Tag Archive: Town hall

Watch NJTV’s video & decide for yourself: Does Christie’s “town hall” schtick still work?

NJTV makes some of their news coverage embeddable, which is good, and reporter David Cruz filed this video of Gov. Christie’s “town hall” yesterday in Kenilworth.

Mr. Cruz appears to make the same point I did about this event, though in a more even-handed way that I did. I pointed out that, particularly when confronted with the teacher with Exxon settlement questions, Christie’s schtick of evading the question by humiliating the person daring to ask it isn’t working for him anymore. The teacher, surely having seen his schtick before, calmly says, “I’m not here to be bullied.” After he tries to bully her some more, he finally answers the question (not well).  Mr. Cruz points out Christie still gets the same standing-O he’s used to, but is like the crooner who has to sing the same song over and over … just to sell some albums. Some things still work; he still runs these things in daytime when most people are working, which helps guarantee an audience that still responds with more appreciation than polls indicate New Jerseyans actually have.

Some context is needed regarding the outburst from Newark students, most of which regular readers already know, but I’ll remind you. Gov. Christie’s big initiative in Newark is his hand-picked agent sent to dismantle and privatize public education. Cami Anderson has been a disorganized, disrespectful disaster there, and student protests against her plans are national news. A hot potato for a guy with White House dreams. And if you think that the jarring whistle and calls of “Arrest Christie!” (below) are rude, I would remind you that the Governor’s response was no less rude when he was asked respectfully almost a year ago to bring a “town hall” to Newark so people could talk to him.

NJTV’s video on the jump page.  

Today in Moorestown: Christie returns to “Town Hall” orchestrated PR campaign at taxpayer expense

It’s almost unprecedented – Chris Christie is in New Jersey today for the second day in a row, following yesterday’s short (25-minutes) and mystifying 2016 Budget Address delivered before the full NJ Legislature.

Another politician might go on a listening tour after such a speech, to see how his constituents are taking it. This one, if previous “town halls” are an indication, will do most of the talking today. A public event dressed up as access and accountability, with just a few questions taken, and most or all of them being answered in long-winded style by the governor. As usual, Christie’s picked a majority white, comparatively wealthy and largely Republican perch from which to spin.

Gov. Chris Christie’s 128th “Town Hall” (his first in 6 months)

When: Today 3pm (doors open 1:30pm)

Where: Moorestown Recreation Center (111 West Second St.)

If you go, ask him about the our crumbling transportation infrastructure, and what he plans to do about the Transportation Trust Fund, which he didn’t mention at all in yesterdays’s outlook of his budget plans. Or ask him why he overstated a partnership on pension reform with NJEA, which they quickly pointed out. Or, ask him about his vulture-like (okay, don’t say “vulture-like”) longtime spokesman Michael Drewniak, and his hasty exit.

Or ask him if the Politicker story that he’s leaving his job in a few months for a TV job is true.

As usual – Seating is on a first come, first serve basis and open to the public.  No bags of any kind are permitted in the venue and all personal items are subject to search.  Due to safety requirements, law enforcement officers will be in attendance and will wand all attendees.

TONIGHT 8pm: Got #Twitter Questions for #NJ11 Dem @MarcDunec?

Twitter Town Hall - #NJ11 candidate Marc DunecWhat do you do when your opponent hides in the complacency of his incumbency and famous family name, and won’t come out and debate you? You do this:  

Twitter Town Hall with Marc Dunec

8pm TONIGHT

Hashtag: #AskMarkNJ11

Follow @MarcDunec

Dem candidate for Congress, CD 11

Opponent: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen

You can tweet Marc Dunec your questions in advance

Dunec’s campaign complains that Frelinghuysen, in office 19 years, has consistently avoided debating opponents. In this cycle, they say he’s declined League of Women voters in both Wayne and Livingston, Sussex County Tech (HS) and Ogdensburg Historical Society (he sent Sen. Oroho to surrogate) agreeing only to a matchup on a radio station this Sunday morning on a show where he’s a frequent guest, and will be running campaign ads before, after and even during the broadcast hosted by Julie Briggs, who they report is a registered Republican. **

Where’s Rodney: Give Dunec credit for working it. Today, his campaign launched a site spotlighting 10 issues he says Frelinghuysen’s done either little or actually nothing on, or even made worse. Each issue – minimum wage, the economy, veterans issues, student loans and more – is an animated short at less than a minute. Rodney’s  “excuses, deflections, and inactions” and Dunec’s proposed solutions. A “political decathlon,” he calls it.

** Disclosure: I know Julie Briggs, and consider her a friend. I have no idea her political affiliation.

Newark Parents to Chris Christie: We demand a town hall in Newark

As we’ve seen, the people of Newark actively engaged in their city’s future don’t shrink away like they’re supposed to when rough-talked by the Governor of New Jersey. Some of them went to a beachside town hall not long ago at the other end of the state and a teenage girl asked Gov. Christie when he’d come to Newark to have a frank talk with the people there. He mocked her; a 17-year-old girl.

So, now Newark Parents Union  just made this video, which they hope you will tweet and share, shows a group of them being corralled away from the Governor  – an “acceptable distance”. And they are making that call again, with this video, demanding a visit in Newark with the Governor:  

Christie disrespects a high school student asking him a question at Belmar “town hall”

Kristin Towkaniuk, 17, is the president of the Newark Students Union and a member of NJ Communities United. Here she is in Belmar today at Christie’s “town hall” where questions are supposedly encouraged, asking him when he’ll do a similar event in her city:

You can hear somebody call out Rude! at his insulting her about her question, while somebody else calls out, Thought you had 4 kids!

Christie doesn’t do well when he cannot control his entire environment, which is one reason his town hall events are as engineered as they are.  A big sign depicting Christie in black/white with the word LIAR on his forehead first popped up in Newark’s community fight against state control of Newark’s schools, a key factor in the election of educator Ras Baraka as the city’s new mayor. Kristin was a visible part of both. I think he called on her deliberately. He called on me in the Flemington town hall, and surprised me by saying, “I know who you are, and I know you don’t agree with me on anything.” Then he lied in his answer to me, and mocked my follow-up. He was harsher with Kristin. And she deserved better, as a student, his constituent, and as a known young leader with a constituency of her own in the state’s largest city. If he chose her question so he could mock her, it backfired.



Christie photobombing himself. (hat/tip Dave Zirkle)

From the scene outside Christie “Town Hall” in Somerset

People from Somerset County Dems, NJ Citizen Action and NJ Working Families were outside the National Guard Armory in Somerset early, where Gov. Chris Christie is conducting his 119th “town hall.”

<—– Gov. Tax Waster

It’s Tax Day, so the message outside is about how Christie is misusing our money to advance his own political ambitions. The Mastro report. The October special election so Christie didn’t have to be on a ballot with Cory Booker. Commandeering the state police chopper to get to his kid’s baseball game or meet with Iowa GOP fundraisers. And of course, these “town halls” themselves, brazen GOP rallies dressed up as public events, with the cost passed on to you .  

Heads-up – Tuesday: Christie in Somerset County for Tax Day “Town Hall”

Tomorrow (Tuesday) on Tax Day April 15th, Chris Christie will be in Somerset County for one of his staged campaign rallies dressed up as a Town Hall. These things are all scheduled during most people’s work time, making it hard for most people to attend and check in with their Governor. But I happen to know that there will be some Somerset Dems there, and some activists from both Working Families and New Jersey Citizen Action. If you’re available, maybe you’d like to join them?

What: Christie Town Hall Protest

When: Tuesday, April 15th at 9:00am.

Where: National Guard Armory, 1060 Hamilton Street, Somerset, NJ 08873

Info & map.

Since it’s Tax Day, people will be protesting outside and letting people know the Governor’s real record: cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, raising taxes on the middle-class and working poor, and blowing taxpayer dollars on politically motivated TV ads. It’s a great opportunity to talk about Christie’s real record on taxes. He’s raised taxes on the working poor, cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and squandered millions of taxpayer dollars on his own political ambitions, like the self-exonerating Mastro report and glorified campaign ads like Stronger than the Storm.

New time for Christie “town hall” – today in Fairfield

Gov. Chris Christie’s “town hall,” originally scheduled for this morning, is now scheduled to start at 1:00pm, with doors now open. Seating is first-come, first-served. Winston Churchill Elementary School, 233 Fairfield Road in Fairfield. Thanks, BlueWaveNJ for the heads-up.

As usual, the Gov uses these “town halls” to take his message – in today’s case, changes to the state’s pension system with attendant insults to public workers, and his budget proposals. All of these 118 “town halls” have been held during times when most people are at work. The questions are mainly softballs and audiences overwhelmingly adulatory. An interesting contrast to Christie’s recent polls. For example the Rutgers Eagleton poll yesterday showed that half of NJ voters still have a favorable impression of him. But only 22% fully believe Christie’s story on the GWB lane closures, and 26% “somewhat” believe him. The largest group – 49% – say they do not believe him at all. The Mastro report “exonerating” Christie didn’t offer much of a bump; nearly two-thirds say it’s not an objective assessment. Only 30% say it is.

As before, no bags of any kind are permitted and personal items are subject to be searched. Don’t be surprised if you’re wanded by security on the way in (and really, I wasn’t offended by that). But remember the NJ Attorney General has informed the Governor’s security detail that it is not allowed to photograph protesters.  

ACLU-NJ Raises Concerns about Free Speech Rights at Christie Town Hall

ACLU-NJ, the state’s watchdog dedicated to defending individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this state by the Constitution and laws of this country, is concerned about news reports that the NJ State Police are photographing critics of Gov. Chris Christie at his town hall meetings.

This, from Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU-NJ:

“It raises serious First Amendment concerns that the State Police may be photographing protesters at Gov. Christie’s town hall meetings. The State Police must come clean and explain to New Jerseyans whether it has a practice or policy of photographing people engaged in First Amendment protected speech. New Jerseyans must be able to express their viewpoints without having to fear police officers photographing them and creating political dossiers on them.”

Yesterday, following Christie’s town hall in South River, Sen. Loretta Weinberg called Christie’s new town hall practice a “Nixonian tactic” that had the effect of an “act of political intimidation.”

Gov. Christie’s next town hall: Thursday, March 20th (tomorrow)

WHEN: 10:30am – Doors open at 9am

WHERE: St. Magdalen de Pazzi, 105 Mine Street, Flemington

RSVP: TownHall.Hunterdon@gov.state.nj.us

Watch: This is how not to back down from Gov. Chris Christie

Most of the press following yesterday’s Christie “town hall” in South River focused on the protesters disrupting the tightly-controlled event, and Christie’s new intimidation tactic of photographing them using state police dressed as civilians. But there was another important exchange. This is Maura Collinsgru, healthcare policy advocate for NJ Citizen Action, and Coordinator of the NJ for Health Care Coalition. Watch her simply, calmly refuse to back down as she challenges Christie on why he threw back federal money intended to help get New Jerseyans connected to health coverage.  

Video via CNN.

Next Christie town hall: Thursday morning in Flemington. Details here.

More on the impact of Christie’s decision to squander federal ACA funds.