Residential Growth has escalated quickly in our township driven by the need to meet our legal obligations on affordable housing. Our township’s latest affordable housing plan was approved in May by Judge Jacobson, protecting us from builders' remedy lawsuits until 2025.
In order to contain future residential growth, we need to:
- Commit to stop rezoning of any properties from commercial to residential including WWM Properties West and Howard Hughes to prevent building of residential units.
- Aggressively acquire open space. An example of this is West Windsor’s condemnation and acquisition of the Hall property which would have resulted in over 400 townhouses near Village Grande.
The Residential Growth has a ripple effect on everything. Adding significantly to the traffic issues, overcrowding our already crowded schools, putting undue burden on our emergency services, and putting more stress on our overall infrastructure.
Potholes and unusable sidewalks create an immediate danger to people and vehicles and must be dealt with quickly. Many of our roads are in poor shape, with multiple cracks. This requires not just resident feedback, but a system of regular maintenance.
Community service has always been a meaningful part of my life. Be it the school PTA, the Girl Scouts, the WW-P athletic task force or the WWBPA, it gives me considerable satisfaction to give back to the community that my family and I are a part of.
A Bachelor’s degree in commerce and subsequent work experience in business development have equipped me with business and analytical skills. These skills will be essential in executing our plan to control taxes by increasing business development, which will result in improving our tax base and reducing residents’ taxes.
I am not involved in partisan politics which allows me to remain focused on vital township issues. I will be well prepared when presented with critical decisions involving the development of properties in West Windsor, especially significant ones like the WWM Properties West and Howard Hughes site.
As a long time volunteer for the good of our community, I have always performed with transparency, accountability and integrity. I will take a similar approach as a member of the council and strive for good governance by following open and transparent procedures, basing decisions on documented research and facts.
My approach to any problem is being an inclusive leader working towards a common goal. I always try to shine light on the problem at hand and set the tone for the session. This in my opinion is driven by open-ness, transparency and trust so that we can get to a solution which works for everyone. For me that’s taken the form of being the facilitator to set up the issue at hand, set up how the session is going to be shaped, ensure everyone understands what we’re looking for as an outcome and last but not least making sure that everyone participates, has a say and there is no wrong idea.
My experience working in the business world has also helped in that it’s about looking at all ideas, delineating the alternatives, identifying strengths and weaknesses, aligning on those, and getting to a solution which is a win-win for all involved.
I’m passionate about our community and my volunteer record serves as a testament to that. As a member of Community Leaders for West Windsor, I will work together with my running mates, Andrea Mandel and Michael Stevens, to help drive fiscally responsible solutions for our township’s core issues regardless of party lines.
We are the only non-partisan team, action-oriented with the one and only intent of representing the interests of our residents. We have not and will never raise funds or seek endorsements from political parties or corporations that may try to influence a decision that is not in the residents’ best interests.
Through our combined service to the community, being in the PTA, Planning Board, Girl Scouts, Emergency Services, student Robotics programs to name a few, we have come together to ensure that we bring a ground-up thinking to the issues we face as a community.
Our vision is to continue that service to the residents of West Windsor as your Council Members.
We need to do more to integrate and engage residents in the life, community, and governance of West Windsor. Many (too many!) residents don’t know who represents them and aren’t clear on what government does for them.
1. Open lines of communication are minimal. Our paper COMMUNITY NEWS comes out monthly and is not even delivered to those who have Princeton addresses. Our Mayor chooses to use closed Facebook pages (namely West Windsor Peeps; also, West Windsor Community News) as digital “town squares” for dialogue. Yet the WWPeeps forum is not representative of our town, and entry into it is gatekept by a private resident.
2. Our diverse community is underrepresented. West Windsor votes overwhelmingly Democratic, but there’s a barrier to voters learning about our municipal candidates because of our non-partisan elections. Demographic representation on our volunteer Boards, which inform major policy decisions, is also poor.
The town meets the public notice requirements, but government need to be more honest, active, and comprehensive in how we engage residents, organizations, and businesses. Read my plan to improve things at the MY CONTRACT WITH WEST WINDSOR page of my website.
I bring the values and work ethic from my career as a scientist: perseverance to solve complex problems, a collaborative approach, and decision-making based in data.
I bring hands-on expertise in policy making—at Princeton University with institutional policy, at the National Academies with science policy, and now within our state government in health policy. I know how to empower stakeholders, conduct research in policy fields, and work effectively within a bureaucratic institution.
I bring my experience in representative governing: I held the highest elected office in graduate student leadership at Princeton for four years, representing students from across disciplines and nationalities. Representation is as much about bringing my own experience to the table, as it is speaking for others who are unable to be at the table.
I represent the values of West Windsor residents. I am a progressive Democrat who will support all of our families, make decisions based on data and community outreach, and strengthen our democratic institutions.
Learn more about me on the MY STORY page of my website.
As lab scientists, the crux of our work is achieving consensus. It’s about everyone in our field doing our work, comparing notes, and arriving at the best working understanding based on the facts and tools we have right now. My peer-reviewed publications were hard-won precisely because it had to reach this standard. This is why I know that my 20 years of work experience as a biologist is valuable and generally applicable to my work in government. Like with science, decision-making in government is challenging, collaborative, and at it’s best, it brings us closer to the real solutions for our most complex problems.
As Graduate Student Government Chair, I had to bring the 30-person Assembly and the 7-person Executive Committee to a shared vision of what to devote our efforts on. To do this, we needed to respect our volunteers’ time, our student body’s priorities, and the capacity of administrators to support us. I remember a year-long effort to enact much-needed constitutional reform to tie our budget to inflation-adjusted increases. It required intensive efforts within our governing body to determine what was feasible, and a communication campaign to ensure students voted.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Our biggest challenge is residential overdevelopment. A lot of our other problems – overcrowded schools, high taxes due to the school budget, crowded roads and overburdened infrastructure stem from it. Adding more residential than already approved will drive us past the breaking point. I worked on the new Master Plan Element for open space and we should ensure all specified land is purchased when available – this is a win/win of no new residences and more environmental and recreational space. I will not change the commercial zoning for Howard Hughes land, WWM Properties West or other properties to allow for any residential development.
Taxes are another problem, and we need to bring in more commercial ratables in the form of good businesses to help alleviate high residential taxes.
We need to intelligently fix our infrastructure – sidewalks and roads. We should review sidewalk repair procedures so that we don’t constantly redo them for tree roots.
Township responsiveness and communication must be improved, whether it is a status on a problem you reported, an announcement of a township event or the timing for yard waste pickup. Residents should not need to search for answers.
As a Planning Board member, I have real experience in what can be done to limit residential growth. We made the hard choice to settle the Fair Share housing agreement in the best way for the town so we would be protected from builder’s lawsuits and future residential building in non-residential zones. I ask hard questions and have the experience to protect our town.
For commercial ratables, I have been working on the first ever Economic Element of the Master Plan, going over every potential property section by section with an eye towards zoning in a way that is positive for the town and the tax base. The Town Council sets the zoning and I will be in an excellent place to continue this work as a Council member.
As an engineer who worked in several companies, I am in the best position to understand infrastructure, budgets and process, as well as technical issues. I know not to push one pet solution but to lay the groundwork for experts to evaluate several paths and to choose one based on facts and results.
During my almost 25 years of volunteer work in West Windsor I have worked alongside all ages and diverse people in our town to solve challenges, and will continue.
On the West Windsor Planning Board, we frequently want improvements for which there are no controlling ordinances:safer crosswalks, bike access, buffers, trees, pervious surfaces, car chargers. I constantly work successfully with applicants and other board members to achieve a mutually acceptable deal that will benefit the citizens of West Windsor.
As Vice Chair of the Environmental Commission, I have put together several initiatives, such as a new Green Development Checklist for new construction and a resolution encouraging electric vehicles in our town. Members are scientists and engineers, and it is important to consider all opinions. I discussed the documents with everyone, made appropriate changes, and the vote to approve was unanimous.
In my work life I have managed departments and chaired countless meetings of diverse stakeholders to get projects and budgets done. I’ve been on industry professional committees and president of local and national chapters.
In Girl Scouts I have run everything from large campouts to our Gold Award Committee and am a delegate to the National Convention. And have you ever tried to get 15 high schoolers to agree on the design of one robot?
I am proud to be running with the team of Community Leaders for West Windsor. Mandel-Gawas-Stevens is a truly non-partisan team of long time volunteers in our community who will represent the residents and not special interests and county and state officials. WW government is non-partisan and we will keep it that way.
I have been volunteering in Girl Scouts for over 23 years, encouraging girls to not only learn about the environment but to love it as active participants in the natural world around them. As a woman who had to fight to get into my chosen profession as an engineer, I promote STEM and started and coached our Girl Scout FIRST Robotics teams for 8 years.
When the Howard Hughes development threatened in 2017, I became involved and actively opposed any deal to make the property residential. I started and co-captained the West Windsor NDEW electric car events the last two years, promoted open space and environmental construction, mentored Girl Scout projects, wrote articles and much more.
We are a team of doers who have performed countless hours of leadership, volunteering and training. Please vote for us to continue to serve you on the West Windsor Council.
Maintaining our quality of life in the face of increasing population and increasing traffic; and re-imagining our non-residential inventory to fit modern life. People these days work from home and work from their computers, and do not need the amount of office space that West Windsor planned for when Carnegie Center was first approved. People these days also shop from home. We need retail spaces that can be experienced; we need more and more varied restaurants, we need places to gather and places to hold concerns, informal and formal. At the same time, we need to do something about the deer which are destroying our new-growth forests, as well as our gardens, and we have to maintain our roads and our parks and all our sidewalks and bikeways. We must be vigilant and not succumb to developers who say we have enough and more than enough non-residential inventory, and want us to rezone their property for more housing. Until the next Mount Laurel round, we should not look for more housing than we already zone for.
I have a Masters of City and Regional Planning and am a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. I have served for 14 years as a member of the West Windsor Township Council, and also served on the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Site Plan Review Committee, and numerous task forces. I am a founding Trustee of Friends of West Windsor Open Space, of which I was president for 8 years, and of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance. This experience has made me acutely aware of potential areas where the township might need upkeep or improvement. I look at road design (I favor the Complete Streets concept, where streets are designed for pedestrians and bicyclists, not just motorists), township services, rezoning and redesign to meet current needs. Working with people in West Windsor has prepared me to meet the challenges facing our town.
Yes. When I want to get something done, I reach out to my colleagues one at a time, to talk to them in ways that will lead to conversations about the issue, without staking out a position right away. I try to be flexible and find common ground. I have managed this way to convince colleagues to meet me half way. Sometimes this is impossible, I admit. And sometimes it is more effective to bring in members of the public to explain to my colleagues what they think we should do, and reach another type of consensus by listening to them.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Across the Township, two central issues emerge. First, there is great concern over unrestricted residential growth. Second, many are concerned about the safety of our roads and neighborhoods.
To address the issue of overdevelopment, we must protect ourselves from developers who seek to build hundreds, if not thousands, of new homes. Such growth inevitably leads to a negative “ripple effect” resulting in higher taxes (particularly school taxes), increased infrastructure demands (roads, bridges, sewers), more traffic and congestion, and increased demands on Fire, Police, and Emergency Services. Our slate of candidates, Community Leaders for West Windsor, strongly believes that we must emphatically say ‘NO” to rezoning properties from commercial to residential, including WWM Properties West and Howard Hughes, to prevent building residential units beyond those we have agreed on to satisfy our affordable housing obligation through 2025. Instead, I will work to bring new tax-paying businesses to West Windsor using our current zoning under the Township’s Master Plan.
Throughout my life, I’ve never shied away from tackling difficult issues. I’m enthusiastic about embracing new ideas and new technologies. In the early 1980s I saw the potential for using the primitive home computers of the day (Apple 2) to individualize prescription drug dosing to fit each patient’s body chemistry, and was instrumental in creating one of the first commercial companies to bring these services to hospitals.
I turned my love of IT and all things technical into an opportunity to share my excitement with students when I became one of the first mentors to introduce competitive robotics into the WWP high schools.
Volunteering with the West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company as our Fire Police Captain has given me access and insight into many of the inner workings of our Township.
As a Vice President with a major pharmaceutical company, I gained valuable experience overseeing multi-million dollar research budgets.
As a businessperson and community volunteer, I strive to be accountable, approachable, and transparent. As a Council Member, I will bring these values with me as well as my ability to make informed decisions based on rigorous research and the facts of each case.
Throughout my career in the pharmaceutical industry, I have prided myself on my ability to bring together people with sometimes greatly divergent points of view. This is particularly true for the efforts I helped lead in the area of HIV/AIDS.
As I am sure most know, there is a myriad of stakeholders across the spectrum of those concerned with this disease, including those living with HIV, community activists, legislators, medical researchers, payers, and drug developers to name but a few. In this setting, I learned to listen – really listen – to those whose viewpoints often differed from my own. Respect and common decency are central to how I strive to achieve consensus, particularly when dealing with highly emotional issues. As a result, I was honored to have been part of the team that worked to produce the first HIV/AIDS medication which combined drugs from two different pharmaceutical companies. This is something that had never been done before and was a game-changer in the treatment of this disease.
How would you address the road safety issue mentioned in Question #1?
Our residents have expressed growing concerns with speeding, distracted and aggressive driving, rush hour congestion, and other issues dealing with safety on Township roadways. These concerns are not unique to West Windsor, and other municipalities have addressed these issues through a combination of law enforcement, education, and awareness. West Windsor would be well served by adopting this 3-pronged approach.
Our non-partisan team of Mandel, Gawas, and Stevens (Community Leaders for West Windsor) will work closely with the WWPD to ensure our traffic laws are fairly and justly enforced. We will seek opportunities to educate our drivers and others who use our roadways. We will utilize awareness programs such as the West Windsor Pace Car Program that I helped establish as Fire Police Captain to bring a heightened awareness of the “rules of the road” to make neighborhoods safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. Pace Car drivers agree to drive courteously, at the speed limit, and follow all traffic laws. Join us by downloading the form @ http://www.westwindsornj.org/notices/2019/WW-Pace-Car-Pledge-Form.pdf
The quality of our residents’ lives is significantly affected by the ever-increasing property taxes, residential overdevelopment—a key contributor to the escalating taxes, and consequential issues—infrastructure upkeep and upgrade backlog, traffic safety issues, overcrowded schools, and environmental impacts.
In May 2019, West Windsor resolved our Third Round Affordable Housing Plan by projecting to build 3,396 new residences by 2025. These new homes will increase West Windsor population and property taxes by 30% (roughly speaking, every non-age-restricted housing unit will increase a household’s property tax by $1/year). Yet, the pressure to build more residential units is continuously present. Soon, we will need to plan for our next round of affordable housing obligation in 2025. It is urgent that we slow down our residential overdevelopment by preserving the remaining 500-acre open space in West Windsor.
Meanwhile, an estimated 20% of office/ratable spaces in West Windsor remain unoccupied. We need to introduce proven successful infrastructure-improving and tax-saving initiatives to sustain and grow our current local businesses and usher in new ones.
Over the past 4 years, I learned about the above challenges through communicating with 2,500 West Windsor families, found proven successful solutions by taking 10 infrastructure and transportation courses at Rutgers University, and acted by initiating/solving three West Windsor programs/problems:
(1) Introduced Pavement Preservation to West Windsor at Marian Drive and Dinsmore Lane this past June. When implemented to all streets in West Windsor, this program will save $500/year/family on taxes and vehicle repair costs.
(2) Founded the West Windsor Plastics for West Windsor Parks program to recycle plastic film and wraps into park benches—the first bench will be unveiled in Ronald R. Rogers Arboretum in Fall.
(3) Solved the Mews apartment complex train station shuttle noise problem for hundreds of residents while reducing our air pollution by 0.1%.
Going forward, my top objective is to preserve open space (mostly farmlands) to limit residential overdevelopment and protect our schools and our environment. I have visited 12 unpreserved farms and had conversations with individual farm owners. I will work towards preserving these pieces of land for open spaces on council.
Through working on the aforementioned challenges, I realized that most issues do have win-win solutions, and finding and presenting this win-win solution to all involved parties is the best way to achieve consensus. I also learned that win-win solutions can only be found through thorough research and continuous learning—communicating with involved parties and learning about existing solutions.
For example, in solving the Mews shuttle noise problem, I studied its ridership through one day of observation and then recommended a smaller, cheaper, and quieter shuttle to the Mews management. This win-win proposal solved the problem in 6 days for hundreds of residents who live along the shuttle route.
In the effort to introduce Pavement Preservation to West Windsor this past June, I took three courses on pavement management and learned about a solution to our road repair backlog problem despite doubling of our road repair budget. After two years of communication with relevant township entities, it was implemented this past June at Dinsmore Ln and Marrian Dr. The next challenge is to preserve the remaining roads in West Windsor through a township wide Pavement Preservation Program.
Candidate has not yet responded.