HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The packed house at Tuesday evening’s Hasbrouck Heights Council meeting was not there for anything on the agenda. The crowd was there to either request/demand a clarification/explanation from Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo for his controversial post-election post on Facebook.
The crowd also had many of the Mayor’s supporters.
The post “Thank you to the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights for your support. The family values of our town have prevailed. Keep Heights great!!!” has drawn widespread criticism from Democratic politicians, LGBTQ advocates, and other citizens who interpret the post as an attack on his opponent, Democrat Chris Hillmann, and the LGBTQ community.
They showed up at Tuesday’s Council meeting to get an explanation from DeLorenzo.
They did not get one.
After the usually light agenda that follows an election, the public forum session of the meeting began with a statement from Hasbrouck Heights residents Jason and Brittany Hodrinsky, in which he called on the Mayor to “clarify” the statement made in the Facebook post that the “family values of our town have prevailed."
“I am not going to stand here and debate you, the meeting here today is to conduct borough business,” said DeLorenzo. “The election is over, and the people of Hasbrouck Heights have spoken, and I am not going to stand here and debate these issues here. We are here to conduct Borough business, that is the purpose of this meeting.”
“With all due respect,” Jason Hodrinsky responded, “your public comments, as the Mayor of Hasbrouck Heights, are Hasbrouck Heights business.”
But DeLorenzo did not budge from his stance that he was not going to address the comment during the meeting, as numerous residents spoke, including another Democratic candidate who ran in last week’s election, Helayne Weiss, who challenged DeLorenzo that as the leader of Hasbrouck Heights, he owed the public an explanation.
“I have been here for many years,” DeLorenzo stated. “I have led this community the last four as the Mayor, I have led the Board of Education, I have led as a police officer, I think my record speaks for itself. I will put my record up against anybody in the room, right now, my record speaks for itself.”
Weiss responded that this was not about his record, but about the post on Facebook.
“I don’t run the Borough on social media,” DeLorenzo answered.
(Editor's note: the article was updated to correctly reflect the last name of the couple who spoke first at the council meeting.)
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