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Peter Yacobellis


A Conversation with Peter Yacobellis: Politics, Controversy, and New Beginnings

Peter Yacobellis returns to the podcast to take a look back at his time in Montclair, New Jersey. Discussing the highs and lows of his time in public office and what he is up to now.

As the former Council Member At Large in Montclair, Peter discusses his decision to leave his position and move across the country, and the controversial topics that led to his departure. He shares his thoughts on the challenges of being a politician in the social media age and offers insights on the future of Montclair. Peter Yacobellis also talks about his passion for wildlife and the environment and his plans for the future. This candid and thought-provoking conversation delves into the complexities of public service and personal growth.

  • [00:02:46] Road trip experiences.
  • [00:05:33] Unpacking the journey.
  • [00:09:40] Shifting government values
  • [00:11:45] Dangerous intersections and streets.
  • [00:17:05] Lackawana Plaza.
  • [00:20:08] Social media and personal attacks.
  • [00:24:40] Putting up boundaries and guardrails.
  • [00:32:11] Stepping away from electronic interfacing.
  • [00:38:30] Dream jobs and aspirations.
  • [00:41:16] Living life based on expectations.

I apologize for any mistakes or misunderstandings that may have occurred during my time as an elected official in Montclair. I understand that there were concerns and frustrations from the community, and I am sorry if my actions or responses contributed to any negative experiences. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and for the support I received from many individuals. Moving forward, I am focusing on my own personal growth and exploring new paths in my life. I encourage everyone to engage in open and respectful dialogue, to assume the best of their neighbors, and to work together to make Montclair the best it can be. Thank you. – Peter

You started off by saying you’re sorry. What exactly are you sorry about? – Janette
I didn’t finish my term that I was elected to serve. So I cut it short. I didn’t follow through with the commitment that I made. So sorry for that and for the disruption. And certainly for some of the individuals who I had engagement with on social media, that wasn’t necessarily the healthiest. Sorry for not being a better version of myself in that context. Right. But thank you as well. I mean, the lessons were incredible. – Peter

To learn more about Peter Yacobellis’s background tune in to our first interview with him.

Peter Yacobellis Interview Summary


  • Rachel and Janette introduce the podcast episode and mention that they are interviewing Peter Yacobelus for the second time.
  • They discuss the having Peter back on the show to discuss his career as a politician and his recent life changes.

Peter’s Background and Departure:

  • Peter talks about his experience as a politician and elected official in Montclair.
  • He mentions that he left his position and moved across the country.
  • Peter explains that he will discuss the reasons for his departure and the controversial topics that led to it.

No Topic Off Limits:

  • Rachel and Janette mention that Peter is open to discussing any topic, including his personal experiences and the challenges of being a politician in the social media age.

Peter’s Current Location and Climate:

  • Peter reveals that he is currently living on a chain of islands between Vancouver Island and coastal Washington.
  • He describes the moderate climate in his new location, with temperatures ranging from 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and less rain than Seattle.

Road Trip and Perception of America:

  • Peter shares his experience of driving through 14 states on his road trip to his new location.
  • He mentions that the media’s portrayal of America is often different from the reality he experienced during his road trip.
  • Peter emphasizes the kindness and pleasantness of the people he encountered during his journey.

Reflecting on His Political Journey:

  • Peter discusses his initial motivation to help people and serve the community during the pandemic and other crises.
  • He mentions the challenges of managing his social media profiles and responding to comments as an elected official. – Peter acknowledges the personal attacks and bullying he faced online and the impact it had on him.

Accomplishments as a Politician:

  • Peter highlights his achievements in shifting the focus towards human services in Montclair.
  • He mentions the progress made in areas such as LGBT equality, environmental initiatives, and animal welfare.
  • Peter also mentions his work on the Vision Zero Task Force to address dangerous intersections and improve traffic safety.

Lackawanna Plaza Development:

  • Janette summarizes the pros and cons discussed during a council meeting regarding the Lackawanna Plaza development.
  • Peter addresses concerns about flooding, traffic, parking, affordable housing, and gentrification.
  • He explains the positive impact the development could have on stormwater management, traffic circulation, and revenue generation for the town.

Handling Heated Comments and Personal Attacks:

  • Peter acknowledges the genuine fears and concerns expressed by residents regarding the Lackawanna Plaza development.
  • He reflects on his own emotional reactions to personal attacks and the challenges of managing social media as an elected official. – Peter emphasizes the importance of respectful face-to-face conversations and assuming the best of one’s neighbors.

Tips for Montclair Residents:

  • Peter advises residents to have in-person conversations and get to know their neighbors outside of social media.
  • He encourages assuming the best of others and avoiding discussions about how long one has lived in Montclair.
  • Peter suggests focusing on responsible tourism and the intersection between wildlife, environment, and tourism.

Future Plans:

  • Peter mentions his passion for wildlife photography and his desire to do something with his photos.
  • He expresses interest in the responsible tourism industry and public policy related to environmental conservation.
  • Peter shares his dream job of being the head of the National Park Service.


  • Peter expresses gratitude and apologizes for any mistakes made during his political career.
  • He encourages others to make changes in their lives if they are in unhealthy situations.
  • Peter emphasizes the importance of feeling alive and true to oneself.




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