Sunday, September 13, 2015

Editors expose Christie's ties to powerful corporations

On Saturday, I saw an unexpected display of late-afternoon color in the parking lot of a medical building on Essex Street in Hackensack.


Lawyer David Samson, often described as Governor Christie's mentor and father figure, is at the center of two stories on corporate influence that dominate Page 1 of The Record today.

Christie nominated Samson, head of his transition team after the 2009 election,  to the board of the Port Authority, and he was eventually elected chairman of the bi-state transportation agency (A-1).

The Record today describes how United Airlines started special flights to South Carolina, where Samson has a second home, in hopes of getting the Port Authority to lower fees for using Newark Liberty International Airport.

United also hoped the PATH commuter rail line would be extended to the airport, one of the airline's major hubs.

United's lobbyist, James P. Fox, is a close friend of Samson's, and is now Christie's transportation commissioner (A-6).

Lottery fiasco

In the second story, on declining lottery revenue for state programs, GTECH, one of the corporate entities Christie chose to run the New Jersey Lottery, is said to have spent $460,000 in 2012-14 on Wolff & Samson Public Affairs, a subsidiary of the law firm Samson founded (A-10).

"It also hired ... Mercury Public Affairs, led by Michael Du Haime, Christie's former chief strategist who is now a senior adviser for his presidential run," State House reporter Dustin Racioppi says,

Readers wonder if The Record's exposes on this corporate influence in state government could have come much sooner.

Instead, Editor Martin Gottlieb, Columnist Charles Stile and other reporters spent virtually all of their time trying to sell readers on Christie's so-called reform agenda and his phony image as a compromiser able to work with the majority Democrats in the state Legislature.

Dated graphic

On the Business front today, the graphic with the story on subprime auto loans looks like it was taken out of mothballs (B-1).

The car shown is a 2004-09 Toyota Prius, but the keys are to another vehicle altogether.

If the story is about auto loans, why are hundred dollar bills shown?

Rotten apple

Chief restaurant critic Elisa Ung rarely orders a healthy salad at the fine-dining restaurants she appraises, but always find room for artery clogging desserts.

So, why is she using her Sunday column today to critique the salads included with entrees at "moderately priced family restaurants" (BL-1)?

Kelly column

On the Opinion front today, Columnist Mike Kelly pushes around thousands of words on the special flights for Samson and the resignation of United Airline's CEO last week (O-1).

Kelly reviews reporting by The Record and Bloomberg News in what is basically a rewrite of everything that has been said before.

But you won't find any opinions in this so-called opinion column.

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