Friday, November 1, 2019

Grist for the Mill: Who is behind the 2017 Ravi Bhalla Terror Flyer?




As Hoboken prepares to vote in contentious council ward elections Tuesday, today is an anniversary of sorts.

Tonight is the two-year anniversary of the Ravi Bhalla Terror Flyer hitting the streets of Hoboken.

Unlike Hoboken's volatile political history of midnight flyers at election time; these flyers were discovered almost instantly on an early Friday evening, four days before the 2017 mayoral election.

Some residents fear a similar episode. One Hoboken resident recently expressed worry on Facebook in response to a post by Ravi Bhalla's first ward candidate that a similar flyer attack could occur.

HobokenHorse is disclosing part of its investigation in the public interest as this is an issue of public concern with another Hoboken election before residents of the Mile Square City this Tuesday.

Michael Makarski of Local 825
In a phone interview yesterday, Mike Makarski,  a former spokesman of the Stronger Foundations PAC quickly bolted the call when questions about the Ravi Bhalla Terror Flyer arose.

The conversation began with an inquiry on the recent ad campaign underway on behalf of the Stronger Foundation PAC's endorsed candidates in Hoboken.

Most consist of Mayor Ravi Bhalla's council slate with council members Michael Russo and Ruben Ramos endorsed in the third and fourth wards.

Makarski indicated he no longer acted as the PAC spokesman but said, "We don't typically comment on what the soft side of the organization does."

Stating he worked "internal for ELEC 825," the following conversation is recounted. HH is HobokenHorse and MM is Michael Makarski.


HH: Did you work with them in 2017?

MM: "Uhm, what are we worried about here? I don't know what we're trying to do here."

HH: "When did you learn about the efforts behind the Ravi Terror Flyer in 2017?"

MM: "I don't know what you're asking me, sir. Uhm..."

HH: "You don't know about the Ravi Terror Flyer in the 2017 election?"

MM: "You should reach out to someone else."

Makarski hung up during a follow-up question. A voicemail left shortly later inquired about a message allegedly sent to a Hoboken resident. 

That alleged message identifies the crane operators as orchestrating the Ravi Bhalla Terror Flyer and said:
"The crane operators did it!" 

At publication, there's been no reply to yesterday's voicemail. 

Other Hobokenites participating in the 2017 mayoral campaign were less than sanguine about the origins of the terror flyer, especially close to the 2019 election. Most didn't want to speak on the record but some admitted they've heard the whispers considered widespread inside City Hall.

On background, one Hoboken resident involved in the 2017 mayoral elections intimated what they've heard after the 2017 election.

"A person who represented the crane operators union gave hints they were behind it," they offered.

Further, they added, "All evidence points to the crane operators, the same Local 825 that supported Mayor Bhalla and is active in this (election) campaign."

There's also an earlier bandied about incident at the annual League of Municipalities held each year in Atlantic City. After the 2017 election, an intoxicated individual was overheard bragging at one event how the Ravi Bhalla terror flyer achieved its desired outcome in the Hoboken election.

While a portion of that story found its way into the Hudson Reporter, the same individual reportedly took credit for the election result in the Hoboken mayoral race. Reliable sources stated the same individual then bragged they were responsible for getting Ravi Bhalla elected mayor.

Alcohol braggadocio or alcohol-induced truth?

Ravi Bhalla's council slate spokesman Rob Horowitz did not offer a reply on behalf of Ravi Bhalla or his council slate for publication.

Former mayor Dawn Zimmer who joined with the Stronger Foundations PAC this week endorsing Ravi Bhalla's council ticket was contacted yesterday about today's two year anniversary of the terror flyer. She declined to address the matter and quickly got off the phone.

To date, Stronger Foundations has spent over $7,000 for online Facebook ads in Hoboken and in other elections across New Jersey.  The PAC is a proponent of the NJ Transit Redevelopment Plan put up for a vote in the Hoboken City Council.



Recently, the City Council declined to conduct a vote. Council President Jen Giattino asked why the mayor's office made no notification to the public on the massive redevelopment nor offered the public a meeting. She publicly announced she was removing the controversial plan for a vote citing only a day separated a hastily scheduled public meeting the following day.


Grist for the Mill is HobokenHorse.com's rumor column but its success makes it the most popular column in all the Mile Square City. Have a tasty carrot for Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com and be assured your confidentiality is protected with MSV's State of NJ Shield Law protections upheld repeatedly in Hudson County Superior Court.