No More Rubber Stamps On Council – Time To Bounce Danny

September 17, 2022

TAPinto Summit

By Patrick Nash

We all want our Summit Common Councilmembers to be successful in achieving what’s best for Summit and its residents. But I believe only the most equipped individuals should serve in that capacity as it’s imperative to our community’s success. As typical in Council elections, we need to choose the best candidate that will voice the community’s concerns and take action. 

I remember getting ready for dinner last spring and having my laptop on, listening to the Summit Common Council meeting. A resident started speaking and you could hear the passion as well as terror in her voice describing the recent kidnapping on her block. Both my wife and I stopped making dinner as we were intently listening to this resident- Delia Hamlet. 

At following Council meetings, Delia and others repeatedly spoke about residents that were hard hit by car thefts. I met one of those residents (a Democrat) and they said Councilmember Danny O’Sullivan came to their door recently with reelection material. They politely told him that after they repeatedly spoke at Council meetings and endured a house robbery, an attempted car theft with family outside as well as a kidnapping in front of their house, Danny never reached out to them. They told him he hadn’t earned their vote for reelection.

While attending Summit Common Council meetings these past eighteen months, Delia has become more engrossed in the Broad Street West Redevelopment (BSWR) process. She continually asked questions about the size as well as scope of the project. Delia was befuddled that Council repeatedly ignored the warnings of Summit residents to slow down the BSWR process and listen to residents. Despite many Council meetings and resident objections for months on end, Danny O’Sullivan remained 100% for the five-story monstrosity proposed to be plunked down at the corner of Broad Street/Morris Avenue in our beautiful downtown. His tone deafness on the BSWR proposal and comprehension of Summit resident’s serious concerns couldn’t be more on display than at the June 2022 meeting at the Community Center. Hundreds came out to voice their objections to amending the Redevelopment Plan with the stroke of a pen, and rewrite the zoning laws to further increase density as well as the size of the building in Subdistrict 3. People who were involved in creating the Master Plan and the Redevelopment Plan spoke as well, begging Council to follow the original plan.

After four hours of compelling resident testimony, without hesitation and not addressing any of the questions or concerns raised by residents that night, Councilmember Danny O’Sullivan pulled out a prepared written statement. He coolly introduced the ordinance to send the amended Redevelopment Plan forward to the Planning Board and voted in favor of it. It was a stunning display of aloofness which has been Danny O’Sullivan’s calling card for his entire tenure on Council. You can go back and watch any of the Summit Common Council meetings over the past two years on the City of Summit YouTube channel. As residents speak, Danny is fixated on his laptop or remaining silent while other Councilmembers were able to take notes as well as communicate with the public. Only recently, with his reelection at stake, has he suddenly found his “voice”. Regardless of the vote at hand for Council, Danny can be counted on to vote in line with all the other Democratic Councilmembers. Over the past two years he couldn’t even be bothered to have an actual Councilmember Facebook page like the other Councilmembers but resurrected one once campaign season hit. His only prominent social media post over his current term was to call one third of his Summit constituency stupid on his personal Twitter page. Never mind that he likely offended the vast majority of Summit residents who saw Danny behave in a manner unfit to serve ALL of Summit.

Summit residents need their voices to be heard by their seven elected Councilmembers. Right now, Summit Common Council suffers from a collective groupthink where all six Democrats vote in unison, regardless of the input from Summit residents. This couldn’t be any more self-evident than with BSWR where only a handful of residents spoke in favor of the proposal while 1,700 residents signed a petition asking to do better.

Right now there is simply too much at stake in our community, including BSWR, safety, traffic, our downtown, our schools and our taxes to have aloof rubber stamps like Danny O’Sullivan on Summit Common Council. Our community deserves transparency, accountability and above all respect from its Councilmembers. If we are ever going to have a say in what the future of Summit will look like and be, it’s time for the residents of Summit to send a message to the current Summit Common Council and bounce Danny from his seat. 

Patrick Nash, Summit