Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla rallied members of the local Democratic Committee to elect state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack as the next chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization at a private meeting last night.
“As long as I’ve known or been in Hudson County, we’ve only had one county executive: County Executive [Tom] DeGise, whose a wonderful person. But as you all know, in Hoboken, we give a lot more than we get back from the county, in terms of out county taxes,” Bhalla said.
“There are a lot of issues where we just do not get our fair share of the pie: we subsidize a lot of the streets and roads, the parks, the jail, the courthouse and we pay the highest percentage of taxes.”
The new mayor continued that Hoboken has continually held the line on municipal taxes, only to see a noticeable increase on the county level.
As a result, Bhalla said it’s about time to “finally have a seat at the table” in county government, with the first step in that process being electing Stack at the head of the HCDO in June.
Bhalla was quick to back Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s plan to oust DeGise next year, despite the fact they have yet to select a candidate.
While DeGise made it clear on our live show last week that he’s furious with Fulop, he also had a few choice words for Stack and Bhalla.
Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33), one of Stack’s legislative running mates, is expectedly on board with making a change at the county level, making it a point that they never intended to start a civil war.
“I think that we all know that Hudson County needs to change things up, especially for Hoboken, and I think this is the man [Stack] that’s gonna get it done for us and we are not looking for a fight, we just wanted a change,” she explained.
“That’s what it was, and to declare a war, before it even started, just tells you that they are nervous because they know we are really gonna make a change.”
DeGise also told us that he can’t envision a scenario where he drops his re-election bid, which is being spearheaded by state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8).
Hoboken 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo added that this isn’t about a political scrap, it’s about the residents of the county getting the services they need.
“Senator Stack will be the first one to tell you that this isn’t about him: this is about all of you. It’s about all of the constituents that he represents and we represent. This is not just about the chairmanship of the Democratic party in Hudson County,” Russo said.
“This is about getting each and every person in the City of Hoboken, and throughout the county, involved so that we can make the changes that we all would like to see.”
Addressing the room of about 30 people, Stack admitted he got involved in the Hoboken Democratic Committee races last year because “outside influence,” clearly referencing Team Sacco, tried to get involved.
“I didn’t think it was right, with the games that were being played at the time, so I got involved,” he said.
If elected HCDO chair, Stack says he’s going to make being a committee representative matter again, the way it did when he was a kid growing up in Union City.
“I feel, that as the chairman of the party, I would make the committee person matter again. What I mean by that, is when I was a kid growing up in Union City, and I had family who lived in Hoboken and Jersey City, the committee person really meant something,” Stack recalled.
“Not just once a year when you’re on the ballot and you’ve gotta pull for the entire column because you’re the ones that book.”
Stack also leveled that when someone like Bhalla meets with the HCDO, Assembly or Senate delegation, that look at the voter tallies from the last election cycle to determine what sort of political clout they have.
“There was a time when presidential candidates made Hudson County a must stop. The Democratic candidates would make it a must stop location. That’s been lost because the county is disorganized. There’s a lot of people that are not coming out to vote,” noting that this has been the trend for about 20 years.
While Stack and Sacco are at odds again, with things likely to get worse before they get better, the Union City power broker is almost a certainty to succeed former Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto as the next HCDO chair.
DeGise told Hudson County View last week that he doesn’t think anyone will challenge Stack for the county position this summer.
The event, hosted at Carpe Diem, was a success for Bhalla, with about 60 members of the HDC – although many of them did not attend – committing their June vote to Stack.