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Democratic Write-In Candidate Defends Mayor

John Pezzino says that the more he researches, the more he agrees with the Petillo, current council.

Democratic write-in candidate for council John Pezzino said his goal was to simply have a Democrat on the ballot this November, to show residents in Hopatcong that Republicans are not the only option.

"I wanted to attract people to go on election day and say, 'oh, we finally have a Democrat on the ballot, maybe I'll be a part of the club,'" he said. "And in the future, maybe I'd run ... not that the Republicans are bad, but that at least people in Hopatcong would have a choice."

Pezzino also says that if he had known Mara Modes was going to run alongside him on the Democratic ticket, he would not have done it.

"I put my name on the ballot just to have people know Democrats are alive and well," he said. "Just to have a name instead of no name."

Modes, though, said that she has had limited contact with Pezzino, and that her campaign is run separate from his.

"It's basically two separate Democratic campaigns," she said. "It became apparent very early that we have different political perspectives."

The main difference, Modes said, is that she does not see what Pezzino hopes to change in Hopatcong.

"I don't see where he is looking to change anything," she said. "I'm looking to change the community involvement in government, for it to be more open. I'd love to see meetings televised. ... A lot more community involvement, a lot more getting information out to the public."

Recently, Pezzino has been defending Republican Mayor Sylvia Petillo, who was after allegedly urging voters to vote "yes" on a referendum through a borough-funded mailing last November. Pezzino said that he does not believe this mailing personally benefited Petillo in her campaign for .

"I really believe when there is a hearing she will be exonerated," Pezzino said.

Modes disagrees with Pezzino's assessment.

"As it stands right now, she's in violation," Modes said. "To me, it's they've already made a decision, until some word comes out of the ethics committee."

As Pezzino does more research, he said he finds that he agrees with many of the decisions of the current Republican council members and mayor.

"She's [Petillo] making unpopular choices," he said. "For the betterment of the town. I question that if Mara Modes got into office, would she make these decisions?"

Pezzino also said that he respects his Republican opponents, Richard Bunce and Marie Galate, and that Bunce is a friend of his through their membership in the Knights of Columbus.

"Bunce and Gallante are good people," Pezzino said. "I thought that it would be a friendly kind of campaign just talking about issues and giving people a choice. ... I'll be honest with you; I hope that choice is Republican."

Modes, on the other hand, said that Pezzino is "basically supporting the status quo."

When reached for comment on this article, Petillo declined comment.

Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Given the quality and the caliber of the so called 'opposition' in Hopatcong, no wonder the same faces keep being reelected...this is right from an article in Patch.
Roll Back Our Tax August 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM
http://hopatcong.patch.com/articles/hopatcong-mayor-violated-ethics-law-state-says
Roll Back Our Tax August 27, 2012 at 01:17 PM
http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2012/08/27/meet-christies-double-dippers/
Michele Guttenberger August 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Cost per student $14,395 is an old calculation number - The new formula now "includes transportation, pensions, legal judgments, debt services, out-of-district tuitions and more. The result: the appearance, at least at first blush, of much higher per-pupil costs. Under the old math, Hopatcong spent per pupil $13,561 in 2009-2010. But the new formula says Hopatcong spent $17,051 that same year." http://hopatcong.patch.com/articles/superintendent-new-student-spending-math-double-edged
Michele Guttenberger August 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I found the August 15, 2012 Council Meeting very informative on this topic of allowing Tax assessors into your home. A resident attending the meeting during a open public comment period stated she felt imposed upon when the assessor repeated a visit to her home for assessment evaluation back in 2006. Latter she compared notes of her assessment with her neighbor's who had the same model home but more capital improvements and renovations. She discovered her neighbors assessment was the same as her's even though the assessors had several visits and more time evaluating her property.

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