Hoboken council overrides Bhalla veto, voters will decide on runoff elections

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At another lengthy meeting, the Hoboken City Council voted to override a veto by Mayor Ravi Bhalla, allowing the voters to decide on whether or not to reinstate runoff elections. 

The vast majority of the public speakers wanted to let the voters decide on whether or not the runoff should be reinstated in Hoboken.

“It’s true that we have dealt with some level of election fraud in this city, but a lot of other things are also true. It’s true that now-Mayor Bhalla spent more money on his campaign than any local candidate has spent before, not his opposition,” said former Councilman Dave Mello.

“It’s true that now Mayor Bhalla sent out extremely negative Republican bashing mailer after Republican bashing mailer, eventually, mailers that directly bashed my former colleague, Councilwoman Giattino, drawing attention away from the issues that you truly should be grappling with and moving to the worst of what electorates tend to be about: hate for somebody that’s different than us.”

Laura Miani, a Mile Square city resident, said it’s time again to let the voters decide after the current mayor was elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Additionally, Franz Paetzold echoed that the people should decide, though noted he was in favor of instant runoffs if the state legislature moves that measure forward.

Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour introduced a resolution urging the state Assembly and Senate to make instant runoffs possible and it was passed unanimously last night.

Another former councilman, Mike Lenz, said that December runoffs will not increase voter fraud and without them, it paves the way for a “divisive campaign” to win.

“So December runoffs have their problems, but eliminating the runoff entirely created an even bigger one. One that nobody anticipated when we made the switch from May to November,” said Lenz.

“Without intending to we have created a situation where running a divisive campaign, narrowly focused, is the surest path to victory. And it’s ripping our city – and its government – apart.”

Only one member of the public, Peter Bologna, spoke in favor of letting Bhalla’s veto stand.

“I believe an examination of the evidence shows that runoff elections open the door for improper interference and manipulation of a free voting public,” Bologna said.

Prior to the vote, Councilman-at-Large James Doyle said he didn’t agree with voters deciding on runoffs this year since there will not be much on the ballot in November from a Hoboken perspective.

“It is interesting, last week, we saw the allegation that the mayor[‘s veto] was a cynical ploy when there’s been a conscious decision to put this vote up in the year where the historically least amount of turnout to vote to change the election,” Doyle stated.

1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, the one who called Bhalla’s veto a cynical ploy, explained why he choose those words.

“I called it a cynical ploy after the mayor issued his veto because he spread half truths and this is a smokescreen by this current administration and his council colleagues, the two that sit on this board, to distract from the real issue,” said DeFusco, again reiterating that Bhalla won without about a third of the vote.

DeFusco also cited an alleged leaked text message between the mayor and his brother, Amar, which said “in that scenario it makes sense to take the opportunity to take the discussion and for our opponents to have to respond to that frameset” in response to the veto.

A city spokesman did not address the comment, though a source familiar with the text thread, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the message had not been manipulated or changed.

Council President Ruben Ramos boldly exclaimed that out of all the municipalities in New Jersey, Hoboken is the only one that elected a mayor without 50 percent of the vote.

“I know, the last administration, Mayor Zimmer was very good at creating a Boogeyman to produce her success. To say ‘that person’s evil, that person’s bad, that person’s no good: you have to vote for me because I’ll protect you!’,” Ramos exclaimed.

“And Mayor Bhalla is looking to follow the same playbook he’s looking for his Boogeyman. He’s trying to create me or someone else to be the Boogeyman,” adding that he has been reporting voting irregularities to the board of elections and county prosecutor since 1999.

Giattino and 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino added that they had seem many instances of voter fraud in Hoboken, while 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo questioned how there could truly be voter fraud if no one had ever been prosecuted.

The measure was approved by a tally of 7-2, with Doyle and Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour voting no.

In a statement, Bhalla slammed Giattino, Fisher and 6th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham for voting in favor of the veto override.

“On the issue of reducing voter fraud, last night Council Members Cunningham, Fisher, and Giattino have chosen to align themselves with Council Members DeFusco, Ramos and other beneficiaries of voter fraud. Their conduct speaks for itself,” Bhalla said.

“Despite the petty politics of the City Council, as I have always said, the future is bright for Hoboken. I will continue working with the many well-meaning and talented residents of Hoboken to place policy over politics and move our City to even greater heights.”

Expectedly, Defusco and Ramos were not impressed.

“This false, disgusting smear is the latest proof that Mayor Bhalla is totally disinterested in working with the City Council to bring Hoboken together and is instead intent on wasting taxpayer resources on completely unsubstantiated, divisive political attacks,” they responded in a joint statement.

“A Mayor in the position of taking office with less than a third of the vote should be focused on reaching out to his opponents and finding common ground, but sadly that is not the case here. For a mayor to use a taxpayer-funded spokesman to spread lies and deceit without any credible evidence borders on libel and together they are attempting to shift the conversation away from the core issue, which is the value of runoff elections.”

In her last act as mayor in late December, Dawn Zimmer vetoed the council’s first attempt to get a runoff question on the ballot and last night marked the fifth time the governing body approved such a measure.

When runoff elections were on the ballot in 2012, Hoboken voters opted to do away with them by a margin of about 60 percent to 40 percent.

A full video of the council’s vote streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below:

55 COMMENTS

      • If Horse was dead; why are you complaining about MSV all the time? Obviously, because it’s not dead and kicking the crap out of the lying Hoboken411 BS at Sybil’s Shadow Asylum.

        • maybe she wants to believe horse is dead because her underlying feelings are –
          as she has posted before – she feels like shooting someone.

        • In your fevered, ghostly imagination! Pretty low class of Giattino running mate Jason Ellis to share a family member’s personal text messages with a ghost blog! Oh, I forgot… the ghost blog posts the names of peoples’ family members.

          Shame on you, JASON ELLIS!

          • WAHHHHHH! Oh look now Nancy is angry so here comes more of her stupid personal attacks. Hey, didn’t you say you didn’t comment here?
            HAHAHAHAHA Lie away!

            Why don’t you go back to the Cave and make up more of your lies there? You got Hoboken411 beat on that front! Go text the Shadow what to do.

            Ravi caught in TextGate trying to use and abuse the public to politicize a veto he knew was a failure. The City Council got behind Ravi Bhalla for Union Dry Dock. Behind the scenes, this is what Ravi and Bro were up to all along.

            That’s what 32% of Hoboken elected. The truth hurts.

            Ravi & Russo sitting in a vote fraud tree…. K-I-S-S-I-N-G & cutting a deal. Way to go Ravi!

    • Yes, that referendum was in 2012. It’s now 2018. In November, the voters will decide what they want to do: continue as is or reintroduce runoffs.

      Ravi won’t like it. The Ravi Robots hate it but the voters will decide.

  1. “3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo questioned how there could truly be voter fraud if no one had ever been prosecuted.” Priceless. Your new friends will get used to you soon enough. They need to ease into it. First Mike D and Ruben, then you. Won’t take long.

    • Mike Russo already cut a deal with Ravi. Mike denies the existence of voter fraud. Ravi then points the finger on voter fraud attacking the council members who said there is Hoboken voter fraud and it should be stopped.

      As Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher all highlight the details of voter fraud, Ravi Bhalla attacks them and ignores his ally Mike Russo who says it doesn’t exist.

      You can’t make this kind of stuff up!
      Ravi & Mikie Squared, together forever.

      • It looks like you did make it up. Is there anything behind this alliance besides the usual “word on the street” “talk around city hall” “sources say” Sounds more like horses say.

        • No one has to make up everything. Everyone knows about the Ravi-Russo dinner date and the deal cut.

          Shoot, Russo even brought out dad to hang out with Ravi at City Hall.

          Last night Michael Russo denied there was ever voter fraud in Hoboken. The next day Ravi attacks the council members who detailed problems with Hoboken voter fraud.

          Everyone knows who is getting it right and who is making it up. But hey, Nancy has a right to lie, just like Hoboken411.

        • No one has to make up everything. Everyone knows about the Ravi-Russo dinner date and the deal cut.

          Shoot, Russo even brought out dad to hang out with Ravi at City Hall.

          Last night Michael Russo denied there was ever voter fraud in Hoboken. The next day Ravi attacks the council members who detailed problems with Hoboken voter fraud.

          Everyone knows who is getting it right and who is making it up. But hey, Syb has a right to lie, just like Hoboken411.

        • No one has to make up everything. Everyone knows about the Ravi-Russo dinner date and the deal cut. Anyone deny it? Negative.

          Shoot, Russo even trotted out An-tuny to hang out with Ravi at City Hall.

          Last night Michael Russo denied there was ever voter fraud in Hoboken. The next day Ravi attacks the council members who detailed problems with Hoboken voter fraud.

          Everyone knows who is getting it right and who is making it up. But hey, Syb has a right to lie, just like Hoboken411.

        • In other words, you’ve got nothing but “everyone knows” repeated endlessly. What “everyone knows” is you’ve got nothing but your contempt for the mayor and desire to link him to Russo.

          • You know it’s true too. Everyone knows, no one denies.
            Ant-tuny back at the scene of the crime.

            In the mayor’s office with Ravi!

          • Stop lying Nancy. Paid political operative like you can’t stop the Ravi-Russo deal getting out to the public.

            Everyone knows and everyone in City Hall talks about it. Ravi even brought the Hoboken King of Corruption Anthony Russo to his office on Inauguration Day.

            Michael Russo denies any voter fraud and sings the praises of Ravi.

            So that’s that.

  2. Join the Brosistance Bro! My bother is Mayor and he is running the show! He has weaponized the Democratic Committee on the runoffs and even though we lost on the override we are going to play politics with this. After all we can’t have our newly nationalized Mayor being vulnerable if there is a runoff. Where would all the morning Joe Shows go then? Man that flier was exploited to the max with our full court press victimology strategy. We know Mr. 33% percent can’t win in a runoff so we will fight this to the end.

    Join the Brosistance folks. My name is Amar and it’s cool like me. Too bad only one person showed up at Council to speak on behalf Ravi’s heavy handed tactics to deny the public the choice. Some movement. It’s coool though. Join the Brosistance Bros. When winning feels like losing we are on to something. I have to get some Brotaro chips to go with my whine. Its cool Bro.

    • Didn’t you have a brother? Why would you attack a politician’s family member? Did you like it when your brother was attacked? So why are you attacking the mayor’s brother? The reason why you have a ghost blog is because you have become a vile lowlife who would attack a man’s family, or post the name of a person’s family. Family members are off limits. Shame on Jason Ellis. What a sc*mbag.

      • The truth is out; not a personal attack and this is an issue of public concern. Someone was deceiving the Hoboken public with a scam veto. OOPS!

        Go back to your dungeon and go cry on the Shadow’s shoulder. No one cares about your stupid vile attacks here Sybil. You’ve been attacking good people who work hard for Hoboken for months with your stupidity and lies. No one cares. You suck.

        Sybil’s Cave is Hoboken411, lies and fabrication galore! She’s just like them!

        • You are as delusional as you are dumb, ghost-blogger. When are you going to put your dead blog out of its misery! The Alt Right lunatic fringe is waiting! Lol

          • Oh look it’s Sybil’s head cave dweller who told everyone she doesn’t comment here back again. Which one of your demented personalities is commenting here without your permission Sybil?

            If everyone would only agree to be silenced so she can continue her fanatical campaign lying about good government people.

            You make Lane and Perry look like decent guys. Someone should tell your poor husband and find you a strait jacket, we need one XLL pronto!

          • Chief Ferrante revealed on Wednesday that two suspects in the forged flyer against Defusco and Bhalla have hired lawyers!
            This is big news!

            Who can the two people be?

      • Facts:

        Ravi did text his brother that he is running the show.
        Amar has been on social media advocating for scorched earth politics.There is ample examples of this.
        Amar being the brother of the Mayor and acting in a political operative capacity is indeed a limited public figure in the context of political discussion.
        Amar uses term Bro colloquially and consistently.
        Only one person spoke at City Council meeting last night advocating for Ravi blocking the people’s choice to decide whether or not to have runoffs.
        Last time the vote was 58-42 percent to eliminate runoffs.
        There is no personal attack here. Amar is acting as a political operative and no mention is made of his family.

        The question is why is Ravi’s brother consistently advocating for suppressing the people’s right to choose how our elections are decided?
        Which then begs the question does Mr. 32.75% plurality think he can win without a runoff? Wow our Mayor is projecting such weakness after only 5 weeks in office is a bad sign. You know what I am saying Bro?

        Have a brotastic day Bro! Your bromance with Ravi is quite touching. Are you now a Ravi Brobot?

        • Ah… The truth comes out of the ghost blogger! Finally!

          You justify bullying a politician’s family because you don’t like the man’s left-wing politics! You bully a politician’s family, attack the guy’s livleihood on your ghost-blog because you dont like his left wing politics! Was your brother a lefty or a righty? Does it matter? Wasnt attacking him wrong because you are a public figure? You bully FAMILIES and call them “limited public figures” because they post on Facebook! Anar is not a public figure nor a limited public figure and you have crossed a line. Your ghost blog is dead because you have gone away from reasonable and objective journalism with some editorial content to 100% bile… same downward trajectory as klaussen. You should be ashamed of your ghost blogger self. Whose family is next?

  3. What a lowlife! Jen Giattino approves of attacks on the mayor’s family? I guess so. JASON ELLIS was her council running mate.

    • Attack on the mayor’s family? You’ve got it backwards, bro. The mayor’s family is attacking perceived opponents. (actually what they are are elected colleagues and constituents.) I am glad the texts were released. They weren’t private texts between two people and they give us a peek at what is really going on here in Hoboken. I saw the full exchange and Mayor Dictator’s “I’m running the show now” text comment. It is becoming too obvious that Mayor Dictator isn’t equipped to lead.

  4. The Mayor’s brother is hardly an innocent bystander. I’d maybe agree with you if it was his wife or child. But Amar is a known activist and is very public with his comments. This is an “oh s&#*” moment that we all have had. Nancy know did you learn it was Jason Ellis? Was he on the text? Roman’s site mentioned ‘others’ so it hardly seems to be a “private text amongst brothers”. Maybe it was meant for Jason Freeman?

    • Ghost blogger posts a personal text message written by a politician’s family member to revive his sad, dead ghost-blog… Attacking someone’s brother is right up your ghost-alley, it seems. Did you like it when someone attacked your brother? Is anybody’s family safe from you? You’ve turned into a loathesome, bottom-feeding sc*mbag and THAT’S why your site is dead as a doornail! You deserve it.

      • Hi Syb, one of your less than whacked personalities must realize you are fighting with a bunch of people here not the Horse who is obviously living rent free in your head, right?

        Your peops are exposed on Hoboken politics as is your fanaticism and lying. No one published anything about a grocery shopping list, a family vacation or kids day.

        Hudson County View published the text in his video report. Horse at MSV got the news out first. They do news and you do propaganda. You’ve been acting like a scumbag since last summer, that’s the difference.

        Look in the mirror. You’re the problem. Not the Horse, not Hudson County View. You.

      • How is sharing a text message if the person who received them chose to share the message? It belongs to that person too?

        It’s not like Sybil wouldn’t share it if she got one- god knows she’s done it already!

  5. DeFusco is clear that it is the candidates that determine the turnout. Doyle is misguided in believing that a rear-view window approach determines future elections. One strategy that Zimmer used very effectively is negative campaigning. The effect is to diminish turnout, so the rear-view window approach keeps mainly repeat voters at the poles and turns off the rest. The extreme negativity and the tremendous dollars spent, leads the majority to refrain from voting because in their words “the elections are bought” and “the administration is corrupt”. Extreme toxic campaigning has been used only by Zimmer and the person she purports to trust.

  6. Bhalla is hobnobbing in DC, fundraising and looking for his next position while WASHINGTON STREET FALLS TO PIECES and he used the City spokesperson for a clear political attack. This is a scary time we live in with a mayor who claims he represents the people, smiles to your face – and then plots how to defame your name. My advice to all council people (aside from the drone – Doyle and whatever her name is) stay strong. It takes a lot to stand up to an opportunistic social climbing tyrant like Ravi.

  7. Hey Mayor, what have you done to stop voter fraud?
    Please tell us!
    Voter fraud like this is a terrible thing:
    ” A signed affidavit by William Velez states, “I did not work for Dawn Zimmer. I merely received the money for voting for Dawn Zimmer which I did.”

    Another signed affidavit presented by McCann was that of Velez’s mother, Candelaria, a disabled Hoboken resident who certified that she received $50 from the Zimmer camp although she had recently received a hip replacement which at the time had made her “totally disabled.” Candelaria added, “I did not work on Dawn Zimmer’s campaign. I merely received the money for voting for Dawn Zimmer which I did.” ”

    http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/2413563/article-Get-ready-for-another-4th-Ward-election-Zimmer-vacates-seat–will-face-Campos-again-in-November?instance=more_page

    • heard lenz was doling out those Benjamins ony-Tay! Thats the pupie raia magic….. whos got it now???? DeFiasco does ony-Tay!

    • I’m glad you agree that candidates in Hoboken pay for votes, even if we disagree about who the perps are. Can we also agree then that having 1000 paid for votes out of say 10,000 votes cast in November (10% of the vote – yikes!) Is worse than having 1000 paid for votes out of 16,000 votes cast in November (still 6% of the vote.)

      Would you also agree that if all those votes went to one corrupt candidate that would be worse than having the effect diluted by splitting them up between two (like seems to have happened with Romano and DeFusco based on their ELEC filings.)

        • No we can’t agree on that. Your math is faulty.

          The relevant number isn’t the total number of votes, it’s the number of votes the candidate who’s getting the paid for ballots receives. Even if there are fewer total votes cast in December in any reasonable scenario the winning candidate will get more than they got in November. The influence of paid for ballots on the winner will be less.

          And to drop off from 16000 to 10,000 defies credibility.

          • Michael, the only election that matters is the one that determines the winner. Hundreds of paid-for votes in a low turnout mid December runoff will determine the winner if both candidates are close enough on the machines.

            The only way they won’t is if the margin of machine votes can overcome the number of paid votes– a tall order the week before Christmas. Not impossible, but the outcome is weighted in favor of the vote buyers.

            Would you feel the same way if Jen won the election with 33%? Just curious. I dont think anyone is thrilled with that 33% number. However, the most I recall Zimmer winning with was 47%. Split that voting base between 2 candidates in a race of 6 candidates, and why is anyone surprised?

            I for one support instant runoffs. Props to Emily Jabbour for getting Assembywoman Chaparro to co sponsor an instant runoffs bill. Hope springs eternal it will pass through both houses, then Phil Murphy will sign.

  8. Yo Yo, Mayor Bro!
    Hold on the frame!
    Box them in!
    We got this Bromeo! Have a Brotastic time in D.C. Bro and we’ll head out to do some hip hop Karaoke when you’re back in the Hob Bro!
    Until then let Leo run the 07030!

  9. Enough Nancy AKA GeeAye AKA GrafixAvenger

    Save yourself before you really ruin yourself and what’s left of your reputation
    We say this out of concern

    • “We say” out of concern, ghostly apparitions of dead blogs present cannot be brought back, nor can their lost reputations be reclaimed from the eternal damnation! SAD!

      “We say” out of concern, restless ghosts of dead blogs present are haunting John Heinis!

      “We say” out of concern for John Heinis, find an exorcist to release your website from this trolling blog ghost of dead blog present!

      “We say” out of concern for John Heinis, if an exorcist does not release you from the haunting by this demon ghost-blog entity of dead blog present, I am afraid you cannot be saved!

      Save yourself, John Heinis! “We say this out of concern!” ROFLMAO!!!

  10. There once was a man named Curt
    Whose butt was so sore that it hurt
    He was dumb as a rock
    And a laughing stock
    But liked rolling around in the dirt.

    • poetlaureate, I do not believe that is Kurt. It smells like the spirit of a Horse’s ass, haunting John Heinis from his dead blog! That ghostly Horse’s ass apparition must be exorcised from this web site! With his black-hearted demonic helpers from H*ll!

      Save this website before a ghostly Horse’s ass ruin it and what’s left of his reputation! Oh wait… he has no reputation, just a black soul!

      We say this out of concern!

  11. Yo bro. I am the Mayor’s brother bro. He does not need The Shadow anymore bro. I am the second coming of The Shadow bro. I am Brother Shadow. Just read my leaked text. Instead of Spy vs. Spy it is Shadow Vs. Shadow or Bro vs. Shade. I am the Mayor’s brother bro. Where is my spot on Morning Joe bro?

    That is why I threw shade on The Shadow bro. Brother Ravi told me he is in charge now. Not Stan, not The Shadow, not even me Junior Shadow bro. Only 5 weeks in and already throwing Shadowstan under the bus. That is what power does to people bro. That is why people can’t decide bro. Hail Ravi our exalted dear leader bro.

    When I sing karaoke Brohemian Rhapsody is one of my favorites bro.

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