By Aracely Chavez, Taylor Fetty, Breonna Reese, Sarah Santiago and Michael Williams with the staff of The Princeton Summer Journal
On Wednesday, August 10, ABC News correspondent Sunny Hostin was in the driver’s seat of her parked Mercedes SUV in lower Manhattan, unaware she was breaking the law. Hostin, simply by sitting in her air-conditioned vehicle, was one of many of New Yorkers who every day violate a little-known, seldom-enforced rule designed to reduce auto emissions. An infraction won’t land anyone in Rikers Island prison, but advocates argue that failing to enforce the law quietly wreaks financial and environmental havoc on the city.
In New York City, it is illegal for cars, vans or buses to idle for more than three minutes—or for more than one minute near a school. Over the course of several hours last week, a team of 37 high school reporters from the Princeton Summer Journal observed 104 vehicles idling for over three minutes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Roughly 80 percent were private automobiles; the rest were commercial vehicles, limousines and taxis. After being approached and informed of the city’s three-minute anti-idling law, less than one in five drivers turned off their engines. Many weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure. “What difference does it make?” huffed an elderly woman in Brooklyn Heights who identified herself as Mrs. Pittman. “I don’t care about a law.” Continue reading
By Elia Morelos
Steven Uccio is expected to lose his campaign for Congress. No amount of campaigning across New Jersey’s 12th District will change the fact that he is a huge underdog.
Uccio is running against incumbent Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman. As a Republican in a blue district, Uccio isn’t likely to attract enough voters—and that’s if they hear his message in the first place. Uccio, a first-time congressional candidate, receives scant media coverage.
Uccio isn’t a flawless candidate. His policy platform is incomplete, notably his lack of a position on Medicaid and food stamps, both important issues for low-income residents. He also intends to vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom is highly unpopular among Democrats—which Uccio will need to win over if he has any chance of victory. Continue reading
By Kay-Ann Henry
Miami Gardens, FL
The smell of kettle-corn lingers in the air, while a ferris wheel rises high above the fairgoers. Steven Uccio, a Republican candidate for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, is at the Middlesex County Fair in East Brunswick, N.J., with two of his staffers. At the moment, he is speaking to the Princeton Summer Journal about his campaign.
Uccio seems cool and unfazed in a polo shirt and khaki pants. He greets student journalists generously, noting that he’s received few questions over the last four years from the local press. He welcomes questions. He makes eye contact. He seems like a pretty typical young guy. Continue reading
By Yahaira Torres Ledesma
Steven Uccio, the Republican House candidate in New Jersey’s 12th District, is hoping to appeal to voters in his predominantly liberal district through libertarian policy positions like drug decriminalization. But the inexperienced, largely unknown candidate still faces long odds in November against Democratic incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman.
At a press conference August 6 at the Middlesex County Fair, Uccio, 30, discussed the war on drugs at length. “The drug war has been a total failure,” he said. “I will be more independent-minded and follow my values.” He believes that possession of marijuana or heroin should be decriminalized so that addicts are sent to rehabilitation instead of jail. Continue reading
By Berenice Davila and Katie Okumu
Texas City, TX and Berea, KY
In the basement of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, an exhibit tries to provide a fuller understanding of Wilson’s complexities: He was a U.S. president, a university president–and a bigot. One dimly lit section is dedicated to arguments scribbled on bright orange four-by-six index cards.
“Black Lives Matter, but not to Wilson,” reads one card.
“Way overblown, get over it,” says another.
It’s a sign of how the debate surrounding Wilson’s legacy refuses to die. Continue reading
By Aisha Tahir
Last year, on the morning of November 18, nearly 200 students gathered outside Princeton University’s Nassau Hall. They came together from many diverse backgrounds to advocate for one cause: demanding that the school remove the name of Woodrow Wilson—the 28th president of the United States and a former president of the University—from its buildings.
The news immediately went viral around the world, with headlines like “The Case Against Woodrow Wilson at Princeton” in The New York Times, “Erasing Woodrow Wilson’s name is not that easy” on CNN, and “Expunging Woodrow Wilson from Official Places of Honor” in The Washington Post. Continue reading
By Taylor Fetty and Maria Gonzalez
Hundred, WV and Mattawa, WA
Residents of Princeton, N.J., expressed frustrations about Gov. Chris Christie on a recent evening, saying his failed presidential campaign and support of Republican nominee Donald Trump distracted him from the affairs of his home state.
Elected as a Republican in a Democratic state, Christie was initially popular because of his brash and candid style, but voters said they started to lose faith in him after “Bridgegate,” a high-profile political scandal involving the George Washington Bridge in 2013. “He is extremely short-sighted and self-serving,” said Michael, 73, a professor at Princeton University who declined to give his last name due to his position at the University, citing the scandal in which Christie’s aides deliberately caused traffic with lane closures on the George Washington Bridge to punish one of Christie’s political opponents. Continue reading
By Kieona Buchanan and Katie Marciniak
Rolling Fork, MS and Chicago, IL
Residents of Princeton say they dislike their governor both as the state’s leader and for his role in the current presidential election. Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump, they believe, is merely a political move to win a cabinet spot after his term is up in 2017.
Devon Davis, a 24-year-old Princeton resident, said he recalls Christie’s budget cuts resulting in a decline in field trip opportunities when he was in high school. So Christie’s decision to work alongside Trump, Davis said, “doesn’t surprise me. They’re for themselves.” Continue reading
By Allison Scharmann
Liz Lempert, mayor of Princeton, N.J., is the kind of politician who chooses her words carefully. She’s coming to the end of her first term and four years filled with controversial battles including gentrification, wage theft, infrastructure, and other issues that reflect the town’s changing demographics.
A former journalist, Lempert jumped into politics with Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and served as Princeton Township Deputy Mayor for four years. Since being elected mayor in 2012, she’s governed a town that’s experienced growing tension amid urban development and gentrification, especially in neighborhoods consisting largely of people of color. Continue reading
By Mirna Rodriguez and Xuan Truong
Mission, TX and Springfield, MA
The carnival played out in the distance underneath last Saturday afternoon’s baking sun. The sunlight perfectly lit up a sign that read Middlesex County. Laughter and screams rang out from the twisting rides, drowning out a man’s demure voice as he stood in a field. Face clean shaven and hair neatly cut, he looked down at his pin, the sun blaring against the name: Steven Uccio.
Behind him were two other men in bright red shirts with large, bolded letters saying “Uccio For Congress: It’s Our Time.” Beyond the three were a crowd of young journalists, with pink umbrellas and notebooks on their laps, awaiting his answers. Continue reading