3 independent Hoboken council candidates will be on the ballot after Team Bhalla challenge is unsuccessful


All 10 Hoboken council-at-large candidates will be on the ballot after Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s team effort remove three independent candidates was unsuccessful.

Hoboken City Clerk Jimmy Farina at today’s ballot drawing. Twitter photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Hoboken Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia filed a motion with Hudson County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Jablonski to finalize the certification of municipal candidates this morning and the judge ruled to allow Ian Rintel, Manuel Rivera, and Cindy Wiegand on the ballot.

A September 10th certification from Deputy City Clerk Jerry Lore says that “I misunderstood the timeline” of the November 2nd municipal elections, and while the August 30th filing deadline was adhered to, the subsequent deadlines were not.

“I now recognize that the deadlines I enforced for the Clerk’s Office to notify candidates of defects, to correct defects, as well as the acceptance of a challenge and my handling and response to same may have prejudiced some of the candidates attempting to be included in the ballot,” the certification says.

“Furthermore, I certified candidate Ms. [Cindy] Wiegand to be included on the ballot even though I do not believe she submitted enough valid nominating petitions.”

While all candidates needed 431 valid petitions of nomination, Lore continued that Rintel submitted 409, Wiegand submitted 421, and Rivera submitted 409.

Although candidates were supposed to cure their petitions by September 2nd, as the Jersey City Clerk’s office enforced, but the Hoboken Clerk’s Office allowed until September 9th.

The Hoboken Clerk’s Office also told Vijay Chaudhuri, Team Bhalla’s campaign manager, that all challenges must be submitted by September 8th, when the actual deadline was September 3rd.

” … The decisions of the Hoboken Municipal Clerk to reject the nominating petitions of Wiegand, Rintel, and Rivera, should be affirmed,” Flavio Komuves, at attorney for Bhalla’s council slate, wrote to Jablonski yesterday.

“In this case, there were admittedly short-staffing issues that slowed the Clerk’s initial
review, and a great deal of wrong information was given out concerning many of the applicable deadlines. However, there is no dispute that all the candidates
received the same information, and there was no favoritism one way or the other among the candidates.”

While the three candidates in question did not have enough valid petitions, Jablonski rejected that argument and placed them all on the ballot due to the errors made by the clerk’s office.

As a result, the raw tallies submitted by each candidate, 508 for Rintel, 519 for Wiegand, and 431 for Rivera, were accepted.

“This just shows why it’s essential that Ravi Bhalla does not have a rubber stamp city council – this fiasco threw away tax dollars while going against the interest of Hoboken voters,” Rintel told HCV today.

“He and his candidates sole motivation to keep candidates off the ballot is selfish and not at all citizen serving.”

Since the legal challenge came from Bhalla’s campaign, as opposed to City Hall, it did not appears to cost the taxpayers any additional dollars, though Rintel still questions if additional funds were spent on the law department and/or the clerk’s office throughout this ordeal.

The sole slate challenge to Bhalla’s team, the “Independently Together” trio of Cheryl Fallick, Sheila Brennan, and Paul Presinzano, also applauded the judge’s decision in a joint statement.

“Democracy is dependent on many voices and we want to welcome the three candidates that Team Bhalla attempted to keep off the ballot,” they said.

“We are excited for an issues-based campaign with lively but civil discussion and debate about the best ways to meet challenges and opportunities for Hoboken’s future and we look forward to securing the trust and confidence of voters when they cast their ballot on (or before) November 2nd.”

2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, who is supporting the Independently Together team and a frequent critic of Bhalla, chided the administration over today’s ruling.

“Since learning the mayoral race would be uncontested, I’ve advocated for more candidates for City Council so we can debate issues important to our community,” she said in her own statement.

“I am heartened to see how many have put their hand up to run and the discussions that are ahead, but am troubled that a Hudson County judge ruled today that he had little choice but to set aside election laws as a direct result of the Bhalla administration’s lack of oversight over our local election laws.”

The ballot drawing took place shortly after the ruling, with Rivera securing the top spot on the ballot (1H), followed by Rintel(3H), then Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle, one of his running mates Joe Quintero, and Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour (5, 6, and 7H).

Fallick, Brennan, and Presinzano drew the next three spots (9, 10, and 11H), while Wiegand drew 13H, and Pat Waiters drew the final spot at 15H.

Bhalla campaign spokesman Rob Horowitz noted that the three candidates in question did not provide the valid number of petitions required, but also said they will not challenge this result further.

“As the City Clerk’s office itself stated, the candidates challenged did not meet the minimum requirements for qualifying for the ballot. That being said, we accept the Judge’s decision and welcome all the council candidates to the race. We look forward to a spirited contest,” he said in an email.


Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Team Bhalla campaign spokesman Rob Horowitz.

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  1. A good day for transparency and election participation and a very bad day for Bleepjay and Team Bollard’s team of arch criminals. You guys should have stuck at what you do best. Coordinating terror fliers with your union pals against an opponent and crying you’re the victim!

  2. A truly independent slate of candidates would not be under the thumb of Fisher and Giattino, who are afraid of losing their political juice with a Bhalla sweep. Alternatively, Ian Rintel is a real independent candidate.

    • Ha! You think those 3 are under anyone’s thumb? I doubt it. If you want any independent candidate on that council you probably should focus your ire on the 3 that are in Bhalla’s pocket and not the 3 that welcomed Ian into the race.

  3. So…everyone admits that the three candidates in question failed to get the required number of signatures, but they are on the ballot anyway? Also, a not-insignificant number of sigs were by Hoboken residents who signed for more than four candidates, which is against city law.

    Seems like Team Bhalla are the only ones playing by the rules.

    • If rules mean telling your campaign workers/supporters to go out and sign more petitions to guarantee that opposing candidates don’t get on the ballot, I guess playing by the rules is a strange thing. You gonna tell me that Terry Castalano, who is all-in w/Bhalla these days doesn’t know that you can’t sign more than three petitions? ha-ha, good one.

    • The judge deemed all signatures submitted valid. 508, 519 and 431 respectively. The “everyone” you are referring to all work for the Mayor or his campaign. Read the court transcript. He and his team are working only for their own interests.

    • 😂😂 thanks for making me laugh this morning; theyre the only ones playing by the rules…Was that when he gave an incorrect date and they weren’t able to get further signatures due to his direct negligence:}

  4. Ineffective, dishonest, attempting to silence the opposition and getting caught. That’s all this administration does – comically inept stabs at the dark arts. Can’t wait for more independent voices on the council.

    • Three candidates show they want special privileges because they feel rules doesn’t not appiy to them.
      If they consider themselves above the law before election imagine what they would do on the very slim chance they made into public office

      They are an embarasement to themselves, Hoboken and the democratic system.

    • The Mighty, all-seeing all knowing Auditor speaks! LOL…you are so pompous, with your declarations from on high.

      How do you figure holding candidates to the legal number of signatures is “attempting to silence the opposition”? Did these three have numerous signors who signed for more than three candidates? Did they? Why would you let that violation of city law slide, Mr. Pontificator?

      And if the mayor is so ineffective, why is no one opposing him? Is it because, hmm, let’s see…maybe because potential opponents have seen the polling and know he’s highly popular among regular voters (ie, not the wannabe political hacks who post anti-Bhalla nonsense here every day)?

      What a blowhard, you’re as phony as the rest of them, albeit trying disguise yourself with lofty communications skills.

  5. Ian, are you willing to sign an affidavit saying that all of the signatures that you submitted are valid under the law? Meaning that if Hoboken had a competent Clerks Office that did not make egregious errors, you would still be on the ballot?

    Because as it reads in the statement from Jerry Lore, under the law you, Manny, and that other woman Cynthia or Cindy or Sendaya don’t have enough signatures to be on the ballot.

          • I am categorically 100% NOT okay with that disgusting flier. It’s disappointing that the responsible party has not been identified.

            I believe other commenters have asked multiple times already. You’re so confident that the Bhalla campaign was behind the flier. Where’s your proof? Have you shared it with HPD or are you simply obstructing justice and #comfortablydishonest?

          • 1) he makes the same criminal accusation multiple times every day.
            2) he never produces a scintilla of evidence.
            3) if you make note of facts 1 & 2, he calls it protesting too much and says you are a paid operative.
            4) he then repeats the accusation and repeats his failure to produce a scintilla of evidence.

            why would you expect him to suddenly man up or shut up? he’s not wired for either of those.

        • Which criminals are you with, the union or Team Bollard?
          Let’s wire you up for the prosecutor.

          You’ll be crying like a little girl in seconds. Ravi can’t save you.

  6. Both sides really ought to stop the unseemly posturing. Challenging signatures in court is both normal and appropriate. It’s how Obama won his first state Senate race. I have no independent knowledge of the facts, but it sounds like there was lots of confusion about the rules – exactly the scenario where judicial review is appropriate. I don’t know if an appeal is in the the works but that would be perfectly appropriate too.

    When the courts decide – move on and have an election.

  7. Only this City would make a law where you limit participation in government and democracy. Democracy is more inclusive not exclusive as ravi practices. You should be able to sign as many petitions as you want, it allows more candidates and more choices.

    A more inclusive Democracy with active citizens should be what we all want, but we know ravi and his minions do not want that.

  8. This is literally state law. It it not specific to Hoboken at all. The specifics about Hoboken in this matter is that the Clerk’s Office is inept.

    Cynthia or Cindy, Eean, and Mani simply don’t have enough qualifying signatures to be on the ballot. But as LindaLou stated, the judge ruled and let the campaign continue.

  9. It’s quite #comfortablydishonest for Councilwoman Fisher to place ALL blame for the mismanagement of this election process on the administration alone. Let’s not forget that the City Clerk ALSO works FOR the City Council, which one could argue more for them than the Mayor. As part of the City Council, she – and the other eight sitting councilpeople – are just as much to blame for the “lack of oversight over our local election laws.”

    But given her support of the #AllWhiteTiffTik, she’s conveniently forgotten that.

  10. The election is a couple of months away, probably about time for the local neighborhood MAGA nincompoop to start calling it rigged. Once Dear Leader conned him, he because brainwashed with all-things MAGA, sad.

      • Word on the street is the Cyber Ninja team will soon be hired to solve the terror flyer mystery, once/if they ever finish the Arizona “recount” and/or recover from COVID. THEN we’ll know the REAL truth!

        • Arizona Audit release set for this month. Remember the criminals denying the mail-in Hoboken voter fraud? Ravi’s buddy Russo was bragging in a council meeting no one had been arrested and it was all a made up conspiracy.

          None of the Arizona Audit companies needs hiring to have the Bollards Team Terror Flier “mystery solved.”

          It doesn’t need solving. It only needs prosecution. All of you need to be sent with your criminal leader to the clink for your hate crime against Hoboken.

          • You’re one step away from being that guy who yells at strangers (real and imaginary) on the street. Lucky for everyone, you’re too preoccupied with saving democracy to actually leave your basement.

          • You detest Bhalla. Nothing would make you happier than seeing him arrested, prosecuted and sent to prison. You have a bizarre obsessive hatred for him.

            That being the case, you prove every day that you have nothing to share with cops or prosecutors related to the fliers. Or you would have gleefully given it to them long ago so your revenge fantasies could all come true.

            But you just hate Bhalla. Beginning, middle and end of story. Why don’t you move in with Josh. Together the two of you could afford a nicer basement.

          • Detesting Ravi would be a waste of time. The crimes against Hoboken People is in his lap. Nothing will erase it.

            You don’t know the evidence I have or what I’ve done with it. You don’t know what others in City Hall have. You know I’m correct about all of it. You’re scared. The only new information would be the date of occurrence, accomplice before or after the fact.

            The truth is coming for you. So is justice.

          • I have compelling evidence proving Bhalla produced and distributed the flier.

            Law enforcement PROFESSIONALS of the city, county and state all investigated and didn’t find anything.

            But I have the proof.

            I hate Bhalla and have evidence that can send him to jail. But I haven’t done anything with it although it happened 4 years ago and I have spent the entire 4 years insisting I have proof.

            If that all sounds absurd to you to the point of mental illness, it’s because you are a paid political operative and you are very afraid of me.

            Which is exactly what a mentally ill person would claim when confronted with their psychosis.

          • At this point, you don’t even know how to be a good troll. There’s more to it that simply repeating the same nonsense and ignoring the same questions.

            But we all realized long ago that this is the only thing (imaginary thought it may be) you have in your life, so everyone just gives you the old “yes dear, anything you say, dear” treatment at this point.