Citing ‘massive vote-buying,’ Hoboken Mayor Bhalla vetoes runoff ballot question


Citing “massive vote-buying operations,” Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has vetoed an ordinance that would allow voters to decide whether or not to bring back runoff elections – making him the second Mile Square City mayor to do so in the last month. Ravi Bhalla

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The open secret known by every single member of the City Council and alluded to in multiple local news reports is that there is massive vote-buying that occurs in our elections,” Bhalla wrote in his veto statement.

“Reducing voter turnout through runoffs in December will amplify the power of those vote-buying operations, making our elections less democratic. Therefore, the approach taken by the City Council in achieving this objective is highly misguided and amounts to poor public policy that I cannot support.”

Bhalla goes on to say that while he does not support traditional runoff elections, he does support instant runoffs – a measure that would have to be approved by the state legislature.

He also pointed to the low turnout in Jersey City’s runoff elections as an example of why runoffs are ineffective.

One of Bhalla’s running mates, Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour, introduced a resolution last week urging the state legislature to implement instant runoffs, but it ended up being tabled for further discussion.

Also last week, the Hoboken council, for the fourth time, to add a runoff question to the November ballot, allowing voters to decide if December elections would be revived for 2019 and beyond.

That vote came after former Mayor Dawn Zimmer vetoed the council’s first effort to get the question on the ballot in her last major legislative act as mayor.

In her veto statement, she wrote off the effort as a way to undermine Bhalla’s authority as mayor – he won the mayor’s seat with about one third of the vote, far less than the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff election where they are applicable.

“It was adopted by a lame duck City Council, in the last City Council meeting of the year. Every single Councilperson who voted in support of this ordinance was either a losing candidate in the election, or actively supported a losing candidate.”

Both times, the measure was introduced by 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, who lost to Bhalla by about 500 votes, and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, an early backer of DeFusco who lost to Zimmer in 2013 without a chance to go to a runoff.

Ramos, the current council president, expressed frustration about the latest veto when reached by phone.

“The council has already overwhelmingly approved this four times, so obviously we’re disappointed. Mayor Bhalla cites decreased voter turnout in Jersey City, yet in one ward the runoff saw the second place finisher get elected,” Ramos told Hudson County View.

“Additionally, the last time Hoboken had runoffs in 2009, voter turnout actually increased for the runoff.”

Ramos said that he plans on speaking with Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia on how to proceed with a veto override.

DeFusco, who swung at Bhalla hard throughout the mayoral race, was less kind in his reaction to the veto.

“It is disappointing to see Mayor Bhalla not just deny Hoboken residents the opportunity to have their voices heard in a public referendum on our voting rights, but to also see him spread misinformation and half-truths while doing so,” DeFusco said in a statement.

” … This issue should be decided by the people, not by entrenched, establishment politicians like Mayor Bhalla who benefit from a flawed current system. The Mayor cites reduced voter turnout in a recent Jersey City runoff, but he fails to mention that the last time Hoboken held a runoff election for Mayor in 2009 turnout actually increased from the initial election.”

DeFusco also accused Bhalla of vetoing the measure to increase his chances of re-election since “he has not demonstrated the ability to secure majority support or to work collaboratively with his fellow elected officials.”

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    • Looking forward to the coverage of the VBM fraud issue on MSV. Didn’t reform crusader Horsey break that issue wide open a few years back with his groundbreaking exclusive expose?

          • Where did MSV say that? Never saw that but I didn’t see his testimony as an expert witness on Hoboken voter fraud in Superior Court. Did you or are you just a run of the mill liar?

          • As usual he’s almost unreadable. But he clearly dismisses the influence of vote buying and spends the rest of his time crying about critics of this insanity. When I say he I mean you.

          • Wait Horsey is the one who is bad and Old Guard for not opposing a potential democratic vote this November?

            Paid political operatives and a handful of City Hall insiders deciding everything is good?

            Read Horsey say instant runoffs are worth looking into but he accepts Hoboken voters are the ones may choose if they want runoff elections after five years. That’s what I read but what did he write supporting your fabricated claim?

            It’s Horse who is wrong not the back room insiders who want to control every decision of Hoboken among themselves in their back room deals? Like their months old plan hatched last summer to have Dawn Zimmer drop out of the election four months from Election Day to clear the way for Ravi? That was a real democratic plan! Democracy in action, let the voters choose what we decide!

          • We’ll be learning more about this disease to circumvent the rights of people in Hoboken and well beyond.

            Don’t choke on your pizza.

          • don’t forget to tell democratic committee chair fisher how you despise liberals the next time she does fund raising for you.

          • We have some outstanding council members and a great Dem Committee Chair who have served Hoboken well for years. They deserve respect not the sick Sybil lying shit you do comparing them to the worst of the worst.

            And you wonder why people don’t want to have anything to do with you?

            Weren’t you going to try to keep a resolution and stop lying this year outside of the cave.

            Here, while everyone is at work and at school, read and maybe learn something. This will keep you from lying and that’s a great start!


        • Just read it. Thank you for providing the link. Unfortunately it was meandering, badly written and internally inconsistent. Par for the course I guess.

          As far as I can tell the mighty crusader against voter fraud is saying it’s better to have voter fraud decide low turnout elections than have elections decided by the stupid uninformed people who vote in high turnout elections like the one we had this past November.

          Did I decifer the gibberish correctly?

          • Since I don’t speak Ravi Bot, stating the opposite of reality doesn’t work for me.

            But I think if Stan and the Ravi Bots try even harder they might almost move a single council vote blocking the public from voting this November on the runoff referendum.

            Ok, maybe not.

          • I suppose the entire purpose of writing in gibberish is to be able to deny you meant to say what you said. Don’t worry nobody else read it much less understood it.

            Question – if you are too stupid to know you are committing suicide is it still suicide?

          • I get it. Hoboken voters will decide a referendum in November. Not Lindastan, not any power craven individual, the voters.

            No one here cares about your endless plotting for power you wanker.

  1. Massive vote-buying is not a half-truth. It’s a stone cold fact. In fact you wouldn’t be interested in December runoffs without vote-buying. If you were just interested in fair outcomes you’d support instant runoffs. But you and your friends voted it down. Big surprise.

    • if anyone bought votes it was Anthony Romano, who was backed by Ravi Bhalla with promises of public safety director. Regardless of the fact, Ravi had 200 VBMs vs DeFusco’s 300 vs Roman’s 500. Its flawed logic to assume VBMs automatically equal corruption and Ravi is playing the electorate as foolish. Lets see how that plays out for him.

      • Hello Bob. I saw Tiffanie Fisher make that charge about Mayor Bhalla offering Romano a job on her FB page during the campaign. Has she gone to the authorities with her evidence? After all she couldn’t possibly be making stuff like that up being a respected elected official and all that. And as an elected official she is supposed to go to the authorities right?

        • The word around town in Hoboken City Hall: Romano gets a job for helping Ravi win. Everyone knows about it.

          The other gig for a security gig contract in Bergen fell apart when Ravi’s pal Grewal moved on to Trenton.

          Maybe the people at City Hall should report this to Grewal at his Trenton office. It’ll probably get as much traction as the DOJ investigation Hillary Clinton did.

          • Shoot just talk to people on the first floor at City Hall. Everyone is buzzing about the deal.

            No, no one said any deal was struck at an employee meeting at City Hall. Based on your stupid hyperventilating, you just confirmed to everyone else its’s true.

      • Most jurisdictions also recognize per se defamation, where the allegations are presumed to cause damage to the plaintiff. Typically, the following may constititute defamation per se:

        Attacks on a person’s professional character or standing;
        Allegations that an unmarried person is unchaste;
        Allegations that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease;
        Allegations that the person has committed a crime of moral turpitude;

        When damages are presumed, the plaintiff can try a case to verdict without presenting any evidence of actual damages.

        By the way, both men can sue you. Wake up.

  2. The responses by DeFusco and Ramos are pretty misleading. The runoff in ward E in JC produced a different winner only as a result of a dramatic drop in turnout not because he was supported by more voters overall. It’s Exhibit A that stifling voter participation can change results of elections. For those who believe having elections decided by more voters rather than fewer is better, this is not a good thing.

    And the Hoboken runoff in 2009 was a June runoff following a may election not a December runoff following a November election. If DeFusco genuinely believed there would not be a huge drop off in turnout he’d be a fool. Of course he doesn’t believe that, meaning he is a liar rather than a fool.

  3. I guess following Ravi’s logic the way to end Russia interference in Presidential Elections is to end them. As mayor, Bhalla has a responsibility to safeguard the citizens of Hoboken, not deny them their constitutional rights to determine the method of exercising those rights.

    • Perry – our current system resulted in the mayor being chosen in an election in which almost 16,000 people voted. That’s called democracy. You and your cohorts propose changing that into a system in which our mayor will be chosen in an election in which about 10,000 people will vote, almost 1,000 of who may be “hired” by campaigns to “get out” their own vote for the candidate who pays them.

      Which system do you think is more democratic?

      You reference “constitutional rights.”. Can you identify the specific constitutional right you are referring to since I am unaware of any constitutional right to redo referenda every 5 years or to hold elections in December when few people will vote. In fact I can’t even think of a coherent public policy rationale which might be why no one has provided one.

    • I don’t agree with your take on the 2007 4th ward race, but if you think fraudulent VBM’s distorted the result in a low turnout election in 2007 helping Zimmer win, then you must agree with Mayor Bhalla that this is an important issue. Do you? If not then what exactly is your point?

  4. Lots of imposters coming out of the cave
    Must suck being the Hoboken UniBlogger living like a hermit and never coming out of the house pumping out more crazy hate filled manifestos about Jen, Tiffanie and Mike DeFusco than her symbiotic sustenance from Lane and Kim ever provided.
    Honestly think there’s some creepy gratification she and her shadow writer get off on

    • I thought this was worth repeating:
      Do you have anything substantive to say? The small minded, childish and petty personal attacks coupled with your guesses about posters identities don’t contribute to the discourse, and make you seem unintelligent and nasty. Is that really how you want to continue to be perceived?

  5. Is this guy a publicity hound or what?!!!
    If he knows of “Massive vote buying”, why hasn’t he ever called for an investigation?

    Maybe his dinner buddy at Augustino’s Eugene Drayton can help him clean up city hall?
    Last time that guy was reported in an italian restaurant it was a on a federal probe recording

    • your friend lenz had affidavits from people who were paid to vote. no one was prosecuted. everyone knows what goes on. only people who depend on vote buying to win deny it.

  6. Anyone ever wonder what types of lonely losers run blogs that pump out vicious, sick, obsessive bile about other moms all day long? It’s sad, especially for the children of such crazy psychophants .
    $1500 buys a lot of hate

    • Anyone ever wonder what kind of lonely losers divide their time between making excuses for the worst president ever and making excuses for Tiffany and Jenn joining forces with the old guardinos?

      • Look at this crybabies whining because good government council members work with everyone to reach consensus. We had two council meetings this year, smooth as the last two years. People being reasonable, finding reasonable answers for Hoboken. It’s awful. Wahhhhh, we have to control everything or we’ll cry again. How dreadfully boring.

        Yeah, the world is horrible with the US’ plummeting unemployment, soaring economic growth and our skyrocketing 401(k)s. Minority unemployment hitting all time lows and the hell you say, all those unexpected year-end hourly worker bonuses. The horror.

        I hear it gets even “worse” this year.

      • Why would anyone need to make excuses for people near and far who are doing outstanding work serving?

        That makes no sense. Americans and Hoboken seem to like transparency and freedom.

    • being a mom doesn’t excuse anything. giatino got caught lying about the petitions. evidence was provided by eric kurta who also agrees december runoffs are a terrible idea. why don’t you bash eric while you’re at it.

      • Who cares what losers who fled have to say? Next she’ll be quoting Fake… Even worse since he never even got a chance to run and lose before his emails to Shadowman were exposed.

        The 700K payout club

      • When did Hoboken outsource its vote to anyone in another state? Why is Jen Giattino being attacked by these loons when it’s Hoboken voters who will get to choose runoffs or no runoffs?

        Hoboken voted on this five years ago. Giattino, the council and the voters can decide once again whatever they want. On to November and the voters choosing! If you don’t like it, well too bad! These people are stupid.

        • she’s being attacked because she lied about the 2012 petition in an attempt to deceive the public about her 2012 support. if the voters are going to decide on runoffs elected officials should not lie about it. they should also not lie about the continuing problem of vote buying by old guard candidates.

          • That’s old news and five years ago. Jen Giattino joining with a council majority to let voters decide in November isn’t an issue. City Council is passing the referendum by a wide margin. Again.

            Where’s Dawn fighting global warming climate change? She lied to Hoboken saying that’s why she backed out of the election four months out. Maybe she meant going to fight by riding a bicycle.

            The truth is Dawn backed out late as part of a dirty deal with Ravi. Dawn wanted to block any reform candidate candidate from challenging her pick of a SUPER PAC big development union candidate.

            That lie matters. Jen Giattino is joining the council majority to give Hoboken voters a choice.

            Where’s Dawn and her big lie? Yeah, she’s leaving Hoboken. Maybe she’ll take her buddy Pupie with her.

  7. Sybil and the Catfish aren’t a new band,they are two of the most poisonous people since the Bajardi Twins.
    Not sure what happen but this couple must have had their waters contaminated. Everyone knows the water in Sybil’s cave has been contaminated with natural asbestos for 100 years. Must have finally taken it’s toll of the living organism that swim in that water.