Friday, June 30, 2017

And then there were seven...

Another native Hoboken resident has thrown his name into the ever growing pool of mayoral candidates. It's Angelo Valente, an uptown resident who has ties and political connections to the Cunning family of Church Towers.

Angelo Valente seen here receiving a citation as Italian
Man of the Year with Hudson County officials in 2015
announced he's running for Hoboken mayor.

Church Towers is the bastion of support for Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo and the Russo Clan. Does this constitute a split and further demarcation line crossed for the Old Guard as the so-called splintering effect takes hold in the Mile Square?

Yet to declare but rumored to be waiting in the wings with possible mayoral bids of their own are Council Mike Russo himself, developer Frank "Pupie" Raia and the notorious former councilwoman Beth Mason.

In November, it's winner take all in the mayoral sweepstakes. The shakeout hasn't even begun.

The crop of current declared mayoral candidates is Councilman Mike DeFusco, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano, local businesswoman Karen Nason, Hoboken activist Ronald Bautista, Hoboken native Angelo Valente and City Council President Jen Giattino.

Joshua Einstein
Talking Ed Note: Council slates are incomplete across the board but one independent candidate tossed his hat in the ring this week. Joshua Einstein announced he will run for Hoboken City Council in a release to Hudson TV.

Unrelated: The HoLa charter school won a legal challenge to keep its eighth grade open in the Appellate Court according to this report yesterday.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

HCV video of Ravi Bhalla event with mayor

This video courtesy of The Hudson County View:

For more on the story, please see The Hudson County View.

Horse Sense: Hoboken's nonpartisan mayoral election

There, I said it. There's been some fanciful talk about Hoboken's mayoral election and its three at-large council seats and the recent venom floating in our land injected last weekend by a small coterie of millennial foaming, corruption fine, party first zombies.

Not theoretical, it was actually written, party first and corruption is okay when it comes under the party banner. The same corruption Reform members of all party affiliations and beliefs fought in hand to hand combat for a decade or more in Hoboken.

There's largely been silence from political corners who see this as advantageous for their narrow political interests. Sadly, among them are elected officials who benefitted by seeing united under Reform all political groups, identifiers and beliefs with a string of election victories back to 2009.

As one person who was a key member of the group Hoboken Revolt said in recent days, "I was with Dawn (Mayor Zimmer) back to 2007. We all worked together. We don't matter anymore?"

That was the frustration talking and it's been the frustration speaking from many corners when the sudden withdrawal by Mayor Zimmer from the November election and a united coalition began cracking with the cynical immediate announcement of an endorsement without so much as conferring with anyone who helped carried the flag to the top of the hill at Stevens.

In Hoboken, progress since 2009 came under
its nonpartisan municipal elections.
This is not theory, a feeling or hope.
It's a fact.

In recent days, a nuclear weapon was detonated in the hopes of succeeding where a unilateral action last week at a press conference had failed. The vicious personal attacks on council members Tiffanie Fisher and Jen Giattino have been castigated by Hoboken residents of all political persuasions. The attempts in recent days to whitewash those KKK type accusations are not acceptable.

No one really cares what rabid foaming millennial zombies think about Hoboken's nonpartisan election. They don't even know enough about recent history let alone a decade back, the battles waged and won on behalf of all Hoboken residents.

The Reform Movement succeeded in electing a mayor in 2009 not in spite of but because of unity among its residents who acknowledged and embraced Hoboken municipal elections being nonpartisan.

That's not self-serving, an emotional plea or because a horse feels like it. It's a simple fact.

Perhaps it's time for other people to get a clue. Because however this election goes in November: win, lose or draw - there's a very large group of people who have invested and supported this movement called Reform. They've all invested and bled together under a united banner where as one friend of mine on a nearby satirical blog so appropriately said not long ago, "Democrats, Republicans, Independents, in Hoboken we are all friends and get along."

Perhaps some recognition and acknowledgement of actual Reform history is required. Council President Jen Giattino was asked in 2011 to step up and represent her community and join the coalition she had supported called Reform and run for city council. She ran side by side with Mayor Zimmer who was struggling mightily with the Russo-Mason hydra paralyzing the city, except paralysis would be far better than the sabotage underway to torpedo any positive progress for the city and the struggling local hospital.

On July 1, 2011, Jen Giattino stepped on to the dais of the City Council after being sworn-in to uphold and protect the Constitution of the US and the State of New Jersey. One of her first votes was a critical fifth vote to upgrade pay-to-play laws in Hoboken. The beneficiary of this landmark legislation was to uphold the sovereignty of Hoboken residents to keep outside big money from overturning the will of its residents.

Later the same year, another critical vote by Giattino who was the fifth and deciding vote approving the plan to save the local hospital, a feat Mayor Zimmer rightly holds as one of the proudest moments of her administration. It's a pride we all felt and embraced under the leadership of the hospital board led by its chair, Toni Tomarrazo and the late Steve Rofsky.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino has gone on since to be an integral part of the reform oriented council majority changing the entire tenor of our local council meetings. She's been endorsed for re-election and has in turn endorsed Mayor Zimmer for re-election. It's all part of getting things done for Hoboken.

The ugly millennial voices attempting to inject partisanship into a nonpartisan race in Hoboken in recent days on the local Democratic Committee are short on history and long on rabid frustration, seeing the world doesn't always let you get your way. Perhaps this is shocking to some but no one should be following their lead and pulling a Fagen, applauding party over substance and embracing corruption as was advocated under a partisan party banner.

People who have suffered, fought and bled to see Hoboken change and put down the seedy corruption rampant in the ranks here over decades deserve better. So do all Hoboken residents, no matter their political affiliation or lack thereof.

Please make a note of it.

Hoboken's nonpartisan races means none of
these party animals get to call the shots for mayor
or municipal positions such as city council.

Talking Ed Note: There's a reason we hold nonpartisan municipal elections in Hoboken. It's the law.

Here's a portion of the referendum letter by the Hoboken City Clerk's office pointing out the considerable fact when Hoboken's nonpartisan elections moved from the spring to the fall. This November its mayoral and council at-large races will be separate from any partisan races on the ballot.

Start liking it.

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 of 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 **** 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.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mayor Zimmer's departure and Councilwoman Jen Giattino's possible candidacy for mayor

From the desk of Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher:

Dear Hoboken friends and neighbors – 

What a week this has been for us…

It’s been a bit of a scramble the last few days as our entire community, myself included, reacts to the sudden and unexpected news that our Mayor Dawn Zimmer will not run for re-election this fall.  I met with her shortly before her announcement and I have no doubt that she loves this city and that this decision was incredibly personal to her and a difficult one to make.  I only wish her the best and equally great success on her new path. Personally, I believe she’s done an enormous amount of good for Hoboken as mayor and we all should thank her.

Looking ahead, the unintended consequence of her surprising announcement leaves many in our community, including me, to ask who is best equipped to lead Hoboken and take on its challenges while building on the foundation we’ve achieved in recent years?

And my threshold questions, in order of priority are: 
  • How do we ensure that we do not lose ground and go backward to the old corrupt practices of the past when two of our prior three mayors went to jail?
  •  Who is best positioned to be our CEO and be the leader we need to take Hoboken to the next level?

Although at the moment, it feels more like a burden, each hour that passes feels more like an opportunity of getting to take a fresh look at what Hoboken can and should look like in the future under new leadership and who that leader should be.  I personally want to ensure that we continue the efforts championed by our current mayor for parks and open space, against corruption, ending flooding and ensuring safer streets, among others, but that we also take the opportunity to expand this vision and choose a leader who can take us further in the right direction. 

Like myself, Councilman Peter Cunningham and City Council President Jen Giattino learned of the mayor’s decision late. On Thursday, Jen issued a statement in response to an outpouring of support asking she consider becoming a candidate for mayor. As a councilwoman, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Jen on complex issues and I have witnessed firsthand her leadership, competence and straightforward professionalism.  I applaud her willingness to consider entering this race to be our next leader.

Although the Mayor announced her selection with her withdrawal last Tuesday, our choice in deciding who is best equipped to lead Hoboken in the future is a monumental one and deserves, as in the past from the grassroots, to have our voices heard.  So I’d ask you consider the issues that matter to you and the leadership Hoboken needs for its future. Please feel free to reach out to me and let me know your thoughts and concerns on how we as a community should best take these critical steps.  

This is our time to ENGAGE, ADVOCATE for ourselves, and stay INFORMED.  And as always, remember that more voices are always better.  

Please make your voice heard.

Thank you,

Friday, June 23, 2017

Councilman Peter Cunningham: 'Considering November's mayoral election'

From the desk of Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham:

Dear Family, Friends and Neighbors, 

I wanted to reach out to you on the major news that broke this week about Mayor Zimmer deciding not to seek a third term.  As a reminder to many of you, Dawn and I were elected to the City Council together in 2007.  We have managed to achieve a great deal for Hoboken with our current council colleagues Ravi Bhalla, Jim Doyle, Tiffanie Fisher, Dave Mello and Council President Jen Giattino.

Unlike the trying times of 2007, we are a growing community facing an entirely new set of challenges.  The first one of course is to avoid seeing the "clock turned back" and allow old political elements to get their hands on the wheel of government again.  In those times, abuses and corruption were rampant.  

The second is our challenge to identify the best candidate to win in November.  It should be as in the past, a collaborative process which is not only a core tenet of reform.  Many of the goals achieved in the last 8 years have been achieved by consensus and collaboration.  And in fact today, many of the nine councilmembers are working collaboratively.

While Mayor Zimmer decided to endorse our friend and colleague Councilman Bhalla on Monday, a collaborative conversation among her team did not take place.  I, for one, think that process is warranted.  

Based on these factors, I've decided at this time not to join the Mayor in endorsing Ravi.  

Yesterday, Council President Jen Giattino issued a statement saying she is considering entering the mayoral race.  While some are feeling a sense of trepidation if that happens, I feel there is an opportunity here that can lead to victory in November.

As we make this evaluation, I am asking you to keep an open mind and allow the voices of our community a chance to be heard.  We deserve it. 

I  look forward to hearing from you on any aspect of this message and trust we'll come to a decision together that's best for Hoboken.  Thanks, Peter  

Peter Cunningham

Talking Ed Note: As a matter of policy, editorial notes don't follow official releases but the Hudson County View has a story including a response by Ravi Bhalla's spokesman to Peter Cunningham's letter to the Hoboken community yesterday.

'Why I'm supporting Ravi Bhalla'

Hi MSV readers,

I want to tell you a little bit about my friend, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, and why I'm supporting his candidacy for Mayor of Hoboken.

Two years ago, along with other local moms, I helped create the Hoboken Public Education Foundation (HobokenPEF), a non-profit organization to benefit our local district public schools. The founding team established multiple goals, and my vision was for the foundation to be a resource to help support important education programs for our children, including my two daughters. However, I didn't know exactly how to help HobokenPEF engage and connect with key community members, and become better known and supported by Hoboken residents and  businesses. Ravi was the first person I turned to for guidance, and not surprisingly, he immediately pledged his help. 

Ravi set up meetings with key stakeholders and educated them on the importance of supporting our public schools.  At a time when our organization was just a couple moms looking to make a difference, Ravi believed in us and our work. He gave the HobokenPEF a voice, when not many others gave us much of a chance. 

A few months ago, at our second annual HobokenPEF Gala, we sold out of tickets within weeks and raised over $120,000 for the public school system.  Needless to say, I believe our organization would not be where it is today without Ravi's support. 

Ravi shares the same goal and vision as me and so many other parents of supporting and improving our public schools so more families stay in Hoboken. As Mayor, I know that Ravi will work hand in hand with our parents, teachers and educators to keep moving our education system in the right direction.

I'm thrilled to join Mayor Dawn Zimmer and many others in offering my unwavering support to Ravi, and look forward to doing all that I can to help him through Election Day on November 7.

Shirael Pollack
Hoboken Mom

Talking Ed Note: MSV's longstanding policy is candidates and elected officials may submit for publication letters and/or campaign releases and are invited to do so via email to:

Reform pow wow into the night


Two meetings among friends and potential campaign rivals for mayor go quietly into the night

Last night, a second evening meeting followed an earlier midday meeting between friends and potential mayoral rivals in Councilman Ravi Bhalla and Council President Jen Giattino.

The daytime meeting didn't resolve the friction where one campaign was launched in concert with Mayor Dawn Zimmer's simultaneous announced departure and endorsement for Bhalla and any opportunity to present an alternative negated for Giattino.

City Council President Jen Giattino,: broadest and most
crossover appeal to Hoboken voters? That's one question.
With Jen Giattino's statement issued last night she is weighing a run for mayor, much is changed in the Hoboken mayoral landscape and much remains the same, at least for the time being.

Late yesterday, a second evening meeting saw a sit down with council members Tiffanie Fisher and Peter Cunningham joining Jen Giattino with Ravi Bhalla and former Mayor Zimmer's chief of staff according to sources close to the attending parties.

Efforts at resolving the issues between the two developing campaigns came up well short leading to the end of day statement Jen Giattino will continue to weigh options and hear out Hoboken supporters and residents this weekend.

The concept of a split between both the Old Guard and Reform camps is a misnomer. Each of the likely four major candidates for Hoboken mayor will not start or end with 25% of the vote. Some campaigns will rise, others will fall, some precipitously as the slings and arrows of campaigning begin to take shape and impacts the electorate.

A Giattino movement initially began this week with similar calls among some residents for the independent policy wonk and new Hoboken Democratic Chair Tiffanie Fisher. Those groups now appear coalescing in favor of Jen Giattino for numerous reasons: electability to the voter perception on who captures the broadest appeal to Hoboken voters.

There's another major question on who who holds the biggest crossover appeal for both new and Old Hoboken voters. The advantage there would appear to go to Jen Giattino. The advantage for Councilman Bhalla who has voted closer in the council to Mayor Zimmer means he will gain votes from those who are most likely to follow her lead.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla has the endorsement of Mayor
Dawn Zimmer seen here at a February fundraiser.
How much can it help in November is another question.
A united front of long time councilman Peter Cunningham in the fifth ward and councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher in the second ward however creates another formidable base of support. Mayor Dawn Zimmer's endorsement will give a kick to Ravi Bhalla but its staying power in November will be uncertain as her lame duck status diminishes some of its impact with the onset of Zimmer fatigue after eight years as mayor.

Anthony "Stick" Romano is anticipated to announce his mayoral candidacy next week as an unexpected delay with HudCo sees no dash into Hoboken for a photo-op. This is in fear of triggering a volcanic response from heavyweight State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack. Romano's grounded for the moment but will make his move next week.

If the November ballot does come down to a four way race of major mayoral campaigns: Mike DeFusco, Anthony Stick Romano, Ravi Bhalla and Jen Giattino the negativity and slurs won't be coming from any of the  core reform people or their respective campaigns. That's the hope although no one can control the rogue and often ugly anonymous vs. anonymous battle a mostly select handful online between DeFusco backers and hyper partisans.

In a four way race of major mayoral candidates: Romano, Councilman Mike DeFusco, Ravi Bhalla and Jen Giattino, much remains uncertain but Hoboken's summer campaign fun is already underway.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chris Campos convicted for bank and wire fraud in $7 Million Dollar Car Loan Scheme

Former Hoboken, New Jersey, City Council President Found Guilty After Trial For His Participation In A $7 Million Dollar Car Loan Scheme 

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a federal jury today found former Hoboken, New Jersey, City Council President and attorney CHRISTOPHER CAMPOS guilty of bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. CAMPOS and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in car loans by using at least 20 straw buyers to acquire more than 200 new automobiles based on false representations that, among other things, the straw buyers would use the cars for their personal use when, in truth and in fact, CAMPOS and his co-conspirators obtained the vehicles in order to lease as livery cabs. The week-long trial took place before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who is scheduled to sentence CAMPOS on September 20, 2017.

CAMPOS’s co-defendant, Julio Alvarez, pled guilty to bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud on June 9, 2017. Alvarez is scheduled to be sentenced on September 8, 2017, before Judge Caproni. 

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “As a unanimous jury found, Christopher Campos, an attorney and former Hoboken City Council President, defrauded lenders out of millions of dollars. He recruited straw buyers to obtain loans for cars supposedly for ‘personal use,’ when in fact they made up a fleet of over 200 vehicles Campos and his co-conspirators leased to livery drivers. Campos now awaits sentencing for this massive fraud.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, Indictment, and the evidence presented in Court during the trial:

Between approximately October 2012 and September 2013, CAMPOS and Alvarez, among others, orchestrated a scheme to fraudulently obtain new automobiles that they intended to lease to livery cab drivers. In order to secure financing in connection with the purchase of these new cars, CAMPOS and other co-conspirators enlisted and aided individuals with good credit histories (“straw buyers”) to submit fraudulent car loan applications to numerous lenders. In order to obtain the new vehicles, CAMPOS and other co-conspirators sent straw buyers to several car dealerships located throughout the New York City area, where dealership employees helped straw buyers submit fraudulent loan applications. 

The auto loan applications submitted by the straw buyers falsely represented that the vehicles would be used for the buyers’ personal use, rather than as part of the defendants’ leasing business. In addition, in many cases, the car loan applications misrepresented personal information about the straw buyers, including their incomes and assets. CAMPOS also caused financing applications to be sent to multiple financial institutions at the same time so that the lenders would not know that the straw buyers were incurring obligations to other lenders in connection with the purchase of multiple new automobiles.

In total, the scheme carried out by CAMPOS, Alvarez, and others involved at least approximately 20 straw buyers, the purchase of more than approximately 200 new vehicles, and more than $7 million in fraudulently obtained loans from a variety of financial institutions. Most of the loans ultimately went into default. 

* * *

CAMPOS, 40, of Palisades Park, New Jersey, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud. The conspiracy and bank fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and the wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. Mr. Kim also thanked the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the New York Automobile Insurance Plan, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles for their substantial assistance in the investigation and trial.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Dina McLeod, Sagar K. Ravi, and Niketh Velamoor are in charge of the prosecution.

Chris Campos, former Hoboken City Councilman in better days
in this photo at the Elks Club

City Council President Jen Giattino on Hoboken's upcoming mayoral election

From the desk of City Council President Jen Giattino:

Like many, I was surprised with the series of events this week in Hoboken starting with our Mayor Dawn Zimmer opting not to run for a third term.  This week I have been humbled and honored by the outpouring of support from many friends, colleagues and people in our community who have expressed their support and encouraged me to run for Mayor.  I am passionate about the future of our town and giving this serious consideration.  

I plan to publicly respond soon.

Mike Russo: 'Get out of my way and behind ME for mayor!'

Third ward councilman Mike Russo, the formerly accepted de facto leader of the Old Guard is deciding the time to be de facto anything in the background is a time overdue.

According to a report on InsiderNJ, Russo is actively negotiating with the pending Anthony "Stick" Romano for mayor campaign his list of demands not to run for mayor.

Earlier, MSV described Russo the heir to the Russo Clan as nominally behind Councilman Mike DeFusco's bid for mayor.

Old Guard Russo magic however sees the fairy dust spreading out over the land and is thinking why wait four mayor years to rehabilitate his image on FBI surveillance tape.

Councilman Michael Russo strikes a pose during a City Council meeting in this vintage photo.
He's reportedly in negotiations with the pending Romano campaign whereby he either gets a big piece of pie
with council picks, director and municipal selections or he throws his own hat in for mayor.

Some aren't sure the negotiations will reach an acceptable conclusion for him as in 2009 when he told FBI informant Solomon Dwek on video he had selected all there of Beth Mason's council at-large slate in her doomed campaign for mayor and would hold a veto proof "super majority" as he called it.

If negotiations fail to produce what Michael Russo demands, i.e., council picks, director selections and municipal jobs, expect to see Mike Russo for Mayor signs to quickly spring up all over Church Towers.

From the report:

With Councilman Ravi Bhalla announcing he's running for mayor and receiving Mayor Dawn Zimmer's endorsement, most political observers including this one anticipated Stick Romano entering the race this week. Perhaps Romano will or he won't but Friday would seem to be a deadline for serious action. Lack of decisiveness is long past and Romano many believe must make his move with or without HudCo standing by his side.

Meanwhile, a blood feud erupted with a DeFusco fundraiser who once worked for Mayor Zimmer in a similar capacity and Romano earlier this week. The report says they were nose to nose at Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop's fundraiser in a war of words over who has bigger cohones or some such fighting words.

According to the report, the showdown materialized like this:

"Romano and DeFusco operative Ray Ferraioli found each other in the steakhouse crowd.
DeFusco wants the votes of those anti-Zimmer people.
So does Romano.
So Ferraioli and Romano had words.
Ferraioli buffaloed the former cop, and Romano got up in Ferraioli’s face, nose to nose, the hair going back on the neck of each and nostrils flaring, sources said.
Ferraioli told Romano that at least DeFusco ran against Zimmer.
The freeholder didn’t have the guts, he said – or words to that effect.
Romano hated that.
The allies of the Hoboken councilman say Stick, as he’s known, is not a serious candidate, and if he were serious the HCDO would have already issued one of its press releases embracing his candidacy.
The story doesn't end there. It also speaks about the Old Guard urging City Council President Jen Giattino to enter the race as she "sniffs out" the landscape, presumably as it's beneficial to one of more potential Old Guard candidacies.
Who's in, out getting in as discussed earlier is all in a state of flux. To date, those officially in the race are Councilman Mike DeFusco, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, local businesswoman Karen Nason and Hoboken activist Ronald Bautista.
The only sure thing other than death and taxes is that this lineup will change come September and definitely by November.