Voice Party slate preparing for Elmwood Park election
Elmwood Park Saturday, 3/9/13 Joe Ponzio is running for village president of Elmwood Park along with his slate, the Elmwood Park Voice Party. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 22, 2013 11:09AM
ELMWOOD PARK — Fourth-generation resident of Elmwood Park Joe Ponzio saw his taxes going up and wanted to do something about it.
That is why he is running for village president, one of five members of Elmwood Park Voice Party slate on the April 9 ballot.
His running mates are clerk candidate Diane Marchetti and trustee candidates Rocco Carrozza, James Pape and Elvis Hernandez.
“If you want to make an impact on your tax bill and water bill you have to get involved locally,” he said.
Ponzio believes career politicians are to blame.
“For the past couple of years Elmwood Park has been moving sideways and needs fresh eyes and that’s the difference between my opponent (Saviano) and myself,” he said.
Angelo “Skip” Saviano is running for village president as a member of the People’s Choice Party. The former state representative from the 77th District lost his re-election bid in November. He was a state legislator almost 20 years.
“He’s a career politician,” Ponzio said of Saviano.
“We can’t afford that kind of leadership that close to home.”
But some from his party saw things differently.
Initially Anthony “Tony” Del Santo and Philip Marcantelli were members of the Voice Party slate, but left to throw their support behind People’s Choice Party headed by Saviano.
Once Del Santo and Marcantelli moved on, Ponzio said the party immediately held interviews to find candidates to replace them, selecting Carrozza and Pape. Ponzio said he doesn’t hold a grudge against his former slate members.
“I’m not upset,” he said. “In December we had an opportunity to bring in two new people and bring a lot of expertise to the Voice Party. Our slate of candidates today is better than it was in December.”
Rumors of discontent among the Voice Party slate and their supporters are false, Ponzio said. Those rumor are coming from just a few people and they are taking the focus off the issues, he said.
“There are 30 or 40 loud people and then there are 25,000 (village residents) who want to know about the issues and our solutions,” he said.
Ponzio said the village has enacted policies their party was promoting like lowering taxes. He said their presence at meetings and in the community put pressure on the administration to act.
Promoting commercial development is also a priority for him and the party. “We need a thriving business district to bring in more revenue, more tax revenue or both,” he said.
But after Election Day, the village board might not always agree or even come from one party. Besides the two party slates, there is indepedent trustee candidate Sam LaBarbera.
Ponzio said he is prepared to work with board members who may not be a part of the Voice Party.
His main focus is to take what he called machine politics and career politics out of the village, which he says is a concern of the people he and the members of his slate have talked to while campaigning.
“All of them are tired of career politicians and empty promises,” he said. “They want someone who speaks from the heart, tells them the truth.”