Letters to the Editor, April 19


Loss of West may be Harvard’s gain
To the editor:
   I read with interest your front-page article (The Packet, April 16) praising the reappointment of Cornel West to the Princeton University faculty. One thing that struck me was that there was no attempt to point out the reasons he left Harvard. Talking to my friends in Cambridge and reading Tuesday’s article in the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal make it clear that there is a logical body of opinion which feels that Harvard is the winner here. Only time will tell.
   The major reason I feel I must write this letter is the article appearing on page 8 of Tuesday’s Trenton Times. Unlike your article, which stated that Dr. West "made no direct mention of problems at Harvard," the Times article goes into all the dirty details and quotes a recent NPR interview where Dr. West said, "I think that in one sense Larry Summers (the Harvard president) is the Ariel Sharon of American higher education. He acts like a bull in a china shop. He acts like a bully in a very delicate and dangerous situation."
   As a long-term supporter of the PLO, Dr. West is entitled to his negative opinions about Ariel Sharon and Zionism. However, it is clear of late that around the world the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has become blurred. One need look no further than the constant attacks on Jews in France to get the picture. To compare the Jewish head of Harvard University to Ariel Sharon is a stupid and insensitive remark that can only serve to promote anti-Semitism. Since Dr. West will soon be a resident of the Princeton area, with a Jewish population much larger than Cambridge, Mass., these remarks are particularly inappropriate.
   What really ticks me off is how willing Dr. West is to tell it all on NPR, but he won’t say a bad word to The Packet. This sounds a lot like Dr. West’s hero, Yassir Arafat, who is forever calling for peace in English while praising hatred and murder in his native tongue.
Nelson Obus
Russell Road
Cartoon takes aim at wrong target
To the editor:
   I strenuously object to the cartoon published in your issue of April 12, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and Yassir Arafat.
   First of all, the cartoon ridicules Mr. Sharon as a person of narrow vision. The cartoonist thereby exhibits his view that it is narrow-minded of an independent nation to defend itself from murderous terrorists who blow up innocent non-combatant children, women and men in restaurants, pizza parlors, religious festival meals and bar mitzvah parties. I wonder if the cartoonist similarly ridiculed President Bush for defending America when it decided to protect its citizens against Islamic fundamentalists.
   Second, by ridiculing both Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon equally, the cartoonist extends moral equivalency to both sides in the Mideast war. Israel’s legitimate response, in attacking armed combatants, can in no way be equated with murdering bombers whose targets are innocent civilians.
   Third, Arafat’s major failure is grossly understated by labeling it "credibility," when the truth is that his most significant sin is that he is a terrorist, a murderer and a fanatic.
Dov Peretz Elkins
The Jewish Center
Nassau Street
Involve public in plan changes
To the editor:
   The following letter was sent to Mayor Marvin Reed and members of the Princeton Borough Council:
   We appreciate your continuing support of the planning process and the principles embodied in "The General Development Plan" which you adopted on July 24, 2001.
   At the same time, we are somewhat troubled by the way in which potential developers’ presentations for the Park & Shop Lot are being heard and assessed in closed sessions as recently as April 9, and also by comments by some members of council at its public meeting on March 12, seeming to consider plan revisions favoring markedly greater economic return as against the balance of economic, social and physically attractive gains endorsed in The General Development Plan previously approved by council with notable public support.
   At this time, then, when the "implementation" process for The General Development Plan is beginning, we ask you to continue the open participatory process of civic engagement that, earlier, characterized the "planning" process. Specifically, we strongly urge that, if important revisions in the plan are now being considered, the public be involved in the consideration of these changes.
Robert Geddes
Robert F. Goheen
Honorary Chair
Sheldon Sturges
Princeton Future
Smith looks forward to continued service
To the editor:
   I would like to thank the voters of West Windsor for allowing me to continue to serve on the West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education. I would also like to renew my pledge to all the residents of West Windsor and Plainsboro to approach the board’s discussions with an open mind, to work for open, honest dialogue in our decision-making and to always remember that we must be concerned both with quality education and with tax burdens.
   The new board’s work starts on Tuesday. I always appreciate receiving input from residents. My home phone number is 799-8442.
   Let’s work together to make a great district even better.
Stephen Smith
Greene Drive
West Windsor
Join walk to cure cystic fibrosis
To the editor:
   Please join us in the Sixth Annual Princeton Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis on Sunday at the Princeton Battlefield at noon.
   Cystic fibrosis is the number one genetic killer of children and young adults in America. The research has produced improved aerosol treatments and new antibiotics to treat the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. These are making life easier for our 9-year old, David, and other children in the Mercer County area with cystic fibrosis.
   All of the money raised by the Great Strides Walk in Princeton goes to research to cure this disease. We like the Great Strides Walk because everyone can participate. The route is an easy stroll around the Battlefield and through the Institute Woods. There will be music, entertainment, great food, prizes, water bottles and fun for all.
   There are three specific ways in which you can be involved:
   1. Learn about cystic fibrosis. It is caused by a single gene and we would love to celebrate a cure and/or better treatments for this fatal genetic disease with a local scientist.
   2. Participate in the walk and get sponsors. Last year, we raised $113,000 and all of the money went to research.
   3. Pray for better treatments and a cure for cystic fibrosis.
   We will look forward to seeing you at the Princeton Battlefield at noon on Sunday. Bring a friend and join us in a celebration to change meaning of the initials CF from cystic fibrosis to cure found! For more information, call (609) 683-9577 or e-mail Gerard1006 @rcn.com.
Mary, Paul, John, Meghan, Matthew and David Gerard
Talbot Lane
Volunteers offer kindness, courage
To the editor:
   April 21-27 marks National Volunteer Week. It is a time to honor the millions of Americans making their communities stronger and building a better nation.
   The American Cancer Society is the largest nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. More than 2 million Americans, including over 400 in Middlesex and Mercer counties, volunteer their time to the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. They selflessly donate their time, efforts and skills to our programs and services, bettering the lives of their friends, neighbors and family members.
   I would like to thank our American Cancer Society volunteers and volunteers around the country making a difference. Their selfless acts of kindness and courage truly reflect the values and spirit of our great nation.
   Again, thank you.
James Young
Regional Executive Director
American Cancer Society