Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Horse Sense: Dark Money & Hoboken dirty deeds done dirt cheap

It's election season in Hoboken and sadly, the time of year when the bad character of individuals comes to the fore among those who seek or hold power.

Dark Money is being sounded in ever-louder warnings and there's a significant basis for it with a Hoboken vendor alleged at its center.

As Mayor Ravi Bhalla attempts to fulfill his desire for absolute power over all aspects of Hoboken governance, the before, during and after patterns of behavior is revealing.

In the 2017 mayoral election, one of the dirtiest witnessed in these parts in some time, dark money blew in days before the election in a big way.

As it turned out, the Ravi Terror Flyer was not only key in the election, it was instrumental to Ravi Bhalla eking out a win with under 33% of the vote.

In the first City Council meeting after the election, Councilman Mike DeFusco attempted to unify Hoboken backing an investigation to sort out those who were behind the dirty deed.

In response, Ravi Bhalla, in his last meeting as a councilman pointedly refused. He said Mike DeFusco had not been exonerated. He failed to note he nor his allies had been exonerated either. After going on a victimization tour, he declared the matter over and said there would be no further comment.

How convenient.

DeFusco, on the other hand, raised money with his family toward an investigative effort. The Hoboken Police Department received tips from the community but that investigation stalled as lots of whispers surfaced about dark money forces.

Everyone in City Hall, every Hoboken government insider, shadow mayor wannabe and every single person in the Hoboken mayor's office knows about the dark money force behind the terror flyer in 2017. The only difference is those who learned about it later and those who knew when the dirty deed went down.

The Feds struck a hammer blow against Hoboken voter fraud hard obtaining convictions in the 2013 election, an indictment with the promise of more to come in 2015 and the echoes of 2017 fluttering in the distance. Voter fraud in Hoboken is DOA but dark money is very much alive.

Notwithstanding politics, political party or personal beliefs, the terror flyer in the 2017 mayoral race was an attack on all Hoboken. The Boys of Summer need to break up that dirty political operation. Those involved should be exposed and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

All those who knowingly and willingly engage as political operatives, paid or unpaid, and continue to push lies into the Hoboken community about the origins of the Terror Flyer should see full exposure and accountability as well.

Now it's election season and Hoboken appears about to be terrorized again. You'll see a pattern emerge. What is old is new again. These leopards don't change their spots.

There's another big reveal coming. Listen to the howls for blood and listen to them proclaim their victimization even as they victimize others and the Mile Square City.

It's what they do and who they are. Smart'en up.

This Horse Sense editorial is dedicated to those who fight dark money near and far, especially City Hall.

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "E-Scooters - More Enforcement Coming'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors – 
This week the discussion on the future of E-Scooters in Hoboken came to a head when one of our neighbors was pushing her 3 month old in a stroller on a sidewalk near 8th and Clinton and was hit by an Ojo E-Scooter driven by a teen.  Thankfully, she had no serious physical injuries other than a bruised leg and the baby was ok.  It goes without saying that this paints the worst picture (with the best possible outcome) that we all fear.   Although mom and baby are physically ok thankfully, the entire family is still dealing with the aftershock and the many “what ifs.”  In response to this accident, Mayor Bhalla announced first on Twitter that he was terminating the contract with Ojo.  Although I think there is more and different that needs to be done, I applauded this decision because we needed a bold move to happen.  
Before I continue with more EScooter updates below, I would like to invite you to the City Council meeting on Wednesday night at 7pm at City Hall.  
The City Council will be voting on 2nd reading to ban EScooters from all City Parks as well as the Northern and Southern Waterfront Walkways (the areas where there are adjacent bike/multi use lanes where EScooters can and should be ridden).  If you can’t make in person, you can watch live on Facebook or online.  You would think this is an easy law to get behind - given EScooters and kids don't mix well - but because of the upcoming elections/political environment, I have less confidence that this is the slam dunk it should be.  So write your council person, come to the meeting, and let us know your views – whatever they are – on this.  I understand Ojo's CEO will be at the meeting, and as of this writing, our neighbor who was in the accident described above plans to attend as well.
Back to the update on EScooters….
Let me start by saying that my position continues to be informed by the feedback I get from many of you.  I believe:
  • We need to do as much as possible to try to make E-Scooters work in Hoboken, but in order for them to work residents need to feel safe.  And currently they just don’t.
  • It is a little more than a “few bad eggs” ruining it for everyone and that we HAVE TO GET THEM OFF THE SIDEWALKS.  
  • Anything with a motor should be banned from the Waterfront Walkway and Parks which is consistent with the State Law that has the intent of separating them from densely populated pedestrian areas (thus the sidewalk ban).  As mentioned above, we are voting to make this law at the meeting Wednesday night.
  • That the current arrangement with LIME is not sustainable – although better than when it started, we need a contract where an E-scooter provider, among other things, is financially liable for reckless riding.  
  • The City needs to do much more than it has been doing to ensure safety.
  • The City currently does not have the wherewithal to support an E-Scooter program in Hoboken through the snowy/slushy/wet winters. 
  • We should not extend the pilot in November.  I have already communicated this to our Transportation Director Sharp.
All this said, it sounds like I want to kill the E-Scooter program permanently.  And I don’t…not yet.  I think we need to continue with safety improvements – like Wednesday’s vote - during this pilot, but we take the winter off to work on what we need to see happen in order to potentially launch again in the spring.  Last time the goal of the administration was to be “first” with a program in NJ.  I think a better goal is to have a program that is “right” for Hoboken (or not have anything).

City Council President Jen Giattino: "9/24 Vote Jen Again Fundraiser!"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors,
Please join me for some fun at my re-election launch fundraiser!
  • WHEN: Tuesday, September 24
  • WHERE 80 River Hoboken (in the location of the former Cadillac Cantina) 80 River Street, Hoboken
  • TIME: 6pm - 8pm
As many of you know the hardest thing for me to do is to ask for money but campaigns cost money. You have always been so generous supporting me. Each and every one of you makes a difference.  Will you support me with a donation of $25 or more? Checks payable to Jen Giattino for 6th Ward or you can DONATE ONLINE. 

I'm proud to represent the 6th Ward on the City Council and, with your continued support, will be honored to keep working together on what matters most to all of us, Hoboken. My focus has always been, and will continue to be, on improving quality of life issues, working to keep taxes low, helping those who have less, supporting our local businesses, and protecting our neighborhood feel that makes Hoboken so special. 
Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing you on the 24th!

Vote Jen Again