Brewing controversey on "Ravimobile" as City Council never told of actual reason for purchase
|The new 2018 Ford Expedition or Ravimobile as pictured outside Hoboken City Hall.|
The aforementioned Ravimobile was never disclosed to the Hoboken City Council as such. The 2018 Ford Expedition SUV in question ranges in cost with this one bearing a sticker cost of $63,000.
Local observers first began to notice the SUV being used to escort Mayor Ravi Bhalla's children to school uptown at Elysian Charter. This eventually led to a reader-submitted photograph of the SUV published on MSV Friday outside Hoboken City Hall. The SUV was reportedly used on a trip to Atlantic City last week by the mayor for the annual "League of Municipalities" shindig where politicos around the state come to play and hold informal discussions and meetings on various topics and rub shoulders.
The actual purpose of purchasing the Ford Expedition SUV for approximately $63,000 was never disclosed by the Bhalla Administration last summer but inserted into the resolution pack making no mention of what the SUV was for and no one from the Administration gave the actual reason for its purchase.
Late Friday, Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante offered details on the usage of the vehicle outlining various ways it was deployed by the Hoboken Police Investigations Bureau for "dignitary protection, transporting special victims and families" and "the Mayor's Security Detail."
The Ford Expedition, however, came before the City Council for approval in August last summer unconnected to any request from the Hoboken Police Department. The cost was submitted in bills by the Bhalla administration and the resolution presented to the City Council seen below makes no mention of its regular use for the mayor.
Members of the City Council were not immediately available for comment and the mayor's office typically avoids answering questions.
Talking Ed Note: While many in Hoboken will be uncomfortable questioning the basis of a vehicle for security purposes related to the mayor, other residents will be less willing to remain silent about the choice of a big expensive gas guzzler.
Former mayor Dawn Zimmer, the first Jewish mayor declined any security detail and was often seen going to meetings around the Mile Square City unescorted on her bicycle.
Senior Hoboken Police officials differed with the former mayor and point to "American national radicals" who may be triggered by a Sikh holding office. Ravi Bhalla was a highly visible City Councilman for more than eight years prior without any known threatening bias incident.
Last year a controversial Ravi Terror Flyer appeared days before Hoboken voters went to the polls. The terror flyer was highly publicized by many in the media boosting Bhalla's bid while creating a perception Hoboken is a racist bigoted town.
No evidence of any competing campaign has emerged with the Ravi Terror Flyer since and the Hoboken Police Department continues the pursuit.