When Zimmer announced that she would not be seeking re-election back in June, she essentially endorsed Bhalla in the same breath. However, a six-way race soon took shape between Bhalla and Councilman Michael DeFusco (who had already declared his intentions to unseat Zimmer), City Council President Jen Giattino, Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano, businesswoman Karen Nason, and activist Ronald Bautista in the field.
With so many voices, the conversation has been cacophonous, and certainly spirited at times. This past Friday it managed to get much uglier, when forged fliers based on literature from DeFusco’s campaign were distributed in Hoboken with the header “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town!” The Hoboken Police Department are currently investigating, and have released images of men suspected to be involved.
Undaunted, Bhalla told hMAG in an exclusive interview that, “My wife and children were understandably upset, but we know Hoboken has been great for our family. And as Mayor, I will work to keep our City a welcoming one where all people are treated with respect.”
Bhalla maintained his focus, despite the vile nature of the incident. “As a leader on the Council, I worked closely with Mayor Zimmer to turn our city around, moving our bond rating from junk to AA+, saving our hospital and helping to secure federal funding for comprehensive flood protection. I have put forward detailed plans on the major challenges facing our city, including upgrading our aging infrastructure. And I am the only candidate standing up to President Trump when it is called for.”
“As Mayor, I will act to upgrade our infrastructure, fixing our water mains, roads, sewers and piers and providing regular maintenance. I will ensure that we are better prepared for the intense storms that are predicted as a result of climate change, completing our comprehensive federally-funded flood prevention project, Rebuild by Design, and working to strengthen our electrical grid.” he recently told hMAG.
“Additionally, I will push NJ Transit and the Port Authority for expanded bus and rail service, as well as more affordable ferry service. Our residents deserve to have reliable, reasonably priced transportation options that can also help to reduce traffic and improve our quality of life. In order to accomplish these goals cost-effectively, I will develop a 10-year infrastructure improvement and maintenance plan that will be completed in the first 90 days of my term.”
Bhalla’s running mates, incumbent James Doyle and newcomer Emily Jabbour, won their at-large City Council bids—as did DeFusco running mate Vanessa Falco.
Hoboken Board of Education winners were Melanie Tekirian, Sharyn Angley and Chetali Khanna.
(*Results as of press time, 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7. This IS Hudson County…)