Grist for the Mill: Ravi has a new developer-union deal and it comes with a $3 million dollar payoff
Word is out in Hoboken this weekend about Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s newest backroom developer deal for the downtown hotel and it’s going to kick up a storm.
Remember the original “needle” style boutique hotel proposal languishing for years? Finally, it was approved as a 17 story building and applauded by the construction unions who spent tens of thousands of dollars at the close of the ugly mayoral race last year to push Ravi Bhalla over the line. Those tens of thousands don’t include the millions in free publicity when the Bhalla terror flyer landed to help him eek out a win with 32% of the vote.
|It’s not quite another side job for Mayor Ravi Bhalla; let’s call it a side-deal of the backroom variety benefiting the
hotel developer, his union friends and would-be friends who would see $3 million to quiet the outrage.
The downtown hotel suddenly rises another three stories and increases density 20% as part of Ravi Bhalla’s latest deal.
Now the hotel, a previously thought done deal is getting a pro-developer, pro-union boost. It will magically jump another three stories to 20 with 20% more added density and unions will get labor work for building it with a plus. Labor after completion is believed to also include mandatory union employee positions.
But that’s not the only kicker. To soften the public, activists and post-backroom deal resistance which will not swallow easy the sudden pro-developer winnings, a three million dollar kickback, uhm, benefit is proposed handed over to the local school district and the defunct uptown Y. They would receive one and two million respectively with the new Ravi Bhalla backroom deal lacking any public process or transparency.
Who do you think will be miffed most in Hoboken? You can start anywhere. It will be a lengthy list.
The public school district annually currently receives millions in Abbott district aid earning Hoboken lots of scorn statewide. The local Y closed its doors years ago and has rebuilt to house people trying to reintegrate into society while its exercise facility closed suddenly leaving disappointment in its wake.
How is this three million windfall to be accounted for and benefit wider Hoboken? There will be some very unhappy non-profits in Hoboken who feel they’ve been jacked again ala the conflicted Bhalla Chief of Staff John Allen who lobbied for EasterSeals to get a rental office in town at next to no cost for a decade.
The local fundraising school district group, Hoboken Public Education Foundation is already celebrating the backroom unannounced deal like they won lotto. Their weekend release from the Hoboken Public Education Foundation is below. The Charter Schools will benefit zero and are among the first to hear the bad news of the latest Bhalla backroom deal.
Talking Ed Note: How many parent votes can be bribed with a million? Ravi Bhalla is banking on re-election with their votes even if Hoboken’s woeful infrastructure among many other needs gets ignored in the process. Since his path to get Albio Sires’ congressional seat isn’t looking too good currently, he may be stuck in Hoboken for a while. This will grease the wheels for his developer, union and select non-profit friends.
Stay tuned. This is one backroom deal sure to generate plenty of anger from the Hoboken public.