Letters to the Editor, Oct. 29


Special things happen at the public library
To the editor:
Something special happened at the Princeton Public Library on Monday night, when more than 150 people gathered to honor the life of a native son. Barbara Johnson, the mother of Christopher Reeve, graciously introduced a showing of the A&E film that Chris finished directing this year, "The Brooke Ellison Story," about a young woman who is a quadriplegic and overcame unimaginable obstacles to attend Harvard University and who now is studying for her Ph.D.
   The critically praised film followed Brooke’s life but was infused with Chris’ own experience of having a severe spinal cord injury. Anyone who has been a caregiver or been ill themselves, witnessed courage or been the recipient of kindness, felt deeply the struggle of Brooke and the artistry and humanity of Chris. The audience laughed, wept and spoke afterwards about different aspects of the film — medical developments, personal recollections, questions about how the movie was made.
   At the end of the film, the credits rolled, ending with words acknowledging the work of the "Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation." Many things came together — Chris’ life, which began in Princeton; his brother Ben’s warmth in reminding us how fortunate children are to grow up in such a town; Barbara’s many years of volunteer work on behalf of the Friends of the Library; the continuing legacy of a native son whose courage and determination continue to inspire people around the world.
   Barbara noted that the library’s director, Leslie Burger, has a "beautiful dream" of the library as the "community’s living room." It was such a place that night, and next Tuesday it will become such a place again. The library will remain open on election night so that the town can watch the election results together. Three nights later, on Friday, the Friends of the Library will host former Sen. Bill Bradley and John McPhee at their annual benefit lecture, to start at the library and continue nearby.
   Again, we will be reminded of the magic in our community and the library’s role in connecting people to ideas, texts and to each other. The library looks forward to residents’ continuing interest, support and joining together as we continue to seek ways to make sense of our world.
Nancy Ukai Russell
Board of Trustees
Princeton Public Library
Witherspoon Street
Evening at library was memorable event
To the editor:
I want to express my thanks to the Princeton Public Library for presenting the film "The Brooke Ellison Story," a true story about a quadriplegic young woman, directed by the late Christopher Reeve. The premise was about how Brooke, after being in a car accident leaving her paralyzed at the age of 11, goes on to accomplish tremendous educational feats and overcomes obstacles, thanks to the tireless help of her family, namely her mother, the community in which they lived and Brooke’s incredible fortitude.
   Although neither I nor a member of my family has, fortunately, ever experienced paralysis, this special screening was a truly moving, captivating, emotional and epic tribute to the late Christopher Reeve, in one of his last works. There was not a dry eye in the crowd.
   What also was touching were the remarks made by Christopher’s mother and brother. Even though I never met the family, I could just tell how genuine, sincere, good and real they are, following a cause that Christopher believed in. His courage and indomitable spirit is something to be emulated. I bet his mother was an inspiration to Christopher and vice versa.
   In a chaotic and very often negative and cruel world, it is events like this that makes me think how lucky I am to be living in and around a community like Princeton, where there is so much to learn about life from each other with different backgrounds and experiences, including Professor John Nash and other educators, politicians, entertainers, etc. and the "ordinary" man and woman. The speakers, cultural and educational events offered by the university and community are second to none.
   We are a very privileged and special bunch; cherish it and remember it when you are having a bad day. Viva Princeton!
Bob Kirby
Muriel Court
South Brunswick
Sidewalk on Snowden is absolute necessity
To the editor:
I write regarding the proposed installation of sidewalks on Snowden Lane between Rollingmead and Franklin.
   My family lives on Leabrook Lane. We have two children who attend both Littlebrook Elementary School and The Jewish Center for religious school. Our children walk to both schools. The trip to Littlebrook is all on sidewalks. Unfortunately, the trip to the Jewish Center includes the portion of Snowden in question, which does not have sidewalks. Many other families walk on Snowden to the Jewish Center from surrounding streets. As a regular walker on Snowden, I can tell you that a sidewalk is an absolute necessity for safety reasons. This is particularly true because the road curves at Franklin and Snowden and the visibility is limited. Thus, it is dangerous to be walking in the road below that intersection. The township is absolutely correct in its intentions to install a sidewalk.
   I have read the letters to the editors in local papers alleging that the canopy trees would be lost and claiming that Snowden is a country road. However, as the township noted, most of the large growth trees are on the other side of Snowden and therefore would not be affected. Furthermore, Snowden has become a thoroughfare, cut-through road with constant traffic that frequently exceeds the speed limit. If a sidewalk were installed, the sight of pedestrians, whose numbers would increase, would not only encourage people to slow down, but would also act as a visible reminder to drivers that they are in a neighborhood.
   Finally, if money is the issue (which I believe it is), there must be a way to equitably share the cost of the sidewalk. While new sidewalks would certainly raise the property values of the neighbors on Snowden, it would also improve the lives of all of us living on the surrounding streets. For these reasons, I would be willing to pay my share for the sidewalks and I suspect that others share my view. Perhaps spreading the cost throughout a larger area, such as a surrounding radius of a quarter-mile, would address the cost issue and result in a nominal charge to all of us.
   Thus, I ask for the borough and township to recognize that the lack of a sidewalk on this portion of Snowden presents a safety risk to pedestrians that must be addressed. The only real question is how to pay for this sidewalk in an equitable way.
Linda J. Schwimmer
Leabrook Lane
Commission calls for equitable enforcement
To the editor:
The members of the Princeton Human Services Commission support a Borough Council resolution to advance the security of those who work and live in this community from crime and intimidation by immigration officers.
   Implicit in the mission of the Human Services Commission is advocating on behalf of all whose work, public or private, contributes to Princeton. We care about their housing, their health, the education of their children and their security. We recognize the advantages to Princeton when they live among us, when children grow up knowing a neighbor who is a police officer or a schoolteacher, a community volunteer, a hospital worker.
   Especially now, we stand in support of Latinos who have long worked in this community, specifically as concerns their security. Thus, we are in favor of the council taking action to augment the security of such workers and to instruct the borough police to carry out this mandate in a way that breaks no laws but offers respect for those who do the work of the community.
   We support equitable and humane immigration enforcement, and equitable and humane housing law enforcement that addresses both overcrowding and discrimination in real estate sales and renting. Absent such equal justice, people are pitted against each other, to the benefit of neither, in a way that destroys community.
   We all need to conduct our lives in a manner that reveals our respect and caring for all members of the Princeton community.
Members of the Princeton Human Services Commission
Witherspoon Street
Influential community should express outrage
To the editor:
For those of you who attended Tuesday night’s protracted Borough Council meeting, or watched it on TV 30, the irony I’m about to describe is already obvious.
   The USA PATRIOT Act was written in response to terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and the Department of Homeland Security was created in its wake. Currently, these anti-terrorist provisions are driving increased raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants in America, as evidenced by a 5:30 a.m. raid by immigration officials on Witherspoon Street less than two weeks ago.
   My 10 year-old daughter came home that afternoon traumatized by the frantic tears of her classmates, who gave accounts of parents and neighbors being dragged from their beds and thrown into jail. The children were terrified that their fathers, aunts or siblings might be abducted just as suddenly, and sent back to Mexico. One of her classmates has not yet returned to school.
   Sounds like terrorism to me. I can’t say that I recall this level of hysteria among school-aged children in our community, even on Sept. 11. And is there any link between the Mexican community and terrorism at all? Or is it just easier to boost numbers by dragging in defenseless working poor people than by breaking up genuine terrorist cells?
   As a small but influential community, we can draft resolutions, or ordinances, or public statements to express our outrage. As citizens, we can also vote our minds this coming Tuesday.
Andrea Honori
Cleveland Lane
Support is sought for PHS Choir concert tour
To the editor:
The Princeton High School Choir is gearing up for a trip to Prague and Dresden this coming February.
   Dresden, situated on the banks of the Elbe River was one of the world’s most beautiful cities. A masterful ensemble of baroque architecture, Dresden was also a center for art, music and culture. On the night of Feb. 13, 1945, Dresden was destroyed in a massive firebombing. Over the years it has risen from the ashes and our "singing ambassadors" will visit the Frauenkirche, the city’s recently reconstructed central historic cathedral. Its most astounding feature is its bell-shaped dome of solid stone. The gallery above the inner dome was designed for choir singers, whose voices floated down as if from heaven. They will also visit the Zwinger Palace, home to the Old Masters Picture Gallery and the Semper Oper, where they will have the opportunity to attend a performance of "Die Fledermaus."
   In Prague, the choir will explore the Old City with its Jewish quarter and cemetery. The main square is the heart and proud soul of Prague Old Town. The square is lined with period-piece renaissance and baroque buildings while narrow, winding side streets branch out from the square in a pattern laid out in medieval times. They will visit Hradcany Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, which was started at the end of the 9th century and became the center of the power in the following centuries.
   Immersed in the history, culture and music of these two great cities, the choir will perform a number of concerts including a joint concert with the Primaner Choir from Berlin, and the Jan Neruda School Choir. Judging from past trips, the educational and cultural experience will be unforgettable. Ruth Quiles, class of 2005, summed up the choir’s previous trip in an article for the school newspaper: "I’m glad my first experience of international travel had a purpose other than sightseeing. There was something very satisfying in the balance between rehearsal, performance and recreation. Sharing our music with the audience and hearing their applause was perhaps the most rewarding of all."
   Andres Reinero, class of 2005 has participated in choir since middle school and expressed the value of this program: "The music and camaraderie has made choir an incredible experience. Music is an inseparable part of who I am."
   The PHS Choir is a jewel in the crown of the Princeton Regional Schools and would not be possible without the talent, dedication and enthusiasm of choir director Charles Sundquist.
   The choir steering committee looks forward to the realization of this excellent educational opportunity and is actively seeking funds to help support this trip. Any donations would be most appreciated. You may send your donations to Charles Sundquist, Princeton High School, 151 Moore St., Princeton NJ 08540. Checks should be made payable to PHS Choir Tour.
Heidi Fichtenbaum
Carnahan Place
An eagle-eyed view of the political game
To the editor:
I saw a bald eagle this morning. He (or she) was resting comfortably atop an old naked tree lining the Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath right here in Princeton. This was actually our fourth encounter this month. My morning runs and his breakfast runs must be on the same schedule.
   Today, he couldn’t have been more than 125 feet away, so I stopped and admired his baldness. I wish I had the vocabulary to paint the picture for you. Adjectives like majestic, timeless, stoic and poised come to mind — all inadequate. After about 10 minutes, he seemed to give me a nod and lifted off, heading north, bright yellow talons hanging in the wind. I gave him a salute and jogged to my car — a very inspiring way to start the day.
   For some reason, my visit got me thinking about the current political fervor sweeping the land.
   Like most Americans, I find myself riveted to the election coverage. But, I also find myself wondering if my passions and preferences are heightened more than they should be. Each day I scan the media for my daily fix, and view the new national pastime. It’s the Blues vs. Reds; the Donkeys vs. the Elephants; the Liberals vs. Neocons in high-def! Game-night coverage is complete with stats, charts, cheerleaders, sideline reporters and color analysts. I have become a fan (fanatic) of this game played every night. I root for the other team to fumble. I cheer when we gain ground. I feel indignant when the opponent spews venom at our team.
   The bald eagle made me wonder if this aggression is good for me, and for my kids. Are we so passionate about sports and competition that we’ve allowed it to emotionalize our approach to something this important? At what point do objectivity and rational thought cease and fanaticism take over? We love our home team and "hate" the opponent. Isn’t that what gets reinforced every Saturday afternoon, and Sunday afternoon and Monday night?
   Consider the subtext of the "game plan" employed by each team … er, party. Heavy doses of negativity, hostility and toxic allegations are the prevailing strategies. They are launched like weapons to damage credibility, raise fears and doubts and ultimately to force turnovers. Turnovers translate into points on the pollster scoreboard.
   Is it possible that the media exploit this situation? (Do bald eagles eat fish for breakfast?) I wonder if the parties themselves need to accept responsibility and reform the rules, revise the debate structure and raise the standards of acceptable behavior.
   I have a feeling that, if I could ask that bald eagle about these things, he would reassure me. He would tell me that the political process hasn’t changed, that I should be thankful so many people are so passionate, that the information presented on television is balanced, that in a free society we all have choices, that I can choose to shut the television off when I’ve had enough.
   Finally, he would tell me that if I don’t vote, I can’t count on him to be there for me anymore.
   I think I should heed his advice.
Karl Dentino
Elkins Court
West Windsor
Congressman Holt deserves re-election
To the editor:
I am writing to support the re-election of our congressman, Rush Holt.
   Since taking office, Mr. Holt has had a cornucopia of well-thought-out policies. He is consistently for the protection of our environment and he was one of the few congressmen to vote against the war in Iraq and the president’s use of force. He was named "Treasury Guardian" by Taxpayers for Common Sense in 2003. He is currently fighting to fund embryonic stem-cell research and to ban assault weapons, which recently have been allowed back on the streets.
   The Sierra Club, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, to name only a few organizations, have all endorsed Mr. Holt. There is no doubt he deserves re-election.
Anna Chazelle
Broadmead Street
Baehr will take old guard to task
To the editor:
Four years ago I ran as the independent candidate for Princeton Borough Council, attempting to secure a council seat in our Democratic majority town. Needless to say, I didn’t beat the odds.
   One current issue at that time (way back then) was the proposal of an underage drinking ordinance, considering whether police should be allowed to go onto private property, when summoned, to escort underage drinkers from the premises or scene — essentially going beyond their jurisdiction.
   I was and am totally opposed to such police authority. Responsibility for the handling of underage drinking, as with any activity involving our young people, should be placed in the hands of the supervising adults — whoever they be (parents, hosts, of-age peers), period — not the police.
   Imagine a frightening scenario where an underage drinker, sick and disoriented or perhaps even suffering from alcohol poisoning, too afraid of what may happen if he or she seeks help. Or what about of-age drinkers turning in the underaged?
   Your vote on Nov. 2 for Evan Baehr for Borough Council will ensure that this ordinance will not go unchallenged. Evan Baehr is a Princeton University student of public policy and an energetic, engaging individual willing and prepared to take the old guard incumbents to task.
   Four years is too long for a pending decision. Vote in a representative who will listen, speak to and take action on our local issues. Evan Baehr will bring a fresh, intelligent perspective to our municipal government that is long overdue.
Dorothy J. Koehn
John Street
If leadership is test, Wilson, Warms pass
To the editor:
As we have been hearing for quite some time, this election is crucial to the future of our country. After all is said and done, whether you cast your vote for President Bush or Sen. Kerry, the stakes are clear. In this election the basic issue at hand is leadership. Who will best represent the interests of the American people, and who will best lead us for the next four years. Whomever we choose in the voting booth, we will have at least answered that question.
   The question of leadership applies equally to our Montgomery Township Committee elections. Never before have the candidates offered such stark contrasts in leadership. While all four have demonstrated their commitment to the people of Montgomery, the question remains: Who has, in their words and actions, best represented the interests of the people of Montgomery? If you ask yourself that question, the answer is clear.
   No mayor or council member in recent time has been more committed to the welfare of our township than Mayor Louise Wilson and John Warms. Under the leadership of Ms. Wilson, the township has reversed its course, steering away from over-development, poor urban planning and disregard for the residents of Montgomery. In Ms. Wilson and Mr. Warms, we have examples of what leadership should be.
   Just as critical as your vote is for the presidential election, the stakes are also high for our Township Committee. Regardless of whom you select to represent the American people for the next four years, the choice for township residents should be clear. If leadership is the true test for whom we will vote for, then voting for Louise Wilson and John Warms to the Montgomery Township Committee is the right thing to do.
Paul Marc Oliu
York Drive
Montgomery GOP telling it like it is
To the editor:
In Montgomoery, Republican Township Committee candidates Tony Li and Lauri Campbell-Loaiza understand that numbers don’t lie. They understand that double-digit increases in spending will lead to unacceptable tax increases. They know that the best way to control the march toward higher and higher taxes is to control the growth of government spending. They are not using "scare tactics," as our Democrat rivals would have you believe — they are telling it like it is.
   Property tax levels are an issue, and will continue to be an issue until voters demand that their elected officials control the cost of government. I am not suggesting that Montgomery Democrats have been suggesting outlandish spending, but I do not believe they have been as prudent as we should be. Here’s an example: Last year, the Township Committee voted to purchase and renovate a building for a community and senior center. We spent $1.2 million. I voted for that. It was a worthy investment to provide a more adequate space for senior and other activities. But this year, I voted against an additional $2 million for major renovations that would add primarily office space for our recreation staff. I am sure it will be a beautiful building, but I was not convinced it was necessary at this time. Remember, we are all paying for a state-of-the-art high school across the street from the community center that could be used for some meetings and activities. At a time when we are still pursuing an aggressive open-space purchase program, and the potential purchase (litigation notwithstanding) of the NPDC site, Republicans believe you have to make choices.
   Montgomery Republicans also believe it is not only possible but prudent to put reasonable caps on municipal spending. Let’s avoid double-digit increases in spending. Let’s finally adopt the municipal employee cost savings and incentives program Republicans have been promoting for two years. Municipal taxes have been relatively stable the last three years because these double-digit spending increases have been buffered by digging deeply into the municipal surplus. That can’t go on forever or we will be in danger of either a major tax increase or a decrease in our bond rating — or both.
   Montgomery Republicans believe you can provide first-class municipal government, including the parks and recreational opportunities we all want. But we also believe you can be responsive to residents and community needs in a more frugal, cost-effective way. Tony Li and Lauri Campbell-Loaiza understand this premise. Tony’s background in finance and accounting and Lauri’s community activism and their combined desire to make Montgomery an even better place to live, work and raise a family make them excellent choices for Montgomery Township Committee. I look forward to serving with them and ask that you give them your vote.
Mark Caliguire
Montgomery Township Committee
Hunters Path
Wilson and Warms will work for community
To the editor:
The Montgomery Township Committee candidates, Louise Wilson and John Warms, are the most experienced and dedicated individuals one could hope to find in this community. John Warms has been our neighbor since we moved to Montgomery in 1988, and we have seen firsthand his commitment to spending time addressing the issues of concern in this township. A former mayor, member of the Township Committee and a tough negotiator, he has generously volunteered over the years to work on the difficult issues such as the airport settlement, relieving traffic congestion and the 206 bypass fight.
   John and his family have lived in Montgomery for over 30 years and he has seen the dramatic changes, both good and bad, that have impacted the style and quality of life here in this community. Avoiding suburban sprawl and maintaining green space and parkland is a high priority for the township. He shares, as does Louise, a strong desire to maintain the lowest possible municipal tax rate through fiscal conservatism and effective long-term planning. His experience with public finance and school funding will be a valuable asset on the Township Committee.
   The team of Louise Wilson and John Warms on the Township Committee will work diligently to bring bipartisan approaches to planning for controlled growth and for responsible fiscal stewardship of our tax dollars. Join us in voting for the most experienced and dedicated candidates, Louise Wilson and John Warms. We know they will be on the job, working for the community.
Tom and Janice McFarland
Brookside Drive
Kerry will show real leadership
To the editor:
There he goes again! Dick Cheney is trying to scare people to vote for George Bush by saying John Kerry could not handle a nuclear terrorist attack. Let it not be forgotten what the Bush/Cheney response to the 9/11 attack was: President Bush sat twitching for seven minutes with a kindergarten class and then took to the skies in Air Force One, touching down occasionally, while Vice President Cheney headed for the White House bunker. It was Richard Clarke who valiantly coordinated the government response to the attack.
   John Kerry has courageously led men into battle to face enemy fire. He did not flinch then and he will continue to be a strong leader in the future. I want to know that there is real leadership in the White House at times of national emergency, and that is why I will vote for John Kerry for President.
Stephanie G. Harris
Hopewell-Wertsville Road
Hopewell Township
Give Bush 4 more years to execute his vision
To the editor:
Sen. John Kerry’s candidacy has been based solely on creating and exploiting anti-Bush sentiment. The rhetoric has been so rude and shrill that, sadly, half the population seems to have been brainwashed by it. Let’s examine the issues and cut through the propaganda.
   • War on terror: No domestic issues matter if we are not strong and secure. Do you remember how you felt on 9/11? George W. Bush shared our pain and led our response. His strategic vision — no distinction between terrorists and the countries that harbor them; preemption; bringing democracy to the Middle East — has defanged three state sponsors of terrorism: Afghanistan, Iraq and, without firing a shot, Libya. What is Sen. Kerry’s strategy? He hasn’t told us. But his voting record shows a pattern of weakening our military and intelligence. He voted against the first Gulf War, voted to slash intelligence funding and opposed President Reagan’s nuclear buildup that brought down the Soviet Union. History proves that "peace through strength" works. Appeasement does not.
   • Iraq: Sen. Kerry says the president misled us. But the United Nations, every other country and Sen. Kerry himself held the same convictions about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Even if no stockpile is found, we know Saddam Hussein had the capability and intent to produce WMD once sanctions and inspections ended. Imagine if we attacked Afghanistan before 9/11. There would have been a public outcry, and we could never have proven that we were pre-empting a terrorist attack. In a post-9/11 world, President Bush chose to remove a threat, and we are better for it. Sen. Kerry’s lamentations about "international support" obviously refer to France and Germany. Where is our American pride? Do we give the benefit of the doubt to France, Germany and a corrupt United Nations rather than to our own president? Wouldn’t we shoulder 90 percent of the financial and military burden anyway? On the subject of post-war Iraq, didn’t we face similar challenges in Germany and Japan after World War II?
   • Economy: Guess what: The president has little control over the economy. This is a free-market, capitalist society, not a planned, socialist economy. There will always be cycles of expansion and recession. A president can stimulate a sagging economy and, through tax cuts, President Bush has done just that.
   • Health care, Social Security: Democrats want to solve domestic issues with big government; after all, people can’t be trusted to manage their own affairs. Republicans will foster an "ownership society," where people are responsible for their own money. Advanced medical treatments, not the president, are driving the increase in health-care costs. Would you be willing to lower your cost of health care in exchange for giving up the right to receive any treatment developed within the last five years? Let’s allow free-market forces to work and stop trying to engineer a solution to what has come to be seen as an entitlement.
   Sen. Kerry’s platform consists of negativity, criticism and platitudes, without substance. Give President Bush four more years to execute his vision.
James J. Caruso
Avalon Road
Hopewell Township
U.S. can regain health, strength by removing Bush
To the editor:
Part of my girlhood involved practicing how to protect myself from nuclear attack by the Soviet Union by hiding under my school desk. Later, during the Cuban missile crisis, I nervously scanned the skies for Soviet jets while at field hockey practice.
   When I voiced my fears about the Soviet Union destroying America to my father, his response calmed my anxiety. I don’t need to worry about the Soviet Union, my father assured me, because it will destroy itself from within. It uses its immense military power to occupy other countries it feels threatened by, relying on force to promote its communist beliefs. Because of its obsession with this paramount goal, most of its people lack adequate education, adequate health care and adequate employment. With these priorities, the Soviet Union will weaken and eventually self-destruct, my father predicted.
   Now, decades later, my father’s depiction of the former Soviet Union fills me with anxiety about my own country, the United States. Feeling threatened, my country has used its massive military power to pre-emptively attack another county, using force to promote democracy. Meanwhile, millions of Americans lack adequate education, adequate health care and adequate employment. The priorities of the Bush administration, rather than making America stronger, have weakened us from within. On Nov. 2, Americans have the opportunity to ensure that our country retains its health and strength by voting the current President out of office.
Kathy Fedorko
West Prospect Street
Comportment of wives is an issue in election
To the editor:
Mothers and grandmothers talk a lot about the manners, language and values our children are learning and mostly blame it on the media.
   We think that the greater truth is that the way our First Family conducts itself is a key guide to the way Americans conduct their own lives, and that the examples that Laura Bush and Teresa Heinz Kerry are setting provide another reason why this year’s election is so important.
   At an event at former Gov. Christie Whitman’s New Jersey home recently, we saw firsthand why the First Lady is publicly active in the campaign. Besides being pleasingly humorous about Barney not wanting to leave the White House, she spoke clearly, forcefully and with dignity about the president’s accomplishments and agenda and asked for our vote for the president. As she shook hands and talked with strangers, her eyes sparkled with genuine interest in each person.
   In contrast, Mrs. Heinz Kerry has been seen and heard more rarely. The Kerry campaign knows that in spite of her organizational philanthropy, on a personal level she continues to offend many of us by what we believe is undignified, impolite, disrespectful language that demeans others. When a person says publicly that "there are a lot of scumbags out there," she really may be talking about us. When she tells a reporter to "shove it," one wonders who will be the next target. You know many of the other remarks we think are insensitive, and today she has had to apologize for demeaning Mrs. Bush’s accomplishments by "forgetting" the First Lady’s professional experience as a teacher and librarian.
   One can only conjecture that Mrs. Edwards’ suggestion that Mrs. Cheney is ashamed of her daughter was given license by Mrs. Heinz Kerry’s loose tongue. The unfortunate part is that the more the media comments on Mrs. Heinz Kerry’s behavior, the more this kind of behavior and demeaning attitude toward others is perceived as acceptable to many Americans, particularly to our children.
   There is a great deal at stake in this election. The war on terrorism is clearly our greatest priority. Other pressing issues include the economy, education, social security and health care. But when many Americans say, "We are a sick society," they aren’t talking about our physical health. They are talking about how we speak to and treat one another, of a loss of dignity and personal respect for others that we are passing on to younger generations.
   The traditional wisdom is that First Ladies don’t matter in elections. Well, they do when the vote is in, and we believe we have a clear choice between Mrs. Bush, a role model whose standards of respect and decency do not waver, and Mrs. Heinz Kerry, whom we cannot count on to uphold these values.
   We hope you will take this in to consideration when you cast your vote and if you think our observations are valid, you will pass this on to others on each side of the fence as we have.
Susan Pizzi
Mountain View Road
Kate Wood
Foxcroft Drive
Barbara Mitnick
Van Beuren Road
A vote for Nader is basically a vote for Bush
To the editor:
In Carl Mayer’s letter to the editor (The Packet, Oct. 26), he uses skewed logic to argue that the problems involved in Gov. McGreevey’s administration are justification for not voting for either major party presidential candidate and, by default, voting for Ralph Nader. If Mr. Nader were running for governor or for some state-level position, this argument might hold water. In a presidential election as close as this one, everyone of sound mind knows that a vote for Ralph Nader is basically a vote for George Bush.
   Mr. Mayer’s only argument for Mr. Nader is his essential political purity, a claim that may have had validity in the past. If, as Mr. Mayer claims, some New Jersey politicians may be accused of selling out for corrupt deals, Mr. Nader must be held accountable for selling his soul to promote his egotistical pursuit of the presidency. How else can you explain the fact that he knowingly allowed supporters of President Bush in swing states to campaign actively to get his name on the ballot? The Republicans clearly see the value in a Nader candidacy; why doesn’t Mr. Mayer?
   Then there is the case of election fraud surrounding Mr. Nader’s bid to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Declaring that nearly two-thirds of the signatures on his nominating petitions were invalid or had been forged, the Pennsylvania court called it an unparalleled case of election fraud. So much for Mr. Nader’s political purity.
   Anyone considering voting for Ralph Nader should seriously think about what four more years of George Bush will bring — in terms of the environment, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, education and international affairs. President Bush already started a war on the false premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and then failed to protect the Iraqi explosives that he knew existed, allowing them to be looted by the very enemy that is terrorizing our soldiers. Any vote for Ralph Nader is a ticket for President Bush to continue his current pattern of eroding conditions at home and promoting hatred against the United States abroad.
Ann Summer
Cedar Lane
Sign removal is denial of free speech
To the editor:
Kerry/Edwards campaign signs have been disappearing with regularity in Montgomery Township, both from individual front yards and along public rights-of-way.
   This flagrant disregard for freedom of speech and First Amendment rights is frightening, as well it should be. First, parts of the PATRIOT Act, then arresting and intimidating demonstrators at the Republican National Convention and now this. Strange behavior for the party that has taken the nation to war to bring freedom, democracy and free speech to the Middle East.
Elizabeth Palius
River Road
Struggle continues for black history course
To the editor:
The Montgomery School District recently spent $1,800 to bring a personnel consultant from Mercedes Benz to speak against the drive by A Parents’ Initiative for Every Child’s Education to implement black history as an elective at Montgomery High School.
   To further our effort, APIECE (http://APIECENJ.org) has arranged for five top-level scholars in the area of African American history, all of them educators, to visit our town. Each of these esteemed educators could likely command compensation of $1,800 or more for speaking engagements. Instead they are volunteering their expertise because they support the APIECE struggle to implement a black history course in Montgomery High School.
   We owe a debt of thanks to:
   • Dr. Sam Anderson, education director at Medgar Evers College’s Center for Law and Social Justice, author of "Black Holocaust for Beginners" and co-author of a two-volume work titled "The Third World Confronts Science & Technology."
   • Dr. Joanne Cunningham, professor of African, African-American and Caribbean Studies specializing in Caribbean and Haitian studies at William Paterson University and an elected member of Princeton Regional Board of Education.
   • Dr. Joseph L. Graves, Jr., the university core director and professor of biological sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of "The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America"; "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Teaching the Biological and Social Construction of Race"; "Race in the College Classroom: Pedagogy and Politics"; and "The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium."
   • Baruti Kafele, principal of Patrick Healy Middle School and author of "A Handbook for Teachers of African American Children" and "A Black Parent’s Handbook to Educating Your Children (Outside The Classoom)."
   • Deitria Smith, a teacher of African history and social studies at Patrick Healy Middle School in East Orange.
   This event will occur on Saturday, Nov. 6, 12:30-4:30 p.m., at the Harlingen Reformed Church, 34 Dutchtown Road (facing Route 206) in Montgomery. Refreshments will be served. A small donation is requested though none will be turned away. Advance reservations are requested but not required.
   All are welcome. This event is just as important to residents of other towns. We hope to develop a strategy to spur similar efforts in other communities and to develop a town-to-town support mechanism for such curriculum revision efforts. New Jersey has a law called the Amistad Act that mandates that all public districts provide in-depth study of the topic of African American history. However, there are many districts that have yet to comply. We promote the implementation of a high school elective or required course on African American history as a major step toward compliance.
   For information, call (908) 874-5094.
Jerome Carr
Parsons Court
Montgomery enjoys old-fashioned Harvest Fair
To the editor:
On Saturday, Oct. 16, Montgomery Township enjoyed its first old-fashioned Harvest Fair in many years, with music, games, exhibits, concessions and a barbecue dinner. Hundreds of residents turned out at Montgomery Park on a typical October day, full of sun, autumn color and cool breezes.
   The Harvest Fair was sponsored by Van Harlingen Historical Society and the Rotary Club of Montgomery and Rocky Hill. But in the spirit of a community event, we are grateful that so many individuals, groups and businesses contributed to making the day a success.
   Key donations came from Johnson & Johnson in support of our three musical acts, Larry Tritel, Daisy Haze and the Harvest Fair Bluegrass Band. The Harlingen Reformed Church provided tables and chairs for the barbecue, Kempner Tregoe provided copying services. And Bartolomei Pucciarelli, LLC of Lawrence supplied beverages. Prizes for children’s games were contributed by Rodolfo’s Pizza, Hillsborough Dollar Store, New World Pizza and Maggie Moo’s. And Famous Dave’s of Hillsborough catered a delicious barbecue benefit dinner.
   Montgomery Township and its parks, recreation and police departments provided support, as did the township schools. Meanwhile, some 40 businesses and nonprofit groups supported the fair as concessions and/or distributors of meal tickets.
   This year we laid a strong foundation for what we anticipate will become an annual and growing event. See you next year.
Brad Fay
Van Harlingen Historical Society
Eric Hendrickson
Rotary Club of Montgomery and Rocky Hill
Harvest Fair Co-Chairmen
Are herbs effective in preventing flu?
To the editor:
A recent news item in The Packet informs those of us who have not had a flu shot, and may well be unable to get one, not to fret, not to worry, as the Wild Oats market has herbs and homeopathic medications equal to the government-supplied vaccine that will prevent influenza and its symptoms.
   While this seems to be welcome news, one wonders if these herbs and medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for this purpose? Have these herbs and homeopathic medications been tested in controlled clinical trials and found to be protective? After all, lives may be at risk here.
Melvin A. Benarde
Thorngate Court
West Windsor
Reward offered for missing dog
To the editor:
On Oct. 21, our dog, Chloe, ran away from our home in West Windsor. Chloe is a lab/shepherd mix, medium size (50 pounds), brown/black with white patches on her face, legs and underside. She has big brown eyes. She had no collar when last seen. Chloe’s sister, Honey, sits by the door waiting for her to return.
   Please call (609) 897-0646 if you have recently seen or found a dog matching Chloe’s description. We are offering a reward. We miss her so much.
The Allen Family
North Post Road
West Windsor
Deer-slaughter program endangers public safety
To the editor:
As previously reported (The Packet, June 15), the Princeton Township Police Department’s new and expanded budget includes funding for bulletproof vests. Since incidents involving firearms are practically unheard of in this town, one can only conclude that such equipment is needed to protect officers from the lethal .223 rifle bullets that will once again be shot in local parks, preserves and neighborhoods by Tony DeNicola and White Buffalo in the fifth year of the township’s barbaric deer-slaughter program.
   While it does my heart good to know that Princeton’s finest have this level of protection, what about the safety of the other 25,000 local residents? In fairness, everyone living in the community and its vicinity should be issued the same body armor that can stop a ricocheting slug of the military-grade ammunition used in White Buffalo’s silencer-equipped, high-powered weapons.
   As in the previous four years, Princeton’s serene neighborhoods will soon be turned into violent and bloody killing fields by Tony DeNicola, exposing hikers, joggers and dog walkers to potentially mortal danger. He and his snipers will once again sneak around like assassins in the night and do spotlighting and drive-by shooting from pickup trucks. Do you know when they’ll operate in the area where you live?
   Opponents of the program have evidence on file with Fish and Wildlife of White Buffalo’s previous failure to notify residents of time and place for each night’s carnage, as stipulated in its contract; of improper practices such as shooting in the general direction, and within 450 feet, of homes (another breach of contract); and of endangering motorists by baiting deer at sites only a few yards off well-traveled roads, such as Snowden Lane.
   Not surprisingly, deer that are attracted to these locations cross streets to access bait sites and congregate by the roadside, increasing the likelihood of collisions with cars. This, of course, plays into Mayor Phyllis Marchand’s hands by perpetuating the myth that these creatures are a hazard to drivers. It is reckless endangerment, pure and simple, and is grounds for a major lawsuit against the township if anyone is injured from an auto accident caused by deer lured to such a roadside bait site.
   To proponents of the deer-killing program who maintain that to date there has never been an incident involving a stray round, I remind them that a deflected .223 bullet (the same caliber used by our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq) can travel well over a mile, and can penetrate house walls and cars. Keep in mind that until the evening of May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg, too, had a perfect operational record — and we all know how that turned out.
   Tempting fate by allowing the cruel and unpopular deer massacre to go on again this winter in the suburbs of Princeton poses an unacceptable risk to families and their pets. It is an accident waiting to happen.
Bill Laznovsky
Mandon Court
South Brunswick