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Two Candidates Vying for Mayor of Consolidated Princeton

Here are Patch's questions and answers with candidates Liz Lempert and Dick Woodbridge.

 

Name: Liz Lempert

Street of Residence: Meadowbrook Drive

Occupation: 
Deputy Mayor, Princeton Township; former journalist, National Public Radio’s Living On Earth


Previous Government Experience:

  • Township Committee, Dec. 2008-present
  • Liaison to Joint Township-Borough Finance Committee, Environmental Commission, Traffic Safety Committee, Joint Sidewalk and Bikeways Committee, Citizen’s Finance Advisory Committee, Human Services Commission, and Regional Planning Board
  • Central Jersey Forum of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) representative


Other Civic Experience:

Founding member, Save Our Schools-NJ; Executive Board, Friends of the Princeton Public Library; Co-chair, Mercer4Obama ‘08

 

Name:  Richard C. Woodbridge

Street of Residence:  681 Prospect Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08540

Occupation: Patent & Trademark Attorney, Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP, Lawrenceville, NJ.

Previous Government Experience:  

  • Mayor, Township of Princeton (1991 & 1992)
  • Committeeman for the Township of Princeton (1990 - 1992)
  • Councilman for the Borough of Princeton (elected terms 1977-1979, 1980- 1982, 1983-1985, 1986-1987) 
  • Council President 1984,1985
  • Police Commissioner 1977-1980
  • Fire Commissioner 1981 - 1984
  • Chairman, Public Works Committee 1986 - 1987

Other Civic Experience:

  • Princeton University Store, Member Board of Directors 1996 – 1999
  • Nassau Club of Princeton, President 2004 - 2005, Member of Board of Trustees 1998 - 2007, Chairman of Speakers Committee (1983)
  • Princeton Area Community Foundation, Member of Board of Trustees 1991 – 1998
  • Princeton Pettoranello Foundation, Member of Board of Trustees 1992 – 1999
  • National Conference of Christians and Jews, New Jersey Chapter, Annual Humanitarian Award Selection Committee 1992 – 1994, Chairperson, Community Agency's Recognition Breakfast December 14, 1995
  • Member Fire Company No. 1, 1975 - 1997; Treasurer 1979 - 1980; Vice President 1985 - 1990; Chaplin 1988 – 1992
  • Board of Directors – Corner House Foundations 1988
  • Board of Directors – Historical Society of Princeton 1992 – 1998
  • J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Memorial Trust Citizen Advisory Committee 1994 – 1996 
  • League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, Member of Advisory Board 2000
  • Joint Princeton Borough and Township Cable TV Advisory Board Member, January 2000 – Present
  • Chair Valley Road School Adaptive Reuse Committee 2010 – Present; 
  • Co-founder Valley Road School Community Center, Inc. (NJ Non-profit), 2010 – Present
  • Member, Recreation Board 10 year Master Plan Committee, 2010
  • Commercialization Center for innovative Technologies (CCIT), New Brunswick, NJ, Advisory Board Member 2011 – Present
  • Transition Task Force (TTF), Public Safety Sub-Committee, 2012
  • Member N. J. State Title 19 Voting Machine Committee 1981-Present (appointed by Governor Kean); Chair, Title 19 Committee 1998-Present
  • President, Princeton University Class of 1965, 2005 – 2010; Executive Committee of University Alumni Council, elected 2008-2010 and appointed 2011- present
  • The Princeton Chamber of Commerce, Member 1977 - Present; Board Member 2002 - 2007.

Why do you want to be Mayor of Princeton?

Liz Lempert: 

I worked hard to see consolidation pass, and I am committed to making sure it is a success – from delivering on tax savings to creating a more responsive government. As Deputy Mayor and member of Township Committee I’ve learned how to forge effective collaborations. As mayor, I would strive to be a unifying figure to lead Princeton through this time of tremendous challenge and opportunity. I want to help create a sustainable Princeton where neighborhoods retain their character and have a strong voice in decision-making.

Dick Woodbridge: 

If you grow up in Princeton and attend Princeton University you are expected to give back to the community. It’s part of your cultural DNA. Since I am only one of only two people to have served on both the Borough and Township governing bodies, it seemed logical to consider running for Mayor of the consolidated Town.

 

What differentiates you from your opponent?

Liz Lempert: 

  1. I voted in favor of the new CP pool.
  2. I do not support a Special Improvement District tax on local businesses against their will.
  3. I am the only candidate running for mayor to have the support of both Township Committeemembers and Borough Councilmembers, which I believe speaks to my ability to build successful partnerships.

Dick Woodbridge:

Lots of things.

First – Nonpartisanship - we are running a strictly nonpartisan campaign and talking to everyone in the community who believes in true diversity and inclusiveness. So we are reaching out Independents, Republicans, independent minded Democrats and anyone else who is tired of “business as usual”.

Second - Proven Leadership – I am only the second person in Princeton's history to serve on both the Township Committee and the Princeton Borough Council. I was both Council President in the Borough and Mayor of Princeton Township. I have also served as Police Commissioner, Public Works Commissioner, and Fire Commissioner in the Borough.

Third – Broad Community Experience - I grew up in Princeton, attended local schools, attended Princeton University graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, am a 20 year veteran of the Princeton Fire Department, and have served on 32 State and local boards, committees and commissions. In know Princeton, I understand Princeton, I love Princeton.

Fourth - Availability and Accessibility – I am easy to reach and Nassau Street is my second home.

Fifth - Diversity and Inclusivity - Princeton is home to Democrats, Independents, Republicans and citizens of all shades of cultural and political affiliation. This time let’s invite everyone to the table. As mayor, I would make sure that representation on boards and commissions better reflects the current political and cultural makeup of the town. Sixth, and last – Vision - I am a forward-looking candidate. My experience as a patent attorney, always dealing with new technologies and new companies, makes me realize how important vision is. For example, why not take the old Valley Road School building, turn it over to the Valley Road School Community Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization, and let it convert the school into a community center at no cost to the taxpayer?


If elected, what are your TWO top priorities for Princeton and specifically what will you do to make those a reality?

Liz Lempert:

Ensuring consolidation is a success.

  • Carefully track new expenditures and savings to make sure we are meeting or exceeding targets laid out by the Consolidation Commission
  • Work with staff to develop mission statements for each department to maintain and improve services
  • Restart professional, productive relationship with Princeton University, and explore money saving collaborations with the school district.

Creating a more sustainable community where neighborhoods have a strong voice.

  • Establish a Parks Commission to work with staff and local nonprofits to improve maintenance of our parks and trail system.
  • Develop a bike plan and clearly mark routes. Create easy to use maps of bike and hiking trails.
  • Form advisory planning districts to give neighborhood groups standing in front of the planning board, and involve neighborhoods in updating of the Master Plan and other planning decisions.

Dick Woodbridge:

1. FOCUS ON ACHIEVING THE GOALS OF CONSOLIDATION - Make sure that the ambitious goals set out by the Consolidation Study Commission are achieved. I started my own law practice from nothing and built it into a successful business. I personally know what it means to have to meet a payroll. I'm not afraid to take control when necessary. If the new Town of Princeton fails in its effort to achieve the goals of consolidation, then we will all have failed and I doubt if any town in the state of New Jersey would look seriously at consolidation again. To accomplish this I would schedule a “punch list” item on our monthly Council agenda to make sure we are hitting our milestones towards full implementation of.

2. START PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE NOW - Princeton has 125,000 cars passing though it each day and 2,000,000 tourists a year. The Town needs to get ahead to upcoming projects and take control of its future. Issues such as the Avalon Bay project probably wouldn’t be so contentious if the town had properly zoned the old hospital site several years ago in anticipation of the hospital moving to Route One. I would start with a holistic new look at local planning and consider taking bold steps toward the future just like we did when we passed the Central Business District Ordinance to encourage residential units in the downtown when the downtown was dying in the late 1970’s. I would like to appoint a special sub-set of the Planning Board with citizen input to look at Princeton from the  36,000 feet level and ask “Where do we want to be in 5, 10 and 20 years and what do we have to change to get there?”. In addition to high level review I would also focus on more immediate smaller issues such as – why do we still have a 20 wide, clearly undersized bridge on lower Alexander Street?

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