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.