During the Hopatcong Council meeting on March 4, 2020, Heather Marie Fiore resident and candidate for the council spoke out during the public section of the meeting regarding the statement read by Councilman Bradley Hoferkamp two weeks ago. (see Hopatcong Council Fights Back against Verbal & Social Media Attacks).
Heather stated that the council wasn’t completely accurate in their statement, as during her previous run for the council in 2019 she had received verbal abuse from councilmembers. She also took issue with the open-ended reference in the statement that residents attending the meeting had criminal records, “this infers that everyone attending is a criminal.”
Heather also addressed the fact that her father who was overheard during a meeting calling the council “crooks.” Stating that he is a resident and speaks his own mind, not necessarily representing her opinion.
Lastly, Heather pointed out that she has gone on record with the media, congratulating the council for the work that they have done.
Post Meeting Statement from Heather Marie Fiore:
Hopatcong Lake Regional News received permission from Heather Marie Fiore to publish her following statement that was prepared after the council meeting.
The full extent of what I wished to say tonight is that the statements made last week did not provide a full story and left a lot open-ended. They were also unnecessary and hold no place in a council meeting.
The issues concerning a resident who was called out by name was unnecessary. They did not provide the full context that the “threat” made was a private conversation between the resident and a friend as you can clearly tell in the handouts provided. While I don’t agree with the content and language in the messages, we are all guilty of saying harsh things about a person or subject when in private conversation.
While some of us may choose to vent with less colorful language, the act is still the same. If this was a vital threat to anyone, police action would have been taken immediately not 9 days after the information was received.
In terms of calling out individuals (without actually using their names) and inferring that the people attending the meetings are a waste of time or criminals is absolutely wrong. Since when did it become standard to do a background check on people attending meetings? If you are going to cast a blanketed statement that among us is criminals and sex offenders, you leave the general public wondering.
The Who what when where why.
If the questions being asked are such a waste of time, why run for the position? I have commended the council as they are all volunteers but with that comes the understanding that not everyone will agree, and you will have questions. That happens every day all over the country. People asking questions, voicing opinions, questioning decisions, etc. that is the beauty of this country.
I for one never regret going up to make a statement or ask a question and if you think that the last year was a waste of your time, I welcome you to ask the 3,000 residents who now have accurate billing if they think our questions were a waste.
You state that the council has been bullied and harassed for the last year, I welcome you to review the statements made by those very same council members. Both Jennifer and I prided ourselves on running a clean primary and Jennifer on keeping her side of the race clean in the general and I welcome one piece of information where a statement was made about the council members personally.
Challenging decisions or asking questions to get to the bottom of a problem and attacking the individual are two very different things. As for the comment about a candidate’s father calling them crooks, I have ZERO issue stating that was my father. I can say that because my father is a grown man with his own voice and opinions. It should not be used as an intended dig at me.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I certainly can’t control my parent’s thoughts and opinions.
Furthermore, there was the suggestion that the individual specifically named was being used for political gain by us. I welcome you to find one person who was used for political gain by myself or my prior running mate (now council member). We ran and I run with my current running mate on a platform and stuck with that. We gained the respect that we earned based on that exact platform. My current running mate and I plan to run our race the exact same way. Getting our platform out there and talking to people about it. We don’t need to use people for political gains nor do we have to attack people for it either. We earned the respect through work and taking the time to talk and explain our platform.
I hope with this campaign season fast approaching that the candidates running and the individuals supporting their candidates keep in mind the missteps of last year’s race and run a clean race based on platform and goals, not personal attacks. It is a shame when you divide a town based on personal attacks. We are all supposed to have the same common goal to do what is the best interest of the town. Let’s keep it at that.
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