The following report is a cumulation of MSV’s investigative efforts, analysis and opinion now into the tenth year covering Hoboken government, politics, and corruption. The opinions stated below are the sole responsibility and copyright of MSV.
Since last year’s abbreviated mayoral campaign, dirty politics in the Mile Square City hit new lows. The “terror flyer” electing Ravi Bhalla to mayor with 32% of the vote isn’t an anomaly; it’s a feature.
That political operation contradicted some basic political facts. First, after serving more than eight years on the City Council, there had never been any kind of personal attack on Ravi Bhalla connected to any religious group. Most of the criticism vented at him were of the ethical variety.
Then just a few days before last year’s November election, a “midnight” flyer appeared doing just that. Not in the middle of the night as a midnight flyer is known but all over midtown on an early Friday night when Hoboken is more than a little busy with pedestrian traffic.
The connected crimes remain officially unsolved. Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante has publicly urged members of the public to come forward with the conclusive information. None have done so.
Last month, another politically charged bomb of a different variety appeared at the City Council meeting. Unlike others who came to advocate for an issue or concern, this one arrived tossing handgrenades out of the gate at many members of the council not aligned with Mayor Ravi Bhalla.
It was by most close observer accounts, a most odd introduction to the City Council and public at-large. The appearance, courtesy of uptown resident Mike Donnelly featured direct attacks on a number of council members firing off political talking points sounding exactly like those made out of the mayor’s office, in public – and more oddly – in private.
Among those on the receiving end of Donnelly’s written and prepared remarks: Council President Ruben Ramos, Councilmembers Jen Giattino, Tiffanie Fisher and Mike DeFusco.
At the beginning of this month’s council meeting, Donnelly returned again to lay into several council members but noting that we can all agree, “Ravi isn’t perfect.”
He concluded his remarks saying to Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher that “no one” had sent him. He just made two first-ever appearances before the City Council and immediately launched ethics allegations and political attacks on his own was his claim.
Last week, Councilman Mike DeFusco who received most of the attention along with a very deflective legally inspired ethics complaint pointed directly at him, fingered the mayor’s office for political retaliation.
Did anyone see any public notice from the mayor’s office denying the charge?
There’s been nothing but silence. Silence from Ravi Bhalla, silence from City Hall issued communications and complete and utter silence from the Chief of Staff John Allen and one Mike Donnelly.
Sometimes a picture tells the story better than a thousand words. Here’s one off Instagram that didn’t escape social media scrubbing in time, circa December 2015. Neither Donnelly or his “close friend” John Allen were seen involved in anything related to a Hoboken issue then.
These added words come courtesy of your friendly neighborhood muckraking Horsey.
This photo with Hoboken resident Mike Donnelly (middle) and Ravi Bhalla Chief of Staff John Allen (right) may help to explain the formers odd appearances launching political attacks on a number of City Council members. The prepared written statements sound exactly like the whining that comes out of the mayor’s office.