Bhalla, Giattino and Nason steal the show at Hoboken Democratic Committee meeting


For the first time since June, the Hoboken Democratic Committee met, with Mayor Ravi Bhalla addressing social and economic concerns ahead of the 2018 midterm elections before a recent Republican mayoral candidate was kicked out of the event.

Bhalla, Democratic committee

By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View

Inside the Hoboken Bar & Grill, Bhalla discussed the influence of President Donald Trump’s (R) tax bill on middle and lower class workers before climate change inevitably became part of the conversation.

“One of the emerging issues, of course, and is particularly important in urban areas along the coastline is sea-level rise, climate change and resiliency,” said Allen Kratz, Project Manager of Rebuild by Design, a $230 million flood resiliency project.

In a congressional caucus meeting next week, Bhalla was invited to Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Maryland to talk about the lessons learned in the 2017 election cycle.

The Mile Square City mayor added that he hopes to establish a goal of “moving the ball forward as Democrats,” and in the midterm elections in 2018, he states the historical significance of a Hoboken elected official to partake in the national conversation.

While Bhalla has endured some rocky experiences with the council during the early days of his administration, Hoboken Council President Ruben Ramos, 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, the chair of the HDC and recent mayoral candidate Jen Giattino, the 6th Ward Councilwoman, joined the crowd to discuss Democratic issues and priorities.

Giattino, who frequently received backlash during the mayoral race for being a “a Trump-voting Republican” (she previously told Hudson County View she voted for Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential race), formally announced converting to Democrat at Thursday’s meeting.

While Bhalla, Fisher, an integral part of Giattino’s mayoral run, and many others among the 50 or so in attendance were supportive of the move, at least one person in attendance was not.

Karen Nason, another Republican mayoral hopeful who finished in a distant fifth place, was asked to leave the meeting during a tense exchange with Fisher, even though she said was invited as Freeholder Anthony Romano’s (D-5) guest.

“I’m trying to ask a question and Tiffanie’s asking me to leave,” Nason began at Thursday’s meeting.

“The answer is no,” Fisher stated.

“This is not what … this is not what politics is about,” Nason said, appearing to be surprised by being asked to leave.

“This is the Democratic committee,” Fisher began to say before getting interrupted.

“That’s ok, I want to work with the Democrats,” Nason exclaimed.

“And you’ll get to, you’ll get invited to a number of other opportunities, events.”

In a phone interview over the weekend, Fisher said that the HDC reserved the room/bar in the basement for the meeting and it was therefore a private event for members only.

“Karen Nason was not invited as she is not a committee member and we were not allowing anyone who was not a committee member to participate,” said Fisher.

Fisher further explained that in the future, the democratic committee expects to organize public events like fundraisers with guest speakers, which will be open to the public.

On the contrary, Nason said she came to the meeting out of curiosity as the guest of Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), a former HDC chair. She also thought the meeting was informal since no actual committee business was being voted on.

“I want to work together with the Democratic Party as a Republican that wants to make a change in Hoboken,” Nason said, adding she was “appalled” by the way Fisher handled the situation, also mocking the fact that Giattino was praised for switching parties.

Before it was all said and done, Bhalla couldn’t resist making mention of vetoing a council measure that would allow Mile Square City voters to decide whether or not to bring back runoff elections.

Bhalla stood by his veto then and doubled down in a mass email sent out this afternoon.

“I note that a December runoff election will come at an increase in property taxes of approximately $140,000. This amounts to a tax hike for a low turnout December election, held right after Thanksgiving and in the middle of the holiday season,” Bhalla wrote.

“Simply put, it’s silly to waste taxpayer money, force candidates to ask you for campaign money, and spend time knocking on your doors and sending yet more campaign literature, while we’re all trying to enjoy the holiday season. Not surprisingly, this scenario resulted in a decrease in voter participation by as much as 40% in some parts of Jersey City during their holiday runoffs this past December.”

The Hoboken City Council, who has already approved letting the voters decide on runoff elections four times, will decide whether or not to override Bhalla’s veto at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Other topics discussed during the meeting were transportation by Eileen Carvalho, unions by James Castiglione, and pensions by Ramos.

Ramos specifically mentioned the Pension and Health Benefit Reform Law that suspends any future Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for all retirees of all retirement systems.

“In regards to the unions, a big issue that would go a long way is the affect that the taking away of the COLA had on for example: for teachers, or a fireman retiring 15-years-ago. It’s not right,” said Romano, a retired police captain who has an icy relationship with Ramos, a Paterson school teacher.


Chief News Correspondent John Heinis contributed to this report. 

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  1. So Ravi hijacked the party meeting to beg people to speak in favor of his veto at the council meeting. In the process Ravi broke the sunshine law as there was five council members in attendance.

    Why am I not surprised? Paging Perry Belfiore…
    Then Nason shows up as a guest of Romano without Romano.

    Freaking amateur hour.

    • I guess those high school math classes didn’t include learning to count to 5. Maybe that’s the question you got wrong on the arithmetic Regents exam. Maybe you should hire Councilwoman Fisher to tutor you in math. Ask her for a class in the sunshine laws too since I imagine she’s an expert and you seem to be confused by how they work.

      • Hey ethics wiz, maybe you should hire a better shadow to coach your wife how to lie to the public.

        Didn’t she quit to go fight global warming? Can you fight global warming by breathing hard and climbing a phony indoor rock?

        Oh those altitudes! Ending global warming gulping air at 35 feet. That’s added carbon pollution poisoning Hoboken!

        Stop polluting us Dawn, go lay down.

  2. Even the local Republican leadership wasnt there. Nason is too unstable to work with Republicans let alone Democrats. I doubt Romano invited her, probably more of a scheme between her and that other crazy hair mess blogger Gee Aye- the divisive hate blogger and her accomplice Karen Nason

    • Not too unstable for you to take her ad money though. Her money that you took is very stable. Whore your dead blog out for cash then stab your advertisers in the back after they stop paying you. Speaking of mess, got a mirror?

      • Where ex Hoboken residents go to gripe.
        Scott Siegle, Eric Kurt, Fake Striver and a few other losers can go there and feed Nancy BS
        Now that’s a DEAD BLOG- Funny how they all go to a site that attacks the very people like Gardiner who paid for someone to have a lawyer

      • Why does crazy Sybil think every stupid comment she makes one of her personalities is talking to Horse?

        Someone send get psychiatric help to the cave?

        Not helping?
        A little dab of psychotropics helps?
        Not the right Rx?
        Can’t help you there.
        You’ll just have to try harder not being a loon.

        • Should a newly appointed NHSA Commissioner be drinking sewage in the daytime? Everyone says you keep dropping that sewage flask at NHSA meetings but drinking raw sewage in the middle of the day? Instead of AA you need to join SS- Sewage Sippers. You need the Sewage Sipper 12 Step Program.

        • No one calls Roman Brice “Horse” or GA Sybil except Roman Brice. If you don’t want people to think you are Roman Brice you should try to sound a little less like him.

          Speaking of Roman, I wonder if he will be posting the Nunes memo rebuttal as soon as it is released. As a true believer in transparency I’m sure he’s chomping at the bit to read it and publish it.

          He hasn’t published the Mayor Bhalla’s latest communication on the runoff issue but I’m sure that’s coming later today. Hoboken is lucky to have an honest objective skilled journalist such as Roman on the job.

          It’s truly a shame that so few people take advantage of the amazing resource he provides.

  3. COLA’s are not guaranteed and are certainly not advisable when there are unfunded accrued liabilities. Regarding the comments on the meeting. The public can attend meetings but they may not be allowed to speak. The fact that a room was reserved is not a determining factor.

    • MTB, please get some help. You seem like a smart woman, but you aren’t making sense lately. Don’t let Mason and the Old Guard exploit your issues. Seek some analysis. Mayor Bhalla and the Reform team lead by King Reform director Dawn honestly care about you.

  4. The COLA’s might be able to be considered if standard salary was used in the calculation benefit formula amounts. By using overtime, not only are the annual figures inflated but in any single year the OT amounts can be extraordinary.

  5. Karen Nason here. I am positive that I am not unstable with my party affiliation whatsoever. The only unstable one here is Jen and Tiffany. Tiffany ran a “Republican” while being head of the “Democratic” party? Stable? It was confusing to the 8,000 Republicans here who did not understand that Jen was Republican, or Libertarian, or now Proud Democrat. Impossible to get them to hear the truth which was really too bad, but they know now. My dear friend who went to school together with myself is running for Governor of Maine and we graduated Gorham High School. I will work on a program with him dealing with Vocational Schools and a program I talked about with Phil Murphy as well as Lt. Kim. I had a meeting with Susan Collins office who were awesome but like many of our party could not endorse as Jen was running and they would not pick out of the party as happy to hear both running. Unstable is Jen for taking peoples donations under this party and changing her affiliation to advance herself with Tiffany. Yes, I was invited by Romano. If this is Roman we had great conversations about the Republican party. Aren’t you republican and don’t you work with both sides. I will continue to work on projects I spoke about in my campaign. You keep on bashing. We shall see who is unstable. One thing for sure is I never talk out of a Horse’s ass!!! I say what I mean.

  6. Your post demonstrates how unstable you are. Makes absolutely no sense. It was a dem committee meeting for dems to discuss dem strategy outside of hoboken to support dem candidates – not to play kumbaya with repubs. (We cannot participate in nonpartisan races)

    Now why don’t you go back to the pincus blog and make up more nonsense about Jen and Tiff?

  7. Given the highly confidential discussions that took place at the meeting maintaining security was certainly critical, so I’m glad Chairwoman Fisher kept her out. But, with control of Congress in the balance, it scares me to think that the Republicans could have succeeded in spying on the classified proceedings by simply having a Republican change their party registration to democrat to gain access.

    What steps were taken to ensure that Ms. Giattino was not a Republican spy. Given the stakes I hope her conversion wasn’t simply taken at face value and appropriate dilligence was undertaken.

    Also why was Mr. Heinis permitted in? Certainly inviting the press shouldn’t be privy to the highly confidential proceedings?

  8. I don’t think this is conversation Dana Wefer really wants to have given the actual facts. Her media tour would in my opinion have been malpractice if she were acting as an attorney.