MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE
Tim Occhipinti tries to make no vote on Southwest Park go away before attempting mayoral run
Submitted for your approval, the occupant of the 4th ward council seat seeking to repair the damage for reversing his vote for a Southwest Park.
Timmy Occhipinti who has kept silent about his "no" vote for the ramped up negotiations with the possible use of eminent domain to purchase a surface parking lot went on video with Hudson County TV to explain his no vote.
In the video Occhipinti speaks about negotiations being needed without any use of eminent domain. The City took up the challenge of ramping up negotiations for a Southwest Park with reluctant land owners in the fourth ward after Occhipinti voted for the use of eminent domain in the City Council last year.
Without a council majority expressing support for the use of eminent domain, the City would have no leverage with land owners who would sooner wait out the mayoral and council at-large seat elections next spring when a pro-developer government could unseat Mayor Zimmer and the current pro-reform council majority.
Word on the street says Tim Occhipinti is looking to be that pro-developer candidate in a run for Hoboken mayor in 2013. Sources active in the Hoboken campaign arena state Occhipinti and his former campaign manager Jamie Cryan are shopping for a political consultant to spearhead a mayoral run but not finding any takers. Occhipinti's "performance" in City Council meetings is reaching legendary proportions for mindless utterances droning on and on persuading not one council member on any significant vote.
His rudeness toward other members of the council with constant interruptions is only equaled by his disdain for the public where he is reported to make derogatory remarks off mic throughout the council meeting.
Sources say Occhipinti is also not getting along with Councilman Michael Russo who is most definitely not getting behind a Occhipinti for Mayor candidacy. (More on that later.) Russo has said he would one day be mayor but the discovery last year of his agreeing to bribes with FBI informant Solomon Dwek made such a run untenable. MSV broke that story in March 2011 with the release of The Jersey Sting and the follow-up stories here directly led to the FBI surveillance video becoming public.
Occhipinti has been a consistent supporter for developers in Hoboken showing support for NJ Transit, the Rockefeller Group and builder Damiano Tattoli. At a Hoboken Zoning Board meeting earlier this year, Occhipinti entered looking to speak on Tattoli's behalf. Stopped by the zoning board attorney, he's never explained why he thought it appropriate to leave during a City Council meeting to speak on behalf of a developer contributor before the Hoboken Zoning Board. Last week he was criticized for that action by a fourth ward Hoboken resident. (That letter appears at the jump below.)
Here's Hudson County TV questioning Occhipinti for his reversal voting no for a Southwest Park. The video shows edits as they couldn't take Tim Occhipinti droning on and on either.
Last week's letter at the jump:
I was extremely disappointed that my councilman, Tim Occhipinti, voted against the plan put forth to advance a southwest park for our neighborhood. However, after his numerous deflections and subject changes over the past several weeks when confronted by local activist Jake Stuiver about having improperly gone to bat for campaign contributors who want to build in the park area, I can’t say I was the least bit surprised.
Occhipinti campaigned largely on the promise of a southwest park. But then he recently tried worming his way into a Zoning Board hearing in which local developer Danny Tattoli was seeking retroactive variances for a construction he’d completed near the planned southwest park site without city approval. Because the City Council is the appeals authority for Zoning Board decisions, and this application will likely wind up before the council, the board attorney told Occhipinti he could not speak or it would taint the proceedings and the appeals process. Occhipinti reportedly became quite irate. It turned out the applicant had given thousands of dollars to Occhipinti’s campaign, which creates the appearance of impropriety that one would have to be slow indeed not to recognize.
These actions are the wrongdoings of a hypocritical councilman who constantly claims to be delivering on campaign promises when in reality he’s doing anything but. It's easy to connect the dots and see why Occhipinti reneged on his central campaign promise of delivering a southwest park. Why would he support a park when his campaign contributors want to build there? We all know how it works. Money talks, and the public interest walks.
What I find fascinating is how desperate Occhipinti is to change the subject every time his misconduct with his contributor’s zoning application rears its head. First, he responded with a flailing tantrum debating the semantical nuances of the issue without addressing the obvious conflict of interest. Then, there was a letter in the June 3 newspaper from Joel Mazmanian, suggesting Mr. Stuiver is anti-development and does not “welcome commercial enterprise to the 4th Ward, especially a business that it seems could attract patrons and additional commerce to our area of Hoboken.” Ironically, Mr. Stuiver was quoted in a news article in the very same paper advocating a Fourth Ward vision of managed development balancing the needs of the business community and the general public. I saw nothing in either of Mr. Stuiver’s letters on this matter suggesting he holds a knee-jerk anti-development view, and to imply otherwise shows how desperate Occhipinti and his friends are to deflect the issue and change the subject.
That’s because they know Occhipinti was caught red-handed putting campaign donors ahead of campaign promises, which is exactly why he voted against the southwest park plan.
Fourth Ward Resident