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Clark Democrats: 'Anti-Semitic Slander' on Mayor Bonaccorso's Facebook Page

This letter to the editor was received on Monday. Mayor Bonaccorso has also responded below.

Dear Ms. Remo,

I received this very disturbing notification this morning regarding a Facebook conversation documented on Incumbent Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso’s personal Facebook page from 04-Nov-2012.  I do not understand how the current figurehead of the Clark Community would have such lack of mutual human respect.  When asked by a Facebook ‘Friend’ “Can u run for Mayor in Holmdel!!!”, Mr. Bonaccorso callously replied “LOL, too many Jews

Mr. Bonaccorso has no respect.  He has no consideration of feelings.  Anti-Semitic slander, as well as all racial and derogatory comments, should not be accepted by our Community. Citizens are supposed to have a sense of comfort and safety in our townships.

There should be no tolerance for this type of deprecating behavior or public disparagement.  We preach to eradicate bullying in our school systems.  What about the bullying against our neighbors?  I am embarrassed for Mr. Bonaccorso and I apologize on his behalf, as it is apparent he lacks the humility, decency and common sense to apologize for himself.

Kind Regards,

Richard Kazanowski
Michelle Novak
Phil Laskowski
Michael Altmann

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In a phone conversation with Patch, Mayor Bonaccorso responded with the following:

The post mentioned was an inside joke to a longtime friend. I meant no offense to anyone who is Jewish, but rather was commenting on how a heavily Jewish community tends to vote Democratic and being a Republican, I would have a hard time getting elected.

It was an inside joke, but regardless, it was an off-color remark and I feel bad about it, I really do. Added to the fact that my running mate and dear friend Al Barr is Jewish and I have many Jewish friends who know that I meant no offense. Al is one of my dearest friends and biggest supporters. When I told him about this incident, he fell over laughing at the thought of me being anti-Semitic. After running around the clock on Monday dealing with Sandy, it was off-color stupid comment by me to a friend. I never meant to insult anyone.

In my mind, this is a last minute election stunt by my opponents. This was a personal comment made to a longtime friend who knew exactly what I meant by it. Another friend wrote to me that she was offended and I wrote her back an apology, which she accepted. A thousand apologies to anyone else who was offended.

However, what my opponents should be doing is worrying about people in town. Councilman Kazanowski has been campaigning throughout this tragedy, while my running mates and I suspended our campaign. We are out there helping people. They shouldn't be worried about reading my Facebook page and should instead be worried about the people of this town who are struggling.

Councilman Kazanowski is the only member of council who did not contact me to check in with our efforts during Hurricane Sandy or to offer help. That, to me, is more offensive. Shame on me for an off-color, personal joke between two friends, but shame on them for sitting on their tails doing nothing for this community and instead worryng about trying to get elected. I even got a call today at noon about a street in Councilman Kazanowski's ward that did not have power. I went out personally and got a PSE&G supervisor down there to flip the switch and get them power. Where was he? Did anyone call him?

Again, I feel terrible about the comment and the way it may have been perceived, but my good Jewish friends know there is no way in hell I feel that way in my heart.

Average Joe November 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Oh, and one more point. Even if it is an "inside joke" (which I think is complete bull because there is always some truth behind every joke), YOU ARE THE MAYOR OF OUR TOWN. Sal, you are supposed to be representing our town throughout the county and state in a professional way with decorum and class. Instead, you are a clown posting ignorant jokes on Facebook with inside "friends" knowing it may cause an uproar. You should be ashamed. Time for you to go.
Average Joe November 06, 2012 at 01:19 AM
OH, my most important point, how could I forget?! Sal's use of improper grammar really epitomizes the Clark education system. "Too" is used for emphasis, while "to" is used for verbs in the infinitive. You'll have time to learn that, Sal, when you aren't mayor. :)
Julie Palumbo Duffy November 06, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Kazanowski who? Who sees him? I'm not impressed. I have, however, seen Bonacorrso get things done quickly & not just in the limelight of a storm. I once had to contact him about a disturbing incident. A pervert had planted himself in the Clark Library looking at porn daily for hours on a front computer where people walk by (& the kindergarten class trip was there earlier that day!) I freaked out but my enraged rant was interrupted by the director defending this man (who wasn't a Clark resident) bc it was his "1st Amendment Right - it's not illegal content." She knew he'd been there for 6 MONTHS. Didn't anyone complain? "Well yes, but no one publicly humiliated him like you did AND it's his right!" There was more to that convo but it's not my point. My point is that NOTHING was being done until I called Town Hall. Bonacorrso called me back personally to hear my story. He was furious & took IMMEDIATE action. He had an emergency meeting & put filters on every computer. While I'm not a personal friend, he gave me his cell # to use if I ever saw this man in our library again. Bottom line, it didn't take Sal six months. He didn't tiptoe around this jerk's 1st Amendment Right bc his concern was PROTECTING our kids & residents from being forced to see what I saw. THIS is what I want for our town! A mayor who CARES about OUR rights, who isn't afraid to do the RIGHT THING & who'll take IMMEDIATE action. THAT'S what impresses me. Not wasteful calendars & grasping at straws to get votes.
KJS November 06, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I saw Rich a couple of times out walking around. He had no difficulties since he was a gas line powered generator, which is fine. Everyone in the neighborhood has no power but his house it lit up like a christmas tree, again fine. We were without power not for a few hours but 4 days. But would you think he could offer his neighbors and ward constituents a hot coffee, soup or a chilli. NO.
Skyliner November 06, 2012 at 02:36 AM
As a Jew and a supporter of Sal, I am hardly offended. He's right, he'd never win as a Republican in a prodiminantly Jewish town, just like Romney will likely lose Florida because the Jews, by and large, vote Democrat. Haven't you heard the old joke that in a jewish election if the race was between Moses and Hitler, but Moses was the Republican, Hitler would win. ? Look around at your neighboring towns, Sal is out on the streets with the DPW and PSE&G. Look at Westfield & Scotch Plains where they pay two and three times the taxes and didn't even start getting power back until long after Clark was more than half illuminated. The kids could go trick-or-treating today in our town because Sal and the DPW made sure the streets were safe enough to go out in daylight - that didn't happen in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood or Mountainside. Wake up, smell the coffee; it was a bad joke, but Sal's no anti-semite; he's a salt-of-the-earth guy who loves his town and works his rear end off to take care of all of us, Republican, Democrat, Jew and Gentile.
Carmen F. Brocato Sr. November 06, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Obvious reason? What, I am not a taxpayer in our town? How about just stopping by as a decent human being and seeing if I need something. By the way, I do not need his help my concern was the seniors on my street and NO he did not check on them. Ms. Tylicki if you are happy with his newsletter and nothing else then vote for him. I want a mayor who is a true leader and cares for EVERY taxpayer no matter who they are. Not one who picks and chooses the ones he likes!
Julie Palumbo Duffy November 06, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Oh, and by the way, the statement, "Rich Kazanowski was out checking on all the residents who were without power during this horrible storm" is incorrect. He did NOT check on ALL the residents. I am a resident. My power was out. There was no door knocking here by Mr. Kazanowski nor at my neighbor friends' doors. The only knocking we heard came from the trees, that had been ripped out of the ground, being QUICKLY & safely removed. Our power was restored quickly too so I'm not convinced that "our current Mayor did not even have Clark on a priority list!". "Rumor has it all you were concerned about was your election". I am not interested in rumors. I am interested in results. I got them. And lastly, Average Joe, your statement "Sal's use of improper grammar really epitomizes the Clark education system" is an unfair generalization. Your belief that our town (townspeople) "embraces" racism and antisemitism is even more insulting. You apparently don't like our schools, our mayor, or our "racist & antisemitic town" so your eagerness to "no longer have any affiliation with this town" is probably for the best. And just think, now you don't even need to concern yourself with anything involving this town's image, schools, or who the mayor will be. Best of luck in your quest for Mayberry. :)
fixitup November 06, 2012 at 04:23 AM
The fact that our mayor made an error in judgement while posting a personal joke to a friend on facebook does not concern me. What concerns me is the motivation of the candidates who signed the letter to Ms. Remo. Led by a do-nothing councilman, the candidates who signed this letter hoped to gain last minute advantage before the election by deprecating and disparaging our mayor, and the good work he has done for our communitty in the past 8 years. They sought to humiliate our mayor over a facebook posting- in other words, they resorted to bullying. They refer to our mayor as the "current figurehead of the Clark Community'. This shows a lack of respect- for the mayor as a person, and for the office of Mayor. So that the "community can have a sense of comfort and safety in our township" we have to keep these candidates, who think that their man is running for mayorship to be a figurehead, from holding public office. We need to keep our real leader as mayor. Although the candidates who wrote to Ms. Remo are too blinded by hatefulness and self-serving ambition to be embarrassed for blatantly displaying their lack of humility, decency and common sense, they have revealed their disturbing, vile natures just in time. Lets vote tomorrow to ensure that these people are kept out of public office: Kazanowski Michelle Novak Phil Laskowski Michael Altmann
Nancy Morris November 06, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I for one am very pleased with the way communications were handled throughout Clark durting this trying time. Between the Clark Township website, the school website, the Clark-Garwood Patch and a big kudos to Facebook I was kept well informed. We are in a state of emergency ----- Kuds to Clark and expecially the DPW for countless hours getting the residents back up and running. All our streets were clear way before other towns. KUDOS TO CLARK!!!!
Time for Change November 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM
12 years is way to long for one person to run a town! Sal has gotten to comfortable and in my opinion thinks and does what he wants. Sal has become complacent over the years because he can. No one shows up at council meetings because they don't want to get berated. The Mayor did not have an emergency plan or any other plan for the storm. Do we have generators for town hall? Sal also did't suspend his campaign! Didn't you get your mail? He did't miss a beat! So let's be smart this election day and vote for change! Elect Rich Kazanowski for Mayor, and Michelle Novak, Michael Altmann and Phil Laskowski for Council-at-Large.
Time for Change November 06, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Julie , for someone who has such a big mouth with a lot of complaints, how come you don't run for office? You sound like a real Sal supporter, nasty and will put down anyone who would run against him! I am sure we will never see your name on any ballot! And as for you Carmen, if Rich came to your door and asked you if you needed any help, you would be the first one to say that he did it for political reasons! That's the problem with this town your damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Carmen F. Brocato Sr. November 06, 2012 at 01:12 PM
First of all "Time for Change" I had the, you know what, to put my name on my post unlike the coward that you are. And no matter what I would say as a councilman that is his job and as a human being that is what you are supposed to do. And by the way you don't know me and have no idea what I would say. The truth is the truth. You can make excuses all you want he should have been out in our community everyday after the storm looking to help our residents. I know Sal was.
Time for Change November 06, 2012 at 01:40 PM
So your admitting that you would have said that Rich was checking on people for votes? As far as Sal being seen around town after the storm your right he was seen at Quick Chek and cutting the pizza line at Phillipo's the day after the storm! The fact is he was NOT seen at town hall where it counts. But I have to commend you for being the rabid defender and good soldier to Sal. Can't wait for your re-election!
Average Joe November 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Julie, Clark is viewed horribly by other towns. I did not go to ALJ because the teachers are terrible, so I elected to go to a school with students from all over the county to receive a quality education. ALL of the students from my school had the same view of Clark: small, white, and simple-minded, How are they wrong?! Read the census! There is no diversity in this town in terms of race or mindset. You, and all the others in this town who think the people in this town are amazing, NEED to take a step out of your bubble and actually listen to how others view our town.
Patti Drago November 06, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Time-out. No one's perfect; we've all made mistakes in judgment. The mayor was chastised; he's apologized. Yes, he's rough around the edges with a bit of a schoolyard attitude. That annoys me. But I believe that his concern for Clark is genuine, and he works hard. Yes, I'm troubled by how some local issues are handled. But on balance, the he is effective and gets the job done. I don't envy anyone in public service - you need to have the hide of a rhinoceros to get up and go at it day after day. Just look above - when all else fails just attack the person, or even worse, correct their grammar! I'm not a Republican, but the Mayor has earned my support based on his overall track record. Sure, I could isolate examples of issues that rankle me; but on balance, he has done a decent job managing Clark. Maybe it's just me, but my political affiliation is irrelevant in the local race where town/county politicians have such an impact on our quality of life: I just try to figure out who is best for the job. I would have considered the challenger, Kasanowski. But he didn't give us anything substantive to consider, surprising given his time on the Council. Symbolic gestures and simply saying it's time for change aren't enough, especially since it seems to be based on personality traits vs. accomplishments. Saying it's time for the Democrats? Increase services? Where is that money coming from? Sorry, but you just haven't given us enough information to change horses.
Julie Palumbo Duffy November 06, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Why are u so angry & saying I have a "big mouth with a lot of complaints"? What complaints? Did I complain that this Kazanowski guy didn't knock on my door? Nope, bc I don't care if he did or didn't. Someone posted "he knocked on all residents' doors" & that wasn't true. I didn't speak for anyone else. I gave facts & examples that pertained to ME to back it up. I even gave MY name (unlike you) bc I have nothing to hide. I didn't put anyone down. Look, you obviously don't know me or else you'd know that I'm not nasty nor do I put people down...unless you look at porn in the library near children & then all bets are off. If that's you then yes, I'd duck for cover. If not, then you have no worries.
Lizard763 November 06, 2012 at 05:26 PM
He seems like a real educated (learn to speak properly) and concerned type of guy, always patting himself on the back.....I suppose he is not running his campaign today, standing outside the polling station at municipal building with his cronies handing out flyers. Boncorrso is a clown..he thinks he owns the town....time for a change
Time for Change November 06, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Patti your entitled to your opinion. I don't know what job it is that he does that you are referring to but I can say with complete certainty that people are tired of his nasty ways.I find it sad that people avoid town council meetings so not to get into his cross hairs and get slammed by him. 12 years is way to long for one person to govern. Besides Sal has no future vision for the town. He is too comfortable and is under no pressure to change things.People complain about him all the time. And yes grammar is important when you represent at such a high level. You are only one vote. I hope other people in town feel differently.
Patti Drago November 06, 2012 at 06:54 PM
"Time For Change" - I get everything you are saying. But I won't vote for someone just for the sake of change..Put up a qualified challenger who clearly articulates a rational vision along with how he/she will get us there and I will seriously consider him/her - might even actively campaign!
Lisa Compton November 06, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Average Joe, what magical High School did you attend where students came from "all over the country"? It could only be some elitist boarding school. I am sure, however, that you will not tell us as you are afraid to use your own name when you post. Also, may I ask where in the census it states that people are simple minded? Yes, Clark does lack some 'diversity' but there are no rules that say you can only be friends with people from Clark. Adding diversity in your life is up to you. I guess you don't really want that much of it if you are, in fact, living in Clark. Someone made a comment about no Jewish people living in Clark. That person needs to get out more and meet more of their neighbors. Finally, Average Joe, you are not allowed to have a difference of opinion or ideas in Clark. As you can see from this page, you get attacked for stating facts and sharing a difference of opinion. Did you see how Time for Change attacked Julie Palumbo Duffy?! Outrageous, inexcusable behaviour. The diversity you seek is all around you, maybe not in forms of obvious race, but of thought. You might be surprised by the people you meet in this town; if you give them a chance, that is.
b paterson November 07, 2012 at 07:26 PM
anyone apologizing to the residents of Holmdel?
james November 07, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Then move .
james November 07, 2012 at 08:18 PM
What a bunch of bull. The guy makes a comment to his friend on face book and all of the suden it's a major crime because it involves the Jews. Jokes are made about every nationality deal with it stop crying. This mayor has done a great job keeping taxes down and assiting the citizens of Clark in all kinds of situations. No crime was committed .This is nothing but a political ploy.
james November 07, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I guess your wish didn't come true.
james November 07, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Hey Average Joe you want diversity? Then move to Newark
Average Joe November 08, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I went to one of the schools on the Union County Vocational Technical School Campus in Scotch Plains, and I graduated a few years ago. Let me tell you, they don't offer bull classes like "puppetry" over there- we actually learn. And, I said county, not country. Get glasses. Furthermore, I gave people in this godforsaken town a chance, and most, not all, but most proved to be bozos. I actually went to school with these kids- you didn't. I saw the comments they made to students of different nationalities- you didn't. I saw the intimidation and bullying tactics that went on because somebody had a difference of opinion- you didn't. Don't tell me I didn't give these clowns a chance when I had schooling with them from K-8.
Average Joe November 08, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Lol there were three Jewish kids in the entire middle school when I was there. Only three. And yes, you are right, Julie. People do make honest blunders. However, I'm not mayor of the town, and I don't post religious jokes on Facebook, so I think it's reasonable for him to be held to a higher standard. Isn't that why we elected him? And, I don't want to argue either- it's just the fact that I've recently been involved in this town through the education system, and I know the negative racist comments and religious slander that is promoted by the students because I have seen it. In my opinion, I am very grateful to have been exposed to various cultures during my time at UCVTS. That is all.
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