princeton a choice, a different perspective on our community,” he said in his announcement letter. “When I decided against seeking a third term on the board of education, I said it was time for new voices to be heard. The same is true now for our Council.  I think I have what Princeton values in its leadership: diversity of background, diversity of income and diversity of public service experience.”

Crumiller said more participation in government is a good thing when it comes to elections.

“I’m seeking another term on the council and I look forward to the election season,” she said. “I’ve heard Tim is running and I think that’s great – as I’ve often said, our democracy is sapped of vitality without competition. ”

Crumiller is completing her third year on the new council, having served for three years before that on former Borough Council.

“One of my main objectives continues to be protecting neighborhoods and preserving the character of our town. I believe that besides the University, our old-fashioned tree-lined streets and small town character are what makes Princeton Princeton,” she said.

Crumiller said she has organized a Neighborhood Planning Task Force that is working to make the planning and zoning process more transparent and to improve communication with the community and connect with neighborhood groups. The Council is also looking into a Historic District for the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood.

“We hope to look at other possible zoning solutions to address the problem of tear-downs and out-of-scale development,” she said. “Next year will be a productive and eventful year, and a campaign challenge will make it even more interactive and lively.”

Simon said is still very early in the 2016 election cycle when it comes to local politics. In the past, candidates for local office did not make announcements until January or February. The trend to announce earlier started last year with Lance Liverman and Heather Howard, and continues this year, with Mayor Liz Lempert announcing her reelection bid just after the November election.

“I see no need either to rush my own decision or to ramp up a campaign at this early stage,” Simon said. “Just putting my name out as a potential candidate for mayor has been a very positive experience, and I am grateful to everyone who has reached out to me to offer support. Even so, the Washington-style permanent campaign is a relatively recent import to Princeton politics, and frankly, I’d just as soon roll back the clock on that. The holidays are a time for all of us to focus on our families. I’ll make my decision by the end of January. There will be more than enough time to campaign for local office next year.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • @tkq

    @Vision: Here is the short version: After the full Board of Education approved a resolution requesting proposals for the district-owned property at 369 Witherspoon, the board’s Facilities Committee thoroughly vetted a single proposal from a group that sought to rehab the building to create office space for non-profits and a possible programming space. After repeated requests for additional information about the proposal, the committee determined the proposal was not viable and recommended that the full board reject the proposal. The lengthy resolution rejecting the proposal reviews the history of the proposal and its myriad deficiencies. I will attempt to find a copy on the district website and share the link. The resolution rejecting the proposal was approved by the full board; I voted in favor of the resolution.

    As for the future of that property, that is entirely up to the duly elected Board of Education. Since it’s been a year since my second term ended, it would be inappropriate for me to speculate about the district’s thinking regarding this property. I do know that a structural engineer’s report conducted at the time of the resolution requesting proposals found that the building is structurally unsound, which is why it remains vacant. The latest cost estimate of a rehabilitation of the existing building was between $10 million and $12 million.

  • vision

    Can you share that perspective here? It would be good to understand exactly what happened and what the possibilities are for moving forward.

  • @tkq

    @SFB: When I left the paper in the spring of 1999, Krystal had been a part-timer in the sports department for a few months. I was Arts & Entertainment Editor, a position with mostly daytime hours on weekdays. I’m guessing that as part-timer in sports, Krystal worked mostly nights and weekends. It’s possible our paths crossed, but I honestly don’t remember having any personal or professional interactions with her. I began riding the Anchor House Ride For Runaways in 1992, covered the event for The Times in 1996 and joined the Ride For Runaways Committee in 1999. It was when Krystal began doing the Ride that I got to know her.

  • krystalknapp

    I started in the sports department in 1999, the same year Tim Quinn left The Times. I did not know Tim Quinn then. I’ve been the reporter covering the Anchor House Ride for several years. I also covered the Princeton school board when he was president.

  • SFB

    Tm and Krystal, were you guys ever co-workers at The Times of Trenton? Did you know each other there? Or only through Anchor House?

  • @tkq

    @Vision: I welcome the opportunity to share my perspective on the Valley Road Building and to review the process that led to the board’s resolution to reject the single proposal for the property. Please write to me at tkqforcouncil@gmail.com. Thanks.

  • Vision

    It’s good for democracy when there are candidates to choose from and we discuss issues. Thanks to Mr. Quinn for being willing to run.

    At the same time, what are his goals? His term as president of the school board was known for not being open to public input. In particular, the Valley Road building could have been (and possibly still could be) repurposed into a community center or affordable housing. Instead, the school board decided to let it decay. It’s now boarded up, but it was a useable building only 5 years ago. This is an issue where the community would have benefited from strong vision and leadership.

  • Happy Democrat

    The only way we are going to get any real change and local government accountability is if we change to non-partisan municipal elections. Democratic party nominees are decided by dues-paid members of the PCDO who are able to attend in-person meetings to vote. Because our town is a fairly strong Democratic-leaning town, the fact that mayor and muni elections were set up to be scheduled (intentionally and strategically) in the same cycles as major up-ticket elections (President, US Senate, etc) local Democratic nominees sail in on the coat-tails (this is especially true when you factor in students at Princeton, Westminster and the Seminary who may not have as much a stake in local government and may not be paying as much attention to the local issues/candidates over time but who come out to the polls in major up-ticket/Presidential years). As a Democratic voter myself, I’m glad the town turns out for Dems in up ticket elections but still feel that local officials lack of need to compete for residents votes and be responsive to local voter issues hurts us a town. We need non-partisan elections for municipal seats. Some nearby towns have non-partisan local elections and other towns in NJ have made the switch from partisan to non-partisan local office elections.

  • Clean House

    Good news that anyone new is running for anything. We need to clean house, from the mayor on down.

  • Jan

    Thank you very much Tim! That is the perfect holiday gift for our community.

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