The following is a letter by Hoboken activist and 4th ward resident Jake Stuiver and appeared in the weekend paper.
It is unfortunate that Fourth Ward Councilman Timothy Occhipinti took the time to launch a 503-word tirade against me without allotting even one sentence to address the very serious misconduct I exposed in my April 8 letter. My previous letter concerned Mr. Occhipinti’s highly unorthodox and improper behavior on behalf of a campaign contributor at the March 20 Zoning Board meeting.
Instead of splitting hairs over whether the campaign contributor, Danny Tattoli, is a developer or a “businessman” and whether Mr. Tattoli donated the additional $2,000 he reported in his disclosure statement or just the $1,500 reported on Tim’s ELEC, Tim should have addressed the real issue, which is what business he had, as a City Councilman, attempting to testify at a Zoning Board hearing at all. The City Council is the appeals authority for Zoning Board decisions, and any council member taking a public position on any such pending matter compromises the integrity of the process and potentially exposes the city to litigation. We all know how Tim feels, or is told to feel, about lawyer’s fees, so even he can agree that would not be good.
Mr. Tattoli had illegally constructed a restaurant facility right in the vicinity of a planned Fourth Ward park, and Tim attempted to meddle in the hearing on whether to retroactively grant the necessary approvals. When the Zoning Board attorney advised Tim that council members may not testify at such hearings, he wasted several minutes of the board’s time protesting in a “sidebar.”
Tim pays lip service to fighting for parks when it suits him politically, and never misses an opportunity to claim credit for accomplishments to which he cannot demonstrate the slightest contribution, but when it counts, Tim is not fighting for his ward but rather selling it out to the highest bidder. Mr. Tattoli broke the rules, and Mr. Occhipinti broke more rules to help his sponsor get away with breaking the rules.
I stand by what I said, and Mr. Occhipinti, in declining to contest it in any serious manner, seems to tacitly agree – Tim is a developer shill and corruption apologist who champions not his ward and its residents, but rather the campaign-finance legal loopholes that defined his arrival on the council and continue to define his service on it.
I give Tim an A for effort for attempting to rationalize his misdeeds with tit-for-tat campaign-finance allegations. As usual, however, Tim's arguments lack three fundamentals of serious discourse: logic, cogency and veracity.
The petulant silliness of Tim's rebuttal is, quite frankly, insulting -- not to me personally, but to the entire Hoboken public, which should be able to expect its elected officials to respond to alarming charges with the appropriate gravity. Tim stands accused of betraying and abusing the public trust with a form of legalized corruption that should have been left behind in the Cammarano era. What the public deserves now is an apology and an explanation, not a childish, incoherent rant to deflect and distract from the issue of who he really represents.
Fourth Ward Resident
Related: MSV's originally story on Occhipinti's uncanny consistency in siding with developers, any developer against the Hoboken community: