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VOTE411 Voter Guide

West Windsor Township Mayor

The Mayor is the Chief Executive of West Windsor Township and heads its Administration. The Mayor is elected on a non-partisan basis for a four-year term.Specific functions of the Mayor include: enforcement of municipal ordinances; supervision of all municipal departments and property; appointment and/or removal of department heads; oversight of municipal budgeting, personnel, and purchasing procedures; preparation of the municipal operating and capital budgets; and negotiation of contracts subject to Council approval.The Mayor serves as an exofficio nonvoting member of all appointive bodies of which he/she is not an official voting member. The Mayor may attend Council meetings and take part in meeting discussions, propose legislation, and veto ordinances, subject to override by a two thirds majority of the entire Council.
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    Kamal Khanna (N) Business Man

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    Hemant Marathe (N) Businessman

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    Yan Mei Wang (N) Associate Research Scholar

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Biographical Information

What do you consider the most important challenges facing West Windsor Township, and what personal and professional experiences have prepared you for addressing these challenges?

How would you approach increasing the amount of preserved open space in the Township?

What measures would you propose to improve traffic congestion and road safety in the Township?

What are your thoughts on reducing the carbon footprint of the municipal complex?

Career Worked for DuPont for 10 years as an Efficiency Engineer and Business Analyst Started a clothing company ( Design , Production , Distribution ) in New York
Education Masters in Industrial Engineering and Management
The most important challenge I will tackle is reduction of residential Township taxes while improving services, customer relations, and communications. All politicians promise to tackle the high property taxes of New Jersey homeowners. Township taxes, however, make up less than 16% of our tax bill, with school and county taxes—which have increased significantly—comprising more than 84%. As Mayor, I will build upon the sound management that has resulted in West Windsor’s tax increases remaining far lower than surrounding communities.

The biggest challenge is tackling the mindset of “it cannot be done.” My education and work experience is as an Industrial Efficiency Engineer with practical experience making a Fortune 500 company more efficient and running my own international business for 40 years. If elected, I will conduct an efficiency study at all levels of government to ensure that tax dollars are used wisely. By improving efficiencies, filling vacant retail spaces, increasing tax ratables, and growing private-public partnerships, I can stabilize West Windsor taxes while maintaining and improving services.
Acquiring and designating land as “open space” is the surest way to prevent development. Open space encourages biodiversity, works as a filter to air and water pollution, allows slower infiltration of stormwater to prevent flooding, and adds to the beauty and enjoyment of our community. West Windsor stands out among other municipalities because 50% of all land is preserved as open space. I will ensure that open space remains a priority in the West Windsor Township Master Plan

In West Windsor, residents voted five out of five times in the past 24 years to increase the percentage of taxes dedicated to open space. As a result, the Township can purchase available property with open space funds and apply for grants from the state Greenacres Program, Mercer County, Friends of West Windsor Open Space, and other foundations and non-profits. I will work with these groups, as well as current landowners, such as local farmers and the Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns 653 acres of land along Clarksville Road, to continue West Windsor Township’s good record of acquiring open space through donation or purchase with grants and dedicated open space funds.
Traffic flow through West Windsor continues to increase and competes with the demands of safety. I propose the following immediate actions: 1) work with Mercer County to improve the intersection of Old Trenton Road and Edinburg Road, 2) complete the “Main Street” design from High School South to the railroad tracks, and 3) investigate the addition of a merge lane from the Village Grande exit onto Old Trenton Rd. I also will direct the re-evaluation of township-wide traffic using data from the Police Department, the Township Engineering Division, and third-party applications such as Google Maps and Waze. In addition to leveraging my connections at the Mercer County Department of Transportation (DOT) and the New Jersey DOT, I will be actively involved in the Central Jersey Transportation Forum to seek regional cooperation for planning that impacts West Windsor. Finally, as Mayor I will oversee the enhancement of traffic monitoring and enforcement.

Along with my teammates, Kristin Epstein and YZ Zhang, I will persistently improve our roadways and sidewalks to increase safety.
As Mayor, I will reduce energy consumption through methods identified in the 2015 study-- co-authored by my teammate Kristin Epstein and my colleagues on the WW Environmental Commission--that have short-term return on investments and will ultimately save taxpayers money.

First, I will bring back the solar micro-grid project, which would provide municipal operations free energy, more than $29,000 annually in lease revenue, and critical emergency services 24/7 without threat of power interruption. Second, by replacing computers, appliances, equipment, and lighting in municipal buildings with Energy Star Qualifying products, taxpayers will save a projected $70,000 over 7 years. Third, 2014 energy audits identified 17 energy conservation measures that would upgrade municipal equipment, saving $385,000 over 7 years. Fourth, greenhouse gas emissions can also be reduced through vehicle fleet replacement with hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel vehicles, saving $34,000 in fuel costs over 7 years.

Finally, the Township can reduce its waste stream by eliminating excessive packaging and material use, expanding recycling, reducing paper use, and implementing curbside composting.
Current Elected Position West Windsor Council Member
Career Owner of three successful small businesses over the past 26 years
Education PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington MS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech BTech in Electrical Engineering from I.I.T. Bombay
The three most important challenges we face are how to deal with the pending affordable housing ruling from the court, how to avoid absolutely any development on the Howard Hughes tract that includes housing, and how to control property taxes.

I have a long record of working with everyone to get things accomplished. As a school board president over a nine year period, I worked with over 30 school board members with various backgrounds to establish WW-P as one of the top districts in the state. At the same time, the district reduced our relative per pupil cost from $300 above the state average at the beginning of my term to $1200 below the state average at the end.

As a council member I have worked to establish a plan that will allow West Windsor to satisfy any reasonable affordable housing obligation assigned by the court without requiring any housing on the Howard Hughes property.

In my professional career of 26 years, I have owned three successful small businesses.

I have both the executive and legislative experience required to be a successful mayor. I am asking voters to judge me based on my record, not simply on promises made within two months of an election.
The township already has a dedicated open space tax for acquiring new open space and maintaining present open space. When the tax was first proposed many years ago, I wrote a column in the local paper supporting such a tax. I worked with local community members to get the tax passed. This has helped West Windsor acquire a significant amount of new open space. However, our resources are limited and we must concentrate on acquiring open space with the aim of reducing the number of new housing units, managing traffic, and not reducing our ability to increase commercial ratables. Open space that fits all these criteria will be our top priority.

We must also work on making the best use of acquired open space for the benefit of residents by making sure it is properly maintained.

One of my opponents has suggested acquiring the Howard Hughes property. I am not in favor of the idea, since the resources required – based on property value -- would be enormous and the property is a prime location for commercial development.
For better road safety, a two-prong approach of education and enforcement must be followed. There are many grants available, and as mayor, I will pursue every available grant to promote road safety both by educating the public and by providing safe bike paths and pedestrian walkways throughout town.

As appropriate, we should re-evaluate speed limits on each roadway, especially in light of increased traffic. Special measures including speed bumps must be considered in certain locations. The Estates at Princeton Junction and roads around the Princeton Junction train station are perfect examples where such measures could improve safety.

For dealing with congestion, we don’t have the latest data on traffic flow on many of our roads. We must get such data so informed decisions can be made about necessary steps.

When congestion is generated by developments in neighboring towns, we should take a proactive approach to reduce its effect on our residents as much as possible. This includes but is not limited to participating in zoning and planning board meetings of neighboring towns when such developments are being proposed.
Both on an individual basis and as a community I support the idea of sustainable living. We have a unique opportunity to put that in practice at the municipal complex because the municipal building will be undergoing major renovations in the coming years.

We have six buildings in the municipal complex. We should explore installing solar panels on as many of them in as large a size as possible. This is an especially appropriate time because both the main municipal building roof and the volunteer fire company building roof need replacement. Newer technology being developed makes it easier and more cost effective to install solar panels. The technology will only get better in coming years.

Under my leadership the school district completed two solar projects on the roofs of High Schools North and South. Although the district provided some money up front, all of it has been recovered and the taxpayers will enjoy its benefits for the remaining useful life of the panels.

When we upgrade the interior of the municipal building, it will provide more opportunities to put in energy-saving technologies.
Current Elected Position None
Career Currently a physicist at Princeton University. Formerly a professor at Washington University in St. Louis: built a new lab, obtained $1.7 million in grants, and graduated four Ph.D. students
Education Ph.D. in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics from University of California, Berkeley. B.A. in Physics from University of California, Los Angeles.
Twitter @wangformayor
(1) Restore the infrastructure and (2) control future growth.

(1): Our roads deteriorate faster than we maintain them, and we lack safe alternative transportation measures – shuttle, bike lane, and sidewalk networks. In the past two years, I have worked on 4 such Township infrastructure issues: 1. solved the Mews shuttle noise problem, 2. designed a one dollar a trip community shuttle program to train station, schools, and businesses, 3. designed the first NJ protected bike lane at Canal Pointe Blvd, and 4. planned for a Walking School Bus program where children walk to school led by our police-trained personnel. These consensus-building experiences that address the root causes of West Windsor problems will enable me to tackle challenge (1) effectively as mayor.

(2): How much more can we grow? The majority of our unpreserved lands are farmlands. These 500-acre unpreserved farmlands can readily be turned into housing units. Preserving these farmlands NOW is the best way to ease future growth. I have mediated a preservation agreement for a 10-acre farmland. This experience will enable me to successfully preserve the remaining farmlands and control our future growth.
Preserving open space is essential for protecting our natural environment, retaining our rural beauty and agricultural tradition while protecting the Township against future developments. There are three elements to this effort: (1) proactively mediating preservation agreements with land-owners, with emphases on farmlands and flood-prone properties along Bear Brook and Assunpink Creek for better soil and water management, (2) seeking funding to purchase lands when such agreements are reached, and (3) fostering the next generation of farmers in West Windsor to continue cultivating our farmlands to the full extent.

Have you noticed that our Farmers’ Market is made of mostly young farmers? However, none farms in West Windsor. Among our unpreserved farmlands, 250 acres are small farms ranging from 3 - 40 acres in size. It is on these small farms that young farmers can afford to start an agriculture career.

As mayor, I will (1) continue my mediation efforts with land-owners, (2) use my grantsmanship expertise to seek funding when an agreement is reached, working together with Friends of West Windsor Open Space, and (3) actively foster the next generation of farmers in town.
Congestion: Congestion in West Windsor has reached a critical turning point. Today, adding a given number of cars to our streets has a much greater impact on congestion than before. The key to improving traffic congestion is to take cars off the road: for example, during rush hour, removing a few hundred cars is sufficient to restore a free flow of traffic. The community shuttle system I designed, that is needed by more than 30% West Windsor residents I had conversations with, should do just that.

Road safety: Decreasing the number of cars on the street, together with introducing updated road designs, can significantly improve road safety for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike in the Township. I have designed the first protected bike lane in New Jersey for safe bicycle travel of all ages. Protected bike lanes have been proven to drop bike-related injuries and fatalities by up to 72%. Sidewalks with lifted pavements present a significant tripping hazard to pedestrians, especially seniors. In addition to timely repair of these damaged sidewalks, planting appropriate trees should be the root cause solution for future sidewalks. (Details,
In addition to our current efforts on upgrading the municipal complex that will reduce its carbon footprint, we may also use the adjacent 5-acre farmland that was originally considered for the micro grid project.

We can use the land for both community services and solar energy generation by building community structures and installing solar panels on the rooftops. Potential structures are: (1) a barn for residents interested in raising farm animals, (2) a pavilion for holding community events when the weather cooperates - such as the Diversity Day, the Peace Day, and the Memorial Day events, and (3) a garage for our emergency vehicles that are currently waiting for a home to be constructed (budgeted in our Capital Improvement Plan).

Solar panels on the roofs of these structures will provide sufficient clean energy for the whole municipal complex and the cost of the unbudgeted barn and pavilion can be offset by the fencing and installation costs of the solar panel array (paid for by PSE&G). logo


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