Monday, April 30, 2018

Grist for the Mill - RaviLeaks: 'He's bailing on mayor to take the Assembly seat'

"It's three months, where's my next political job?"

According to people who declined to comment on the record, that's very much a current topic for Hoboken's mayor Ravi Bhalla.

Hoboken's new mayor with political junkets to Trenton and Texas under his belt is scoping out his next political position in elected office. The road of opportunity is, however, rather narrow and one that's bedeviled Ravi Bhalla for years.

A bold move to make a jump before the four-year Hoboken mayoral term is on the table several insiders say. Bhalla made no promise not to leverage the office of Hoboken mayor for personal political gain, unlike his Reform rival Councilwoman Jen Giattino. The issue became a hot topic in last fall's mayoral campaign.

Insiders say that the brouhaha over Ravi Bhalla's second "no show" job has created a bad taste among many in Hoboken with no end in sight. "That's a way to game the system and Ravi put headlights on the practice. No one is happy about it getting out," said one statewide player.

As some see the switch at best as a middling move, there's one distinct advantage between holding a seat in the Assembly and Hoboken mayor. The NJ Assembly position is considered part-time and most of its members hold down outside jobs. "Ravi can wheel and deal to his heart's content in the Assembly and no one will take notice, unlike the scrutiny he's generated in Hoboken," one HudCo politico said.

In Hoboken, there's more than a little residual anger over Bhalla's breaking a campaign promise to exit his former law firm and make Hoboken his work priority. The City Council remains less than enamored with the unanswered questions about the broken promise and is looking to amp up oversight. No one knows how much money Ravi Bhalla has brought in to-date for his second job with a Republican law firm.

Another person outside Hoboken pointed to the origins of the sweetheart legal deal employment contract saying, "It was set up for Ravi by the previous law firm."

Bhalla may elect to make a jump for the Assembly office as a sitting Hoboken mayor. He's not interested with running off cycle after his four-year term is completed and the Hoboken public may reject him in a potential runoff election in 2021.

This November, the Hoboken electorate will decide if it wishes to reinstitute runoff elections. Mayor Bhalla has been mocked by HudCo County Executive Tom DeGise for getting only 32% of the vote and said he won't be calling "no more" stating he was ambushed and Bhalla stabbed him in the back.

(Video begins at the 34:00 minute mark.)


Most local observers are aware prior to being mayor, then-councilman Ravi Bhalla was intensely interested in politically getting out of Hoboken and viewed the NJ Assembly as his ticket up the ladder. But two failed Assembly election bids, the first in 2011 to bolt midterm from the Hoboken City Council failed. State Senator Brian Stack was especially riled by Ravi Bhalla bucking him leaving Bhalla out in the political wilderness.

The Bhalla Assembly campaign efforts were squashed like a bug but the route to that legislative office may reopen with a period of detente as Stack is warming up to Bhalla backing his efforts to win Democratic  County Chair and his eventual choice for HudCo County Executive. "He's cutting a deal with Stack and will bump off Annette," said one who is privy to the whispers referencing the Assembly seat held by current two-term Assemblywoman Annette Chapparo.

Runoff elections may force Ravi Bhalla's hand as he looks to make a safe landing before his term is up. The NJ Assembly seat will be up for election in November 2019. If Hoboken voters bring back runoffs this November, a sitting City Council president may be needed to be seated as acting mayor in January 2020.

The last question among many minds is who would Ravi Bhalla try to see take the mayor's seat in his unfinished term? Last month, Bhalla held his first fundraiser not three months into his current job and declared war on the good governance council trio of Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher a full year and a half before council ward elections next year.

Now the premature declaration on his former Reform colleagues is becoming more clear. Upset at their support to allow the Hoboken voters decide on runoffs, he's being forced to play out a potentially bad hand that's cut into his political ambitions.

As a result, another woman in elected office could be Ravi Bhalla's next target to bump off.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. 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.

RaviLeaks are springing

Good weather will blossom this week and while the fountains will not be spouting at Pier A, the RaviLeaks are flowing.

There's budding RaviLeaks springing into action at lunchtime today. Events may be impacted when the word gets out and future political ambitions may be subject to change.

In the meantime, keep those RaviLeaks flowing and the transparency budding. smartyjones@me.com


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bad Politics & Good Governance

Official release:


Dear friends and neighbors:
When politics conflicts with good government it is important to speak out.  And when it affects my ability to represent you on an important issue, it is time for me to speak out.  
Last Friday, our Mayor used a recent city council vote as his reason to exclude me from speaking at the Union Dry Dock / NYWW “Protect the Waterfront” Rally on Friday evening.   When I asked to speak at the rally, I was initially told by his Chief of Staff that the schedule had been set and that the Mayor was “not inclined to make any changes.”  But when I spoke to Mayor Bhalla directly about speaking, he instead told me the reason he would not support me speaking at the event was because I voted against paying a recurring, bi-weekly stipend for his two, salaried Chief of Staff’s at the last council meeting.  
As I said to him during our conversation, since January, members of the City Council have repeatedly requested clarification and transparency concerning both the expansion of his staff and his 2nd job as “Of Counsel” with the politically connected law firm Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, P.C.  Specific concerns raised have included the increased costs and need for the expansion of his staff and the potential for conflicts of interests that his new 2nd job raises with his role as Mayor of Hoboken.  To date, his few responses have been vague and incomplete, including the one given when asked about the recurring stipend.  With no exception, both the expansion of the Mayor’s office staff combined with his 2nd job is of concern to every Hoboken resident with whom I have spoken.  I will continue to push to make sure we understand and address the full impact these have on our community.  
As a founding member of Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront since 2011, I have been advocating to protect our waterfront for years.   Regarding the former Union Dry Dock site, I have been fighting for that land to be public since I was elected in 2015 alongside council members Giattino and Cunningham, and often then-councilman Bhalla.  I have continued fighting for this, working closely with my neighbors and constituents, councilmembers, Fund for a Better Waterfront, and the Mayor for the past several months.  Had I spoken at the rally on Friday evening, my additional message would have been:  
“Where it starts, is not where it ends.  With significant planned and hoped-for ferry expansions throughout the Hudson River waterways, the potential growth of NYWW’s fleet is uncapped.  And if NYWW are allowed to keep their operations at the former UDD site, the future impact to Hoboken will be even greater than what is current being discussed.  This is why it is imperative that we continue to reach out to our elected officials, to Governor Murphy in particular, and advocate for Hoboken today.  And that we also help NYWW find a better site to accommodate its future plans.”
If holding to good government principle sees me at conflict with the Mayor then so be it.  I remain committed to working with and supporting the Mayor and my council colleagues on all good governance and issues important to Hoboken.  And as importantly, to engaging with, informing, and advocating for you.
As always, please feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions of comments or want to discuss this.
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Horse Sense: What's next for dealmaker Ravi? Sexism?

Having Councilman Michael Russo in the fold and your special guest at a Hoboken Democrat Committee meeting has its privileges.

And it has its obligations as the backroom wheeling-dealing with Russo on the Church Towers Pilot is a major conflict but for the conflict-loving mayor, no problema. They're not throwing in the towel over a conflict. Last year then-councilman Ravi Bhalla never sat out on City Council action when his law firm clients came up. He had to be told to by his colleagues "you're conflicted" and he kept mum regarding both NJ Transit and Suez.

It's not too late to see the light. It's just there are so many deals to be cut and higher political office to be sought. Why be bothered by mere conflicts?

One recent "deal" Mayor Ravi Bhalla didn't make was to let a sitting councilmember who offered him lots of great ideas opposing NY Waterway speak at the citizen's rally last Friday at Maxwell Place Park?

If a councilmember happened to be kept from publicly speaking at a citizen rally right in their own representative backyard and happened to be a woman, would anyone think that's sexist?

Well, if the councilwoman representing Maxwell Place and the second ward is silenced, there must be a good stipend why.

Ravi Bhalla is very unhappy the Hoboken City Council last week saw a bizarre "stipend" to pay overtime to his two mayoral aides who hold salaried positions in City Hall and collectively said, "nice try."

Who did Ravi Bhalla take out his solitary wrath on last week when the sordid little scam got collared?

One councilmember, one uptown representative elected by Hoboken residents who also happens to be a woman.
S-E-X-I-S-M?

"No woman may speak at the citizen's rally at Maxwell Park without my say-so. I don't care if she is the elected representative of those Hoboken residents. No OT "stipend" for my salaried mayoral aides, then be quiet woman!"

Dual job Ravi is cutting lots of deals but how much loot is actually coming into his coffers with that Republican law firm contract?

Does the Corporation Counsel know? Does Michael Russo know? How about the Shadow?
So many questions, so many backroom deals, who can keep up with how much loot?

One deal not being done is the former Mayor Zimmer Suez deal. On that front, Ravi Bhalla may have no choice but to unravel a so-called debt in millions "owed" Suez.

Unlike a whole lot of other deals with PACS, Michael Russo and big construction unions this one may actually benefit Hoboken.

Well, that would be a good thing. So let's hope Ravi gets that deal offered "undone."

There's your good news.

This Horse Sense editorial is dedicated to all the Ravibots who look the other way. Got Reform?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Grist for the Mill: Team Conflicted: Team Ravi-Russo looks to insert itself on Church Towers PILOT evaluation

A new Church Towers PILOT currently in the evaluation stages by the Ravi Bhalla Administration is creating tensions as clear undeniable conflicts surface involving Team Ravi-Russo.

At the recent subcommittee meeting on Affordable Housing last week, the topic of a potential PILOT for Church Towers was presented by the Bhalla Administration. An email from the Bhalla Administration to the subcommittee prior to the meeting included one City Council member who is most certainly not a subcommittee member: Councilman Michael Russo.

Russo is a lifelong time resident of Church Towers, a complex of buildings in midtown Hoboken and the third ward base of the Russo Clan's decades-long political machine. MSV detailed aspects of Team Ravi-Russo since they formed an alliance last November when Ravi Bhalla attempted to find votes to see Russo elected City Council President. That plan failed with the council identifying a compromise candidate of its own naming Councilman Ruben Ramos.

The involvement of Michael Russo, let alone his presence on any aspect of a new PILOT for Church Towers is a bonafide conflict. Not only should Russo as a resident not be privy to any such discussions, written communications, or evaluations on the matter of a new PILOT for Church Towers; he should never be present in the Affordable Housing Subcommittee. Nor should Russo participate in City Council Chambers if the matter comes up in for discussion let alone a vote.

The Bhalla Administration refuses to admit Russo is conflicted from participation, saying it's up to Russo to decide. Team Ravi-Russo clearly intends to not only allow but encourage Michael Russo's participation. Councilwoman Jen Giattino, seeing Michael Russo on the Administration email switched Russo out and informed the Bhalla Administration prior to the meeting. It wasn't news but Giattino standing up for good government principle angers Mayor Ravi Bhalla who looked to pull a wooly conflict over council eyes. Dual-job Ravi Bhalla isn't pleased and will continue to target his former Reform-minded friends in 2019.

None of the other Affordable Housing subcommittee members protested the switch removing Russo. The good government trio of councilmembers: Jen Giattino, Peter Cunningham and Tiffanie Fisher will not allow participation by Michael Russo on a Church Towers Pilot evaluation or vote and the council itself is not likely to mount an objection leaving the Bhalla Administration's efforts at inserting him frustrated. Of course, nothing can stop Team Ravi-Russo from continuing to operate in happy conflicted fashion behind closed doors. No bets are being taken as local bookies declare "no line" on that issue.

Over in the Cave, the latest pathological Hoboken411-type lie attempted to lay the matter of a new Church Towers PILOT at the feet of Councilwoman Jen Giatinno. The pathetic fabrication failed to present even a morsel of a half-truth. A repeat of the last Church Towers PILOT will not see an easy ride as last.

Separately, a recent fine by NJELEC to Michael Russo for violations going back to 2009 was promptly paid by the third ward councilman but so too was that good governance issue ignored at Sybil's Cave. With Michael Russo clearly wallowing in bed with the Bhalla Administration, all basic good governance matters are persona non-grata in its murky subterranean paid political operative waters.

Team Ravi-Russo is busted in the latest conflict over Councilman Michael Russo's attempt to participate in a Church Towers PILOT under evaluation by the Ravi Bhalla Administration. Councilwoman Jen Giattino stood up for good governance and blocked his insertion into an Affordable Housing Subcommittee meeting by the Bhalla Administration. Russo isn't a member of the subcommittee and is conflicted up the gazoo.
Late Friday, almost 100 residents turned out for a rally on Union Dry Dock. NY Waterway the buyer of the location, is continuing a cleanup of the site and may begin boat maintenance and fueling operations around June 1st. Mayor Ravi Bhalla assumed control to emcee the citizens' event introducing a number of elected officials in attendance - except one. It's a councilmember notable for their efforts, both opposing NY Waterway's operations at the Union Dry Dock site and working for the second ward neighborhood.

Expect to learn more about the matter soon as its connected to Ravi Bhalla's two salaried mayoral aides who the new Hoboken mayor tried to pay an additional "stipend" for what he calls "overtime." Last week the City Council discovered the insertion into the bills and refused to approve it. The council has been trying to learn more about the budget plans of the Office of Mayor after he doubled the office's mayoral aides from one to two. Politics first!

Bhalla blew up goodwill in Trenton with the election of Governor Phil Murphy. Tensions flared after the Bhalla Administration urged the City Council to pass eminent domain proceedings against the Union Dry Dock site and the council honored the request by unanimous vote. Murphy's displeasure followed with Ravi Bhalla then announcing a full retreat asking the council to undo the action. The City Council again approved his request but the damage was done.

Hoboken is not in a good position with leverage against NY Waterway or influence with the NJ Governor. The local politics, however, is what Ravi Bhalla is focused on taking political advantage. The outcome of the Union Dry Dock issue will have to await what, if anything, Gov. Phil Murphy wishes to ponder in the way of a possible compromise should one become available.

Some Hoboken residents believe one may be found at the southern rail yards near the PATH. That real estate is held by LCORE on behalf of NJ Transit and one official attempted to open a dialogue but the response is that acreage is too valuable.

The bad feeling in the NJ Governor's Office is blowing against Hoboken on that front too. More on those ill winds against the Mile Square City in due course.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. 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.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Almost halfway there!

The weather is moving from freezing temperatures to more suitable construction norms and with it, progress on the overdue Washington Street reconstruction commences.

While the workers are not enjoying the unseasonably global cooling temperatures, they've made progress up to almost fifth street.

Let's hope the Bhalla Administration can continue the effort and get it completed sooner than later.

Here are some Giant progress photos documenting the street improvements downtown.













Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: Let's get ready to rally!!!!

Official release:



 
Dear friends and neighbors:
With Spring so close we can taste it, there seems to be so much pent-up energy around so of course, the logical way to release some of this energy in a constructive and positive way is to rally with your neighbors!  Hope you can join for all our some!
RALLY TO PROTECT OUR WATERFRONT – FRIDAY 4/20 AT 6PM 
Please join me, your neighbors and Mayor Bhalla tomorrow night at Maxwell Place Park at 6pm to show your support for Protecting Our Waterfront from NYWW’s proposed maintenance, refueling and storage operations.  
  • Did you know that at least 2 federally endangered species of sturgeon and several state-threatened birds, like the osprey, were identified at the former Union Dry Dock property & would be threatened by expanded industrial use at the site?  
  • Did you know there are real, documented concerns about legacy contamination from Union Dry Dock that are not being addressed and the potential for the new, more intense uses could exacerbate the situation?  
  • Did you know that 3 months ago, hundreds of gallons of oil spilled into the Hudson River meant for NYWW in Weehawken?
This is NOT a NIMBY situation.  Nor is it about trying to put NYWW out of business and lose ferry service.  This is about ensuring that Hoboken’s interests are front and center in the discussion as alternatives are considered.  
If you can’t make it, call (609.292.6000) or tweet (@govmurphy) Governor Murphy and implore him to “Protect Our Environment”, “Keep Children Safe”, and “Choose People Over Profits”.  I have a commitment at 7pm so will not be able to stay for the entire rally, but will remain there in spirit!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

On this day in 1775

The Battle of Lexington & Concord...



and the shot heard round the world.

Talking Ed Note: For more, see https://www.britannica.com/event/Battles-of-Lexington-and-Concord

Warning: This article may be disturbing to snowflakes as it involves guns, one of the inalienable rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It's Ravi-Russo 2019! advancing as Church Towers PILOT efforts underway

Ravi Bhalla and Councilman Michael Russo teaming up on Church Towers PILOT

A revision to the flood ordinance update is on the City Council agenda tonight but the relief is too late for many. The question of why Mayor Zimmer refused to act will be left to history and those who suffered significantly in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the years since.

But on to potential boondoggles of the present under the banner of the Ravi-Russo team.

The Ravi Bhalla Administration is working feverishly to roll out another Church Towers PILOT with their ally Councilman Michael Russo, who is obviously conflicted from any vote or participation on the matter as he's a resident there.

Another resident of Church Towers is a lawyer for the politically connected law firm Decotiis, Fitzpatrick and Cole. The politically connected NJ law firm is working for the Bhalla administration currently reviewing PILOT options.

According to well-placed sources, the lawyer's name appears on Bhalla Administration documents circulated among various officials raising eyebrows and questions to the Corporation Counsel. It's the same City counsel who contributed to Ravi Bhalla's mayoral campaign and is the so-called conflict watchdog of the notorious Ravi Bhalla second job.

All of this is accelerating concern with the overlapping conflicts by Hoboken's new conflict blind mayor. The City Council will be expected to vote on some new Church Towers PILOT submitted by the Bhalla Administration.

While no one wants to see fixed or moderate-income residents hurt, Church Towers is long known as lacking any scrutiny on who gets in, how and what income. The Russo Clan controls who comes and goes hosting its political base in the third ward.

Although the waiting list at the Church Towers buildings has been closed for years; Festivus miracles on new arrivals are a staple. Michael Russo's in-laws magically count themselves among the blessed arrivals in recent years.

The lack of oversight in the subsidized buildings has been a lightning rod for Reform for more than a decade. The Administration is not precluding Michael Russo as being conflicted and officially remains mute and neutral saying it's up to him to decide.

What?

As the law firm Decotiis continues to explore the methods and tax basis on a PILOT for Church Towers, moderate-income residents there are awaiting some confirmation of good news and others wait to see their cushy taxpayer-paid subsidy remains protected with no scrutiny.

The City Council meeting tonight may see the issue come up as it has in the past.

Talking Ed Note: Here's a trip down memory lane when the last PILOT was coming up for renewal and questions about Councilman Michael Russo and Church Towers were raised.



Over in the pathological lying Sybil's Cave, head Cave-dweller and Ravi Bhalla paid political operative Nancy is spinning like a top.  There's a hat tip given to Councilman Michael Russo credited for identifying the million dollar quarters ripoff of the parking meters.

Wait, the person who stumbled into the scandal and then tried to stop further investigation into the crimes is now the savior?

Wheely?

There's a typical woeful attempt to blame Councilwoman Jen Giattino for what's going on with the Bhalla Administration and the Church Towers PILOT. As if.

It's too soon for any of this lame-brained historical revisionism. The good governance council members of Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher will be the bulwark against the likes of another severely flawed 2009 Church Towers PILOT being passed.

Hoboken has waited decades for this moment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: Update on the Flood Ordinance

Official release:



Dear friends and neighbors - 

Here is an update on the Flood Ordinance and a few upcoming events:

Amending Hoboken's Flood Ordinance  (attached below)
Second reading at next council meeting, Wednesday, April 18
The DEP reviewed and approved the amendment removing the X and shaded X zones from Hoboken's Flood Ordinance. However, they have made two changes to the original ordinance that will bring the ordinance back to first reading. Removing the X and shaded X zones from enforcement under Hoboken's Flood Ordinance will help to preserve Hoboken's character and scale in those areas.


Coffee with a Cop
WHEN: April 20 8:30AM (this Friday)
WHERE: O'nieals 343 Park Avenue


Clean it up with Jen and friends
WHEN: April 21 9:30AM - 2PM
WHERE: Church Square Park


Rally to support Union Dry Dock as public parkland
WHEN: April 20 6PM
WHERE: Maxwell Place Park


Meeting on the redesign of Multi Sevice Center
WHEN: April 25 6PM
WHERE: Multi Service Center (124 Grand St.)

After the meeting, the City will retain an engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study and cost analysis, based on public input.

As always reach out with thoughts and concerns,
-Jen
201.780.6779





SPONSORED BY: __________________
                                                                                   SECONDED BY: ___________________

CITY OF HOBOKEN
ORDINANCE NO.: _____

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING THE CODE OF 
THE CITY OF HOBOKEN CHAPTER 104 “FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION” ARTICLE III “GENERAL PROVISIONS” AT §104-6 “LANDS TO WHICH THIS CHAPTER APPLIES” 

THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF HOBOKEN DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1.  The follow additionsshall be made to Chapter 104 of the Code of the City of Hoboken entitled “Flood Damage Prevention” Article III “General Provisions” at §104-6 “Lands to Which This Chapter Applies” as follows:


This chapter shall apply to all areas of special flood hazard within the jurisdiction of the City of Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey, with the exception of areas within the “X” or “shaded X” zones. 


A. The areas of special flood hazard for the City of Hoboken, Community No. 340222, are identified and defined on the following documents prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

(1) A scientific and engineering report "Flood Insurance Study, Hudson County, New Jersey (All Jurisdictions)," dated August 16, 2006.

(2) Flood Insurance Rate Map for Hudson County, New Jersey (All Jurisdictions), as shown on Index and Panel Numbers 0043, 0044, 0106, and 0107, whose effective date is August 16, 2006.

(3) Advisory base flood elevations and Advisory Flood Hazard Maps whose date is February 22, 2013. These documents shall take precedence over previous panels and FIS in construction and development regulations only. Where the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and the Advisory Flood Hazard Area (AFHA) Maps conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more-stringent requirement shall prevail.

B. The above documents are hereby adopted and declared to be a part of this chapter. The Flood Insurance Study and maps are on file at the office of the Floodplain Administrator at City Hall, 94 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030.



No structure or land shall hereafter be constructed, located, extended, converted, or altered without full compliance with the terms of this chapter and other applicable regulations. Violation of the provisions of this chapter by failure to comply with any of its requirements (including violations of conditions and safeguards established in connection with conditions) shall constitute a misdemeanor. Any person who violates this chapter or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined $2,000 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both, for each violation, and in addition shall pay all costs and expenses involved in the case. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the City of Hoboken from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation.


This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate, or impair any existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions. However, where this chapter and another ordinance, easement, covenant, or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more-stringent restrictions shall prevail.


In the interpretation and application of this chapter, all provisions shall be:
A. Considered as minimum requirements;
B. Liberally construed in favor of the governing body; and
C. Deemed neither to limit nor repeal any other powers granted under state statutes.


A. The degree of flood protection required by this chapter is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based on scientific and engineering considerations. Larger floods can and will occur on rare occasions. Flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes. This chapter does not imply that land outside the areas of special flood hazard or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages.

B. This chapter shall not create liability on the part of the City of Hoboken, any officer or employee thereof or the Federal Insurance Administration for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.

Section 2:  This Ordinance shall be a part of the Code of the City of Hoboken as though codified and fully set forth therein. The City Clerk shall have this Ordinance codified and incorporated in the official copies of the Code.

Section 3:  The City Clerk and the Corporation Counsel are authorized and directed to change any Chapter, Article and/or Section number of the Code of the City of Hoboken in the event that the codification of this Ordinance reveals that there is a conflict between the numbers and the existing Code, and in order to avoid confusion and possible accidental repealers of existing provisions not intended to be repealed.

Section 4:  This ordinance shall take effect as provided by law.

Section 5:  All ordinances or parts thereof in conflict or inconsistent with this Ordinance are hereby repealed, but only however, to the extent of such conflict or inconsistency, it being the legislative intent that all ordinances or part of ordinances now existing or in effect unless the same being conflict or inconsistent with any provision of this Ordinance shall remain in effect.  This Ordinance shall also supersede any inconsistent provisions contained in any resolution or ordinance previously adopted by the Hoboken City Council.

Section 6: The provisions of this Ordinance are declared to be severable and if any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof for any reason be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining sections, subsections, sentences, clauses and phrases of this Ordinance, but shall remain in effect; it being the legislative intent that this Ordinance shall stand notwithstanding the invalidity of any part.

Section 7:  This Ordinance shall take effect upon passage and publication as provided by law.

Date of Introduction: March 7, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hudson County Democratic Organization to take legal action against Hoboken Democratic Committee?

In an unexpected bit of breaking news Friday, the Hudson County View sat down with Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher and walked into one.

During the interview, the topic of the Hoboken Democratic Committee action last Monday arose and the councilwoman casually mentioned she had been approached by the Hudson County Democratic Organization and several of their lawyers who saw the action taken in Hoboken to remove and install a new chair as both problematic and illegal.

Fisher relayed she's not seeking the action saying it will be up to them. Officials at the HCDO however, may file a legal complaint viewing the procedure taken as improper and illegal. The possible impact of similar administrative actions in the county and statewide is viewed by the HCDO as beyond concerning.

Fisher shared the legal findings with the local Democratic Committee but after reaching a quorum, they followed through with a months long game plan to make the changes and see Mayor Ravi Bhalla's efforts to seize control over the group through his political operative proxies.



Other topics include the brewing Hudson County feud over the county committee and County Executive position held by Tom DeGise, the Union Dry Dock situation and Rebuild by Design.

Talking Ed Note: Notably missing from the Q&A is the continuing controversy over Ravi Bhalla's contract with a NJ politically connected Republican law firm Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen. The issue continues to resonate with the Hoboken public who is more than a trite unhappy about the broken promise Bhalla made to focus on Hoboken as his solitary job.

The so-called Ravi Bhalla "employment contract" reeks of Soprano State political entitlement with its fat untapped commission plan.

Who knows how many deals Ravi Bhalla is cutting with this Republican law firm? The questions are not going away nor the conflict of interest with the Corporation Counsel who is deemed the overseer over Ravi Bhalla's second job but who was also a political contributor to Bhalla's mayoral campaign.

Conflicts over conflict baked on a conflicted oven. Quite the cake baked.

Friday, April 13, 2018

RaviLeaks, Sybil undone and the Ravi-Russo-Cammarano connection


MSV has some bombs with big stories coming.

First, MSV officially announces its new RaviLeaks program. Currently, the public has not a clue how many deals Mayor Ravi Bhalla has cooked up with his second "no show" job with a NJ politically connected Republican law firm.

While the public has heard it's an annual $60,000 salary plus uncapped commissions for delivering new re: government-related business, no one knows how much loot Ravi has cashed to date. Ka-Ching! 

So in the spirit of transparency dreadfully needed, MSV invites all those with information on that suspect Ravi Bhalla employment contract and any other items of public concern to send it over for the scrutiny of Mile Square residents. Submit the truth; all documents, checks and video of cash transactions welcome.

Show me the money! Who in Hoboken has that sinister but familiar ring?
Hi Ravi, how ya doin? 

Submit any and all relevant items you deem important to the RaviLeaks hotline at smartyjones@me.com. All information will be kept in strict confidence and is covered under the umbrella of MSV's proven NJ Shield Law protections for journalists.

There's more on Sybil coming undone and the Ravi-Russo-Cammarano connection.

When it comes to mindless political attacks and lying, it's Sybil's Cave
doing the dirtiest against everyone and anyone who doesn't kneel to Ravi.
The filth gets worse and worse but the lying, endless.

Friday's Funny Follies

So Sybil's Cave, the rank defiler of truth and provider of all misinformation to aid and abet Ravi Bhalla, published accusations Councilwoman Jen Giattino muttered the "f" word during the last Democratic Committee Meeting. The Hoboken Democratic Committeee meeting also known as the latest episode of a Stalinist show trial to dethrone its Chair Tiffanie Fisher. She's guilty for the Ravibot crime of backing the best candidate for mayor in Giattino last year.

There's much pretense the committee isn't committed to Hoboken municipal non-partisan elections in the Mile Square City. It says they are in their own bylaws. You can expect that to change with the coup to serve Ravi Bhalla's appeal to hyperpartisanship serving, wait for it.... Ravi Bhalla. What is it with these "Democrats" and their love of coups and overthrowing elections and the Bill of Rights?

So Hoboken council members who are registered Democrats may attend committee meetings and the musty hostess of the Cave decided that making an allegation was fit to print but an accuser should be protected from being held publicly accountable. She refers to the accuser as "redacted." She plays this Hoboken411 gutter game frequently and if it's to dismember good governance members of the council with SUPERB RECORDS of service on AND off the council, Syb's all in.

It wasn't long ago when ye ole crusty Sybil not only didn't make lying for a cult of personality a daily staple but praised the work in the trenches in Hoboken's bad old council days of Jen Giattino, Peter Cunningham and more recently Tiffanie Fisher.

While all three are committed to doing the best they can for Hoboken, none of the three will pledge a blind oath of fealty to promise-breaking, dual job Republican money loving Ravi Bhalla. Hoboken's new mayor in addition to showing a penchant for being truth-challenged like his paid political operative has notably announced war against those who failed to do so and refuses to speak or respond to legitimate government inquiries from its elected representatives on the City Council.

Who beyond Ravi Bhalla has the problem? Well, it's the chronic pathological liar who serves as a demented cult leader of Ravibots.



Having looked into this filth typically avoided, (it's far worse than Hoboken411 was in its heyday on behalf of Beth Mason); it seemed a good time to make a stampede among the cave-dwellers. Admittedly, it's fun to hit the place with a stampede of truth. Like spraying Raid on a roach motel, it causes quite the commotion.

From investigating the sham HDC meeting Monday, (there's loads of legal problems how this administrative action creates similar for committees Statewide) the alleged f word was not mumbled. Sybil launched into her typical ones when censorship at the Cave was challenged as seen here below. A loud decrying of the Stalinist show trial during a screed of slander by one Nora DeBenedict-Arnold would have been in order. Of course not all are accountable for such bad behavior such as good governance executive committeeman and my friend, Das Giant, Kurt, but there never was any "f" word splayed against everyone.

A late night stampede disrupted Sybil's slumber thusly:



Of course, this was met with the typical censorship the Cave is known for - over years! Disagreeing with the site owner is akin to crapping in her living room. (That's her defense of censorship there for many a year.) The response for daring to illuminate truth led to this typical anticipated reaction.



And the stupidity went on and on from the f-bomb wielding, lying is my Constitutional right and so is dirtying up anyone who dares to not bow and worship Ravi Bhalla, yada yada.

Now if hearsay with unnamed sources is the standard of fairness and publishing, what do you think MSV's new RaviLeaks investigation will uncover?

Perhaps we'll learn more about the behind closed doors Ravi-Russo Team deals and some choice f-bombs by him? Or perhaps Hoboken will learn how much of that NJ Republican law firm loot is being cashed and what government contracts near and far are being traded on under the color of criminal "right?"

Hoboken, don't let a Horse down. The Hoboken people want and demand to know every unethical, dirty dollar being hoovered up in Hoboken City Hall on the second floor!

Let's do this.

Talking Ed Note: Of course Sybil can photoshop pictures of a Horse again, add 20 to 30 pounds and publish lies like she did on Election Day that there was illegal activity in a polling station by this election day challenger. Of course other victims will see their names published and be similarly victimized and ambushed with these type of lies in the future. That's her service to Ravi against good government council members as the de facto head Ravibot. NJ paid political operatives, they're so lame. Sad!

There's more to come with an exclusive on the Ravi-Russo-Cammarano connection.

Update: Lots of crying for self-inflicted bad behavior over at Sybil's Cave today. Were any of the victims of the purported allegations contacted? Why are victims trashed with publication and any name of the person making the accusation protected? That's not even low brow "he said, she said" nonsense. That's part of the methodology of Hoboken411 back in the day and it's appalling.

Now, if that's the dirty game you want to play serving Ravi Bhalla going into the gutter repeatedly swimming in sewerage since last year, then own it. Same BS game done on Election Day. This editor served spending over 14 hours in polling stations to ensure voter integrity as a challenger for the Giattino campaign. Retained the badge and proud of the work uncovering an actual bonafide major election violation at the polls during the election. An attack using a Russo Clan submitted photo in retaliation for the above-linked story later photoshopped at the Cave made false accusations of "loitering" in the polling station and "electioneering" for the Jen Giattino campaign. As stated, these are bonafide lies, false allegations of criminal behavior and were witnessed here only after publication.

What was the response when a public retraction and apology was made to the head Cave-dweller? Nancy Pincus responded, in writing, "Go to hell."

Who's responsible for the months and months of this behavior simultaneous to Ravi Bhalla's mayoral campaign last summer? It's not in any shape or form ethical. It's below the NHSA sewer system.

The same pattern has been exhibited over months since Ravi Bhalla declared his campaign for mayor last summer. This unethical behavior and worse attacking people is way beyond the pale. If you think it's a problem, maybe start listening to people who will talk to you questioning your bad behavior. If you think it's more than a little problematic, apologize and stop doing it. Ravi Bhalla will get by.

Fact is, this woeful Hoboken411 behavior has gone on for months; so don't cry because you've left an unethical laundry list of ugliness in your stinking wake and are again called to account.

Have a nice day Sybil and same to your little merry band with the Shadow and Ravibot cave-dwellers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Council President Ruben Ramos blasts away on Mayor Ravi Bhalla's 'no show' second job

On Friday, City Council President Ruben Ramos sat down with the Hudson County View to discuss several issues currently important to Hoboken.

Union Dry Dock and the uncertainty is front and center as the June 1 deadline for NY Waterway to begin operations looms.

Another issue was the Rent Leveling Board where eventually Mayor Ravi Bhalla ended his political effort to keep two members from continuing in new terms. Both of the members, Cheryl Falllick and Mike Lenz had supported Councilwoman Jen Giattino for mayor last year. The City Council was prepared to override a second veto by Bhalla when he finally relented offering the compromise of allowing Fallick to continue her service on the unpaid board.

Ramos called the outcome "a good compromise." The City Council dropped its effort to reconstitute the appointments to the seven members RLB. He also commented on the success of the last two years where the tone of the City Council has done a 180 where there's no yelling and division but working together as a  body. He also pointed to the vast majority of votes being 8-1 or 9-0 and working with the Administration should  all be part of the norm.

Around the 21 minute  mark, Ramos tees off on the  misgivings about Ravi Bhalla's broken pomise and seond job with a Republican law firm. "This is a huge gray area, I'd liked to see cleaned  up, " he says adding, "the mayor falls under the directors (codified standards)... actually is the Public Safety Director."

The issue has plagued Ravi Bhalla as the Hoboken public questions the particulars of his $60,000 law firm job with a politically connected law firm with a fat commission structure for delivering new business.

"City's best practices say it shouldn't be done... It's in the public's best interest to shed light into that."  Ramos said the public has a level of discomfort with Bhalla's broken promise to work only as Hoboken mayor.


In his lifetime as a Hoboken resident, Ramos notes, "No one outside of Mayor Bhalla has had a second job."

The Council President also comes out in support of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise in the brewing HudCo war.



For the complete story, please see the Hudson County View:
https://hudsoncountyview.com/hoboken-council-president-ramos-backs-county-executive-degise-for-re-election/

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Kurt Gardiner: "What I saw at the Ravi-Russo HDC takeover'

Official release:

Last night in a coordinated effort Mayor Ravi Bhalla executed a political coup of sorts with his consigliere Phil Cohen being elected the new chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee ousting now former chair Tiffanie Fisher. I was present in my official capacity as Sargeant at Arms on the Executive Committee and witnessed the craven political machinations of Phil Cohen and other disgruntled winners of an election that yielded their leader only a 32% plurality. Last night was political payback pure and simple because Tiffanie Fischer in her capacity as an independent and policy oriented City Council person failed to take a loyalty oath expressing 100% fealty to their Dear Leader, Ravi Bhalla.

A quorum of 39 was required to initiate the meeting on the whole and thanks to the alleged work of John Allen, Ravi’s Chief of Staff (whose salary is paid for by the taxpayer) and Ravi Bhalla himself working the phones despite both denying it; they were able to barely secure a quorum. They obtained the magic number of 39 just a minute or two before the start of the meeting. It was close folks and without Phil Cohen and Ravi Bhalla making a deal with Mike Russo’s contingent of 10 or so committee members the quorum would never been met and the coup would have failed.

For those who still believe in good government take pause and contemplate the notion that Ravi and his henchman Phil Cohen cut a deal with Mike Russo just for the sake of taking over a committee that most people don’t know about and most of those who know really don’t care. Political ambition rarely gets more naked or petty than this. We shall see what Mike Russo hopes to get from this in the coming months. Can you say sweetheart Church Towers PILOT at the taxpayers expense? Watch this space.

What was also disturbing to witness was Nora Debenedetto’s prepared statement that lobbed numerous false accusations and was an outright smear job on Tiffanie Fisher before the vote was called. Nora accused Tiffanie of obstructionism during the executive committee meetings that I attended and nothing could be further from the truth. In executive committee meetings, Tiffanie as chair tried to work with everyone and did not try to block any initiatives, nor did any one on the executive committee bring up any of these issues until the coordinated email attack right before Mayor Bhalla’s partial meeting with Brian Stack. 

This was a political take-out from the get go. Phil Cohen in that meeting called for a signup for a meeting on the whole never specifying the reason knowing full well that the only agenda item was to replace Tiffanie. Phil has a track record of not being the most forthright actor in the room. This is just another example coming from a Beth Mason apologist. Nora’s divisive display coupled with Phil’s track record of being a divider do not bode well for the near future of the Hoboken Democratic Committee. They both would have come out looking better on this by simply admitting this was all about politics.

The other issue Phil Cohen flouted as a practicing lawyer was he blatantly violated the committee bylaws by electing himself in the same meeting. HMDC Bylaws Article II, Section 5 requires that vacancies in any HMDC office “shall be filled by the Municipal Committee at its next succeeding meeting following the date of the vacancy….” Because there are no regular meetings currently scheduled, any vacancy created today in the office of Chair (or any other officer position) cannot be filled until a new meeting has been called.  A Special Meeting can only be called when at least 14 days notice has been given to all members. Per HMDC Bylaws’ provisions at Article V, Section 2. Phil couldn’t even wait until the next meeting because that press release declaring pyrrhic victory had to go out pronto.

So where we stand now is the Hoboken Democratic Committee has now become the Committee to support Ravi Bhalla and his side deal with Mike Russo and enable his side deal law contract where he personally profits from color of official right by being Hoboken Mayor. Tiffanie Fisher worked hard to get 60 plus votes majority on the Democratic Committee and the only lesson she learned was no good deed goes unpunished. My takeaway is ethics get in the way of power seekers and idolatry of Ravi Bhalla is perhaps the Achilles heel of this administration or the path to upward mobility. Time will tell.

Tiffanie Fisher may have been voted off the island but the island is Easter Island. Idolatry on Easter led to to deforestation and ultimately agriculture failures and unsustainability. Now we got great statues and a nice tourist trap. When the Hoboken Democratic Committee serves only one politician it is certainly smaller and its sustainability only goes as far as that politician. I have participated in the Hoboken Democratic in the hopes that the local hyperpartisanship would stay out of it. That is clearly not the case now.

Celebrating the HDC takeover by the Ravi-Russo Team

Official release:

HOBOKEN DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE ELECTS PHIL COHEN AS PARTY CHAIR
Committee Votes to Move in a New Direction

 On Monday night, at the first official meeting of the Hoboken Democratic Committee since its June 2017 Reorganization Meeting, the Committee voted resoundingly (47 yea vs 4 nay with 1 abstention) to rescind the vote electing Tiffanie Fisher as Chair.  With the chairmanship vacant, the Committee overwhelmingly elected long-time Democratic Committeeman and 1st Vice-Chair, Phil Cohen as the party’s new Chair.
 
“I thank the members of the Democratic Committee for their support and look forward to accomplishing our goals of electing Democratic leaders, growing the party, and promoting Democratic values in Hudson County and across the State,” said Phil Cohen. “As we saw during the tremendous turnouts during the March for Our Lives last month in Hoboken and throughout the nation, people are energized to tackle the big issues facing our community.  I look forward to leading the city-wide committee of 80 Hoboken Democratic Committee people get to work, build the party and get things done.” 
 
Other leadership changes this evening included the election of Nora DeBenedetto to fill the vacancy of 1st Vice-Chair.  (Ms. DeBenedetto previously served as 2nd Vice-Chair), and the election of Eileen Carvahlo as 2nd Vice-Chair.
 
“We are approaching some of the most important Mid-Term elections in recent memory and it is important that we have a local Party that is cohesive and working seamlessly with Mayor Bhalla, a prominent leader of the State’s Democratic Party,” said Cohen. “I am honored to help lead our local Democratic Party and be a part of the change our State and Country need.”
 
In the coming months, the Hoboken Democratic Committee will be hosting a number of events in preparation for the upcoming November 2018 Midterm Elections.  Some of the events include hosting in Hoboken Andy Kim, the Democratic candidate for Congress in NJ-3 against incumbent Republican Tom McArthur, as well as other Congressional candidates in hotly contested swing districts in New Jersey, which are key battlegrounds in stopping President Trump’s agenda and turning Congress from “red to blue”.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Ravi Bhalla ally Mike Russo hit with campaign violations, pays $3,000

Councilman Michael Russo, the controversial longstanding third ward representative anted up paying $3,000 for campaign violations stemming back to 2009.

The story was first reported on the Hudson County View but is notably MIA with no article whatsoever from the fanatical paid political operative Sybil's Cave website. It's a Bonkers for Bhalla secret RaviBots don't whisper, even among themselves.

The intimate ally and council bro of Mayor Ravi Bhalla shouldn't expect to see his name mentioned in good governance references criticizing the reported campaign violations and fine. Recently, Russo was spared mention in a Mayor Bhalla release criticizing voter incongruities typically with the widespread abuse of Vote by Mail ballots.

Mayor Bhalla raised eyebrows when he lashed out at the council pointing fingers on voter fraud and to some shock criticized the good governance members with strong records speaking out against the practice. Russo was the only council member who spoke saying voter fraud was not an issue in Hoboken and he noted to some glee there had been no arrests and convictions for the practice in the Mile Square City.

Ravi Bhalla would quickly have to take back his words admitting he had no evidence whatsoever but pointed to the 2010 fourth ward election.

The notable exception to Ravi Bhalla voter fraud criticism: Michael Russo, who is reported to have cut a sweetheart deal with Mayor Bhalla ensuring Russo will see no significant opposition in the 2019 ward council races. News of the deal was first reported outside MSV in the prior week's "Between the Lines" column.

From the looks of it, Mayor Ravi Bhalla will protect Councilman Michael Russo now, in the future and with a suspect PILOT renewal in Church Towers.

Reform!

Councilman Michael Russo may have been hit with campaign violations but political observers
don't expect it will negatively impact the Ravi Bhalla - Russo Alliance. It won't impact Ravibots and his paid political operatives either. Notice their utter and complete silence protecting the Ravi-Russo Team.

Talking Ed Note: Is this Reform or is this the real Ravi Bhalla? You decide.

Tonight, Mayor Ravi Bhalla looks to take complete control over the local Democrat committee. Next on his target list: Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. Some HDC members are reportedly less than enamored Ravi Bhalla's operation involved deceiving members about the upcoming meeting. They were urged to sign over their votes so others could attend and represent them by proxy. However, they weren't told why and found out about the plan only after Chair Tiffanie Fisher insisted the truth be told. Was this a "nasty woman" operation or merely following orders being connected to the payroll in the mayor's office? Et tu, Rachel?

Did you know that before Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher acted as co-chair with Councilman Peter Cunningham for the Jen Giattino campaign, Ravi Bhalla asked her to lead his mayoral campaign?

True story.