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  • Lois Jacobs

Opinion: 'My Friend Mark': Defending the Indefensible

This opinion piece was submitted by a resident of the community.

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As someone who has recently moved into Lower Saucon, I am finding a dark current running through local politics which mars the natural beauty and friendly ambience of the area.


I am a great believer and supporter of representative government and of free and civil debate, but that is not what I am seeing from several activists who can only be described as aging rabble rousers. They operate one step short of Antifa-style agitation, and they range from disingenuous to dangerous.


Andrea Wittchen and Mark Ozimek exemplify the lower end of the spectrum of political activism in Lower Saucon when it comes to honesty, civility, transparency, and safety.

First, who is Mark Ozimek? Clearly, he falls into the dangerous category. Ozimek was recently convicted (10/31/23) of disorderly conduct for making death threats against Lower Saucon council members, specifically president, Jason Banonis. This recent conviction is not the first encounter that he has had with the law.


As the article in the Saucon Voice explains, Ozimek crashed his pick-up truck into a car while drunk in 1991, killing its driver.


We learn that the deceased was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War and a technician with AT&T. He retired early (in 1987) to be able to spend time enjoying life with his family and wife of 30 years.


While undergoing urinalysis, he commented to the intake worker (from a Morning Call article): “Some of it was my fault. But a lot of it was caused by Bethlehem police (because they allegedly released him before he sobered up).” He then made the comment that … “I can’t help it if some poor asshole got in the way and got killed”


Per a Morning Call article, Ozimek was sentenced to only three and a half to seven years and fined him $10,000, an outcome that likely fell short of real justice for the victim’s family. He did not remain incarcerated for the full seven years, but was out with the minimum served.

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It gets worse. He then published this a few days ago after having been found guilty of threatening a council member on 10/31/23:


The reasons for wanting pictures of Banonis’ wife and children are likely very different than what he states in the post and are beyond disturbing. There seems to be no limit to the danger or intimidation to which Democrats are willing to expose their adversaries.


And so we have a more comprehensive picture of who Andrea Wittchen’s “friend,” Mark Ozimek, is. It is unfortunate to have to revisit this time in the man’s life, but then threatening public officials warrants another look.


Ozimek’s history and Wittchen’s defense give some clues as to who she is. First, some background … Andrea Wittchen’s blogs are part of the local Democrat machine and the model of crudity, bullying, dishonesty, misandry, arrogance, and conceit. To give an idea of tone, in one post she tells us that we don’t need to form opinions because we have her and she can do the thinking for us! Unbelievable but true; she holds herself in this high esteem. However, like party blogs, Wittchen’s essays on township issues and finances don’t make sense.


For those who might not know, in Wittchen’s blogs name-calling and ad hominem attacks substitute for clear argument. The articles are designed to obfuscate the basic facts and disparage the members of the current council (except Priscilla deLeon, of course). Despite knowing the truth, Wittchen distorts the issues which face Lower Saucon, staying in lockstep with the campaign planks of her candidates, Victoria Opthof-Codero, Priscilla deLeon, and Laura Ray. Despite their claims having been resoundingly debunked, especially regarding manufactured campaign issues, this group goes right on breathlessly repeating them in public meetings, on campaign fliers, on blogs, in manufactured letters to the editors sent to left leaning online “newspapers,” etc. If it is repeated often enough and by enough people, it becomes the truth.


But writing a blog is not enough for Wittchen. A review of video records of recent council meetings will show her participation in disruptive “performative theater” designed to stall forward motion on projects which have already been legally passed by vote. This strategy works for Antifa and BLM, so why not for Democrats here?


Wittchen’s bubbling and stirring portrayal of her friend Mark, someone with a history of domestic and alcohol abuse, and a conviction for homicide by vehicle while under the influence, as an upstanding citizen and friend, essentially a saint, is understandable. As the saying goes, water seeks its own level. What strikes the reader, however, is that Wittchen’s absolution of Ozimek “as a good man” is reliant upon her reputation as a fine citizen. The fact is that she does not have credibility as such; many neighbors and residents of Lower Saucon regard her as foul-mouthed, vicious, dishonest, abusive, and judgmental, and have reached a point of utter fatigue with her.


I, for one, wish to see the financial security of the township preserved and am thankful for the good governance we enjoy. I would also like to see the tone of the Democrats’ campaign tamped down a notch. Violence and intimidation should not be part of the election process. That said, for good governance to continue, it is imperative to vote for the Republican candidates.


The opposition council candidates overwhelm you with lies. Wittchen reinforces these lies by blogging hateful and crude trash thought and argument, calling you stupid (and worse), and attempting to derail council meetings. And the wordsmith Ozimek doesn’t even go to those efforts. If you don’t comply with his will, he lets you know that he would just as soon “put you in a pine box.”


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Publication of this opinion piece should not be construed as an endorsement by Saucon Voice of the views expressed. We encourage all readers to consider multiple sources and perspectives when forming their own opinions. Anyone is welcomed to submit content for publication. Visit our Contact page to submit something.

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