Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Official release:

Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that Transportation and Parking Director John Morgan will be resigning from his position effective Friday, September 1st, 2017 to pursue other professional opportunities and that her Chief of Staff Vijay Chaudhuri will be serving his last day tomorrow, Wednesday, August 23rd

“I thank Director Morgan for his years of service to Hoboken,” Mayor Zimmer said. “He played a key role in helping our team advance the Washington Street redesign project, Southwest traffic circulation plan, Newark Street safety improvement project, Sinatra Drive shared use path, pay-by-phone parking option, bike share program, upgrades to the Hop shuttle, and many other projects that have improved the safety and quality of life of our community. I wish him continued success as he takes his next steps in his career.”

Mayor Zimmer will be appointing Ryan Sharp as Acting Director of the Department of Transportation and Parking. Mr. Sharp has served as Principal Planner in the department for the past 6 years.

“Vijay has seen Hoboken through many challenges and has been a valuable team member in many of our accomplishments for our City’s residents,” Mayor Zimmer explained regarding his decision to move on to other opportunities at this time. “I thank him very much for his strong dedication to our City and wish him the very best in the future.”

Mayor Zimmer Chief of Staff resigns; named campaign manger for Bhalla for Mayor

Official release:

Bhalla for Mayor Names Vijay Chaudhuri as Campaign Manager 

Ravi Bhalla, candidate for Mayor of Hoboken, today named Vijay Chaudhuri, who is leaving his position as Chief of Staff to Mayor Dawn Zimmer, as his Campaign Manager. Chaudhuri brings an in-depth understanding of Hoboken politics as well as demonstrated political and organizational skills to the task. Before serving as Zimmer’s Chief of Staff, Vijay Chaudhuri worked in a number of capacities for US Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY), including serving as Campaign Manager on one of his re-election campaigns. Chaudhuri has also served as Campaign Manager of Edison Mayor Jun Choi’s re-election campaign.

Vijay joins Christian Duffy, who is serving as Field Director, on the campaign staff. Duffy served as Deputy Field Director for Jim Johnson in his Gubernatorial campaign, and as a Regional Organizing Director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, among other campaigns he has worked on around the nation. In 2015, he was the Get-Out-The-Vote(GOTV) Director for the Zimmer-backed Council candidates in Hoboken.

 Ravi Bhalla said,“ I am pleased that Vijay is coming on board full time. Together with Christian, he gives us a strong ground team to lead us to victory on November 7th.”

INSIDERNJ: Jen Giattino - "I'm going to win!"

In INSIDERNJ interview, City Council President Jen Giattino says "I'm not splitting the vote; I'm running for mayor and I'm certain I'm going to win."

In an story released on INSIDERNJ, Council President Jen Giattino is looking toward the November 7th Hoboken mayoral election and sees good things for her mayoral candidacy.

With three other mayoral competitors in the mix, the three time and current City Council President sees her six year record on the City Council of consensus building with others as one reason her mayoral candidacy will be propelled to victory.

Three time and current City Council President Jen Giattino predicts
a great November with a victory in her mayoral bid.

Giattino's record of working with others and constituent service is emphasized.  The article also highlights how an overview of approaching the City is missing. "Our biggest problem is planning and not looking at the city holistically," and points to Hoboken's north end.

For more see the INSIDERNJ article:

Talking Ed Note: Although Jen Giattino is up against three other mayoral candidacies likely all better funded, much if not most of that support comes in money from outside Hoboken. "Jen Giattino's support comes from the grassroots in Hoboken," one well-placed source close to the Giattino campaign said. Even with vacation season in full swing for many Hoboken residents the source added, "Jen's campaign is a locomotive picking up steam and it's rolling."

Over the weekend the Jen Giattino mayoral campaign opened a new campaign office at 152 Newark Street. The campaign office downtown means all four major mayoral campaigns are set up for a big push toward November.

Kurt Gardiner, a long time Reformer in Hoboken and the current Sargent-at-Arms for the Hoboken Democratic Committee endorsed Jen Giattino for Mayor on Monday. After reading the INSIDERNJ article compared her to Joe Namath the famous NY Jets Quarterback who predicted a Super Bowl victory.

City Council President Jen Giattino's new campaign office at 152 Newark Street as pictured here courtesy of Kurt Gardiner who also supplied the Joe Namath meme. 

Peter Cunningham: Join me and meet Jen Giattino & her council slate tomorrow at the Pilsener Haus

Official release:

Good evening Friends and Neighbors, 

Come meet Jen, and her council slate Wednesday night at the Biergarten.

Thanks, Peter

Monday, August 21, 2017

Kurt Gardiner slams Ravi Bhalla's "cynical ploy" to nationalize Hoboken's election; endorses Jen Giattino for mayor

Kurt Gardiner, long time Hoboken reformer, NHSA commissioner and Sergeant-at-Arms Hoboken Democratic Committee man says Ravi Bhalla is attempting to distract voters and create division; makes endorsement of Jen Giattino for Mayor

Kurt Gardiner in an interview with the weekend paper came out with a blistering critique of Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a candidate for Hoboken mayor. He shredded the Bhalla campaign for its attempts to nationalize the Hoboken mayoral election decrying it "a cynical ploy" to distract voters from the local issues.

The long time supporter of the Hoboken Reform Movement who has backed its positions and candidates including Ravi Bhalla in the past, ran with Bhalla' wife as his partner on the local Democratic committee last June prior to his announcing an endorsement of Jen Giattino for mayor.

Gardiner detailed his earlier comments and offered an additional statement for this story. "Hoboken needs a reboot (in the Reform Movement) and that's why I support support Jen Giattino for mayor," he stated in the weekend publication.

Long time Reformer and Sargent-at-Arms on the Hoboken Democratic Committee
Kurt Gardiner endorsed Jen Giattino for Hoboken mayor. 

In an earlier statement, Gardiner offered, "I am proud to support Jen Giattino for Mayor. Local issues are what matter in this critical election and Jen's platform is progressive in that it calls for responsible development and affordable housing for those of less means with a good dose of fiscal stewardship."

In addition, Gardiner explained his reasoning saying as a registered Democrat who did not vote for the president, "... people have the right to express themselves on the national issues as they see fit. However, I would like to see an emphasis on local issues that matter to Hoboken."

The heat turned up when Gardiner stated, "I view Ravi Bhalla's attempt to incorporate national issues into the mix as a cynical ploy to distract voters from the local issues and create an unnecessary division in our electorate."

Breaking the election down this November, Gardiner suggested the Hoboken voters would see beyond the failed baton toss from Mayor Zimmer to Councilman Ravi Bhalla. "The Hoboken electorate is intelligent and many I have spoken to see through this ruse. Additionally they are not necessarily robotically following Mayor Zimmer's coronation/endorsement, as many do not want an extension of Mayor Zimmer's third term. Many good things happened on Zimmer's watch but there are still some areas of concern," he wrote"

He didn't end there.

Gardiner sent in a statement to MSV writing, "My opinions expressed in the Hoboken Reporter are my own as an observer of Hoboken politics over the last 12 years. I evaluated where I was with my campaign's viability and have decided to suspend it after getting about 220 signatures. The path to being elected I feel was too narrow given the number of candidates and political noise."

Then the long time backer of the Hoboken Reform Movement proceeded to uncork a flamethrower writing, "Since giving that interview (to the paper) my concerns about what is happening with some of the nefarious activities and attitudes by the Bhalla campaign have only been magnified."

Gardiner laid out some of those concerns with a number of swirling allegations rumored about the Bhalla campaign in recent weeks. Among them: arm twisting private citizens for Facebook endorsements, misinformation to residents about petitions in a phony effort to "knock Jen Giattino off the ballot" and the actions to keep Jen Giattino from possibly entering the race after Mayor Zimmer laid waste to any Reform concept of transparency when she suddenly withdrew from the November election and simultaneously announced Councilman Ravi Bhalla as her replacement with an endorsement.

Gardiner has seen personal attacks recently on Grafix Avenger; the local satirical website deemed Sybil's Cave here for its intolerance of anyone not backing Ravi Bhalla for mayor. Gardiner who like MSV and others saw comments deleted there left one last comment slamming the lack of "journalistic integrity" and "leaking private conversations."

Regarding the personal attacks there he wrote, "Key supporters of Ravi have been insinuating all sorts of lies about me under varying screen names just because I don't support their candidate. It is not even September yet. I can only imagine how bad it can get from here. Not a good reflection on the candidate and reminiscent of Beth Mason's historic 3rd place finish in 2009."

The long time Reformer ripped the temperament of the "Bonkers for Bhalla website editor," and mocked a possible shadow mayoralty under a would-be Bhalla administration closing with, "Just remember the shadow knows! The shadow knows!"

Gardiner says he wrote the following comment with minor edits from the original on Sybil's Cave:
There is no constructive dialogue going on here just Bitter Bhalla Backers who are devoid of sound argumentation skills. The commenters on here are the real hanky brigade.

Just because I occasionally comment on another blog and tend to see eye to eye more with that blogger on local issues does not mean I support his national views. Quite to the contrary. That attempt to link me with him on that front is weak and disgusting.

It is unfortunate that Bhalla supporters call anyone not religiously following the Mayor's endorsement stupid, juvenile or a white nationalist.

No mayor has done more for infrastructure than Zimmer but I simply believe we have a better option than Ravi for Mayor. Elections are about choices. I am glad to have a choice. 

Enjoy your echo chamber of silly sycophants. No point in staying here for ridiculousness on display here.

And since the author of this blog is leaking private conversations violating any shred of journalistic integrity she might have had, I will share with you what that blog said to me because I caught the Bhalla campaign forcing a a fake Facebook endorsement.

"Go fuck yourself" Yep. That is the temperament of Bonkers for Bhalla website editor. Way to be a positive ambassador Nancy! You go girl! 

Just remember the shadow knows! The shadow knows! 

Talking Ed Note: Kurt Gardiner's decision not to run for City Council is a practical and personal one.

MSV did not contact Grafix Avenger for comment on this story. The hostility of censorship there has led to some unfortunate false accusations about this website so; you lost your Stable privileges and that's why they call you Loser.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Live interview with mayoral candidate Anthony Romano

The following interview took place earlier today at the Romano for Mayor headquarters on Washington St.

The interview comes courtesy of the Hudson County View and was recorded live with questions from editor John Heinis.

Freeholder Anthony Romano confirms the rumor that his third council at-large ticket will be completed with Buddy Matthews, the former Hoboken High School baseball coach.

Update on Washington Street Project

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City of Hoboken, NJ

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Community: Update on Washington Street Project

Dear MSV readers,

Recently there have been a number of inquiries from residents about ongoing construction as part of the Washington Street project. Below is an update with information addressing some of the most common topics.  The project is expected to be completed by summer of 2018. For the latest updates and additional information, visit www.washingtonstreetproject.com.

Through the multi-year community planning process for the Washington Street project, we learned that our community's top priority was pedestrian safety - with 98% of residents saying it was important to them and the vast majority supporting the use of curb extensions.

Curb extensions are one of the most effective pedestrian safety measures and are recommended by all federal, state, and local engineering design manuals. They prevent dangerous illegal parking in crosswalks, improve the ability of crossing pedestrians and drivers to see each other, reduce pedestrian crossing distances and exposure, and slow turning vehicles, which is a major cause of pedestrian collisions along Washington Street.

In addition to a high frequency of vehicle-pedestrian collisions along the corridor, a senior citizen was struck and killed by a turning vehicle as she was crossing Washington Street in 2015. As is often the case, the driver said that poor visibility was the reason for the crash. Curb extensions improve visibility between drivers and pedestrians, and by slowing turning vehicles, they help ensure that if a collision does occur, the injuries are minimized and the chance of survival increases dramatically.

Curb extensions don’t extend into the travel lane – they take up less space than a car parked car at the curb - so they don’t block traffic. As part of the design phase of the project, turning templates were performed for all vehicles including fire trucks using Hoboken specific fire truck sizes, and the curb extensions are designed to accommodate these turning movements.

The attached diagram shows the turning template for a Hoboken-specific fire truck at a typical intersection indicating that there are no encroachments.

The City is adding over 50 new trees through the Washington Street project. This is in addition to approximately 30 new trees that were planted between 1stStreet and 5th Street in the past few years through the Shade Tree Commission’s Washington Street Beautification Initiative. For this project, three trees have been removed and 16 more are planned to be removed due to utility conflicts such as drainage improvements. We are working to save or replant existing trees where possible, including an evaluation by the project engineer to determine if possible drainage alternatives would result in keeping some or all trees. No more trees will be removed until the City has reviewed the engineer’s report. The City also conducted a walkthrough with the Resident Engineer of the project and a representative from the Shade Tree Commission to evaluate which trees were likely to survive a replanting. An arborist and landscape architect are also evaluating if the t rees can survive replanting and where they could be replanted.

Talking Ed Note: The Washington St. project suffers from a number of issues most critically the timing and complaints about curb extensions or bump outs. 

MSV has been fielding numerous complaints about the bump outs, mostly connected to concern on emergency vehicles inability to navigate them at critical times. The appearance here of the "vast majority" supporting them means an avalanche of complaints are likely reaching City Hall too. 

The City Council has expressed concern and Councilman Ruben Ramos has been vocal saying it's a mistake. There's been no action on the funding which was passed comprehensively as part of the overall plan. Previously, the public by a huge margin rejected the concept of installing separate bike lanes on Washington St. 

Mayor Zimmer alienated many in the public with her insistence on dedicated bike lanes on Washington Street. She clearly wants to regulate the flow of traffic on Washington St. The curb extensions are another means for her to do so.

Even with a costly adjustment later, some mayoral candidates are likely to criticize the construction of the ongoing Washington St. construction for this and other reasons. 

The Washington St. Project was originally slated for completion before the November election. Then the objective slipped to complete half of the street by that time. 

It's doubtful Hoboken will see half of Washington St.'s reconstruction complete by Election Day. The project is officially rescheduled to continue well into 2018. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

DeFusco Plan: Turn Hudson River into Beach Blanket Bingo

According to a story on the Hudson County View, Councilman Mike DeFusco plans to turn Hoboken's riverfront into a "floating pool and urban beach" if he's elected.

The plan as envisioned is unclear if it will include a reunion of the Village People and Beach Blanket Bingo for seniors.

The new beach line replacing the Hudson River in the imaginings of new energy from Councilman Mike DeFusco.

For more of this Hudson County View story, see:

Talking Ed Note: Just what Hoboken needs, a public place on the waterfront for urination from a bunch of bathers. Don't even ask where the money would come from for construction and maintenance of this summer sales job.

Don't ask too many questions either. One Hoboken resident on Facebook yesterday noted he was blocked  on a Mike DeFusco Facebook page after asking questions. Hey, don't ask questions, just write a comment on how wonderful the candidate is and move on.

Hey, don't you know a lot of people from outside Hoboken invested a whole lot of money in the kid. You want to mess with their investment?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

DeFusco and Mello go mano a mano

Instagram, the land of friendly pictures of kittens, puppies and fauna turned into the site of political brawling yesterday.

Councilman Dave Mello who was announced yesterday joining the Romano for Mayor council at-large slate had a few choice words on the Instagram account of Councilman Mike DeFusco yesterday.

It started with publication of this by Councilman Mike DeFusco:

DeFusco included a short video where Councilman Dave Mello criticized Hudson County  for the large tax increases on Hoboken. In recent years it's increased over 50% and is now the largest portion of the taxes Hoboken residents pay.

He added a sidebar comment saying Mello "found himself excluded from every other mayoral ticket."

Councilman Dave Mello was incensed and replied:

Talking Ed Note: Well, there's the beginnings of another front opening up in the November election.

Council candidate Joshua Einstein: "If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it"

Official release

Governments in general, and the current occupants of Hoboken City Hall in particular, often go with solutions in search of problems. From the ongoing Washington Street Destruction Plan, to the Benches for Beggars (which replaced parking by the downtown CVS with red chairs and tables), to repeated back and forth efforts to “fix” traffic in the south and southwest of town, the majority of our current crop of political “leaders” are victim to their own groupthink and hubris. An attitude of doing something because they can and of confusing their preferences with the priorities of our urban community have sadly become pervasive.

Naturally, these “leaders” have consulted with handpicked “experts.” They have undoubtedly conducted a “study”  (or two) with an engineering firm that clearly has no interest in having repeat business, has an 100% immunity to confirmation bias, and in no way, shape, or form, would ever return the results it was asked to sign off on to secure said future continued business. The reality is that it doesn’t take the people of Hoboken an expensive study to know that traffic has gotten worse on Observer Highway and that the Washington St Destruction Plan includes dangerous curb extensions and kills parking spots on the Avenue. The people know Court St isn’t a project to be taken up for the County Board of Freeholders because it’s not one of the handful of county roads our taxes pay so much (and get so little in return) for.

From barely used bike lanes on main streets to tax dodging schemes called PILOTs (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), our city leaders have done things based on their conception of their public image not for the betterment of Hoboken, the bottom line of the taxpayer, or to help ease the schlep in and out of town for the car driving commuter. This pattern of negative behavior is worse than the benign neglect many of my fellow council candidates have engaged in with their silence on the issues.

When elected to city council I will not be silent, I will see if proposed solutions actually address a real substantive problem facing our city or are more of them same attempts by many to “make their mark”. Hoboken has real issues, perennial flooding, a high cost of living, an anti-small business climate, a shortage of housing stock, and an extreme deficient of parking. When elected, I will ensure our city council doesn’t ignore these problems by inventing others.

Joshua Einstein is a member of the New Jersey Republican State Committee and the Hudson County Regional Jewish Council. He co-founded a Democrat-Republican Dialogue group which alternates meetings between Hoboken and Jersey City. He writes a regular column for a north Jersey community newspaper and has been published in over 14 sites and newspapers. He walks dogs in town and is an Executive Board member of the New Jersey State Young Republican Federation.