Is he a Bully, a New Jersey Crime Lord,
A Stupid Koch Minion, or a Traitor to American Family Values?
Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast
Thank You for Whatever you can do.
"Separation between Church and State." Who coined the Phrase?
Give up? Answer: Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding
fathers of this great Nation and a creator of the U.S. Constitution and the
First Amendment to that same Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter to the Dansbury Baptist
Convention, referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
In it he said:
that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God,
that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that
the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not
opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole
American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no
law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and
York Times has a front-page story (below
the fold) that offers
what seems to be the strongest evidence yet that Hoboken
mayor Dawn Zimmer was the victim of ugly, nakedly
aggressive, and blatantly illegal extortion from the
Chris Christie administration. It seems that state
displayed a very keen interest
in a development project being planned for Hoboken--the
same project that Zimmer says Christie wanted approved
as a condition of getting more money for Sandy relief.
Last May 8, a
severe rainstorm left the streets of this city
flooded once again, causing the mayor, Dawn Zimmer,
to recall the inundation from Hurricane Sandy.
So she dashed
off a letter to Gov. Chris Christie, imploring him
to help with Hoboken’s “ongoing flooding emergency,”
and attached photos of cars in water up to their
hoods. She was due to meet the next day with
officials of the New Jersey Department of
Environmental Protection, when she hoped to talk
about protecting Hoboken from the next catastrophic
deluge to come.
to newly obtained emails sent among the
participants, the first topic of discussion on the
agenda was “review of concepts for flood control
measures at Rockefeller property,” a reference to a
billion-dollar office complex proposed at the north
end of town. The developer, the Rockefeller Group,
which had long been trying to gain approval from
local officials, sent two executives, two lobbyists
and an engineer to the meeting.
remember that Zimmer released
the text of that letter
last week. She wrote that at the time, Christie had
advanced Hoboken a low-interest loan for improving the
city's pumps, but wouldn't go any further. Now we know
that this project was such a high priority that it took
precedence over protecting Hoboken from future floods.
That's bad enough by itself. But executives from
Rockefeller Group just happened to be at the meeting?
To put it mildly, that adds to the already rank odor
surrounding this affair.
But it gets even
juicier. It turns out that one of the lobbyists at that
May 9 meeting was Lori Grifa, a lobbyist with Wolff &
Samson, the Rockefeller Group's legal advisers. Grifa
is also a former member of Christie's cabinet, and Wolff
& Samson has long been very close with New Jersey
Republican leaders. When city officials learned that
Grifa was coming, they were so alarmed that one of
Zimmer's aides emailed Grifa's firm demanding to know
what she was doing at what was supposed to be a meeting
between city and state officials. If that wasn't enough
stew in the pot, want to know who the "Samson" in Wolff
& Samson is? None other than David Samson, the chairman
of the Port Authority.
The timing of this
looks even more suspicious when you consider that a day
after that meeting, Zimmer was told Lieutenant Governor
Kim Guadogno was coming to town the following Monday.
As we now know, this was the day of the infamous
meeting in a ShopRite parking lot where, according to
Zimmer, Guadogno laid down the law--if Hoboken was to
receive more Sandy relief money, the project had to go
forward. But even if that meeting didn't happen, there
is no good-faith explanation for why a megaproject
should have taken priority over flood relief.
For those who don't
know, Zimmer has been somewhat less friendly to
development than past Hoboken mayors have been. Almost
as soon as she took office in 2009, talk about the
proposed $1.1 billion mixed-use project in north Hoboken
slowed down considerably. She felt that any talk of a
large-scale project was premature without a
comprehensive planning study for the north end.
According to Zimmer, this didn't sit well with the
Christie administration. By her reckoning, the pressure
started ramping up in April, when Samson and Grifa asked
for a meeting with Hoboken's planning lawyer. According
to an email from the planning lawyer, he was getting a
"full-court press" on the Rockefeller project.
In the end, it
turned out to be a wasted effort. A planning study had
determined that the Rockefeller Group-owned blocks were
the only ones in north Hoboken that qualified for
development. But on the day before Zimmer went to
Trenton, the study's planner told the Hoboken planning
board that only one block met New Jersey redevelopment
guidelines after the Rockefeller Group demolished
several buildings that were in danger of collapse on its
land. The planning board voted to designate the entire
north end as a "rehabilitation" area--effectively
deep-sixing the project in its original form.
So now we know that
the Christie administration's priorities were severely
warped--to the point that it should disqualify him from
running for president. But if I were one of the
participants at that May 9 meeting in Trenton, I'd have
a lawyer on speed dial.
12:54 PM PT:
At least one commenter's wondered why the Old Grey Lady
didn't provide any copies of the emails. I wondered
that as well--makes me wonder if Fishman already has his
hands on them. Thoughts from those better versed in
U.S. Subpoenas Port Authority Records Tied
to Chairman, a Christie Ally
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan
have subpoenaed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for
records related to potential conflicts of interest involving its
chairman, David Samson, a prominent New Jersey lawyer and close
political ally of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, according to
people with knowledge of the matter.
The business dealings of Mr.
Samson and his law firm, Wolff & Samson, have come under intense
scrutiny as a result of the politically charged closing of access
lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September and the scandal
that ensued. The lane closings are the subject of a separate inquiry
by federal prosecutors in New Jersey, who are examining the roles of
several current and former aides and allies of Mr. Christie.
Neither of the federal
prosecutor’s offices would comment on the subpoena nor on its
possible connection to the bridge inquiry. But an examination of
possible conflicts of interest involving Mr. Samson would appear to
represent a significant widening of the scandal.
In addition to the inquiry into
the lane closings, which is being conducted by the office of the New
Jersey United States attorney, Paul J. Fishman, the scandal has
already led to at least one other investigation by his office,
focused in part on members of Mr. Christie’s administration. That
inquiry is examining allegations by the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn
Zimmer, that Mr. Christie’s lieutenant governor threatened to
withhold hurricane recovery funds if the mayor did not support a
development project favored by the governor.
New Jersey loses millions in federal Obamacare grant money
Excerpt from an
article on dailykos.com on Feb 21, 2014 by
Gov. Chris Christie's administration has lost out on big federal
dollars again, this time losing the state
$7.67 million in Obamacare grants because Christie changed
his mind about setting up a health insurance exchange in the
state after the grant to do so had been made.
The state received the grant in February 2012 for use in
building a state insurance exchange. After Gov. Chris
Christie announced a year later that the state would opt for
a federal insurance marketplace, rather than a state-run
one, state and federal officials began discussions about how
the money could be spent.
Yesterday was the deadline for the state to come up with
an acceptable plan for using the money. [...]
Raymond J. Castro, senior policy analyst for New Jersey
Policy Perspective, said [Department of Banking and
Insurance] officials failed to make significant changes in
its plans for the grant months after they knew the federal
government wouldn’t approve the plans. [...]
“We have reached out to the state numerous times over the
last few months in order to avoid a last minute scramble,
but unfortunately the state has yet to send us a request to
re-scope their grant for any allowable activities,” [HHS
spokesman Fabien] Levy wrote in an emailed response to
All of the proposals the state submitted for using the money
were not allowed under the regulations guiding the release of
the grant money, with the state's final proposal being rejected
in December. Christie's administration didn't want to use the
money for what it was intended—expanding outreach to the state's
uninsured. That, policy analyst Castro estimates, could have
brought in 95,000 additional uninsured New Jerseyans.
This could be another instance in which Christie's too-cute
politics ends up hurting his state. He was roundly criticized by
conservatives for accepting the Medicaid expansion, and maybe to
appease some of those far-right critics, ended up changing his
mind about setting up a state exchange, burdening the Obama
administration with having to add one more state. Now he can
point to his administration's refusal to use the grant money to
bolster enrollments in Obamacare as his bit to sabotage the law.
And to keep 95,000 of his uninsured constituents in the dark
about their new opportunity to get covered.
his latest townhall, Chris Christie tried to resort to his old style
of working the room. This time his ability to charm, deflect,
intimidate and obfuscate didn't have that same old Christie magic.
Here's why: people are no longer afraid and they are pissed.
The Reviews are in:
Awkward Return to a Setting He Once Ruled
When Chris Christie started to
talk over a complaining questioner, a signature tactic of the
bellicose, pre-scandal governor, the audience here briefly
turned on him.
“Answer the question,” some
When he took a microphone
from a long-winded speaker, the man startled Mr. Christie by
snatching it right back.
And when he singled out a
young woman as his inspiration for repairing the Hurricane
Sandy-battered coastline, he failed to grasp that the girl’s
mother — sitting just a few feet from Mr. Christie — was angry
with him for not doing enough.
“He’s full of it,” she
Monmouth Sandy victims
voice frustration, disappointment at Christie town hall
Isabel Newson, a Keansburg
resident, arrived at the meeting with a sign calling for the
governor’s resignation, which she said was promptly confiscated
by a staffer.
“I believe people’s
opinions are changing, the longer they or their neighbors are
kept out of their houses, the worse they feel about (Gov.
Christie),” Newson said. “After the storm, people really
believed in him at the beginning, but he hasn’t owned up to
At the meeting, there were
still signs that Christie enjoys strong support in Monmouth
County. Republican Rhoda Chodosh, of Manalapan, said that New
Jersey’s federal representatives should be answerable for the
At Chris Christie town
hall, woman says officials confiscated her 'Resign Christie' signs
But one woman sitting at the
front of the bleachers came with a message, typed in capital
letters on a piece of white computer paper: "Resign Christie."
It wasn’t met warmly.
Isabel Newson, 48, of
Keansburg, said members of Christie’s staff told her twice that
if she "didn’t remove the sign," she’d "have to leave."
Both times, Newson said,
she refused, and the staffers took the sign from her hands.
Newson, one of the hundreds
of New Jersey residents at the public event, said she remained
in her seat and held up a third copy of the sign as Christie
finished speaking in the center of the room.
"I invoked my First
Amendment right," she said
Stile: Frustration boils
over at Christie's town-hall-style event
Recast by scandal as a bully
whose aides closed off part of the George Washington Bridge as a
political revenge plot, Governor Christie strode before a crowd
filled with Superstorm Sandy victims, and offered empathy and his
It worked — at least for a
while. Christie entered his 110th town-hall-style event in Port
Monmouth, a blue-collar Shore town battered by the storm,
without his self-promotional video. The Springsteen soundtrack
was dialed down. So was the Christie swagger and sarcasm.
But then Tom Largey, a Sea
Bright resident whose home was badly damaged by the storm and
who is living with relatives, confronted Christie.
Why was so much money,
Largey asked, being spent on private contractors to handle the
storm recovery, particularly Hammerman & Gainer, the
Louisiana-based company that was quietly let go by the
administration in December? After all, New York did just fine
without hiring outsiders.
The crowd lustily applauded
Largey, not Christie. The calm empathizer was now seething,
"What's your suggestion on
how I should have done it?" Christie shot back. "Should I have
hired thousands of new government employees to be able to
administer these programs?"
"Answer the question!"
barked one woman. Heads turned in irritation. Two men loudly
cleared their throats
Salon's Josh Eidelson is
breaking an original story,
Chris Christie’s Texas horror: Meet the
scandalous prison company he’s long promoted,
about Governor Christie's lobbying for the controversial corporation
that owns these immigration detention centers, criticized as being
some of worst in the country. It turns out that the former senior
vice-president of the Community Education Centers, Bill Palatucci,
also served as chairmen of Christie's 2013 reelection campaign, and
is co-chair of Christie's inaugural committee, and part of his
“I’ve visited a bunch of
detention facilities in Texas, and that’s by far the worst,”
said the opponent, Bob Libal, who directs the prison reform
group Grassroots Leadership and visited the Polk County Adult
Detention Center with other activists in 2012 and 2013. His
allegations echo a 2012 report from the Detention Watch Network,
a coalition including the ACLU and the American Immigration
Lawyers Association as well as Libal’s group: “Inadequate
medical care, poor nutrition, lack of access to legal services,
absence of meaningful programming, and a willful neglect of
those who are imprisoned there plague the Polk detention
CEC’s ties to Chris
Christie and track record running halfway houses in New Jersey
have drawn harsh scrutiny, including a series of stories in the
New York Times. Reporter Sam Dolnick wrote in 2012 that
Christie, who was a registered lobbyist for CEC in 2000 and
2001, “has long championed the company,” and the state had paid
out tens of millions to CEC but “not closely examined” its
“financial standing or operations, according to documents,
former company executives and state officials.” Former employees
told the Times “that the company had kept staffing levels very
low” and thus “did a poor job delivering counseling and other
services intended to help inmates make the transition to
The Times also wrote that
the Christie administration “took no action in response to the
[state] comptroller’s warning,” following a critical audit of
New Jersey halfway houses, “that regulators were kept in the
dark about Community Education’s finances.” When legislators
responded to a Times investigation by passing stronger
halfway-house oversight rules, Christie narrowed them with a
line-item veto, a move the Times noted drew accusations of
“trying to protect Mr. Palatucci, the company executive who is
his close friend.” The paper wrote that documents suggest CEC
CEO John Clancy “highlighted Mr. Palatucci’s ties to Mr.
Christie in an effort to impress investors and secure
desperately needed financing for the company.” ...
While I'm not sure there is any
illegality involved in this connection, it helps fill in the ugly
picture of the world Governor Christie creates around himself. Also,
this adds another relationship with Christie that appears to be
sordid and creates an appearance of conflict of interest, and
1:29 PM PT:
Here's another story from this afternoon about Governor's Christie's
rat's nest of dubious relationships that appear to have conflicts of
interest. It is part of another post with five "low level" new
stories today. I was waiting for another Mayor to come out with a
blockbuster but, half the days over an nothing yet today.
According to state records
obtained by the radio station, Wolff & Samson's lobbying
business went from $40,000 annually prior to Christie's first
election to over $1 million per year afterwards.
WNYC also reported that
according to records, the firm's municipal bond counsel
businesses has quadrupled since Christie took office, jumping
from handling $2.4 billion worth of bond sales under Gov. Jon
Corzine to $10.1 billion under Christie. ...
The firm was again linked
to the scandal last week as Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleged
that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno threatened to withhold Superstorm
Sandy relief aid from her city if she did not give approval to a
development project by the Rockefeller Group, which Wolff &
Mayor Zimmer also included
Christie Lori Grifa as one who pressured her about the Rockefeller
project. NJbiz also tells she is now an attorney for Wolff and
Samson, previously she worked for the Rockefeller group.
Despite the tough talk and
bluster from its governor, New Jersey lost over 36,000 jobs in
December, the largest drop in over two decades. Even more
devastating for the assumed presidential contender, is that only
7,000 private sector jobs were created in 2013. This is the
latest knock for the governor, who has seen his status as a
frontrunner for the 2016 Republican primary dissipate as a
result of the George Washington Bridge scandal. The numbers also
provide a stark contrast to the governor’s rhetoric, as last
week he said in his state of the union address that, "We have
endured the worst economic recession of our lifetimes, and we
have begun to triumph over it." Maybe people just didn’t like
Sat Feb 15, 2014
at 11:05 AM PST
Baroni was Worried about his
'Performance' -- until the Christie Crew gave him a 'Passing Grade'
I summarized the sworn testimony of
as to lack of any evidence for any legitimate Traffic Study at Fort
Lee; nor was there even any legitimate need for such a
study, according to this NY Chief Executive of the Port Authority
(given the traffic load numbers he presented).
Today, I will take a look at
the dodging and posturing, that occurred only a few weeks early
before the same NJ Committee, as performed by Chris Chistie
appointee, Senator Bill Baroni. Also of
interest, is the immediate end-zone celebrating by the Christie
'insider crew' -- after this fast-talking presentation by Baroni --
which was prior to the Patrick Foye hammer, yet to fall
into the "Traffic Study" evidence mix.
The NJ Assembly Transportation
Committee requested that several top execs of the Port Authority
come before it, and answer their questions about the sudden lane
closures on the GWB, and 5-day dangerous traffic snarl that
caused. But in the end, only one showed up. Port Authority sent
its Jersey politician, Bill Baroni -- Christie appointee, Deputy
ED, and the highest ranking Jersey bureaucrat in the joint.
It did not go well.
Chair John Wisniewski complimented Baroni on his ability to
dance past direct questions, and called him
Linda Stender got into a shouting match with him. And Senator
Loretta Weinberg, who represents Fort Lee, the town that figures
into both the massive traffic jam and allegedly its reason, says
the explanation amounted to "the
dog ate my homework."[...]
came with props, but not copies of the traffic
study he says was
the reason for the closures, blames miscommunication. And
officials are ready to call him on that. Weinberg has drafted a
for the "so-called traffic study," including the authorization
and role of PA officials in the chain of command. And she
warns the authority can't "lawyer up" to refuse to comply. She
is particularly unimpressed with Baroni's claim of lack of
communication. Complete failure to notify other PA officials,
the affected towns, and the public is "an understatement, she
says, "that falls far short of credibility." Weinberg attended a Port Authority
Commission meeting a few days ago; officials
initially tried to keep her out of the room. [...]
Lawmakers held a hearing
about a five-day lane closure on the George Washington Bridge in
September. Some believe the closures were deliberate because the
Fort Lee mayor chose not to endorse Gov. Chris Christie for
reelection. For more New Jersey news, visit NJTV News online at
Never mind that
-- Fort Lee has the appropriate number of lanes (3 of 12), for their
proportion of interstate traffic, when you include the traffic from
the surrounding communities that egress there -- "about 25
percent to 26 percent of the traffic" according to the
of the Port Authority NJ Chief Executive, Patrick Foye.
Never mind that --
Baroni was the
authority's deputy executive director at the time of
which was not under oath. He was also the authority's top
executive appointed by Christie.
three weeks after testifying,
following sworn testimony by authority Executive Director
Patrick Foye and other authority officials.
They said there
was no study, the
closures were unlawful and Baroni and David
Wildstein, who ordered them, had violated protocols and
sought to hide their plans from officials.
Despite the obvious obstruction
of justice, that Baroni's "un-sworn" and "well-coached" testimony
represented in actual fact -- the hubris-filled Christie
Administration, initially interpreted that "blatantly false"
testimony -- as a HUGE WIN ... for their side.
Or so they told their
good-soldier Bill ...
Sat Feb 15, 2014 at
11:05 AM PST
Governor Chris Christie betrayed
by his staff yet again
May I call your attention to
Joe Coscarelli's amusing observations in a New York Magazine
Chris Christie Betrayed by Staff Again?
Coscarelli may have discovered why Chris Christie is such a sad
According to Chris
Christie, the entire bridge scandal happened because "completely
inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my
knowledge." In the course of damage control, however, his staff
continues to make ill-advised decisions without his knowledge.
From Politico's check-in this afternoon with Christie's "mood":
"The memo from Gov. Chris Christie’s office attacking former
appointee David Wildstein’s credibility landed with a thud. It
was a striking and deeply personal broadside coming from a chief
executive of a state, and even his allies called it a mistake."
But, according to two people
who claim to know, the governor didn't see the "5 Things You Should
Know About The Bombshell That's Not A Bombshell," memo ahead of
And yet, Politico reports,
"Christie's aides did not run the document ... by the governor
before they sent it out, according to two people familiar with
the matter. Instead, someone tucked the high school lines into a
daily briefing email to the governor's supporters, and blasted
it out earlier than planned. Another round of unflattering news
coverage ensued." Why are Christie's people so intent on
continuing to make him look bad? If only the governor could get
his rogue staff under control enough to ask.
This is yet another example of
a Governor in way over his head, with too many distractions to stay
focused on the important work. Yet, he continues to make weekly
forays to other states to fund raise, through back doors, for the
RGA when no politicians in any state, so far, want to be seen with
him. Or, more likely, a sign of how deep of a hole Christie has dug
for himself as he tries to lie his way out of a dead end, and
criminal indictment. Time will tell.
Sat Feb 15, 2014
at 11:05 AM PST
The Other Side of the Christie
Story -- the Patrick Foye side
Foye was subpoenaed to appear. He did so willingly. He did so
seriously. Unlike some of
from his workplace -- this unique Intrastate Agency with quite the
your budget is bigger
than 26 U.S. states
according the Chairman of that
investigation committee, NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (on pg 190).
The testimony of Patrick Foye starts on page 140 of
which is the transcript of Committee Meeting of the Assembly
Transportation, Public Works And Independent Authorities Committee
(NJ), which happened on December 9, 2013.
Patrick Foye provided his
testimony, without the benefit of an attorney present, as was his
right. As was explained to him here:
ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: Do you
understand that you have certain rights under the Code of Fair
Procedure, including the right to be accompanied by counsel who
would be permitted to confer with you during the questioning,
and advise you of your rights, and submit proposed questions on
MR. FOYE: Yes, sir.
So without further
introductory-setup, here are some of the more interesting
highlights, from the sworn testimony to that NJ Committee, from
Patrick Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey (appointed by New York Governor, to his
'top dog', "the buck stops here" position.)
MR. FOYE: [...]
Regarding the decision to
restrict access from local roads in Fort Lee from three lanes to
one, let me start by laying out the standards we employ when a
traffic alteration is contemplated at any of our facilities.
First: Written sign-off by the Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals
Department, as well as by Traffic Engineering and the Port
Authority Police Department. Second: Prior discussion with the
local governments and host communities, a communications plan,
and plenty of advance notice to the commuting public. Third:
Consideration of the effects on emergency vehicles. And fourth:
Consideration of the financial impact on the Port Authority in
terms of additional costs, including overtime, given the public
While my review of the lane
closures at the George Washington Bridge for four days during
the week of September 9 is continuing, it is clear that the
closure met none of these conditions. After inquiring with
Bridge personnel on what I deemed an ill-advised operation, I
ordered the immediate reopening of the lanes as quickly and
safely as possible. I also made clear that changes to Fort Lee
access lanes would require the same due diligence we apply
throughout our facilities.
In the time that has
lapsed since the unannounced
closures, I have learned, as has this Committee,
that the agency’s Director of Interstate Capital Projects,
David Wildstein, made the decision on or about September 5
to restrict local access lanes to the upper level toll plaza in
Fort Lee from three lanes to one. Wildstein failed
to provide notice to the
leadership of our Public Safety Department, including our Chief
Security Officer and the Chief of the Department, or to the
Borough of Fort Lee, Fort Lee Police and first responders, other
Bergen County communities, the commuting public, or senior
leadership within the Port Authority, including me.
As a result of his
decision, commuters entering the George Washington Bridge that
week were subjected to hours of gridlock, and the Borough of
Fort Lee was, for all intents and purposes, shut down during
the morning rush. Drivers
complained of up to 4-hour commutes,
and Port Authority Police expended significant resources to
create traffic diversions to safely control the massive back up
of vehicles on Fort Lee roads. September 9 was also the first
day of school for many children in the surrounding communities,
and we now know that there were reports from parents and local
schools that many school buses were delayed due to the
unnecessary gridlock that engulfed the Borough of Fort Lee.
however, it has been reported
that ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, and other public
safety vehicles were also needlessly delayed, putting the
public’s safety at risk. Thankfully, it appears there was no
resulting loss of life due to the closures. However, that is of
little comfort to me or my colleagues at the Port Authority who
believe that the safety of the traveling public is the Port
Authority’s number one priority.
Let me be clear, the
decision to restrict local access to the George Washington
Bridge during the morning rush bypassed normal operating
procedures, without proper transparency and openness.
And it directly violated our agency’s primary responsibility to
protect our customers and personnel.
Okay. You said you’ve had a number of conversations with
regarding this incident.
MR. FOYE: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Did
he, at any time during those conversations, explain why this
decision was made on the part of Wildstein to do these lane
MR. FOYE: Traffic study.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: And
that was the best he could give you, or gave you, in terms of
rationale for causing all of this?
MR. FOYE: That was the
Okay. You know there’s been a lot of speculation that these lane
closures were done for political purpose because of the issues
with the Mayor in Fort Lee. And when you’ve had these
conversations with Wildstein, did he make any reference to his
decision having to have political purpose?
MR. FOYE: So, Vice Chair,
just to be clear, I’ve had no conversations with Wildstein. I’ve
spoken with Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. And the
answer to your question is no.
So you accepted their
statement, their rationale
that they put people at risk, and spent money, and created
tremendous upheaval solely for the purpose of a traffic study?
MR. FOYE: I don’t.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: You
don’t. Why do you think they did it?
MR. FOYE: I’m not aware
of any traffic study. I don’t know why it was done.
Sat Feb 15, 2014 at
11:05 AM PST
RETRACTED: Christie refuses to
allow members of his office testify before legislative committee
I am retracting this story with
apologies as I see no second source, or even mention of it by 11:37
p.m. The "supposed" NJSpotlight story must be a punk, as it is
inconceivable to me that this news could be a real annoucement last
night of the NJ Senate co-chair of the investigative committee
Robert Gorden announcing that the Governor's office was not going to
allow its members to testify, without dozens of other news
organizations reporting it by now. My deepest apologies. I started
another post announcing this retraction, and will report progress in
investigating what happened there.
As of now, however, I believe I
have been duped and reported a false story, which regrettable made
it to our Daily Kos rec board. I am very sorry.
Update: I see no other
source picking up this story by 11:00 pm EST, which is inexplicable.
I hope I do not have to retract this story, reported late last night
by NJSpotlight which still has it up. I am investigating this and
will report back as soon as I can figure out what is going on.
Sorry, if I jumped the gun on this report.
The NJSpotlight is just
breaking a story reporting that Senator Robert Gordon, chairmen of
the legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge
lane closures announced tonight that Christie's office has informed
them that they will not allow any members of its office to testify
before the committee, in
Gordon: Governor’s Office Refuses To Appear
Before Legislative Committee. So
much for "full cooperation."
In an announcement that
could set the stage for a constitutional showdown, the Christie
administration informed Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), chairman
of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, that it is
Christie administration policy that no members of the governor’s
office are allowed to appear before legislative committees.
“This is a Christie
administration policy. There was no such policy before this in
previous administrations,” Gordon said yesterday on the eve of
his committee hearing focusing on the months of delays by the
Department of Community Affairs in getting $600 million in Sandy
aid out to homeowners. “This is a huge disadvantage for our
inquiry when so many of the decisions are made in the governor’s
It would be an even larger
disadvantage for the Joint Legislative Select Committee on
Investigation that is probing the Bridgegate scandal,
considering that 10 subpoenas issued by the panel -- including
three new subpoenas issued yesterday -- went to current members
of the governor’s office and two to former governor’s aides who
have since been fired or resigned.
Bill Stepien's lawyer also
reiterated his intention not to comply with the subpoena. The
committee voted this morning authorizing their attorney to use
whatever legal means necessary to force compliance.
This Nixononian escalation by
the Governor is bound to provoke much protestation after his earlier
pledge to cooperate fully with the committee's investigation.
Rachel Maddow Destroys Any
Credibility Chris Christie Might Think He Still Has.
Needless to say, it was
must see t.v. and something wonderful to behold. With the
skills of Sherlock Holmes, she identified every discrepancy
in Christie's assertions and tore apart every inkling of
credibility that he might have hoped to retain. She flat out
said that statements he has made are provably not true.
She might as well have just used the word liar. And
then she went on to prove it.
If you weren't
glued to your television when it aired, here is the video at
MSNBC. And if you are not able to watch video, the
transcript is below the
orange mangled traffic cone. (H/T to
for that description.)
P.S. If you can't get
enough of the juicy details of this scandal and have some
time, check out a diary I read earlier that was written by
who obviously did a lot of research to find just about every
instance that Mayor Sokolich was quoted or mentioned in an
article going back to September about the Bridge closing and
whether or not it was a punishment coming from the
What's up with Mayor Sokolich?
"[T]he reason this photo is particularly awkward
for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is
because the guy he is interacting with in this
photo, the guy in the dark coat and the white
shirt and the red tie is David Wildstein; the
Chris Christie administration political
appointee to the Port Authority who personally
organized the shutdown of the bridge lanes. "
awkward. This is a photo taken on 9/11. It was taken
this past September 11th, 2013 and it’s at the World
Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. This photo was
published today in this morning's
Wall Street Journal.
Now, one of the ambient things about the New Jersey
bridge scandal that has always been particularly
disgusting about this scandal is the fact that the
bridge shutdown happened on the week of September 11th.
I mean, if there are dirty tricks going on in politics
somewhere, even in the New York City area, it's not like
everybody expects September 11th to be an Armistice Day
for politics or anything. But grid locking a town in
northern New Jersey and portions of the George
Washington Bridge on September 11th was particularly
nasty. Not only for people in New Jersey who might have
wanted to use the bridge to get to 9/11 commemorative
events, this was, after all, a very hard hit area of the
country; but also because, frankly, the bridge, itself,
is seen as a potential terrorist target. It's not just a
landmark. It is the busiest bridge in the world. And on
the anniversary of 9/11, you worry, right? The mayor of
Fort Lee told The New York Times this week that
while the bridge lanes were closed, quote, his blood
pressure rose “two ticks each day.” But he says it,
quote, went up twice that on September 11th,
A Bridge to Scandal: Behind the
Fort Lee Ruse by N. R.
Kleinfield, The New York Times, 12 Jan 2014]
reason this photo, which was taken on September 11th
during the traffic jam, the reason this photo is
particularly awkward for New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie is because the guy he is interacting with in
this photo, the guy in the dark coat and the white shirt
and the red tie is David Wildstein; the Chris Christie
administration political appointee to the Port Authority
who personally organized the shutdown of the bridge
lanes. When the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff
Time for Some Traffic Problems in
Fort Lee (PDF),
it was David Wildstein who responded, Got It.
And it was then David Wildstein who over the course of
the next few weeks at the Port Authority secretly
organized the traffic engineers, and maintenance
department and the bridge general manager and everybody
else who had to be in on it, to get those lanes shut
down. And then he swore them all to secrecy in terms of
not letting anybody in Fort Lee know what was about to
That was David
Wildstein who was calling the Fort Lee mayor that
little Serbian. It was David Wildstein the guy who
said don't feel bad for those children who are stuck in
those traffic jams, in the first day, in the first week
of school in Fort Lee because, quote, those are the
children of Buono voters, Buono being the
Democratic candidate who was running against Chris
Christie. That was David Wildstein who ordered radio
silence as the response to complaints from the
mayor and other Fort Lee officials, even when what they
were complaining about was delayed ambulances trying to
get to injured people and people who were having heart
attacks. That's David Wildstein, and that's David
Wildstein with Chris Christie during the bridge shutdown
on September 11th. And for a governor who is desperately
trying to distance himself from the scandal, trying to
say he had nothing to do with it, I mean it is awkward
enough for there now to be photographic evidence that he
was with the guy who shut down the bridge while the
bridge was shut down. But it's even worse than that for
Governor Christie because of the Governor's insistent,
even over the top, efforts to try to deny any connection
with David Wildstein; to try to deny personal history,
any past association, even any real current familiarity
with the guy who he is seen talking to right there.
of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press
Question at press conference: [inaudible] … friend
Let me just clear something up, okay? About my
childhood friend, David Wildstein. It is true that I
met david in 1977 in high school. He's a year older
than me. David and I were not friends in high
school. We were not even acquaintances in high
school. I mean, I had a high school in Livingston, a
three-year high school that had 1,800 students in a
3-year high school in the late '70s/early 1980s. I
knew who David Wildstein was. I met David on the Tom
Kean for Governor Campaign in 1977. He was a youth
volunteer and so was I. Really after that time I
completely lost touch with David. We didn't travel
in the same circles in high school. You know, I was
the class president and athlete. I don't know what
David was doing during that period of time. [Break
in Tape] I have had no contact with David Wildstein
in a long time; a long time. Well before the
election. You know, I could probably count on one
hand the number of conversations I've had with David
since he worked at the Port Authority. I did not
interact with David.
"A couple of months before the traffic jam,
there again is the Governor interacting with
David. This is in June at another Port authority
I did not
interact with David. During
the traffic jam, there is the Governor interacting with
David. [The 9/11/13 picture is shown on screen again.] A
couple of months before the traffic jam, there again is
the Governor interacting with David. This is in June at
another Port authority event. In case you're interested,
the guy on the right, that's David Samson, the Port
Authority Chairman. And the guy on the left, that's Bill
Baroni, the other guy who had to resign along with David
Wildstein. But in the middle there, that is our hero
Governor Chris Christie and, again, David Wildstein. The
governor says he can count on one hand the number of
times he has interacted with David Wildstein since David
Wildstein was hired at the Port Authority back in 2010.
Well if Mr. Christie has the expected number of fingers,
that would mean it has only happened five times and,
hey, there just happens to be photographs available of
two of those five times, including one taken during the
shutdown on September 11th.
else going on, too though, that does not jibe with how
the Governor has explained this scandal and his
knowledge of if and his role in it. The day after this
picture was taken of Chris Christie and David Wildstein
together during the traffic jam on September 11th, the
day after that, that was a Thursday, the day … so that
was a Wednesday. The day after that was a Thursday which
is while the shutdown was still going on. And on
Thursday, the day after that photo was taken. Thursday.
This email was sent between two people who work in
Governor Christie's office; between two of his top
staffers. Christina Genovese Renna. She’s the Director
of Departmental Relations for the State of New Jersey. I
know it’s obscure. A lot of people have job titles like
that in New Jersey. It can be confusing. In this case
what it means is that she worked in the Governor's
office and she reported to Bridget Kelly, who’s the
Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff who we now know is the
person who ordered Time for some traffic problems in
Fort Lee, to which David Wildstein responded,
Got it. So during the shutdown, while it was still
happening before the Executive Director of the Authority
intervened and forced them to stop doing what they were
doing, Fort Lee was into its fourth day of gridlock
because of this manmade shutdown. And on that fourth
day, on Thursday, Christina Renna wrote to Bridget Kelly
this email about the Fort Lee traffic disaster and the
mayor of Fort Lee.
this afternoon Evan received a call from Mayor Sokolich.
The Mayor’s extremely upset about the reduction of toll
lanes from 3 to 1. Not only is it causing horrendous
traffic backup in town, but first responders are having
a terrible time maneuvering the traffic because the
backup is so severe. The Mayor told Evan he has no idea
why Port Authority decided to do this, but there is a
feeling in town that it is government retribution for
something. He simply can't understand why that would be
the case however, because he has always been so
supportive of the Governor. Evan told the fine Mayor, he
was unaware the toll lanes were closed, but would see
what he could find out.
This is an email
during the bridge shutdown. It's to Bridget Kelly who
ordered the bridge shutdown. It is from Christina Renna,
who worked in the Governor's office. The Evan who is
referenced in the email, we think is probably Evan J.
Ridley, who also works in the Governor's office. Nobody
seems to know what his exact job title is other than
Aide to the Governor. Public payroll information shows
that he works in the Governor's office as an Aide and
gets paid $52,000 a year. Other than that, all we know
is that he works in the Governor's office. All of them
do. And that means that during the shut down, three
people who work in the Governor’s office are emailing
about the ongoing bridge lane shutdown and the disaster
that it's causing and the allegation that it's
politically motivated. There’s no discussion whatsoever
about there being some traffic study which the Governor
says was the prevailing belief about what was happening
with that bridge. And this was contemporaneous to the
problem. This wasn’t long after the fact when there’s
some newspaper article about it in retrospect that
alerted everybody that in fact there had been some
problem that’s now resolved. This was during the event.
And that means that the Governor has absolutely and
blatantly not told the truth about what was going on in
of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press
about the cover-up piece of this?
Chris Christie: Yeah, well that's your
characterization, not mine. But there is nobody on
my staff who had any knowledge of this issue until
after the issue was already done.
That is not true. But
here's the other part of this that makes no sense
against the Governor's description of what happened here
and why nobody should believe that he was not involved.
Remember, Governor Christie's defense, in part, is that
this sort of thing, the shutdown of the bridge couldn't
have been done to punish the Mayor of Fort Lee because
Governor Christie says he didn't even know who the Mayor
of Fort Lee was. He couldn't pick him out of a lineup.
This guy was not on his radar. Pick your metaphor for “I
don't know the guy.” Governor Christie has insisted on
Video of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press
Chris Christie: The other part of this that just
shocks me is, as I said to you all many times
before, Mayor Sokolich was never on my radar screen.
[Break in tape.] I don't remember ever meeting Mayor
Sokolich. [Break in tape.] Until I saw his picture
last night on television, I wouldn't have been able
to pick him out of a lineup. [Break in tape.]
any one say to you, well the Mayor of Fort Lee he’s
going with your opponent?
He never men… His name was never mentioned to me.
His position was never mentioned to me. [Break in
tape.] I never heard the Fort Lee mayor's name, Mark
Sokolich, his name until all this stuff happened.
And so he was not on my radar screen at all. Plenty
of other mayors were. [Break in tape.] I don't know
this guy. [Break in tape.] I mean, I don't know this
guy. [Break in tape.] But I'm telling you, until
yesterday when I saw his picture on tv, I wouldn't …
if he walked in a room, I wouldn't have been able to
pick him out.
That's a big part of
the governor's defense. I've never heard of this
guy. Nobody's ever heard of this guy. Why would anybody
bother to try to hurt this guy who nobody's heard of in
his town that nobody's ever heard of? Right? But
then look at the first line of this email sent from two
of the Governor's top staffers, while the shutdown was
still under way.
afternoon, Evan received a call from Mayor Sokolich.
Not Evan received a call from a Mayor named Mark
Sokolich from Fort Lee or from the Mayor of
Fort Lee, a man named Mark Sokolich. No, it’s
this afternoon, Evan received a call from Mayor Sokolich.
No further explanation needed.
And then look at
this in the same email, It came from a number he was
not familiar with that was actually a secretary who
patched the Mayor through to Evan. That's the way
the email to Bridget Kelly starts. Essentially saying,
Hey, don't be mad. Right? I'm really sorry
to tell you Evan took a call from Mayor you know who.And
then the closing line of the email is this: Evan
told the fine Mayor he was unaware that the toll lanes
were closed, but would see what he could find out.
Now undoubtedly, Mayor Sokolich is a fine mayor. He's
very fine. I'm no expert. Fine. But why the snark?
Right? The fine .. why the fine Mayor snark
here? If this is some anonymous mayor who nobody in the
Governor's office has ever heard of, why the implicit
apology for having taken his call? Oh, Evan didn't
recognize the number. That's the only reason he took it.
The number was a secretary's number. Implicitly,
otherwise he would have known not to take the call. And
then in closing, this backhanded fine Mayor,
like ah, this jerk complaining about the first
responders not being able to get to people having heart
The Governor's top
staff were discussing the shutdown, the effect of it,
the allegations of political retribution and the Mayor
of Fort Lee in provocative terms while the shutdown was
still happening. Despite Governor Christie's denials, it
seems like something was going on between the Governor's
office and that specific mayor; that specific man. And
lots of people who work directly for Governor Christie
and who work in the Governor's office and who are in the
Governor's inner circle were in discussions about that
shutdown while it was happening.
"The Governor's top staff were discussing the
shutdown, the effect of it, the allegations of
political retribution and the Mayor of Fort Lee
in provocative terms while the shutdown was
Kelly, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the one who
said Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.
Now we also know Christina Renna, the Governor's
Department of Departmental Relations who send sent the
email about the mayor to Bridget Kelly while the
shutdown was still happening. We also know involved in
that email, one of the Governor's Aides, Evan J. Ridley.
We also know the Governor’s Campaign Manager, Bill
Stepien, a few days after the shutdown he wrote to David
Wildstein, quote, the mayor is an idiot,
talking about the Mayor of Fort Lee. Regina Egea, who
was the Director of the Authorities Unit on Chris
Christie's staff when the shutdown happened and who’s
now next in line to be his Chief of Staff after the one
that he had before is promoted to Attorney General. Well
the morning that the toll lanes were opened up again,
she got sent the angry letter from the Port Authority
Executive Director who had been kept totally out of the
loop of the shutdown and who reacted with fury when he
figured out what was going on, saying he, quote,
believed this hasty and ill-advised decision violates
Federal Law and the laws of both States. The
Governor's soon to be Chief of Staff Regina Egea got
that email sent to her marked with high importance on
the last morning of the shutdown as the lanes were
finally being reopened.
[Governor’s] spokesman Michael Drewniak, just days after
the shutdown, he’s fielding inquiries from reporters who
are starting to call about it. When the Christie
appointees at the Port Authority start to freak out
about the press, this is how it goes. David Wildstein
texts Bill Baroni, hey, the Wall Street Journal
just called my cell phone. Bill Baroni responds,
Jesus. Less than a minute later,
Call Drewniak. Call Drewniak, Mr.
Drewniak, Mr. Christie’s spokesman. The Governor’s
spokesman, the Governor’s campaign manager, the
Governor’s deputy chief of staff, his top two appointees
at the Port Authority, an aide to the Governor, the
governor's new chief of staff, the Governor’s director
of departmental relations; they are all in the loop on
this crisis while it's still under way and immediately
of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press
There was nobody on my staff who had any knowledge
of this issue until after the issue was already
That is not true.
Provably not true. Today, remarkably, the gods of timing
blessed us with this. Governor Christie had to give his
state of the state address in New Jersey today because
it is the start of a new legislative session. His very
first words in the state of the state address were about
the scandal. Even know he never described it directly.
of Chris Christie at Thursday 14 Jan 2014 State of
the State Address:
The last week has certainly tested this
administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a
result, we let down the people we're entrusted to
serve. I know our citizens deserve better; much
better. I'm the Governor and I'm ultimately
responsible for all that happens on my watch, both
good and bad. Now without a doubt, we will cooperate
with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this
breach of trust does not happen again. But I also
want to assure the people of New Jersey today that
what has occurred does not define us or our state.
Not to be blunt, but
nobody thinks that shutting down that bridge as an act
of political retaliation is something that defines the
people of New Jersey. Nobody I know from New Jersey did
that, except maybe Chris Christie or at least the people
who work for Chris Christie. This is an opposite of an
I feel your pain moment. This is a don't
you feel my pain moment. I want to assure you
that this doesn't define us. Nobody’s worried about
it defining anybody except you. We'll see.
Substantively, what the Governor said there about the
ongoing investigation into this matter may end up being
important. What he said specifically, I'll quote him
directly was, quote, we
will cooperate with all appropriate
inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen
Well, in order to
make sure this does not happen again, we still need to
know what happened here in the first place, and why it
happened, and who did it. Whether or not the Governor
thinks that is an appropriate inquiry or not, that's
what he said, we'll cooperate with all appropriate
inquiries [air quotes], whether or not he thinks that
inquiry is appropriate, it happening. In an ongoing way
in terms of a potential criminal investigation being
looked into by the federal prosecutor in New Jersey but
also aggressively in the New Jersey state legislature;
both in the Senate and in the Assembly. Tomorrow they're
going to be convening to define and vote for the remit
and the powers of these new investigative committees
that they are putting on this scandal. Heading into that
new phase of the investigation that starts tomorrow is
the uncomfortable fact for Governor Chris Christie that
his own assertions thus far about what he knew when, and
who he was in contact with, and who was involved in his
direct staff, all of those assertions are looking pretty
wobbly at this point.
Sat Feb 15, 2014
at 11:05 AM PST
Did Chris Christie do a flyover
of the George Washington Bridge during Bridgegate traffic jam?
The New Jersey legislative
committee investigating the Bridgegate scandal will probe
records of helicopter rides Gov. Chris Christie took to see if
he flew near Fort Lee while lanes leading to the George
Washington Bridge were closed, sources told The Post ... Sources
in the governor’s office said that Christie took a ferry to
Ground Zero from Jersey City on the 9/11 anniversary and then
flew back to Trenton, but that Wildstein was not on board.
I was particularly struck by the
reference to the helicopter ride on 9/11, because I was recently
told by an informed source that "if the records are subpoenaed for
the governor's trip back from the 9/11 Memorial event, they will
demonstrate that the governor flew over the George Washington
Bridge" on that day. It appears that those records have been
subpoenaed and the governor's office has not issued a denial that
the flyover occurred.
If this is true, then Christie
will have to explain why he was flown over the bridge on the third
day of the politically motivated traffic jam that was engineered by
officials in Christie's office and the Port Authority, to punish
Fort Lee's Democratic mayor.
Was it because he wanted to see
how Bridgegate was panning out? Had David Wildstein—the former
Christie crony at the Port Authority who is now looking for an
immunity deal and who was with Christie at the 9/11 event, told the
governor that Fort Lee was having some traffic problems? Was
Christie lying when he denied knowing about it until after the fact?
I have reviewed Christie's public schedule that day and he had no
events scheduled in Northern Jersey. Indeed, Christie's office told
the New York Post that "Christie took a ferry to Ground
Zero from Jersey City on the 9/11 anniversary and then flew back to
Trenton." (Note that the George Washington Bridge is in the opposite
direction from Ground Zero to Trenton.)
And could this be the
smoking gun Wildstein
... evidence exists ...
tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures,
during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what
the Governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference he
gave immediately before Mr. Wildstein was scheduled to appear
before the [New Jersey House] Transportation Committee.
Did the plot just get thicker ...
Sat Feb 15, 2014 at
11:05 AM PST
18 new subpoenas for Gov.
Christie associates including helicopter logs during lane closings
TRENTON — The state
legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge
scandal is looking into whether Gov. Chris Christie flew in a
state helicopter over Fort Lee at the time of last year's
controversial lane closures, according to a source with
knowledge of the probe. ...
Colin Reed, a spokesman for
Christie's office, confirmed today that the Republican governor
did fly in a helicopter from New York to Trenton on Sept. 11 of
last year — the third day of the closures. But asked whether the
aircraft passed over the bridge, Reed declined comment.
"Anonymous" speculation is
loudly wondering if this could be the "evidence that exists"
according to David Wildstein. Christie's helicopter logs are
included in the announcement of the 18 new subpoenas just announced
in the last hour.
The legislative committee is
looking into any conversations Christie may have had with
Wildstein on Sept. 11 — the third day of the five-day closures —
after pictures surfaced showing them together that day,
according to the report by the Post. ... Reed said the governor
traveled via ferry from Jersey City for a ceremony commemorating
the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and flew back to Trenton
"David Wildstein did not
ride with him that day, or any day, as he has never flown in the
helicopter with the governor," Reed said.
Two years ago, Christie was
criticized for using the State Police helicopters to travel to his
son's baseball games.
Sat Feb 15, 2014
at 11:04 AM PST
NJ Investigation turns up the
Heat; Issue 18 New Subpoenas; Here are the Names
by Christopher Baxter, The
Star-Ledger, nj.com -- Feb 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM
TRENTON — The state
legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge
scandal will issue 18 new subpoenas, including to Gov. Chris
Christie's office, his inner circle and officials at the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Star-Ledger has
Recipients include the
State Police aviation unit, which oversees Christie's helicopter
travel, four new members of Christie's office, and his failed
state Supreme Court nominee, Phillip Kwon, who now works as
deputy general counsel at the Port Authority.
The full list of those to
be subpoenaed is:
Christie for Governor, the governor's re-election
director of the authorities unit, governor's office
* Nicole Crifo, senior counsel to the
authorities unit, governor's office
* Jeanne Ashmore, director of
constituent relations, governor's office
* Rosemary Iannacone, director of
operations, governor's office
* Barbara Panebianco, executive
assistant to Bridge Anne Kelly, governor's office
* Custodian of records,
* William "Pat"
commissioner at the Port Authority
former deputy executive director at the Port Authority
* Custodian of records,
* Steve Coleman,
deputy director of media relations, Port Authority
deputy general counsel, Port Authority
* John Ma,
chief of staff to Executive Director
* Matthew Bell,
special assistant to former Deputy Executive Director Bill
Baroni, Port Authority
* Gretchen DiMarco, assistant to
Baroni, Port Authority
* Arielle Schwarz, special assistant
to former Director of Interstate Capital Projects David
Wildstein, Port Authority
* Mark Muriello, assistant director of
Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals, Port Authority
The heat just got turned up by
about 18 degrees in the Christie Kitchen, a few times over ...
or so it would seem.
Sat Feb 15, 2014
at 11:04 AM PST
MSNBC confirms NJ Senator Gordon
says no members of Christie's office will appear before committee
PLAYING HARDBALL: As the
investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures
continues, you can count on one thing: the top dog isn’t giving
in that fast. Reports today reveal that the Christie
administration has informed Senate Legislative Oversight
Committee chairman Sen. Robert Gordon that no members of the
governor’s office will appear before any legislative committees.
Will this policy hurt the Christie administration’s defense? Or
will it only hurt the investigation to be met with a wall of
Meanwhile, new subpoenas
were issued this week in the investigation, and the big question
now is whether those members of Christie’s circle will comply,
or plead the Fifth. This web is getting more and more tangled as
the weeks drag on, and you can be sure that this will have a
lasting effect on Christie’s legacy as New Jersey governor–and
as a potential presidential candidate.
Programming note: Sen.
Robert Gordon will join Hardball tonight at 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC.
Thanks also to agiftagain
for finding three other sources for this while I was out to, and
down in, the dump. Two
So now I retract my retraction
this morning of the report of last night's NJSpotlight story because
I couldn't find a second source this morning. Plus Senator Robert
Gordon will be on Chris Matthews Hardball.
So now I can say I reported
this story, before I retracted it, and then retracted it before I'm
reporting it again, now. Sheesh! Sorry for being sorry about this
before. This will teach me a valuable lesson about getting too far
ahead of a breaking story.
I still can not figure out why
this hasn't been the major headline all day, as it has such rings
back to the Nixon Watergate scandal. Many here are too young to
remember this was the mother of all the "gategate" scandals and
terminology. For Christie's office to not allow his office staff to
testify after promising previously to cooperate with the
investigations seems to me to be bigger news than we've seen from
today's few reports.
The Christie administration is
cutting its ties with a second contractor involved with managing
a Sandy rebuilding program that has been the target of
blistering criticism by stymied homeowners.
Word of the impending
termination of the $20 million URS Corp. contract, first
reported Thursday night by WNYC public radio, came two days
after dozens of distraught homeowners described inexplicable
delays and a stalled rebuilding process - even after being
approved for grants.
It has been beset by
controversy, including the quiet firing of another contractor
paid to set up the entire program, a contract worth $68 million.
That company, Hammerman & Gainer Inc., was terminated last month
and paid a $10 million settlement in addition to work completed.
Sat Feb 15, 2014
at 11:04 AM PST
AP finds Bridgegate
bottom-feeders dodged a bullet by not causing anyone to die
Yesterday, the AP
completed an exhaustive review of emergency communications that took
place while Bridgegate was underway. The results? As much of a
headache as the three days of gridlock on the George Washington
nobody died as a result.
The AP's review sought to
identify any emergency situations within a roughly 5-mile radius
of the bridge closings where a person's life or urgent medical
care appeared to have been directly endangered by stalled
response times attributable to the traffic jams - and whoever
was responsible for them. The review doesn't suggest who was
ultimately responsible for ordering the two lanes closed on the
George Washington Bridge.
The 911 records, obtained
over several weeks through public records requests, included
reports of chest pains, traffic collisions, false fire alarms
and a dead goose in a parking lot. Officials in Fort Lee, N.J.,
the epicenter of the serious traffic problems, have yet to
release audio from radio traffic among emergency workers during
the week of the lane closures, but the AP's review included the
dispatch logs of 911 calls that would have been affected.
In other words--the people who
orchestrated this stupid, dangerous and criminal stunt are really
lucky they aren't facing charges of manslaughter.
Some of the calls highlighted
in the review would send a chill down anyone's spine. As early as
6:20 am on September 9, a 911 dispatcher reported that a woman had
fallen and cut up her face at a nursing home--and was still waiting
for an ambulance an hour after calling for one. By then, the
backups were already spilling into nearby towns. At 9 am, a first
responder reported that the bridge was "totally gridlocked."
Minutes later, a man called 911 to report chest pains. The
dispatcher in Edgewater, which handles 911 calls in the area, said
that emergency crews were already delayed. This adds to the one
near-catastrophe that can be definitively blamed on Bridgegate--the
search for a missing child that was delayed because it took time to
find officers who could be spared from directing traffic.
The mere fact that such a
review was necessary--and indeed, the fact we even had to question
whether anyone died because of this stunt--illustrates just how
outrageous it was.
read about Steve Kornacki's latest reporting on
Christie's refusal to allow independent and transparent
"accounting oversight" which would detail
how the Sandy Recovery Billions were being
spent by his administration -- it got me thinking: "This is the smoking gun of graft (or
incompetence) if there ever was one."
After reading the
following post (and watching the Kornacki
clip) -- it
left me thinking --
"There's got to be 'more there' there ... more to the
story of the Chris Christie the
need for public oversight, of the Sandy 'Recovery Business' of New
If you haven't seen this
earlier DailyKos post, I recommend it highly:
Now for my perfunctory
'drilling into' the details behind the headlines ... it's what I
do, for what it's worth to the detail-oriented folks, who
occasionally frequent my "redundancy" reports ... for whatever
notable facts they might glean from them.
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie
today vetoed a bill requiring oversight of billions of
dollars in federal aid for Hurricane Sandy, despite
Democratic objections, calling the measure redundant
“While I thank the sponsors
for their efforts, and for sharing in my commitment to the
transparent and efficient administration of Sandy recovery
funding, this bill would produce unnecessary
redundancies and waste government resources,”
Christie said in the two-page veto message.
The bill (A61)
would have required the treasurer to set up a website to track
contracts by county and municipality, issue quarterly reports
on recovery dollars and put out “expedited priority reports”
explaining any problems the administration encounters.
Imposes oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funds.[...]
An Act imposing oversight
upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funds, supplementing Title 52 of
the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate
and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. The State
Treasurer shall maintain a public website dedicated to the
dissemination and transparent administration of Hurricane Sandy
recovery funding. The State Treasurer shall make available on
the website New Jersey’s Comprehensive Quarterly Report on
Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funding, as constructed pursuant to
subsection b. of this section.[...]
The State Treasurer
shall have ten business days within which to update the website
relative to the receipt of information concerning the award of a
State contract or State grant or distribution of Hurricane Sandy
b. The State
Treasurer shall provide a report to the Legislature, in
accordance with section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), and
the Governor concerning the receipt, distribution, and
administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding, which report
shall be due on the first business day of each calendar quarter
commencing after the date of enactment of this section and shall
be entitled New Jersey’s Comprehensive Quarterly Report on
Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funding.
report shall contain detailed information
the amount of Hurricane
Sandy recovery funding the State has received,
the manner in which
Hurricane Sandy recovery funding is received,
the processes by
which Hurricane Sandy recovery funding is distributed upon
State operating plans
for Hurricane Sandy recovery funding projects and
the award of State
grants or State contracts using Hurricane Sandy recovery
the identity of
Hurricane Sandy recovery funding State grant and contract
analysis of whether
the use of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding is accomplishing
its intended purpose,
the number of jobs
created by Hurricane Sandy recovery funding State
enhanced efficiency and transparency in the administration
of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding,
enhanced coordination in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts,
and any other
information the State Treasurer deems relevant to the
transparent administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery
2. This act
shall take effect immediately.
This bill imposes
oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funding by: (i)
establishing a Hurricane Sandy recovery funding transparency
website; (ii) requiring comprehensive quarterly reports on
Hurricane Sandy recovery funding; and (iii) requiring expedited
priority reports for administrative problems encountered in
Hurricane Sandy recovery funding to enable prompt responses. The
purpose of this bill is to ensure the transparent and efficient
administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding.
Who needs all that
"detailed information," when we already got all THESE others
... these other "Recovery Accountability" agencies, that Governor
Christie seemed to imply, already have "his commitment to
transparency" covered ...
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the
Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott
TAMPA, Fla. -- Fox News host Chris Wallace had nothing but
nice words for Ann Romney's speech at the GOP convention on Tuesday
night, saying that it was "effective" and that "everyone afterward
was buzzing" about it.
But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) convention speech?
Not so much.
"I have to say, personally, I thought it was one of the most
off-key keynote speeches I ever heard," Wallace said.
He noted that Christie said the word "I" 37 times, "Romney"
seven times, and "jobs" one time.
"[I]t seemed sometimes as if he was promoting his own
candidacy more than he was Mitt Romney's," Wallace added. "People
liked the speech, but not nearly the kind of intense reaction to it
and intense listening to it that there was for Ann Romney."
Speaking to the New Jersey delegation on Wednesday morning,
Christie actually addressed why he mentioned Romney so infrequently.
"My job last night as I saw it, and I spent a lot of time
talking about the speech before I gave it because, nobody would show
up," Christie joked. "I really felt that my job last night was to
lay out the stakes in this election and the choice in this election.
And as it turned out,
with Mrs. Romney going first it freed me up -- remember she was
supposed to be going Monday night and because of the hurricane it
was canceled -- so instead both of us were on the same night."
Wallace, however, said Christie's explanation is further
evidence of his failure to do his job on Tuesday.
"If you're explaining the day after, that's never a good
sign," Wallace said. "Obviously he's not going to tell stories about
life with Mitt Romney, but it seemed to me he could have done a
better or more effective job. What's the central issue in this
Jobs, the economy, getting it started. But he never went
after Barack Obama's economic policies. He talked about a failure of
leadership. I don't know that that's even the right critique of
Barack Obama. It seems to me, for Republicans, it's not that he's
failed to lead, it's that he's led in the wrong direction."
We will leave it up
to the reader to determine whether Chris Christie has made serious errors in
in judgment and is a liar. It is apparent from the data
collected, that the first amendment may be in danger from their past and
The Problem with Christie is he is
in Bed with the Koch machine which is anti Union, anti EPA and Environment,
anti Public Schools, and anti anything that supports the Middle Class.
His offices like others we called, stated that their position is that
Moslems, Hindus, Shintoists and Witches are not "Real" religions" and in
fact are evil cults. What is a real religion? What they
have been practicing? Read the following and remember: "By their Works
may they be known." This is a summary of information collected from
several sources about Christie and his Koch support. EVIL!!!
(Remember it is best to
investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.
Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself! And
remember, the First Amendment Coalition does not represent any political
party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving
ourselves in the political process. )
Excerpt from an article on alternet.org by
Stephen Lacey and
Joe Romm Sourced from
on September 8, 2011
NOTE: The audio featured in this post was obtained by
Brad Friedman of
The Brad Blog, whose
reporting on the Koch confab is also featured
at Mother Jones. The
post that appears below was originally published on the
Climate Progress blog
In late May, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced
he was pulling his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,
explaining that it was "not working." Now a
stunning tape of a
secret meeting between Christie and Charles Koch sheds light on the
governor's inexplicable decision to abandon a program that was not only
cutting pollution, but was funding clean energy and, as it turns out,
reducing New Jersey's budget gap.
David Koch, introducing Christie: Five months ago we met in my New York
City office and spoke -- just the two of us -- for about two hours on
his objectives and successes in correcting many of the most serious
problems of the New Jersey state government. At the end of our
conversation, I said to myself, "I'm really impressed and inspired by
this man. He is my kind of guy."
is the biggest funder of climate disinformation in the country, a
billionaire pollutocrat who pulls the string of the Tea Party, which in turn
is driving the country to a ruined economy and an unlivable climate. And
Christie is his kind of guy. You can see why they wanted to keep this behind
has more to say on his budding bromance:
Another example of Governor Christie's
commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he
announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional]
Greenhouse Gas Initiative which is a [cheers and applause],
which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth and led to
very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]
Yes, Christie showed his "commitment to the free enterprise system" by
pulling out of a market-based system invented by Republicans and economists,
championed by President George H. W. Bush, and originally supported at a
regional level by GOP Governors like Pataki of New York.
At the time of Christie's move, people monitoring RGGI
were baffled. The program had raised tens of millions of dollars for clean
energy projects without noticeably raising rates. But after
acknowledging that climate change was real
and then raiding $65 million from the program in order to close a budget
actually had the gall
to say the program was "gimmicky."
But now the reasons for Christie's awkwardly
hypocritical stance on RGGI are becoming more clear. Perhaps the program
wasn't "working" for the Koch Brothers, the oil billionaires who have spent
of millions of dollars
trying to tear down cap and trade
and any other programs related to clean energy?
Here's the audio tape of Koch
audio was taken outside the political retreat, where static was reportedly
being played in order to block anyone from recording the event.
This is the first time that Christie's participation
in the Koch-funded retreat has been publicly reported. The trip, which was
paid for by the New Jersey GOP,
was never written in the governor's public schedule.
Here is another nail in the
Republican/Koch/Fox News Coffin. TRENTON, N.J. — The American Civil
Liberties Union of New Jersey on Monday said it will likely drop a
lawsuit filed earlier in the day against Gov. Chris Christie for records
that confirm he met with the head of Fox News last year.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on Monday
on behalf of a reporter for Gawker Entertainment LLC, saying the
governor's office had issued a blanket refusal to release any records
pertaining to the meeting.
After the governor's office
confirmed the September 2010 meeting, the ACLU relented.
"We're happy to see the matter
resolved quickly but remain concerned that the governor's office
initially issued a blanket executive privilege claim in response to
Gawker's request for records," said ACLU-NJ president Frank Corrado, who
is representing Gawker reporter John Cook. "Is the governor's office
actually reviewing records requests from the public, or is it simply
using executive privilege as a carte blanche to deny access to all
correspondence with his office?"
Citing the state's Open Public
Records Law, the lawsuit sought all correspondence between the president
of Fox News and the governor or his staff after a report that the head
of the network tried to persuade the first-term GOP governor to run for
president in 2012.
Fox News President Roger Ailes has
denied urging Christie to run for president, but speculation continues
over whether Christie would jump into the race, even though he has
repeatedly said he will not.
Christie's appearance Monday in
Iowa at an education conference and a political fundraiser for a
congressman did little to quell the presidential talk.
The governor's office initially
refused to confirm any records existed and said that, if they did, they
would be exempt from state's open records law based on "executive
privilege" – intended to protect the governor and other elected
officials from disclosing records that contain advice to them about
their official public duties – as a reason to withhold records from the
But after the lawsuit was filed
Monday, the governor's office provided a redacted calendar entry
confirming that Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, attended a private
dinner on Sept. 11, 2010, in New York but declined to comment beyond the
"Please be advised that this office
is in possession of no other records responsive to your request,"
Raymond Brandes, an attorney for the governor, said in a letter sent to
the ACLU and Cook on Monday.
Asked about the lawsuit at the Iowa
event, Christie said, "I hear they're dropping it because we have no
documents between Roger Ailes and myself." Christie said the only record
pertaining to the meeting was the calendar entry.
A New York Magazine story in May
reported that Ailes, like many others, tried to persuade Christie to run
against President Barack Obama in 2012. Following that article, Gawker's
Cook filed the public records request.
Ailes, who created Fox, the network
of choice for many Republican viewers, in 1996, is a former media
consultant for Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
"The public has a right to know
whether the head of America's most-watched cable news channel is
advising a sitting governor on state matters," Gawker's Cook said in a
Emails sent to Fox News seeking
comment were not returned on Monday.
Associated Press reporter Mike
Glover in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this story.
Christie's Ego knows no bounds. His constituents are of no value to
Lawrence O'Donnell last night ran through Chris Christie's various excuses
for his decisions about using taxpayer resources for his family time, and
wondered about when it is that Christie will deign to discuss his family and
his parenting skills in public. It seems the only people worthy of asking
him such questions are his fellow Republicans.
O'Donnell wound up his Rewrite segment by
slamming Christie for who he thinks it's appropriate to discuss his
parenting skills with, and it's not his constituents. After all, Christie
appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe the day after his appearance on Meet the
Press and answered a similar question from Joe Scarborough on sending his
children to private schools, which O'Donnell showed a portion of. Then he
went after Christie for his double standard on who he thinks is worthy of
O'DONNELL: So Joe Scarborough quickly and smartly goes straight to
what Chris Christie had declared a forbidden zone on Meet the Press the
day before and asks Chris Christie why he doesn't send his kids to New
Jersey public schools. Are they not good enough for your kids? And Chris
Christie doesn't dare say to Joe Scarborough, “it's none of your
He simply answers the question, says he wants his kids to go to
religious schools and be taught religion every day. And he says that, he
gives that answer, to that question, about his parenting decisions the
day after telling David Gregory, “I'm not going to let people question
my parenting decisions in public.”
He had no problem allowing Joe Scarborough to question his
parenting decisions in public and last week on the Today Show, he had no
problem allowing Matt Lauer to ask about that same parenting decision
about where he sends his kids to school.
In Chris Christie, the Republicans' dream candidate for president,
who will never be president, we can now see the inconsistent,
temperamental man, who is capable of showing flashes of anger at his
constituents like Gail, the woman who asked him about his children not
attending New Jersey public schools, but is very well behaved in formal
Now that we know that Christie has no rule about discussing his
parenting decisions in public, let's look at how he treated Gail one
So now we know what Christie really was thinking. Hey Gail, you
know what? First off, it's none of your business, because you're a
nobody. You're just a constituent. If you want me to actually answer
your question get your own T.V. show. Who do you think you are? Joe
office of Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New
Jersey is claiming that Fox News chairman Roger
Ailes is a confidential adviser whose
interactions with the governor should remain
secret under New Jersey's executive privilege.
we received a rather surprising response: While
declining to confirm the existence of any such
records, Christie's office said they "would be
exempt from disclosure...based upon the
executive privilege and well-settled case law."
In other words, Christie's staff refused to
search for any records—which, given the
undisputed reports of a dinner and phone call,
almost certainly exist—on the basis that Ailes
is a confidential adviser whose comments should
be shielded from public scrutiny.
Jersey has a rather robust executive
privilege—former Gov. Jon Corzine successfully
employed it to keep his
email exchanges with his
ex-girlfriend and former union boss Carla Katz
secret in the
face of a public records act request—and there's
nothing particularly unusual about Christie
invoking it. What is unusual is his
attempt to use it to cover conversations with
someone who is, ostensibly at least, a news
executive. It amounts to a rather bald admission
that Ailes provides Christie with political
obviously never a secret that Ailes, who spent
most of his career as a communications guru to
right-wing politicians, is still a
communications guru to right-wing politicians.
But it's strange to see it spelled out in
office did not respond to questions about the
nature of his communications with Ailes and
whether the privilege should apply. Ailes said
in a statement, "Whatever the Governor wants to
do is his business."
what the governor wants to do in this case. But
he wasn't always so interested in secrecy. After
Corzine prevailed in his legal battle to keep
his emails private, Christie—then a
candidate—responded: "In the interest of
transparency, if I were governor I would release
via AP, Getty Images]
REPUBLICANS ARE THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA by R. Blackbird
Extremist Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor,
disloyal to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of
the nation's history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of
political morality, and its vision of advancement for all the people. The
Republicans love war as long as they and theirs do not have to put on
helmets and carry guns into the fighting. They use lies to start wars that
kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military
service people. They love massive war-time profits, unavailable to their
rich masters if war is absent.
Those Extremist Republicans hate the
rest of us, which they must, in order to pass away from themselves and onto
us, the financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and thefts cause.
They are prolific, incessant, and destructive liars. They are blasphemers
for they insist that their hateful and destructive deeds are the work of
God. They are apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants,
the old and the sick, of whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.
There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on false
premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for they have lost
all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no appealing to them for the
nation's sake for that it what they hate the most.
Excerpt from an article on
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
Posted June 29, 2011
Rachel Maddow's a super
talented host, but sometimes it's nice to see her out of her
environment -- particularly when she's relaxed enough that it seems
like she's bantering with friends. Which is what happened this
morning on the Today Show, in which Ann Curry and Maddow have a
really chill but smart conversation about the presidential
frontrunners. She was characteristically pragmatic and analytical
about Pawlenty, Bachmann and Palin, but when it got down to extreme
New Jersey governor Chris Christie, she definitely loosened up a
bit. "Chris Christie is auditioning for vice president. Chris
Christie would like to be taken seriously on a national stage,"
Maddow said. "That's why he's embarrassing himself in his own state,
leaving his son's baseball game in a state helicopter so he can go
meet with Iowa Republican donors when he's not running for
president. And his brand is 'I will be rude.'" Watch here, via
In an interview with radio host
Eric Scott today, Christie suggested that if the state’s highest court
hands down a decision that he does not like, he may simply
defy the court order:
In all seriousness, governor, what if the ruling comes down, and
[the state supreme courts says] you’ve gotta spend $1.7 billion, and you just say “no”?
that’s an option too.
HOST: You’ve considered that?
You’ve considered actually saying we’re not going to do
it? . . .
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I’m not
going to sit here and speculate. Um, have I thought
about that? Of course I have. You asked me if I was
coming up with a contingency plan. Yeah, there’s a whole bunch of
options in the contingency plan and we’ll see what happens.
Sadly, Christie’s apparent belief
that the law only applies to him when he feels like it is shared by many
of his fellow conservatives. Indeed, the New Jersey governor is only the
latest conservative leader to claim that the courts can be ignored — or
even punished — when they hand down decisions that the right doesn’t
Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed punishing the Ninth
Circuit court of Appeals for upholding the constitutional separation
of church and state by
eliminating that court entirely.
NJ Voters Say Governor Christie Should Not Run for
President in 2012:
Republican Governor Chris Christie, beloved by some and
despised by others for his bluntness, has a Minus 18 job
approval today as speculation continues about whether
Christie should run for President. 38% of NJ adults
approve of the job Christie is doing, 56% disapprove.
You can imagine how bad
Christie's polling numbers are by households that have
teachers and union members in them, but check out the data
coming from Republicans in the state:
Conservatives have mixed feelings about whether Christie
should stay focused on the Garden State or allow himself
to be talked into putting both feet onto the national
Among Republicans, Christie's
job approval is Plus 29. But: by
2:1, Republicans say Christie should not
run for President.
Conservatives by 2:1 and
Republicans by 3:2 say Christie is qualified to be President.
Conservatives and Republicans
by 3:1 say Christie would make a better President than
Even among the state's
comparatively few Tea Party members, where Christie's
approval is Plus 49, there is division: 38% say Christie
should run for the White House, 39% say he should not.
Among Independents, Obama's
job approval is Plus 7, Christie's is Minus 11.
Among Moderates, Obama's job
approval is Plus 28, Christie is Minus 23.
Among lower-income voters,
Christie is Minus 32. Among upper income voters Christie
is Minus 5.
WALLACE: You have
repeatedly rejected calls to run for president in 2012.
In fact, you said, short of suicide, you don't know what
you could do to convince people that you're not running.
But I want to put
up -- because I'm still not convinced, I want to put up
a poll, a new poll of all the potential GOP candidates.
And the only one who currently beats President Obama is
a fellow named Chris Christie, 43 percent to 40 percent.
Don't you think you're up to being president?
the president, rather, can rest easy, because the only
guy who is beating him in that poll isn't running.
I have a state to
run. I love New Jersey.
WALLACE: But why
not? You obviously feel strongly about this. You think
you have got a better way to do it and that everybody
else is messing it up. Why not go for it?
two reasons. One, I have a commitment to my state. I
have been governor for a year. New Jersey's problems are
not fixed. We have a lot of hard work to do.
WALLACE: You don't
think you could help more in the White House than in the
CHRISTIE: No, I
don't think I can help New Jersey more in the White
House than I can help it in the state house. And
secondly, you have got to believe in your heart that
you're personally ready to be president, and I'm not
WALLACE: Why not? I
mean, seriously. You say you answer the questions. In
what way are you not ready to be president?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I
think every year you have as a governor in an executive
position in a big state like New Jersey would make you
better prepared to be president. And after one year as
governor, I am not arrogant enough to believe that after
one year as governor of New Jersey and seven years as
the United States attorney that I'm ready to be
president of the United States, so I'm not going to run.
WALLACE: Yes, but
you know, and I heard you say it might make more sense
somewhere down the line, 2016, 2020, whatever. But one
of the things that Obama learned and showed us all in
2007, when it's your moment, you have got to move.
that is a decision that he made. And he's obviously was
successful in winning the presidency. My view is I want
to, if I ever would have run for the presidency, if I
was ever to do it, I want to make sure in my heart I
feel ready. And I don't think you run just because
political opportunity is there. That's how we wind up
with politicians who aren't ready for their jobs.
WALLACE: Governor Christie, we want to thank you so much
for coming in. And please come back, sir. It's a
pleasure to talk to you.
CHRISTIE: I will.
Their love affair with
Christie is rooted basically in only two facts I can see at
A) He's a good
communicator on TV. He's fairly articulate and appears like
a guy you'd want to have a beer and a hot dog with.
bonuses to improve student test scores may not work
after all, according to a new study researchers say is
the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay.
University researchers studied a program in Nashville
that offered bonuses of $5,000 to $15,000 to middle
school math teachers if their students scored higher
than expected on a statewide exam, according to a report
After three years,
the program proved to be a bust, the study said. Except
for some temporary gains, students did not progress any
faster in classrooms where teachers were offered
Christie and NJ are in
crisis and he hasn't fixed a thing there yet except making
job cuts and refusing tunnel projects. He's also didn't
distinguish himself with his latest showing of arrogance
when he stayed on a Florida vacation instead of helping NJ
when the snow came.
Rudy Giuliani blasted him for
Joe today, Rudy Giuliani looked back at Chris Christie's
from New Jersey during the snow storm.
should've come back.
I mean, if he
asked me my advice, I would've said 'They elected
you governor, they've got an emergency, they expect
you to be there.'
you've got to be there if you're a governor, a
mayor, or even a president, if it's important
NJ Gov. Chris Christie,
the hero of the anti-tax activists, continues his relentless
attack on labor with the cooperation of the state senate's
president. The state Assembly?
Not so much:
TRENTON — Gov.
Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen Sweeney were
poised to announce an agreement on a plan to overhaul
health and pension benefits for public employees but
were stymied Wednesday after the compromise received a
chilly reception in the Assembly.
"We are not there
yet," said Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), who found
herself wedged between two of the state’s most powerful
Word of the
agreement also drew quick opposition from public labor
unions across the state, who said it represented an
attack on collective bargaining rights by taking away
their ability to negotiate health benefits.
The plan would
require the state’s 500,000 public employees to
contribute more money for their pensions and health
benefits than they currently do, sources said, and
freezing cost-of-living adjustments for retirees until
the pension funds stabilize.
The overhaul, which
lawmakers have agonized over since Christie took office
a year and a half ago, would address two of the most
costly issues facing the state.
Jersey has promised $66.7 billion in medical benefits to
current and future retirees — the highest price tag
among the 50 states — but has not set aside a single
penny to pay for it.
background on that. Another Christie, former Republican Gov.
Christine Todd Whitman, decided to fund tax cuts for the
wealthy by deferring the state's mandated pension payments
pension-obligation bond issues.
Guess how that turned out when the market tanked?
So most NJ voters
aren't even aware that the Republicans basically borrowed
huge amounts of money to fund tax cuts.
Oh, and remember
Christie's recent helicopter ride?
From Adam at Blue Jersey
-- guess which donor Chris Christie was flying to see the
day of his famous helicopter ride?
As noted recently at Blue
the lead Iowa Republican funder who Governor Christie
met with during “CopterGate” was Koch business partner
Bruce Rastetter. There is a very interesting history
between Rastetter, the Koch brothers, their
business interests and Chris Christie – and
given Christie’s history of rewarding his cronies with
lucrative contracts, this more than bears watching
"There isn’t anyone
like Chris Christie on the national scene for
Republicans," Rastetter said. "And so we believe that
he, or someone like him, running for president is very
important at this critical time in our country."[snip]
understands smaller government, less government
spending, job creation, and how to create a better
education system — certainly, all the things I and those
accompanying me care about."
"Outsider"? Don't make me laugh.
At yesterday's speech at the American Enterprise
Institute, Christie said he'd never been to Trenton
until he was elected governor. (As the nuns would say,
"That was a bold, brazen lie!")
Married to an
investment banker, he worked as a securities lawyer and
then as a statehouse lobbyist representing the
Securities Industry Association, Wall Street's trade
a U.S. Attorney
with no prosecutorial experience,
his appointment was
approved by Karl Rove
because Christie, his stockbroker brother Todd and their
wives donated a half-million dollars to Bush's campaign.
Todd also spread some cash compost around the Republican
Governor's Association, which used to money to run ads
supporting Christie's gubernatorial race.
About Todd: He was one of 20 specialist stock traders
charged with civil fraud for cheating customers. Funny
thing, though: 14 of those traders were also charged
criminally, many for lesser infractions than Todd
Christie. But we can rest easy, since Gov. Christie
assures us his brother got no special treatment -- even
though he awarded a
lucrative, no-bid state contract
to the federal attorney who investigated his brother
after his brother was cleared. Christie insists there
was no connection, and I'm sure he wouldn't lie, right?
Wednesday afternoon speech at the American
Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C., New
Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for raising
the retirement age on Social Security. His
willingness to tackle politically delicate
entitlement programs follows his approach in New
Jersey of taking on teachers’ unions and other
groups. Can Christie portray himself as a teller
of difficult truths and become a credible White
House candidate in 2012 or 2016? Or will his
YouTube-friendly shtick soon wear thin and
render him largely irrelevant in
Democratic-leaning New Jersey?
that Gov. Christie is willing to do whatever Wall
Street and the elite media tell him does not suggest
that he has strong leadership qualities. If he had strong leadership
qualities, he might take a moment to look at the
Social Security trustees report himself, or at least
talk to someone who had.
discover that the program can pay 100 percent of all
scheduled benefits through the year 2037 and nearly
80 percent of scheduled benefits after this date for
the indefinite future. After 2037 retirees would
always get a larger benefit than current retirees
even if Congress never does anything.
Christie did the sort of basic research that we
would expect from someone proposing to raise the
retirement age he would discover that nearly half of
older workers work in physically demanding jobs.
It will be difficult for these people to stay in
these positions well into their sixties. The share
of non-college grads in physically demanding jobs is
close to 60 percent.
He would also
discover that that there has been relatively little
increase in life expectancy for workers in the
bottom half of the wage distribution, so further
increases in the retirement age (we just raised it
from 65 to 67) would likely mean a shorter period of
retirement for low and moderate income workers.
would also discover that most middle income workers
have almost nothing besides Social Security to
support themselves in retirement. This
is due to the fact that they don't have traditional
pensions, never accumulated much money in 401(k)s
and just saw much of their home equity disappear
with the collapse of the housing bubble.
Mr. Christie shows little interest in learning about
Social Security, the country's most important safety
net program. He just wants to do what
the Washington Post tells him. That probably means
he is electable, but that doesn't suggest he will be
a very good president.
of Madison, got the final question of the night.
school district elementary teacher launched into a
list of complaints about drops in municipal aid,
increasing NJ Transit fares and tax cuts for those
making more than $1 million.
How could Christie sign off on a tax cut for the
most wealthy, ignoring the regressive nature of the
sales tax, while those at the bottom were getting
squeezed with increases like the transit fares?
adversaries went back and forth for a few minutes,
until Chaudruc, a Republican, interrupted the
"You want to
come up here?" Christie shouted. "You come up here
... Let’s have a conversation.."
stands 5’6" and weighs about 160 pounds, backed away
until the governor insisted "bring him up here," and
a state trooper escorted him to the stage.
Christie, a few
inches taller and several pounds heavier, loomed
over Chaudruc as he launched into a tirade.
increase in taxes would have killed jobs in this
state," Christie said pointing his index finger at
Chaudruc. "You and I have different ideas of what
being a Republican is all about because I’m not
going to raise taxes."
Before he could
get another word in, Chaudruc was ushered off the
stage and out of the room by a trooper.
By bullying a
citizen, hogging the microphone and condescendingly
dismissing him, Christie was the rude one. But it’s
turned state politics into one never-ending yo’ mama
joke. It doesn’t matter who you are — school
superintendent, teacher, student, U.S. senator,
state Assembly leader, former education commissioner
or just a regular guy trying to have a conversation:
If you disagree with him, Christie will try to
humiliate you publicly.
Christie entertaining, but his combativeness is
counterproductive and breeds the kind of hate speech
that plaques the nation.
But some people
find this totally delightful, because Chris Christie
is basically an amusing comic television show
character, like Charlie Sheen or Pat Buchanan.
Whether it helps Christie politically depends on
whether New Jersey residents find it funny or get
bored with it. But Christie will continue doing it,
because it's a major part of his "brand."
In lieu of
class solidarity, which is a privilege only afforded
to the wealthy these days, American politics are
mostly about tribal self-identification. Most
Republicans get this, and that's why being a shouty
asshole doesn't hurt Christie. Democrats -- with a
couple of exceptions, like Anthony Weiner -- are not
so good at this, which is why MSNBC's liberal hosts
whine about how Obama needs to "get tough" all the
time without ever explaining how that would help him
achieve policy goals and not just make them feel
like they're backing a winner.
Like Digby, I find
his bullying behavior clearly fascistic -- this is how
real fascists, the kind you get in Hayden Lake and at
Joe Arpaio rallies, behave. I guess Americans are
getting accustomed to that and a lot more approve of it.
And that may be the scariest aspect of Chris Christie.
Excerpt from an article on crooks and
Liars June 27, 2011
New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie revels in his bullying style, as do most
conservatives, but it's really starting to backfire on him.
Verbally beating up on teachers and school administrators
and other public servants makes him huggable with the
psychos who watch John Stossel, but to the general public it
makes him about as huggable as
Isn't he so sweet?
Earlier this week, Christie took more flack for the way he
treated a woman who called in complaining about the way he's
slashing funds to public education while sending his kids to
On the Today
Show this morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)
belittling of a constituent
who asked the governor if he sends his kids to private
or public school. Christie has
public education spending so severely that the state
the woman called into a local TV interview Christie was
giving this month to see if he understood first-hand the
devastating effects of his cuts, the governor went off
on the woman, angrily saying, “Hey Gail, you know what,
first of all
it’s none of your business.”
Christie sends his kids to private school. This morning,
Today Show host Matt Lauer brought up the incident,
asking, “Why isn’t it a fair question?” “Her point is
completely ridiculous,” Chrisitie snapped, calling the
GREGORY: Now I'm
familiar with the substance of you what said, which is
you're a taxpayer. You pay-- property taxes. You're the
governor of everybody. You're working for the best
public schools for everybody. For religious reasons--
you and your wife decided to send your kids to parochial
schools. My question is more about your temperament.
Is-- should the chief executive speak to people that
CHRISTIE: Damn right he should. You know why? Because
this is who I am. And the public knows they get it
straight from me. And so what I said to her was, "Don't
question my wife and my-- and my parenting decisions."
That's the most personal thing that you can say to
someone. You're a father. You know this.
decisions we make from the heart. There's no one more
precious in my life than my wife and my four children.
And when we make those decisions, that's not appropriate
for public inquiry. I made that decision because I
believe, David, in my heart, that's the right thing.
And so you know
what? I am very blunt, I am very direct and you know
what? So was she. And you look at her tone and her
demeanor in that question, so was she. She's questioning
my ability as a public officer holder to make decisions
about every child in New Jersey and their public
education because my children go to parochial school?
Well, I went to public schools in New Jersey. I'm a
product of the public schools. And so you're-- you know
what? Absolutely. I wish more people in public life
would respond just that way.
DAVID GREGORY: But
authenticity is one thing. But we all can be better in
the public square -- how we interact with people. Are
you too abrasive? Are you too stubborn? Are you too--
tough when it comes to people questioning you?
CHRISTIE: I'm huggable and loveable, David. I am not
abrasive at all. I-- listen, I'm honest. And I wish we
had more of it in politics. You know what people are
tired of in politics? They're tired of blow dried--
tested answers that are given by political consultants
to politicians and everybody sounds the same. (BABBLING)
And everybody sounds the same.
I realize much of
the D.C. press corps is crushing on Christie. But before
they announce that "people" are responding to the
governor's "plain talk," pundits might want to find out
if that response extends beyond their professional
Toy Story 3
ends, right? Lotso's new home is on the front grill of a
truck. And the entire audience cheers.
Excerpt from an article on
crooksandliars.com June 04, 2011
You have to
admire the sheer audacity of Chris Christie. He blows up a
deal for a tunnel that would have eased the commuter crush
from New Jersey into New York City, and now we know why:
isn't commuting by car
like the peons!
Flight logs obtained by MyFoxPhilly.com show New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie used state police helicopters 33
times since January 2010, mostly for official functions.
Christie will repay
taxpayers for two recent trips on the helicopters, when
he used the state-owned vehicles to attend his son's
baseball games.The other 31 flight logs show that
Christie used the helicopters to attend official
functions, such as Rep. John Adler's funeral and the
announcement of the Bayonne Bridge improvement project.
But other trips
were to Manhattan to discuss Christie's political agenda
with the national media, and to have dinner with New
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On one trip, Christie used
the helicopter to talk with The Wall Street Journal and
New York Times in January 2011. Another flight log, from
April 11, 2011, listed "transport home" as the reason
for the helicopter trip.
In April 2010,
Christie flew to meet with the owners of the New York
Giants and New York Jets. Both teams play in New Jersey.
In all, Christie used state helicopters nine times to
fly to Manhattan for various reasons.
And in August 2010,
Christie flew to Newark to meet with Mayor Cory Booker
and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
the State Republican Committee are reimbursing New
Jersey for the governor's personal use of a state police
helicopter for the two trips to watch his oldest son's
baseball games, a spokeswoman for Christie said
Excerpts from an article on
crooksandliars.com March 23, 2011
above video from a post I wrote
last year to get an idea how explosive this situation is and
how angry students are. It's always the poor, the elderly
and the students who get harmed the most by conservative
ideology. Back in April there was a massive student walkout
protest over his sweeping state aid cuts in education.
Christie's deep cuts to state school aid last year left
New Jersey's schools unable to provide a "thorough and
efficient" education to the state's nearly 1.4 million
school children, a Superior Court judge found today.
Judge Peter Doyne,
who was appointed as special master in the long-running
Abbott vs. Burke school funding case, today issued an
opinion that also found the reductions "fell more
heavily upon our high risk districts and the children
educated within those districts."
levels that meet or exceed virtually every state in the
country, and that saw a significant increase in spending
levels from 2000 to 2008, our 'at risk' children are now
moving further from proficiency," he said.
“The difficulty in
addressing New Jersey’s fiscal crisis and
its constitutionally mandated obligation to educate our
children requires an exquisite balance not
easily attained,” Doyne wrote. “Something need be done
to equitably address these competing imperatives. That
answer, though, is beyond the purview of this report.
For the limited question posed to the Master, it is clear the State has failed to carry its
Christie has spent only enough time to drink a cup of coffee
in New Jersey as its governor so far, but since he's very
good at bullying people,
pundits just love him. He has yet to solve any problems
there and when it comes to education, has refused to meet
with protesters after he slashed education funding. Now he
has to deal with this ruling.
article notes, Judge Doyne was appointed as a “special
master” in this case, and so his finding today will go
back to the state Supreme Court,
which can choose
to act on it. This seems likely to happen. “A special
master’s report like this carries great weight with the
David Sciarra, the executive director of the Education
Law Center. “The evidence was exhaustive, detailed
thorough and its conclusions are sobering about the
impact of the funding cuts on students across the state,
particularly poor students, regardless of where they
not yet responded to the finding. If he is required by
the state Supreme Court to find more funding to at-risk
districts, perhaps the governor could reconsider some of
proposed tax cuts
for corporations and millionaires.
begin? Is it more egregious that Gov. Chris Christie is
trying to pin NJ budget woes on public workers' unions
(and models his solutions
on Grover Norquist)
-- or that a "60 Minutes" producer allowed his
misinformation to go unanswered?
First of all,
New Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997,
during the rein of one Christine Todd Whitman, who
cooked up a
high-risk scheme to finance tax
cuts by refusing to
make the state's mandated pension payments from general
revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer
floated a $2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the
In other words, she
and Clymer were gambling that the market would generate
enough money to cover their pension obligations, so they
could borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The
state paid $23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus
This was a
radical idea for the time,
and not everyone was thrilled with the plan. The mayor
of Edison N.J.
filed a lawsuit to stop it.
The State Supreme Court refused a stay, saying the point
was moot -- but agreed with the plaintiff that the bond
authority was merely a legal shell created to get around
the state's debt ceiling without putting it to a public
MR. GREGORY: And
you're teeing up -- Governor Chris Christie of New
Jersey , talk about austerity . He gave a speech here in
Washington this week that got rave reviews in part
because of his plain language about taking on issues
like Social Security . Here's what he said.
CHRISTIE (R-NJ): You're going to have to raise the
retirement age for Social Security . Ho , ho! I just
said it, and I'm still standing here. I did not
vaporize into the carpeting, and I said it.
MR. GREGORY: He
didn't vaporize into the carpeting, Rick Santelli . I
mean, this is the kind of plain talk that people are
responding to. And yet, you just heard from Senator
Durbin , you know, they want to take Social Security off
the table right now in terms of dealing with that debt
The only people giving
him rave reviews are Conservatives, so why did Gregory frame
it in a way that appears all Americans are digging
Christie's shtick? You would think that in NJ, Christie
would have a 70% approval rating, but the fact is he's only
a tad over fifty. Wow, you may not have known that because
all the positive media fanboy
love going around.
if you look at the polling, a
of potential Republican primary voters are responding to
Christie in that they pick him as their first choice for
a 2012 candidate. But that sliver hardly represents any
sort of national response from the "people" to
Christie's partisan rhetoric. Meanwhile, in his home
state Christie enjoys decent support, with an approval
rating of about 50 percent. Although if you only
listened to the Christie media chatter from inside
Beltway you'd assume his poll numbers were in the
sky-high, 60 or 70 percent range.
is the recent poll
that showed if Christie ran against Obama in 2012, the
governor would lose his home state by nearly 20 points.
That's right, Christie would get trounced by Obama in
I realize much of
the D.C. press corps is crushing on Christie. But before
they announce that "people" are responding to the
governor's "plain talk," pundits might want to find out
if that response extends beyond their professional
trounces him by twenty points now. Christie
can gab with the best of them,
but why does the Beltway elite class immediately transfer
what the AEI crowd thinks of him over to all Americans? It's
ridiculous. And getting back to reality, it's a complete
fallacy that raising the age of Social Security has to
happen for Social Security to remain solvent forever. It's a
Conservative lie and C&L readers and Dems all over the
country know this except for the Villager class.
quite sure if Villagers are just
unable to distinguish
"the GOP operatives and other Villagers we talk to" from
"the people" or if they truly believe (perhaps
correctly) that they are just the only people who
I think it's
kinda of both, but if I had to make a choice I'd tell Duncan
that they believe that they are
just the only people who matter.
Excerpt from an article on
crooksandliars.com December 21, 2010
Where to begin?
Is it more egregious that Gov. Chris Christie is trying to pin NJ budget woes on
public workers' unions (and models his solutions
on Grover Norquist)
-- or that a "60 Minutes" producer allowed his misinformation to go unanswered?
First of all, New
Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997, during the rein of one
Christine Todd Whitman, who cooked up a
high-risk scheme to finance tax cuts
by refusing to make the state's mandated pension payments
from general revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer floated a
$2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the payments.
In other words, she and
Clymer were gambling that the market would generate enough
money to cover their pension obligations, so they could
borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The state paid
$23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus interest.)
This was a
radical idea for the time,
and not everyone was thrilled with the plan. The mayor of
filed a lawsuit to stop it.
The State Supreme Court refused a stay, saying the point was
moot -- but agreed with the plaintiff that the bond
authority was merely a legal shell created to get around the
state's debt ceiling without putting it to a public vote.
From I've read, the
Whitman bonds made no payments for the first 12 years and
then, during the last 18 years, they were supposed to pay
both the deferred interest and the current interest. Whitman
assumed that the irrational exuberance of the market would
continue to generate high returns -- in other words, the
state of New Jersey was looking at a massive balloon
Let me point out the
obvious: This is how politicians have passed the buck for
decades, simply because the Reagan years made them so wary
of the political fallout from tax increases. See how well
that worked out?
When a state is in debt
and cuts taxes, the cost of the tax cut is actually a
loan that taxpayers will pay interest on, sooner or later.
Now on to the second
part of the story -- namely, that 60 Minutes didn't bother
to get another side to this story.
Cristie's speechwriters script
this CBS report
on state budget deficits? It certainly reads that way.
In 2,600 words
about state deficits, you won't find the phrase "tax
cuts." Instead, CBS adopts the Republican framing that
deficits are all about spending -- frequently with
loaded phrasing like "gold-plated retirement and health
care packages." And throughout the report, CBS allows
Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, to launch
attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about
budget problems, all without ever challenging his
assertions and without including substantive
disagreement from Christie critics.CBS quotes Christie
declaring: "We have a benefit problem. … It's not an
income problem from the state. It's a benefit problem.
And so we gotta change those benefits." No contrary view
is included.Then there's this passage:
New Jersey. It has the highest taxes in the country,
a $10 billion deficit and a depressed economy when
first-year Governor Chris Christie took office. But
after looking at the books, he decided to walk away
from a long-planned and much-needed project with New
York and the federal government to build a rail
tunnel into Manhattan. It would have helped the
economy and given employment to 6,000 construction
workers. Gov. Christie acknowledged that's a lot of
jobs. "I canceled it. I mean, listen, the bottom
line is I don't have the money. And you know what? I
can't pay people for those jobs if I don't have the
money to pay them. Where am I getting the money? I
don't have it. I literally don't have it."
know from CBS's handling of the tunnel that there are
like Nobel Prize-winning economist
Paul Krugman, who argue
that the tunnel would have had a stimulative effect on
the economy, and that killing it was therefore
shortsighted, as a stimulated economy produces more tax
revenue. No, CBS simply presented Christie's opposition
to the tunnel as gospel.And here's how CBS addressed New
Jersey's pension problems:
It's also the
truth that some of the responsibility for New
Jersey's pension woes lie at the doorstep of the
governor's mansion. Christie and his predecessors
have failed to contribute to the state's share of
its pension obligation in 13 of the last 17 years,
one of the reasons the fund is going broke. Christie
says it's ancient history."We spent too much on
everything. We spent too much. We spent money we
didn't have. We borrowed money just crazily. The
credit cards maxed out, and it's over. It's over. We
now have to get to the business of climbin' out of
the hole. We've been diggin' it for a decade or
more. We've gotta climb now, and a climb is harder.
Gotta do it," he said.
You'd never know
from CBS' report that a big part of the reason that
"Christie and his predecessors" failed to make required
contributions to the pension fund is that they decided
to use the money for tax cuts instead. (Like I said, the
CBS report takes the GOP-friendly stance that deficits
are all about spending, not revenue.)
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