LAKEWOOD-The Lakewood Scoop today criticized Toms River Republican council candidate Heather Richards-Barone after she launched a post-election rant against her opponent’s, including the slate behind current councilman Mo Hill. Barone criticized hill for what she claimed was an apparent deal made with the township’s growing Orthodox Jewish community in order to secure nearly 70% voting margins in North Dover neighborhoods with strong Orthodox Jewish populations.
Additionally, the community helped Hill get the necessary amount of signatures to get on the primary ballot, providing nearly 20% of the signatures on his campaign nominating petition.
“In recent months, a growing number of hateful and derisive comments have been directed at Jews living in Ocean County. The spike is believed to be largely due to a small group of pitchfork-wielding racists intent on driving Jews out of their shared communities riling up residents of townships surrounding Lakewood, including Brick, Jackson, and Toms River,” the Lakewood Scoop reported today. “While instances of anti-Semitism are always concerning, it becomes far more disturbing when local leaders and politicians are the ones inciting the masses against Jews in the community. Following weeks of investigations, it seems clear that such is the case in Toms River.”
While election results available through the Ocean County Clerk suggest Hill’s campaign received the coveted Orthodox bloc vote, it would be difficult to prove. Barone on Tuesday night left Hill with a parting jab.
“Thank you all that actually voted. Not a chance we had against the money Mo Hill had and team had from the Orthodox vote and money. So you got what you voted for. Goodbye Toms River!” she wrote. “You got what you voted for. A bought out, overdevelopment, orthodox bought group. Bye Toms River.” She also remarked in a separate post that Orthodox Jews hate her because she speaks out “against their corruption.”
Now the community is calling for head and her positions both as a member of the Toms River Planning Board, Board President of CASA and as a member of the Ocean County Library Commission.
That call would leave the choice of her termination from the planning board in the hands of her former opponent, Hill and his fellow township council members who appointed her to the position.
The Lakewood Scoop story was full of anonymous sources and unidentified statements of “multiple officials”.
“Multiple officials to whom this reporter spoke to regarding this investigation say that Ms. Barone has a history of lashing out at those she feels are not on her side. In this case, it seems she felt that Jews were in the corner of Mr. Hill,” the Scoop wrote.
Readers of the Lakewood Scoop let their feelings known.
“These comments are not borderline anti-Semitic, they are without a doubt overtly anti-Semitic. It’s an absolute disgrace that a public official can engage in such disgusting and despicable rhetoric,” one anonymous reader posted. “It would be an even bigger disgrace if she would be allowed to maintain her public positions after exposing herself as an outright bigot. I hope the right thing is done and she is immediately removed from said positions.”
“I shudder, thinking what would have been had this lunatic won the election. She’s a danger to society,” another posted.
“Will the Toms River Council and Mayor remove her from the Planning Board?” another asked.
“Heather has a tough night and hopefully regrets her post on social media,” Hill said through his campaign staffer Art Gallagher. “Her comments do not reflect the views of the Toms River community.”
While Barone’s statements could be taken as offensive to the Orthodox community in these hyper-sensitive times as towns like Toms River and Jackson see a rapidly growing population within that community, election results do favor Barone’s assessment that the Orthodox Jewish community put their election effort and community bloc vote behind Hill.
The township council will convene Tuesday night.