Indian-American Mayor in New Jersey wins court battle against New York Waterway

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The Indian-American Mayor of Hoboken, Ravi S. Bhalla, led his city in a court battle against New York Waterway when the Hudson County Superior Court on July 29, dismissed the lawsuit filed by the private company against the City of Hoboken. Mayor Bhalla has led the public outcry including protests, against the New York Waterway plans over several months and has lobbied for alternative use of the site.

Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Ravinder Bhalla giving his first State of the City address Jan. 29. 2018 (Photo: Mayor’s Office)

“Hoboken remains committed to acquiring Union Dry Dock for public, open space, and I’m thankful this decision puts us one step closer to making this a reality,” the activist Mayot Bhalla is quoted saying in the press release.

The New York Waterway lawsuit sought declaratory judgement against the City of Hoboken, N.J., to allow New York Waterway to begin building a heavy refueling station at Union Dry Dock, “without obtaining approvals from the City and circumventing local land use approvals,” a press release from Bhalla’s office said.

In dismissing the case Judge Jeffrey R. Jablonski described as “unsubstantiated”,  New York Waterway’s claim that without its use of Union Dry Dock, a regional transportation crisis would occur.

“Hoboken is appreciative of the Court’s sound decision on this matter of critical importance to our City,” Mayor Bhalla is quoted saying in the press release. “It affirms that no one is above the law, and the rules apply equally to everyone including New York Waterway”

The Mayor thanked Judge Jablonski for reaffirming what his office and supporters had been saying, viz., that New York Waterway’s claim of a crisis was “manufactured”

Mayor Bhalla has not balked at confronting his own state’s governor, Phil Murphy, when it comes to the Union Dry Dock space usage. This June 13, he warned in a tweet that it was time to begin eminent domain proceedings with regard to the Dry Dock. “Last year at the request of @GovMurphy, I agreed to withdraw eminent domain proceedings for Union Dry Dock to engage in negotiations w/ Gov & his staff. Unfortunately, months have gone by w/ no update, NYWW has broken promise to hold back. I believe it is time to begin eminent domain.”

A related incident marking the confrontational and unpleasant fight over the Union Dry Dock, transpired during the court hearings this morning. with Hoboken police also taking umbrage to the statement made by one of the New York Waterway attorneys during the oral arguments. According to the Mayor’s press release, the New York Waterway attorney referred to the Hoboken Police Department as the “Gestapo” a description, Lt. John Petrosino, president of the Hoboken Police Superior Officers Association, called “abhorrent”.

“Any comparison between the hardworking men and women of the Hoboken Police Department and the Nazi regime is offensive and insulting. We demand an immediate and unequivocal apology from New York Waterway,” Petrosino demanded.

“I strongly condemn the sickening comparison between Nazis and the Hoboken Police Department,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This inflammatory language has no place in a court of law or anywhere else in society, and Mr. Imperatore owes the Hoboken Police Department and our City an apology.”

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