Statement from Jenny Crumiller
Dear PCDO Members and Friends,
I am seeking re-election to Princeton Council for many of the same reasons I was motivated to run the first time: Princeton is a beautiful town with a strong sense of community. My goal is to maintain Princeton as a diverse community—welcoming to young families as it was welcoming to me—and a town that is hospitable to those who want to age in place. I want to preserve its character, and I want it to be well run.
On Council, serving on committees with my colleagues and through collaboration with citizen volunteers, I have worked to save open space, improve the safety of our streets, reduce the financial burdens of sidewalk repair and replacement, and provide additional affordable housing. I am particularly proud of my efforts to spearhead the creation of a much-needed group home for the developmentally disabled, to involve the ACLU in a review of our police procedures, and to introduce the reporting of police stops by race and gender. I support the earned sick leave ordinance.
High property taxes are a concern of all our residents, especially seniors and those with low-to-moderate incomes. I have consistently advocated to hold the line on tax increases. During my service as an elected official, I have worked to control expenditures, to look for new sources of revenue, and to address factors that indirectly drive up taxes.
As a Council member and as a Planning Board member, I have been a leading advocate for the protection of Princeton’s neighborhoods. I believe that preserving and enhancing the small-town character of Princeton and our socio-economic diversity should be a top priority. As a member of the Planning Board, I am working to overhaul our zoning rules to address out-of-scale development. This effort requires careful attention to detail and sensitivity to competing interests. The process now underway will generate vigorous public discussion and debate, and in the end I expect that together we will arrive at workable and forward-looking solutions.
I ask for your vote in order to continue to work for change while at the same time respecting consistency and tradition.
You can read more about my positions at jennycrumiller.com.
Most importantly, please be sure to vote tomorrow, June 7, in the Democratic primary.
Statement from Letica Fraga
Fellow Princeton Democrats,
Primary Day is almost upon us and I want to thank the other candidates for a great campaign season.
I also want to underscore my strong commitment to this country where, with lots of help, it has been possible for me to build my own American Dream — to raise my children, to earn a living and to live in safety.
This is not a privilege I take lightly. I’ve lived in other countries, and I have seen how people live. I feel committed to this town and its residents, to our shared principles and way of life.
Many different people call Princeton home. Individually, we may be entrepreneurs and scientists, social workers and law enforcement, healthcare professionals and bus drivers, teachers and lawyers, dishwashers and software developers, builders and bankers, nannies and Nobel prize winners. Together we make this community great. We have come from near and far and we are proud to call Princeton home.
Everyday through this campaign I meet new and exciting members of our amazing community. Through these conversations, and listening to people, the issues that strike me as most urgent are affordability, inclusiveness, and safety. Quality of life is a common thread that concerns us all.
The affordability crisis is real. We need a workable plan to boost local options for affordable housing, targeting rent levels to meet the needs of our residents who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. We also need to create new paths to home ownership for our working families and to support the ability of those living on limited or fixed incomes, struggling to care for relatives or to send children to college, to stay in place.
Princetonians want to live in a prosperous and dynamic community while maintaining our small-town feel. We also want to ensure that our neighborhoods stay safe and crime-free. Police cannot accomplish this alone. We need to build bridges — of words and action — that enable residents and law enforcement to communicate and collaborate to build safer, more caring and sustainable communities.
I firmly believe that Princeton’s success grows out of our diversity just as it depends upon our shared prosperity. This vision can only be fulfilled by electing a Council that reflects our various traditions, perspectives, and experiences; people dedicated to working together for the well being of individuals and our community. I know that together, we can do great things for the people of Princeton.
After 17 years living and working here, and one very busy primary season, I know I am ready to give this job my all, representing the people of Princeton at the municipal level.
As you think about what you want your country and your town to look like in the future, the values you want to advance and the message you want to send, I hope that you will cast your vote for me, Leticia Fraga, this Tuesday.
Statement from Anne Neumann
Dear PCDO members,
Let me outline a vision for Princeton that many of us share and suggest some policies to help achieve that vision. I learned these policies during my extensive municipal service and from research I’ve done as chair of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization’s Local Issues Committee. If you share my vision and trust the policies I’m suggesting, please vote for me in Tuesday’s primary.
Affordability and McMansions
Having served seven years on Princeton’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board, which advises our Planning Board on applications for development, I know that the best way to control development is with zoning laws passed well before applications are received. On Council, to preserve our diverse neighborhoods, I will try to slow the tear-downs of modest homes and their replacement by million-dollar spec houses.
- I support Council’s careful study of form-based zoning, which can be used to regulate a building’s appearance as well as its size, and which should help prevent McMansions.
- Meanwhile, to protect close-in neighborhoods from over-development now, I will urge a quick-to-pass zoning ordinance based not on form but on Floor-to-Area-Ratio (FAR). FAR limits usable floor space on all floors to a percentage of lot size and varies in Princeton from neighborhood to neighborhood. The new limit could be a block’s average FAR plus one standard deviation plus a small percentage. This would allow new homes at the upper end of average for each neighborhood but prevent any existing McMansions from influencing the average unduly.
Affordability and property taxes
Lowering property taxes will protect Princeton’s diversity in age, ethnicity, and income. On Council, I will strive both to cut municipal spending and to raise revenue.
- I will study how the former Borough supplied cost-effective municipal services. Before consolidation, Borough municipal spending per capita was in New Jersey’s 51st percentile (average), while the Township was in the 86th percentile (well above average).
- I plan to recommend municipal budgets based on each past year’s actual expenditures.
- I will advocate for a volunteer economic development commission to help retain existing businesses and attract new ones in keeping with Princeton’s character. An economic development commission might study whether Princeton would benefit from a jobs-training program. Such a commission could also encourage business incubators to foster start-ups that would remain in Princeton.
Affordability and Princeton University
- I will consult with the plaintiffs’ lawyer in the case questioning Princeton University’s non-profit status to ensure the best possible settlement for our town. Having served on the PCDO’s Princeton Citizens for Tax Fairness for five years, I believe that any settlement in the case will depend on how we assess the University’s property. Princeton University values its own land and buildings at $4.3 billion. And even this valuation, for various technical reasons, may be much too low. Meanwhile, we assess the University’s Princeton property at just $1.9 billion. On Council, I will work to correct this discrepancy.
On Council, I will vote to increase affordable housing.
- I will help Princeton’s affordable-housing providers raise federal and foundation funding.
- I will support a developer’s set-aside greater than 20%, achieved through negotiation and incentive zoning.
- I will recommend zoning changes to facilitate private solutions like accessory dwelling units and micro-housing.
A municipal government that listens to residents
On Council, I will work to ensure open, consultative government.
- I will recommend a biweekly newspaper column describing Council’s activities.
- I will strive for better communication between Council, appointed boards and commissions, and residents.
- I will reintroduce the Neighborhood Advisory Councils we were promised before consolidation, and I will, until then, hold neighborhood meetings.
- I will advocate reliance not only on professional staff and paid consultants but also on local experts and neighborhood groups.
The environment and sustainability
Having served for six years on Princeton’s Environmental Commission, I support balancing social justice, economic development, and environmental protection.
- I will help introduce incentives for green building into our Master Plan.
- I will support cooperative solar farms that even Princeton renters can invest in.
- I will continue to advocate for earned paid sick leave for full- and part-time workers.
- I support a current lawsuit against wage theft.
- I will explore a hire-local program and an increased local minimum wage.
- I will work to restore a downtown where we can meet and shop for daily needs.
Statement from Tim Quinn
Dear Fellow Democrats,
I’ve so enjoyed this campaign for the Democratic nomination for Princeton Council, which has strengthened my commitment to serving everyone in Princeton. When I was a boy growing up in a working class household, I would hear my family talk with great admiration and affection about leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. I’ve never forgotten why my family felt this fondness: we believed these leaders somehow understood us, though we had never met. We just knew they understood our struggles and our dreams for our families, our communities and our nation.
With these great individuals as examples, I’ve learned over the years that leadership is about listening, asking the right questions, respecting the ways in which we differ and discovering the ways in which we are the same. Good leaders are relationship-builders who reflect the values of their communities. Their goal is not to be correct all the time, but to advance the greater good, which usually happens by arriving at consensus, no matter how long it takes. Many times during the campaign, I’ve expressed my belief that in an atmosphere of mutual respect, elected officials, community members and professionals can get a lot accomplished.
That has been my experience as a leader in Princeton, from my early days on the Riverside PTO through almost seven years on the elected Princeton Board of Education and three years on the Princeton Planning Board. Listening and reflecting community values extended into my professional work at Princeton Public Library, where I am part of a senior leadership team that has raised $25 million in private funding to supplement municipal support for one of our great public institutions, the one place where everyone feels welcome. I feel very fortunate to have been able to build a nationally recognized marketing and communications department where none existed before, and my success as a communicator, connecting my fellow citizens with all the library has to offer, is underpinned by deep knowledge of our community.
Leading an elected board that has oversight over an $80 million budget, being part of a joint Council-Planning Board Committee looking into harmonizing our zoning ordinances and working for 16 years in what is widely known as “the community’s living room” has given me a firm grasp on the solutions to the important issues Princeton faces: affordability, inclusion and preservation of neighborhood character.
I thank you for reading this and ask for your vote on Tuesday, June 7.
Mayor Liz Lempert is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. She also submitted a statement.
Statement from Liz Lempert
Dear Fellow Democrats,
Since being elected mayor in 2012, I have worked together with the Princeton Council, municipal staff, and community members to make consolidation a success, and to focus our newly unified government around the progressive values of openness, sustainability, and inclusion. I am writing to ask you for your support this Tuesday and in November.
Princeton’s historic consolidation has been a massive undertaking. We achieved the financial savings targets set by the Consolidation Commission and Transition Task Force, significantly reduced the size of the staff while enhancing services, and obtained a triple-A bond rating.
We have focused on issues that impact the quality of daily life within our community. This has included working to tighten restrictions on home sizes and starting a comprehensive rezoning effort aimed at preserving the character of our beloved neighborhoods. I have supported other quality of life initiatives such as tour bus controls and limits on overnight operating hours of businesses next to homes in residential districts.
Environmental sustainability has been another top priority during my term in office. We developed a stewardship plan for the Princeton Ridge, and were successful in permanently preserving 40 acres of land purchased largely through outside funding. Last year work began on developing a solar farm on top of the old landfill. The town is creating a comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan and is launching a joint bike share program with Princeton University, paid for through a grant.
Inclusion and equity have been guiding principles throughout my term in office. We have combatted wage theft, strengthening bonds with immigrant communities through clear communication about role of local police when it comes to immigration enforcement, and given our young people an official voice with the creation of a Youth Advisory Committee.
Please remember to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, June 7th. Polls are open 6am-8pm. Use this link if you need to check your polling location: https://voter.njsvrs.com/elections/polling-lookup.html.
I have been honored to serve as your mayor, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I recognize that there is still much to do, and I look forward to meeting that challenge together.