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The Wildwood 4 Change slate: left to right, Pete Byron, Steve Mikulski and Krista Fitzsimmons

Another fight in Wildwood set for fall

Full city government up for control as team seeks to topple mayor

By David Wildstein, August 30 2019 4:09 pm

Two-term Wildwood Commissioner Pete Byron has teamed up with two political newcomers to topple Mayor Ernie Troiano in the November non-partisan election.

Steve Mikulski and Krista Fitzsimmons will join Byron on the “Wildwood 4 Change” slate and say they will make “big tax increases and deteriorating infrastructure” the central theme of their campaign.

A third incumbent, Anthony Leonetti, is not seeking re-election.

Once running mates, Byron and Troiano have been feuding for years.

A lawsuit filed by Byron against Troiano and Leonetti alleging the two retaliated against him for voting against the city budget, was dismissed last year.

Byron could wind up as mayor if he and one of his running mates win.  Wildwood has a three-person City Commission and all three seats are up this year.

“For years, I have been a lone voice in trying to spend appropriately to keep taxes down and make essential improvements to our city,” Byron said.  “With the unique qualities of my running mates we are positioned to make real fundamental changes to the way Wildwood is run. We will bring a professional approach to city government that is accountable to taxpayers. “

Local voters recalled Troiano from his seat as a commissioner in 2009.  In 2011, he ousted incumbent Gary DeMarzo, who had been indicted on charges that he illegally held jobs as mayor and as a local police officer.

Last fall, a decade-long controversy ended when a jury found that former Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor wrongfully arrested and prosecuted DeMarzo and Wildwood Solicitor Samuel Lashman.

DeMarzo lost a comeback bid four years ago by an almost 2-1 margin.  He would run again this year.

Wildwood voters have a history of recalling local officials from office.  In addition to DeMarzo, Mayor Doris Bradway and Commissioner Fred Murray were recalled in 1938, Mayor Earl Ostrander in 1984, and Commissioner Bill Davenport in 2009.

“There’s a dark cloud hanging over our community and we need a proactive approach to breakthrough and move the city in the right direction,” said Fitzsimmons. “When I retire, I want the opportunity to continue living here and not be pushed off the island by out of control tax increases every year. I also want the city to be more appealing and affordable for my kids to have the opportunity to stay here.”

Wildwood has a year-round population of 5,325.  Some estimates put the summer population at over 200,000.

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2 thoughts on “Another fight in Wildwood set for fall

  1. The taxes are ridiculously high if it rains you can’t go on the beach for 2 days the roads are atrocious I don’t know if they’ve ever fill the potholes since I’ve been down here people throw trash in my front lawn nobody seems to care they spent $40,000 and overtime pay for police officers who pays for that? Do the vendors pay for that? Why are the taxes in Wildwood so much higher than North Wildwood or Wildwood Crest the streets are a lot better there it’s a lot cleaner there I’d like some answers! I’m starting to look at houses in the crest in North Wildwood does anybody out there really know what’s going on this is a bunch of bull playing all these taxes for what! Wildwood is a joke I’m embarrassed to say I live here can’t somebody fix it make it livablenan

  2. I’m sorry your having bad experiences in Wildwood, NJ. My husband, Ralph James, Sr. was Mayor of Wildwood from 1956 till 1968 serving 12 consecutive years right up to his retirement. He was affectionately known as: “The best Mayor Wildwood ever had.” There is photo monument honoring Mayor James at the Cold Spring Cemetery not far from his friend, Senator Charles Sandman. Mayor James was a gentleman from a bye gone era. Always dressed in a 3 piece suit, pocket watch top hat. He was Mayor when Frank Sinatra came to town and Mario Lanza was singing on the street cars. I have a photo (among many) of the Mayor hosting Sally Starr to Wildwood and presenting her with the key to the city. What wonderful memories I have!

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