Hoboken Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla vowed to protect the Mile Square City from developers if elected mayor during a fundraiser at City Bistro last night.
“Even though we’ve made a lot of progress, I firmly believe and submit to you Hoboken’s best days are yet to come. That fact excited me and it also concerns me,” Bhalla said in front of a crowd of about 100 supporters.
” … We’re the fourth most densely populated city in the country. And there are certain portions of Hoboken that are still undeveloped: tremendous pressure is being place on government officials to, I would submit, overdevelop Hoboken.”
“When I’m at the other side of the table with a developer, you’ll get an honest broker: you’ll get someone whose taken an oath to represent the citizens of the City of Hoboken – not the interests of the developers,” exclaimed Bhalla.
Back in June, Zimmer simultaneously announced she would not seek a third term and that she would be endorsing Bhalla to succeed her.
While Zimmer’s reform fraction has fractured in light of Council President Jen Giattino’s mayoral run, she made it a point to reiterate Bhalla’s team, which consists of Councilman-at-Large James Doyle, John Allen, and Emily Jabbour, is clearly the best choice for Hoboken.
“I think there’s been a little bit of [a mindset] like ‘the reformers are all the same.’ They’re not all the same. Okay, so this is a team that’s really committed to following through on the things that I think are really important for Hoboken.”
The incumbent credited her two-time running mate for helping to develop the Southwest Park and push the $230 million Rebuild by Design project forward.
Additionally, Doyle, who characterized both himself and Bhalla as “liberal progressive,” said his council colleague’s electability and proven track record made him the best choice for him to support.
Allen, who was elected as a Hoboken Democratic Committeeman in June, also offered heavy praise for Bhalla.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think Hoboken is so lucky to have a candidate as qualified, as committed, as intelligent and as compassionate as Ravi,” Allen said, ending his thought by shaking Bhalla’s hand.
The anchor of the ticket, Emily Jabbour, who founded the Hudson County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, also expressed why she felts she was a good fit for team Bhalla.
“I want you to know that I’m a person of action. I’m not going to stand on the sidelines, I’m not going to just go along with things, I want to be a part of the change – and I want to lead that change,” Jabbour said.
“And I think my voice, as a woman and as a mom, is an important one. I think that needs to be part of this conversation and I’m incredibly grateful that this team agrees and I’m thankful for the chance to show that.”
Vijay Chaudhuri, Zimmer’s former chief of staff and Bhalla’s new campaign manager, said the slate raised $65,000 at the event.
Other dignitaries in attendance included East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor, former Hoboken Housing Authority Chair Jake Stuiver and HHA Commissioner Hovie Forman.