Candidates for the 2012 PCDO Executive Board

 

ELECTION OF THE PCDO EXECUTIVE BOARD

All PCDO members who indicated interest in running for an Executive Board position and who submitted their names by the January 14 deadline will be on the ballot. There will be no nominations from the floor. The candidates are:

President: Dan Preston
VP Borough: Sheldon Sturges
VP Township: Walter Bliss
Treasurer: David Cohen
Assistant Treasurer: Ginger Lennon
Corresponding Sec: Peter Wolanin
Recording Sec: Peter Lindenfeld

Borough At Large (vote for 6):

Donald Dowd
Anne Neumann
Patrick Simon
Bainy Suri
Kate Warren
Tom Zucosky

Township At Large (vote for 6):

Jose Alcantara
Doreen Blanc Rockstrom
Sondra Bierman
Kip Cherry
Liz Cohen
Jim Floyd
Charles Rojer

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Candidate Statements (note: each candidate was invited to submit a brief statement but not all responded):

PCDO EXECUTIVE BOARD CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Dan Preston, President:
Dan Preston is running for a second year as PCDO President because 2012 promises to be even more exciting than 2011 was. Not only is it a presidential election year, it will also be the first year that we elect our new consolidated Princeton government. The PCDO itself will need to evolve as our town changes. Dan served as Democratic Party Chair in Princeton Township for six years, and is currently Board Chair of Princeton Community Television. He is a documentary filmmaker working mainly for nonprofits and education, and has lived in Princeton since 1991. He has a degree and prior career in economics, and a special interest in economic justice vs. plutocracy. Dan seeks PCDO members’ views on how best to continue our progress, to become more inclusive and effective.

Walter Bliss, Township VP:
I am grateful to be considered for the office of Township Vice President.  My goal for 2012 is to promote spirited participation in PCDO and in the upcoming campaigns.

Sheldon Sturges, Borough VP:
As Democrats, we need to work very hard together to ensure that Princeton remains inclusive. Can we create housing policies that offer an alternative to our workforce: that of living close by the place of work? And, in particular, can we focus on creating housing for those who serve us: our fire volunteers, our police, our teachers, our NGO leaders? I believe this can be done. It is the most sustainable thing we can do. It is right thing to do.

David Cohen, Treasurer:
Four years ago, as newly minted Treasurer of PCDO, I took on the daunting task of supporting the Obama campaign’s local fund-raising efforts through donations received in exchange for bumper stickers, T-shirts, and other sundry campaign paraphernalia. Literally tens of thousands of dollars passed through our local headquarters and into the hands of the national campaign, and had to be processed according to applicable campaign finance regulations. I don’t look forward to repeating the process, but I am willing to suck it up and do what’s needed. A 25 year resident of Princeton, I first became involved in the PCDO during the 2004 Presidential campaign and have been a member of the PCDO Exec Board for the past five years including 2 years as President  and 2½ years as Treasurer.

Peter Lindenfeld, Recording Secretary:
The PCDO is a vital force in the community. Its members have helped to
make Princeton the Democratic town that it is today. This year we face
new challenges, not only locally, but also as we continue in the for us
still new NJ legislative district, and take part in a crucial national
election.

It promises to be an exciting year, and I look forward to my participation.

Sandra J. Bierman, Township At-Large:
As an immigrant and a citizen of the United States, I embrace democracy and appreciate its debate, contradictions, and evolving nuisances.  Being part of the democratic process as an executive member of the PCDO has been educational, inspiring, and at times, why  not say it, quite frustrating.
 
I definitely have learned that groups and minorities only get their rights if they are educated and if they organize themselves to fight for what is right. 
 
 With that said, I decided to run again for I believe my Hispanic heritage, my bilingual skills, my working experience and my years of living in this very interesting town make me a suitable candidate that could be the liason between the PCDO, democratic local elected officials  and the Witherspoon neighborhood, so these people can feel as part of the community.  I strongly believe that the young Hispanic generations can make a difference, but we need them to feel included so they can participate on the issues that affect all of us.
 
Also, this is an exciting year after consolidation was finally voted for, the transition months, downtown development, and of course, elections, and being part of all this is extremely empowering.
My name is Sandra J. Bierman and I thank you for your vote.
 
Liz Cohen, Township At-Large:
In chairing the Nominating Committee this year I got to join the Executive Board and experience firsthand the great commitment and insights of this group of leaders, and also to reflect on the importance and challenges of the coming year. 
I look forward to working on the many campaigns that the fall elections will bring, and to building community through these efforts.
I would also like to support our advocacy efforts, especially at state level, on issues of concern to us as Democrats such as housing, environment, health care and marriage equality.
As past president of my synagogue, I have mentored new leaders and paid attention to evolving roles, so feel I can add to the process of adapting PCDO’s executive board to a consolidated Princeton.
I am a hospice social worker with Princeton HealthCare System.  I co-chair the newly-developing Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey, a state-level advocacy group for Reform Jews, and I chair the organizing group for Yes We CAN! Food Drives, which developed out of the Obama campaign.
I hope you will support me in serving as a PCDO Township At-Large representative.

Jim Floyd, Township At-Large:
To my fellow PCDO Members:  As I reflect on my 66 years in Princeton (except for a 5-year work hiatus in Cleveland) my earliest association with an organized community group was my connecting with the Democrat Club.  I have continued to work with the party and desire to continue making a contribution while being mindful of the many honors and recognitions the party has allowed me to enjoy.
I would be honored if you permit me to serve PCDO and our Princeton community.

Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, Township At-Large:
I am honored to be a candidate for a Township-at-Large seat with the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.  I moved to Princeton almost two years ago after living in nearby Montgomery for 26 years, where for almost a decade my Democratic colleagues and I were successful in winning a majority of Democratic seats on Township Committee.  Much of that accomplishment came from recognizing   how little most voters know (or care) about local, county, and even state government – and doing something about it.  Our goal was to educate independent and Republican voters about the value of local quality representation and to be sure our Democratic base came out to vote.  For the first time in many years, service on boards was open to all, irrespective of party affiliation. We were rewarded.  “Cross-over” votes won the day in Republican Montgomery.  I was chair of the Montgomery Democratic Organization for 5 of those years, Somerset County Committeewoman for 15 years, and Economic Development Commissioner for 8 years. 
My earliest political activity (I was in 4rd grade), was handing out leaflets for Adlai Stevenson in my hometown of Newark. Later at college at the University of Chicago, I joined the IVI (Independent Voters of Illinois), in an effort to unseat the very entrenched first Mayor Daley.  We failed but I learned a lot about the urgency of ethics in government.
From 1996 when Rush Holt lost in his first primary until today, I’ve been active in his campaigns (Montgomery was part of his district until recently).  I was struck when I canvassed my new Princeton neighborhood in his last campaign to discover how many Princeton residents still were unaware of his record and even his role in the Congress.  This brings me back to the importance of local communication which is what I hope to provide to residents through a more active affiliation with the PCDO. I’m on the Steering Committee for the Rush Holt fund-raising event to be held on January 30th and look forward to being active in his campaigns, local Democratic campaigns, and the upcoming presidential election. I was an early supporter of consolidation for our towns and canvassed for our local candidates along with this issue.
 On a personal level, I’ve been widowed for almost four years.  My three wonderful adult step-children live in Sweden and we’re already planning our summer holiday together.  I’m Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Rider University, and serve as a trustee of my Homeowner’s Association, and as vice chair of the University of Chicago Alumni Association of New Jersey.

Kip Cherry,  Township  At-Large 
Kip is a licensed Professional Urban Planner and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and holds a MBA from the Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania.  She has well over 30 years of experience in urban planning, historic preservation and marketing architectural and engineering services. Kip grew up in Princeton but left to go to college and pursue her career, returning in 2000. She has a broad range of interests in good government including issues related to master planning, historic preservation, transportation/circulation, and the environment. She was first elected to the PCDO Executive Committee in 2011. Previous to that she was a member of PCDO’s Ad Hoc Local Issues/PILOT Committee for over three years. She would like to continue to be involved in PCDO’s vital role of promoting good government and identifying early-on possible solutions to issues important to life in Princeton. Issues of concern include the Dinky, Valley Road School, tax & valuation fairness, the transition to consolidation, stormwater control, land use development, ecological protection, environmental sustainability, pedestrian and vehicular circulation, inclusivity, and transparency

Charles L. Rojer, M.DTownship At-Large:
As a practicing Ear-Nose and Throat and Head and Neck surgeon in the Philadelphia area for forty years, I voted in every election supporting Democratic candidates who advocated democratic ideals.
Since moving to Princeton, in 2001, I have been privileged to serve on the PCDO Board, the Princeton Regional Health Commission, the Princeton Environmental Commission, the Council of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library and the Board of the American Jewish Committee- a national and global human and civil rights advocacy organization.
I feel privileged to live in Princeton and would hope to bring some of my life experience to contribute to the PCDO and to the larger community as we go through this exciting transition to a consolidated municipality.

Anne Waldron Neumann, Borough At-Large:
As a member of the PCDO's Executive Board, I have worked on Democratic issues that are, at the same time, community issues.   When the PCDO addresses community issues, it benefits both the community and itself:  it becomes both a real force for good and a visible force for good. 

I served on the PCDO's Local Issues Committee from its founding.  I have also been active in the community outside the PCDO.  I served on Princeton's Environmental Commission for four years, have served on the Site Plan Review Advisory Board for six, and am about to join the Affordable Housing Board. 

I have brought the knowledge I gained from my service—as well as the same energy and enthusiasm—to my tenure on the Executive Board.  I ask for your vote so that I can continue to do so.  Thank you. 

Patrick Simon, Borough At-Large:
My name is Patrick Simon, and I ask for your support to serve on the PCDO Executive Board as an At Large Member from Princeton Borough. For the past year and a half, I have served on the Joint Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission. I brought to my role on the commission a sense of purpose and service, and I found the experience personally rewarding. I hope to continue serving the Princeton community in a variety of ways in 2012, including serving on the Executive Board of the PCDO.

One reason that I hope to serve on the Executive Board is that I care about how the consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township actually gets done. In 2011 the commission laid out a roadmap for consolidation, and Princeton’s voters approved it. In 2012 I want to encourage this organization to nominate candidates who will take up the challenge to deliver more effective government, cost-control and savings, and enhanced services as spelled out in that roadmap.

This will also be an exciting year nationally, with the presidential election as well as congressional elections, and I hope the leaders and members of the PCDO can find an effective way to encourage the Democratic Party to strengthen its sense of mission and its voice, by focusing on the problems of the less well off members of our society.

I intend to work for these goals this year, and I hope to do so as a member of the Executive Board of the PCDO. I ask for your support.

Bainy Suri, Esq. , Borough At-Large:
I moved to Princeton in July of 2010. I am very passionate about getting the Princeton community connected with sustainable initiatives, educated about the environment and engaged in all things local. I also care deeply about libraries, diversity and social justice.
Since arriving in Princeton I have been a very active member of the community:

  • Volunteer Special Events Coordinator for Sustainable Princeton.
  • Board Member of the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, sponsored by the Princeton Library.
  • Member of LEEEP and active participant in their Philanthropic Committee. LEEEP is run by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
  • Member of New Jersey Environmental Lobby and currently working to support the introduction of legislation to reduce the use of single use plastics and paper. 

J.D. Fordham University, 1997.
Admitted to practice law in California.
B.A. Economics, Simmons College, 1991. 

I have worked in Legal Publishing for the past thirteen years.  I have expertise and experience in the following: organizational and planning skills, management and leadership as well as marketing and sales.

I think I would be an excellent candidate for the board because I will bring enthusiasm and energy to the role. I am seeking the position because I firmly believe that the best way to have a say in what happens in your town is to get educated and involved. A position on the board would allow me to do just that and to help others see how much can be accomplished in a town where the residents are engaged, conscious and committed to working towards what is in the best interests of their community.

Events  - Created and Organized by Bainy Suri

LEEEP

  • December 20, 2011: Young Professionals Volunteer at Event at one of the home run by Enable, Inc. Enable, Inc. is non-profit agency devoted to supporting individuals with disabilities to live full lives by through full inclusion into community life.

Sustainable Princeton

  • April 29, 2011: A “pre-launch” flash mob in Hinds Plaza kicked off The BYOBag activities.
  • May 14, 2011:  Free Yoga in Palmer Square.
  • June 9, 2011: Kick-off celebration in Hinds Plaza. The event included a public reading of the Joint Resolution by Princeton’s two mayors, music by D.J. Darius, performance by Stone Soup Circus and a screening of the documentary film BagIt. 500 single-use plastic bags were used to decorate the Plaza.
  • August 2, 2011: Reusable Bag Give Away. Partnered with YMCA summer camp’s “Summer Heroes” program and Hoagie Haven.
  • October 2, 2011: Downtown Bike Skate Rally. Partnered with the Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PJPBAC) to have a Bike/Skate event, connecting residents with the BYOBag movement and raising awareness for the new bike Sharrows.

Kate Warren, Borough At-large:
Having lived in Princeton for 42 years I have had many opportunities to work with and on behalf of others.  Over the years my civic involvement has provided me an opportunity to take a leadership role – experience that I believe will benefit the work of the PCDO. 
I served on the Housing Authority of Princeton Borough as a Commissioner and as Chairman of the Board.  In that position I oversaw the executive decisions of the commission, including the hiring of an executive director, creating public policy and serving as a liaison for residents and staff.  Serving on a public authority overseen by the Federal government called upon my ability to lead others in accepting the fiduciary responsibility as well as the moral responsibility to ensure safe, affordable housing for those among us in most need.  The executive role allowed me to reach beyond our local community to become educated in the affordable housing issue on the county, state and national level.
In an effort to help local first-time juvenile offenders from entering the Trenton judicial system I served on the Princeton Juvenile Justice Committee, serving as a committee member and as Chair.  Work on the committee called upon my ability to be a good listener and a team player in working with others to create opportunities for young offenders to accept responsibility for the consequences of criminal acts and to move forward in a positive way.
I served on the Borough Rental Housing Board and took a leadership role serving as chairman for several years.  An area of interest was working in conjunction with Borough Housing, Fire & Safety personnel on rental housing ordinances to protect the rights of both tenants and landlords of rental properties.  The Board also served as mediators in tenant/landlord disputes in an effort to solve issues on a local level thereby avoiding legal action. 
I served as the CrimeWatch block coordinator for the Jefferson Road neighborhood, volunteered as a Home Reader through the Public Library and as a Home Friend through the Princeton Senior Resource Center. 
I have been a member of the Princeton Engine Company #1 Ladies Auxiliary for 17 years and have had a leadership role and continue to serve as President for multiple terms.  I am a life member of the Mercer County Ladies Auxiliary and of the NJ State Ladies Auxiliary.  I serve as the 2nd Vice President of the County Auxiliary and have co-chaired fundraising efforts for the benefit of volunteer firefighters in Mercer County.  I was honored as the Mercer County 2010 “Fire Lady of the Year.”

My role in the recent consolidation debate called upon my leadership skills in bringing together a disparate group of residents into a focused and cohesive group of concerned citizens who shared a desire to study the issue of consolidation, closely follow the process, raise questions and challenge assumptions in an effort to create an informed and educated electorate.
My ability to work well with others and on behalf of others, to lead and to follow, in addition to a personal commitment to extend the time and energy needed to get a job accomplished is what I can bring to the executive committee in the work of the PCDO  “…to serve as a forum for the discussion of public questions on all levels of government and society, to the end that a better-informed discussion of governmental problems will be fostered, sound public policy may be advanced, and an intelligent judgment may be made as to the proper role and actions of government.”
Thank you for your consideration.
Kate Warren   17 Jefferson Road   katejwarren@yahoo.com  609-924-9665