Team Bhalla pledges to bring back Hoboken Office of Constituent Affairs, expand rec department

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Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and his council-at-large slate are pledging to bring back the city’s office of constituent affairs, expanding their recreation department, and much more in their quality of life plan.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Building on the substantial improvements that we have implemented in Hoboken over the past four years, our quality of life plan is designed to make Hoboken an even better place to live and raise a family,” Hoboken Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour said in a statement.

The team, which also includes Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle and first time candidate Joe Quintero, suggests bringing back the constituent affairs office to focus on rent stabilization, affordable housing, and flood resiliency.

The department was abolished by a vote of 6-3 back in June 2020, overriding a previous veto by Bhalla. 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, Jabbour, and Doyle voted no.

The measure was sponsored by 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, who both defended the vote by saying it reduced expenses and restructured the city government efficiently.

Furthermore, the slate calls for adding more employees to the rec department to keep up with the local demand for activities, as well as introducing a new website that is easy to navigate – something Council-at-Large challenger Paul Presinzano had suggested last month.

Other new priorities mentioned by Team Bhalla include continuing to push Vision Zero forward, increase physical fitness and other opportunities for seniors, and bringing an on-demand bus service – similar to Via in Jersey City – to the Mile Square City.

In August, the city announced that they would be allocating $500,000 of their American Rescue Plan dollars towards a new microtransit system.

They also cite increasing the amount of bike lanes and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The non-partisan Hoboken municipal elections are on November 2nd, where 10 candidates are vying for three council-at-large seats.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Yet another reason to vote for Bhalla’s slate. His council opponents defunded Hoboken’s Office of Constituent Services as a “f*ck you” to the mayor, more juvenile partisan hijinks that hurt Hoboken residents IN A PANDEMIC. Giattino and Fisher ignored dozens of pleas from Hoboken residents and advocates for the poor, to shut down Constituent Services IN A PANDEMIC. Therefore, those Councilwomen’s “Independently Together” slate can be expected to do more of the same. Fallick only cares about one issue– because she is a beneficiary– don’t count on Team Fallick to care about helping Hoboken’s poorest and most vulnerable residents. It’s really all about her, down to having her council cronies change the ordinance to get her back on the rent control board.

    Kudos to Team Bhalla for promising the restoration of this much needed, beloved office. Now, please vote them in.

    • Look, another Bhalla operative here patting himself on the back. Hey, why didn’t Ravi reach out to protect seniors the actual vulnerable population during the pandemic? He didn’t.

      The effort fell to Hoboken’s well-known activist Toni Tomarazzo. Others on the council like Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher joined in that volunteer effort among others. Stop rewriting history to self-serve your own ends for power. Disgusting.

      • To quote Trump, “WRONG.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Not to take anything away at all from Toni Tomarazzo, who does amazing work for our community but Director Pellegrini led the effort working 24/7 during the height of the pandemic to ensure our entire community remained safe with proper PPE and meal deliveries. Then when the vaccines became available, the Administration was there to help get jabs into seniors’ arms beginning on the first day of eligibility.

        But yes, let’s talk about the efforts of “others on the Council”. Councilman DeFusco handed out hand sanitizer with his campaign logo and straight up left the city, Councilwoman Fisher wanted to put all of the seniors on a crowded and ship them out of the comfortable of their homes and tweeted her criticisms of the Administration every step of the way, and well, Councilmembers Ramos, Giattino, and Russo, didn’t hear or see them doing much of anything. All of these actions sure took real “courage.”

        Protecting the health and safety of your community should grab headlines. I thank god every day that the gaggle of “others on the Council” weren’t in charge.

      • He did.

        I think that your blinding hatred and ultra partisanship will not let you appreciate that as Mayor he made sure ALL the residents were protected.
        Toni, Jen and Tiffanie did step up and volunteered their time but do not have the same responsibilities that Mayor Bhalla has to Hoboken.

        Please try to check your anger before you post.

  2. Considering Mayor Bhalla has accomplished so much for the residents of Hoboken without a majority on the City Council is impressive. A second term with a Council majority would further the progress.

    • Howwill Bhalla get a Council majority from this election? Doyle, Jabbour, Cohen and the new guy make 4. Who exactly are you counting on to be Ravi’s 5th team member? Jen? Tiff? Rubin? Russo? DeFusco? Lots of folks think it’s Russo. Say it ain’t so!

  3. Just another excuse to spend money. There already is a system in place where complaints can be lodged and followed up on and this system was implemented by Juan Meli under Zimmer. Zimmer rightly cut constituent services for the money pit it is.

    • Background context. Mayor Roberts drove Hoboken’s finances into being run by the State and it had created a job as Hispanic Constituent Services for Ruben Ramos mother. The State appointed monitor almost immediately cut the position. Mayor Zimmer was only weeks into her first term when that was happening and by the time she left Hoboken was no longer under the State Monitor and was paying their bills and even had a surplus.

    • The reconstituted Office of Constituent Service under Mayor Bhalla bore no resemblance to the no-show grifting former occupant of that office- coincidently the relative of a council crony of Giattino’s and Fisher’s. Further, the former occupant of Constituent Services was fired by Fiscal Monitor Judi Tripodi, not Mayor Zimmer. Get that straight, dummy. In fact, the Office reconstituted by Mayor Bhalla helped literally thousands of the neediest Hoboken residents who had no where else to turn for help. It was YOUR council cronies who turned a deaf ear to the public outcry to keep the office. You are nothing more than a debased, partisan hyena who serves your own interests, not those of Hoboken residents like those serve by the disbanded Office of Constituent Services.

  4. https://www.nj.com/hobokennow/2009/05/state_monitor_cuts_seven_emplo.html

    Ruben Ramos’ mother was the Director of the Office of Constituent Services until NJ State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi fired her in 2009. Zimmer had nothing to do with shutting that office. Mayor Bhalla revamped the office to one that was highly effective. It was Gardiner’s council cronies who axed Constituent Services amidst a pandemic, against the wishes of Hoboken residents.

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