|The Modern, a 47-story apartment building under construction in Fort Lee, overlooks the Chris Christie Memorial Local Access Lanes to the George Washington Bridge, below.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
New Jersey Public Radio says The Record's top lawyer is calling the Christie administration the most secretive in decades.
Jennifer A. Borg is being quoted today in the report on WNYC-FM, whose Web site calls the story "Chris Christie's 18 State Secrets."
Matt Katz of New Jersey Public Radio reports:
"The release of subpoenaed documents that exposed the Christie Administration's involvement in Bridgegate show how the Governor's Office has been keeping its decisions and expenditures quiet despite laws that require official business to be made public. Here's 18 ways Christie and his officials have blocked access to information."
The big lie
On Jan. 19, 2010, the day Chris Christie was sworn in, the new governor pledged, "Today, a new era of accountability and transparency is here."
But Borg, North Jersey Media Group vice president and general counsel, says the Christie administration has been "more secretive" than any other administration she has dealt with in the last 20 years.
For example, Katz reports, Christie officials responded to The Record's request for correspondence on George Washington Bridge lane closures by saying none existed.
Only subpoenas from the Legislature were able to obtain e-mails from David Wildstein of the Port Authority, which runs the bridge, to Michael Drewniak, a former Star-Ledge reporter who is Christie's foul-mouthed chief spokesman and spin doctor.
The subpoenas found the Governor's Office "was intentionally or unintentionally violating the Open Public Records Act," Katz says.
Three other "state secrets," Katz reports, are:
- How much taxpayers are spending on the lawyer representing Christie in various "abuse-of-power investigations."
- Who paid for a trip the governor took to Dallas last year.
- Christie's commissioner of community affairs, Richard Constable III, has ignored questions on why the state fired a $69 million contractor responsible for distributing $780 million in Sandy housing aid.
Read the full report at the following link:
Chris Christie's 18 State Secrets
The Record today is silent on the New Jersey Public Radio investigative report.
And there is nothing in the paper about a Star-Ledger report that the Democratic mayor of Belleville endorsed Governor Christie's election to a second term last year two weeks after the GOP bully personally pushed "his senior staff to provide a Sandy grant to build a senior citizen housing complex" in the town (see Sandy story on A-3).
A Star-Ledger editorial today charges Christie "used Sandy money as a political slush fund."
More good publicity
In fact, The Record today is wrapped in a special Super Bowl section, a testament to the power of the National Football League's publicity machine.
The upbeat, 8-page section crowds out any mention of the league's concussion crisis and the many brain-damaged pro football players who suffer dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
In contrast, today's Local section carries only three pages of municipal, police and court news, and three pages of death notices.
The dominant Page 1 story today is about NJ Transit trademarks, but continues the Woodland Park daily's practice of ignoring the quality of bus and rail service or whether the agency can guarantee commuters a rush-hour seat (A-1).
In a front-page column, Charles Stile claims Christie "nearly leaped out of his shoes four years ago" at word New Jersey would get its first Super Bowl -- impossible for a man who weighed nearly 400 pounds (A-1).
On the Local front, a Turkish-born American citizen who was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing a sleeping woman on a Phoenix-Newark flight says he will never complain about flying economy again (L-1).
On L-3, Rutherford joins Hackensack in canceling a Super Bowl-themed winter festival, citing a lack of sponsors -- more evidence the big game will have far less economic impact in New Jersey than predicted.
The Record's feature writers, including its star restaurant reviewer, rarely discuss the origin or quality of food.
For years, the paper's consumer columnist, Kevin DeMarrais, has compiled a monthly survey of supermarket prices, though he continues to ignore organic and naturally grown or raised food.
On Wednesday's L-8, the first Business page, DeMarrais reported that Great American Seafood-brand frozen tilapia fillets are being sold in a bag with an American flag logo, but that the fish is farm raised in China, Vietnam and Thailand.
Though that kind of warning is welcome, The Record's Business section spends far too much of its time mindlessly promoting fast-food restaurants, supermarkets and other food businesses.