Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Video remarks of City Council President Jen Giattino's entry into the Hoboken mayor's race

This story comes courtesy of The Hudson County View.

Giattino’s announcement came one week after the incumbent Dawn Zimmer announced she would not be seeking re-election and endorsed Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla to succeed her.

The 6th ward councilwoman and third time council president promised to continue several initiatives begun by Zimmer, however taking a critical stance on fresh ideas that will progress the city further.

In the same breath, Giattino, supported by Council members Tiffanie Fisher and Peter Cunningham laid out the city’s issues and major commitments she will confront as mayor.

Video courtesy of Katherine Guest and The Hudson County View.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Council President Jen Giattino: "I announce my candidacy for mayor of Hoboken"

Tonight, an overflowing crowd of 75 people stood near the corner of 4th and Bloomfield to see Council President Jen Giattino announce she's running for Hoboken mayor.

The crowd exploded in sustained spontaneous applause on her entry from former BoE trustee Ruthy Tyroler's home. In addition to a raucous crowd of supporters, Giattino was joined by her family and council member Peter Cunningham and Tiffanie Fisher. Also seen in attendance, former councilman Tim Occhipinti who was on hand to lend his support.

Council President Jen Giattino with her family pauses on arrival to a roar from 75 supporters on hand.
She's flanked by her husband Joe and children and council members Peter Cunningham and Tiffanie Fisher.

Remarks as prepared for delivery by Council President Jen Giattino.

City Council President Jen Giattino’s announcement becoming a candidate for Hoboken mayor
My name is Jen Giattino, I have been a resident of Hoboken since 1998. I am a wife, the proud mother of three and a businesswoman. I am serving my second term as a Hoboken City Councilwoman, for the 6th ward and also serving my third term as Council President. Today, I am thrilled to be surrounded by so many supporters as I announce my candidacy for Mayor of Hoboken.

It’s been my honor and privilege to work with and for the residents of Hoboken. We all share in the success of working together in recent years for this city we love and call home. Working as a team, we’ve accomplished a great deal. As our Mayor, for our town, I will continue to drive the many initiatives begun with Mayor Zimmer that have paved the way for our improved quality of life. However, I believe that it is critical that we also take a fresh look at where we are and give a lot of thought about where we want to be and how to get to the next level.

Our Hoboken today is confronted with a host of issues old and new: our aging infrastructure which requires significant and continuous investment, our flooding concerns, keeping taxes flat in the face of rising municipal costs, making sure our streets are safe for everyone, and our unique land constraints which creates the need to secure open space for future generations while we still can. These issues have been the focal point of our current Administration, and continue to require our steady focus to make Hoboken more livable for all of us.

But our current Administration has fallen short in certain areas that I believe should be front and center going forward. We need to align the public and private sectors in a partnership to address the economic health and vitality of our city that has been overlooked. This means working collectively with all stakeholders, including our diverse residents, our City Council, our business community, our schools, Stevens, and other community leaders to identify the best ideas and a fresh vision for economic and community development while still prioritizing our quality of life. It means executing a strategic plan that allows us to attract jobs and businesses that benefit Hoboken residents which will allow us to focus on future commercial development, instead of just building more residential towers that add to our overcrowding. But, in any development that occurs, which is inevitable given the attraction to our town, we will ensure that we determine the direction and that the benefits to our community far outweigh the costs. We also need to do as much as we can to make sure that Hoboken residents are invited to stay. There is room for everyone in Hoboken. Our town and our people are better when we support our neighbors.

These are only a few of the areas that as our Mayor, I will prioritize. The conversation and the hard work for this vision lie ahead but together we can bring a new vision and a revived spirit to our town.
As we begin this journey together, I want all of you to know how important you and your support have been in bringing us here today. It is with this support that we can deliver for Hoboken and build for tomorrow. I’m asking today and in the coming days that we all come together again and make this campaign a symbol for what Hoboken can do when we combine our talents and skills for the city we love. Together we’re going to do amazing things for our town. It’s our time. It’s our Hoboken. 
Thank you!

Grist for the Mill: Hoboken the envy of political junkies across NJ

The time for action is apparently now with Stick Romano doing a pivot and diving into Hoboken's mayoral race at a steeper angle than a jet fighter sighting an enemy aircraft carrier.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Later today, the Hoboken field is expected to see its City Council President Jen Giattino announce her entry into the mayoral sweepstakes bringing the total to four of the Mile Square City's major election campaigns.

People are yet to catch their breath or see campaigns announce full council slates as the reverberations of Mayor Zimmer's untimely exit announced last week has created a bad case of whiplash for Hoboken political observers.

The clearly orchestrated political power play didn't succeed in pushing Hoboken activists to the sidelines resigned to backing Ravi Bhalla. It produced the opposite effect: engagement. A Sunday meeting last weekend where about two dozen long time reformers and previously strong backers of Mayor Zimmer sat down to examine the viability of a Jen Giattino victory in November.

The conventional wisdom going in deemed a late mayoral bid would see no path to victory for any desired Mayor Giattino administration and end with a consensus, resigned or not, to get behind Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

Except it didn't work out that way. Prior to the Sunday afternoon meeting, a vicious political operation was deployed assaulting Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher's electronic communications. An orchestrated coordinated onslaught of mostly new Hoboken Democratic Committee people emailed and texted her with vile personal attacks calling her and Council President Jen Giattino a string of ugly names typically reserved for the mostly defunct Ku Klux Klan. Another massive email bomb questioned Jen Giattino's vote for president last November demanding to know who she voted for even as it's commonly known she sought to be a John Kasich delegate. The poison was clearly all cooked out of the same stew falsely claiming Giattino had voted for Donald Trump. Fisher would dryly note the same calling the false allegations spurious in reply.

Whatever happened to the right to privacy of one's vote let alone Hoboken's long time non-partisan municipal contests and Hoboken reform's big tent? Democrats as Mayor Zimmer was later to find out were aghast. Silence from the people hitting the nuke button since as some including this Horse made rare emails up the chain of command asking how could such a thing happen?

Fisher didn't allow the coordinated fury of venom to interfere with the meeting. The meeting went ahead as planned but the thoughts of uniting behind Ravi Bhalla evidently turned into a non-starter. Among the dozens of people in attendance, mostly dye in the wool Democrats including Fisher herself, word of the vicious email assault was spreading all over town. So was the backlash, acting as a one-two punch to the mayor's presser last Tuesday that spurred distaste all over the Mile Square City.

The meeting surprisingly ended with reformers united in praise for Jen Giattino and to a person concluded she is the most qualified and the best person to become Hoboken mayor and no alternative backing Ravi Bhalla would be contemplated. Someone has some explaining to do.

The ugly political operation to keep Giattino from considering a bid to get into the race achieved the opposite effect. All the colluders in the unseemly intimidation scheme, stand up and take a bow!

Mayor Zimmer's departure may leave a wreckage of a Hoboken mayoral campaign with four, five or more major candidates possible. MSV can confirm the rumor of one with ties to Church Towers who is not Councilman Michael Russo. The third ward councilman is rumored to also be considering a bid in this winner take all November contest.

Talking Ed Note: The Hoboken mayoral campaign pool is not complete. Already, another potential Old Hoboken candidate is rumored to be weighing an entry. The uptown resident who won't be named here as it's uncertain and he's made no overture to MSV will be seeking to catapult an age old dream. This time family connections into Church Towers would be the launching point for votes, right in the territory of Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo.

Let's call it what it is, a hostile invasion.

This is going to be a cantankerous mayoral race like nothing seen. Baton down the hatches.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to All email is kept confidential and is protected by Da Horsey's proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson County Superior Court. In farm animals we trust.

Councilman Mike DeFusco comes out firing at Stick!

The DeFusco for Mayor campaign announces:

Questions Motivation and Commitment of Late Entry Into Race

Hoboken, NJ – In response to the announcement today by Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano that he will run for Mayor of Hoboken, 1st Ward Councilman and current Mayoral candidate Michael DeFusco issued the following statement:

“Today we saw a Freeholder testing the waters with an announcement that sounded more like an exploratory committee than a legitimate bid for Mayor.  He spoke about commitment, yet proposes to run for both offices at the same time, expecting the people to wait while he decides which suits him best.  That’s not leadership, it’s duplicity and hypocrisy.  Every resident of Hoboken should be offended by his level of entitlement.”

“We need a leader with an understanding of where we are, a vision for where we are going, and the dedication to get us there.  I’m emboldened as ever to continue my campaign of speaking to as many residents as possible about the important issues at hand so we can eliminate the political divides of the past for a unified and progressive future.”

Stick makes it official!

Anthony "Stick" Romano, the current county legislator freeholder and former BoE trustee and Hoboken Police Captain made it official today he's running for Hoboken mayor.

After last week's stunning reversal where Mayor Zimmer dropped out of the race, the floodgates have been opened and as expected Romano becomes another major candidate to compete for the office.

Romano made an impassioned and emotional appeal in his remarks earlier today speaking to his connection to the community and acting as a link between government and the people.

Talking Ed Note: On hand for Romano's announcement were friends, family, campaign supporter and former Hoboken first ward councilwoman Terry Castellano. No Hudson County officials expected however made an appearance.

The Hudson County View filed this report.

Here is the complete announcement of Freeholder Anthony Romano:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sources: City Council President Jen Giattino to toss hat in and run for Hoboken mayor

City Council President Jen Giattino to announce decision to run for mayor tomorrow night

Hoboken councilwoman Jen Giattino, a three time and current City Council President will be making an announcement tomorrow night near fourth and Bloomfield St. at 7:30 pm.

Sources say she will throw her hat in the ring and vie to become Hoboken's second female mayor.

City Council President
Jen Giattino
Giattino, the current City Council President learned early last week Mayor Dawn Zimmer reversed her decision in choosing not to pursue a third term. The mayor simultaneously offered her endorsement to Councilman Ravi Bhalla. Many in Hoboken were taken aback by the simultaneous announcements and to learn no consultative conversations took place with the Reform team members on the City Council.

The suddenness of both decisions led to long time local reform activists asking who would be the most effective candidate to carry the mantle of Reform. Discussion began and continued through last weekend showing broad citywide support for the City Council President.

In 2011, Giattino won her first term on the City Council and immediately made an impact voting to approve updated pay-to-play laws and later that year, a crucial fifth vote to back the plan to save Hoboken University Medical Center, the local hospital, in a sale. She's played an important leadership role in other votes crucial to Hoboken's flood pumps and fiscal responsibility holding the line on taxes.

In 2015, Giattino won her second term to the council defeating the controversial Carmelo Garcia who filed a civil lawsuit in 2013 against Mayor Dawn Zimmer, her husband and the Hoboken Housing Authority after the remainder of his contract at the agency was terminated in August 2014.

The three other major declared mayoral candidates Giattino will face include Freeholder Anthony Romano who is announcing tomorrow morning, Mike DeFusco and Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

A Giattino entry in the mayoral sweepstakes means there will be four major candidates vying to succeed Mayor Dawn Zimmer as Hoboken mayor come November. She is a resident of Hoboken since 1998 and is married with three sons.

Years before becoming a candidate for the City Council in 2011, Giattino worked aiding the Hoboken Homeless Shelter.

HCV Sunday whispers: Stick announces mayoral run on Tuesday

Monday Update: Freeholder Anthony Romano makes his announcement to run for Hoboken mayor official Tuesday morning.

Sources suggest the announcement will take place outside Romano's office on Washington St.

Romano will enter the race for Hoboken mayor with Councilman Mike DeFusco, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, local businesswoman Karen Nason and local activist Ronald Bautista previously announced.


According to a Sunday report on the Hudson County View, Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano will make it official on Tuesday he's a candidate for Hoboken mayor.

Perhaps those negotiations reportedly taking place with Councilman Michael Russo sorted out, or maybe not. Either way, it's Tuesday for Stick's much anticipated announcement.

For the full report, please see:

Anthony "Stick" Romano dives into the Hoboken mayoral race on Tuesday.

The Giant Ambition Tour

The following is a guest piece submitted by long time Hoboken reformer Kurt Gardiner. 

Giant Ambition brings a reformer into the race 

Ambition - if there is a word that describes the Hoboken 2017 election that is it. 

Dawn Zimmer after two terms as Hoboken Mayor decided to move on up and fight global warming. That is ambition. 

Mike Defusco after only a year and a half as an at times petulant, uninformed and unprofessional City Council person with little name recognition decided to run for Mayor because anything Dawn could do he could do faster without displaying the executive function necessary to do the job. That is ambition. 

Also taking money from FBW phoney Jim Vance and being against the flood wall after voting for it takes a special brand of person. Bipolar is not just a trendy Arctic sexual preference, it is a state of mind for Defusco. Saying anything to get elected is ambition Cammarano style. 

Anthony Romano wants to run for two jobs at once. He wants to Stick it to the Hoboken taxpayer twice. Once is not good enough; he wants to screw us in more ways than one. That is ambition Hudson County style. 

It has been reported that Mike Russo will not run only if his numerous demands are met. Not sure if that is more of a shakedown but that could be a form of ambition. 

My good neighbor Ravi Bhalla, known more as a Zimmer loyalist than a true reformer bided his time, got the passing of the baton from the dearly departing and before the campaign literature is even dry was out campaigning. That is both a super Sikh political cock block and ambition rolled into one. 

Karen Nason appeared to run to critique the now departing Mayor. Now that the Mayor is gone, where is the impetus to continue to run? Maybe her only ambition now is to make a point to stay in race to take votes away from Defusco. 

Jen Giattino may or may not run but will talk it over with family and friends before deciding. It won't just be ambition for her if she decides yes. It will be to continue the reform movement in her opinion. Having a goal to a cause is a form of collective ambition. 

I Kurt Gardiner am a job seeking job seeker and have a limited base and not much money but feel I can add a lot to the continued progress of Hoboken and my platform is simply one word: Ambition. 

I have more ambition than any of these other candidates so I am throwing my hat in the ring for Hoboken Mayor in 2017. I would announce a slate but they can't handle my ambition. Look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail. I will ambitiously be pursuing your vote, if I don't cut a deal first.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla 'Join us Wednesday at the Turtle Club'

Hi MSV readers,
This Wednesday evening, please join me at the Turtle Club as we host an event to thank Mayor Dawn Zimmer for her years of service to Hoboken, and celebrate 8 years of good government. 
What: Thank you celebration for Mayor Zimmer and good government
When: Wednesday, June 28, 7:00 pm
Where: Turtle Club, 936 Park Avenue
Who: All members of the Hoboken community
Please click here to RSVP on Facebook.  The event is free of charge, we look forward to seeing you Wednesday!
Ravi Bhalla

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Horse Sense: Desperation or data, that is the question

We're not a week from the post apocalypse Zimmer-Hoboken universe and the real campaign pushing and shoving has started. 

Would you be surprised to hear the pushing is happening among the potential reform oriented candidate campaigns? Suddenly and without warning, a Zimmer poll taken last winter has materialized and all kinds of fanciful conclusions are being drawn.

Again from a Hoboken poll, last winter, when no one even knows who will be on the ballot this November. Take that poll and all the succeeding self-serving arguments and throw it in the garbage. 

Old, dead white guy knew something about bad data applications.
So does a Horse. 

The real intent of course in releasing the winter poll now is to see shoved aside a potential Jen Giattino mayoral candidacy. Kill it before a campaign gets started. The campaign most fearful of such an entry which at the time of this writing is uncertain is the Ravi Bhalla for Mayor campaign.

In poker we call this a tell. But what are they trying not to tell us? They want to tell Jen Giattino to stand down and any and all people who think she might be the best candidate in November: go away. We've decided. Didn't you see the press conference last Tuesday? Might I remind you many people did not walk away from that City Hall event singing kumbaya. Hoboken voters are fiercely independent. Telling them you've anointed a successor minutes after withdrawing from an election four months out without any consultative conversation ahead of time isn't going over too well. Oh, you wish to double down with the real politik/fait accompli plans as originally mapped out? Well, alrighty then. 

Let's address some of the talking points being propagated fast and furious.

Polls, approval ratings and political interpretations of same

Approval ratings for Mayor Zimmer are overblown and were similarly lauded in 2013. Great numbers! She's untouchable! Months later Mayor Zimmer won that race but boosted her percentage from only around 43% in November 2009 to 47% in her win. She didn't crack 50%. Her best chance may have been this November. It's not your earlier Hoboken polled approval rating that matters most but how many people you get to the polls on Election Day. 

This speaks to all kinds of issues in this mayoral race for ANY candidate this November but putting that aside for the moment; having five or six major candidates potentially on the ballot in November means someone can mathematically win everything with just over 20% of the vote. Don't think Michael Russo isn't licking his chops at the thought. He is. He'll be ready after Labor Day too.

As for Mayor Zimmer, outstanding job on many fronts, others less so and ability to tackle issues in the future irrelevant now. If she wants to dance around campfires to a pagan moon goddess, that's up to her. If she thinks global warming is the "biggest" problem in the face of the data not showing the polar caps melting as direly predicted over the last 20 years, her prerogative too. But if she really thinks that's the reality, she should be taking Chinese lessons pronto and booking a ticket on a boat there. Getting a climate change gig in NJ won't accomplish anything other than vacuuming NJ taxpayer dollars into oblivion. For more on this vapidity, see the Paris Accords. First person to tell everyone two things that agreement does for the US other than vacuum up a billion US dollars for export wins a free gulf jet ride to any favorite Hollywood actor's climate change conference around the globe.

Jen Giattino's popular appeal and crossover votes

Let's make this analysis plain. She has it, others don't. You don't have to like it or quantify it as that's much harder but avoiding the harsh truth won't make it go away. Electability is a different matter and sorry; that's not code. Speak to all your friends and you'll hear it come up too.

City Council President Jen Giattino
MSV wrote earlier Jen Giattino is on par in popularity as the mayor citywide within the smaller subset of the reform community not the 54,000 total Hoboken population. This has gotten under some people's skin. Well, that's why third terms often turn out so badly or in this case are suddenly grounded and done quite badly. Let's move on.

Data in a Hoboken poll collected last winter isn't deciding this race coming up in November. Didn't Hillary have the big endorsement (Obama), the lion's share of the money ($1.2 Billion - that's right with a B) and the data/polling on her side? Yet she got blown away 304 to 227 when the electoral votes were finally tallied.

They don't call election campaigns a CAMPAIGN for nothing. 

On the question of electability and crossover appeal, to say it appears one has an advantage over another is of course speculative until after the an election is tabulated, analysis and public opinion weighted afterwards. Last November's 2016 presidential race will be analyzed and talked about for years. Years later, some still won't have a clue but I digress, "Muh Russia Russia!"

Does anyone think Jen Giattino doesn't have crossover appeal? Her entire political career is about crossover appeal beginning with her work for the Hoboken Homeless Shelter years prior to her considering a run for elected office. Her entire political experience speaks to her calm demeanor, smarts and ability to get things done for the city of Hoboken. She like her colleague Councilman Ravi Bhalla haven't been two time council presidents by accident.

Most Hoboken voters won't pull the municipal lever in a non-partisan election this November

The majority of Hoboken's eligible voters won't vote in this municipal election this November. This is a simple fact. Which partly means a Horse has been writing to millions and millions of visitors here in almost eight years but never the entire city of Hoboken. To cast the number of people who don't know Jen Giattino or Ravi Bhalla or any other candidate on the ballot in November without this important statistic is meaningless.

Again in a five or six person race of major candidates; it's winner take all. The partisan rhetoric unfitting to Hoboken aside, mathematically taking just over 20% of the vote may win the prize.

When you trot out a poll taken last winter before candidates are not even in the race, in this case determined after Labor Day, is it data your touting or desperation? 

Talking Ed Note: This Horse Sense weekend editorial is dedicated to all democratic voices in Hoboken. Let them be heard.