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Princeton Borough Council 2000

2000 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, November 7, 2000

CANDIDATES FOR PRINCETON BOROUGH COMMON COUNCIL

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provides nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Incumbents are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 2000 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following four questions to all candidates for Princeton Borough Mayor and Princeton Borough Common Council:

1. With the slated reconstruction of the library and the Arts Council and the construction of a new garage, should there be a comprehensive plan for downtown Princeton as part of the Princeton Community Master Plan?

2. Traffic is projected to triple on local roadways in the Princeton area by 2020. What can municipal planners and Council members do to avoid this situation?

3. The proposed one-cent open-space tax will be a referendum question in the upcoming election. If approved, how would you prioritize the spending of these funds? Please be specific.

4. Traffic calming devices are now in place permanently in the Western section. Other neighborhoods face similar traffic problems such as excessive speeding. If these other neighborhoods request traffic calming devices, how will the Borough determine which neighborhoods need them?

CANDIDATES FOR PRINCETON BOROUGH COMMON COUNCIL

Vote for TwoTerm: 3 years


Wendy W. Benchley*
Democratic Party

Address:35 Boudinot St., Princeton, NJ 08540

Education: Skidmore College BA, 1963

Occupation: Princeton Borough Councilwoman

Significant Community Activities:founding member and member of Advisory Board of Trustees, 1983 to present, of N.J. Environmental Federation. Developed two award winning advocacy programs; "Home Safe Home" and "The Environmental Shoppers Campaign" and organized campaign against the Mercer County Incinerator. Advisory Board of Isles, 1989 to present. Public Policy Work. Princeton Regional Planning Board, 1978-1984 (re-appointed in 1999); MSM Board of Directors, 1984-1989; Mercer County Freeholder, Nov. 1992-Jan. 1994; Princeton Borough Council (elected 1999) liaison to Environmental Commission, Shade Tree Commission and Traffic & Transportation Committee.

Responses:
1. A comprehensive plan for downtown Princeton is essential. The Master Plan Committee of the Regional Planning Board began developing such a plan two years ago. Borough Council is working on its portion of a plan by hiring Desman Associates to analyze the details of redeveloping the block around the library. An important part of this design process is coordinating the input of the Planning Board, the Library Board, the Hillier Architect group and citizens from every sector of town. I believe the Borough is fortunate that a citizen/university group - Princeton Future - is being formed to help in this process. It is my hope that these committees will coalesce to form an organization - perhaps a public-private development corporation - that will continue to work on a comprehensive plan for the larger CBD area.

2. We should:(1) continue to demand that NJDOT reorder its priorities and spend less on new roads and more on other modes of transportation such as jitney busses and light rail; (2) reinstate legislation requiring businesses to car-pool and reward employees and employers with tax breaks; (3) stop subsidizing corporations to build mini-cities in suburban areas. To sustain a modicum of peace from traffic, we must protect green space. It is imperative that the University rethink its support of the Millstone Bypass and consider dedicating parkland south of the D&R Canal State Park. A large "Central Park" may not stop traffic from increasing, but it would give us a place to find relief from suburban sprawl.

3. Since open space in Princeton Township is quickly slipping away, it is essential we use the funds to buy recreation space for Princeton citizens.

4. Borough Council has worked with citizens from many areas to design appropriate traffic calming devices. I would support these devices in any neighborhood that requests them.


RODNEY FISK
Republican Party
No response received.


MARGARET T. KARCHER*
Democratic Party

Address:23 Sergeant Street, Princeton, NJ 08540

Education:BA English, Monmouth College, West Long Branch, NJ; Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, (ABD), Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ

Significant Community Activities: Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity; Opera Festival of New Jersey; Former Member of the Board of Trent House Association; Corresponding Secretary of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization

Responses
1. Princeton is on the threshold of significant new development in the central business district. Keeping in mind that the new library will be the "cornerstone" of that new development, the council should take a new look at the CBD with an eye to maximizing the potential for parking, recreational, residential, commercial and business space in the downtown area.. Now would be a good time to move forward with a comprehensive plan. The Princeton Borough Council has taken an important first step with the employment of Desman Associates, who will look at the parking problem, specifically as it relates to the development of the park and shop lot adjacent to the new library.

2. Princeton Borough Council and municipal planners should oppose any plans by the Department of Transportation that will redirect traffic through our borough or onto our local streets. Within the Borough we should develop the jitney service which will accommodate our local residents and encourage bicycle use as a means to access the downtown business area.

3. The funds raised by the one-cent open space will help to maintain borough parks and playgrounds. Revenue raised by the open space tax should be also be used to purchase land in Princeton Township through our Joint Recreation Department. The aim is to ensure that residents of Princeton Borough have continued access to the diminishing supply of open space for recreation.

4. If neighborhoods request traffic calming devices the Borough Council, together with the Borough Engineer, should address each individual situation. We must design roads with the full involvement of the residents affected, who will help determine which traffic calming devices might work best for them.


DOROTHY J. KOEHN
Valley Civic Complex

Address:123 John Street, Princeton, NJ 08542

Education:Bachelor of Arts in German from Arizona State University; Associates degree in Intercultural Communications from Mesa College, Mesa, AZ; Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Speech and Language

Occupation: Property Manager, 14 years

Significant Community Activities: Moved to Princeton in 1986; Mother of 8 year old daughter who attends Community Park School; Property owner and manager of four residential rental properties in Princeton; Chairperson for Princeton Fete, 1987; Active involvement in library siting since 1991; Educator, language tutor, Montessori instructor, home schooler

Responses:
1. Princeton can be a more wonderful and livable place by planning for the future. We cannot afford to make costly mistakes based on short-term views. Managing growth in positive ways will require a comprehensive approach to all issues from traffic congestion and parking to the aesthetic visions for downtown areas.

I favor moving the Public Library and the Arts Council to Valley Road as a solution to the congestion of the Central Business District for the following reasons: to alleviate parking in the Central Business District; to expand the downtown in an outward as well as upward direction; to allow easy accessibility for all Princeton residents; and to create a corridor between Valley Road and Nassau Street along Witherspoon Street. 

2. As a resident of downtown Princeton I have seen the traffic and parking problems worsen in recent years. Moving the Library and Arts Council to Valley Road and creating a Cultural Complex will alleviate traffic congestion and parking in the Central Business District. Other options include building outlying parking lots with jitney service, increasing public transportation, bike paths, and metering taxis. A main objective should be to help people not to drive as time goes by. Other cities have dealt with this issue effectively and with good results. 

3. The one-cent open space tax will produce only $100,000 per year. This amount represents less than 2% of total tax receipts, which is not significant for any major purpose, much less dividing it amongst several areas. 

4. Stop signs at both cross streets and certain "T" intersections could provide a solution to speeding on many of our streets. Stop signs slow traffic flow and allow for safer pedestrian crossing without the disadvantages of speed bumps. Speed bumps are permanent; they slow emergency vehicles and damage cars. For the safety of children and all pedestrians, speed control is a major concern.