The Star-Ledger's editorial board is losing patience with Governor's Christie's public relations grandstanding as he professes great concern about taking care of storm victims, while not actually doing much, except blaming the federal government. Well, the evidence indicates the biggest roadblocks are coming from a combination of his incompetent leadership, and a lack of action on the part of the Governor, as described in Christie should support Sandy bill of rights: Editorial. Let's hope his plummeting poll numbers, even in New Jersey, rouse this sleeping bear. His NJ approval has fallen from 80 of voters down to 54 percent.
This comes at a time of mounting frustration from Sandy victims about delays in the rebuilding process, and two coinciding political tours: the governor’s, to defend himself and blame federal red tape, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s, to gain momentum for a “Superstorm Sandy Bill of Rights.”
The Star Ledger is calling for Christie to sign Sweeney's Bill of Rights before the next round of federal funding grants which start next month.
It would entitle Sandy victims to certain basic rights, such as clear explanations of what they’re eligible for and the status of their applications. In a packaged proposal submitted to the administration yesterday, Sweeney also suggested local nonprofits be allowed to facilitate the grant process, rather than the state.
Could any of this make a difference? One can only hope — although after Christie signed Sweeney’s measure last year to require independent integrity monitors to oversee Sandy spending, his administration failed to implement them until only recently.
In the meantime, Sandy victims have complained that the application process is arduous and often baffling, and Christie’s top officials didn’t even bother to answer their questions at public hearings held down the Shore. The state hired an incompetent firm to handle individual applications for grants, then fired it without a word to the public. We learned that its decisions, when appealed, had a high error rate.
Yesterday, I reported in NJSpotlight reveals Hoboken was shortchanged $700,000 in Sandy funds using NJ's own criteria. They found major errors, and violations of its own protocols in the spreadsheet used to score Sandy relief grants by the cities, supporting Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer allegation that the Christie’s administration shortchanged Hoboken, because she would not endorse one of Christie's pet development projects. When NJ Spotlight, and NPR redid the calculations using the Christie administrations own criteria and scoring rules, they found Hoboken was short changed $700,000. This is a big deal.
A few weeks back I posted a case where Christie said he know nothing about a bill, that he had not only signed, but had already appointed the first commissioner for. He stalled for a year in implementing the quality control monitors, and continues to ignore what appear to be, at the very least, unprecedented conflicts of interest by his appointee including P.A. Chairmen David Samson, including major new well documented cases from the New York Times in In Job, Appointee Profits and Christie Gains Power. (See update below)
Christie, needs to stop waltzing around the country raising funds for the RPG and start working on his job in New Jersey, many of whom are still suffering from the Sandy "emergency." Additionally, he needs to hold several news conferences where he answers the dozens of unanswered major questions about the dozen or so scandals he is trying to avoid talking about.
He's still acting like his post as Governor of New Jersey is nothing but a cat and mouse game and platform entitling him to run for president in 2016. Today, he at the CPAC meeting throwing red meet to conservatives. I'll put some of his statements in an update.
Seriously, Governor Christie, WTH?
12:10 PM PT: Heart of the Rockies just sent me this link that should lead to David Samson resignation soon. Russ Buettner, of the NYT, reports details of the growing evidence suggesting David Samson and Governor Chris Christie exploit of their government positions for profit and political power, by In Job, Appointee Profits and Christie Gains Power h/t to Heart of the Rockies for alerting us to this excellent article.
And after Mr. Christie named Mr. Samson chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, they both benefited when Mr. Samson and the board he led approved billions of dollars in bridge construction contracts. Labor unions grateful for the hard-hat jobs threw their endorsements to Mr. Christie, and clients of Mr. Samson’s firm wound up with the work. ...
A comprehensive examination of Mr. Samson’s dealings with Governor Christie and his administration, both inside the Port Authority and out, shows the extent to which their ambitions and successes became intertwined. Mr. Samson and his law firm benefited financially. Mr. Christie benefited politically. And each enhanced the other’s stature as their relationship deepened in ways that were not apparent at the time.
Perhaps the clearest example of this symbiosis, previously unreported, came last April, when Mr. Samson presided as the Port Authority awarded two bridge construction contracts worth a total of $2.8 billion. ... Mr. Samson paused after the vote of the 12-member board to call the occasion “joyous and happy.” It certainly was for two clients of his law firm. ... One longtime client was I.M.T.T., which owns a liquid storage facility on the Bayonne waterfront. The company is half-owned by the Macquarie Infrastructure Company, one of the contractors Mr. Samson and his fellow commissioners awarded $1.5 billion to replace and maintain the Goethals Bridge. ...A second contract, for $1.3 billion, was to raise the Bayonne Bridge to allow clearance for the largest container ships — though Port Authority experts had seen the project as a lower priority. Mr. Samson “came in like gangbusters” and insisted on proceeding immediately, one former project official said.
The NYT reveals that Samson did not recuse himself from either vote.
12:20 PM PT: Poll finds Republicans resistant to Chris Christie presidential candidacy
As conservatives gather in the Washington area on Thursday for three days of speeches from prospective 2016 presidential candidates and discussions about the future of the GOP, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that three in 10 of all Republicans say they would not vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if he ran for the White House. ...
Just 9 percent of Republicans say they definitely would vote for Christie, while 50 percent say they would consider doing so. Eleven percent say they have no opinion.
The 30 percent of Republicans who say they definitely would not vote for Christie is the highest percentage for any Republican tested. Next was former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, at 24 percent, followed by 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at 23 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 21 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) at 20 percent and Bush at 18 percent.