LETTER: In Hoboken, Bhalla’s campaign tactics make me ‘want to cry’


In a letter to the editor, Anju Starace, the wife of Hoboken Council-at-Large candidate Sal Starace, says that Ravi Bhalla’s campaign tactics make her “want to cry.”

Anju and Sal Starace. Facebook photo.
Anju and Sal Starace. Facebook photo.

Dear Editor,

I’m an immigrant, a green card holder, born in the West Indies, and of Indian heritage. I had to go to speech therapy as a child, because people thought my accent was a speech defect.

I was traumatized by September 11th too, but it was made worse by being called names, spit on, and told to go back to my country by a few, but I was grateful for the many more who recognized our common tragedy.

With each successive mailer from Ravi Bhalla I become a little sadder. It astonishes me that someone who shared the same experiences I have faced of being judged based on color would run this type of campaign.

True leaders unite they don’t divide. We are paying a terrible price for divisiveness.
I am proud to live in a city who without comment or fuss had twice elected someone who’s heritage is close to mine and I was proud that my neighbors had judged him on what he could do, not what he looked like.

When I see a flyer saying that this eight-year public servant who graduated from Berkeley, Tulane Law School and the London School of Economics should be elected mayor because he is brown, wears a turban and Donald Trump hates him, I want to cry.

Does he think so little of the voters of Hoboken that he believes this will help him get elected? Does he think so little of himself that he is willing to stir up hatred and divisiveness and partisanship just to advance his own ambitions?

Jen Giattino has been my dearest friend in Hoboken for more than a decade. She is godmother to my youngest daughter and our kids have grown up like siblings. The Jen I know unites people she doesn’t divide them.

But Ravi is right in one way, Jen doesn’t spend a lot of time denouncing this or calling out that, she spends her life helping people and solving problems.

While Ravi’s denouncing Trump for defunding housing assistance Jen is helping people in Hoboken scared of being displaced navigate through the problems they face.

While Ravi is dividing us by race, party, or heritage Jen is working with everyone on all sides to make Hoboken a better place. Jen Giattino is Hoboken’s most accessible, hardest working, best problem solving, and most compassionate public servant.

Ravi knew that when he proudly supported her and was supported by her in their last two elections. He may have forgotten but we shouldn’t, she will make a great Mayor.

Anju Starace
1113 Garden Street
Hoboken NJ

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  1. The hypocrisy of the Zimmer Administration and “TEAM” , ( i.e., her Council members) knows no bounds. Dig deeper folks! Not just Bhalla that is the hypocrite.

  2. Ravi Bhalla is divisive and trying to exploit a Hoboken non-partisan election with division. She’s right. It’s just wrong.

    Ravi now being exposed for Fox News ads connected to a PAC for NJ Transit big development interests. On Fox News and Sean Hannity of all places.

    This can not be allowed to happen in Hoboken.

    • Dumb Roman is so eager to smear Ravi he doesn’t know the difference btwn “Pay-to-play” (illegal) and the “Citizens United v FEC ” which legalized unlimited spending by corporations and unions for political advertising, none of which is done in coordination with individuals or committees.

      The ad Roman is talking about is not “Pay-to-Play” but is legal under Citizens United. Oh yes, Roman’s Republican-infested Supreme Court under Chief Justice Scalia made the crappy Citizens United decision the law of the land.


      • Nothing dumb about understanding what is really going on around here.

        Ravi Bhalla has been campaigning on a platform of limited residential development yet is endorsed by a PAC that is advocating for very large scale residential development at NJ Transit site in the extreme. Not only that NJ Transit is a client of Ravi’s Law firm.

        So in the myopic world of Stanislaw Grossbard and Nockers Nancy we are supposed to believe that this Super Duper PAC just endorsed Ravi without a conversation. How does one reconcile Ravi’s stated position with the over zealous and monstrous aims of this PAC when it comes to residential development? The answer is you can’t and hence the spin from the Ravi Robots.

        With this PAC revelation if you want big residential development you now have a choice between three candidates: Bhalla, Defusco and Romano.

        Ravi can’t be trusted because his stated public positions private positions appear to be different. Leave it to the team of scorched earth Stan and Dawn to back a candidate who appears poised to sell Hoboken out to the highest bidder.

        The irony of Ravi’s PAC advertising on Sean Hannity and funding his right wing agenda is delicious.

        • More like “SPOILERS4Hoboken”

          Jen is crying too… that the Labor Unions who endorsed Ravi Bhalla did not endorse her. Jealous jealous Spoilers4Hoboken. You never opened your big trap when these unions endorsed Zimmer. Jealous Jealous Spoilers4Hoboken.

          Who is going to build that 290-foot hotel on the waterfront that she voted for? Jen did not get a single endorsement except for Gov Fatso’s horny Republican brother Todd- who cheated on his wife and 5 kids with his Ashley Madison ho. Nice friend!

          • Make sure you continue to delve into the depths of the Sewer you now reside in you piece of CHUD i.e. Cannabhallistic Humanoid Underground Dweller.

            Loving the insults coming out of Sybill’s Cabe West you moron. Keep up the good work showing Team Ravi for the characteristics that define them all: lying scumbags.

  3. Ms. Starace – thank you for providing your opinion on what is an important issue to voters. You acknowledge that Jen has not and probably will not publicly speak out on important issues and that Ravi has and will. Obviously, in your opinion,Jen’s approach is preferable. Don’t you think that this difference in their approach to their public responsibility as leaders is something the voters are entitled to know about and consider? Isn’t that exactly the issue Jen and her supporters are discussing when they call Ravi a national candidate? Arent they saying Ravi is wrong to speak out? There are two sides to this argument. Ravi thinks failing to speak out is wrong. Jen thinks speaking out is at a minimum unnecessary and inappropriate. Shouldn’t voters be given the opportunity to hear both sides?

    This has nothing to do with whether Jen is a good person who privately does good things. She and Ravi both have long records of privately helping people. It’s about how they view the responsibilities of leadership. And their willingness to clearly and unambiguously let the public know where they stand on important issues.

    • All this posturing by Ravi to change the rules about Hoboken’s non-partisan municipal elections is garbage. Why didn’t Ravi condemn political violence?

      On that national issue, he’s 100% silent. Way to go Ravi! Take that pay-to-play endorsement from the NJ Transit’s politically connected construction union. That’s the real issue before Hoboken.

      Does Hoboken want a pay-to-play recipient sitting in the mayor’s chair.
      Hell no!

  4. Where were Ravi or Jen when their allies on the school board, planning board, sewer authority and elsewhere were calling people “butt buddies”, referring to a person’s sexual preference as a “trend”, and making Nazi inspired images of Jewish people? They sat idly by and said nothing because politics was more important to them. The city continues to settle lawsuits with confidentiality clauses on cases brought against their Zimmer administration and Ravi in particular in his role as council president for denying free speech and violating the open public records act, as well as discrimination based on political affiliation, race, and sexuality. These terms don’t have to be kept secret, but the city, under the guidance of Dawn Zimmer, prefers to pay out more taxpayer money rather than let the taxpayers know how they continue to harass, abuse and discriminate against anyone who has a difference of opinion with them.

    Mrs. Starace is correct in calling out Bhalla, but I wonder if she knows the glee with which Giattino and Fisher bragged about “having a union guy with an Indian wife” to undercut Ravi. They have used that exact language in pitches for money and support , never mentioning actual qualifications of Starace, or even his name, because they just see him and his wife as objects. Giattino is not a passive Republican, she embraces the national platform. In addition to the Christie money, she served as a delegate to the RNC for Mitt Romney. On a national level, she has strongly and actively worked for years to oppose compassionate immigration reforms as well as collective bargaining rights. They are both hypocrites, but most relevant is the fact that they are both trying to shift this campaign into emotional territory to distract from their very poor records over the past 8 and 6 years. They were part of a political machine with a mayor, council majority, and power to bond. They had complete control of the city. For either of them to criticize any actions now, or claim to have new ideas they want to implement is offensive. They have had enough time and lack either the vision or competence to fix our current problems or plan for future improvements to our city.

    My apologies Mrs. Starace, but just because Bhalla is bad does not mean Jen is good.

    • No Ravi Bhalla is bad because of NJ Transit pay to play PAC money. Straight up.

      The Starace family are long time friends as I’ve heard and gosh can you not go on a tirade claiming they are objects to Jen when she is godmother to the family? Wow, that is getting ugly.

      Jen worked at the NY Stock Exchange for a decade with Todd Christie and is friends with his wife. That occurred long before Todd’s brother became a political figure. Pretty weak attack at this point. It’s a personal relationship of friends.

      Sal Starace works for a union in NYC. It’s nothing like the union behind Ravi working with NJ Transit to push the Fox News channel ads.

      You like to make thing up about Jen Giattino. Everyone who knows her record on and off the council says she is heads and tails above Ravi Bhalla.

  5. This letter is bewildering. The author talks about how she was attacked for her looks and religion after 9/11. This is what is happening across the country to many others right now. Yet Jen Giattino tries as hard as she can to ignore what’s going on in DC, all the hate and divisiveness coming from the top. Jen G takes money from Todd Christie and gives money to at least one pro-Trump website for advertising (all documented). Maybe Anju feels safe because she has a husband and warm loving neighborhood but many like her are singled out and scared right now, and the divisiveness will get worse because of this presidential administration. How selfish to support Jen who won’t stand up to all of it. It is not Ravi who is dividing. At least he says he’ll stand up to the division. Shame on her for only looking at her immediate family and not encouraging Jen to fight the hate spreading across the country. Just because she thinks she’ll get through it ok doesn’t mean most will. I don’t think Ravi is perfect by the way. In fact, I hope most don’t. But he stands up for something. She doesn’t appear to. The only reasons I hear to vote for her is “SHe’s my friend and she’s a good neighbor and she helped me out with this or that.” Really wow. I’m sure she is nice, not having met her more than 1ce. Is she allied with Dana Wefer who started an organization meant to supposedly take on Trump but just to back her for governor? What a short sighted selfish bunch. Maybe the voters will see through it and maybe they won’t. But Anju, you have to look beyond your friends and pals right now. If Jen wins, we’ll just get more of her not speaking out like for the past 6 or so years unless it benefits her. As a voter I do not want that sort of person in charge. Keep her on the council then.

  6. That’s cool. Seeing that Jen and her team support Hoboken’s biggest Trump fan makes me shake my head, not cry. She advertises there, and I heard that her de facto campaign manager Tiffanie sent out a message asking that people donate to that site.

    Also no worry that Jen and her team are busy implying that Ravi doesn’t care about Hoboken and just wants to step over it. Not like Jen who has gone as a delegate the *national* convention and has attended Republican fundraisers for her mayoral effort. That’s not nationalizing or stepping over Hoboken. And it’s not like she was sworn in by Chris Christie’s lieutenant governor and is now terrified of saying her name. That sure is some bold leadership.

    So if you’re into Comet Pizza, Seth Rich, colluding with a foreign government, disrespecting the families of troops, and grabbing ’em by the p***y, you know where to go. Although DeFusco is running alongside another huge Trump supporter. An abundance of choices. No more tears.

    • It’s too bad that instead of engaging in an honest discussion about the proper role as Mayor, Jen and her peeps are instead trying to avoiding the discussion.

      Should the mayor of hoboken, whoever it is, speak out on national or state issues that effect Hoboken residents?

      Or should the mayor of hoboken, whoever it is, focus exclusively on purely local issues and keep his or her head in the sand about everything else.

      That is a legitimate area of disagreement between Ravi and Jen. Hysterical claims that it is hateful to point out Jen’s acknowledged position are a deflection

      • Instead of trying to turn a local non-partisan election into a partisan divisive campaign benefitting Ravi, why not deal with real local Hoboken issues?

        The Bonkers for Bhalla crowd can’t say a word about his pay to play deal with NJ Transit. The same NJ Transit that is a client at the law firm where he’s a partner.

        Selling out Hoboken is an issue. Or it used to be when people said they cared about such things.

  7. Ravi came to our candidates forum at Maxwell Place, each of the real candidates ( excluded the shams like Nason who is helping Romano and Batista who is helping “jen”) were given time to talk to the owners here.

    Afterwards many of us felt Ravi was the most insincere of all. When pressed about why Zimmer can’t fix Washington St in a timely manner, Ravi read off the talking points about “power grids and rain gardens ” and if they wanted to just pave it, it could’ve been done in “TWO WEEKS” everyone hissed and one called out ” Yeah well shoulda just paved it then Ravi!” He was stunned and as usual sat cold stoned faced and lied some more.
    Ravi lies with such ease he makes the Clintons look honest.

    Washington St and the Waterfront look like a 3rd world country thanks to Bhalla and he seems okay with that. Four more years of Zimmer and Mini DeBlasio? No Thanks


  8. If this is what makes you want to cry then your life seems a bit privileged. The new president makes me want to cry. Tell me more about your husband and why he is running. Then tell me why Jen is so reticent about Trump.

  9. Leave it to Bonkers for Bhalla Soul-less Satirist Nancy Pincus to mock a woman with similar ancestry to Ravi Bhalla for expressing herself on the divisiveness of the Bhalla campaign.

    I spoke to Anju at a meet and greet about her letter and I can assure you she did not cry but clearly was emotionally connected to what she wrote in her editorial.

    Stan and Nancy have shown their true callous nature throughout this campaign.

  10. Gobble Gobble Gobble. Ravi sure loving that in kind Dense Developer support. Nothing illegal of course, just skirting the spirit of pay to play laws like a good transactional lawyer does.

  11. Funny how all the Mason losers move away but still stick to dawn like flies to manure
    What loser comes dressed in a fedora and his dad’s little coat to a kick off f you don’t live here

    #nosettlement #noMorePayoffs #ByeByeFake #ByeByeZombie