POLITICS

New Jersey municipal official sparks controversy with anti-Mexican Facebook posts

A Republican-appointed local official in New Jersey has apologized for posting anti-Mexican messages on his personal Facebook page.

Patrick Pizzi, a 68-year-old commissioner on the Berkeley Township Municipal Utilities Authority, posted the following two notes: "I put a sign in my driveway ... 'All Mexicans must show green card to get trick or treat.'"

Pizzi then posted another status several hours later that read, "For Halloween I dressed as an eligal [sic] Mexican and trick or treated in Washington, D.C.... No candy but got ... food stamps ... cell phone ... medical coverage ... prescription card ... housing ... etc."

Pizzi later removed the posts and apologized for them in an interview with Fox News Latino on Friday.

"It was a joke, insensitive, that went bad," he said. "I'm not a racist. I did put the jokes up. I apologized for them. If you want to make a big deal out of it, that's your decision. I don't think it's newsworthy."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.9 percent of the forty-some thousand residents of Berkeley Township are Hispanic. The Asbury Park Press, which first reported about the comments, noted that Berkeley Mayor Carmen F. Amato, who nominated Pizzi to his position, follows him on Facebook. 

Amato did not respond to FNL's request for comment.

Jon Salonis, 30, who operates a regional Democratic Party blog titled "Jersey Shore Insider," took screen shots of the Facebook messages before they were pulled down and distributed them, the Asbury Park Press reported.