DeFusco, Bhalla trade heavy shots over new Nixle ‘ethics proposal’ in Hoboken


Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco and Mayor Ravi Bhalla are again at odds, this time over an ordinance that would prevent any officials from using the Nixle alert system “to promote a political agenda.”

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Misusing taxpayer-funded government resources not only wastes taxpayers’ money, it compromises the integrity of our democracy. Our city government and employees should be exclusively focused on delivering the best, most efficient services possible for our residents, not on political advancement,” DeFusco said in a statement.

“This legislation is essential to begin restoring a sense of accountability in our city government and it will help all residents have confidence that every one of their tax dollars are being used properly and responsibly.”

The measure, co-sponsored by 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, would potentially bar any city employees from using Nixle, a service for residents to receive notifications on major public safety and community events, for political purposes.

If approved, it would also prevent employees from participating in any political activities while on the city time.

In the past, some council members have been critical of Bhalla for using Nixle to take shots at them.

In response, Rob Horowitz, a spokesman for Bhalla, said DeFusco should be spending time on how to address vote-by-mail fraud in light of developer/politico Frank Raia’s conviction last month if he is serious about local ethics reform.

“Mayor Bhalla is open to working with the council on real comprehensive ethics reform that addresses the major political corruption challenges facing our City,” Horowitz began.

“But Councilman DeFusco’s new proposal is a transparent attempt to deflect attention from the fact that Frank Raia, one of his largest political contributors, was just found guilty of a large-scale voter fraud scheme, in which hard cold cash was traded for votes, and that his former campaign manager was at the heart of the scheme. Stamping out voter fraud and ensuring the integrity of elections is the number one ethical issue in Hoboken. Any truly comprehensive proposal must address it.”

DeFusco, who has previously said all previous donations connected to Raia had been returned, hit back by saying that this was just the latest attempt at the mayor to change the subject without addressing the issue at hand.

“The person deflecting attention here is Mayor Bhalla, from the fact that he has habitually misused city resources for political gain as well as the fact that his candidate in the First Ward is actually on the city payroll,” DeFusco spokesman Phil Swibinski stated.

“He’s doing so by bringing up issues that have absolutely nothing to do with this ordinance. Councilman DeFusco is simply trying to protect Hoboken taxpayers and prevent city resources from being misused for politics, and it’s mind boggling that Mayor Bhalla would oppose that.”

According to the Nixle terms of service, “expressing a political or other similar message” is one of several “prohibited communications,” however, it is not clear how or when these guidelines can be enforced.

A representative from Nixle could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The Hoboken City Council meets today at City Hall, 94 Washington St., at 7 p.m.

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    • Ravi Bhalla and ethics don’t mix. The NJ Supreme Court a sliver from taking Bhalla’s law license away permanently can tell you why. Hoboken City Council can add to that ever-lengthening list.

      • What ever happened to Giattino/Fisher charges of DeFusco’s election funding violations did the disappear when the all got the same campaign handler ?

      • Go to her cave at your own risk folks. She collects all your information, will share and use it against you anytime she likes which she’s done before!


        • If Roman tells you not to read something, it’s a good bet it’s something that would be bad for the candidates he shills for. I read that article. It’s facts, figures and ELEC reports. Three things Roman fears. His blog tells you what to think. The article he’s afraid of gives you the information to form your own opinion. Take Roman’s fear of that article as a recommendation that you should read it and FORM YOUR OWN OPINION. Don’t let shills do your thinking for you.

  1. Political nonsense. I guess election silly season has truly begun.

    Just curious – who will be the arbiter of what constitutes “political purposes” and how exactly will this faux ordinance be enforced? Councilman DeFusco certainly understands the issue given his brazen unaddressed violations of the City’s campaign finance laws.

    Assuming this passes, the Mayor will continue to use Nixle as he deems appropriate and DeFusco and Fisher will whine away as they have for months. In other words, nothing will change except for added feature of the improper use of the Municipal Code as a political prop.

    The Municipal Code is already cluttered with unenforceable nonsense, so I guess adding one more won’t cause any real harm.

    A pretty good argument could be made that passing a bogus Ordinance that is really nothing more than a political press release is a far worse abuse than the supposed nixle abuse Councilman DeFusco and Councilwoman Fisher are complaining about.

    • So you and Ravi need an arbitrator for playing politics with taxpayer resources?
      Really? Maybe you need to go speak to Dawn and get a clue or a moral compass. Talk about urinating all over the Reform Movement. Again.

      • No need for an arbitrator. If Tiffanie Fisher says something and Roman repeats it then that should legally establish it. And if they repeat it over and over again the case gets irrefutable.

        Did DeFusco and Fisher include that standard of proof in their Ordinance or do they consider it just too obvious to have to put it into the law?

        I feel bad laughing at you sometimes but you certainly are entertaining.

  2. Can’t disagree with Mike DeFusco here, great work for Hoboken with Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher! Prevent employees from participating in any political activities while on the city time? Isn’t that basic good government? Yeah, well, with Veejay and that John Allen character running amok in Ravi’s office, this thing needs to be passed like yesterday.

    Hoboken residents don’t want Nixel notifications for politics and certainly no political activities should be performed on the taxpayer’s time. That means you Veejay!

      • You Ravi Bhalla operatives will need to do better with your whiny fabrications. The only laundering operation is the spin cycle with the Ravi-Russo Alliance, hundreds of VBMs and trading on municipal contracts near and far.

        What is it your accusing Ryan Yacco of here? Shouldn’t you explain it and put all your details over on Nancy’s cave site. Then maybe we can understand your allegation.

        • I agree that Ryan Yacco’s role in facilitating Frank Raia’s crimes in 2013 does not necessarily mean Mr. Yacco was also part of any election fraud when working for DeFusco in 2015 and 2017.

          Still it does raise legitimate questions which is certainly why Mr. Yacco is no longer on DeFusco’s payroll.

          Ryan’s role running VBM money used to finance voter fraud through his company Bluewater is not a mere allegation it’s called fact. It was described in detail by Mr. Yacco himself in his sworn testimony in the Raia trial. The attempt here to pretend it ain’t so is dishonest.

          You’re better off sticking to childish insults. Being seen simply as a nut is actually a better look than being seen as a liar, a nut, and an apologist for an ethically compromised guy like Yacco.

          • You concluded much from a question but you weren’t at the trial so you don’t know what Ryan Yacco testified. You wrote “Ryan’s role running VBM money used to finance voter fraud through his company” is not an allegation. You’ve concluded he’s guilty of federal crimes.

            Are you talking about what Ryan did on Dawn Zimmer’s campaign? Are you coming clean for pre-2010? Coming clean is a better look than being a lame a$$ Ravi Bhalla apologist.

        • Ryan Yacco during the Frank Raia voter fraud trial testified under oath that he took Raia’s money and paid Raia’s election day workers.

          Not ancient history but earlier this month.

          • Recent facts connecting Raia and Yacco to Defusco sure does make him look dirty. Then all the nonsense spin and deflection here only make that even more soiled.

        • Attending the trial doesn’t help if you’re too dumb to understand what your hearing.

          Like I said, nutty and stupid is a worse look than just nutty. Nutty, stupid, dishonest, nasty and juvenile is even worse.

          That’s the look you’ve chosen for yourself. On purpose. Which is genuinely sad.

          • What about if you’re too dumb to take the proper trans medicine for years? So you’re stuck in Lindastan for who knows how long? Damn, not that’s truly nutty. You a fruitcake!

    • Re City employees engaging in political activities on city time or using city resource, Councilman DeFusco and Concilwoman Fisher should consult a lawyer about existing state law covering that issue and the concept of pre-emption.

      Perhaps Nick Sacco’s lawyer would be willing to “donate” another $1,250 legal opinion to the cause.

  3. “Hoboken residents don’t want Nixel notifications for politics and certainly no political activities should be performed on the taxpayer’s time.”

    AGREED, 100X over.