Month: October 2019


Stronger Foundations PAC goes to the mattresses for Ravi Bhalla’s council slate

=&0=& =&1=& =&2=& =&3=& =&3=& They’re back! Stronger Foundations, the powerful statewide construction PAC is back in Hoboken.  The influential political player that got behind Ravi Bhalla’s candidacy for mayor in 2017 running tens of thousands of dollars in TV ads on cable has started a Facebook ad campaign for a slew of candidates it endorsed late last month. Featured in its official Facebook ad campaign is almost the entirety of the Ravi Bhalla council slate plus Councilman Michael Russo of the Ravi-Russo Alliance. The ad campaign on Facebook began for each on October 29th and is likely to continue into the Hoboken council elections on Tuesday: Each of the ads is similar in its scope and promotion, often using the exact language as on the candidate’s campaign mailers through Ravi Bhalla’s political consultant and spokesman. 
Nora DeBenedetto, the Ravi Bhalla – Stronger Foundations PAC endorsed 2nd ward candidate
Cristin Cricco-Powell, the Ravi Bhalla – Stronger Foundations PAC endorsed 6th ward candidate 
Michael Russo, the Ravi Bhalla Russo Alliance – Stronger Foundations PAC endorsed 3rd ward candidate
Phil Cohen, the Ravi Bhalla – Stronger Foundations PAC endorsed 5th ward candidate
Migdalia Pagan Milano, the Ravi Bhalla – Stronger Foundations PAC endorsed 1st ward candidate

In response, at least one candidate is responding with a Facebook ad countering with a fact-based representation. City Council President Jen Giattino began running the following ad over an the Cristin Cricco-Powell stating in red letters: “Paid for by big development Super PAC Money.”

The counter by the Vote Jen Again campaign is sure to highlight the scuttlebutt about big special interests impacting the upcoming Hoboken elections.  The issue of big construction PAC money and related special interest is a topic heading into the critical elections next Tuesday.

In a departure from her positions on outside special interest money over her political career, former mayor Dawn Zimmer aligned herself with the big construction PACs endorsing Ravi Bhalla’s council slate. Read More...


Dawn Zimmer comes out of the cold to back Ravi Bhalla’s big development PAC-backed council ticket

In an act observers will find equal parts cynical and desperate, Hoboken’s former mayor and one-time leader of the Mile Square City’s heralded Reform Movement has come in from the cold.

Not a day after revelations of an assault of cash descends upon the Mile Square City on behalf of powerful statewide big construction PACs endorsing Ravi Bhalla’s council slate of non-acting Hoboken “activists,” former mayor Dawn Zimmer signed on the dotted line with them. Cue the funeral bagpipes.
Dawn Zimmer comes out of the cold
to sign up with Ravi Bhalla’s
big development PAC-backed council slate.
Call it bad timing, call it craven or just plain desperate but don’t call her husband and ask for an explanation. Power at all costs no matter the fallout. This as Ravi Bhalla is trying to punch the lights out of not only the institutional memory of Reform but its strongest good government council members who served honorably under her: Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher. Zimmer has been all but invisible since she self-ejected in the midst of her campaign seeking a third term back in late June 2017. She walked down the steps in front of City Hall claiming she did so to fight global warming/climate change with then-councilman Ravi Bhalla by her side taking the baton. It was the kind of backroom deal she was once known for decrying. There’s been no report of Zimmer taking a slow boat to China where carbon emission increases lead the globe even as the US sees a double-digit reduction.  Nor has Dawn Zimmer come forward to comment when the New Jersey Supreme Court censured her “best choice” for Hoboken mayor as he was disappearing thousands of and employee’s dollars and coming within one vote of having his law license yanked. It must have been hilarious when Zimmer showed up to take a picture with almost all of Ravi Bhalla’s council slate meeting them for the first time. =&0=& Zimmer has remained silent as this website blew the whistle breaking the news her 2017 mayoral choice, Ravi Bhalla had nominated for final approval =&1=& during her administration. (After publication here, the candidate was withdrawn by the mayor.) Zimmer has remained silent when Ravi Bhalla broke a campaign promise not to take a second job days after being sworn into office.  Zimmer has remained silent when Ravi Bhalla put up the biggest tax increase since she became mayor, an increase she herself never made over her =&2=& eight years in office. And when asked for comment on these and other important local matters, Dawn Zimmer remained silent. 
The above graphic submitted in 2017 has proved prophetic as Dawn Zimmer has returned to kick dirt on Reform’s grave.
Back in 2009, it was mayoral candidate Dawn Zimmer decrying the arrival of big construction interest PAC money when dirty flyers appeared accusing her of backing overdevelopment. Protecting Hoboken from overdevelopment was a principle in her big tent under the Reform banner. In 2011, Mayor Zimmer signed a pay-to-play ordinance limiting the power of outside special interests including union. The limitation kept at bay statewide big construction money. It passed in the City Council on a narrow 5-4 vote with =&3=& casting the deciding vote in her first day of office. How the worm has turned. The underbelly, it is not pretty. Et tu Dawn? 

Breaking: Stronger Foundations Development Super PAC shows up with paid ad for Cristin Cricco-Powell


Stronger Foundations, the big pro-development Super PAC backing Ravi Bhalla for mayor in 2017 launched an online Facebook ad campaign for his council slate.

The group is described as having received money in the past solely from the labor-management fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825.

An ad appearing by the PAC, a major backer of Ravi Bhalla’s massive NJ Transit redevelopment plan appeared earlier on Facebook.

Late last month, the Stronger Foundations Super PAC was discovered to have included endorsements in Hoboken featuring almost the entirety of Ravi Bhalla’s council slate with the Ravi-Russo Alliance’s third ward councilman Michael Russo. Read More...


Who is Ravi Bhalla’s MACK-PAC Daddy?

Further details on the powerful statewide real estate developer, Mack-Cali, getting behind Mayor Ravi Bhalla and his first ward council candidate are coming to light.

After the NJ Globe broke the story yesterday revealing almost $20,000 in big real estate development money is set to hit Hoboken’s first ward on behalf of Ravi Bhalla’s team for his first ward candidate, the Hudson County View added cement shoes to the breaking news. HCV reports fully $30,000 has been earmarked from Mack-Cali to the newly-formed NJ Community Initiatives on October 18th. The round-robin with tens of thousands of dollars heading Hoboken’s way a week before the election is expected to be used in a direct mail campaign aiding Ravi Bhalla’s effort to defeat his nemesis, Councilman Mike DeFusco. DeFusco slammed the hypocrisy of his opponent and pointed directly at Ravi Bhalla as being the culprit behind the big real estate money flowing into his opponent saying,

“Money from major real estate players like Mack-Cali doesn’t come for free and First Ward voters deserve to know exactly what kind of shady deal Migdalia and the Mayor made to win this support.” Read More...


Councilman Mike DeFusco “Sounds Alarm on PAC funded by Real Estate Developer Poised to Hijack Hoboken City Council Election”

Official release:

Councilman Mike DeFusco is sounding the alarm that a Political Action Committee funded by real estate interests is poised to spend tens of thousands of dollars over the next week to influence Hoboken’s City Council elections. According to documents filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission and reported today by the New Jersey Globe

, real estate giant Mack-Cali has just funneled $30,000 in special interest money into the NJ Community Initiatives PAC for the direct purpose of influencing the outcome of the municipal election. Read More...


Report: Real Estate Power & NJ PAC fund Team Bhalla for 20K mailer


Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: ‘I fight for Hoboken as they try to sell out Hoboken’

Official release:

  Dear Friends and Neighbors,   My opponent has no relevant experience or plan to run on, so they are putting out mailers and emails to spread confusion and fear and are hoping that 2nd Ward voters aren’t smart enough to figure out the truth. While I was out talking with voters last night, I spoke with a neighbor who has been receiving these mailers and emails, and she asked me to address the attacks and outright lies my opponent is hurling at me in this election… but she made me promise to be brief.  So for her (and I am sure for many of you as well!), I’ve put together these brief responses:   REGARDING MONARCH   I have been leading the fight against Monarch since 2011 because I believe our waterfront belongs to the public.  I have always been in this fight and I always will be, and you can count on my vote in 2020 to finally put this fight to bed.  Unfortunately, my opponent wants to jeopardize all the work we have done together in this important fight by demanding that an unrealistic project with a $50M price tag be a requirement under the already agreed terms.  This is a material change that will surely sink the entire agreement.  Help me dispel the fear and confusion they are spreading by getting the truth to your friends and neighbors.   REGARDING UNION DRY DOCK   Advocating for the Union Dry Dock project was the first thing I did when I was elected in 2015 because I know how important our waterfront is, and I have never stopped.  Unfortunately, my opponent believes the only way she can win is to confuse people into believing that the Council somehow could have taken action sooner.  It was sadly not a priority of the prior administration until too late,

and those of us who take Eminent Domain seriously, as I do, understand that we are, and always have been, moving as swiftly as we responsibly can Read More...


Ravi Bhalla turns his smear machine campaign guns on Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher

Give Hoboken’s mayor Ravi Bhalla credit for consistency.

When you go dirty against the good government remnants of Reform, throwing them out of City Hall when they were working to help a Hoboken resident at the rent office is a starter plan.

As everyone was warned here months ago, the ugly campaign tactics from Ravi Bhalla and his FacePunchers in the mayor’s office was an inevitability.

Or as one Jersey Journal reporter remarked last summer, “Everything with them (Team Bhalla) is scorched earth.” Read More...


Cristin Cricco-Powell “not a woman of her word”


After a rather sedate council forum where the Super PAC backed Ravi Bhalla candidates fled from both the big construction NJ Transit redevelopment and their boss, the most unlikely of bombs dropped.

City Council President Jen Giattino, always professional and courteous in her actions on and off the City Council had enough. She wasn’t going to take the abuse dished out by turncoat friends like Ravi Bhalla, nor his surrogates. In this instance, it’s Cristin Cricco-Powell doing the dirty work. Read More...