Saturday, March 31, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: Update on Union Dry Dock

Official release:

 
Dear friends and neighbors:
Mark Your Calendars!  Earlier this week it was announced that the NJ Transit Board will convene for a special meeting this Wednesday, April 4th at 2:00 p.m. specifically to consider and vote on NJ Transit acquiring the Union Dry Dock site from NY Waterway and leasing it back to them.   I spoke with Mayor Bhalla on Thursday and continue to stay in contact with he and both his COS’s while he is away and the key takeaway is they continue to negotiate with the Governor’s office to cancel the meeting.  We should know more Monday morning.  But in the event the meeting is not cancelled, we need to bring an army, again, to Newark that day.  Like last time, the City will be providing buses for people to join that day.  Details to follow.
What happened that triggered this?
Last week the City Council approved the Mayor’s submission of the offer letter to NYWW which starts the Eminent Domain process.  Embedded in the letter is the statutory requirement that NYWW respond to the offer within 14 days.  Apparently, this was misinterpreted to mean that somehow Hoboken could take ownership of the property in 14 days which isn’t the case.  Eminent Domain is a lengthier process which involves a court decision, among other actions.  As a result, NJ Transit, with Governor Murphy’s support, responded with what they felt was a similarly aggressive action.  As mentioned, Mayor Bhalla is actively engaged with the Governor’s office to educate them on the process and also to work towards a potential solution.  Possibly expanding the response date from 14 days to 45 or longer – to keep everyone at the proverbial table working on a solution.
Why are NJ Transit doing this at all?  
It gives NYWW protection because NJ Transit has political jurisdiction that is higher than Hoboken – meaning they are immune to Eminent Domain by Hoboken.  
Didn’t NJ Transit and Governor Murphy already say they weren’t going to do this?
Yes, and no.  In 2012 NJ Transit issued a letter to then Hoboken mayor saying they would not pursue this site.  On Martin Luther King Day this past January, NJ Transit decided not to vote on acquiring the site.  This was in direct response to public outcry, and then Governor-Elect Murphy chastising NJ Transit for this last minute, Governor Christie led effort.  But note that the recent actions were not a commitment to not act, just not yet.
This is bad for Hoboken.  No question mark.
Irrespective of your view on whether New York Waterway should run its operations from the UDD site, this is bad for Hoboken because, as I said at the City Council meeting and to Mayor Bhalla on Thursday, it means we permanently lose the ability to influence what can be done on that site.  This is the worst outcome.  Any other outcome is better.
What is at risk to Hoboken?
Although NY Waterway are currently planning for it to be used as its operation hub for refueling, repairs, storage and pumping sanitary waste its ferries, and a parking lot for 150 employees, they can build as-of-right what it is currently zoned (see below for the actual zoning).  Effectively an up to 35’ high ferry terminal, with a large parking lot for commuters and room for maintenance.  Think Port Imperial Terminal in Weehawken, only shorter.  But once NJ Transit owns the site, because they are a quasi-government agency, it could be even more expansive given they are better positioned than private property owners to be granted variances from our local zoning rules.  Think about what that could mean in terms of pollution and erosion to our entire waterfront and congestion on our streets.
What about Bayonne?
Bayonne is in the process of seeking ferry service for their city.  And like with all municipalities, there has to be a public, RFP process which has begun.  NYWW are responding to the RFP, but their conversations are limited to date.  This is happening in parallel, which is why we need more time to solve this.
What can you do?
Engage. Inform. Advocate. Those are my campaign slogan words from my election in 2015, they will probably be again for my campaign in 2019, and they continue to guide all of my actions on the council.  And for any of you who wants to be a voice on this, or anything else, they can be your words too.  How to do this? 
  • Attend the NJ Transit special meeting Wednesday at 2pm.  We had almost 100 people attend the last one! 
  • Write your representatives - Governor Murphy, Senator Stack and Mayor Bhalla encouraging them to find a solution that benefits everyone.  Tell them why the waterfront in Hoboken is important to you. 
  • Share your views (and others’ posts too) on social media
    • Like / share / Retweet posts from HobokenRPW and ABetterWaterfront 
    • Use hashtags #SaveOurWaterfront #hoboken #heartbeatsinthemuck 
    • Tag @GovMurphy on all posts.
  • Forward information to your friends.  Use your own email distribution / friend’s lists to forward this email, and those from others so our community is best informed.
To those who are less supportive of this effort.  Please note that I am not supportive of NYWW shutting down under any circumstances.  That is not what this is about.  This is about all of the stakeholders getting together and using all tools available to come up with the best solution for everyone.  For Hoboken and protecting our waterfront for the best and highest use for Hoboken, it’s the public’s voice, eminent domain and a willingness to respect the need for ferry transportation.  All of which we bring to this discussion.    
I will continue to keep everyone posted as events unfold.  Please feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions of comments or want to discuss any of this.
 
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
 
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

PS - Click here for the most recent article in the NY Times from yesterday 
Current Zoning for the UDD Site - https://ecode360.com/15237942

Thursday, March 29, 2018

MAYOR BHALLA PROPOSED ZERO MUNICIPAL TAX INCREASE IN 2018 BUDGET

Official release:

Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla has introduced a municipal budget that keeps municipal taxes stable for the 8th straight year, with a zero percent increase in the municipal tax rate.

In the proposed budget, the City will invest $5 million in water main improvements and $2.2 million in road resurfacing projects. Additionally, the city is planning to acquire the Union Dry Dock property, valued at $11.63 million, to advance the City’s plan of a contiguous waterfront.

“As your mayor, I’m committed to making fiscally sound decisions on behalf of our taxpayers,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “This budget’s stable tax rate fulfills a promise I made to residents last year on the campaign trail while allowing us to make new investments in quality of life projects, including infrastructure upgrades and additional open space.”

In addition to a stable tax rate, revenue to the City will increase by 3.8%, due in part to the City’s growth in property tax ratables. The City will also maintain a healthy budget surplus to help protect Hoboken’s finances in case of an emergency, so taxpayers are not faced with hardship due to any unforeseen circumstances.


Talking Ed Note: MSV noted previously the effort by Mayor Ravi Bhalla in his first year is laudable although there are built-in costs for health insurance and pension unsustainable in future years, even with using tax revenues coming online with ratables and increased surplus utilization.

The challenge to City Hall and the City Council is reducing some costs now as the escalations elsewhere will no longer allow for a flat tax structure.

Councilman Mike DeFusco: 'What's happening in Hoboken'

Official release:
With spring here and temperatures on the rise, hopefully you have some great holiday plans set for this weekend. I just wanted to quickly update you with what’s been going on in City Hall and across Hoboken.  
Connecting Our Waterfront at Union Dry Dock
Union Dry Dock is the last remaining industrial maritime use in Hoboken and the final piece to the puzzle of connecting our entire riverfront.  Unfortunately, due to years of inaction to acquire the land at fair market value, the land was sold to ferry operator New York Waterway in November for $11.5 million.  The intended use is as a repair and refueling facility for their ferry fleet, which in my opinion, and in the opinion of the entire City Council, is incongruent with the nearby neighborhood and antithetical to connecting our waterfront.  
In response, the City Council authorized the purchase of the land for $11.63 million -- a fair market price which is over $100k more than what NY Waterway paid for the property less than five months ago.  I have personally urged the administration to work with New York Waterway to ensure they find an adequate home and avoid the use of eminent domain unless absolutely necessary.  After all, a protracted legal fight like the one we had to acquire the southwest plaza could adversely impact ferry schedules and fares while obligating our City to pay millions more in legal fees. I am hopeful that the administration will use the tools granted to it by the Council wisely.

To relieve any fears, this isn’t a question of if we’ll own the land, it's a question of when and how much we’ll pay for it.  Once acquired, we will then need to have the tough conversation on how to finance the actual construction of a waterfront asset.

To read more, visit the Fund for a Better Waterfront
A Hilton Hotel Near Hoboken Terminal
On the other end of the waterfront, directly behind the U.S. Post Office (89 River Street), is a surface parking lot, which I've long advocated to become a world-class Hilton Hotel.  Such a project would not only activate an underutilized portion of the southern waterfront, steps from mass transportation but also generate $1.7 million in yearly revenue for the City and create over 120 permanent jobs.  With new costs like Union Dry Dock and the Northwest Resiliency Park on the horizon, we need smart revenue generators like this for the City.  
With the proposed hotel site sitting squarely in the First Ward, my home district, I've worked for the past two years with the neighborhood and all stakeholders to design a plan that activates the waterfront with ground floor retail, meeting and event space, as well as a one of a kind rooftop restaurant.  Additionally, working with my Council colleagues Jen Giattino and Peter Cunningham, we addressed core issues like parking, traffic congestion and pedestrian safety. Further, to protect neighborhood quality of life, I specifically required the plan to be set back along Newark Street to allow more light and air at street level while protecting views towards the Hudson River.  

Interestingly, after voting against the redevelopment plan and publicly campaigning against the project last year, Mayor Bhalla has suddenly switched stances and has joined the City Council in supporting the balanced project that we always knew it would be. The new plan advocated by the mayor reduces the height of the building by roughly 50 feet, but eliminates the setback -- creating a wider building with nearly identical square footage and bulk as the original plan. Though the mayor’s flip-flop on this will certainly be noteworthy to his supporters, I want to assure everyone that this is the right direction for Hoboken. I look forward to continued work with the administration, stakeholders and neighborhood to see the project forward.  

For more information, click here -- please let me know your thoughts.
Mayor Bhalla Accepts Job at Another Politically Connected Law Firm
While on the topic of broken campaign promises, you may recall when former Councilman Bhalla’s employment with one of the state’s most politically-connected law firms was a major topic of discussion during the mayoral campaign.  As public concern mounted, he announced that if elected he would leave his firm to be a full-time mayor. But now, Mayor Bhalla has changed course and accepted a job as an attorney at the law firm Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen -- a real estate, land use and zoning law firm that’s just as much a part of the establishment political patronage network as his former firm.  
Despite paying our mayor $116,100 -- the highest in Hudson County and one of the top mayoral salaries in the entire state -- our mayor's second job will compensate him $60k base salary from his side job but more alarmingly, unlimited commissions on all new business he brings to the law firm.  
Front page of the February 21st Jersey Journal featuring the story, which can be read here
In Jersey politics, this sadly only means one thing -- peddling and trading professional contracts for personal and political gain. In his own words, Mayor Bhalla “has no specific responsibilities” at the law firm and “is not expected to spend any time” at his second job.  Why would any employer want a no-show employee without any specific responsibilities?  The truth is that Ravi Bhalla has been hired to use his notoriety as our Mayor to benefit his new firm. If he secures a new client for his firm, maybe another entity that does business with Hoboken for example, he'll be compensated for it.  And if a client needs a favor in Hudson County, they've got a Mayor on the payroll. It's the oldest play in the book for the political establishment, and the losers are taxpayers like us who get hit with the bill.
That's why it's so important for the City Council to act as a watchdog on this issue and ensure that Hoboken isn't for sale. I am currently in the process of drafting a comprehensive ethics ordinance to ensure that our mayor’s second job is transparent to all citizens and that he is held to the same standard as any other City employee.

Read more as to why this is a startling conflict of interest, by clicking here.
Making our Elections Democratic Again
As you may recall, on Election Day 2017, Hoboken saw 6 candidates running for mayor and 14 running for City Council to fill 3 seats -- a political circus that confused and frustrated many voters, resulting in a mayor who won with only 32% of the electorate.  In response to residents’ concerns, an overwhelming majority (7-2) of the City Council approved a ballot referendum which would allow our community to collectively decide whether or not to re-institute runoff elections. Mayor Bhalla vetoed the ordinance, spreading half-truths and politicizing the issue, but the Council responded by overriding him (7-2) to let the people decide.

The question as to how our elections are run is now with you!  
In opposing runoffs, Mayor Bhalla is essentially limiting the viability for independents to run for political office. Without runoff elections, upstart candidates for City Council and mayor face a nearly impossible task to run for elected office without institutional support as crowded races favor the person who can raise the most money -- the incumbent. Read more on my website about why runoff elections are important and be sure to mark your calendars to vote in the referendum on Tuesday, November 6. 

Together, I know we can continue to bring new energy and new ideas to Hoboken by encouraging the next generation of policy makers to get involved.  
Washington Street and Infrastructure Upgrades
I know the question on everyone’s minds -- what’s going on with Washington Street?   Many have expressed concern at the rate which businesses have been closing and I agree that it’s troubling.  With the introduction of the city’s Master Plan Reexamination this spring, and as chairman of the zoning subcommittee, I intend to begin working with my colleagues to update our city’s 1980’s era zoning to help small businesses and mom and pops.  In terms of the ongoing and frustrating resurfacing initiative, City Council recently hosted an open meeting with the contractor as the City is behind schedule and over $1 million over budget.   The Council took that opportunity to remind the contractor and administration that the deadline for finishing work on the street is August 21.  Further, paving along Washington from 1st through 5th Street will commence in early April once the threat of frost has passed.
Last but certainly not least, working with Councilwoman Fisher, I was proud to have supported the administration and sponsored a $5.2 million bond ordinance to aid in city-wide infrastructure repairs.   Though I believe bonding should be used sparingly, I do believe that using long term bonds for long term improvements, like infrastructure, is necessary especially given no other funding mechanisms are readily available.

I look forward to sharing more on infrastructure projects once the Council passes our final 2018 budget in late April, so stay tuned.  
Until then, wishing you and your family a very Happy Easter and Passover!

Best, 
Mike DeFusco
Hoboken City Councilman

P.S.
Should you ever need anything, please email me at Mike4Hoboken@yahoo.com or call me at 646.372.4341.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gristy chewables: Hoboken to get another hotel; Menendez escapes prison on corruption; will run to be Soprano State Senator again

A second hotel will join the W after the details of a planned approval were announced yesterday on the Hudson County View.

From the story:

Hoboken officials announced that a 17-story, 270-room Hilton Hotel is coming to the waterfront during a brief press conference at Pier A Park this morning.




KMS Development Partners said the endeavor will create $1.7 million in tax revenue for the city, as well as 120 full-time jobs during construction of the project.
The project will also renovate the Mile Square City’s post office, located at 89 River St., which was constructed back in 1931.
For more on the story: please see the Hudson County View.
Bob Menendez pal Salmon Melgen is not expected to make the kickoff today
in Union City launching another Senate bid of his close friend due to
a conviction for defrauding Medicare to the tune of $105 million.

Up the hill in Union City today, there's an announcement featuring NJ Sen. Bob Menendez. Having successfully escaped conviction on federal corruption charges in November, another Senate campaign is in the offing. Other Soprano State officials are expected to gather in support including Governor Phil Murphy, Sen. Cory Booker but everyone wants to know if Hoboken's new mayor Ravi Bhalla will make the big time Soprano State photo op.
Menendez escaped the fate of his friend who went down in a related corruption trial last year and Department of Justice officials first signaled the mistrial would return for another round. They later reconsidered and pulled the plug. Some expect Menendez will be working overtime behind the scenes as the HudCo Machine ramps up its civil war.
Talking Ed Note: Does this mean there won't be anyone available to fly Dominican girls in for the party tonight doing the jobs Americans won't do?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Advisory: Statement from Mayor Bhalla on the Acquisition of the Union Dry Dock Property

Official release:


Statement on Union Dry Dock Property

Dear Residents,

As your Mayor, I promise to be open and transparent with you about how best we can continue to move our City forward. To this end, on Friday, March 23, I made an offer to New York Waterway Chairman Armand Pohan to purchase the Union Dry Dock property for $11.63 million.  This purchase by the City of Hoboken would advance our collective vision to transform this property to an open public park for everyone to enjoy.

Allow me to provide you with some background - on March 15th, the Hoboken City Council authorized me, in my capacity as Mayor, to acquire the Union Dry Dock Property by friendly acquisition or by eminent domain, as a last resort.  At that time, the City also conducted a thorough evaluation of the property and received an appraisal valuing it at $11.63 million. With this information in hand, I felt that it was in the best interest of the City to make a fair and friendly offer to NY Waterway.  I now await their response.

In my letter to NY Waterway, I stated that condemnation or the use of eminent domain would only be implemented if all parties are not able to engage in voluntary negotiations. The City’s goal in these negotiations are two-fold: to (1) secure the Union Dock Property and advance our long-envisioned plan of a contiguous waterfront; and (2) work cooperatively with regional public and private stakeholders to assist NY Waterway in securing an appropriate location for their refueling, repair and maintenance operations.  To be clear, NYWaterway’s intentions for this property is not to add another ferry stop in Hoboken, but rather to use the facility solely as a refueling, repair and maintenance location.

As both your Mayor, and a fellow resident of Hoboken, I see firsthand how beneficial NY Waterway is to our City and the region’s mass transit infrastructure.  However, I also firmly believe that the Union Dry Dock property is not an appropriate location for the use intended by NY Waterway, nor does it serve the greater public, regional interest in expanding mass transit options for New Jersey residents.  I have made it clear that I will do everything within my lawful authority as Mayor to ensure this land is secured as open space for the public benefit, and my offer to purchase this property is a means towards this end.

As always, if you ever have any questions or thoughts regarding our City, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office as my staff welcome and appreciate your support and involvement in this critical issue for our City’s future.

Very truly yours,

Ravi S. Bhalla
Mayor, City of Hoboken




Talking Ed Note: This is not an end but a stop on the road to an uncertain outcome in what will be a lengthy process. There's no doubt an effort to refund the purchase price to NY Waterway will fail. There's no proposed solution and "the offer" ends there.

There's a larger road paved with bigger players at the state level: Governor Phil Murphy, 30,000 commuters and of course NJ Transit. If there's an opportunity to create a solution near the downtown Hoboken PATH, a compromise may lead to a wider pathway for residents at the Union Dry Dock and perhaps valuable condos at the location.

Time will tell but this process is likely not near the halfway point. Let's hope the mayor will be able to influence all involved to a positive outcome.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: On the agenda this week - Budgets yes! Parks delayed...

Official release:

 
Dear friends and neighbors – 
Hope you all had a great weekend.  Today feels like an official break in the weather and a trend towards Spring… fingers crossed.  There is and was a lot going on this week, so here are a few quick reminders / updates:  
  • Tonight! Budget Workshop from 6 – 9 pm at City Hall  
  • Tomorrow night (3/27)! 
    • 7pm at Demarest - Adoption of the Preliminary School District Budget for 2018-2019 (rescheduled from 3/20)
    • ***RESCHEDULED TO 4/9 – 7-9pm at Wallace:  Northwest Resiliency Park Design Selection! 
  • Wednesday night (3/28)!  Budget Workshop from 6-9 pm at City Hall
 
Budget Workshop Tonight:  Hoping we can beat last week’s record of 7 members of the public attending in person!  Tonight covers a lot of topics many of you frequently ask me about.  If you cannot attend in person, you can watch live at home by clicking here:
6:00 pm - City Clerk / Jimmy Farina – OPRA requests, elections, and all public records
7:00 pm - Corporation Counsel / Brian Aloia – Tenant Advocacy, In house / External Activities, Lawsuits, Redevelopment, Municipal Courts
8:00 pm – Administration & Finance / B.A. Stephen Marks – New Constituent Services Team, Debt Debt Debt, Ratable expansion, Washington St., Infrastructure, and Suez
Reminder - the draft budget including parking utility increased $5.2M or 4.2% mainly driven by significant increases in healthcare and pension costs (excl parking, $4.1M or 3.8%). The tax rate remains flat (so the municipal portion of your tax bill would not change) due to significant ratable expansion and excess prior years surplus are to offset these cost increases.
 
School Board Meeting Tomorrow night (3/27) at 7 pm – 
            Schools account for approximately 24% of your property tax rate (Hoboken accounts for 30%).  Do you want to see the funding for our pre-k 3 and pre-k 4 program?  Are you interested in how much our schools invest in the curriculum?  This meeting is the first to discuss the budget.  There will be an official public hearing on May 1st with a planned adoption of the budget on May 8th.
 
***RESCHEDULED TO 4/9 (No longer tomorrow 3/27) Northwest Resiliency Park Design Selection!
Do you want sports fields?  Or meandering paths?  Or a little of both?  If you have been part of the process or are just eager to see what our new, biggest park will be, then definitely plan to attend.  The meeting will be held at the Wallace School from 7-9.  Click here to see the two alternatives that are being used as the basis for the final design.  I am on the Northern Community Development subcommittee (chaired by Councilman Cunningham) and provided input last week to the administration and am eager to see what the final reveal is… 
 
Wednesday – 3/28:  If we cannot break attendance records at this meeting (remember, bar is currently only at 7) then I honestly don’t know what will get people to come out!  Parking and Safety!  If you cannot attend in person, you can watch live at home by clicking here:
6:00 pm – Hoboken Parking Utility/Director Ryan Sharpe – Meters, Intersection Safety (Stop Signs, Bump Outs and Traffic lights), Bike Lanes, Parking Tickets, the HOP, and Road Improvements
7:00 pm – Hoboken Fire Department / Chief Brian Crimmins – From 4 alarm fires to burned popcorn and everything in between.
8:00 pm – Hoboken Police Department / Chief Ken Ferrante – Walking Policemen, Monitor Dangerous Intersections, Crime Statistics, Homeless residents
 
Please feel free to email me at hoboken2nd@gmail.com or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any thoughts about or want to discuss any of this.  As Chair of the Finance, Administration and Infrastructure subcommittee, I will be presiding over all of the workshops.  Thank you in advance for continuing to engage in all of these important topics!  I received 47 responses to my email "Guns & Children, Taxes and Buslines" and have taking into account this feedback in our budget discussions.  Keep the feedback coming.  More voices are always better!
 
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Ravi's score, shooting wars and uncommon political sense

According to one alleged accounting of the Ravi Bhalla fundraiser last week, the new mayor scored with a $50,0000 haul.

While we await the ELEC report showing the take, what is the over and under how much of the money came from outside Hoboken?

While the new mayor not three months into office pulled in an astounding $540,000 in last year's four-month mayoral campaign, he was not Hoboken's favorite candidate. Bhalla depended on monies mostly from outside Hoboken and PAC monies to reach the finish line. Who was responsible for elevating him to the finish with a controversial and suspicious "terror flyer" in the final days officially remains a mystery.

The scene at the Mayor Ravi Bhalla fundraiser last week at 10th and weekend. The "event" saw a $50,000 haul but
it doesn't look like it came from these happy people. Most of the money probably came from special interests
outside of Hoboken. Credit: InsiderNJ

Councilwoman Jen Giattino was Hoboken's favorite candidate in grassroots support. Her unplanned candidacy saw well over 80% of her funding come from Mile Square City residents. Is that why Ravi Bhalla declared war on her and Tiffanie Fisher with 18 months to go before the next council ward elections?

On Saturday, a national rally against the civil rights of Americans to self-defense took place outside City Hall. Hundreds of people came out to see their Second Amendment rights removed and urged it against their fellow Americans. Things are much neater when the police arrive with the ambulance to draw the chalk lines and pick up the bodies.


This after the shootings in Parkland Florida where the Broward County school system implemented the "progressive" policies not to discipline children under the law or its school regulations and the police did nothing after DOZENS of visits to the shooter's home, literally. They followed the "progressive" protocols.

Then there were the two tips to the FBI, both ignored and the warnings to school officials. In the end, do you notice how the name of the shooter is ignored as the "progressive" plan to disarm law-abiding Americans proceeds? A school official designated to protect a Maryland school saw the shooter taken down quickly last week but that common sense suggestion is dismissed. Doesn't fit the agenda.

Did you notice the big Soros money and other "progressive" organizations behind the effort?

Until mental illness is addressed in the county, terrible incidents will occur. Murder whether with a rifle or a bomb is illegal. Putting up "gun free zone" signs is so effective. It's not, but it does make the people putting up the signs feel so smug and superior.

Until then, Americans are assaulted with "it's for the children." Let's try to believe that as we examine one of the crisis actor props seen below at the rally in DC. CBS News reported 200,000 people turned out for the event.

In DC, 200,000 people turned for the rally there and other places against the Second Amendment while one of the central crisis actors sported the Cuban flag on her sleeve; the communist version.  Indoctrination is well-underway in our "progressive" education system.

The progressive policies that led to the Parkland shooting are intentionally ignored. Facts like the name of the shooter too many wish to ignore goes entirely unmentioned now. The document pushed right from the top of the former White House is called, "Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline," no irony intended.

Now there's something to cry about.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ravi Bhalla: 'Screw democracy, I wanna be The Dictator!'

Last night the new mayor Ravi Bhalla, not three months into his term, announced he'll seek absolute total control eluding him on the City Council.

The power play announcement came at a fundraiser at 10th and Willow Thursday night.

Apparently, the City Council approving more than 90% of the administration agenda isn't enough so Ravi Bhalla will raise money and run a slate in November 2019 in search of rubber-stampers.

"Me and Michael Russo need two seats," Ravi says.

Not three months into the job of mayor, Ravi Bhalla announced he's focusing on 

council elections for November 2019. You read it right: November 2019. 
Absolute power above all.

The targets officially are Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher with some cannon fodder to be named later but it's the women who stand independently on good governance that he can't stomach.

Too many awful council questions raised about that shady employment contract with a NJ politically connected Republican law firm and all. Public accountability after a promise broken immediately? How dare they!

If Ravi Bhalla can pull off a double ward turnover, he'd have a five-member council majority: Emily Jabbour, Jim Doyle, second and fifth wards joining the decider and ultimate kingmaker: Michael Russo.

Who told you about the Ravi-Russo alliance and the effort to have the Solomon Dwek meeting, $5,000 zoning board selling enemy of Reform (and Dawn Zimmer) in Councilman Michael Russo elevated to City Council President last November? 

So Ravi Bhalla's answer to working with a smoothly well-functioning City Council and focusing on Hoboken is to make Michael Russo the fifth and deciding majority vote!

Ravi Bhalla wants to make Michael Russo the Kingmaker (and Deal Maker) of Hoboken! 




Talking Ed Note: The public admission by Ravi Bhalla is for a council slate but there likely won't be any candidate "found" in the third ward, home to Michael Russo. If one is, it's ceremonial and will join the other cannon fodder on a ticket in the fourth ward vs. Ruben Ramos, first ward vs. Mike DeFusco and fifth ward vs. Peter Cunningham.

Is this what Councilman Jim Doyle had in mind for a second council term? He'll have to take orders from Ravi Bhalla's would be kingmaker Councilman Michael Russo in 2020 if Ravi Bhalla has his way. How the worm has turned. #FreeJim.

Unfortunately for Jim Doyle and Hoboken, Ravi Bhalla resents having to work full-time for Hoboken. Since he can't put more of his focus and energy into his real interest, re: seeking higher political office; he'll just have to see Hoboken burn down in the interim.

Weeks ago, council members had responded to Councilman Jim Doyle their calls to Ravi Bhalla were being ignored. So, Hoboken's new mayor, not three months into the job would rather make the job of working for Hoboken secondary to his desire to once again elevate Michael Russo to kingmaker and be rid of the good government council members.

Tells us much about who Ravi Bhalla is and he's obviously no reformer or principled good-government advocate. If his power play doesn't work out, maybe he'll do another deal with HudCo and get out of dodge. Either way, it's Ravi's way or no way.

Update: As MSV predicted in Premium, the second veto of Mayor Ravi Bhalla on the splitting appointment powers on the Rent Level Board is officially cast.

The mumbo-jumbo attempting to deceive the council on their ordinance authority to alter board appointments as it did in 2009 for the Zoning Board is below. Note, the documentation was released not to the public but to Ravi Bhalla's paid political operative Nancy Pincus.

MSV publishes the documentation in its entirety in the full interest of the Hoboken public. The veto puts Councilmembers Vanessa Falco and Michael Russo front and center. Falco changed her vote from yes to no on the last ordinance vote. In doing so, she makes Michael Russo's sixth yes vote both a question mark and him a kingmaker. Six votes would be required again to override.

So, what do you think Michael Russo will do with his first kingmaker opportunity? 
Right behind this is the pending outcome of the expiring Church Towers Pilot.




City: COMMUNITY MEETING ON NORTHWEST RESILIENCY PARK DESIGN ALTERNATIVES RESCHEDULED FOR APRIL 9

Official release:

MARCH 27 COMMUNITY MEETING ON NORTHWEST RESILIENCY PARK DESIGN ALTERNATIVES RESCHEDULED FOR APRIL 9

The community meeting to discuss the final design concept for the Northwest Resiliency Park originally scheduled for March 27, 2018 from has been rescheduled to April 9 from 7-9pm at the Wallace School.

On February 27, 2018, community members joined the project team at the Wallace School to review the two design alternatives developed for the Northwest Resiliency Park. The presentation, video of the meeting, and more information on the two design alternatives are available at www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark. After the meeting, residents were invited to complete an online survey to provide feedback on the proposed design concepts. Nearly 1,000 residents completed the survey.

The project team is currently using the community feedback from the meeting and online survey to create the final design concept, which will be discussed at the community meeting in April.

For more information on the Northwest Resiliency Park, visit: www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Union City Whistleblower: What did Brian Stack ever do for Hoboken?

Former  Union City Deputy Police Chief & whistleblower Joseph Blaettler wrote a letter to the editor for Hoboken people to consider what has State Senator Brian State ever done for Hoboken?

Excerpts from the letter:

Yes, if you like a card for your Birthday, a free Turkey, hot dog or handout then yes, Brian is your guy. If you are looking for fair representation in Trenton, I suggest you look elsewhere.

While Stack is successful in securing hundreds of millions of dollars for Union City, what does he secure for Hoboken? When you go to Union City you will see new schools, swimming pools, parks and roads all paid for with state dollars.
Can anyone tell me the last time Brian Stack secured money for a new school in Hoboken? How about a swimming pool or new police station? Recently, I drove down Washington Street in Hoboken and I thought I was in Bagdad, Iraq.
If Stack cares so much about Hoboken why is he not getting funds to redo Washington Street? Three years ago, Stack got Christie to give him a five-million-dollar loan to balance the Union City budget, how much of the loan did Hoboken get? Zero.
Last week, the new school aid figures were released. Union City was awarded a 9 million dollar increase, increasing their overall funding to $190 million a year from state taxpayers. The levy to Union City taxpayers is 5%.
What did Hoboken get? Zero percent increase with a total annual funding of $10 million from the state. Whereas Union City taxpayers only contribute 5% locally for education, Hoboken taxpayers are forced to pay 54.5% locally to fund their schools.
Where has Stack been in fighting for school aid for Hoboken? Maybe this is one reason Hoboken taxes are so high. Stack seems to get a lot of state funding for Union City but nothing for Hoboken.
Now that Brian Stack wants to take over the county he comes to Hoboken asking for support, and local politicians stand next to him praising him. Did any of them ask Senator Stack before we commit to you, what have you done for us lately?
While Bhalla gets what he wants– Mayor of Hoboken and then a second high paying job with a politically connected law firm, and Stack gets to be the next Chairman of the HCDO, Mayor, Senator and King, what do the people of Hoboken get?
As a friend once said about Stack “If you’re looking for a handout, Brian Stack is your guy. If you are looking for a hand up, don’t expect help from Stack.”
Joseph Blaettler

Read the entire letter at the Hudson County View:
https://hudsoncountyview.com/letter-how-can-hoboken-democrats-praise-senator-stack-as-a-leader/


Councilman Michael Russo makes a pitch with State Senator Brian Stack at the Monday night invitation only Mayor Ravi Bhalla event for the Hoboken Democratic committee.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Politico picks up MSV exposing Team Ravi-Russo

The Hoboken Democratic Committee get together Monday night is typically a local story with a fascination not beyond political insiders.

Politico, however, is obviously reading MSV and picked up yesterday's Sign of the Times and the linked story to HCV. In addition, it highlighted the MSV video of FBI informant Solomon Dwek with Councilman Michael Russo posted in yesterday's comments section.

Politico added MSV's Sign of the Times and its Solomon Dwek - Michael Russo video 

With that, let's toss another comprehensive excerpt on the barbie starring New Jersey's most infamous FBI sting featuring the surveillance video of Solomon Dwek and Hoboken's notorious clown prince of land-use variance applications for a price: intimate ally and special guest of Mayor Ravi Bhalla. It's Michael Russo back in the lights.

This video excerpt captured all the major highlights and is a must-see for Hoboken residents who would like to know which bed political pals sleep together.

For recent Hoboken politicos who think Hoboken's notorious corruption history begins with efforts to clean up voting at the polls on election day led by Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher as Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee; here's where your Hoboken Sopranos 101 education begins.

HDC Chair Tiffanie Fisher was informed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla she was not invited to the Monday Hoboken Democratic Committee gathering. Instead, Ravi Bhalla brought in a special guest of his own who has no seat on the committee, Councilman Michael Russo.



See the entire Politico statewide coverage at the link:
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/newjerseyplaybook

Related: MSV highlighted the rumored efforts of Ravi Bhalla effort last November to elevate Michael Russo to City Council President but their plan quickly failed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sign of the Times: Ravi Bhalla brings Michael Russo to a Democratic Committee meeting

Mayor Ravi Bhalla invites his special guest Michael Russo at State Senator Brian Stack appearance

Mayor Ravi Bhalla speaks to a group of the Hoboken Democratic Committee with his special invited guest Councilman Michael Russo without the Chair Tiffanie Fisher, who he refused to invite.

The Hudson County View attended the event last night and confirms MSV's "Sign of the Times."
The Ravi paid political operatives and insiders are not taking the exposure of the Ravi-Russo alliance well. They've gone Ravi Robot desperate with a flailing freak-out attempting to change the subject.

It's working on par with the attempted deflection on Ravi Bhalla's second job with his Republican law firm employment contract. That's a shame.

https://hudsoncountyview.com/bhalla-rallies-hoboken-dems-to-elect-stack-as-the-next-hcdo-chairman/

Monday, March 19, 2018

County Executive Tom DeGise: ‘Ravi Bhalla stabbed me in the back’

The Hudson County war of the roses is in full bloom. County Executive Tom DeGise finds himself in the middle of it as State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack flexes against HudCo rivals, first and foremost State Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.

Degise, in an interview with John Heinis of the Hudson County View Friday proclaims,"It's a renewal of the war in 2007. The sides are just about the same."

The first target is Hudson County Democratic Chair and Degise states it wasn't a problem for Brian Stack to assume the position but says, "Rather than do it peacefully, he's decided to knock down the wall."

DeGise then called it a "sneak attack" before adding, "It's my job (as County Executive) over the next year and a half to make them pay for doing that." Later, he conceded that Brian Stack would likely not face opposition for the seat of Hudson County Democratic Chair as no fight had been anticipated.

Implicit in who will pay are the mayors supporting the Brian Stack insurrection led first by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. The battle is expected to rage over the County Executive election set for next year.

After blasting Mayor Steve Fulop and what he described as his lack of accomplishments, DeGise offered some choice words for two mayors, Ravi Bhalla and Felxi Roque of West New York.

(Scroll ahead to the 32:45 mark.)

Noting both mayors issued a joint release 30 minutes after the war's launch by Brian Stack and Steve Fulop "of my demise" over the County Executive office; DeGise said he took Mayor Ravi Bhalla to breakfast after the Hoboken mayoral election last November.

Apparently, he thought he was getting along well with Hoboken's new mayor. Claiming shock at being stabbed in the back, Degise said Ravi Bhalla did it "without even a phone call."

"Don't come from the back. I resent it with both of those guys, (Bhalla and Roque)," failing to have the common courtesy to call him.

"I tried to call him," Degise said of an earlier effort to reach out to Ravi Bhalla before adding, "I ain't calling no more."

Looking forward to next year's County Executive election, Degise eyed Hoboken's electorate saying. "Ravi got elected with 32% of the vote; I'll take the other 68%, how about that?" - for County Executive.

Where does place Hoboken which sends tens of millions annually in taxes to Hudson County? Let's put it this way, not good.



Talking Ed Note: So what did Ravi Bhalla get in the deal for joining the HudCo insurrection?

Well, assuredly, there's a deal cut and your friendly neighborhood Horsey will publish all the gory details on the neotransactionalist mayor's self-serving transaction. Just know that Mayor Ravi Bhalla is looking toward his political self-interests and personal ambitions.

You do recall this issue cited as an election matter of concern in last year's election as similarly, Ravi Bhalla's law firm conflict potential? Certainly, it's tough to keep up with Ravi Bhalla's second job and political machinations not a quarter into the job.

In the interim, Hoboken can prepare to make the immediate casualties list with fewer services and support from Hudson County while it prepares for its annual near double-digit tax increase or higher.

Thank you Ravi.