I am writing to express my support of Hemant Marathe, Linda Geevers and Virginia Manzari for West Windsor leadership in the November election.
I believe the most important issue facing our community right now, which has the potential to influence West Windsor for decades to come, is the use of the Howard Hughes property. The property is currently zoned for research, office use and light manufacturing, which is the kind of development West Windsor needs.
Plans proposed by the developer request a change in that zoning, and include a significant residential component of almost 2,000 units. Growth of that size would result in the need for considerable classroom space, likely resulting in the building of new schools.
Over a decade ago, I had the privilege of serving on the WW-P School Board with Hemant and Linda. We learned first-hand the impact of residential growth and resulting tax increases. We saw that typical student projections for different types of housing did not hold for WW-P, probably due to a combination of the strength of our schools, proximity to the train and good jobs.
WW-P tends to get more students per housing unit than standard formulas would indicate. Our board wrestled with trying to keep class sizes reasonable, debated school additions versus new buildings and discussed redistricting options, all issues resulting from increasing growth, while trying to keep taxes under control.
Residential taxes are higher, in part, because of how much of the tax base is residential housing rather than businesses. West Windsor needs more businesses and high-tech companies, not a significant increase in residential development.
I know that Hemant and Linda understand the issues of explosive growth, and have faith in Virginia’s background and experiences. I believe that each of them is interested in understanding and working for the good of West Windsor with any issue they’ll confront.
—Diane Hasling, West Windsor
I am writing to support three outstanding candidates for West Windsor Township: my friend and former council president, Kamal Khanna, for mayor; my environmental engineering colleague and my son Stephen’s Princeton classmate, Kristin Epstein, for council; and my long-time political supporter and incumbent WW-P School Board member, Dr. Yingchao “YZ” Zhang, for council.
Kamal has a unique background of education, business experience and community service that has prepared him to participate and succeed in all areas of our community and in all levels of government. Most importantly, Kamal knows how to work with people and get the job done.
His professional experience includes working for a Fortune 500 company as an efficiency engineer and business analyst for 10 years. He then founded his own business as the CEO of an international clothing company with a successful record of growth and fiscal stability.
During his two terms as council president, I had the opportunity to work with Kamal directly. He demonstrated how he interacts with all sides to bring consensus and a quick resolution to any problem. Serving as a community leader, Kamal has encouraged residents of all ages and from many different backgrounds to get involved. Kamal Khanna is the best choice to lead West Windsor in this new chapter of our community.
Kristin’s professional training in environmental engineering will be a very critical addition to the West Windsor Council to improve our already well-established statewide leadership role in sustainability and environmental quality programs. Her years of community service—including on the West Windsor Environmental Commission, Friends of West Windsor Open Space and Princeton University Princeton Area Alumni Association—highlight her knowledge of community issues and her dedication to reaching effective solutions.
YZ, a trained scientist, has served our community in many ways, including currently as a member of the WW-P District School Board. Through his numerous volunteer positions, YZ has worked tirelessly to promote education, arts, and culture in our diverse and thriving community.
Both Kristin and YZ, with their experience in engineering and science, will bring the expertise elected representatives critically needed in current political times.
Hsueh is mayor of West Windsor and is not running for re-election.
I am writing to endorse Kamal Khanna for the office of mayor of West Windsor. Over the past decade, Khanna has worked tirelessly on behalf of our community. From 2009-2013 he served as a member of the township council (council president for two consecutive years ) and as a member of the planning board and affordable housing committee. He was council liaison to the zoning board, the environmental commission and the school board.
Mr. Khanna currently serves as a commissioner on Mercer County Improvement Authority and as advisor to the Environmental Commission.
A long-term resident, he loves this town, but believes that we can do better. He feels the pains of overdevelopment as keenly as any of us. He will fight all attempts to build new houses that is a burden on our schools and our infrastructure.
His experience as a business man has served him well as a public official who gets the job done, while keeping his eye on the bottom line. His experience and qualification as an efficiency engineer make him best suited to run the town efficiently and control our property taxes.
Khanna understands what it takes to do the job of a mayor. He is reliable, honest and willing to work hard for the town. In the current political climate, he also stands out as a candidate who actively seeks to communicate with people who do not share his views and convictions. I could not think of a better town mayor than Kamal Khanna.
—Urmil Saini, West Windsor
I have known Kristin Epstein as a friend, neighbor, colleague, Princeton Alumna, fellow board member and sister Girl Scout leader since 2008, and I enthusiastically endorse her candidacy for West Windsor Township Council.
My family and I returned to the east coast 11 years ago, settling in West Windsor to take advantage of its schools, green spaces and proximity to social life. With one daughter in middle school and a son in college, it was important to find meaningful social and community activities.
We first met Kristin at a Girl Scout meeting where I was deeply impressed that she led not one but two Girl Scout troops at the same time. Her dedication was so deep that she would not turn away any girl who wanted the experience of scouting. She carefully marshalled her girls and the daughters from many other families through community projects, cookie sales and activities that built character and confidence.
Kristin exercised her skills at managing larger projects when she successfully approached Princeton University to restart the Princeton Area Alumni Association. She held the organizational meeting in 2008 and heard comments from alumni who said that there was “no need” to have a chapter of the alumni organization in Princeton because the University was already here. A deep feeling of “why bother” had grown up over the preceding years.
As president of the Princeton Area Alumni Association, Kristin broadened its base by appealing to women and young alumni. As a result, she uncovered different interests and needs in the community. Her leadership empowered me and other volunteers to develop new programming that addressed the needs of a changing Princeton and make the association thrive. Kristin’s determination and clarity of focus was a beacon that attracted others to work with her. In 2015 Kristin was recognized by Princeton for her service to the university for revitalizing the Princeton Area Alumni Association and making it one of the most active ones in the nation.
In 2013, Kristin assumed the executive leadership of YingHua International School and was instrumental in moving that organization from rented space in a church to a customized new facility in Kingston. I worked on the board of directors with Kristin at YingHua and witnessed her develop a K-8 grade program and acquire a deep understanding of local business and government.
Through the efforts of Kristin and her faculty, the 2016 opening of the school in Kingston made history. It consistently claims awards in teaching Mandarin and recently achieved accreditation in the international baccalaureate. Kristin’s background as executive director of the school qualifies her to lead our township and steward our taxes for the good of West Windsor.
Over the years, I learned much about Kristin and her passion for science and the environment. Trained as an environmental engineer, Kristin champions evidence-based decision making. She used her expertise in environmental engineering as a member of the West Windsor Environmental Commission and worked to save our streams. As a trustee with Friends of West Windsor Open Space, she uses that expertise to help West Windsor grow rationally without becoming over built.
Kristin’s strong track record of success, enthusiasm, experience, drive and commitment are assets that she will bring to our council and to our community.
—Cheryl L. Rowe-Rendleman, West Windsor