Hoboken Mayor Bhalla kicks off re-election bid in front of big crowd at Pilsener Haus


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla kicked off his re-election bid last night in front of a big crowd gathered at the Pilsener Haus & Biergarten, channelling Frank Sinatra as he said “the best is yet to come.”

Hoboken Democratic Committee Chair Rachel Hodes served as the emcee for the evening, introducing 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen first.

“Mayor Bhalla’s leadership is proven. Mayor Bhalla’s leadership is needed,” Cohen said, also praising Bhalla’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m grateful for the leadership we have had under Mayor Bhalla, but also my colleagues at the board of ed, my colleagues on the city council, through everything in the last year we’ve had to work together, even when we don’t get along – and we don’t,” joked Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour, who was elected with Bhalla in 2017.

She recalled Bhalla’s decision to shut down the city last March as the public health emergency came to the Mile Square City for the first time, stating that made it clear that Bhalla was the leader Hoboken needs.

Jabbour also pointed out that this administration successfully negotiated settlements to the Monarch project and Union Dry Dock, as well as building and expanding on several parks.

Bhalla recognized his wife and two children as being his biggest and best supporters before thanking the community for coming together during such a tumultuous time over the past 16 months.

While he feels everyone has worked to come together and accomplish a lot during his first time, there is still plenty more to come.

“We’ve made so much progress, but as Frank Sinatra said ‘I really think our best days are ahead of us’ and the best is yet to come with all of your teamwork and all of our efforts. if we unite, we have so much more in common as a family and as a community,” the mayor said.

In an interview, Bhalla, who is currently running unopposed, expressed excitement about the prospect of serving four more years, also cautioning that COVID-10 isn’t over yet.

“On the pandemic, we have to stay focused, there are still variants out there and the best thing to do, and I implore upon the public, is to please get vaccinated. The best way we can reduce the number of variants is to get vaccinated.”

He also noted completing the Union Dry Dock acquisition from New York Waterway and building out a five-acre park in the northwest part of the city as priorities for his next term.

On the state level, the legislature approved their $46.4 billion budget yesterday and one of the add-on items included $1 million for the Hoboken Community Center.

Bhalla gave all of the credit to Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) for coming through with that allocation.

“I have to give a shoutout and 100 percent credit to Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro. This $1 million would not have happened if not for Annette Chaparro’s day in and day out advocacy.”

Finally, as far as the Palisade Cliffs Protection Cliffs Act goes, Bhalla said he hadn’t had time to thoroughly review the legislation, which now proposed a 10-member preservation council to review developments in the area, but said he’s confident in the 33rd Legislative District’s team.

“We defer to our legislative delegation, in Trenton the 33rd District is well represented and I’m sure whatever the outcome of the legislation, if it’s driven by the 33rd District, it’s intended to protect the interests of the residents of the 33rd District.”

Other dignitaries in attendance included Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle, Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco, Board of Education President Sharyn Angley, BOE Vice President Malani Cademartori, Trustee Sheillah Dallara, Trustee Chetali Khanna, Trustee Ailene McGuirk, North Hudson Sewerage Authority Commissioners Tony Soares and Kurt Gardiner, Hoboken PBA President Marc Marsi, and Acting Fire Chief Anton Peskens.

According to the Bhalla campaign, they raised about $75,000 from around 200 donors, about 140 of which were from Hoboken residents.

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  1. It’s great to see people like Tony Soares and Kurt Gardiner coming around to support Mayor Bhalla despite past acrimony. Will Councilwomen Fisher and Giattino show the same kind of class and follow suit? It would certainly be great for the old reformer gang to put their pretty grievances aside and unite again behind Hoboken’s reform minded mayor

    • Bhalla is no reformer. He’ll stoop to the lowest levels and cross any ethical line put before him to get elected. He’s no better than Russo. Reform opposes transactional politics not embraces it like Bhalla does.

      • The Sewerage Board members are not “reformers” either, the reason they fought for those plum appointments is because they come with a generous health and pension benefits package.

        • That’s not true. NHSA members do not receive healthcare or pensions.They havent for about 10 years since Christie was Gov.
          That means the people you’re attacking don’t get those perks.

          The commissioners receive a taxable stipend of $5000 annually which is in the commissions 32 year old charter. So those commissioners probably net about $2700.
          There is no pension.
          Hey if people want that job, why don’t more people apply?

          • I stand corrected, thank you. The graft ended under Christie, and that’s a good thing. I still believe someone like Soares who makes money from new developments and real estate has conflicts when making decisions about infrastructure.

      • You mean like shilling for the councilwoman who tried to raise $10,000 for you, that kind of transactional politics, fakereformer? #getajob

    • So a complete boycott by every Hudson County official. Not a single one showed. Why do people detest Ravi?
      It isn’t because of the Ravi Terror Flier. No Stack, no Assembly people, not even Stick Romano.

      Ravi had to beg NHSA members to go. Soares and Gardiner were the most senior officials there from the county?


      • 9 out of 10 rb posts are about what money grubbing rats the county are. the 10th one is about what a bad sign it is not to have the county come to a campaign kickoff. rb is that lost.

    • Sure Ravi operatives/aides, as soon as Ravi Bhalla apologizes to Mike Defusco and more importantly the people of Hoboken for the Ravi Terror Flier.

  2. Bhalla is doing a decent job, but the Board of Ed is an unmitigated disaster. 80% of our kids are not performing at grade level, and this Board spends more per student than 3/4 of the districts in New Jersey, even those with similar student demographics. Could someone step up and run against these people? Enough of the Mommy Club that never questions the Superintendent!

  3. How does a real estate agent have conflicts since no developers connections are reviewed by any commissioners. Connections are not decided by any commissioners

  4. No commissioner decides on sewer connections or developments and you know that. – But its okay to decide on redevelopment zones when one’s spouse was the city’s former redevelopment lawyer or one gets a job with a large developer after upgrading their land in a redevelopment zone? If you see any conflict in Soares’ votes, call the FBI!

    Turn him in! I bet you might look pretty foolish…

    • I don’t think Tony has a legal conflict on NHSA, but it was upsetting to read that he attended Mayor Bhalla’s kickoff when Hoboken so needs him to step up and run for Mayor. I know he’s busy with his thriving real estate business, but I never thought he’d quit on our town. Hoboken really needs him now more than ever.

      Zimmerman dug Hoboken a huge hole before she was driven out under suspicious circumstances, and Bhalla has dug the hole even deeper which I didn’t think was possible I thought Councilwoman Fisher might save us but she says she’s not running, and anyway she’s not nearly as smart, experienced or personable as Tony and has nowhere near his stature and credibility with the Hoboken public.

      It’s not too late to reconsider so maybe if he hears from enough of us he’ll reconsider. #runtonyrun #tonyhobokenneedsyou #tonysaveusplease #realreformrules

      • LOL – He may have an ego and inflated opinion of his reformer cred but he’s not stupid to believe your post is anything but sarcastic LOL
        FUNNY though