Hoboken council takes 1st step to acquire Union Dry Dock, but with a catch


The Hoboken City Council approved the 1st reading of an ordinance that would allow the city to acquire the Union Dry Dock property through eminent domain, though the catch is that the second reading won’t occur until after the municipal elections.

While this was the first reading of the ordinance, which typically has no discussion from the public or the council, Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, a mayoral candidate, expressed his opinion that this was an urgent matter and therefore would be against pushing it until after the November 7th municipal elections.

“If it’s not heard expeditiously, it could adversely impact some city interests, so that’s why we’re hearing it on first hearing tonight,” began Bhalla.

“My concern is if we presumptively, tonight, wait for six weeks to hear it, as something that we originally thought, was deemed an urgent matter, that could somehow undercut our position in ways that I don’t know and I’m concerned about.”

Council President Jen Giattino, also seeking the mayor’s seat, quipped back that Mayor Dawn Zimmer told her in a private meeting that this was not an urgent matter.

“I’m not the mayor so,” Bhalla said before getting cut off by Giattino.

“I’m telling you what my conversation was: I spoke to the mayor today at 4:15 and she asked me to either table this or vote for it tonight, if I tabled it to please move it to subcommittee,” she exclaimed.

“Okay, well I’m not the mayor, we have different positions on a variety of issues. What I’m telling you is this was brought to city council because of unknowns that are still unknown. And that was the reason behind moving forward today,” Bhalla responded, with both council member speaking over the other during the tense exchange.

After the short back and forth, Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia said the council had the option of taking a separate vote as to when the second hearing of the ordinance would take place, causing some confusion.

At that point, 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo still wanted to know who actually declared the eminent domain an urgent issue, leading to some more verbal sparring between Bhalla and Giattino.

“Council president asked me on Thursday or Friday,” Bhalla started.

“Friday,” Giattino responded immediately.

“Friday to explain, within a few minutes, why it’s an urgent matter and we should not pull it and so I provided a written explanation as to why it was an urgent matter. Council president agreed with me, she agreed to keep it on the agenda, the mayor also chimed in …,” Bhalla continued.

“No I didn’t agree, I said I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt,” Giattino stated.

“Welcome to silly season everyone!,” Russo gleefully chimed in.

Russo, who said early on that he was voting no regardless, thought it was imperative to take a vote last night.

After several more minutes of commotion, Aloia clarified how the vote would go and what a yes or no vote would mean.

“You challenged that [moving second reading to November 13th] to a point of order, she said she’s not changing her mind, now the council’s gonna vote. If you vote yes, you agree with council president. If you vote no, then the ordinance, if it passes, will be heard in the normal course,” he explained.

Giattino’s motion to have the second reading heard on November 13th passed by a vote of 6-3, with Russo, Bhalla and Councilman-at-Large James Doyle voting no.

The first reading of the ordinance itself passed 8-1, with only Russo voting no.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer recently advocated using eminent domain to acquire the Union Dry Dock, though she received push back from 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, another mayoral candidate, and the Fund for a Better Waterfront.

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  1. Oh Ravi and the mayor aren’t playing politics with this. It’s not an urgent matter and eminent domain takes at least a year anyway. The urgency was Ravi Bhalla trying to use this in his faltering campaign against Jen Giattino.

    She’s the most trusted by her council colleagues and Hoboken for a reason.
    This is reason no. 194.

    Ravi is going down. You can see it in the panic here and from within his campaign. All the money and mailers won’t work in Hoboken. They’ll be voting for Jen Giattino, the most trusted candidate for Hoboken!

  2. Anyone know why Ravi’s Sidekick John P2P Allen didn’t stick around to defend his 2 allies last night?
    Boy, when the going get’s tough the cronies haul ass

  3. Poor Ravi and Jim,
    The printer was all ready with their mailers
    And then the Queen of E.D. and her lawyer went fleeing out of the meeting

    Shady Shady Shady

  4. I heard this item missed the 4 pm deadline by 15 minutes. If that’s true, then the entire discussion about “lateness” was kind of a petty childish exercise. What kind of public policy is upheld by keeping something off the agenda because it was 15 minutes late? I’ll bet lots of not very urgent stuff comes in a little late all the time without Council President Giattino uttering a peep.

    I’ll bet the mayor never said the matter wasn’t urgent since she made it pretty clear publicly that she thought it was. But I’m sure the mayor would rather see important things like the authorization the Suez deal pass after the election than fail before. And its a simple reality that Council members will see issues of public policy through a different lens when their personal incentive structures change after the election than they do now.

    I got to agree with Mike Russo on one thing though. There’s nothing more political than postponing a vote until after the election so the voters don’t get to know where you stand. It’s no big deal if the authorization holds up since the voters will assume a yes vote is a yes vote, but if the Council flips later and votes no voters will have been intentionally deceived. I don’t think that will happen but you never know and if it does Mike will be able to give a big I told you so.

    • No one cares what the mayor says. She’s a hyper partisan in an election a month out. What was so urgent? Nothing was. Ravi needs something to prop him up because guess what? She can’t.

      Team Bhalla peaked and is now crashing and burning. Third place and political ignominy, here it comes you arrogant condescending jerks. Take the turd princess with you and your back room deal Dawn. Her crap only brought you and Ravi down faster. Enjoy the ride!

      • Really? Let’s hear upon what you base your bloviation that “Team Bhalla peaked and is now crashing and burning.” Why don’t you wait until Giattino’s poll results- talk about an “arrogant, condescending jerk”. Projection. All you jerks do a brag, boast and belittle. From Day 1. Never heard Bhalla say “I’m going to win!”- which Giattino has said publicly at least twice. Pride goeth before the FALL.

        • Jen Giattino should be confident. She has no conflicts unlike Ravi Bhalla with Suez Water and NJ Transit.

          Ram it through Ravi and his conflicts are only getting warmed up. He has John P2P waiting in the wings to follow in his footsteps and coordinate the legal contracts.

          Wait until the public finds out Ravi is costing them more money on a First Amendment lawsuit for throwing out another resident at a council meeting.

          Most don’t even know about the second one!
          Don’t worry Nancy, you can attack Jen as much as you like when Hoboken elects her mayor.

          No one will care. You stink.

    • Oh Stan, this certainly isn’t your “radiant” moment, it’s time you “cut” it out. Bhalla is dropping like a “rock”, the deeply “flawed” campaign of Ravi Bhalla’s is so desperate, they think this online circle j#erk is actually helping
      Now that Stan is retired from the Diamond biz he spends all his time on a Baseball Diamond scribing alt facts about his obsessions Mike, Tony and Roman.
      Nothing gets Stan spitting in peoples faces with his raging crazy theories on street corners than someone reminding him that Zimmer needed Raia and Amato to secure absentee ballots for his wifey.
      Stan and his sidekick FAP are so obsessed with Lenz that people duck into stores to avoid the “zombies”
      With the addition of Stan’s 10th online ID he spirals further down the sewer hoping he and is turd team of Nancy Pincus her dear friend Mark the catfish , “Yea Ok ” Jake , Developer Danny and VJ as the Ravi online assassins they hoped to hurt Giattinno, but all it has caused is Ravi to drop to 2nd with Romano at #1.
      Poor Stanley he needs to write about history prior to him ever living in Hoboken all because he wants to fabricate a legacy for his wife who he lives through vicariously as the Mayor who made Washington St a near death trap for Nanny’s and infants.
      Little tip for the quitting Mayor: wear bug spray, those ticks are really biting this fall!

      • Dear reader, you will be told throughout this website how awful this person and her blog is. But for political reasons you will never be told where to find it. They fear you might reach a different conclusion on your own. Here’s the link. Decide for yourself. Don’t let agenda-driven commenters decide for you. Good luck.


        • Oh Linda “Lou” … Say Hi to Reform Baseball and Zomborgland
          You guys love trying to out people, but hate when it happens to you.

          I smell a rat and a foul fish… an inland above sea level catfish

        • Please note there are multiple posters using the screenname lindalou. The individual who posted this is not me. It is likely someone trying to create the false impression I am trying to “out” this Tony person. I won’t speculate on who that might be but an obvious suspect who has some this and other sites comes to mind.

        • Gee Linda you sound alot like the shared profiles of the Bhalla/ Zimmer blog attack team.
          Obsessing over Kurt, Tony, Lenz and Roman.
          You’re either a Russian hacker with some sort of inside data, a psychic or just a nasty piece of sh#t
          Inside Jakeball, Zomoborgstand , DangStalkerFish and now you with long winded soap opera political stories dating back to 1980 along with creepy commentary on opponents sex lives is nastier than anything we’ve seen even before 411.
          The hours you all spend online attacking anyone against Bhalla seems to be a lot more than those you are calling out.

          • I’ll take that as an admission that you are the troll who purloined my screen name to pretend to be me.

            Feel free to continue posting your bile under your many impossible to detect alias’s but please do not pretend to be me no matter how much you may envy me.

  5. This is bizarre, the Mayor obviously thought there is enough urgency to this issue to inform the public and go before the Council to urge a vote. What is even more bizarre is the Council President who is asking for people to trust in her enough to vote for her to be Mayor to push off the vote so those same voters can’t evaluate he full intentions on this issue.

    If you want the responsibility of being mayor and the people’s trust, running away from the important votes is not the way to encourage trust and earn votes. Do the right thing and put the vote on the next agenda and let people see how you vote. Some residents will be happy with your vote other may not; however doing what you think is right in the face of this is called leadership and that’s what earns votes and respect.

    • Shut up Forde ( I refuse to invest in Hoboken)
      Go buy some new shirts
      Purple and Red business shirts went out in the 80’s

      Duran Duran called they want their costumes back

      Go play board games with high school kids

      • I’d love to see a 2nd reading vote on this issue so we can see who has the courage of their convictions. Sadly due to Council leadership, or lack thereof, voters will be denied that opportunity.

        I guess we’ll have to infer why on our own and vote accordingly.

  6. Moving an important vote until after the election is, politically speaking, a craven act – the very opposite of leadership. It’s also overtly playing political games with an important public policy issue.

    Last but certainly not least, on GA, a poster calling herself Indie pointed out that a yes vote on 1st reading means nothing, implying Giattino and her cabal were likely to flip their votes to no after the election. That would make them dishonest as well as political since it would mean the yes on first reading was a cynical attempt to mislead voters about their positions – essentially a lie.

    I hope Indie is incorrect – that she and people like Roman Brice speak with no actual knowledge of what Ms. Giattino and her cohorts we’re actually thinking and without her approval.

    If Ms. indie is correct however, then the Giattino gang has inadvertently done the right thing, albeit for the wrong reasons. The optic the property owner and any potential buyer will see is virtual unanimous council support for ED, and that optic is precisely what was urgently needed to prevent the city from perhaps losing the opportunity to purchase the land.

    Ironic isn’t it? That a craven, political too cute by 1/2 strategy (with familiar fingerprints) would inadvertently turn out to be the right thing to do, albeit for all the wrong reasons.