In an editorial, Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein outlines why he feels the Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla administration has routinely “misused and abused its authority” and therefore shouldn’t be rewarded on Election Day.
That the Bhalla administration and team has misused and abused its authority for four long years is of little surprise as from its inception it has been rooted in moral corruption.
Though some pretend otherwise, the failures of the Bhalla Team are post-partisan. Their betrayal of the public trust is beyond the binaries of left and right or Democrat and Republican.
From Bhalla’s election as mayor four years ago off the back of the racist flier which painted his then main mayoral opponent (Councilman DeFusco) as a bigot, the political endeavor known as Team Bhalla has been a post-ethical cesspool.
Bhalla and his team’s unwillingness to join with DeFusco in jointly condemning the flier which intentionally made DeFusco look xenophobic should have foretold the divisive politics that would follow.
Even were one to set aside the long established principle of qui bono (that he who benefits had motive) regarding the flier which allowed Bhalla to cross the mayoral finish line by playing victim, there is no scarcity of moral failings in the Bhalla Team.
From their cartoonish chest beating over Bhalla’s Zero Vision program to eliminate vehicular caused deaths in perpetuity (which is both unopposable and impossible) to his mortgaging of Hoboken’s future by swiping the charge card on so much spending; from the mismanagement which results in parks that cost over 100 million dollars to the lack of traffic enforcement for bicyclists who ride though stop signs and red lights (and duck and weave between the sidewalk and street) with impunity and more; Bhalla and his political retainers running beneath him for council have been an unmitigated disaster.
Of course, this is not to mention the perennial issues that transcend administration and councils, but which Bhalla and his retainers have made worse or merely neglected – using the parking authority to pad the municipal budget, flooding during regular rains, and the ever increasing cost of living driven in part by the hidden taxes they love to implement.
But on the topic of moral corruption, let us remember that it was the Bhalla administration and its council supporters that thought requiring a developer to donate to their chosen non-profits in exchange for changing the area redevelopment plan was acceptable.
Fortunately, a judge correctly pointed out that the deal struck by Team Bhalla was a “blatant quid pro quo” that would “create an unacceptable possibility for abuse and fraud.”
Let us remember that it is Team Bhalla that has not once budgeted nor put money away for the 2 million dollars a year upkeep fee on the Rebuild By Design hurricane flooding prevention project for which there are no state nor federal funds.
Lest we have forgotten, Team Bhalla has never said a word about Mayor Bhalla’s second job when the Mayor of Hoboken should be a full time job.
Neither should we forget who has perpetuated the war on cars, putting some people’s wants over other’s needs and hurting residents who require a car for work or to drive elderly or young family members.
It is Team Bhalla eliminating parking spots with bike racks, such as in front of City Hall, that could easily be on wide sidewalks.
It was Bhalla, with his team’s support, who abused the Nixle emergency alert system to mass text thousands with what was de facto campaigning using taxpayer dollars.
It is the Bhalla Team that has slow rolled city services by keeping City Hall only theoretically open even after almost all city employees were vaccinated and every other facet of society has learned to adapt to Covid times.
It was Bhalla and his political loyalists who attempted to institute an illegal curfew which prohibited anyone being outside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. early during Covid before being forced to walk back the unlawful declaration for which they had no authority.
Finally, let none forget that it was Team Bhalla who offered a sitting city councilwoman, elected four years ago with his opposition, a job running a new municipal division created just for her.
Many understand this to be a contravention of state law and assume it to be a buy-off, but even in the best case scenario, merely giving the appearance of buying off a potential opposition candidate is a horrible precedent for those concerned with good governance.
For these reasons (and many more), both policy failures and moral corruptions, Hoboken residents should not vote for the Bhalla Team in this election.