Tag Archive: Mike Drewniak

BREAKING: Top Christie aide tied to GWB lane closures

UPDATE: Read the emails. Private messages between Governor’s Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock. It involves Christie’s Dep. Chief of Staff, Port Authority David Samson, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak, and Bill Stepian, Christie’s re-election campaign manager and the new head of the NJ GOP.

Here we go.

Reporting from Shawn Boburg of The Record tracks the decision – possibly illegal – to create traffic chaos in Fort Lee via sudden GWB lane closures right into the executive offices of Gov. Chris Christie:

Governor Christie’s deputy chief of staff told one of his top Port Authority executives that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” several weeks before controversial lane closures took place at the George Washington Bridge, according to sources.

Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote in an email to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures, according to the sources.

John Wisniewski, who as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee has been the lead on the legislature’s investigations, has already said that subpoenaed documents showed the order to close the lanes came from outside Port Authority. If this is true, it explains many things that before now made very little sense, including why the Port Authority would risk the safety of drivers, first responders and patients carried across the George Washington Bridge via ambulance to hospital or hospice.

It suggests that the ‘political payback’ scenario of what happened may be credible: David Wildstein and Bill Baroni – Christie’s top men at Port Authority, claimed lane closures were a “traffic study”. But two things stick out here: (1) Closures came 2 weeks after Fort Lee Democratic mayor Mark Sokolich was asked to endorse Chris Christie, as other Dem mayors had done, and he refused (2) Port Authority professionals have already testified that Wildstein specifically ordered that Fort Lee not be advised of what was going on as it was happening. That is very inconsistent with Port Authority’s multi-layered practice of involving all stakeholders in all traffic flow changes, as PA engineers have testified.

It explains why Gov. Christie ridiculed the press when they asked about speculation he engineered the traffic tie-up.

It explains why David Wildstein was involved: Wildstein, the founder of PolitickerNJ and its mysterious “Wally Edge” master of insider political gossip, was given a high-level job created for him but without a job description. WSJ reports it was Wildstein who gave the order to close all but one local lane feeding into Fort Lee without informing Fort Lee. Wildstein, who reported Christie’s rise all those years at PolitickerNJ without disclosing he was a personal friend of Christie’s, has already resigned from Port Authority and has been summoned to testify at a legislative hearing tomorrow.

It explains why no evidence of a “traffic study” has materialized: Wildstein and Bill Baroni, Christie’s highest-level political placement at the PA, claim the lane closures were part of a “traffic study”. That was contradicted by PA ED Patrick Foye days after. Foye says the closures likely broke state and federal law.

It explains sudden GOP interest in subpoenaed documents: Yesterday, Assembly Republican Whip complained to the press that Republicans were told subpoenaed documents wouldn’t be made available to them until today, one day before the hearing. It was the first interest party leaders have shown in the case, which they’ve mainly ignored, ridiculed or shown indifference to.

It explains why David Samson has been silent since this story became news: Samson, Port Authority’s Chair (a Christie nomination) and a close associate of Christie who ran Christie’s transition team and traveled with him to Arizona when Christie was installed as Chair of the Republican Governors Assn. Samson was also New Jersey Attorney General (2002-2003), who must know whether the lane closures broke state and federal law (as PA ED Foye said), which may now mean that he is implicated in an illegal act.

Kelly, who lives in Ramsey, is one of three deputy chiefs of staff to Christie, in charge of legislative and intergovernmental affairs.  

The Best Lies Carry An Element of Truth

Chris Christie made a very specific, enumerated claim the other day:

“When I was U.S. Attorney we wound up putting 10 percent of the state Legislature in jail during my seven years.”

Politifact checked this out and discovered that the number is actually three percent.  That means Christie was 333% off from his actual record.  It explains how he can claim a Jersey Comeback while state income tax receipts are down, state business tax receipts are down, and unemployment is up.

Called on this fabrication, Christie’s spokesman said:

“Really?” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in an e-mail.  “Every other person in the audience understood the Governor was making a rhetorical point about his extensive record in combating political corruption as U.S. Attorney and not, as you seem to be suggesting, citing, with great exactitude, some baseball statistic.”

But Christie did speak with great exactitude about his own record. He didn’t say, “something like ten percent.”  He didn’t say, “a whole bunch.”  He didn’t even resort to ridiculous hyperbole as in, “Every second seat was vacant because they were all in jail.”

Christie gave a number that was exaggerated but still within the realm of possibility, knowing that the people in the room would walk out with a specific number — ten percent — in their heads.

Which is a lie.

King Christie’s Flack: Law? Who Cares About The Law?

So, the first legal challenge to the Sweeney-Christie pension bill has been filed, and it’s not by a union member.  Instead it is by a judge, who alleges that changing judge’s compensation during their term is against the New Jersey Constitution.

Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale is not saying that the law itself is unconstitutional, but that it cannot apply to him because the state constitution says salaries at his level and above “shall not be diminished during their term of appointment.”

Mike Drewniak, the former spokesman for US Attorney Chris Christie and current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (the same guy, BTW), doesn’t seem to care about the legal issues at hand.  He, like his boss, wants to be able to do whatever he wants and the legal issues be damned!

“Of all classes of New Jersey state employees, judges of the Superior Court have enjoyed the lowest pension contribution rate and received the richest pension benefits,” Drewniak said. “Judge DePascale should probably just say thank you and look forward to a comfortable retirement.”

Take what we give you and be thankful!  And while your at it, eat cake!  And not the good kind with icing and candles, but the hard tasteless kind they had in France a couple hundred years ago.  

In all seriousness, that appears to be Drewniak’s attitude, that they are the regents and we are the subjects.  What King Christie does is for the good of the people, and the people should be thankful for whatever scraps they get.

But a little over two hundred years ago we fought a war specifically to avoid that kind of government.  We didn’t want a King able to levy taxes without our say so, or to put his troops in our homes, or to make arbitrary laws.  So we got ourselves free of that tyranny.

And one of the prime ways our founders created to avoid a return to this under King Christie or anyone else like him is that any citizen can go to court to seek redress against the government.

If that’s not good enough for you, Mike, or King Christie then maybe they should find a new line of work.

I Believe The Governor is a Good Husband and Father. I Just Don’t Believe He’s A Good Governor!

For The New Jersey Family.

Twas a good convention. I was moved by speeches given by Chair John Wisniewski, our Senator Frank Lautenberg and most notably the one passionately delivered by Speaker Sheila Oliver. The theme of all was: remember why we’re Democrats, and go back to the grass roots who share our values. Young people, candidates, vendors and many interesting folk in attendance. The breakout sessions were informative, and meeting other Dems was most satisfying.  Made some great connections with other women throughout the state who want to help with the womens’ access to health care issue. Also enjoyed meeting some of the very famous Blue Jersey bloggers in person. They were all over the convention. Rosi, with her trusty computer, kept all of you up to date in real time.

But why do some in our ranks continue to try to plant negative stories with the press? Not designed to help anyone!

Along with the Women’s Political Caucus, we hosted the Women’s Health Roundtable in Trenton this past week. Very well attended and representatives of the various groups including nurses and other health professionals, womens’ organizations, and providers were outspoken in describing what the cuts to these health programs mean for women and their families. Thanks to Jay Lassiter for being there with his camera. I did describe the Governor as having initiated a “war on women”. Mike Drewniak, Gov’s press secretary, responded with: ‘that’s over the top – everyone knows Chris Christie is a loving husband and devoted father to two daughters’.  I would assume that’s very true, and would only add: And they have very good health insurance and access to health care!  more below…

OK. Let’s Set the “Record” Straight (Or The Star Ledger) and Mike Drewniak.

And I do not want to be defensive.  I’m ready, willing and able to stand up to Governor Bully anywhere:  But I am NOT hypocritical.  I wrote my “transparency” blog to be perfectly clear on how I decided to access my pension.  And I believe that saying the “circumstances were different – but the results are the same” said it all!

The reporter in question did not get me to comment on the Essex County Executive flap for obvious reasons! When he couldn’t elicit the response he wanted, he asked me if I thought Christie had a “double standard”, and I replied: he has a double standard about alot of things.  And he does: from his “favored” allies, to his own cabinet members, to Democrats he “likes”.

If one watches the actual tape of the Governor going after me with his “bat” analogy, it is actually more revealing than the words themselves. His eyes roling, his arms flailing and his body language say much more than the words do!  He is a man out of control!  more below…