Hoboken, NJ – At the end of last week, Elec 825, an affiliate of the Local 825 Operating Engineers union, ran an attack ad against Hoboken Councilman Jim Doyle on NJ12 criticizing Doyle for his “No” vote on the proposed Hilton hotel in Hoboken; a vote that was inconsequential in the 8-1 outcome. Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s election campaign benefited from $85,000 in advertising spend through the Stronger Foundations PAC which is funded by Elec 825...
Doyle ran with Mayor Bhalla on his ticket and is seen as a close ally of the mayor’s. Hoboken City Councilmembers Peter Cunningham, Tiffanie Fisher and Jen Giattino, respond to the bullying of their colleague Councilman Jim Doyle:
“The commercial was both troubling in its attack on Jim for his vote as it was in its messaging to all Hoboken elected officials – vote “yes” or else. This type of bullying by a union, or any large contributor, will not be tolerated. ” said Councilman Cunningham.
The Hotel proposed by Mayor Bhalla is 20% larger than what was previously passed by the City Council in April 2017.
“Jim, along with then Councilman Bhalla before he was elected mayor, consistently voted for a more moderate hotel. Jim, however, held to his beliefs, voted accordingly and should not have to be subjected to such public threats.” – Council Vice President Jen Giattino
The only public responses given by Mayor Bhalla and the union can be found in Hudson County View’s article from Friday. While no apologies were made to Councilman Doyle, Mayor Bhalla claims he received an apology from the union, whereas Mike Makarski, Elec 825 spokesman, gave a conflicting message and stated that the union stands behind the message in the ad. The Hoboken mayor in his comments goes on to say how the unions will continue to be rewarded despite their bullying tactics.
“The messages here are alarming on many levels - for Hoboken residents who should be concerned that our mayor’s alliance with the unions comes first, but also for Jim and other elected officials across the state where the message is clear - if you run afoul of the Local 825 Operating Engineers union, you will pay politically. Neither is acceptable.” - Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher
“We support Jim and his vote and ask that all other Hoboken elected officials do the same and renounce the bullying tactics employed against him.” - all three councilmembers’ joint statement.
Although the redevelopment agreement with KMS Development for the Hilton hotel passed on October 17th, the vote on the second (and final) reading of the redevelopment plan amendment will be November 7th. You can watch the attack ad in its entirety here.