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Councilwoman DiGiulio: Running For Mayor After Witnessing "Most Horrific Council Meeting"

DiGiulio says decision to run influenced by approval of ordinance changes to allow for new shopping center

Mahwah Councilwoman Lisa DiGiulio, who to run for the township’s mayor this November Sunday night, says the town council’s to allow for a shopping center near the Sheraton Hotel on Route 17 had a lot to do with her decision to run.

“I witnessed the most horrific council meeting that I’ve ever attended,” DiGiulio said of the March 31 meeting in which she and Councilman John Spiech voted against the ordinance changes. Four council members voted in favor of the changes, which allow for the building of the .

“It’s not even whether or not it would have won. I just think it was handled incorrectly and I was embarrassed. A non-binding referendum would have shown people that we respect what they think,” DiGiulio told Patch.

Thus far, the councilwoman is the only candidate to announce her intentions to run in the election this November. Whoever is elected will finish the duration of the term originally held by Mayor Richard Martel, who . The term will run through November 2012.

Though DiGiulio says she believes the Crossroads Town Center would be “a disaster” for many people in Mahwah, she says since the decision was approved by the Council and , she would not be able to reverse the decision if elected. 

“The next step is planning it. I’m upset about how this was carried out so far, and I want to make sure it’s planned correctly,” she said.

“I don’t know much about the lawsuits filed against the township, but if they are viable they might be the only way to actually reverse the decision.”

, one filed by the neighboring village of Suffern, NY and the other by a group of Mahwah residents, were filed against the township last month in an effort to nullify the council's decision.

DiGiulio, who has been on the Mahwah Town Council for 23 years, says she began her political career in Trenton, becoming involved with the Mt. Laurel movement for affordable housing.

“I went to Trenton as a housewife with a briefcase, a change of clothes and a speech,” DiGiulio, who said she moved on to working with now- State Senator Gerald Cardinale on several initiatives including the original COAH and bringing the D.A.R.E. Program from California to New Jersey, said.

DiGiulio released a statement with her intentions to run for Mayor to Patch shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday night. Her message to Mahwah residents was brief:

"I have been your council woman for 23 years and I have seen many changes in Mahwah over the years, both good and bad. However, at this point I feel that the people are not being heard and the town is not going in the right direction. This is your town and your wishes should be heard and respected. I am going to run for mayor in the November election and I am asking for your support," the release said.

walter stanton June 06, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Lisa is right about the town council meeting that railroaded this zoning change through without the residents approval ,while I understand the council legally does not need the approval of the residents this was clearly a case of the council taking the developers side over the peoples , I urge all residents to look into this issue and make a judgement for themselves ,I think you'll be shocked at what has been done without proper sharing of information to the residents .
JoeRobertson June 08, 2011 at 05:09 AM
However, if you recall, Digiulio was FOR the mall three years ago. I'm glad she's opposing it now, but why the sudden about face? I'm disturbed that she didn't care what residents thought three years ago. Why now?
Kay Poulas June 09, 2011 at 11:28 AM
I would like to know what her vote was when they decided to build the data center on MacArthur Blvd. I understand they have bomb sniffing dogs on the property. That building was kept a secret from the taxpayers and not only infringes on homes on North Central but also is a terrorist target If she is concerned about the welfare of the residents of this township, again, what was her vote on the erection of that building?
John Bashian June 09, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Mr. Stanton, I totally agree with you . I would add that a project of this size and magnitude should have been decided by the residents of Mahwah through a non-binding referendum. John Bashian
BARBARA INFANTE October 28, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Approximately 12 years ago, the town requested that a water line be installed on my property to go to the adjoining street. Lisa Digiullio was very thorough when the line was installed - she made several visits to the site - to make sure that the original stonewall and shrubs were replaced. I think, as Mayor, she would be completely dedicated to the people of Mahwah. Elect Lisa Digiullio as Mayor for continued good quality of life in Mahwah.
Andy Schmidt October 28, 2011 at 03:55 PM
I've had a similar experience. A few years back I've had occasion to work with Mrs. DiGiulio and other council members on a committee and she went out of her way to gather input from people effected. She's always seemed sincere about not arbitrarily putting her own judgement above the will of the residents she represents.

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