3rd special interest group enters Hoboken council races with Cohen attack mailer


A third special interest group has entered the Hoboken City Council races in the 11th hour, with a Friday mailer marking the first time a candidate backed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla has been attacked by a third party entity ahead of Tuesday’s elections.

Photo via njdemocracy.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Phil Cohen and big developers: perfect together, wrong for Hoboken,” says a mailer paid for by Hackensack-based non-profit New Jersey Democracy in Action.

The group also calls Cohen “a cog of the political machine” and criticizes him for being endorsed by The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, which has a super PAC branch called Stronger Foundations – which backed Bhalla for mayor in 2017.

Also, the flier didn’t ask 5th Ward voters to support either of Cohen’s opponents, Nicola Maganuco or Tim Crowell, simply asking them to “say no to Phil Cohen.”

Cohen seemed undeterred by the flier in a brief phone interview this morning, though questioned the motivations of whoever was behind it.

“I think it’s interesting that the PACs that have been supportive of our campaign have been highlighting our candidates, while this is the first negative advertisement in the 5th Ward and it’s directed only against me,” he said.

“This is Hoboken politics, none of this is surprising. I’ve been knocking on doors since May, I’ve lived in Hoboken 33 years – I’m not really concerned: I’m just getting out the vote and making sure voters know Tuesday is Election Day.”

Little is known about the non-profit, other than that they played an instrumental role in pushing for runoff elections to return to Hoboken during last year’s ballot question.

Voters approved the referendum by a nearly three-to-one margin.

According to their website, “Contributions to New Jersey Democracy in Action are NOT subject to state or local pay-to-play laws and donations to the organization are not publicly disclosed according to IRS regulations.”

One of their trustees did not immediately return an email seeking comment, while the incorporator of the non-profit, Victor Mendez, could not be reached for comment.

Maganuco was the treasurer of a similar but different organization, That’s Not Democracy, a political committee that also supported bringing runoff elections back to Hoboken last year. The group only reported raising $599, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

With just three days remaining in this election cycle, NJDA joins NJ Community Initiatives and Stronger Foundations in trying to make an impact in the Mile Square City.

NJ Community Initiatives has committed to spending $19,420 on 1st Ward challenger Migdalia Pagan-Milano, while Stronger Foundations has been running Facebook ads for Pagan-Milano, Nora Martinez-Debenedetto, 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo and Cohen.

According to their Facebook ad library, they are currently only running ads for Cohen, Pagan-Milano and Russo and have spent less than $100 on each individual ad.

While Local 825 also endorsed 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, Stronger Foundations has not run any Facebook ads for him to date.

All six ward council seats are up for grabs when Hoboken voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

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  1. We should all be grateful Ravi didn’t urinate on us with another terror flier. Thanks Ravi for keeping it real with only lies, smears and big development PACs.

      • Nope. It’s Cristin Cricco Crickets Puppet & Nora B who are endorsed by and underwritten by the statewide development PAC, Stronger Foundations not Fisher or Giattino.

        • The fact is they did and it is on the record which sort of makes all your crazy rants just more horse manure.

          Your rude crude insanity only hurts Fisher and Giattino.

          • The fact is you’re left with nothing but stupid lying. That’s the only sad fact about you today. You have absolutely nothing to defend big development PACMAN Ravi and their endorsed puppets.

          • Facts are facts.

            More facts DeFusco has no less then five PAC’s giving him money this time around.

            DeFusco, Ramos and Russo headed up the City Council committee that came up and approved the latest NJT development plans.

  2. Is it true Ravi Bhalla changed his mind and told the Stronger Foundations PAC to stop running ads for his council candidates against Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher?

    Word has gotten around. The blowback is devastating! But Ravi’s council candidates don’t say a word about any of it and both Cristen Cricco Crickets Puppet and Nora D are now pissed. They thought an endorsement by a statewide development PAC would not get out. Worse, they got exposed worse when Stronger Foundations was running ads on Facebook for them.

    Neither Nora nor CCCP renounced the powerful statewide development PAC endorsement. Nothing but crickets.

    • Actually there is no blowback or even a light breeze just the usual steam coming off the horse manure.
      The zealot online barnyard haters that Councilwoman solicits funding are desperate as they see their meal ticket being voted out of office.

      • You’re a bad liar “Al.” Ravi told the big construction Local 825/ PAC Stronger Foundations to pull the online ads for Cristin Cricco-Powell & Nora DeBenedetto. Too late.

        HCV is the first to report the news. Lie about him now too. That’s all you have left.

          • Yeah Ravi did the right thing in telling his big construction PAC pals to stop advertising for Cricco-Powell and Nora. But you can’t claim the other PAC is connected to the others without evidence.

            So let’s agree Ravi Bhalla finally did the right thing here even though it’s too late. If only he had told them two years ago NOT to do the Terror Flier.

          • Yeah Jen didn’t do the right thing and tell her PAC pals to stop advertising against Cohen. But you can’t claim the other Stronger Foundations did the terror flyer without without evidence.

            So let’s hope Jen does the right thing and doesn’t do another terror flyer like she did two years ago. So far she still has not produced a police report exonerating her. According to Hoboken rain man that means she’s guilty.

        • The Political Action Committee – New Jersey Democracy In Action- the focus of this HCV post is attacking the opponents of Councilpersons DeFusco, Fisher, Giattino and Ramos in much the same ham handed way their local rabid anti-administration web site and camp followers do

          • Please enjoy these misogynistic insults courtesy of the Vision Media Misogyny team at Vision Media – Jen, Tiff, Mike and Ruben. We believe that our loyal followers enjoy our insults to girl candidates. It’s not like they deserve serious criticism like we would do with Men candidates. We are sure you believe the same. Let’s get those girls back to the kitchen where they belong!

          • Mike cashed $10K in developer convicted voter fraud felon Pupie Raia’s checks and even made him part of his campaign team
            He made a big show of having to give it away but secretly gave it to a PAC that gave it right back to him by way of a mailer for his campaign

    • Endorsement and $$ from union PAC, Stronger Foundation, covers the entire Bhalla-slate with gross stench by which anyone who pays attention will be repulsed. Anyone who doesn’t pay attention–easy to say, “you want 16 story towers in Hoboken? No? Then vote for Tim, Tiffany and Jen.”

  3. Bhalla’s sleaze slate is taking money from the very folks who lobby against COAH and want to build towers over our historic train station.

    Ravi’s team are mere puppets to help him build his senate campaign with union cash