Where I stand on various issues (in a nutshell)

Princeton is a wonderful town and a great place to live.  We have a strong sense of community.  We value diversity.  Our tree lined streets and old-fashioned neighborhoods define the character of our town.  I hope you will support me in continuing my work on Council.  Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment if I haven’t covered your issue.

WHERE I STAND:
Affordable housing: 
Our town is not affordable for most people. As a community, Princeton has been a leader in providing non-market affordable housing even before it was required by law and we should continue to be a leader.  I support providing subsidized housing for a more socio-economically diverse town when it can be funded by developers or non-profit agencies.  My priority is housing for our lowest income and most vulnerable neighbors; I do not support large-scale development motivated by developer profit but disguised as altruism.  I support increasing the 20% set-aside for affordable housing required for new development, given the relatively high profit opportunity for developers here compared to nearby towns where rents are much lower.

Police:  I am proud of our police department and its forward-thinking policies. I pressed for police leadership to meet with the ACLU and to follow their recommendation to report statistics on police stops by race and gender, and I support our department’s efforts to reduce disparate treatment by reducing officer discretion and standardizing police procedures so that all are treated equally, which according to academic research is the best way to reduce biased policing.  I support reviewing arrest procedures concerning warrants related to unpaid fines and financial penalties.

Immigration Enforcement:  We are better off with a mutually trusting relationship with undocumented immigrants, especially when it comes to reporting crime.  Immigration enforcement is better left to federal agencies, not our local police force.  Our department and Public Safety Committee has consulted with the NJ ACLU on developing procedures concerning immigration enforcement.

Paid Sick Days: I support requiring paid sick leave including time to care for a sick child for all Princeton’s workers, including part time workers.  Princeton’s employers should be required to provide paid sick days after the employee has worked for a number of months.  Low-wage earners have just as much right to paid sick leave as white collar and academic employees.  The only reason many hourly workers do not have paid sick leave is that currently employers can get away with not giving it.

Teardowns: As a Planning Board member, I’m working with our mayor and others on a plan to overhaul our land use regulations to introduce neighborhood-specific zoning.  We need to address the epidemic of teardowns and work with developers who build replacement houses to maximize their size with little regard to neighborhood character.

The environment: Princeton should be a leader in sustainable practices. I supported incorporating green building standards into our zoning ordinances as a checklist and will work to incorporate them as requirements as state law allows. I introduced our anti-fracking ordinance.   I also support ongoing efforts to leverage private fundraising to preserve open space.

Taxes:  In 2009, before being elected I founded a Borough citizen task force with business and financial experts along with then-council member David Goldfarb.  This group examined the budget and provided input into our budgeting process. As a result, for the first time in decades, the Borough’s taxes did not increase.   Since I have been elected we have had only one tax increase of approximately 1%.   I will continue to press for transparency in the budget and careful spending.

Technology:  As a website developer and a member of the town’s IT committee, I advocate using technology to improve governmental transparency and communication.  I have provided technical assistance and oversight for a new municipal website, which is in the works.  I support upgrades to our GIS system, which will provide our staff and the public with more user-friendly maps for understanding zoning, tax boundaries, rights of way, infrastructure and engineering purposes.

Traffic and Speeding:   I have pressed for our police to focus on speeding, which they have; there has been a significant increase in the number of traffic tickets issued in the past year.  As a member of the Traffic Safety Committee, I supported the purchase of four new “your speed is” signs that are now placed throughout the town on a rotating basis.  I will continue to implement new measures to reduce speeding, such as reviewing our policy on speed humps and other traffic calming measures that are being used in other towns to reduce speed on roads.

Walkability:  Making our sidewalks and streets safer and more inviting for walkers and bikers is a high priority for me and for the council.  Working with volunteers, I have recently restructured our transportation-related committees and formed a new “Complete Streets Committee,” which replaces the former car-focused “Traffic and Transportation Committee.” The new committee will be organized around long-term transportation planning and projects supporting the Complete Streets policy, which recognizes all users of the streets and not just cars.  I also brought forth the idea of changing our sidewalk funding formula so that now the town pays for the entire cost of sidewalks, just as it does roads.  Previously, adjacent homeowners were assessed for half of the cost.  With the new policy, we are finding it easier to build new sidewalks where we need them.

The Town/Gown Relationship: The municipality collaborates successfully with the University on many projects.  Currently I am working with the University to better coordinate our FreeB bus with the University’s Tiger Transit buses, which are open to the public.   We have a good relationship, notwithstanding occasional disagreements.   Princeton would not be Princeton without its many educational institutions, prime among them the University, and we must work together through respectful dialogue to achieve our common interests.

Land Use and Transparency:  Upon consolidation, I called for Planning and Zoning Board meetings to be televised, and the Advisory Districts Task Force, which I chaired, also made this recommendation at my suggestion.  This policy has now been adopted so that residents can watch the meetings live as well as see the recorded video.  I am now chairing our Neighborhood Planning Committee, which in its first incarnation as the Advisory Districts Task Force, created a plan for increasing transparency in our land use process.  You can see the plan in the Advisory Planning Districts Task Force report.

The Town/Gown Relationship: The municipality collaborates successfully with the University on many projects. Currently I am working with the University to better coordinate our FreeB bus with the University’s Tiger Transit buses, which are open to the public. We have a good relationship, notwithstanding occasional disagreements. Princeton would not be Princeton without its many educational institutions, prime among them the University, and we must work together through respectful dialogue to achieve our common interests.