Mayor mends ties with community representative after public row

CHERRY HILL — Mayor Susan Shin Angulo says she believes she has made peace with Windsor Mews Rep. Valerie Katz following an angry verbal clash the two had at a city council meeting of May.

The May 23 meeting turned combative following a recent animal attack at Windsor Mews.

Township officials and residents say a dog severely mutilated a 4-month-old puppy that was walking around the neighborhood. Residents said the attacking dog was meant to be leashed and muzzled when out, due to an incident a year earlier, and police were slow to respond.

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Angulo said in a June 22 interview that she quickly realized she had made a mistake in how she handled Katz’s criticism.

“And literally the next day I went to her house, I was greeted by her, I apologized,” Angulo said. “I said, you know, ‘We shouldn’t have said that. I’m so sorry it got out of hand.

Angulo said the Katz family invited her to an upcoming community block party at Windsor Mews.

“And so, we continually have this wonderful relationship,” Angulo said. “And we knew we were on the same page about it. And we want to make sure that every Cherry Hill community is protected.

Katz could not be reached for comment. She is president of the neighborhood homeowners association.

Angulo said she had no intention of resigning over what happened, nor had she been asked to resign. A former Camden County landowner, she was sworn in as mayor in January 2020.

Last month’s confrontation angered council members, with several bringing it up during the caucus portion of the June 15 council meeting. The mayor did not attend this meeting.

Councilwoman Jennifer Apell began by saying residents were upset, she was very upset and that the mayor had “crossed a line”. Council President David Fleisher, speaking last, said he agreed with the mayor’s criticism.

Apell and Fleisher did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Katz actually spoke twice during the May 23 meeting.

Katz, in his opening remarks, said police took 15 minutes to arrive. She said police also did not immediately remove the dog that attacked the pup and that some locals were considering buying guns. Other residents followed her with similar comments.

Just before the public comment period began, Fleisher had spoken briefly about a tree management measure pending before council. Two residents then raised concerns about its potential impact on homeowners.

Fleisher told them they could contact the township for details. Angulo then said she would be willing to meet with residents to explain the order.

That comment from the mayor brought Katz to the podium minutes later. Katz pointed out that the mayor had not offered to meet with residents of Windsor Mews.

Angulo said he was just waiting for everyone to speak before bringing up Windsor Mews.

“Oh, so I’d appreciate it,” Katz said. “Yes ma’am.”

Her response upset Angulo, who said she was showing “unacceptable” disrespect.

“I have absolutely no respect for you,” Katz replied.

Excuse me,” the mayor said. “I speak. I speak.”

“Your office is not responding to the community,” Katz said. “Your office does not respond to individual voters. Shame on you.”

“Yes, it is,” Angulo said. “Yes.”

Township officials said the dog that allegedly attacked the pup has been euthanized.

A fundraising campaign raised most of the $9,000 needed to cover the puppy’s medical bills. The owner had only recently moved into the community.

A man was also reportedly bitten as he tried to stop the attack.

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