Here's what we know:
- On November 10, 2012, a train from New Orleans arrived in Newark station carrying more than 5 tons of love: 27 pallets of diapers, canned goods, cleaning products, blankets, batteries flashlights- worth approximately $250,000. These donations came from victims of Hurricane Katrina for the cities of Hoboken and Bayonne in an effort dubbed the 'Train of Hope'.
- Tim Occhipinti met the 'Train of Hope' at Newark station with some volunteers. Occhipinti, Beth Mason and the volunteers brought the donations to Bayonne where the 5 tons of love were stored in a distribution center. "We're excited to have them here and get the goods," Hoboken City Councilman Tim Occhipinti said. He and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith organized volunteers, buses and trucks to store and distribute the goods.
The Occhipinti- Mason trail of photo-ops and self-promoting press releases to the media stop right there... after a couple of headlines. Like this:
|Hoboken-bound? Not exactly; they went to Bayonne.|
Mission accomplished? Did the "Hoboken-bound donations" ever reach Hoboken?
It would be absolutely extraordinary for Occhipinti and Mason to have distributed any amount of gifts- no less 13 pallets (half)- without fanfare: announcements, photo-ops, press releases, Twitters and Facebook postings. (You're talking about a guy who photographs 4th Ward potholes for Facebook and demands an 'action plan' from City Hall to clean Jersey City's graffiti.)
It appears custody of that 5 tons of love ends in Bayonne. Unless it did make it to Hoboken- but how and where?
A busload of volunteers were rounded up to BRING the donations to Bayonne. Who brought them back to Hoboken?
Why did Occhipinti coordinate this effort with Bayonne only and not City Hall?
Scores of volunteers showed up at City Hall every day to assist flood victims, the National Guard was on site, and FEMA had a cavernous space on Washington Street. Did Occhipinti try to coordinate the distribution of aid with the federal agencies on site in Hoboken?
GA is finding this all a bit coincidental given the recent efforts of Beth Mason to woo Bayonne's mayor (and HCDO Chairman) Mark Smith. Al Sullivan noticed it, too in his column last week
Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason, who recently caught up with Santa Claus at the Bayonne Tree Lighting (and possibly Mayor Smith) appears to want some county or state seat in her stocking.And of course her 'charity' Hudson County Recovers, that selects HC municipalities to help not by need but by ballot box: all 33rd District municipalities are included and Bayonne, in the 31st but whose mayor runs the HCDO.
So on November 10, 2012 Mason rides a busload of 'gifts' to Bayonne. Arranged by her wardrobe accessory, Tim.
Is that why Timmy is publicly downplaying the damage to our city? Is that why the 'Train of Hope' donations ended up in Bayonne?
The politicization of charitable giving, particularly in a time of disaster, is truly disgusting wherever it occurs.
GA doesn't understand why ALL political factions are not working together to help our City now.
Why four members of the City Council (Mason, Occhipinti, Russo, Castellano) are wasting taxpayer dollars and throwing government into gridlock while they fight to keep Councilman Doyle off the City Council dais. Now. As residents struggle to recover and need government to work.
Why Occhipinti showed contempt and ignorance for the suffering of Hoboken residents last Wednesday night.