HOBOKEN -- An article in the Star-Ledger last week revealed that Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla got a lucrative no-bid contract in Newark days after making a campaign donation to a political action committee associated with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Bhalla did not break any local laws and defended himself by saying there was no quid pro quo. But the revelation concerned some, including members of a group called People for Open Government, who published a letter in the paper this weekend.
2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason called for Bhalla's resignation after the information came to light, considering there was another controversy surrounding Bhalla earlier this year (see links below).
Today (Tuesday), Bhalla struck back, calling a press conference to accuse Mason of election violations of her own during her most recent mayor election last year.
Bhalla is an ally of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, whom Mason ran against last year.
There is no Hoboken election going on right now, but apparently, hostilities among some political forces are simmering in town. Local websites have been buzzing with defenders of either Bhalla or Mason. The Grafix Avenger blog, run by a Zoning Board appointee appointed during the current administration, suggested that Bhalla must not have been aware of rules regarding some financial disclosure forms that he filed late over the weekend, because being both a lawyer and councilman, he'd have to be a "schmendrick" to have known he needed to do so and not have done it. The entry then accuses Mason and her paid political advisors of various forms of hypocrisy.
What do you think? Are Mason's or Bhalla's actions of concern, or just petty politics?
Watch this site for updates on today's press conference.