‘How could such a thing happen’


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The Municipal Council eliminated Princeton’s Civil Rights Commission and Affordable Housing Board on Jan. 22.

They are to become part of a new committee that will lack even the minimal authority of the current groups. The new committee will not be permitted to even discuss a subject without the permission of council. Council resisted the Civil Rights Commission’s efforts to improve police transparency and discuss even non-financial reparations to Princeton’s African American community. The new arrangement is designed to ensure that such questions are not asked again.

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The plan was concealed from the public and the existing commissions until three days before it was introduced into council on Jan. 8. Commissioners and members of the public were not permitted to speak at the meeting. At the legally required public comment period on Jan. 22, 31 members of the community asked council to table the proposed ordinance to allow time for discussion of concerns. Council’s response was to enact the new ordinance immediately.

Council claimed this was required by an emergency in civil rights and affordable housing, but never identified what the emergency is.  And, despite the claimed need for immediate action, nothing is being done to create the new committee.

Council resisted creating the Civil Rights Commission for years. When the commission tried to ask important questions, it was ignored. Now council has eliminated the Commission.

How could such a thing happen in a town run by liberal Democrats?

                                               Lewis Maltby



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