Hoboken Mayor Bhalla announces his support for five council challengers in November


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has announced his support for five council challengers, opting not to run anyone against Michael Russo in the 3rd Ward, in the November 5th municipal elections.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

In the 1st Ward, Migdalia Pagan-Milano works in the Department of Constituent Affairs in Hoboken City Hall and lives with her wife Lisa in the Marineview Towers. She was also instrumental in organizing the first Hoboken LGBTQ Pride Work, according to a bio released by the Bhalla team.

She will face a game challenger in Councilman Mike DeFusco, who narrowly lost to Bhalla in the 2017 mayoral contest where he had a solid ground game and was able to fundraise almost half a million dollars. He is viewed as Bhalla’s chief political adversary.

Opposing 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher will be Nora Martinez DeBenedetto, a teacher at the Kaplan Cooperative Preschool and the 2nd Vice Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee.

DeBenedetto was vocal in calling for the ouster of Fisher as the chair of the HDC back in April 2018.

She is also described a coordinator of Hoboken’s “Art in the Park” program, as well as a volunteer organizer Hoboken Uptown Farmers Market.

Furthermore, Bhalla is backing attorney, accountant and mom Lisa Sprengle in the 4th Ward, who works as the comptroller for a New York-based firm. She will challenge veteran Councilman Ruben Ramos, also a former state assemblyman.

Additionally, attorney Phil Cohen will take on Councilman Peter Cunningham in the 5th Ward. Cohen is the chair of the HDC and succeeded Fisher in the post last year.

He is also on Rebuild by Design Citizens Advisory Group and unsuccessfully ran against Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) in 2014.

Finally, television show/documentary director and producer Cristin Cricco Powell will challenger 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino. Additionally, she is an active supporter of the Hoboken Public Education Foundation.

“Taken together, this slate of candidates represent the new energy, new ideas and public spiritedness we need to keep moving Hoboken in the right direction,” Bhalla said in a statement.

“As council members, I know Migdalia, Nora, Lisa, Phil and Cristin will put Hoboken first, working cooperatively to move our City forward, forgoing the political attacks and grandstanding that have too often sidetracked the current City Council.”

A kick-off event will be held at 10th & Willow on Tuesday evening. May 21 at 7:00 PM.

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  1. Ravi running a Marineview Towers resident and gay woman against DeFusco is very Trumpian. Identity politics to inoculate himself against his past reputation

    Where’s Ron Batista?

      • Is MDF still Hudson County boss Sacco’s candidate of choice this time around ?

        Odd how much money he has been able to collect from people outside of the First Ward, outside of Hoboken while at the same time a significant percentage of the actual residents who will be casting votes in November have shown they do not like him. Much of the local support he had getting elected previously has evaporated or are openly opposing him this time around.

        In 2019 can he buy himself another term on the City Council ?

        • Funny comment when it was Bhalla in the mayoral who raised 75% of his funds from sources outside of Hoboken plus the $80,000 from the Local 825 independent expenditure. The focus should all be on Team Bhalla and where the money comes from.

          • Much of that Bhalla’s funding from outside of Hoboken was from Sikh community around the country. Considering that “terrorist” flyer that appeared on windshields in the middle of the night only in the 1st Ward and the recent racially inflammatory photoshopped pictures that were posted on that political website that like DeFusco constantly rails against the Mayor. That site is endorsed by DeFusco allied and presumed running mate Councilwoman Fisher. The same site that never ever post even the slights criticism of DeFusco

          • Thought she’s gone away after covering up the Ravi Terrorists Flier in the sixth ward. She didn’t croak in Nazi photoshop class? Wasn’t she locked up yet for her attack on an African American woman in Hoboken? Does Ravi know what his paid political operative did or is he just paying for the city lawyer through the taxpayers?

          • That “terrorist” flyer was made and distributed by Ravi/Ravi supporters to get him news coverage, which it did. He is disingenuous and a lier. With 32% of vote, one would expect him to try to re-build. Instead, he took a second job and put into place a bunch of “boys” with no experience and who are idiotic players. He is so transparently striving for another office that the only Hoboken issues he handles are those which will get him news coverage. Can’t wait to kick him out the door and back to private practice.

        • The international media coverage of that the racist photoshop images is getting will likely increase the fund raising from those who are offended.

          The unfortunate part is Hoboken is again in the news because of a small handful of hate driven fanatics.

    • Not a good launch from a weak ticket with so many people who never did a thing standing up and fight for Hoboken on any important issue. I’ve not seen any of them involved in a single issue. Only Phil helped and was involved.

      Reform is dead obviously. Ravi killed it. All he wants is yes men, or as here, yes women.

    • Not the launch you’d hope for but no one really wants to run on a Ravi Bhalla ticket. The Reform brand was destroyed and these people aren’t about good government just consolidated power of dictatorial government. City Council is doing a good job of keeping Ravi in check. He runs amok. Ask his former employee who got ripped off forcing a censure by the NJ Supreme Court of Ravi Bhalla!

  2. Love this. First ever Hoboken slate with 4 women. All civic minded regular and nice people who are involved in our community. I cant wait to meet my ward candidate Nora!

  3. We’re gonna run on BautistaGate! Then we’re gonna dig up the political corpse of Beth Mason and run on that! It’s gonna be YUGE! #Can’tMissStrategy! #VictoryIsInevitable! #We’reNotInABubbleOrAnythingLikeThat! #EveryoneStopSayingWe’reInABubble! #Jerks!

  4. Why is she still listed as a 3rd Ward elected committee person…shouldn’t she have resigned by now or is she that recent of a 4th Ward resident?

    She must love the work Ruben has been doing

  5. 2015’s Team Zimmer didn’t run a 3rd ward candidate either. The last 3rd Ward suicide mission was the courageous Greg Lincoln in 2011. Why are Tiff’s people complaining now, when they ran on a ticket without a 3rd ward candidate in 2015? I didn’t hear Tiff’s spammer complain about it back then. I hope Tiff and Co. can run a clean and positive campaign, instead of whining about vacancies on the other ticket.

    • That blogger apologized 10 years ago. WHERE’S YOUR APOLOGY horse breath? NO APOLOGY? And I’m not WHO you think I am. A lot of people, a lot more than your nemesis don’t like you.

      • Nazi graphic Nanzi learned NOTHING other than being a loon and a big FAT hypocrite. Ravi should take away her city lawyer, not the Hoboken tenant legal advocate. Terrible.

  6. Magadalia has a city hall job and her boss ( a developer trust fund baby ) answers directly to Dictator Ravi.

    Nora, she has a city payroll summer job, her husband has a BOE teaching job. Her Father In Law had a cushy BOE job for years fought the reform school board members.
    DB as he was known was a Senior Officer in the Russo Civic Association which passed money through the Russo corrupted Democrats party that endorsed Republicans.

    Kristin is the niece of Russo Team Councilman Michael Cricco and many know what he and his BFF John Corea was famous for.
    She’s not responsible for her loud mouthed relatives, but do apples fall far from trees?

    Ask Mike Russo….

  7. “Like many, I was distressed by controversial artwork that introduced an unnecessary and painful resonance of Nazi-era politics into local Hoboken politics. Such imagery and rhetoric implicitly compares people today, in the relatively minor struggles of Hoboken politics, to an ultimate example of evil of our times, thereby trivializing the suffering of the Nazis’ victims. I am glad that the artist has apologized for her poor judgment. Now it is time to move on.

  8. The nasty old man in the barn and his stable boys must really be scared their meal ticket will get voted out of office.

    They are already doing a good job in the negative branding of Cunningham, DeFusco, Fisher and Giatino .

    “When they go low, we go high” Michelle Obama

    • Look at the pointing fingers. Ravi should take away her City attorney so she can face the music with her attack on an African-American woman. Flush her toxic lies and website forever Ravi.

    • Oh look it’s that weird old “Scat Obsessed ” old fart from Jackson Street Cadbury Bars under his new name. Repeating himself over and over….
      We all know he hates Hispanics and anyone born in Hoboken.
      Maybe he should use that broom of his to fly away with GA and Castellano.

      Times have changed, the 4th Ward is better now and not because of Ravi or the new gal who hates the public high school and wanted a favor to get into to the County Schools.

  9. It doesn’t matter one whit to me whether these candidates are good or bad choices. I’m not voting to give this vicious mayor one more vote on the the city council. It’s not about them. It’s about keeping a mayor who reminds me of the days of Mayor Russo from gaining any more votes on the council. Elected officials must represent everybody, not just their supporters. Mayor Bhalla hands out favors (and money) to his friends and ignores and openly harms those that don’t bow down. Anyone who is on his ticket will do the same thing.