Hoboken City Council votes in new regulation that bans campaigning, politicking on city time

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The Hoboken City Council voted in a new regulation at Wednesday evening’s meeting that would ban campaigning and/or politicking while on city time, as well as barring public officials from using the city’s Nixle alert system to promote a political agenda.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I’m thankful that the majority of my Council colleagues supported this common sense proposal to protect Hoboken taxpayers and prevent the misuse of city resources for political gain, but I find it mystifying that Council members Doyle and Jabbour voted against it,” said 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, who sponsored the measure, said in a statement.

“Hoboken residents deserve to know that city employees are spending their time doing the peoples’ work, not advancing their own political interests. This ordinance should have passed unanimously, and I find it troubling that anyone elected to represent our community would refuse to support it and instead act as an enabler for the chronic misuse of taxpayer resources that has plagued so many cities across our state for far too long.”

Similar to last month when DeFusco and Mayor Ravi Bhalla sparred over the actual impact of the ordinance, Team Bhalla spokesman Rob Horowitz said that DeFusco and the rest of the council should focus on ethics legislation that addresses voter fraud.

“Councilman DeFusco’s ethics ordinance remains a transparent attempt to deflect attention from the fact that Frank Raia, one of his largest political contributors, was 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,” Horowitz said in an email.

“Councilman Doyle and Councilwomen Jabbour were open to working on a comprehensive proposal as DeFusco falsely advertised his to be— not engaging in a symbolic exercise. 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.”

Migdalia Pagan-Milano is challenging DeFusco in the 1st Ward council race this fall and previously targeted him for accepting $9,400 in contributions from Raia the day after he was convicted of vote-by-mail fraud in federal court.

DeFusco has since donated that money to the Hoboken American Legion, the Jubilee Center and the Hudson County Democratic Organization LGBTQ caucus where he serves as the chair.

DeFusco campaign spokeswoman Caitlin Mota intimated that Horowitz continues to deflect on the issue because Pagan-Milano works at City Hall and is unwilling to support reforms such as the one put forth by her opponent.

“Instead of constantly rehashing his team’s only cheap political talking point, perhaps Mr. Horowitz should reveal whether or not his First Ward candidate supports Councilman DeFusco’s common sense ethics reform plan,” she stated.

“As the mayor’s political aide and a council candidate at the same time, there is a serious risk for misuse of taxpayer time and resources. Hoboken residents deserve peace of mind knowing their tax dollars are being used for essential city functions rather than political gain and that’s exactly what this ordinance does.”

While the measure passed easily, 7-2, Councilwoman-at-Large stood by her no vote in a statement issued this evening.

“Councilman Defusco’s alleged ‘ethics reform proposals’ and his attacks on my integrity are both without substance. If Councilman DeFusco was as serious about real, substantive ethics reform as he is about putting out press releases attacking others, then we may be able to achieve real reform,” she said.

“I stand by my record on reform and ethics, and believe the councilman’s attacks are one of the many reasons we need new, earnest public servants on the city council who put people before politics.”

Meanwhile, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, the co-sponsor of the local legislation, doubled down on the “common sense policy” the council adopted on Wednesday.

“The ethics reform legislation I cosponsored is not only common sense policy, but also necessary to protect Hoboken taxpayers. We have repeatedly seen the mayor’s spokesman and former campaign manager, Vijay Chaudhuri, abuse his position by issuing politically motivated messages on Nixle and by making defamatory statements in his official governmental role,” she said in another separate statement on the issue.

“Misusing public property for personal gain is a violation of law and ethical standards. Hoboken residents deserve better and the legislation approved by the city council is a step towards holding all those accountable who misuse city resources.”

 

Editor’s Note: This story was updated with comments from Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Just because Michael DeFusco took close to $10,000 from a guy who was recently convicted on multiple voter fraud charges and who also worked oh his failed campaign and who used another DeFusco campaign worker to distribute the cash to voters doesn’t make him a bad guy. BTW that same generous guy also worked to get former mayor Peter Cammarano elected mayor and as you know he also ended up in prison too. No that alone doesn’t make Michael DeFusco a bad guy in my view, he would be a bad guy even if none of that ever happened. But it did. if you don’t believe that just ask the public relations company he hired with money from people and organization outside of Hoboken to front for his campaign. LOL

    Bad boys, bad boys
    Whatch gonna do, whatcha gonna do
    When the come for you…..

  2. I live in the 6th Ward and recently got an email from Cristin Cricco-Powell. I don’t know her, I don’t belong to any organization that she belongs to, I don’t participate in matters involving the school board and I don’t know anyone that is friends with her.

    I did sign up for and do get nixle alerts.

    Can someone tell me how my email ended up on Cristin’s email list of contacts?

    I’m glad they passed this.

    • Sounds like someone is trying to come up with another crazy conspiracy to prop up the negative narrative being pushed by Team Vision Media.

    • She probably bought or rented some other politician’s list, happens all the time. I started receiving Tiffany Fishers weekly emails earlier this year and I neither live in her ward nor ever opted in to get it.

      Just unsubscribe.

  3. Reading Emily’s statement makes me LOL. She is literally a puppet for what is the most corrupt administration Hoboken has seen in decades. This ordinance put up by Defusco actually is common sense legislation – no politicking by city employees while they are on the clock and in the house that taxpayers pay for. What is so offensive about that? If emily were really that bothered by the lack of ethics legislation why hasn’t she proposed any. Oh yeah, because her boss RB doesn’t want it. And he doesn’t want this either because now his boys in the mayor’s office will be in breach of ethics laws if they were on any campaigns during work hours. To the public: if you get a call or email from John Allen, Jason Freeman or Vijay Chaudhuri, during business hours about any of RB or Team Bhalla candidates, then know they are now committing an ethics violation.

    • “She is literally a puppet for what is the most corrupt administration Hoboken has seen in decades.”

      LOL…Cammarano, much? You know, the guy you supported who spent a couple weeks as mayor before he was arrested, convicted and served prison time?

      Also, where’s the evidence that the mayor’s team did anything wrong? As per usual, you blow a lots of smoke and innuendo but don’t actually anything tangible.

    • Can we all recognize the trigger language being used and condemn how offensive calling any woman who is elected to public office a “puppet.”

  4. DeFusco should be paying attention to the speaker at the microphone instead of signing in to Hoboken LIVE stream on FB.

    • DeFusco could be logged on to a private YouTube viewing party of the City Council meeting and is getting real time directions from his campaign team.

    • No need to single out DeFusco. All council members are on their phone’s half the time during council meetings including the precious Bhalla supporters. It is a sign of the times.

  5. DeFusco spends his time on this type of imaginary BS instead of fighting for his own ward’s residents against the Monarch deal. Tells you all you need to know. Lots of talk but unable (or unwilling) to deliver the goods and actually get meaningful things done.

    • The Monarch Deal is Ravi and Zimmer’s deal.
      Ravi was willing to dump it in the 3rdWard at 800 block of Monroe, then on Zimmer/Caulfield’s 17 story hotel plot on Observer and Marin- but when Zimmer heard the density would kill the view on her massive condo she and the Shadow blocked that. Now it’s in the 1st ward.

      Bhalla is ready to screw all of Hoboken to beat Tiffany Fisher

      • Just answer the question: why didn’t Mike do anything to fight the Monarch plan? Why didn’t he fight for the people in his ward? He just rolled over, like his developer and union supporters want him to do.

        Answer the question. Why didn’t he do anything?

    • The salary gal should is mooching in MV. With her wife are certainly over the entry income
      She should stop lying about her time in Hoboken, everyone knows she left town , came back and somehow got a sweet MV apartment 3 blocks from her cushy public job where she has golden benefits
      Has she EVER fought to make Hoboken better as a volunteer?

      Working for Ravi is public drain, not public service.

  6. Was there ever any factual evidence behind the allegations that City Hall workers were involved in political activities ? Nope.
    If there were, I am sure the campaign team at Vision Media would have put out a press release outlining it . What this appears to be is a yet another political smear campaign orchestrated by DeFusco, Fisher, Giantinno. and their attempt to discredit their political opponents before the upcoming November elections.

    • Yes, posting on Facebook and attacking citizens during City Hall hours is PROOF.
      Funny that Migdalia AKA “Marineview YAPPY” is very political and this helps ensure her campaign isn’t run out of city hall.

      Jim Doyle… reform misses you.

      • This plan will save the views of Manhattan for Councilwoman Fisher’s two lower floor condominiums in the Tea Building.

        The entire City Council, with the exception of Fisher who had to recuse herself, voted for the proposal.

        The irrational knee jerk hatred and out right fabrications to make vicious personal and political attacks are clear signs a mental illness.

  7. Nancy’s tell is the repeated reference to vision media. The PR firm that works for Murphy, the state democratic committee and the national democratic
    Committee. Rob Horowitz is the king of smear campaigns and not at all afraid of lying. To say DeFusco, Giattino and fisher are alone in throwing mud is comical. Ravi’s been throwing mud since he was forced to run for mayor.

    • I actually called out Vision Media in the comments of a different news story, and I’m not Nancy. You have no clue.

    • The stench coming from whatever the DeFusco, Fisher, Giattino ticket is throwing around mixed with the fear of losing in November is very strong.

      • I think the flyer came from DeFusco’s crew.
        The torturous twists of logic that are required to think that anyone else was responsible are blatantly absurd.

        • I always suspected someone from Romano’s camp…maybe not him personally involved or even aware it was happening, but someone backing him who knew Anthony couldn’t win but who also wanted to screw Mike’s chances. The notion that Ravi’s campaign created it is cuckoo-for-coco puffs conspiracy theory from a few loudmouth fringe types.

  8. This is really rather simple to solve. Notify the US Attorney’s office. Let them keep an eye on the comings and goings in City Hall. They will find out who is campaigning on city taxpayer dollars and then they will act. It’s no secret what is going on inside the Mayor’s suite. I’m sure the Feds can follow the tracks.

  9. It seems like Phil Cohen has a secret admirer. Or what might be referred to in certain parlance as “a shorty.”

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