Hoboken council tables pay-to-play resolution again, along with new counter measure


The Hoboken City Council tabled again a non-binding resolution to enforce the city’s pay-to-play laws, along with a new measure that sought to ensure that the city enforces its ethics ordinances currently on the books.

Yesterday’s meeting is the fourth consecutive meeting where the council had the opportunity to vote on the pay-to-play resolution introduced by Council members at-Large Jim Doyle and Emily Jabbour.

While it was tabled three times total, on September 26, a special meeting specifically to vote on the resolution was cancelled because there was no quorum, which the mayor chastised five council members for not participating in the meeting.

While Doyle expected the governing body to again table the resolution last night, he was surprised to learn that 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher and 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham introduced a resolution that directs the city’s administration and corporation counsel to enforce the city’s ethics ordinances.

“It was anticipated, what wasn’t anticipated was a competing resolution that was introduced that has nothing to do with this one [pay-to-play], but they’re conflating the two as if there…the resolution that we had put forward is solely to enforce the existing law,” said Doyle in an interview.

During the interview, Doyle read Fisher’s and Cunningham’s resolution which states that certain council members have been engaging in a campaign that amounts to a conspiracy and a scheme.

“There’s a whereas clause that talks about ethical conduct of ‘certain employees’ relating to a non-binding resolution and so the implication is that Councilwoman Jabbour and I are somehow engaged in unethical conduct by introducing a resolution that says let’s abide by the law. That is offensive and it’s untrue and I don’t understand why they won’t vote on it.”

At the last council meeting, before Councilwoman Fisher asked to table the pay-to-play resolution, she characterized the resolution as a political stunt and then went on to reiterate her point of view.

An outside law firm, Paterson-based Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley, wrote an opinion last month stating that the city should repeal its pay-to-play laws, because they are unenforceable and may even be unconstitutional.

Since the opinion was requested by Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia, Fisher stated that she felt this was the beginning of a plan by the administration to repeal the city’s pay-to-play laws after the November 5th municipal elections.

Hoboken’s current pay-to-play law, on the books since 2011, limits political contributions to individual candidates to $500, while the state allows up to $2,600.

In an interview with Fisher after the meeting, we asked why she characterized the recently persistent resolution as a “political stunt,” to which she replied that the resolution is non-binding and therefore has no merit.

We followed up by asking why not vote against the resolution, even if it is meaningless, just to get it over with and move on to something new.

” … I can vote abstain or we can just not have a conversation, not give it any air time, on something that is literally just a political stunt, like why would we waste taxpayers’ time, why would we waste the public’s time on a political stunt like that?,” Fisher questioned.

The total vote tally to table both the old and new resolutions was 7-2, with Fisher, Cunningham, Council members Vanessa Falco, Mike DeFusco, Ruben Ramos, Michael Russo and Jen Giattino voting yes.

Expectedly, Doyle and Jabbour voted no.

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    • For Ravi Bhalla, political games never end. He’s been trying to create a game out of the 2011 ordinance as he tried to use municipal employees to unwind it! Meanwhile, he hid from public view, his special interest big construction pals Stronger Foundations and the humongous NJ Transit Redevelopment.

      Ravi Bhalla’s lies of omission:

      No call for a public meeting
      No Nixle alerting residents
      No alert the Stronger Foundations PAC endorsed his council slate to do their bidding.
      No transparency

      Then when he’s caught, he tells the public it’s a council plan. What a sick lie!
      This is not the Hoboken so many have fought for over many years! Thanks for nothing Ravi Bhalla!

  1. Why do you seem so surprised that Bhalla plays games and lies? His entire time in office has been based on lie after lie after lie. He is the leader of an administration that fabricates tales of horror in an effort to frighten residents to support him. He misleads the residents about everything from the long delayed and deadline plagued Washington Street rehab debacle to his failed, special interest driven escooter program, to his over development projects on the western edge to his failure to maintain the city parks and public property.
    Lets stop pretending that Bhalla is a capable leader. He is driven by greed and operates an incompetent city administration.

  2. This development project has been in the works for TEN YEARS. The city council knew about it.

    They are pretending they didn’t in order to score political points.

    It would be wonderful if Hoboken had a city council that did their jobs. That is why I support all of the Team Bhalla candidates.

    The mayor presents development projects. The council approves it. That’s how our government works.

    • Do you see what is going on? Ravi and his slate took an endorsement from a union, then Ravi and his incompetent staff and advisors tried to ram this through with no impact studies- and you don’t have a problem with it? That doesn’t smell funny to you? The council members who knew about this – they look bad as well. Make no mistake – everyone involved in this looks bad. Some more than others.

      There’s a reason why this hasn’t been approved in the decade of trying – its not favorable to residents who live here now. No one wants this – and I say that as someone who would like to see all those eyesores gone/covered up/obscured/whatever.

  3. Will Team Bhalla benefit from what some say was a self inflicted “Terror Flyer” just like their boss Ravi had to win his election?
    Will Stronger Foundations be involved?

    There’s no bottom Ravi won’t descend to if it means victory for him and his selfish aspirations

    • As Hoboken Rain man already explained Jen has not produced a police report exonerating her. That means she’s probably guilty. Just ask Rain man!

      There’s no bottom Jen won’t descend to if it means victory for her and her selfish aspirations. Just ask Rain man!