A neighbor who’s close to my point of view
I believe this is the first time I’m posting a letter to the editor of one of the two local papers, but Ms O’Nolan’s right on the money:
Adults, not the town, should make decisions
To the editor:
Nothing could be more absurd than the way our enlightened leaders run the academic-industrial complex known as Princeton. Now these diminutive tyrants want to ban smoking in the airy concrete plaza in front of Reed’s Folly. These most uncivil servants would probably vote to ban slingshots as bombs fell on our heads. They’ve already moved to level the trees so as not to see the woods. What will they do next, repeal the law of gravity?
It’s curious how all this concern for our health comes at a lack of concern for our opinions — or common sense. Princeton’s visionaries bulldoze oxygen-generating trees, then try to show environmental consciousness by snuffing out a few butts. Borough attorney Michael J. Herbert claims that smoking is “justifiably banned” in the publicly owned plaza of Reed’s Folly because it allegedly poses a public health hazard and nuisance. Apparently, Mr. Herbert hasn’t spent much time in the vicinity of this drab slab. Let’s see, what poses more of a health hazard and nuisance: a dozen or so people with five-inch-long cigarettes al fresco on a breezy afternoon or a constant belch of truck, SUV and car exhaust punctuated every 10 minutes by an ear-splitting din of ambulances and fire trucks? To suffer the supposed effects of secondhand smoke outdoors, one would need a nose the size of an ugly parking garage. To shorten one’s life by sucking in diesel fumes, one need only walk down Witherspoon Street mid-day.
And if the unwritten but rigorous policy of deforestation wasn’t enough, there’s the annual manure toss along Witherspoon Street. Each spring, Princetonians wince from olfactory assault and battery as they stroll the main drag, since fertilizer is dutifully dumped around the bases of our town’s trees. Who would’ve guessed that the academic-industrial complex would smell like down on the farm?
Adults should be treated like adults, i.e. allowed to exercise their alleged ability to choose for themselves. So, if I’m outside and someone stokes a malodorous cigar, I can choose to move away. I don’t need legislation to make my choice for me. And when I take out my ebony cigarette holder and light up, someone else can move away from me if they so choose. How about that, adults actually using their own brains to make decisions? And the sooner we start treating people like adults, the sooner they’ll start acting like adults. Heaven forbid! Meanwhile, our elected officials thumb their noses at us while we have to hold ours.
(signed,) Margaux O’Nolan
Ms O’Nolan shares my jaundiced view of the MOASB (Mother Of All Spending Binges) downtown redevelopment project and the parking-building-built-on-the-stream.
Countless hours of discussion over the use of the basketball court-sized plaza (adding 150-person outdoor seating, non-smoking, etc.) have been wasted, while discussion of any reduction of public spending hasn’t yet taken place.