Tricia Mezzacappa is a Republican candidate for one of three seats on West Easton Borough Council. For years, she has battled Borough officials over what she considers unfair attempts to stifle any business not connected to the Mayor, Gerry Gross. She's also tangled with them over complaints about her pet, a cantankerous but cute Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Earl. She really went to war when they attempted to stop her, a R.N., from running a massage business from her home. After thousands of dollars, she ultimately won her zoning appeal.
I got to know Tricia when she began attending County Council meetings. She and I became somewhat friendly. She's accompanied me on some of my walks and runs, and I certainly appreciated the company. She's a bright lady and I helped her to get voting lists.
After years of fighting West Easton, she's grown to hate Kelly Gross, an incumbent member of Council seeking re-election. It's become personal. She also detests the Mayor, and refers to West Easton as "Grossville." In her eyes, it's not just a one-party, but a one-family, town. She might be right about that, too. It's never a good idea for one party, or one family, to hold power for an extended period.
I have never met Mayor Gross. I do know Kelly because, many years ago, she was a title searcher like me. I have not seen or spoken to her since then, but she was certainly a very nice person when I knew her, and I pointed that out to Tricia. That's not how Tricia sees it, and she gets angry when she is refuted on this point. Like I said, it's kinda' personal.
Now that Mezzacappa's zoning case is over, she's spinning her wheels with all kinds of Right to Know Law (RTKL) controversies in West Easton, along with neighbor disputes. She's losing because she lets her anger rule her actions. Of course, she's convinced something must be wrong with the state Office of Open Records, too.
About two weeks ago, The Express Times reported that Gracedale unit clerk Nancy Kutz was chosen by Democrats to run in West Easton, after one of the candidates withdrew. But I recently learned, from Kutz herself, that she's declined the nomination, and someone else has been chosen.
Because I thought Tricia and I were friends, I called her with this intelligence over the weekend. She erupted. She had hoped that Kutz, a weak candidate with a checkered history that includes retail theft and bad checks, would remain on the ballot. Tricia felt Kelly Gross must be behind this withdrawal, and maybe she is.
She then began ranting that Gross spends all of her time at West Easton borough hall, doing the job that should be done by a manager and staff. I pointed out that, if this is a criticism, it's a very bad one. Kelly could easily respond that her efforts have saved taxpayers money. But Mezzacappa did not want to hear that and began getting angrier and angrier. I suggested that we talk again when she cools down. Well, Tricia hung up on me and now claims I am in Gross' pocket.
It's amazing how many people control me. Dent, Cunningham, Angle, Stoffa, and now the Family Gross.
Tricia has begun posting comments on the Gracedale Goon blog, calling me "a disgusting piece of vermin" and a part of the "Gross family cartel." She has referred to Nancy Kutz as an "excellent candidate." "I dont know of one person who has reached 50 years old and has a perfect financial past," she adds. It's a little more serious than a late credit card payment. Kutz was convicted of retail theft in 2007, and has a history of being charged with writing bad checks in 1997, 1999 and 2004.
According to Mezzacappa, "Even after the excellent candidate dropped from the race, Bernie O'Hare told me that he was going to smear this candidate anyway, all over his blog, because he thought it would be halarious. This man (well, not really) has a very destructive dark side, feasts off of the unfortunate circumstances of others, and retains a sense of well being as he does these things."
What I told Mezzacappa is this. "I believe the public has a right to know this kind of thing. and without my blog, they won't. Newspapers don't do these kinds of investigations anymore. They are stretched too thin. Believe me, although I like you and want you to win this has nothing to do with you. The record evinces a dishonesty that people should know." It makes no difference to me whether it is Nancy Kutz or Bruce Gilbert. I don't care whether it would be to Tricia's political advantage to have Kutz remain in the race, even if Tricia is my friend.
As it happens, once Kutz withdrew, I had no reason to bring up her past and did not do so earlier this week. But unfortunately, Mezzacappa has made that part of the story. According to her, I am now part of some deep conspiracy to get her, and befriended her just so I could ruin her chances in a tiny borough. "The Gross family cartel, with the assistance of Bernie O'Hare, has now extended their sabotage tricks to yet another citizen within its confines."
I'm a bit mystified by Mezzacappa's behavior because the only person I was trying to help was, in fact, her. I actually thought we were friends. I am really saddened and hurt by the intensity of personal attacks coming from her, both here and elsewhere.
Tricia has lots of things going for her. She's attractive, can be charming, and is highly intelligent. Ordinarily, her mind is very analytical. I've used some of her comments as blog posts. I was also flattered that, for some reason, she decided to be friendly with me. But when it comes to West Easton and Kelly Gross in particular, Tricia seems to be over the deep end. She's certainly wrong to paint me as part of some conspiracy to hurt her. I don't really care too much who wins or loses in West Easton, but do agree that a one-family fiefdom is generally a bad idea.
My mistake was a failure to recognize that Tricia is also irrational, at least when it comes to West Easton. Her behavior has been ... well ... gross. What I have learned is that no good deed goes unpunished.