Hoboken, NJ. Hoboken politics has reached a new level of low when the mayor’s office directs members of the public to deliver personal attacks against council members seen as political opposition. Repeatedly since June, certain members of the Hoboken City Council who did not support Mayor Bhalla in last year’s election have been subjected to personal attacks by two Hoboken residents...
Michael Donnelly and Anthony DeLeonardo. Each Donnelly and DeLeonardo appeared to have no previous political activity in Hoboken and each have been identified as having ties to John Allen, Chief of Staff to Mayor Ravi Bhalla.
“These aren’t two guys who came to a meeting for the first time to advocate for something that happened to them personally like getting a parking ticket under an arcane parking rule. These two each presented prepared statements on complex issues that were not directed at either of them.”
Mr. DeLeonardo, 26 and who recently moved to Hoboken, authored a fabricated ethics complaint in November against Councilwoman Fisher for her role in removing a long time Hoboken planning board commissioner and known supporter of Mayor Bhalla. He then came to the December 5th City Council meeting and read prepared statements with racially charged accusations.
“Attacks on City Council members at council meetings are a given and protected by the First Amendment. But when the mayor’s office is seen to be behind these attacks, that crosses an important line and isn’t acceptable. This most recent attack comes as a surprise given I have had a great working relationship with the mayor and his team on many important topics in Hoboken including our communities’ opposition to Union Dry Dock, our critical anti- flooding project Rebuild By Design, economic development initiatives like establishing a special improvement district, and restructuring our water infrastructure contract with Suez.”
You can read the email here that Councilwoman Fisher sent to her constituents including more color behind the orchestrated attacks.