Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from Mario's Pizza - Free Turkey Dinner from 1pm-8pm Tomorrow

Tomorrow for Thanksgiving, Mario's Classic Pizza will serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal for free at their restaurant from 1-8pm. This tradition has gone back years and its a way for Mario Albunia and his entire family to give back to the community. Mario's Classic Pizza is located at 742 Garden Street in Hoboken.

No pizza tomorrow - just Turkey with all the fixins'
Here is a video clip of Mario Albunia talking about his Thanksgiving tradition: 

Talk of the Town - Juan Melli Hoboken's Communications Director Moving on to Private Sector and More

The holiday edition of Talk of the Town features some additional transitional news:


Juan in a Million - Hoboken's Communications Director Moving on to Private Sector:


Hoboken's communications director Juan Melli is leaving Hoboken Government for his new venture Progressive Strategies, a strategic communications firm. Working alongside Mayor Zimmer, Juan Melli did an excellent job of keeping the public informed and enhanced the City of Hoboken's website, real time HOP bus tracking via GPS, expanded social media options of Facebook and Twitter, helped create the Hoboken 311 ticket systems for public issue reporting and established Nixle alerts plus many other things not publicized. Juan is a multi-talented individual and was a great asset to the the City of Hoboken. Replacing him will not be an easy task.

Juan Melli - Founder of Progressive Strategies
and Hoboken Communications Director
Photo from Progressive Strategies Website

Juan had this to say about his new opportunity on Facebook:

"I’m excited to announce that I’m starting my next adventure with the launch of my strategic communications firm, Progressive Strategies. Check out the website at www.progressivestrat.com and drop me a line if you or someone you know is looking for communications consulting.

I’ve really enjoyed working as Communications Manager for Hoboken and will be staying on through the end of Mayor Zimmer's term. Years ago when she interviewed me for the position, I admitted I didn’t know how to do half of the things I thought the job entailed (as it turns out, there was a lot more I didn’t know). She said I could do it, and I’ll always be thankful to her for putting her trust in me. I can honestly say I looked forward to going to work *almost* every morning, and I’m going to especially miss all my great colleagues who made the job fun."

Here is wishing Juan all the best in his new endeavor. As editor of this website and getting to know Juan over the years, he is a man of great intellectual gifts, solid work ethic and the utmost integrity.

Ravi Bhalla making a deal with Mike Russo to become City Council President?:

Just when the hardcore Ravi Bhalla backers thought they had a dead horse with the at least temporary suspension of the Hoboken Horse Blog otherwise known as the Mile Square View or MSV, the editor reveals this tasty dish before the holidays: Ravi Bhalla is purportedly backing Michael Russo for City Council President. Say it isn't so? For real?

Future City Council President Mike Russo and backed by Ravi Bhalla?
Photo credit MSV aka Hoboken Horse
First off, the Grist for the Mill is a political rumor column but typically most of these columns turn out to be true and are based on at least one solid source with a record for being correct. The thing that makes this plausible is that Ravi only has 2 secure votes on the City Council. He has to negotiate with someone to get to 5 votes on the City Council to get his agenda through. But why Michael Russo? Heads are sure spinning over at Grafix Avenger's Safe Space trying to spin their way out of this one. For me as editor of the the Hoboken Resistance it's like having desert before a great big turkey dinner.

More on this story at MSV: Thanksgiving Grist Special: Ravi Bhalla backs Michael Russo for Council President!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Breaking: After Years of Not Being a Priority - Mayor Zimmer and Mayor Elect Bhalla Make Union Dry Dock a Priority

Holy pre-holiday news dumps Batman! First John Allen gets a political reward with a Chief of Staff position and now finally after 8 years, Mayor Zimmer decides it is time to act decisively on Union Dry Dock. From the Office of the Hoboken Mayor via press release and Nixle alert:

Hoboken Community Update on Union Dry Dock:


Mayor Zimmer and Mayor-Elect Bhalla are completely committed to moving forward with acquiring the Union Dry Dock site for public open space now that it is no longer being used by Union Dry dock as a boat repair facility. The City is working expeditiously to complete its own appraisal and will pursue all options necessary to acquire the property from NY Waterway.


The following joint letter was sent to NJ Transit and its board members to ensure that the existing NJ Transit leadership and the new Administration understand Hoboken’s clear position on this urgent matter: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/mayor/Letter-Zimmer-Bhalla-Santoro-11-21-17.pdf.


NJ Transit has advised the City that it will be entering into an agreement with NY Waterway for the option to purchase the property. The City was also advised that NJ Transit intends to allocate $12 million in its budget for acquisition of the property.

Residents may speak at the next NJ Transit board meeting which will be on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 9:00am in the Board Room at NJ Transit's Headquarters, One Penn Plaza East, Ninth Floor, Newark, New Jersey.

Tiffanie Fisher Hoboken City Councilwoman Advocates for Open Space at Union Dry Dock Facility

Below is a useful list of contacts for those so inclined to advocate for the Union Dry Dock property to be allowed to become a park instead of a facility for NY Waterway. Open space advocates for years have stated the goal of of having end to end continuous access in Hoboken and this site is viewed as the last piece of the puzzle.

Union Dry Dock Hoboken - recent photo
Below is an email from Tiffanie Fisher Hoboken City Councilwoman 2nd Ward to a number of Hoboken residents to get the word out to your representatives. That is what citizen advocacy is all about.

Dear friends and neighbors –

As a follow up to my prior email [concerning the Union Dry Dock Property acquisition by NY Waterway], I wanted to provide some additional contact information for you.  I have spoken directly with both Assembly Members Chapparo and Mukherji, Senator Gordon and John Leon from NJ Transit.  All are receiving your emails so keep them coming.  At the bottom is a copy and paste version for different groups and a few suggestions on what you can say for each.  Feel free to use / not use or add whatever information you feel is most helpful.

I assure you that more voices are better.  So please reach out to as many as you can.  This is a great contact list so definitely keep for your records for future concerns.  

- Tiffanie Fisher Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward

Another photo of Union Dry Dock Hoboken - recently taken

Administration:

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken Mayor – dzimmer@hobokennj.gov or call (201) 420-2013
Steven Marks, Business Administrator – smarks@hobokennj.gov or call  (201) 420-2059
Ravi Bhalla, Mayor Elect – rbhalla@hobokennj.gov or call (201) 420-2000

City Council:

Jen Giattino, Council President - jengiattino6@gmail.com or call (201) 780-6779
Peter Cunningham, Council VP - cunninghamforhoboken@gmail.com or call (201) 562-7071
Mike Defusco, Councilman – mdefusco@hobokennj.gov or call (646) 372-4341
Jim Doyle, Councilman -  jimdoylehoboken@gmail.com or call (201) 792-9319
Tiffanie Fisher, Councilwoman – hoboken2nd@gmail.com or call (201) 208-1674
Ruben Ramos, Councilman – councilmanramos4@gmail.com or call (201) 401-7947
Michael Russo, Councilman - councilmanrusso@gmail.com or call (201) 401-9687

Hudson County:

Thomas De Gise, Hudson County Executive – tdegise@hcnj.us or call 201-795-6000
Craig Guy, De Gise’s Chief of Staff – cguy@hcnj.us or call 201-795-6000
Anthony L Romano, Hudson County Freeholder – aromano@hcnj.us or call 201-795-6001

State Level Representatives:

Governor Chris Christie - http://nj.gov/governor/contact/ or call 609-292-6000
Amy Cradic, Christie Chief of Staff – amy.cradic@nj.gov
John Spinello, Dir. Of Authorities unit of Counsel – john.spinello@nj.gov
Governor Elect Phil Murphy - https://go.murphy4nj.com/page/s/contact
Pete Cammarano (different one), Murphy Chief of Staff – pcamm@optonline.net or pete@cammaranolayton.com
Matt Platkin, Murphy Counsel – mplatkin@gmail.com
Brian Stack, State Senator and Union City Mayor - senstack@njleg.org or call (201) 376-1942
Annette Chaparro, Assemblywoman – chaparrofornj33@gmail.com or call (201) 683-7917
Raj Mukherji, Assemblyman - AsmMukherji@njleg.org or call (201) 626-4000
Bob Gordon, State Senator and Vice Chair of Transportation Subcommittee – SenGordon@njleg.org or call (201) 703-9779

Federal Level Representatives:

Frank Schultz, Deputy State Director for Sen. Bob Menendez - frank_schultz@menendez.senate.gov or call (202) 224-4744
George Helmy, State Director for Sen. Cory Booker – george_helmy@booker.senate.gov
Gene Matorony, Chief of Staff to Rep. Albio Sires - gene.martorony@mail.house.gov or call (202) 225-7919

New Jersey Transit/NY Waterway:

NJ Transit Board - njtboard@njtransit.com
Paul Wyckoff, Deputy Executive Director NJ Transit – pwyckoff@njtransit.com
Eric Daleo, Assist ED of Capital Projects – edaleo@njtransit.com
John Leon, Government Relations NJ Transit – jleon@njtransit.com
Steven Santoro, Executive Director NJ Transit – ssantoro@njtransit.com
Richard Hammer, Commissioner NJ DOT - rick.hammer@dot.nj.gov
Armand Pohan, Chairman NY Waterway – pohan@nywaterway.com

Neighboring Cities:

Gio Ahmad, Town of Weehawken Business Administrator – gahmad@tow-nj.net
James Davis, Mayor of Bayonne - mayors.office@baynj.org
Steve Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City - fulops@jcnj.org

Copy and Paste version with suggested questions:

Hoboken Administration and City Council:

What are you doing to protect our waterfront now that NY Waterway have announced they are moving in? What are you doing to ensure NY Waterway (or their successor NJ Transit) find a permanent home for their maintenance facilities?

dzimmer@hobokennj.gov; smarks@hobokennj.gov; rbhalla@hobokennj.gov; jengiattino6@gmail.com; cunninghamforhoboken@gmail.com;mdefusco@hobokennj.gov; jimdoylehoboken@gmail.com; hoboken2nd@gmail.com; councilmanramos4@gmail.com; councilmanrusso@gmail.com;

Hudson County and Neighboring Cities:

What can be done within the Hudson County waterfront cities to provide a better, permanent home for NY Waterway in a location that is more industrial in use than residential?  Please consider locations in and around Hoboken’s Lackawana Terminal or sites in Jersey City or Bayonne for the permanent location.  Can the lease with Lennar in Weehawken be extended to accommodate discussions for a permanent location?

tdegise@hcnj.us; cguy@hcnj.us; aromano@hcnj.us; asantos@hcnj.us; gahmad@tow-nj.net; mayors.office@baynj.org; fulops@jcnj.org

Governor Elect:

Please say no to NJ Transit’s potential acquisition of NY Waterway site in Hoboken and/or their future acquisition of NY Waterway.  Please have NJ Transit locate any of its operations and future expansion NOT at the UDD site, but rather another location outside of Hoboken or via expansion of the existing sites at the north and south end of Hoboken.

info@murphy4nj.com; pcamm@optonline.net; pete@cammaranolayton.com; mplatkin@gmail.com;

State Representatives:

Please advocate for NJ Transit / NY Waterway to not locate their operations in the center of Hoboken’s waterfront.  Hoboken residents have fought for decades to have an end to end park in Hoboken.  Please consider moving ferry maintenance to Lackawana terminal or to locations outside of Hoboken including Bayonne.  Please work with the Hoboken administration to determine the best alternative for Hoboken and existing and future waterway passengers.

senstack@njleg.org; chaparrofornj33@gmail.com; AsmMukherji@njleg.org; SenGordon@njleg.org;

Federal Level Representatives:

Please advocate for NJ Transit / NY Waterway to not locate their operations in the center of Hoboken’s waterfront.  Hoboken residents have fought for decades, along with Senator Menendez, to ensure that Hoboken’s waterfront would be a public park for its residents and visitors.  Please consider ways you can support moving ferry maintenance to Lackawana terminal or to locations outside of Hoboken including Bayonne.  Please work with the State and Hoboken representatives to determine the best alternative for Hoboken residents and visitors and existing and future waterway passengers.

frank_schultz@menendez.senate.gov; george_helmy@booker.senate.gov; gene.martorony@mail.house.gov;

New Jersey Transit/NY Waterway:

What can be done to provide a better, permanent home for NY Waterway in a location that is more industrial in use than residential?  Please consider locations in and around Hoboken’s Lackawana Terminal or sites in Jersey City or Bayonne for the permanent location.  Can the lease with Lennar in Weehawken be extended to accommodate discussions for a permanent location? Hoboken residents have been fighting for an end to end public park in Hoboken for decades.  Please work with the State and Hoboken representatives to determine the best alternative for Hoboken residents and visitors and existing and future waterway passengers.

njtboard@njtransit.com; pwyckoff@njtransit.com; edaleo@njtransit.com; jleon@njtransit.com; ssantoro@njtransit.com; rick.hammer@dot.nj.gov;pohan@nywaterway.com

Editor's Note:

It way end up being the path of least resistance that wins out in the end. Fighting NJ Transit should they decide to purchase the property from NY Waterway would be a big legal hurdle due to their power of eminent domain trumping Hoboken's. Perhaps settling for easements and givebacks could be the easiest way to go while allowing NY Waterway to use property as envisioned. There is already a cleanup initiative underway. Should NY Waterway eventually give up its plans to use this site then perhaps the City of Hoboken could buy it down the line. I am not saying that is the best option but could be the only one viable one from a legal and/or financial position.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hoboken Resistance Rebranded to Hoboken Resistance and Advocate

Double Your Fun with two URLs instead of one
The Hoboken Resistance was born out of a desire to keep the big outside dollars from totally influencing Hoboken's future in the aftermath of the November 7th election. The top two candidates approached $500k or more in fundraising and literally drowned out anyone else from a chance of even having a real voice in the last two weeks given the constant TV ads and the free media from the nationally reported flier-gate incident. Grass roots reform is dead as we know it. Future mayoral candidates will have to pony up and raise at least $400k- $500k in funds to be able to compete for the low information voters it will take to get over the top. Until Citizen's United is repealed this will be the unfortunate state of Hoboken when it comes to electing a new mayor in the foreseeable future.

The goal of this website is to report on the issues as they come up with a focus on what is best for Hoboken residents and not political office holders, candidates or outside interests. Unlike to the unabashed propaganda over at Grafix Avenger where talk of revenge still rages on for the so-called winners of this election, the website endeavors to keep it policy focused. From time to time I as editor will call out propaganda when it is at its most egregious and as always I reserve that right under the First Amendment.

Based on my small informal focus group there was ironically some resistance to the name Hoboken Resistance. Although my focus group has no where near the funding of Stronger Foundations, The Super Developer PAC that funneled at least $50k in advertising to help Ravi Bhalla get elected, they made a few suggestions for alternative names. Keep in mind there used to be a far more menacing sounding group that was called Hoboken Revolt. Their purpose was to protest and advocate during the Robert's Administration fiscal mismanagement that could have nearly doubled our taxes with larger deficits and the bankruptcy of the HUMC.

For those that do not remember or were not here, a trip down memory lane:

No pitchforks, but angry protesters storm Hoboken City Hall

My solution is a compromise and the new name is Hoboken Resistance and Advocate. Depending on your mood or issue you access this blog-site in one of two ways:

http://hobokenresistance.com or http://hobokenadvocate.com

Take your pick. I have decided to give you two different flavors of the same brand. Two links are better then one. Double Your Pleasure. Double Your Fun.

City Council Candidate John Allen Named Chief of Staff by Mayor Zimmer and Mayor Elect Bhalla

Mayor Zimmer and Mayor-Elect Bhalla Announce New Chief of Staff:

Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced today that she will appoint John Allen to serve as Chief of Staff effective December 4, 2017.

“In consultation with Mayor-Elect Bhalla, I am appointing John Allen as Chief of Staff,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
John Allen New Chief of Staff for Mayor Zimmer and
Mayor Elect Ravi Bhalla - photo via Facebook
“John will help ensure that there is a smooth transition between administrations and will be a tremendous asset to Mayor Bhalla and the City of Hoboken.” "John has all the right qualities and experience to take on this important role in City Hall,” said Mayor-Elect Ravinder S. Bhalla. 

“I look forward to working with John as my Chief of Staff in 2018.” Mr. Allen is an attorney who specializes in the representation of governmental bodies, including boards of education and municipalities. He serves on the Board of Directors of Easterseals New Jersey, one of the state’s oldest and largest charitable organizations dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and earned his law degree at Rutgers School of Law. 

Editor's Note: 

There had been some speculation that perhaps former Zimmer Chief of Staff Vijay Chaudhuri would be appointed to be Ravi Bhalla's Chief of Staff but it looks like he is forging ahead with other opportunities. Vijay had previously resigned mid-week to join the Bhalla campaign as manager in late August.

As for John Allen, this is an interesting move for a full time lawyer in an established firm that actually brought in more in government contracts in the prior year than Ravi Bhalla's law firm according to the Michael Defusco campaign. Michael's prior assertions are referenced here with the following link:

In Hoboken DeFusco goes after Bhalla for adding political establishment attorney

We will have to see how this plays out but these appointments usually go to someone more junior and more familiar with the local political landscape then John has exhibited to date at least publicly.

Additional comments from Michael Defusco appear on Hudson County View's latest piece on the hire:

http://hudsoncountyview.com/hobokens-bhalla-selects-recent-running-mate-lawyer-as-his-chief-of-staff/

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hoboken Mayor Elect Ravi Bhalla Unveils His Transition Team

Hoboken Mayor Elect Ravi Bhalla - Credit MSV 
From the Ravi Bhalla Campaign/Transition team:

Mayor-elect of Hoboken Ravi S. Bhalla has unveiled the leadership of his Transition Team. Chaired by Phil Cohen, the transition leadership includes 4 of the other candidates in this year’s mayoral election and two new Council Members, who will serve as chairs of key policy committees, along with other people with expertise in Hoboken government and civic affairs selected for these important transition roles.

Each Committee Chair is charged with preparing at least 3 substantive recommendations for implementation in 2018. Mayor-elect Bhalla encourages any Hoboken residents that are interested in joining the Transition Team and serving on one of the transition committees to send an email to Cohen identifying their area of interest and the committee on which they are interested in serving, which will be provided to the relevant Committee Chairs or Co-Chairs. His email address is philiphcohen@gmail.com.

Based on the recommendations of the Committee Chairs, the Transition Team will assemble a report to be considered by Mayor-elect Bhalla and the members of his Administration. Mayor-elect Bhalla said, “One of the largest untapped assets of Hoboken is the intellectual capital of its residents. I encourage interested residents to participate in this process so our Transition Team can provide the kind of quality recommendations that will better enable us to hit the ground running.”

Bhalla went on to say, “I appreciate the participation of so many of my fellow mayoral candidates. This demonstrates unity in our common interests as a community, and promotes effective governance.”

Phil Cohen - Chairman of Ravi Bhalla Transition Team
Transition Team Chair Phil Cohen has a long history of active involvement in local civic affairs. He currently serves on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and has served on the Planning Board. He is the First Vice Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party and is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the United Synagogue of Hoboken, the past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Stevens Cooperative School, and the recipient of the Corporate Leadership Award from the Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation.

The Committees with their respective Chairs are listed below. Biographical information is available upon request:

  • Affordable Housing - Councilwoman-elect Vanessa Falco  
  • Arts, Music & Culture - Chris O'Connor & Liz Ndoye  
  • Constituent Service – Assemblywoman Annette Chapparo 
  • Drug Abuse Prevention – Angelo Valente 
  • Economic Development - Councilman Michael DeFusco 
  • Education - Councilwoman-elect Emily Jabbour
  • Infrastructure – Jon Otto & Stewart Mader
  • Public Safety - Freeholder Anthony Romano
  • Quality of Life - Mayor David Roberts
  • Small Business Development - Karen Nason
  • Transportation and Parking - Ron Bautista

Talk of the Town - Power Outages in Hoboken - Balloons, Seriously?

Welcome to the Talk of The Town, a periodic blog series that catches you up on the latest political rumors and happenings around Hoboken, our beloved Mile Square. It is similar in respects to Al Sullivan's or "Between the Lines" or MSV's "Grist for the Mill" columns in that only a single reliable source is necessary to publish but sometimes with a bit of political satire mixed in for some entertainment. Keep in mind that this editor does endeavor to be correct as possible on these columns but do take this with a bit of cautious skepticism as all discerning citizens should. For this first column I am going to start out with something more lighthearted given the heated Hoboken election season and everyone's need to tamp it down a bit.

Party Balloons in Weehawken Cause Power Outage in Hoboken, For Real: 

Around 10:15 PM in Hoboken, many uptown residents lost power for about 10 seconds last night. Then about 7 minutes later around 10:22 PM many of those same residents lost power again for about 10 minutes. In the end it was only a a minor inconvenience but happened during the 2nd half of a very anticipated Dallas Cowboys Philadelphia Eagles NFL game. Perhaps the  inconvenience would be best summarized in the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems. No known other power incidents happened after that time.

6th Ward Councilwoman Jennifer Giattino was responsive as usual. She wrote on Facebook last night:  "If your power went out it tonight it was apparently due to party balloons hitting power lines in Weehawken. Thankfully power is back."


Party Balloons in Weehawken Source of Power Outage

This naturally begs the question: Was Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner throwing a party after foisting NY Waterway and NJ Transit on Hoboken with their recent purchase of the Union Dry Dock site? Just kidding of course. Richard Turner is a popular Mayor in Weehawken and very effective serving his constituents. They said "Not in my backyard" and he proved to be far more effective than Mayor Zimmer who had years to acquire Union Dry Dock but never made it a priority until it was too late.

The last time this area had a power outage in the area it was due to a squirrel that blew a transformer several months back.It is clear to me now that Hoboken has a knack for unorthodox causes of power outages. At least one enterprising chef knows what to do with the leftovers.

No squirrels were harmed during last night's power outage

Hoboken Police detectives are reportedly interviewing 99 Red Balloons as an object of interest despite their heavy case load looking into the persons behind the pre-election racist flier depicting Ravi Bhalla as a terrorist. Not sure what the point is investigating nonmetallic red balloons other than being very thorough but it does at least give me an opportunity for an 80's flashback:



More juicy tidbits on the post election fallout tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2017

NHSA Update - 2018 Preliminary Budget Flat and Zero Percent Usage Rate Increase Projected! Yipee!

Your Projected Usage Rates are Flat in 2018 Hoboken!

Flat 2018 Budget with no usage rate increase:

Last night the NHSA Board approved unanimously 9-0 the preliminary 2018 Budget for first submission to the State of NJ for comment. The budget is flat compared to last year with $52,593,032 in Revenues and $50,737,897 in Total Appropriations. The good news is that for rate payers there is no rate increase projected for this year. The annual facilities charge is projected to go up only $4. The long term trend is that usage overall for municipal sewers is averaging about 1.5% less every year due to more efficient appliances, demographic changes in household sizes, and smaller capacity toilets that are driving consumption down in spite of recent development in the area.

Keep in mind this is the preliminary budget but if this should hold up it is good for ratepayers in all 4 cities served by the NHSA.

About the NHSA: 

The North Hudson Sewerage Board serves Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City and West NY communities. Each city has two appointed commissioners except Hoboken which has three. The current Hoboken commissioners are Kurt Gardiner (myself), Brian Assadourian and Ed Friedrich. 7 votes out 9 are required to pass any resolution so Hoboken does have veto power but has not used it since I started my five year term in February of 2016.

Executive Director Contract Renewed:

The contract for Executive Director Richard Wolf was also extended for another 5 years and unanimously passed by the board. Richard Wolf has done an excellent job with his execution and stewardship over the years and is a key to continued success of the Authority. As long as Richard desires to continue and is able to work there he will continue to have support from all the major stakeholders. All three Hoboken commissioners including Mayor elect Ravi Bhalla were in agreement in the contract extension and see him as a key to getting the third pump completed at the BASF site which will further help alleviate flooding and remain in CSO compliance for the Authority as a whole.

Mayor Elect Bhalla Outreach:

I did receive a call from Mayor elect Ravi Bhalla before the NHSA meeting last night. He expressed his support for the contract renewal. We also discussed our shared goal of seeing the third wet weather pump in Hoboken which will be funded by the Sewerage Authority but of course require cooperation from the Bhalla Administration in terms of integrating into BASF Park Design. Also discussed in the 9-11th and Madison Sewer Collection Improvement Project which will get out of design phase in February of 2018. I hope to continue to have a professional working relationship with Ravi with respect to these infrastructure initiatives.

NHSA Debt is down:

Through a program of graduated defeasance The Authority has paid down its debt. In 2013 that debt was $443 million and in 2017 it is down to $394 million, a reduction of $49 million in just 4 years.  Additional pay down of some debt in 2018 is expected to continue. The NHSA won't know the exact figure for 2018 defeasance until the budget is completed.




Thursday, November 16, 2017

Viral Video - Mayor Elect Ravi Bhalla Gets Hugs - Hugs Chief Propagandist Nancy Pincus

Below is a PR video of Mayor Elect Ravi Bhalla hugging it out with residents of Hoboken courtesy of foreign media outlet AlJezeera. Winning the Mayorship of Hoboken as a Sikh has understandably been a milestone for people of that faith nationally and even in parts of the world where that faith is concentrated. The racist flier that first appeared on the Friday before the election insinuating Ravi was a terrorist has no place in our Hoboken politics. The vast majority of Hoboken residents do not subscribe to that world view and that was proven out by Ravi winning the election.

If this was an election stunt to try and suppress the vote for Ravi it truly backfired. In fact many speculate the flier drove higher turnout in Hoboken and propelled Ravi for the breakout win. Both Ravi Bhalla and Michael Defusco were the breakaway candidates due to their large campaign war chests and constant TV ads especially in the last two weeks of the campaign. Ravi in particular was the beneficiary of at least a $50k advertising campaign from Stronger Foundations associate with a union that wants to build large residential buildings at the NJ Transit site. It was Mayor Zimmer that railed against outside PAC money in 2009 but I guess in this election cycle it is anything for the win. Right?
 



Here is a video capture of Ravi Bhalla hugging it out with his chief propagandist Nancy Pincus. Nancy runs the website Grafix Avenger. During this campaign cycle Nancy and her small cadre of insiders have had a particularly nasty tone resorting to personal attacks about people's personal life, intelligence and even going so far as to assert not voting for Ravi meant you were racist. In my case I had voted for Ravi three times so that assertion is quite laughable. I support the First Amendment so anyone has the right to express themselves but speech also has consequences. Toxic speech and personal attacks from the author of Grafix Avenger and its insider commenters have no place in Hoboken just as a racist flier has no place. Anything for the win right? I have yet to hear Ravi or any elements of his core supporters or campaign denounce these attacks.

Local Blogger Nancy Pincus, a real Bhalla insider gets a hug from Ravi Bhalla


There were reasons for being a supporter of Mayor Zimmer both times and yet not supporting Ravi for Mayor and these are the top reasons why I went with someone else:

  1. Zimmer announced she was resigning and on the same anointed Ravi her successor. That rubbed many people the wrong way from the start. Even her many of her strongest supporters acknowledged that.  
  2. Ravi was less than candid with me about when he found out Zimmer was not seeking a third term. Another account had him finding out two weeks in advance when he said he only knew for a few days initially. Trust is both earned and verified.  
  3. I felt that Jen Giattino would focus on Hoboken day to day quality of life issues the most. She walks the street every day. 
  4. Ravi's line of work in seeking government contracts would lead to numerous potential conflict issues as an executive that are more easily dealt with as a legislator by simply abstaining.
  5. Jen Giattino had the best plan for future development in Hoboken, as commercial as possible. 
  6. Jen Giattino had the best financial acumen of the major four candidates and she showed that to me by voting no on the PILOT at Jackson Street. That deal was way too generous to the developer and harmful to the taxpayer and Jen knew it. Ravi Bhalla was chair of the Finance subcommittee in 2015 and not once did he call a meeting during that year. He has the intelligence but never has demonstrated the focus on finance which is key to being the head executive of Hoboken. 
  7. Hoboken needs more hotels. Jen voted yes on the downtown hotel. Sure its too tall but progressives like Jim Doyle and Ravi Bhalla don't get that you can't dictate what hotel model you want, it has to be economically viable or the developer won't agree, at least a smart developer.
  8. The Zimmer Administration became less than transparent in its last two years and Ravi would be more likely to continue that trend. I am hoping I am wrong now of course. 
  9. I felt that replacing almost all of the directors would be a good thing. Only Ravi Bhalla was the likely status quo on this issue. Washington Street project needs new management pure and simple.
  10. Jen was an outstanding Council President and displayed professionalism and an ability to work with others and unify. 
  11. Jen Giattino I knew would run a positive campaign. She did. Ravi did not.   
Hindsight is always 20-20 and based on my analysis of this election I don't think Jen Giattino had a path to victory as the results bear out for the following reasons:
  1. Ravi had a unique ability to fund raise outside of Hoboken due to his religion as a Sikh.
  2. Ravi and Mike Defusco had a huge head start. Jen started very late as did Anthony Romano. 
  3. Low information voters decided this campaign which limited Jen's strength of one on one campaigning and connecting to voters. 
  4. Mayor Zimmer's endorsement really mattered even if her favorables had dipped a bit. Her negative attacks on Jen also likely moved some voters fair or not. 
  5. The Mayor's office behaved politically even stopping Washington Street in late September due to a safety incident that idled it for a whole month. A whole month? Really?  
  6. The Mayor's email list was extensive and a valuable tool for camp Bhalla. 
  7. Mike Defusco proved to be a formidable campaigner and certainly earned his votes limiting Jen's support in wards 2,5, and 6 which she needed to win. 
  8. Being a Republican is one thing but the Bhalla campaign tried to paint Jen as a Trumpist. The irony is that some Hoboken Republicans did not support her due to to the fact she is too liberal. If I thought Jen was a Trump supporter I would not have supported her. Perhaps a Republican can't win in Hoboken. The playbook on how to eviscerate one is open public knowledge now. 
  9. The racist flier may have given Ravi a huge boost in sympathy vote. The turnout was very high for a Hoboken election coming in over 15,000. Without exit polling we won't know for sure but it is a safe bet the flier increased turnout. 
  10. The Giattino campaign was out executed. This was partially due to funding on her side the Bhalla campaign had three full time and experienced staff members that had success in the past. Jen needed more funding to get the right professionals and execute better. 
So when you add all that up should I have changed my vote? The answer is no. My first choice did not win and I sincerely congratulate Ravi Bhalla on winning but not in the way he won. I support the democratic process and more importantly checks and balances. 

I am hopeful that Hoboken will be reasonably developed, infrastructure enhanced, Suez contract resolved with full disclosure to City Council and public, our parks in progress completed and to see our day to day issues much better addressed than the previous administration. If Ravi Bhalla is able to work towards these goals this editor will give him support. If decisions are made to the detriment of Hoboken then the criticism will come forth in a measured and constructive way. As my traffic grows I will encourage my commenters to do the same.

Additional Editor's Note: I had a comical comment come from Grafix Avenger on her site that the video was not from AlJezeera. At the very end of the video this logo appears. Do you really trust someone who blogs that can't even research basic facts? I don't and helps explain why this website is needed in Hoboken.

This logo appears at end of video above.
Nancy Pincus proven wrong on basic facts once again.