Monday, August 20, 2018

Grist for the Mill: Who's afraid of the Hoboken voter?

It's a cool summer wind and November seems so far away but not for everyone. Gristy chewables are on the way and you'd be so surprised to know who's afraid of the Hoboken voters.

Ravi, how ya doin?


Mayor Ravi Bhalla won a contentious four-way mayoral
campaign last year. Some say he fears a runoff election.
Hoboken voters will decide the issue in a November referendum.

Not much will be driving voters to the polls this November in Hoboken unless local corruptocrats get ginned up for Senator Bob Menendez. His best "friend" is in the clink for one of the biggest medicare scams in US history, bilking over $70 million. Menendez followed him to trial and escaped a similar fate on corruption charges as the jury deadlocked. US federal prosecutors opted not to try again with a Soprano State jury.

Menendez is facing a US Marine and businessman in Bob Hugin for the NJ US Senate seat in November. Then there's the Hoboken BoE race featuring five candidates so there are not even two slates to vie and drive voters to the polls. There is, however, a November runoff referendum. Hoboken voters will decide whether they wish to see runoff elections if a winning candidate fails to win 50% plus one.

Last year's winning mayoral vote of 32% for Ravi Bhalla came among four major campaigns. The winner take all formula left a lot of blood on the floor not to mention a shadowy "terror flyer" appearing late and saving the day for the eventual winner.

Since there was no runoff election among the top two candidates, the bloodletting was extra fierce beyond the usual voter deception and campaign screeching. For those involved, there's little love lost and November is eyed as the formula to stop any future repeat scenarios.

Competing theories hold opposing self-serving positions. On one side there's Mayor Ravi Bhalla looking to retain any and all options to stay and hold elected office. His sought-after exit visa to higher political office isn't clear and he says voter fraud is a problem with VBM abuse in a follow-up election in December. Of course, he doesn't mention that voter fraud may play a stronger role when there are four major campaigns vying in the first round versus two later.

The opposing position holds that campaigns and candidates will act with more restraint and decorum in the first round of voting if they need support from opponents in any succeeding second round of voting. The criticism to that stake is that wheeling and dealing is fostered with a runoff election.

So what's the best choice? The consensus holds an instant runoff is best but under state law, that option isn't currently available. Hoboken officials, however, don't always subscribe to following state and federal law. Sanctuaries hosting less than legal "voters" and all being the rage in some parts.

Why would a political "ruling class" insist on one law applicable to all citizens? That's not progressive in the eyes of the Politburo class as they look down on the plebs.

In November, it will be the Hoboken pleb voters who will decide the outcome on a runoff referendum. In doing so, they may decide not only who wins political office in future local elections but decide the well-laid plans of political careers. Don't be a fear the reaper Ravi; they're just voters.

Some have begun asking if former mayor Dawn Zimmer will be trotted out to save Ravi Bhalla in the referendum. She risks further tarnishing her record since ethical lapses have come to light on then-candidate Ravi Bhalla, the one she deemed the only one she trusted.

Did Zimmer know about the lawyer employee of Bhalla who tried for more than a half-decade to see returned over $6,000 in missing funds to his retirement account that disappeared while he worked for then-councilman Ravi Bhalla? She's not said a word about it nor the NJ Supreme Court ruling that came an eyelash from yanking Ravi Bhalla's law license outright.

One councilman in Jersey City recently won a big runoff victory and came out in favor of runoffs in Hoboken.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da 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.