Will ‘woke’ Rochelle Park Republicans brake the Bergen County GOP?

Rochelle Park Township Committee members Linda Boniface, Jennifer Appice, Perrin Mosca, Gail Artola, and Vincent Bessetti

A heated controversy surrounding the flying of a Pride flag has led to the removal of Rochelle Park Mayor Perrin Mosca from his position, as his own Republican Party ousted him following a contentious council meeting.

Mosca staunchly opposed the idea of flying any flag that singled out a particular group and insisted that only the American flag should be visible outside the town hall.

The ordeal unfolded during a Rochelle Park Council meeting on May 24 when Mosca objected to the town’s decision to fly a Pride flag in celebration of Pride Month.

He argued that singling out one group over another was divisive and that the consensus among township officials should be to avoid raising flags that could create divisions. However, this stance turned out to be the catalyst for his removal from office.

Last week, the three other Republicans on the council, joined by a lone Democrat, Councilwoman Linda Boniface, voted to force Mosca out of the mayor’s chair.

In addition to the flag controversy, Republican council members also accused Mosca of regularly missing council meetings, further undermining his position.

Although Mosca remains on the ballot for November’s elections, he will be running without the support of the Rochelle Park GOP. The removal of Mosca as Mayor has ignited a fierce political battle within the local Republican Party, with allegations and counter-allegations surfacing amidst the flag controversy and accusations of missed meetings.

Critics of Mosca claim that he resorted to abusive behavior and attempted to prevent the raising of the Pride flag by rallying his supporters. Some fellow Republicans disagreed with his stance, allegedly leading to inflammatory remarks, including a comment referring to them as “not good Catholics.” Mosca, however, denies making these remarks and suggests that they were misattributed to him by someone with a political agenda.

Democrats Jorge A. Martinez Jr. Teresa E. Judge Cravello and Thomas A. Miller have an improved shot at winning seats on the Rochelle Park Township Committee, as the incumbent Republican nominees are bitterly divided over a culture war controversy.

In response to his removal, Mosca expressed his disappointment with the decision and raised questions about the motives behind the accusations made against him. He criticized Councilwoman Linda Boniface, alleging that she had made a Nazi salute during a previous meeting and had referred to an underage audience member as a “serial killer.”

The fallout from this controversy has exposed deep divisions within the Rochelle Park Republican Party and has raised concerns about the state of local politics. Mosca’s removal highlights the clash between personal ideals and the broader interests of the community, with critics accusing him of prioritizing his own beliefs over the well-being of Rochelle Park’s residents.

Following the council’s vote, Deputy Mayor Jennifer Appice assumed the role of acting mayor until a temporary successor can be selected before the upcoming municipal election in November.

Despite the setback, Mosca, who also serves as a committeeman, plans to run for re-election, promising to continue his political career despite the recent developments.

While the debate surrounding the flying of flags on public property rages on, the question of how local communities balance inclusivity and the representation of diverse groups remains a contentious issue.

As Rochelle Park moves forward without Mosca on top, the town faces a pivotal moment in its political landscape, with voters ultimately deciding the future direction of their leadership in the upcoming elections.

Mosca and Appice are the Republican nominees for Rochelle Park Township Committee on the November ballot, but if they lose to Democrats Teresa E. Judge Cravello and Jorge A. Martinez Jr. and the race for an unexpired term goes to Democrat Thomas A. Miller instead of Republican Robert W. Marut, the GOP could wind up having only a single representative in the local government.

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