Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ravi Bhalla sees referendum landslide vote crush prospects for reelection

Hoboken's lopsided vote to bring back runoff elections puts Ravi Bhalla's scorched earth tactics on ice

A crushing defeat at the ballot box on the Hoboken referendum to bring back runoff elections combined with Mayor Ravi Bhalla's scorched earth tactics is the talk of the Mile Square.

Political observers keenly note Ravi Bhalla created a vise of his own making (and self-destruction) with his scorched earth tactics before and after a repulsive 2017 mayoral campaign.

A mayoral bid for reelection in 2021 isn't completely dead but the likelihood of Bhalla forging any coalition with any other failed mayoral bids is all but closed. He'd need to win a first-round election with 50% plus one or better, a prospect diminished entirely with Tuesday's referendum vote.

After the repugnant November election last year capped with the Ravi Terror Flyer delivering a victory for him into the mayor's chair, Bhalla sat down with his former friends and colleagues Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher.

The meeting concluded with no progress as Ravi Bhalla brought only a solitary agenda item for discussion: issue a public endorsement of him as mayor. That self-centered focus led to the good government trio taking an independent posture on doing what's best for Hoboken on an issue by issue basis such as development while supporting the vast majority of legislation out of the mayor's office.

A month after taking office as mayor, Ravi Bhalla announced in a Friday evening Facebook post he had landed a second job. The public was stunned as Bhalla flaunted his broken promise in the faces of Hoboken residents.

A meeting followed with City Council President Ruben Ramos and Bhalla demand the City Council cease talking or acting on his broken promise not to take a second job. He had no intention of giving up the second job with a Republican land use law firm. Ramos is rumored to have declined that demand and Bhalla cursed him out immediately ending the meeting.

In March, not three months into office, Ravi Bhalla held a fundraiser where he announced scorched earth plans to run a council ticket in next year's ward races. His political aides have been chirping angrily to the council in recent weeks how he will "replace" all of them.

Now the Hoboken public, weary of political recriminations and dirty campaigns took matters into their own hands and rebuked Bhalla with an overwhelming landslide vote against his wishes.

Bhalla had repeatedly urged the public to vote "no" on the referendum declaring it a danger to free and fair elections in the shadow of several arrests and indictments on voter fraud in the back end of town.

The Hoboken public wasn't buying any of it.

The referendum vote leaves Bhalla further isolated as rumors are swirling his Chief of Staff John Allen is actively seeking other employment and looking to evacuate City Hall.

In the wake of the Hoboken voters' smashing rebuke, Ravi Bhalla is whispered to have restarted plans to pursue the NJ Assembly seat occupied by Annette Chaparro.

Alternatively, Bhalla can ramp up efforts to negotiate a HudCo deal to replace Albio Sires in that congressional seat. Sires is set to begin a two-year term come January and many feel it will be his last.

Congressional seats, however, are not handed out like candy. What comes around goes around.