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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.

Lurky Loo August 14, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Really Bunce and Gallante are NOT part of the status quo??? You had me Pezzino, and I'm a republican, but it's YOU who will be a part of the status quo. Had such high hopes for you but now we know you will be kissing mayor butt while in office. I do however have a lovely shade of lipstick for you. Mara Modes for Council!
Rockon August 14, 2012 at 09:31 PM
John seems like an honest man and is entitled to his opinion as is everyone else. I might not agree with him but I do respect him for his sincerity.
The Watcher August 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Isn't it dishonest to mislead the people and put your name on a ballot when you are really not trying to win? Maybe Michelle was right when she called him Dino Pezzino.
PJ_Wolf August 14, 2012 at 10:39 PM
What I find most humorous is that the current mayor behaves more so the democrat than many dems do
Roll Back Our Tax August 15, 2012 at 10:40 AM
"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". Well there's still time to abort! LOL!
Warren August 15, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Is there any candidate in favor of lower spending and lower taxes? (insert cricket noise here)
Observer August 15, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Hey, it's Hopatcong! The rules based on logic simply don't apply. They never have and they never will!
The Watcher August 15, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Looks like answers to specific questions from which "sound bites" were taken. You know the mayor and council are not for lower spending and lower taxes, and Dino Pezzino is for what ever the mayor and council are for. After the re assessment they will be able to raise your taxes over the cap that is why they are doing it. Of course this will not be noticed by the voters until AFTER the election.
Michele Guttenberger August 15, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Yes I called him DINO - Democrat In Name Only. Even in politics there is a certain moral code and that is - NOT to trash the image of someone in your own party. DINO Pezzino will not get my vote. I hope the Democratic Party is smart enough not to give him any financial campaign support after these comments.
The Watcher August 15, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Sounds like a wannabe or is he really a member of another party?
John Pezzino August 16, 2012 at 03:19 AM
i had you? what was it you liked? where did you get the information that made me get you? do you own any property in hopatcong? if you do do you take your investment serious? what did mara do that makes you think she will be a good care taker of your investment? dont let their ability to convince people to hate others blind you from protecting your money, its fun to play politics and support your friends but you must pick whats more important your friendship with mara thats unqualified to manage your investment. or your bank book and personnal wealth, God bless you.
John Pezzino August 16, 2012 at 03:34 AM
randy i just can't bring myself to quit, i finsh everything i start. even if its an unpleasent endevor, I don't run, i don't hide, I was sorry to see you leave the meeting upset tonight, you presented your argument, thats the best you could do, this stuff isn't worth getting sick over, i hope your feeling better. God bless you
John Pezzino August 16, 2012 at 03:40 AM
guttermouth you like to call people names? is that what you resort to? yea your council material, write in guttermouth with her friend mara, your home and biggest investment will be in good hands.
John Pezzino August 16, 2012 at 03:52 AM
watcher, i've been a democrat for over 30years can your friend mara say that, i read an artical in patch that she was running as an independent, and she said people that are members of the democratic or republican party are party pupets, is that why she desided to switch to democrat now to promote and run blindly with president obama? i for one am very suspicious. republican one race, independent the next now thanks to susan jones and jerry burger shes back to the hopatcong demorat family, and they're controlled by that kindly old republican dick hodson. he's pulling her strings. you question my party affiliation? thats silly. God bless you
Lurky Loo August 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM
You are the worst running candidate I have ever seen! Thank god your true colors came out before we elected another one of the mayor's cronies. What a joke you turned out to be...way to be a game changer! And you wanted to give people a choice? A choice for the status quo is the LAST thing my investment needs!
Michele Guttenberger August 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM
John - if you think we should respect you as a qualified candidate for local office, you should really spell check what you write. I am not getting a good impression here of your capabilities. Comment ranting about others is not a professional campaign strategy. Also, if you are a Democrat, what gives with your statement "run blindly with president obama". Are you aware that President Obama is a Democrat?
The Watcher August 17, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Michelle, John aka DINO has no credibility left. He's a fabricator who admits he asked people to write him in, yet he had no intention to be a candidate, and wants the council to be re-elected at all costs. Your wit, humor, and logic are wasted on him, besides, for you it would be like dueling with an unarmed man. Just say John God Bless
The Watcher August 22, 2012 at 04:38 AM
DINO So anyone who asks you a question is part of a conspiracy? I could not find any proof of your accusations so can you provide the web sites that are the basis for this set of fabrications?
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Randy: You do not know very much and don't even bother to get your facts straight: Paulenich said at the meeting Borough Tax Assessor Therese DePierro is "double-dipping," working in Hopatcong and Dover. Mayor Sylvia Petillo on Monday said it's common for tax assessors work for several towns and that the borough made a contract with DePierro, allowing her to work Mondays through Thursdays in the borough and Fridays in Dover.Paulenich said at the meeting he thought Hopatcong schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano makes more money than Gov. Chris Christie. Maranzano, according to the 2010-2011 budget posted on the school website, makes $170,000 a year. Christie makes $175,000. Maranzano said Tuesday that though he was eligible for a $3,400 merit-based bonus, he took a pay freeze and wouldn't recieve it.
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Paulenich said at the meeting Borough Attorney John Ursin was paid "$245 an hour to sit at council meetings." Environmental commission head Jerry Scanlan interjected, saying Ursin was paid $160 a meeting. Ursin said on Monday he's paid $160 per meeting.
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Paulenich said he'd looked through a list of people holding multiple paid positions in New Jersey. "There's people in this state holding down eight jobs. Eight jobs. The highest one getting paid $320,000 a year. You have to get down to No. 1,200 [in order of salary] to find somebody making less than $175,000 a year." When Elide Young, Councilman John Young's wife, shook her head during Paulenich's remarks Saturday, he said, "Don't be shaking your head. You don't want to be here, get out."
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Paulenich said at the meeting Borough Attorney John Ursin was paid "$245 an hour to sit at council meetings." Environmental commission head Jerry Scanlan interjected, saying Ursin was paid $160 a meeting. Ursin said on Monday he's paid $160 per meeting. Paulenich said he'd looked through a list of people holding multiple paid positions in New Jersey. "There's people in this state holding down eight jobs. Eight jobs. The highest one getting paid $320,000 a year. You have to get down to No. 1,200 [in order of salary] to find somebody making less than $175,000 a year."
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:21 PM
When Elide Young, Councilman John Young's wife, shook her head during Paulenich's remarks Saturday, he said, "Don't be shaking your head. You don't want to be here, get out." Later in the night he apologized to Young before the audience. Paulenich on Monday said he had the second figure wrong—the 250th job on the list makes less than $175,000. After tax attorney Robert Spiotti and licensed appraiser Raul Mendez talked and answered some questions from the crowd Saturday. Paulenich spoke again. Among his points: Paulenich said the Borough of Hopatcong received $2 million from the federal Recovery Act. The federal government's "Track the Money" website, Recovery.gov, showed the borough received $337,121 while the school district got $1.98 million. Paulenich said it cost Hopatcong about $19,000—"Somewhere in that area. That could be up or down"—to educate a student in 2008. Data released by the state Department of Education shows Hopatcong's schools spent $14,131 per pupil in 2007-2008 and $14,688 in 2008-2009. The 2009-2010 figure was $14,395. For each of those years, Hopatcong spent less than the stage average per pupil.
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Paulenich said residents making tax appeals on their own shouldn't let tax assessors into their homes. But Spiotti said they should, or else filing a tax appeal could prove pointless, because a judge could throw it out. Paulenich said Hopatcong hasn't been posting agendas for its mayor and council meetings, typically held on Wednesday, 24 hours in advance.
Abe Lincoln August 26, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Petillo said that the borough posts agendas on the Friday afternoon before a meeting online, and residents can pick them up at borough hall on Friday afternoons or on Mondays. She said there was one recent exception, when the borough's website experienced technical Paulenich quoted Petillo's 2011 reorganization meeting speech, in which she said: "Over the past three years, we have been very successful in acquiring almost $2 million in state and federal grants." Then Paulenich said: "Does everybody know what a grant is? Borrowed money. I'm sorry. It adds to the deficit." Petillo responded Tuesday: "You don't pay grants back. It's not a loan."
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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