Four Princeton Mayors Endorse Michele Pirone Lambros for Council
We write as Princetonians, Democrats, and former mayors to endorse Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Council. The last quarter century has brought Princeton to a crossroads. Transformations in infrastructure, public services and housing challenge us to match our unique history with 21st century realities. We need to make the best decisions for all Princeton residents, whether they descend from six generations or have recently arrived without official papers. To succeed, we need a Council with a breadth of experience and talent.
Michelle stands out as the much-needed fresh Democratic voice to complement the current council’s skills and sensibilities. In our experience, municipal government works best when a variety of perspectives and backgrounds come into play. Michelle understands the importance of bringing together multiple stakeholders. She’s a keen and tested negotiator who played a central role in winning last week’s ruling to reduce parking meter rates. She’s an active and responsive listener who works her heart out to deliver.
At this decisive moment, Princeton can’t afford to stick with a worthy status quo. It needs an expansive Council, where the conventional wisdom is open to question. It needs Michelle Pirone Lambros, the candidate we support with confidence and enthusiasm.
Cathleen R. Litvack
Phyllis L. Marchand
Witherspoon Neighborhood Need Pirone Lambros on Council
As a fourth generation African American Princetonian, I’m supporting Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Council. She’s the only candidate with a real grasp of the challenges that the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood faces, (and where her own mother grew up). Her campaign has been inclusive and sensitive to the needs of the African American community and the undocumented Latinex we call our neighbors. Michelle knows this part of town is underserved, and is campaigning on issues like mixed use zoning that encourages more small businesses, like a grocery store and a laundromat on this side of town. She sees the need for the urgent care clinic we were promised when the hospital left.
As she said in her opening remarks at the debate at the Witherson-Jackson Neighborhood Candidate Forum, every trend that affects Princeton has a concentrated impact on the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood: rising property taxes, a lack of support for small business owners, and zoning restrictions that make it hard for fixed-income seniors to age in place. Michelle has everyone’s interests in mind, and the fresh ideas to make a difference. She doesn’t pay lip-service to social and economic justice. She acts on it.
There’s been talk of the need for a dog park in Princeton. There’s even a candidate who says it’s one of her priorities. But before Princeton’s dogs get their own playground, Michelle will make sure that Princeton’s most vulnerable residents get the services they need.
Princeton Business Owners Support Michelle Pirone Lambros
As we lose yet another small business, Pins and Needles in our downtown, it’s time to ask: Why isn’t Princeton Council doing more to support local merchants? Small businesses create more than 60% of all new jobs in the US economy, and vital business community is the backbone of any local economy. The unique flavor of our town has always been marked by the small businesses that give Princeton character. They provide that live-shop-work-play lifestyle that sets Princeton apart from so many towns. They attract out-of-town shoppers. And they employ residents.
Municipal government works best when it works together with business: to set goals, solve problems, and work to attract, keep, and grow the local economy. Princeton is no different from other towns. It needs this same type of support, yet over the past decade or so this connectivity has been eroding.
We support the election of Michelle Pirone Lambros to Princeton Council because she is the only candidate who reaches out to the business community and is actively working to address our needs and help solve the problems we face. She sees the importance of the business sector and has concrete ideas on how to solve the myriad issues we face today. With growing competition from big box and the internet, we must be more open and flexible to new ways to do business, and to diversify our retail offerings.
She is working on the Economic Development Committee. She advocates for solving the parking meter problem by lowering rates, improving communication on the technology, giving a bonus for using the APP, and extending the grace period. In addition to working out solutions for the parking meters, and she advocates for more downtown parking.
She sees the value in having a greater variety of uses for new types of businesses and she advocates for making changes that will make opening a new business easier, such as eliminating the cumbersome, expensive, and time consuming permitting process in favor of a more streamlined process with lower fees. Creating a welcome kit for new businesses, and working on better wayfinding and signage would help visitors find parking, help calm traffic concerns, and highlight centers of commerce.
Exploring partnerships with the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and reaching out to state-wide programs for new business innovation and small business loans are also priorities for Michelle.
Some of these initiatives are new ideas, others have been discussed and are being worked on in the EDC, and what Michelle would do is to champion and drive these initiatives to get them done expeditiously.
Not everyone on Council needs to have the same skill set or vision for Princeton. A healthy mix of aptitudes means a stronger, more diverse government. Michelle has the business community in mind and often looks to be a resource for new ideas for innovation and expansion as well as streamlining costly and cumbersome permitting to help the small business community thrive.
Finally, Michelle understands that investing and growing our business sector means revenue from commercial taxes which offsets the burden on residential property taxes. Today, commercial taxes represent roughly 20% of all tax revenue, or approximately $60 million per year. A decline in this revenue would have to be made up in residential taxes, and an increase in this revenue with additional business growth, would offset the huge tax burden on our residents.
Investing in economic development just makes good economic sense for our community.
We support Michelle Pirone Lambros as the only candidate with an eye on the business sector and economic development for our community.
Andrew Mangone & John Roberto, Hinkson’s
Bob Hillier, Studio Hillier
Hank Siegel, Hamilton Jewelers
John Procaccini, Trattoria Procaccini & PJs Pancakes
Raoul, Carlo, and Anthony Momo, Terra Momo Group
Anthony Kanterakis, Local Greek
Mark Tamasi, Tamasi Shell
Joy Chen, Joy Cards
Beth Censits, Princeton Consignment
James Herring, Herring Properties
Ellen Kogan, Tranquility Den
As pointed out in other letters, Michelle seems to be the only candidate who wants to tackle the declining business environment in our town. If the estimates are correct 20% of taxes collected in our town come from businesses. Have you noticed the empty store fronts we see around town? Each business that leaves Princeton threatens our own property taxes increasing.. I have heard people comments that they feel Michelle is more Republican than Democrat. When did caring about the vibrant economic concern of our town become a partisan issue? I also hear Michelle has not been back in Princeton long enough to be appointed, having lived in other countries developing her unique ability to get things done and for the right reason. Isn’t it about time we really had a progressive Democrat on the council. We need bold ideas from a dynamic capable individual, Michelle Pirone Lambros is that person.
Editor’s Note: The letters were posted as a group because they were all submitted on the same day just a few days before the primary election. The letters are posted in the order they were received.
Editor’s Note: The letters were posted as a group because they were all submitted just a few days before the primary election. The letters are posted in the order they were received.