Hoboken activist Paul Presinzano has announced that he is running for the 1st Ward council seat this fall, setting up a matchup with incumbent Mike DeFusco.
— Paul Presinzano (@presinzano4hob1) January 26, 2023
“I decided to run after speaking with numerous residents, hearing that the status quo is unacceptable and needs to change. Ward 1 deserves an available and present councilperson, which will be my top priority,” Presinzano, who unsuccessfully ran for an at-large council seat in 2021, said in a Twitter video this morning.
“The 1st Ward is one of the city’s oldest parts, having a distinctive makeup of renters, owners, and seniors. Those residents will face significant Quality of Life issues as redevelopment begins in our Ward. My leadership will ensure Ward 1 is represented, and your rights are protected.”
Since losing his first bid for public office in the Mile Square City, Presinzano has become a regular presence at public meetings and has become a regular critic of Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration.
He says that if elected in the non-partisan November 7th race, he will stress community involvement and transparent in government decisions.
“A robust process coupled with transparency are the pillars of good government. If elected, I will accomplish this with a focus on community building and working to make sure the voters are making the decisions, not the select few insiders.”
Presinzano appeared on the October 11th episode of HCV Live and Uncut and while he said he supported DeFusco, he hadn’t ruled out running for office this year.
“Listen, I’ve been a supporter of Michal DeFusco, he’s our councilperson for the 1st Ward. At this point, as far as I know, that’s the way it’s gonna be. I’ll entertain something that comes along, I can’t say that I’m not interested in it, but currently Mike DeFusco is the person that I back right now,” he said at the time.
DeFusco then appeared on the program a week later and said that he planned on seeking a third term in 2023 and said he doubted he’d run on Bhalla’s slate, though also explained why he didn’t want to be constantly trading punches with the administration any longer.
“Listen: I am not going anywhere, I’m the city councilman, I plan on running for re-election next November. Paul [Presinzano] is also my guy: I think he’s done an amazing job at bringing our neighborhood, our ward, together on issues,” the councilman stated on October 18th.
“ … There will always be that oppositional force that I exude, but it is going to continue to be in a very productive, apolitical way. I want things done, I want them done fast, and I want to see Hoboken continue to move forward.”
Today, DeFusco told HCV he has been proud to serve the 1st Ward for two terms, citing accomplishments such as bringing retail kiosks to Pier A, repairs to Court Street, and the $180 million restoration of the Lackawanna Terminal.
He also fired the first shot over Presinzano’s civic association.
“While I have been focused on delivering real results for my constituents, my opponent has been spreading misinformation by funneling questionable money through a ‘civic association’ targeting seniors and other vulnerable populations for political gain,” he asserted.
“Despite these distractions, I remain committed to continuing to deliver real results for my constituents and improving the quality of life in our community this year. Together, we will continue to build a brighter future for our community and make the first ward a better place for all.”
For the time being, the only other candidate who has formally announced a re-election bid is 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, a close political ally of Bhalla.