Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quality of Life Coalition: Council forum pt. 2

The Quality of Life Coalition presents part two of the Hoboken council forum for three at-large council seats up for election on November 7th.

Candidates appearing are Councilman at-large Dave Mello, Jim Aibel, Jason Ellis, Sal Starace, Councilman Jim Doyle, John Allen and Emily Jabbour.

Of all things campaign money, conflicts, and push poll lies

The following is MSV news and analysis on the released Hoboken campaign reports and other related campaign issues and represents the informed opinion of this farm animal gained in over a decade of observation and reporting on Hoboken politics.

Yesterday, the eagerly awaited campaign reports from the candidates became available and it was a whopper of revelations.

If anyone thinks the City of Hoboken ain't an innocent little cherub being pimped on the market to the highest bidder, let these numbers open your eyes from any willful naivete.

According to Hudson County View's late breaking news yesterday, Councilman Mike DeFusco's campaign haul to date is $338,057! His take for the quarter is $132,631.

Most of DeFusco's loot is coming from outside Hoboken. Are there that many people outside the Mile Square City enamored with "new ideas and new energy?" Who knew?

Councilman Mike DeFusco, Hoboken's new ideas and new energy moneybags?
Almost all of his campaign loot comes from outside Hoboken.
He's been lit up with a complaint he's violating Hoboken's anti-wheeling ordinance for over $70,000.

Not to be outgunned, Councilman Ravi Bhalla blew the doors off with an astounding campaign report showing campaign funds this cycle of $284,696. His campaign has been spending money at a fast clip and currently sits with a small available amount of $21,517. Time to get more fundraisers around NJ ramped up?

While a big chunk of Councilman Bhalla's haul comes from his national Sikh network, a significant amount comes from legal connections around the state of NJ. His report does show a number of Hoboken residents contributing too. For those of you reading this on the contribution list, expect another phone call to arrive any second now.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla seen here at his February fundraiser for Dawn Zimmer.
Or was that a warm up act for him stepping in for her in late June? 

City Council President Jen Giattino sports a very Reform-like campaign report totaling $136,201. This very Reform-like Goldilocks report is already being praised as "not too hot, not too cold; it's just right." Almost all of the Giattino's funding comes from the grass roots backing she's received from Hoboken residents.  

Giattino who got off the ground last of the four major campaigns with the sudden exit of Mayor Zimmer has almost 60K on hand. This is one efficient and economical campaign and dare we say it yes "Reform."  Vive Le Reform Resistance! Well done.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino's campaign report came in
showing almost all of her financial support is from
residents and supporters of the Hoboken Reform Movement.
Let's call it the Goldilocks report, not too hot, not too cold.
It's just right. 

Last on the campaign front, Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano submitted an underwhelming campaign report of approximately 7K. He must be investing bigly contributing to his war chest as he's waged a very serious campaign with a steady diet of mailers and even TV commercials. Who's going to break this ELEC violation news to his running mates?

Conflicts, push polls lies and racism

Tonight is the last City Council meeting before the November 7th election. Suez is off the table and so is eminent domain until after the election. Politics is very much on the table.

What is on the table with three candidates for mayor on the dais? Expect Councilman Mike DeFusco to lob some bombs, City Council President to wield the gavel and manage the meeting with aplomb and Councilman Ravi Bhalla to appear nervous and quiet about as much as possible.

While the issue of Bhalla conflicts may arise, it won't be on Suez as he's recused himself from any such conversation. The big matter of NJ Transit is however a looming matter and it hasn't been broached to date. It's a big open sore for the next Hoboken mayor but even the slightest criticism of Ravi Bhalla sees lots of tears and crying. Facts are proclaimed as "going negative" even as the facts are not in dispute.

Whipping out the Big Lie

Some of the latest from those close and on the Bhalla campaign involved an alleged agreement between him and Jen Giattino. It's repeatedly said by Zimmer and Bhalla insiders that a "poll" would determine who was the strongest reform oriented candidate and the other candidate would agree to drop out.

It's a Big Lie and a very big tell one campaign is sweating profusely.

This canard is being wielded in recent days as the Bhalla Push Poll last weekend didn't fare too well for their candidate. There was no such agreement between Giattino and Bhalla. She agreed early in the campaign to the idea and offered to do so as long as Ravi Bhalla was subject to the same terms. Bhalla who held an indeterminable head start and the mayor's endorsement balked he should subject himself to same. End of the discussion of said phony "agreement."

Every single person who lodges this complaint, then and now is well aware Ravi Bhalla would not agree. Even though the Bhalla campaign has outspent Team Giattino by huge amounts, had a good head start and the establishment power behind him, the surging Team Giattino campaign makes it clear who the best candidate for Hoboken is.

Ravi Bhalla Push Poll escapes into the wild, damage control full throttle

The publication of the Grist column here yesterday has created something of an angry panic. MSV within days of the weekend poll published insider information on the results. Late yesterday, Sybil's Cave followed orders and put out misinformation as instructed pointing to Stick Romano being in the lead. This is simply damage control spinning in the hopes people don't continue flocking to Jen Giattino seeing her as not only the most viable but the best overall candidate to back. Is it too late after yesterday's exposure?

That depends on how far the information gets out. Are Hoboken residents sharing it and spreading the word to their friends, family and neighbors? The Bhalla campaign is hoping it doesn't. They will be working feverishly to keep a lid on it.

Dealing the Race Card

Unfortunately the ugly appearance of the race card is reverberating in low moans and divisive electioneering. While almost to a person, reform supporters voted for Councilman Bhalla twice including your host here, the taunts of "racist" are starting to move from murmur to shouting level. Funny, MSV recalls volunteering for the Bhalla for Assembly race in 2011 and doesn't remember seeing any of these voices out helping him.

Suffice to say, if you vote for who you feel the best candidate is for Hoboken mayor and it isn't the two term councilman, no, that doesn't make you a racist.

Unrelated: There's rumors circulating about the FBI being in Hoboken. While this is true, MSV policy has and will remain continue its longstanding policy not to interfere in an ACTIVE investigation. Someone blabbed to a cave dweller ruining everything.

Back in 2013, MSV exclusively reported the US Department of Justice was in Hoboken on Election Day.

As reported earlier this week, a flyer circulating in the Hoboken Housing Authority urges residents not to hand over their Vote-by-Mail to "unknown persons." It lists a number of people aligned with the Mike Defusco campaign including the toxic Carmelo Garcia. One may presume those listed may be "safe" to give VBM ballots.

Does no one in Hoboken know how to put a postage stamp on a ballot and mail it themselves? The funny truths and how they reveal themselves. OK, time to VBM outta here. T-minus three weeks.

Related: Just at publication time, a vote by Councilman Ravi Bhalla connected to NJ Transit in 2014 is alleged as another conflict as that entity is a client of Florio Perucci where Bhalla is a law partner.

The story appears on Hudson County View:

Correction: There is one more council meeting slated before the election on All Saints Day: November 1st.

Today's news analysis is dedicated to my friend catrina. 


Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, the co-chair of the Jen Giattino campaign files complaint with Hoboken Corporation Counsel against Councilman Mike DeFusco alleging massive pay-to-play wheeling violations.

The Shiny Penny Mike DeFusco is shiny no more. The glimmer off the vestiges of Mike DeFusco running in 2015 on Mayor Zimmer's ticket as part of reform is officially DOA.

(There's no need to await a verdict on the upcoming Vote-by-Mail totals coming out of the Hoboken Housing Authority and senior buildings. That poop will be stinking up the place shortly.)

Is obliterating the Hoboken anti-wheeling ordinance, passed in 2011 as part of updating the City's pay-to-play ordinance the new energy and new ideas DeFusco touts?

Nothing says the end of your waning reform cred like breaking Hoboken's 2011 anti-wheeling. The ordinance was passed back in July 2011 after it had failed twice earlier when the council was controlled by Michael Russo and Beth Mason.

The anti-wheeling ordinance's passage came on July 1st, 2011 after the swearing-in earlier that day of a new councilwoman. Her name is Jen Giattino, the fifth and critical vote that day and for many days thereafter.

DeFusco yesterday on Hudson County View issued a weak and very tepid denial, along the lines of "nu-uh."

The DeFusco alleged violations total in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The release from Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher late yesterday uncorked on her former running mate in 2015.

Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Mike DeFusco Violates Hoboken’s Law on Political Contribution Limits – Receives $71,400 from PAC’s Since June

Hoboken Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher filed a complaint today with the Hoboken City Clerk and Corporation Counsel’s office citing that Councilman Michael DeFusco, who is currently running for mayor of Hoboken, has violated Hoboken’s local laws that limit Political Contributions from PAC’s and Committees to $500.  In her complaint, she points to the last three ELEC reports filed for his Mike DeFusco for Hoboken Mayor and Team DeFusco for Hoboken accounts, showing 15 separate contributions, several having donated more than once, aggregating $71,400.  The majority of the PAC’s listed are affiliated with labor unions.

“In Hoboken, we suffer from a long history of corruption and malfeasance in our elections and as such, I have been actively fighting for honest elections.  In 2011, this law was passed specifically to help minimize the role and influence of special interests in our elections and our local government.   The fact that a mayoral candidate has willingly violated these laws for his own advantage in this important election for Hoboken residents is shameful.  I have requested that the law be enforced, and that Councilman DeFusco’s campaigns be fined the maximum amount provided under the law which is $285,600.”  

For reference, the specific code is Chapter 20D:Political Contribution Limits -

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Karen Nason speaks out on the Suez water contract

Official release:

To all the Residents of Hoboken:

I am sending this video to let the public know of the deception by the City Council Members who have each pointed their finger at Dawn Zimmer, blaming her for deceiving the public by hiding the $8.2 million owed to Suez. It is my opinion that when I made an OPRA request for the Suez contract and was told that the City did not have a copy of any contract and then appeared on record before the Council and questioned the Council members as to why the City would not give me copy of the contract, their vague answers and looks to each other, except for Michael Russo, made it more than obvious to me that they all knew they were hiding something. Instead of being truthful and transparent, they are now grandstanding, blaming each other.

Please be sure the watch the debate sponsored by the "Hudson Reporter" on YouTube.

Thank you.

Karen Nason

Nason for Mayor. 
Service over ambition. 
Vote 1H.

Grist for the Mill Election Poll Stunner: Jen Giattino surges into tie with Ravi Bhalla!

UPDATE: This gristy special has blown the lid off the Hoboken mayoral race. Thanks to everyone who contributed to it. There's anger and desperate measures at spin control. Better late than never cave dwellers.

The open question standing: has Jen Giattino already taken the lead?

The exclusive grist from Tuesday morning:

With three weeks to Election Day, word on the street of the latest poll shows City Council President Jen Giattino in a statistical tie with mayoral rival Ravi Bhalla!

The most recent Hoboken mayoral poll shows both top candidates in the mid-20s. Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano is not far behind in third place but all three are within the margin of error as Mike DeFusco sits in the high teens.

The latest poll snapshot shows part of the motivation for the recent attacks focused on City Council President Jen Giattino. With a grass roots campaign, Giattino has managed to climb atop the mountain while being vastly outspent by her main rival Ravi Bhalla.

Additional indicators say Jen Giattino is the second choice of all three of her main rivals.

City Council President Jen Giattino flanked by Dana Wefer and Moran's owner
Lenny Hehir last summer at her fundraiser.

The Giattino surge as reported in recent weeks is peaking as all the campaigns pour their efforts into overdrive. Whispers have begun to question the withdrawal of Mayor Zimmer in late June and if the plan was hatched too soon to switch Councilman Ravi Bhalla in and shut down stronger alternatives.

Last February, Ravi Bhalla headlined a fundraiser with the mayor uptown and observers wonder if the plan to insert him after Mayor Zimmer's stunning withdrawal was hatched months earlier back then.

Some political observers believe the plan to forestall a bid by City Council President Jen Giattino has gone awry at the worst possible time. "It's notable that Jen's campaign is the target of so much hysteria with three weeks to go," one keen Hoboken insider offered.

Related: Campaign reports are out. Ravi Bhalla at $284K! Back up the brinks truck.

Readers here were informed of the Ravi Bhalla campaign poll taken last Friday. An effort to counter this morning's MSV grist column today with vague pronouncements showing zip is further evidence of which candidate is on the rise and who is tanking. Nuff said.

Monday, October 16, 2017



For some time, no one wanted word to get out. Rumors were circulating that the notorious and noxious Carmelo Garcia was backing Mike DeFusco for mayor and he was fundraising for the cause in parts south in the vicinity of Newark.

Earlier, this flyer was discovered in a building of the Hoboken Housing Authority:

As seen on this flyer discovered in a HHA building, Carmelo Garcia is in fact
listed as proudly backing Mike DeFusco for mayor.

The flyer urges people not to hand in their Vote-by-Mail to "anyone you don't know." Vote-by-Mails are usually signed and mailed by the recipient. But with the list of known VBM recipients in the HHA and senior buildings public information, a war is brewing for who will "handle" the ballots.

It reeks of a whole lot of poopy. 

This doesn't even begin to see opened the can of worms for voters across Hoboken. The flyer is strong evidence by it's discovery in the HHA strongly suggests Carmelo Garcia who is currently suing both the HHA and the City of Hoboken for seeing his contact terminated supports Mike DeFusco.

Carmelo Garcia (r) tries to work his way over to Mike DeFusco at his fundraiser last February.
He's seen on a flyer backing Mike DeFusco for mayor. 

Talking Ed Note: The Romano campaign was not immediately available for comment about the flyer on their main rival and the Mike DeFusco campaign has not responded to inquiries to date. 

Sign of the Times: Setup!

What smells worse than a three day old fish left out on the street?
Well, a sign planted on a mailbox on the corner of your block with your surging campaign rival.

How did it get there?

Why is a Jen Giattino campaign sign on a mailbox on the corner
where Ravi Bhalla lives when there's two campaign signs of hers
right in the background of the store visible on the corner?
Can you say setup?

The store in the background is sporting not one but two Jen Giattino signs for mayor in the window. So what would be the motivation to add a third so close and illegally on a mailbox no less? It makes zero sense.

The Giattino campaign denies any involvement in the stupidity. Whoever planted the sign to score points is apparently unaware City Council President Jen Giattino pushed to keep all flyers off cars and telephone polls illegal posted in Hoboken. She even arranged for a cleanup on the same issue with volunteers back in 2011. 

The store seen in the above photo has one Ravi Bhalla sign and
count'em two for Jen Giattino for mayor. Someone didn't think through their
setup for a hit against the Jen Giattino campaign. 

Even the Old Guard isn't known for putting campaign signs on mailboxes. Guess who's pushing this obvious canard? Who else is doing an updated low brow edition of Hoboken411? Yes, it's the frick and frack of anything goes blogging.

Spreading this easily see through propaganda is exactly the type of Hoboken411 fare we'd see in years past but now it's a Sybil's Cave staple. What you won't see there is an apology for the sexist demeaning attacks on Jen Giattino and by extension her family last week for inserting her "appearing" on the "dating game."

It's a shame but that's how desperate they are. Let's call this latest obvious hit job what it is: #FAIL!

The original August 2011 MSV story where Jen Giattino worked with volunteers to clean up flagrant flyers from the streets at the jump.

Mailer frenzy, sexism and a Bhalla sanctuary city "welcome" with three weeks to Election Day

Hoboken election season enters the final three weeks as clashes between the mayoral candidates come to the fore. Over the weekend, word of some of those clashes from the unreleased Hudson Reporter mayoral forum began trickling out. The forum video usually arrives near the end of election season.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla seen in this photo last June when Hoboken Mayor
Dawn Zimmer announced she would not seek re-election.
Bhalla reportedly said he'd seek to "codify" a form of sanctuary city
status in Hoboken, contrary to federal law and the oath of office. 

A story over the weekend pointed to issues amid the clashes during the forum. One touched on the national issue of illegal immigration and a "sanctuary city," what other Americans call outlaw cities. Federal immigration departments and its law enforcement arm often reach out to local law enforcement and ask for a hold on those being held for alleged crimes who may not be in the country legally. In some locales, the cooperation is nullified by local officials who have decided not to cooperate with the federal government. Last year, this became a national election issue as Americans expressed outrage at the mayhem and murder their families suffered at the hands of illegal immigrants often released back into the community. Municipalities who ignore federal law may lose federal funding as a result.

At the mayoral forum last week, Councilman Ravi Bhalla who has been referred to as a national candidate with ambitions for higher office is quoted seeking to "codify" how to "help protect immigrants in town." No one of course believes this has anything to do with legal immigrants; Hoboken's not exactly known for its inviting housing costs.

What Ravi Bhalla would seek to "codify" is at the moment uncertain but it has nothing to do with any legal immigrant in Hoboken. Coming on the back of the divisive rhetoric where the Bhalla campaign pointedly avoided condemning all involved in political violence at Charlottesville last summer may further raise eyebrows and make some Hoboken voters uncomfortable. With six mayoral candidates and four major mayoral campaigns, the Bhalla campaign however clearly believes it can successfully use divisive rhetoric to advantage. Only 30% or less of the mayoral vote may be all that's needed to win the chair at City Hall with four competitive mayoral campaigns.

Mailer frenzy with three weeks to Election Day

Hoboken residents have seen a blitz of campaign mailers this election season and the pace has only picked up in recent weeks. Councilman Ravi Bhalla sent out another four page color mailer and leads the race with at least three similar variations among others. Those expenditures run well into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Team Romano has staked out a group mailer theme for its council slate in recent weeks while also taking out TV ads during Yankee baseball playoff games. The campaign created two looking to appeal to Hoboken voters next month. 

City Council President Jen Giattino sent mailers, one on Quality of Life and a recent Quality of Life video at Elysian Park uptown. The mailer pointed out numerous street lights that are out and the video at Elysian showed numerous craters on the children's playground. Wouldn't you know it, the lights were all replaced and the holes in Elysian are now all filled. Residents want to know if they should write thank you notes to City Hall, the Council President or is it vice versa?

The DeFusco campaign released its latest mailer last week pointing at Ravi Bhalla and his conflicts as a partner at the law firm Florio Perucci. This one says potential conflicts of Ravi Bhalla could cost Hoboken taxpayers millions related to the Suez water liability of $8.35 million.

Hoboken residents can rest easy knowing those and other conflicts like NJ Transit magically disappear like a Festivus miracle if Bhalla wins the mayor's seat. A resignation from the law firm would erase the conflict on the city council and make everyday in Hoboken a Festivus celebration.

All of this campaign activity will come to a pause at least for residents' mailboxes when the mayoral candidates line up for their forum this Thursday at the Stevens DeBaun Auditorium. 

Tonight, it's part two of the council forum. Councilman Dave Mello managed to swap places with Buddy Matthews. It should add heaps of fun to the proceedings at the Multi Service Center. 

Sexism surfaces against City Council President Jen Giattino on Sybil's Cave blog

The personal attacks heightened by the fanatical support of the Ravi Bhalla campaign at Sybil's Cave took another ugly spiral down the gutter last week. While the news value there approaches nil this election cycle, the depths of attacks waged against Reform supporters and officials including City Council President Jen Giattino has risen to the level of outright sexism.

Last week, it was suggested this MSV editor had romantic designs on the candidate who is married with a family. One graphic offered a "dating game" between the two. Commenters at Sybil's Cave who are backers, underwriters and work on the Bhalla campaign followed with levels of vitriol not ever seen on Hoboken411. 

Denigrating Jen Giattino, the full time political operation at the Sybil's Cave blog on behalf of the Ravi Bhalla campaign took yet another ugly turn last week. The inherent sexism against Jen Giattino is unfortunate.
That's how Nancy and the Bhalla campaign crew roll in Sybil's Cave. 

In more than eight years, MSV has taken on more than a few big stories publishing numerous exclusives. In that time, the Old Guard pulled stunts and tried to burden this editor with fabricated legal claims of both the civil and criminal variety with criminal assaults and threats of more thrown in for good measure. In all that time, there never was any allegation MSV coverage is due to romantic designs on Mayor Zimmer who is also married with a family. 

To mock the accurate report on the announcement of City Council President Jen Giattino's mayoral launch is an obvious attempt to besmirch her mayoral campaign in cheap sexist terms. Nancy Pincus, formerly a reform supporter, wasn't there and didn't see the thunderous ovation for Giattino as she arrived. She doesn't attend any Hoboken campaign events other than for Ravi Bhalla. The Bhalla campaign feeds her information to use against its campaign opponents. Is this sexism also acceptable?

Both Jen Giattino and her family deserve an apology. We'll see if Nancy can manage one. 

Related: This political website has no connection to the blogs Grafix Avenger and Hoboken411. MSV is continuing its news affiliated relationship with the Hudson County View.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Council candidates - Round 1

Here is the complete council forum on October 12th from the first seven of 14 council candidates for three at-large seats.

The candidates are: Joshua Einstein, Vanessa Falco, Michael Flett, Laini Hammond, Andrew Impastato, Charles “Buddy” Matthews, and Angelo Valente. 

The video comes courtesy of the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition and was recorded at the Mile Square Theatre with videography services provided by Catherine Stratton of Stratton Films and audio services provided by the AV Club of Stevens Institute of Technology. The moderator was Bob Bowdon.

Talking Ed Note: MSV will reserve comment until the second forum is broadcast and the public has a chance to view it.  The second council forum is on Monday night, 7:00 pm at the Multi-Service Center.  MSV will publish the complete second council forum when it becomes available.