Hoboken mayor says he’s gotten death threats, racist parcels

Bhalla Wikipedia

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla released the following statement today after he received a series of death threats and parcels containing bigoted material. We present it to you, unedited.

I hope all is well. I’ll get straight to it. I write today to raise an admittedly unpleasant topic, but one that I think needs to be raised as we all work together to make Hoboken a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

As you may have heard, my friends, neighbors and colleagues were sent several unsolicited and unwanted packages to our homes that contained racially charged, sexually explicit and threatening messages, all connected to local politics. And, last year, my family opened the mail to read multiple death threats that had been made against us. These threats were investigated by law enforcement who continue to diligently pursue the person(s) who made them.

Let me be clear. Hoboken is a welcoming, inclusive community. Over the years we have all worked in concrete ways to ensure that remains true. Together we define what it means to live in Hoboken, and together we continue to visibly remain true to our highest ideals as a community and nation.

Because Hoboken is so welcoming, I believe remaining silent when we fall short of our ideals is not an option. I write to share this information as means of public education and to make clear that here in Hoboken, we will both hold perpetrators accountable and work to immediately reaffirm that inclusion, civility, and respect are shared values. Political discourse in our nation is often deeply divisive, one side will not talk to the other and even demonize “the other side,” but it does not have to be that way.

I believe in Hoboken we have shown that when it matters, we find ways to talk to each other, even with those with whom we often disagree and ultimately move forward together.

I’ll close by asking us all to show faith in our neighbors and our potential when we work together. Disagreement on issues of importance is what it means to live in a democracy, but when it is all said and done, when an election or debate is over, we should always come together as one community, one Hoboken.

Thank you for hearing me, as I always say, in Hoboken, the best is yet to come.

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.