Hoboken councilman fires back at offensive tweet

HOBOKEN — Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla sent out an innocent tweet on Thursday, May 19 commending the City Council for passing a measure to place a path for bikes and joggers on Sinatra Drive the day before.
He expected some retweets, a couple of likes, maybe some responses from local cyclists or joggers rejoicing about the change. Instead, he was met with a racist tweet from a man using the handle ‏@dubenezic: “How the hell did Hoboken allow this guy to be a councilman? Shouldn’t even be allowed in the U.S #terrorist.”
Bhalla, a lawyer and councilman since 2009 who was born and raised in New Jersey, retorted with: “Sir, I am born & raised in America. You clearly don’t know what it means to be an American.”
In various media outlets, he said he would like to buy the man lunch and educate him about the Sikh community.
Since the exchange, Bhalla has received an outpouring of support from community members and New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who later Tweeted: “In a world still full of ignorance and racism, I’m proud to see Americans like @RaviBhalla stand for what’s right.”
And Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s spokesman, Juan Melli, tweeted (from his own account and not on behalf of the city), “Proud to have Ravi Bhalla represent me. This ignorant racist isn’t fit for the gene pool, let alone a kiddie pool.”
Bhalla was and is the first Sikh to serve in elected office in Hoboken.
For more on the council meeting and other Hoboken issues, check out Hoboken’s own weekly paper this weekend, the Hoboken Reporter, at hudsonreporter.com.

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