Ravi Bhalla for Mayor

If you haven’t kept up with the Hoboken mayoral race, I don’t blame you. Six candidates — or, if we’re being honest, four front-running candidates — offer similar ideas and almost indistinguishable platforms. Researching the differences between the candidates is exhausting, and might discourage someone who is unsure about the upcoming election.  As someone who has lived in Hoboken for less than two months, I struggled to learn about the candidates, so I’m basing my vote for mayor off information readily available to me. I have neither the experience nor the time to uncover decades of Hoboken political history. Based off my experience within the Hoboken community so far, I’ll focus on the three candidates who, I believe, have the best chance of being the next mayor: Mike DeFusco, Anthony Romano, and Ravi Bhalla.

Mike DeFusco, one of the front-runners, appeals to Hoboken’s liberal demographic by calling himself a “progressive Democrat.” To prove it, he recites words like “inclusive” and “fairness” on his website a few times. Yet also on his website, he wants to “bring a private sector mindset to city government,” which is, traditionally, a conservative value. This conservative mindset is also reflected by his big-business, city council slate comprised of a Wall Street salesperson, a “trading firm” owner, and another salesperson.

DeFusco’s campaign seems to be guided only by his guile, saying whatever he thinks Hoboken wants to hear from him so that he can sway more voters. For example, I can’t even decipher his vision for education, a topic that is important to me. All I know is that he wants to “think big” and that he’ll use “public-private partnerships to create additional funding options” — whatever that means. As someone who respects detailed policy and coherent plans, I’m dissuaded by his stanceless positions. DeFusco markets himself better as a political product — simple enough to be liked by everyone — than as an upholder of Hoboken values. As much as I believe young people should be in politics, DeFusco is not the mayor Hoboken needs.

Anthony Romano and Ravi Bhalla, however, provide years of ample experience. But Romano, like DeFusco, yearns for the mayoral seat so that he can grow his political power. In the upcoming election, you’ll notice that Romano isn’t running in just one race; he’s running in two: the Hudson County freeholder race and the Hoboken mayor race. I respect Romano’s ambition, but he needs to decide whom he wants to help. Hoboken needs a mayor who can dedicate themselves solely to Hoboken; that mayor can’t be Romano.

Bhalla, someone whom I’ve met once before, exhibits a genuine love for the Hoboken community and — and to repeat myself — has a tremendous amount of experience. The New York Times recognized him for his legal advocacy after he suffered a violation of his First Amendment rights. In Hoboken, Bhalla was the leading voice for a second flood pump in northwest Hoboken, he was instrumental in the saving of the Hoboken hospital, and he has improved Hoboken’s bond rating from junk bond status to AA+. The list of his accomplishments only continues, which emphasizes his political prowess and his commitment to the Hoboken community. I believe Bhalla, endorsed by Mayor Dawn Zimmer, can build upon the city’s accomplishments and make Hoboken an even better place.

I look forward to Nov. 7 — election day — and I urge everyone at Stevens to vote. (Keep in mind that this election is for governor, too! Vote Phil Murphy!) Local level politics may seem uninteresting, but it’s what directly impacts how we live and interact with one another. By voting for Ravi Bhalla, our community will become a safer, more prosperous one for all of us.

About the Author

Matthew Cunningham

Student, athlete, writer, political nerd, and patriarchy smasher

  • Joey Ladron

    Ravi Bhalla is a black hole of hypocrisy where good government goes to die. Ravi has had 8 years as part of a voting bloc with full control over the city. Claiming he wants to do anything new or different now is ridiculous, and anyone who truly cares about detailed policy and coherent plans would recognize this. He talks about bond ratings but not about the skyrocketing debt. As soon as the hospital debt was cleared from the books, they immediately put that amount right back out to bond, showing what his real intention was. He also claims to have “fixed Hoboken’s finances”, but currently has a Super PAC with ties to the NJ Transit Development paying for ads trying to blame DeFusco for the huge tax increases that occurred in 2009 as a direct result of Dawn Zimmer’s swing vote, years before DeFusco was on Council. It’s a lie being funded by an outside influencer who wants to build 40 stories of office space near our waterfront. Clearly Ravi and Dawn have cut a backroom deal with them in exchange for this support, which may also involve illegal collusion between candidates and PACs, considering the endorsing funders and PAC President are brothers. Ravi is being investigated by the state for voting on this project while his law firm held a contract with NJ Transit, and has another unresolved case where he voted to give a city legal contract to a business partner. The city has had to pay out millions of taxpayer dollars in multiple lawsuits for discrimination under the Zimmer administration, and one specifically because of Bhalla violating 1st amendment rights and the Open Public Meetings Act, with a second similar case being litigated right now. He has outward racists and homophobes working on his campaign and has even appointed these hatemongers to public boards. Ravi has become a master of deception, rather than working for real accomplishments. 8 years of that is enough.

    • Gee Aye

      All lies, courtesy of The DeFuso Family.

      • Joey Ladron

        Which lie? These are all facts. Things that happened, are in newspapers, real people know about, etc.

  • Matthew, Mike DeFusco spent 5 years on the zoning board of Hoboken and has served on the city council for almost 2 years. Those are the 2 most important places to serve after the Mayor’s office In Hoboken so you may want to get your facts about experience right before reading the Bhalla script. This article is a one-sided fluff piece that conveniently leaves out the facts about the positives of some candidates, then discredits those same candidates (without facts for DeFusco, though yes Romano is trying to double dip), and promote a candidate that they endorse with the same shtick that the Bhalla campaign has been pushing. This is a pretty low bar for this campaign to get a young student that is not even an actual citizen or lived here for more than 2 months who has basic, almost zero, knowledge of this town? How is there value in the opinion of someone who has lived here for 2 months and just regurgitates the same spin coming from camp Bhalla. Nothing new here from camp Bhalla, just the same old broken record story.