PRINCETON'S TREES ARE DYING; PHYLISS MARCHAND AND TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE NOT SOLVING THE PROBLEM.
My preliminary inquiry into the matter suggests that they may well be.
I began to ask this question by noticing that of the roughly 100 sycamore (also called London Plane) trees on Battle Road; approximately 10% have died in just the last five years. Prior to this time, the trees appeared healthy.
I started with Greg O’Neil who works for Princeton Township. Greg is an arborist and, in my opinion, is a national treasure. When I served on Township Committee I went out with his crew and have followed his work since and he is top flight.
He says there are several diseases attacking these trees: anthracnose, bacterial leaf scorch and gypsy moth.
It appears, after investigating with other sources, that the problem is not limited to Battle Road.
The Riverside section of town was devastated last year by a gypsy moth infection that may have defoliated over 5,000 trees; if they return next year, the trees may be done for.
My experience on Township Committee tells me that while the staff is top flight, the political leadership of the Committee is utterly unresponsive to the needs of the community on issues like the health of Princeton’s trees.
I am told that the Township will not pay to preserve the trees on PUBLIC land on Battle road or anywhere else in Princeton; if homeowners want to band together, they can, but the Township doesn’t have the money. The Township doesn’t even list this is a problem on its home webpage.
Given that the Township has money for a massive town hall and a never ending deer extermination program, you would think it would set aside funds to deal with the tree problem. Nope. I guess they are saving the money to keep Princeton taxes low.
The Committee and the Borough (along with Princeton University, which I am sure wants to volunteer its services as it pays no taxes) ought to develop a comprehensive plan to preserve Princeton’s trees. They should also alert homeowners about what they can do on their own property.
While they are at it, they might also come up with a plan to make Princeton the most energy efficient and green town in the country. Don’t hold your breath. (If any citizen wants to see all the great green solutions already on the shelf that Princeton doesn’t use, just go to: www. rmi.org.)
I suspect the reason for the lack of action is the same reason the current congress works only 100 days out of 365: the politicians of both parties are too busy raising money for the permanent campaign.
Locally, Mayor Marchand and Congressman Holt are spending their time trying to elect Bob Menendez to the Senate, even as Menendez has already been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s office and is destined to follow a long line of Democrats either indicted or convicted in office.
Not that this message is partisan, Republicans have not offered any credible plan to clean up corruption in the state or to tackle local issues like the death of Princeton’s trees or the erosion of the environment.
Which is why I want to thank so many Princetonians for the encouragement in our Independent efforts to clean up politics and the environment.
For the latest efforts, log in to www.newjerseyuntouchables.blogspot.com.
If you want to take measures to preserve the historic sycamore trees of Battle Road, call me at 609-462-7979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.