Bhalla, DeFusco stand and trade over community meeting in the 1st Ward


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco are again trading punches, this time over a community meeting in DeFusco’s ward that was limited to residents of Marineview Plaza. 

Photos via Twitter.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“So I’ve been barred from entering a community meeting in my home district by the taxpayer funded security detail assigned to @RaviBhalla and two tax funded city employees. What is the mayor so afraid of? Misuse of official office. #Hoboken,” DeFusco tweeted last night.

While the meeting, hosted by the mayor, was billed as private, DeFusco added that he didn’t believe that excuse held water since three City Hall employees and the Bhalla’s security detail were present.

City spokesman Santiago Melli-Huber said that the meeting wasn’t open to the general public and that no one on the city council was invited.

“The meeting was not open to the general public, and no Council members were invited, whether they represent a specific ward or the entire City as At-Large Council members. It was specifically for residents of MVP to speak directly with Mayor Bhalla about issues impacting their building and community,” he wrote in an email.

“The Constituent Affairs chief and CoS were there to help address and resolve any of the residents’ concerns. To the extent that Mayor Bhalla was a guest in their building, he respected the wishes of the community by only opening it up to residents, as the flyer you are alluding to specifies.”

Melli-Huber added that the head of the Hoboken Office of Constituent Affairs Caroline Caulfield received an email on August 16th from multiple Marineview Plaza residents specifically asking for DeFusco not to be invited.

“I will be there IF 1st Ward Councilman DeFusco is not invited to attend. He hasn’t shown his face around here since he was running for Mayor. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a fast talker that should have nothing to do with MVP,” the email, where the four senders are redacted, says.

In response, DeFusco said that the redacted email hardly proved any of the points being made by the administration.

“If their decision to block me from a taxpayer funded event is based on an anonymous message that supposedly came from a resident, then that is absolutely laughable,” the councilman stated.

“The fact that the mayor’s tax funded spokesman is now sending political attacks against me to local media further indicates that the Bhalla Administration is incapable of working with the City Council to move Hoboken forward.”

He also argued that several Marineview residents invited him to the meeting and urged him to attend.

Bhalla received a little more pushback on Twitter, with some arguing that private community meetings have no place in Hoboken.

“Why were elected officials and community members barred from this event that included city staff, its designated logo, and was funded with city taxpayer dollars? You should be investigated,” wrote Greg McAdams.

A cell phone video from the meeting shows a Hoboken police officer guarding the door of the community room at the Marineview Plaza, telling DeFusco and others that the meeting is strictly for residents.

That short clip can be seen below:

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  1. Baby Juan is acting like a real child- Jessica – daughter of a developer and new employer of the Mayors zoning goons is now using political emails?
    Give us a break

    Hey Nino Melli and Jessicaveloper guess what your entire email account is public domain. Mike should OPRA it

  2. If the Mayor invited Marine View residents to meet with him in City Hall would Councilman DeFusco have had a right to attend? If not, why can’t he meet with them the same way in their building? Elected officials don’t have to invite other elected officials into the room whenever they meet with constituents. The Mayor shouldn’t barge uninvited into a meeting DeFusco was having with constituents either.

    • I think the answer to your first question is: no, if the Mayor invited residents of Marine View to meet with him in City Hall it would not be appropriate for Councilman DeFusco to show up and expect to be let in. However, this was a meeting to discuss the concerns of the residents of Marine View at Marine View. It only seems appropriate that the 1st Ward Councilman should, not only attend, but should be invited (and instead of agreeing to lock out the 1st Ward Councilman based on an undetermined # of emails, it would have been much more mature to contact them directly and see if their specific concerns could have been worked through) The Mayor could have taken the opportunity to work with Councilman DeFusco on any concerns raised by the residents. I get it; they are, on the political front, oil & water, but I’d rather see some leadership here rather than political gamesmanship.

      When Councilwoman Giattino held a meeting at Church Towers to familiarize the residents with our rent control protections, all elected officials were welcome and Councilman Russo and Freeholder Romano attended. We need to see more of that kind of behavior out of the Mayor’s office.

  3. What in God’s name is the new constituent services person doing releasing such an email to the public? Does she understand how completely inappropriate that was? I’m appalled that a tax-payer funded employee in a role that is supposed to serve the entire constituency equally would participate in such a political stunt. Obviously she either doesn’t have the maturity or experience to understand the importance of the position and the true service she is supposed to provide to the public,or the mayor and his political allies that are scooping up taxpayer funded paychecks are doing nothing short of turning city hall into their own personal campaign headquarters.

    Hoboken, we have a problem.

    • Ravi is awful. You don’t have to like Mike DeFusco to see how utterly brain-dead this is. True, the former mayor Dawn Zimmer would never do this. She certainly was given reason to many times but Ravi is just an assclown.

      Is his latest arrogant stunt going to cost the taxpayers six figures plus in more lawsuits? What the hell is wrong with you Ravi? Stop listening to your war council and start focusing on doing your job not playing politics 24-7.

  4. Ravis luxury florist hates defusco and she and her husband have a massive two bedroom with no kids, too bad they choose to take that from a needy FAMILY with a kid instead they use it for a business! Ravi should ask her to host a ICE child who is in a cage right now

  5. * Bhalla sure looks the other way when his paid and non paid ( but rewarded ) political operatives write nasty, bigoted and biased slurs against LGBTQ, The Poor ( rent tenants ), “The Old Guard” ( Dog whistle anti- old Hoboken Italian Bias ), The well documented attacks on the residents of Marineview ( not a senior citizens only building ) and Church Towers. The long held disdain for “Old Hoboken”, “Old Guard” , “BnR’s” is deeply rooted in the Zimmer-Shadow-Bhalla Political Team’s DNA. They mock the city workers, they look down on the HHA ( **unless it’s election time when they begged Carmelo Garcia for assistance). When was the last time they promoted an “Old Hoboken” employee? They went as far as lifting the residency requirement for every position in local government. Many of the both Mayor’s Directors live elsewhere.
    They call Roberts corrupt, Mike Russo corrupt, Ramos corrupt but when have they ever acknowledged the hush money ( settlements & judgements ) they cost us? Garcia estimated to be 750,000
    Alicea almost 900,000
    Jennifer Maer 60,000
    Perry Belfiore and David Liebler over 100,000

  6. Looks like someone is acting like Hurricane Lane with the false outings

    Why does Nancy and her crew think that’s smart?
    Lane found it to be pretty dumb

    • How is my observation that Anthony Soares in my opinion is a shim a false outing? Is he trying to hide his shimness? It’s been my impression that he wants everyone to know he’s a shim. If he is trying to keep his status on the DL then I apologize for outing him.

      If Mr. Soares is not, for the sake of this thread, a shimyuppie, then my question as to what it means still stands.