Luke Visconti: "It’s there for anybody who wants to post anything about Hopewell Borough."
By John Tredrea
A recently established private Web site www.hopewellborough.com is providing a growing number of Hopewell Borough residents with an opportunity to share information and points of view.
The aim of this new site, not affiliated with borough government which has no official site, is to enable townspeople to exchange ideas and data that might improve things in the town particularly in the wake of the Marc Moran incident.
Mr. Moran selected July 3 to fill an unexpired term on Hopewell Council, created by the resignation of David Nettles, who had been appointed mayor was then on the November ballot as a GOP candidate for an open council seat. He was to have run with incumbent Councilman David Knights, who is seeking re-election. The Hopewell GOP organization is in the process of picking a new running mate for Mr. Knights now.
Mr. Moran was sworn-in to the council seat on July 7. On July 14, he resigned from Borough Council, during an intense controversy that erupted after he admitted to the HVN that he was a member of the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization.
The new Web site was established two weeks ago by West Broad Street resident Luke Visconti. "It’s there for anybody who wants to post anything about Hopewell Borough," he said. Mr. Visconti said his current primary concern about the Moran incident was that "I thought the council reacted too passively" when Mr. Moran’s membership in the National Alliance became public knowledge.
Comments, dated Aug. 7, displayed when opening the site on Aug. 12, are those of Mr. Visconti and say in part: "I’m looking for contributors and people willing to make this an easy place to share information. There is no commercial or political agenda here just a desire to facilitate the free flow of information among the citizens of Hopewell Borough. No information is shared or lists created. No spam will be generated. The site is currently owned by me, but I’d be more than happy to share/transfer ownership to a group or collective. I just wanted to get the ball rolling."
Mr. Visconti said the idea of starting the Web site occurred to him around the time he and about 20 other borough residents were meeting to discuss how to respond to the Moran incident. This group is not backing a write-in candidate for Borough Council in the November election, he said Monday night.
Mr. Visconti said he is affiliated with DiversityInc, which publishes both DiversityInc, the magazine, and DiversityInc.com. The Web site says: "We are the premier source of original, managerial-level information on the business benefits of diversity." Partner/co-founder is Luke Visconti, who can be contacted at: lvisconti@DiversityInc.com.
A 44-year-old Navy veteran who was in the service for eight years as a helicopter pilot, Mr. Visconti and his family have lived in the borough for three years, having moved here to Hopewell from Bridgewater.
Of the recent meeting with borough residents who were reacting to the Moran controversy, Mr. Visconti said: "It was very informal . . . "There’s no leader or anything like that, no cut-and-dry agenda or any axes to grind. It was just a group of people galvanized by that (Moran) incident who wanted to become more involved and more engaged, the goal being to make our town as good a place to live in as possible."
An inherent strength of a Web site, Mr. Visconti said, is that "it’s a bi-directional form of communication. It takes advantage of what’s technologically available."
He termed the Borough Council’s appointment of Mr. Moran an example of "good people making an honest mistake. If people here in town can learn something from this and become more participative, then some good will have come out of it."