The purpose of this letter is not to sing the praises of Mayor Dawn Zimmer as she departs the office of Mayor of Hoboken after eight years, although her accomplishments are numerous and substantial, but rather to speak about the man who has been at her side the entire time, Councilman Ravi Bhalla. He has been a calm and steady voice on the City Council where theatrics and grandstanding have often seemed to be the order of the day.
Ravi fully intends to follow through on the unfinished work of Mayor Zimmer’s agenda, primarily relating to Rebuild by Design and other infrastructure improvement projects. He also intends to pursue his own vision for improving the quality of life for all Hoboken residents. That vision includes proposals to upgrade and expand mass transit options, available educational opportunities for all Hoboken children and the productive use of additional public space. Ravi’s vision derives from his personal values that promote a progressive and thriving community poised to meet the challenges of climate change and a Republican administration in Washington, DC which regularly appears hostile to the rights of women, members of the LGBT community, minorities, immigrants and refugees.
Since Ravi moved to Hoboken in 2000, he has applied his talents and skills as a lawyer to assist residents in resolving legal issues with their landlords and improving the quality of local schools. During the course of Hoboken’s 2008 municipal elections, Ravi became an ally of Mayor Zimmer in pursuit of a shared vision for transparent government that would put an end to the corrupt practices and customs that have plagued Hoboken’s operations and added millions of dollars in attendant costs for decades.
After speaking to several of my neighbors, it has become clear to me that many Hoboken residents are quite upset by the hostile takeover of the federal government by Republicans who appear to be blind to the daily assault on our civic life and discourse being waged by Donald Trump and his ilk.
It is significant that the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 of Springfield, NJ, has recently endorsed Ravi’s candidacy. Local 825 represents private sector employees who operate heavy construction equipment in New York and New Jersey for private entities and municipalities. The projects completed by Local 825 include the construction of the George Washington Bridge, the Garden State Parkway, Newark International Air Port and the Tappan Zee Bridge. Local 825 sponsors a robust apprenticeship program that provides valuable job training for qualified applicants. Ravi and Local 825 will be exploring the joint development of an apprenticeship program that would benefit qualified Hoboken residents.
It is not my intent to turn the upcoming Mayoral election into a referendum on Donald Trump and the Republican Party, but this is the time for all reasonable people of good will who still believe that facts matter to stand up and be counted as supporters of acceptance, tolerance and, yes, love for their neighbors. Not all politics are local…sometimes one has to take a larger view of our city’s state of affairs. Councilman Ravi Bhalla has that larger vision for Hoboken. I therefore ask you to please consider voting on November 7, 20017 for Ravi and his of team of Councilman Jim Doyle, Emily Jabbour and John Allen.