The stakes are nothing short of generational.
As one voter recounted, former mayor Dawn Zimmer held to the principles built under the big tent of Reform, then backed out during the glare of a mayoral campaign for mayor to insert Ravi Bhalla in a cynical back-door maneuver. Now, they say, she returns to tell us how to vote with endorsements for big development backed special interests candidates as she has her home up for sale. Excuse me?
Mayor Ravi Bhalla put up a cast of council candidates with practically no discernable participation on any issue of local import over the last decade, sans Phil Cohen who has at least a record of public service on the Hoboken Zoning Board.
Cristen Cricco-Powell returned from a life living in Manhattan to be drafted, announce intent to run a positive campaign and then see it run out of central planning in New England via Rhode Island featuring smear mailers c/o Ravi Bhalla and his FacePuncher team at City Hall.
Migdalia Pagan-Milano was recruited out of the mayor's office and drafted to adopt identity politics cynicism at its finest, or worst, depending on your orientation, pardon the pun.
Nora DeBenedetto returned to throw hanging chads at Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher since the local political committee coup went so well. She's a beneficiary of many words elucidated on her behalf from Providence by way of the mayor's office. Rinse, wash and repeat CCP smears.
Lisa Sprengle, we hardly knew ye. Nice lady but to listen to her at the City Council forum made you wonder. Was she running with the good government remnant of Reform or the Big Bhalla Special Interest ticket? Didn't seem to know as she fled from the boss' NJ Transit Redevelopment leading the way for her co-slate members to similarly obfuscate.
This is not and never was the A-Team. Thus the beginnings of what was foretold here months ago, a proxy war with dirty politics, dirty campaigning and yes dirty money washing up at the Lackawanna Terminal.
The Ravi chieftains can look you right in the face and lie. "It's Jen and Tiffanie with the big developers. They are bringing them in and allowing their influence."
With a decade-plus long view of Hoboken government, this was not difficult to foresee. Character matters, it rises and falls in the test of battle. In this case, it fell precipitously with the Big Lie, as anticipated, in every direction spitting condescension and all manner of fabrication on to unsuspecting residents.
So, as Ravi Bhalla attempted to shove a two-phased NJ Transit Redevelopment through the City Council, using the muscle of thuggish intimidation from outside big development interests; some in the public awoke from the slumber and others from a coma attached to a cult of personality morphine drip.
With the shock of the Bhalla cynical maneuver, not even announcing the biggest redevelopment in living history put up for a vote; the mayor's office also "forgot" to even schedule a public meeting.
The lies have piled up so high, before and since as once again Ravi Bhalla got caught with his fingers in the cookie jar.
It's a pattern seen all too often in the last two years under his stewardship but the true legacy of Ravi Bhalla lies ahead: 300 foot plus, nearly 30 story towers. The first will be determined by "economic factors," meaning, yes wait for it... more residential.
In short, it's not Dawn Zimmer's more limited commercial-focused smaller footprint. The devil is in the details as the new two phases will be likely 50% BIGGER than what the former mayor envisioned in 2014.
But that's the impact special interest monies are having on City Hall and deep into the mayor's office.
Good luck Hoboken.
|Lackawanna Tower in the left distance may be a buried landmark on the horizon if two Ravi Bhalla towers rise over downtown Hoboken as depicted here. It's the legacy of special interest power Ravi Bhalla represents entering Election Day.|