Monday, October 31, 2011

Beware the Wicked Witch of West Easton

It's Halloween, so stay away from West Easton tonight! You'd be much safer taking your chances on Hexenkopf Road in Williams Township, dancing in a coven with regular witches. They're good witches. But it's a different story in tiny West Easton (population 1,257). The Wicked Witch of West Easton will be soaring all day on her broomstick, scaring children as she's been doing for the past several weeks.

"She's pure evil," warns Borough Council member Tom Nodoline. "A complete trainwreck," adds Council member Tim Jones. They'll be hiding tonight. But the Wicked Witch of West Easton will get them later. Right now, she's a little busy, running for Borough Council. The Wicked Witch of the West may have been after Dorothy, but this one wants Borough Council Prez Kelly Gross.

And her little pink gavel, too.

The Wicked Witch of West Easton started out life as Tricia Mezzacappa, a New Jersey transplant, with a B.A. in Accounting, a Master's Degree in Education Administration and, strangely enough, a R.N. license.  She raised more than a few eyebrows when she brought a black domestic pig named Earl, instead of a black cat, as her familiar upon moving into her Ridge Street address. Neighbors still complain about that pig, but borough officials are more offended by her than her pet.

The Wicked Witch, when not casting spells and uttering incantations, decided to open up a massage parlor, right out of her home. Now don't get the wrong idea. On one Internet site, she's referred to as a "naturopathic doctor." I have no clue what the hell that is, but it sounds impressive. I'm sure real doctors don't mind.

But unfortunately, Mezzacappa never sought zoning approval, and when those meanies at Borough Hall found out, they made her file an application. Then the Zoning Hearing Board, rightly or wrongly, gave her a thumbs down. Twice. When that happened, something inside Mezzacappa snapped. Before their very eyes, she morphed from Jersey Girl to the Wicked Witch of West Easton. "I'm going to get you people," she cackled. "You haven't seen the last of me."

Now, as it turns out, tiny West Easton screwed up. Its Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor was unable to get an Opinion out in time. When that happens, a zoning application is automatically or "deemed" approved, no matter how the zoners actually ruled.

Did the Wicked Witch of West Easton transform back into Jersey Girl Tricia Mezzacappa? Nope. Ever since that fateful day, the Wicked Witch has became a major nuisance to borough staffers, who are harassed whenever she darkens their door. Borough clerks cringe when they hear the clanking sound of a metal can full of change, because they know she's on her way. She uses that jar, not just to pay for copies of her endless Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) requests, but also to bang on the plate glass window separating her from office staffers.

Between May and September of this year, she's besieged the tiny borough with 25 RTKL requests, 13 of which are under appeal at this time.  Almost every single one of them is dismissed summarily. I was able to find an additional 89 RTKL requests, as a result of filing my my own RTKL request about her RTKL requests.

Poor West Easton. Wicked Witch one day, bottom-feeding blogger the next.

In addition to these incessant RTKL requests, borough officials have to deal with a problem person. Last year, the Wicked Witch of West Easton suddenly appeared at borough hall, exactly one day after demanding minutes of a meeting. Kelly Gross, who was in the office, began looking for them, but was apparently taking too long. The Wicked Witch began banging her purse and slamming her metal can of change on the plate glass window. She screamed that she has a Master's Degree, and then stormed out of the municipal building. Seeing a borough employee in the parking lot, she yelled, "Enjoy your fucking job!"

A few months later, in a telephone call to a new borough employee named Jill Garcia, the Wicked Witch wanted the contact information for the stenographer in her zoning case. Because she was new, Garcia did not know where it was or what she could provide. According to an affidavit, the Wicked Witch freaked out. "You fucking people better not make me file a right to know! If you do, I'm going to call my lawyer. This office is the most fucking corrupt place around." Garcia eventually hung up, and the The Wicked Witch responded to that by filing a harassment complaint against Garcia, which she withdrew before being laughed out of Court.

On a third occasion, after demanding copies of a plan, borough officials went to Staples to make them for Mezzacappa. But when the Wicked Witch came in, she said, "I don't want them anymore."

She's abusive during meetings, too. During one Borough Council meeting a few years ago, she called the secretary taking minutes a "big, fat slob," and then stormed out. That secretary, who was subjected to nonstop verbal abuse by Mezzacappa, actually died of a heart attack a month later.

Borough officials had to install security cameras because of her threatening behavior.

They have reason to be concerned. Three disorderly conduct charges have been filed against the Wicked Witch of West Easton since 2000, all of them involving either fighting or vulgar language, although only one of them resulted in a guilty verdict.

After the Borough Secretary passed away, Kelly Gross decided on her own to keep the borough offices open to make sure employees were paid and bills were paid on time. She is unpaid herself, and has volunteered hundreds of hours of her own time.

Amazingly, in her very first campaign letter reveals the Wicked Witch makes very clear that her primary goal is to rid Borough Council of its President, Kelly Gross.

"I'll get you, my pretty, and your little pink gavel, too!"

It's personal.

Because I'm a bottom-feeding blogger, I was friendly with the Wicked Witch, and even went on some walks with her. Maybe she'd teach me how to fly. But whenever the topic of West Easton came up, I'd listen politely or tune her out. Then one night, she began her usual rant that Borough Council President Kelly Gross spends too much time at the municipal building, doing the job (for free) that should be done by a borough manager. I could take no more, and innocently asked "Doesn't that save the taxpayers money?" 

Well, I was kicked out of her coven faster than I could say, "If I only had a brain." Her familiar, the black pig, head-butted me, tooI learned later that I was part of the "Gross family cartel," even though to this day I've never even met the Mayor and had not at that time spoken to Kelly Gross for many years.

Now the Wicked Witch is flying up and down the streets of West Easton, telling anyone who will listen to her  the "Gross family cartel" is hopelessly corrupt, that Abe Atiyeh bought Mayor Gross a brand new Cadillac for agreeing to a 100-bed DUI facility in West Easton, that Council member Tom Nodoline was bought off with a pickup truck, that Kelly Gross is illegally collecting disability, is "brain-damaged," and other sweet little nothings.

Of course, these are all vicious lies by a person motivated by hatred, not a desire for good government. Kelly Gross has never even applied for, let alone collected, disability. Her father, the Mayor, paid for that Cadillac, as Mr. Nodoline paid for his truck.  But it's important to note that not all of Kelly's work is volunteer work. She is paid a salary as Borough Council President.

It's $650 a year.

When I confronted the Wicked Witch about this baseless disability smear, she hissed, "You really have no clue. I was fed this info by many who got this themselves from her own family."

Sure, they did.

Mezzacappa's pushy behavior is fortunately turning people off in West Easton. One fellow had to kick her off his porch after she came back three times, demanding his support. She's called people with unlisted phone numbers, and even politicized a Halloween parade for the kids, which annoyed a lot of people.

Well, Gross is up against someone with a Master's Degree. The Wicked Witch also claims to have "valuable knowledge from my experiences in municipal finance and non-profit accounting," but fails to point out that she herself filed for bankruptcy in 2004. (04-24451-ref)  Although the Wicked Witch vows to hold the line on taxes, the truth is that Kelly Gross, in her three years as Council President, has kept taxes steady.

And with a cute pink gavel, too.

There is one controversial issue. West Easton will soon be home to a 100-bed DUI treatment center. Nobody likes it, but West Easton is looking forward to a revenue stream of at least $50,000 from developer Abe Atiyeh, which will minimize or eliminate the need for future tax hikes. After numerous public meetings, West Easton approved the concept and imposed restrictions on developer Abe Atiyeh, addressing concerns raised by Borough residents.

Get this. The Wicked Witch hates West Easton so much that she flew to  last week's Northampton County budget hearing, telling Council to deny any money to West Easton. "I really don't think there should be any impact fee," she said. At first, she claimed there are studies showing that West Easton would be much safer with a treatment center. But then she slipped up and stated the real reason for her opposition. "[T]hey want to take money and flush it down the toilet to do whatever the heck they want with the money."

So basically, the Wicked Witch is fighting now to deny West Easton about $50,000 per year in revenue.

That makes sense.

What about Kelly Gross? She's taking the high road, preferring to run on her desire to help people, something she tells me she learned from her father as a little girl. She declined to respond to Mezzacappa's smears. "I love West Easton," she told me, adding that she will do her best to help people.

Borough Council member Tim Jones, who is related by marriage to the Gross family, tells me Kelly is indispensable. "Without her, we'd have to hire a six-figure borough manager," he claims. Of her father, Jones states, "There's never been a man more dedicated to the Borough than Gerry Gross." In a letter to voters, Council VP Lou Niko calls Kelly "one of the nicest, most honest people I know." He's outraged by the "half truths and outright lies" being spread by the Wicked Witch.

Fortunately, Halloween only lasts a day. But until it's over, Kelly is hiding her little pink gavel.

Blogger's Note: I did contact Mezzacappa about her numerous RTKL requests, the disorderly conduct charges, the bankruptcy, the false claims of disability, etc., etc. Aside from the remark about disability, I heard nothing. Comments will be permitted, but the IP and ISP of every person commenting on this post will be logged. The Wicked Witch comments under many different names as do her new familiars.     

Updated 11:30 AM: Bernie O'Hare, Pig Kicker - Although the Wicked Witch has refused to respond to me directly, she is now portraying me as a stalker who "needs to get over it." Mezzacappa, twenty years my junior, was a walking companion. Nothing more, nothing less.

She also claims that, after the last time I walked with her, I decided for some reason to kick her pig. "Bernie kicked my pig in the throat while at my house. He yelped, and then shoved his leg with his nose. That was the last time O'Hare was welcome in my home. He was in so much pain that he cried whenever I tried to pet him for a week straight."

Alrighty then.

This is so laughable it speaks for itself.

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