Author Archive: interested observer

In what world do indictments in Bridgegate equal vindication for Christie?

If reports are right, there could be indictments this week (or just about any week) in the Bridgegate investigation. But I just can’t get past this headline today over at PolitickerNJ, because the majority of people will never read the story, they will just see this:

For Christie, indictments in Bridgegate investigation could mean vindication

This is exactly what Team Christie is hoping for and counting on. Check it out: If you Google Christie and Indictments, look at the 3rd news story currently:

Seriously. In what world is potential indictment and perp walk of your closest advisors, Port Authority henchmen and campaign chiefs vindication? If they’re indicted, it will be for work they did for a seated Governor launching a campaign for president. If they’re indicted, it will be for carrying out the business they had reason to believe Gov. Christie wanted, even if he says – repeatedly – he wasn’t aware of any of it? Is that how far the bar has been lowered now?

“Vindication.” Just wow.  

Weekend News Roundup & Open Thread For Feb 28-Mar 1, 2015

Filling in for Rosi today, so if we missed anything leave it in the comments.

Christie At CPAC

  • Chris Christie finished behind Donald Trump in the CPAC Straw Poll with 2.8%.
  • And apparently Governor Downgrade refused to sit with Sean Hannity to take questions.

    Christie in Cali

  • Christie to California Republicans: What’s your rush?
  • INGLE: Christie in California, talking Reagan and resiliency
  • Soft Landing For The Christie Whisperer

  • Michael Drewniak, has received a newly-created position at NJ Transit. Drewniak’s salary will be $147,400. His official title will be chief of policy and strategic planning.
  • And they were able to create and fund this position despite an $80 million budget hole.
  • Governor, Pay Your Bills

    The Governor once again today tried to blame workers for the failure of the state to live up to the promises made regarding making payments into the funds of the pensions they earned. Instead of going into the weeds on details, the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA) kept it simple:

    “Yesterday the court ordered Governor Christie to pay the bills but instead he is asking firefighters, teachers, social workers;l all those that make our state work to balance his checkbook,” Donnelly said. “Governor, pay your bills!”

    More of this please.

    Asbury Park Press: Republicans seem to be stuck on finding a non existent magic fix

    The Asbury Press – of all papers – today came out with an editorial in support of raising the gas tax to help replenish the Transportation Trust Fund and rebuild our roads:

    We have long held that any tax increase on New Jersey residents – including an increase in the gasoline tax – is anathema and should be rejected out of hand. New Jerseyans are already among the most tax-gouged citizens in the nation.

    But short of any rational alternatives for replenishing the depleted Transportation Trust Fund – and we haven’t heard one yet – sadly the day has come when an increase in the state gasoline tax, which would be the first increase in nearly 25 years, must be a part of the mix.

    And while they didn’t endorse any of the plans being pushed by Democrats, APP did credit them with starting the discussion and took aim square at Republicans:

    QOTD: No wonder the Governor travels so much…

    Tom Moran looks at Governor Downgrade’s latest disagreement with the truth in Iowa, that New Jersey is spending less now than it was when he took office.  These numbers are easy to check and debunk, which thankfully the media has started to do. But then Moran nails it, he figures out why Chris Christie spends so much time going other places:

    No wonder the governor travels so much. People in Iowa don’t know he’s lying….

    It’s gotta be nice. You can’t blame Christie for fleeing to Iowa. It’s easier to fool unsuspecting people when they don’t know the truth behind your stories. And his stories are much more entertaining than New Jersey’s bottom line.

    Just a regular guy that’s “good friends with the king and queen”

    You’ve gotta give Governor Downgrade credit for trying… or something like that. He’s allowed to only accept gifts from his “friends”, so now he needs to make it out like everyone he takes things from are besties with him.  So the regular guy, every man candidate who will tell you what he thinks, image be damned, I give you the Governor’s response (in Iowa because of course he’s not in Jersey and when he does he barely talks to the press) to his $30,000 hotel room tab picked up by the King of Jordan:

    After his address, The Times asked Christie about their story last week detailing his lavish trip with his family to visit King Abdullah of Jordan. Christie answered, “The King and Queen are good friends of ours and I have no second thoughts about it at all.”

    Yup, he’s just a regular guy who is good friends with the King and Queen. I’m sure that will play well in Iowa.

    $5.43 Million: The Cost To Taxpayers To Create The Christie Brand

    We may not have money to build and repair our roads, but we found money to build up Chris Christie’s image. Bob Ingle has a piece up today that is worth a full read, but in essence says that Governor Downgrade started believing his own press releases and in essence now is tripping over the headlines his staff has created.  The thing that caught my eye is how much it cost taxpayers for those press releases:

    Those releases were manufactured by a communications operation that grew even as Christie boasted he had downsized government. Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog looked into it and reported the governor’s communications officers have increased by 50 percent in five years, costing taxpayers $5.43 million “to pay the team that helped turn him into a rising star on television, radio, YouTube, Facebook and other outlets.”

    “The governor’s media team has expanded to include 16 full-time staffers and a payroll of roughly $1.36 million last year. Five of the employees collect six-figure incomes, led by communications director Maria Comella at $140,000 a year.” Previously, Comella was deputy communications director for Rudolph Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

    A 50% increase? 16 people full time to brand the Governor? Come to think of it, maybe New Jersey residents should root for a Christie presidency just so they can at least realize some return on their taxpayer investment.  

    QOTD: Lapdog Republicans won’t cross their supreme leader

    The Star Ledger has an editorial up today blasting Assembly Republicans for failing to stand up and override a veto from Governor Downgrade of legislation that would have allowed SNAP enrollees to receive additional food stamp benefits when they qualified for $21 in home heating assistance. Then they provide us with the quote of the day:

    “The override vote failed because the lapdog Republicans in the Legislature decided feeding children and seniors wasn’t worth crossing their supreme leader.”

    Take the poll below and tell us if you think Assembly Republicans will muster up the courage to stand up to their fearless leader and override any of his vetoes before we have our next Governor?

    Ingle: People realizing Christie is “more or less politics as usual”

    Chris Hayes on Friday night looked at the current situation with the new inquiry looking at what apparently was called the “Chairmans’s flight” that David Samson took, that didn’t exist before he was Port Authority Chairman and ceased existing 3 days after Samson left the position.  You can see the segment here:

    They went on to talk about the Governor’s no good, very bad week and what got my attention was this line from Bob Ingle toward the end of the segment:

    The people who had this image as the guy who is above all of this corruption, this guy who is a regular sort of fellow who would eat a cheesesteak on the boardwalk is not really who they thought he was. That he is more or less politics as usual and I think that is hurting him with his fan base

    That’s really Christie’s biggest problem, all of these stories undermine the image they have worked so hard to craft. We here at Blue Jersey would argue it is more than politics as usual and we’ve made that argument for years, but it’s good to see everyone else taking a second look at Governor Downgrade through that lens.

    The Samson “Chairman’s Flight” was 20.6% full compared to the United average of 84.9%

    The Financial Times took a look at the subpoena’s from the US Attorney’s office to United Airlines regarding what seems to be known as the “Chairman’s Flight” that David Samson regularly took.  If you haven’t seen the story, here is a summary:

    The subpoenas suggest federal prosecutors’ investigation has gone well beyond that initial “Bridgegate” affair. It has been widely reported to revolve around the airline’s operation, from September 2012 until three days after Mr Samson’s resignation, of two round trips weekly – on Mondays and Thursdays – between Newark and Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia is 56 miles from Aiken, South Carolina, where Mr Samson and his wife have had a home since 2006.

    But in that story, they have this amazing stat on just how empty the flights really were in comparison to the other United flights:

    Only 309 of the 1,500 seats United offered on the Columbia to Newark service between September 2012 and the end of that year were filled, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That 20.6 per cent load factor compares with the 84.9 per cent average for all United’s domestic flights in 2012.

    No wonder they stopped running the flight after Samson resigned. United probably wishes they could get rid of the subpoenas they apparently received as a result of it that easily.