Former county councilman says Campisi’s cheap shot ‘reprehensible and a blatant lie’

In a candidate questionnaire published in the July 31 Call, County Councilman John Campisi was asked if he would support legislation prohibiting council members from receiving campaign contributions from developers and voting on rezoning and development projects submitted by campaign contributors.

Rather than answering the question directly, he chose to take a cheap shot at me by insinuating that when I was your councilman, I “push[ed] projects through the county” to benefit my contributors.

Mr. Campisi’s statement is reprehensible and a blatant lie. I want you to know that as your councilman, I weighed the benefits of each project before me, listened to all sides and, rightly or wrongly, made what I believed was the best decision for the entire community. I never allowed any campaign contribution to influence my decisions.

Since taking office, Mr. Campisi has received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers. I have no reason to believe he has allowed those contributions to influence his decisions. I would appreciate the same respect back from Mr. Campisi.

With regard to the Call’s legitimate question, my experience leads me to believe that County Council candidates should be prohibited from accepting campaign contributions from developers. Not because I believe they wrongly influence council members’ decisions, but because of the appearance that they do. Much like the current ban on contributions from gaming interests, a ban on developer contributions would provide constituents with peace of mind.

Jeff Wagener

south county

Editor’s note: Mr. Wagener represented the 6th District on the County Council from 1997 through 2000.