This coming November, Princeton will elect two Council members. The positions are contested by two incumbent Democrats, Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon, and a Republican challenger, Fausta Rodriguez-Wertz. We plan to ask the candidates some questions about walkable living, housing and transportation, so as to inform voters in making their decision about who to vote for. What questions are most important?
At the recent League Of Women Voters Council Candidate Forum, the candidates did not have to answer too many questions about walkability. Incredibly, the issue of global warming- considered the #1 threat to America– was not even discussed, even though Princeton’s focus on cars for transportation contributes directly to greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, the candidates had the opportunity to issue well-rehearsed, but vague, answers about their commitment to reducing taxes. The only specific disagreement between the candidates was over who should be the ‘appropriate authority’ for police oversight, an issue that has since been resolved by the current Council.
Below is our current list of questions for the candidates. We’d love some feedback on whether these are the right questions. Which questions do you think are the most important? What important issues have we missed? At the end of the week, we will contact the three candidates with our final questions, including some of these or others that readers send us, and if we get any responses, we will publish them before election day! (Updated 10.13.13: the questions we selected to send to the candidates are those in the ‘comments’ below!)
- According to US Census figures, there are 22,000 people who drive into Princeton to work every day. Do you think that it would be advantageous for some of these people to live in Princeton instead so that they could walk or bike to work?
- How can we make it easier for people to live closer to where they work, so we don’t have all their traffic?
- As a Council member, what have you done/ do you plan to do, to make it easier and safer for people to walk/bike to work or to school?
- Many towns are adding bike lanes to make it easier and safer for people to choose cycling instead of driving. If Princeton could extend bike lanes, but had to remove on-street parking to do so, would you support the bike lanes? Or would you try to preserve the on-street parking?
- Everybody wants to reduce taxes, but the savings from consolidation have been relatively small so far (just $700,000 in the last municipal budget). Should Princeton favor infill development that would bring new tax revenues?
- Princeton supports a municipal shuttle, the ‘FreeB’. Should we expand FreeB service, keep it the same, or downsize the program?
- In general, how many new tax dollars do you think municipal Princeton should commit to expanding public transit service? If Princeton is going to ‘work with partners’ to increase transit, what should be the targets for increasing transit, and what is the timeframe?
- Is there anything we can do to Princeton’s planning/zoning process to make the process inclusive, efficient, and cut down on legal costs for the town?
- What is your response to the Route 1 Growth Strategy, published by NJDOT and the Vorhees Transportation Center? The report recommended that local zoning codes should be updated so that future regional growth could be concentrated in urban areas, including Princeton, with the goal of making transit more efficient and reducing regional traffic.
- Do you believe that climate change is caused by human activity? If so, what steps should Princeton be taking to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions?
Leave your comments about our draft questions, and any additional questions that you think we should be asking, in the comments field below!