Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ravi Russo Alliance deal prevails, Michael Russo sees deal with Ravi Bhalla stick!


Hoboken November City Council Ballot proves Councilman Michael Russo right

Fifth ward to see the most intense battle with three candidates vying toward a runoff

The deadline for submitting yesterday's petitions to get on the ballot in November's nonpartisan City Council ward races is officially over. Depending on your point of view, there's some good news and some bad news.

The good news if you support Councilman Michael Russo's re-election bid. His predicted deal months earlier with Mayor Ravi Bhalla not to have a candidate oppose him on his mayoral ticket stuck.

Despite earlier meek protestations from the out-of-state Bhalla campaign spokesman, there wasn't going to be any potential candidate sought and identified to go up against Russo. Months ago, exclusively reported Michael Russo was quite pleased about his deal with Ravi Bhalla and he wondered why other City Council incumbents didn't cut a similar one.

Well, some were coaxed with Ravi Bhalla seeing the error of overwrought egoism before naming a "B Team" council ticket. He sought to rebuild City Council ties to colleagues he worked with for close to a decade. Too much dirty pool, broken promises and Ravi Botchulism under the bridge, damage done.

As one prominent reporter from a major news daily observed of Ravi Bhalla and his mayor's office staff observed last summer, "Everything with them is scorched earth."

There's more by way of bad news for Ravi Bhalla in the fifth ward and the agita there will be major. Three serious council contenders are vying to fill the open seat of the departing Councilman Peter Cunningham. The likelihood of a runoff is high, far more than in 2011 when a group of candidates tried to unseat the Reform statesman.

So the preliminaries are over and the menu is unofficially set for November. Here are the match-ups.

First Ward
Councilman Mike DeFusco
Migdalia Pagan-Milano

Second Ward
Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher
 Nora Martinez DeBenedetto

Third Ward
Councilman Michael Russo
 Ron Bautista

Fourth Ward
Councilman Ruben Ramos
Lisa Sprengle

Fifth Ward
Nicola Maganuco
Phil Cohen
Tim Crowell

Sixth Ward
Councilwoman Jen Giattino
Cristin Cricco-Powell
Frank Rosner

Councilman Michael Russo has reason to be happy.  His deal with Mayor Ravi Bhalla months ago not to have
an opposition candidate in November held up. Instead, Russo faces nominal opponent Ron Bautista.

Talking Ed Note: As in past years, continues its longstanding policy giving Hoboken officeholders and candidates opportunity to have their voice heard in the Mile Square City without editorial comment. The Ravi Bhalla Hoboken Mayor's Office ended this decade long tradition by refusing to answer any simple question posed. Worse, attempts by Ravi Bhalla's taxpayer-paid political mouthpiece and fellow travelers to posit comic satire as racial bias speaks to their lack of decency to hold elected office and the public trust.

Others who have voted for Ravi Bhalla multiple times for elected office in the past as this editor may feel a similar distaste but I digress. Official releases can be sent to

Councilman Ruben Ramos: "Making Hoboken Better for Everyone"

Official release:

Dear friends, 

I grew up here in Hoboken and I’ve dedicated my life to public service and making our community better for every resident. I’m proud to announce that I have filed my petitions and will be running for re-election as your Fourth Ward Councilman this November to continue fulfilling that mission. 

We are continuing to explore additional open space areas for 4th ward residents as well as expanding on current open space areas. The new Southwest park is a great place for families to spend time while also reducing the impact of flooding thanks to improved drainage and flood mitigation technology. We are committed to expanding this park in the near future. The Madison Street Park upgrades have been completed while the Jefferson Street Park upgrades are scheduled for approval at the September 4 council meeting. 
We are working hard to insure that Hoboken is safer for all residents. One way that we are doing this is the addition of traffic lights in the Southwest to help with the flow of traffic. The council has additionally authorized a traffic study beginning this week that encompasses Hoboken, Hudson County and Jersey City streets. We will work collaboratively with local governments to generate a plan to ease traffic in Southwest Hoboken to make streets safer for drivers and pedestrians.  

It is important that we push forward in efforts to further beautify and improve the 4th ward. The PSE&G site on Marshall Street is a space with great potential and I am very excited to see what it will become. Possible uses for the site will be part of a public discussion to determine what is best for Hoboken residents. We now also have the funding in the budget for demolition of the property at 609 1st Street. This property has long been a major eyesore and it’s time for the site to be demolished. 

In conjunction with our senior citizens, we are leading the fight for senior citizen services in Hoboken. Hoboken seniors are a crucial part of our community and deserve a strong voice for them in our city government.  Our seniors have reached out to me to voice their concerns over the poor condition of the current senior van. Together we were able to deliver a new vehicle for our seniors that we hope will be in service by late October. 
Over the last four years with the help of my Council colleagues, we have made real progress in so many important areas. Recently, we secured $1.6 million for the Hoboken Housing Authority which will go towards new reinforced outer doors, security cameras and new boilers. Housing Authority residents are an integral part of our community who are too often forgotten, and I will continue to fight for HHA residents and secure the greatest possible funding that we can in the future. 

In addition to getting additional funding for the HHA, we have saved Hoboken taxpayers $600,000by cutting unnecessary expenses, meaning more of your tax dollars will be going towards city services. Living in Hoboken can be expensive and we recognize that many people are living on a fixed income. One of the most important jobs of the city government is to keep our property taxes and rents stable so that we can keep seniors and families in Hoboken. Finding ways to give Hoboken residents the best return on their tax dollars will always be my goal. 

A great example of our work to make the city more fiscally responsible was our demand that our water provider contract be renegotiated. The previously negotiated contract with our water provider lacked adequate givebacks and investments for our city’s infrastructure. That is why we fought for a better deal which means millions in annual investments into the system without raising rates for residents. The City Council will aggressively fight to improve our aging infrastructure with innovative solutions that don’t overburden residents. 

Finally, I wanted to discuss how we are making Hoboken safer. According to new data from the Hoboken Police Department, crime was down 17.9% in our city last year thanks to our hard working law enforcement professionals and city government for providing the necessary resources to keep our community safe. In 2018, Hoboken did not have a single homicide and robberies were down 28%. With continued investments in public safety, we expect to continue the trend with lower crime rates. 

I would like to thank all of you for your support and advocacy over the years. We have been able to accomplish so much over the years and together I hope that we can continue to push the 4th ward forward for years to come. I hope to earn your support on November 5 to continue fighting for Hoboken.

Thank you,

Councilman Ruben Ramos
Hoboken City Council, 4th Ward