Sunday, March 6, 2016

Christie is New Jersey's very own Republican con artist

An NJ Transit train approaching the Anderson Street station in Hackensack on Saturday. Today, The Record's front page is treating a possible March 13 strike of rail workers -- who have been without a contract for more than five years -- as if the end of the world is coming, but ignoring Governor Christie's abysmal lack of leadership in bringing the two sides together.


The Record's Sunday edition is filled with hand-wringing -- over a potential NJ Transit rail strike, and political battles involving the state Supreme Court, gambling, pensions and a fuel tax.

But you won't find the Woodland Park daily's so-called journalists and opinion writers going out on a limb and blasting Governor Christie for more than six years of chaotic rule (A-1 and O-1).

Surely, Christie is the worst governor in state history or, to echo New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman, New Jersey's own Republican con artist.

Yet, readers have to plow through paragraph after paragraph of background, analysis, and hemming and hawing by three columnists -- Charles Stiles, Carl Golden and Mike Kelly -- before finding a shred of outrage at the mess Christie has put all of us in.

Kelly on Christie

Deep on the continuation page, in his eleventh paragraph, Columnist Mike Kelly recalls all the promises Christie has made, and finally slams him with these words:

"He blew it" (O-4).

Still, Kelly's column is weighed down by comparing Christie's expression during a Donald Trump news conference last week to that of Jack McGreevey in 2004, when his son and then-governor announced he is gay and was resigning.

What a bizarre comparison, and so far afield as to have readers questioning Kelly's sanity and homophobia, and asking again why no one edits any of the paper's columnists.

Christie's big con

Since 2010, Christie has been unyielding on running the state without raising taxes of any kind, especially on his millionaire supporters.

But state revenue lagged, and the fiscal conservative soon ran into trouble balancing the state budget:

So, he began grabbing money from mass transit, public pensions, women's health, the environment and other programs to balance his voodoo spending plans.

To get his way with the Democratic majority in the state Legislature, the GOP bully executed more than 500 vetoes, leading voters to approve constitutional amendments on raising the minimum wage and open-space preservation.

Rail strike?

For some reason, a big" transit options" graphic lists not a single NJ Transit bus between North Jersey and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan (A-6).

The No. 165 from Westwood links Hackensack and Manhattan, and the No. 166 from Cresskill picks up riders in Englewood, Leonia and Palisades Park on the way to the Lincoln Tunnel.

A rail strike would begin next Sunday at midnight.


The Record is so enamored of Christie and so opposed to unions that transportation reporter Christopher Maag actually quotes a so-called expert saying no one will blame the governor for a rail strike.

Indeed, Maag's first paragraph speculates on the impact of a strike on Christie's "political career" (A-7).

Readers speak

Editor Deirdre Sykes has so much contempt for readers she rarely asks her reporters to go out and interview voters on Christie or the unending series of crises the state has faced under his rule.

But unlike the paper's columnists and editorial writers, readers' letters to the editor don't mince words (O-3):

"The rise of Trump can directly be attributed to two main engines -- bigotry and bigotry," Stanley Sanders of Fair Lawn says.

Sanders also notes, "Republicans have sought the downfall of the president [Barack Obama] because of racial reasons."

'Pathetic' Christie

"Who could imagine that Governor Christie could outdo his pathetic quest for the presidency by endorsing Donald Trump," asks Michael Konsevick of Vernon.

"With more than 100,000 commuters facing an NJ Transit strike and disruption of their lives, it is inconceivable that our governor has not been publicly trying to bring the parties together," David Wynn of Livingston writes, adding:

"He is an embarrassment to New Jersey and should resign."

Referring to Christie receiving his full salary, as well as state police protection, during his doomed presidential campaign, David Brook of Hillsborough notes:

"New Jersey has a budget crisis and if the governor can take money from all sorts of programs to plug budget gaps, let's do what is only fair and take away his salary and all benefits and costs to help plug those gaps." 

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