At a Hoboken mayoral debate last week, candidate Peter Cammarano said that council candidate Ravi Bhalla, a lawyer, had exceeded his contract a few times when he worked for the city of Hoboken. Bhalla is on a ticket with Cammarano’s opponent, Dawn Zimmer.
Today, Hoboken’s rent control officer, Carole McLaughlin, who rarely writes letters, wrote to say that Cammarano’s comments were “disturbing.” While the letter doesn’t dispute that Bhalla may have needed to go over the original contract limits, it does say that he would have tried his best not to, and that everything he did was in the best interest of the city.
Here is her letter:
“I was born and raised in Hoboken and served the City of Hoboken for 27 years, 14 of which were as the Administrator of the Rent Control Office in City Hall. I write this letter to address disturbing remarks made by mayoral candidate Peter Cammarano at recent debates about council candidate Ravi S. Bhalla, relating to Ravi’s service as the Rent Board Attorney for Hoboken.
During the period of time I worked with Ravi, which was over one year, he provided exceptional service as an attorney to both the Rent Board and the Rent Control Office. Ravi was always well prepared, understood the issues at hand, and provided objective and sound advice to the board members.
Ravi was never “churning the file,” but rather he was doing the exact opposite. I can recall several occasions where Ravi specifically advised the Board NOT to appeal adverse decisions against the Rent Board on the basis of the likelihood of success on an appeal AND the additional attorneys’ fees the City would have to expend by retaining him to file appeals. Ravi’s advice was consistently based on the City’s best legal and financial interests, not his own personal interests.
Furthermore, contrary to Mr. Cammarano’s claims that Ravi is an attorney that is “part of the problem,” my experience working closely with him shows that he is exactly the type of person Hoboken should be proud to have as an advocate for our City’s interests. Ravi both is an honest and decent human being, and an excellent attorney. I am personally offended that Mr. Cammarano would try to attack Ravi’s character and integrity for his own political gain.’b>
As someone who has lived here in Hoboken my whole life, I can tell you from my personal experience that I would be honored to have Ravi as my Councilman, and hope you consider the above information when casting your vote for mayor and city council on June 9.