Letter from 5th Ward Dem Committeepersons

Hi Nancy, "Long time listener, first time caller" as they say.

I've been reading Grafix Avenger as part of my political education since moving to Hoboken in 2013. This year, my wife Amy Sommer and I ran for Democratic Committee because we're eager to elect progressive, reform-minded Democratic candidates at the local, state, and federal level. We are enthusiastic about Ravi Bhalla and have endorsed his candidacy for mayor, but the rumors of a republican candidate who could split the reform community have us concerned.

Here's a letter we sent to council members Fisher and Cunningham today. Please feel free to publish it. Thanks!

Stewart Mader

Thank you for sharing, Amy and Stewart. 

For the record, I think you meant that a Dark Side win would throw us back into the "era of no-show jobs and no-bid contracts..." as Jen has superb Reform credentials.

GA note: This a conversation that Hoboken registered Democrats in the Reform coalition are having or will have if historically Democratic Hoboken runs a Republican mayoral candidate- like it or not.  


  1. Nancy, thanks for publishing our letter. You're correct. We meant that a reform split could create an opening for a non-reform, Dark Side candidate to win.

    1. Thank you, Stewart! I thought so.

      And thanks for registering! I've tried on and off to get folks to register... there are too many bad actors spamming here. So, I hope other folks who want to join the discussion will follow your lead.

  2. IMO I think that bringing republican vs democrat into the mix is utter crap. The rest of the letter makes sense.

    1. In some ways I agree, Snoopy. I have some moderate Republican friends and family members who are good people, we disagree on some issues but they aren't alt.right wackos.

      On the other hand, though, it would be a bit beyond the pale if the head of a local Democratic Committee came out in support of a Republican mayoral candidate. The whole purpose of that committee is to support and advance the Democratic party in local elections. If the head of the committee is unwilling to support the Democratic candidate, than he/she should not be head of the committee.

      It's different for average voters, they should certainly be free to vote their conscious. That's a different story.

    2. make that "conscience". ;)

  3. Before my comment gets knock as a concern troll, although I do not have the “Reform resume” of others, I have lived in Hoboken for close to 16 years, have donated about $3-4 grand to Reform candidates going back to 2005, and have stood many countless mornings in the cold handing out flyers for Reform candidates at the Path or the 9th Street Light Rail station during election. Hell, I even went door to door with Greg Lincoln in the 3rd ward in 2011. I have not done as much as others, but I have also not just stood on the sidelines. (and hoping I figured out the name registration)

    The recent conversations about the selection “Reform” candidates for mayor disturb me for several reasons:
    (1) There has been no conversation about what either potential Reform candidate is running on. What is his or her platform? I supported about 80% of what Mayor Zimmer did in office. 20% I disagreed with. Maybe Ravi will run on issues that I agree 90% with and Jen (if she runs) 50% with. But before everyone falls over themselves endorsing one candidate or another, it would be nice to know what their “platform” is rather than just a generic “Reform” platform or odd measures of town wide “popularity”.
    (2) What is the harm in taking some time to sort it out? The election is in November. Ravi has a ton of money in the bank. This can be subsidized as I believe Mayor Zimmer can transfer her war chest to him. Isn’t it better to get everyone on the same page rather than rush this? As a dem, I get the same “only Hillary can beat the Republicans” inevitability argument used in the primaries message from all of these endorsements and that makes me feel uncomfortable. Let’s pause, take a breath, figure this out, and roll from there on substance rather than “inevitable”.
    (3) Both potential candidates have incredible attributes as candidates and significant weakness. One of Jen’s weaknesses is being attacked here and elsewhere (i.e. being a Republican). This is not the Reform I know. One of the reasons that I liked Reform over the past 16 years is that it was a big tent organization with the belief pillars of opposition to corruption and transparent government. A liberal Dem like myself could stand alongside a Trump conservative and be on the same side because we were working to make Hoboken a better place to live. The measure of the Reform candidates should not be national issues but how are going to stem the tide of corruption and create an exceptional town. As Fiorello LaGuardia said “There is no Democratic or Republican way to fix a pothole.”
    (4) One of the drivers of Ravi’s Dem County Comm. Reform Line in 2011 was keeping the Dem committee money out of municipal elections as for too long the old guard had used that money to finance Mayoral and council candidate. That line got beat because it did not have the County Line. Based upon the above author’s belief and others’ statements, it seems like they want a blending of political parties and non-partisan muni elections again. That is well and good while Reform dems have control. But next time, we have to remember we might not have the County line and the old guard could easily get control again and funnel money from the local democratic party into the mayoral race. Remember, the state and county party does not want Reform Dems in office here. They would prefer Romano.

    1. Thanks, Kevin. I think many reform supporters (myself included) agree Mayor Zimmer didn't do the greatest job in announcing her immediate support for Ravi. That said, we now have to deal with the reality and figure out who is the best candidate.

      I'll take issue with just one thing you said: "One of Jen’s weaknesses is being attacked here and elsewhere (i.e. being a Republican)." No one is attacking her or Ravi, we're just discussing and debating the pluses and minuses of each.

    2. Attacked was too strong of a word. That was more in response to the "cannot in good conscience" statement in the letter. Critiqued is probably better.

    3. Thanks, Kevin for clarifying. I think it's fair comment, not an attack. It is a valid point of discussion whether or other folks agree with the view.


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