Category Archives: Chris Christie

>All hail Christie: Governor’s bigger-than-life persona has national media starry-eyed — and missing some facts

>It seems that the tarnish is finally starting to show on Chris Christie’s armour. As the national news media is swooning over Christie and very often refuse to fact check much of which he says, others are beginning to wake up and look at the facts as they are. Often times the facts tell a far different story than the one being told by Christie and his cronies.

This third editorial written by the Star-Ledger’s Kevin Manahan, talks about this very subject and alls out 60 Minutes, Face The Nation, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and others for asking softball questions without tough follow-up question of the Governor and falling for his tough guy, honest answer, Youtube persona. Which many New Jerseyians know is an act that is wearing thin based on polling numbers that have him less popular at home than he is away from it:

As the segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” opens, co-host Joe Scarborough applauds his in-studio guest, Gov. Chris Christie, while stumbling over the words of a song playing in the background — “My Hero” by Foo Fighters:

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero …

A day after introducing his $29.4 billion budget, Christie is performing on the Cheerios circuit, and it’s clear from the start this is going to be another 10-minute neck rub for the Republican superstar who, Scarborough believes, is carrying the weight of national reform on his broad (but reportedly slimming), blue-suited shoulders.

For more than a year, most of the national media have tripped over themselves to tell the governor how great he is, or have allowed him to tell the nation himself. It’s fitting that radio and TV host Glenn Beck lovingly calls Christie “the conservative porn star,” because dozens of media outlets — magazines (national and niche), newspapers (New Jersey and beyond), radio (AM and FM), TV (network and cable) — want to climb into bed with Christie and kiss him all over.

In addition, interviewers often don’t have a good grip on what’s happening in New Jersey, outside of what they see in YouTube clips posted by the Christie P.R. machine. Many simply don’t do their homework (“What’s the tool kit?” Scarborough once asked a Star-Ledger reporter). They rarely have a challenging follow-up question and they leave fact-checking to someone else (one inflated Christie’s approval rating to 70 percent). Their shallow questions are tailor-made for Christie riffs on what a great job he’s doing.

You’d expect the batted eyelashes and cuddling from conservative personalities like Neil Cavuto (Christie’s Mendham neighbor) or Imus or Rush Limbaugh, and from conservative talking head Ann Coulter, who refuses to take Christie’s presidential “no” for an answer. But even the usually even-handed “60 Minutes” let Christie go unchallenged in an interview about state finances, and some faithful readers (and online commenters) believe the New York Times — staunch defender of liberalism — has inched perilously close to the Christie hero-worship line, too.

A headline on a Washington Post blog asked, “What is it about Chris Christie?”

The blog lauded Christie for making “even the toughest position sound like nothing more than common sense” — even though the toughest” positions enumerated were typical Republican stances.

Why do the media love him? Because Christie is a novelty — engaging and entertaining — a plain-tawkin’ slugger at a time when the Republican bench is weak. He is seen as Everyman: a guy who has a problem with his weight and his “L’s,” but he is also a savvy politician who, while protecting the tax returns of the rich, can make some middle-class taxpayers believe he is fighting for them.

A large part of Christie’s allure to the media is that he might be president or vice president someday soon.

Why does Christie love them? Well, because he has carefully chosen the interviewers — part of a media strategy to build a national profile. And they don’t ask tough questions.

“Christie understands that he can get a bounce in New Jersey from a gushing national media,” Rutgers political science professor Ross Baker says. “Voters figure if they’re making a fuss about him, he must be all right.”

Is it working? Yes, outside New Jersey, anyway. Recent polls show the governor is more popular outside the Garden State than in it.

And, of course, here, within the borders, the questions tend to be more challenging.

Before this February morning is done, Ann Curry of “Today” will schmooze over Christie’s weight loss: “You look good,” she says, and she spends more time (five questions and comments) prying into the number of pounds he has lost than finding out about the state’s proposed budget or how Christie feels about the union-busting attempt by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker….

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Chris Christie, Face the Nation, Gov.Scott Walker, Morning Joe, the Star-Ledger, Today Show

>What Else Did Our Outgoing Mayor Have To Say Yesterday?

>So what else did Gerry Scharfenberger have to say yesterday at the Township’s reorganization meeting? Well, in typical Scharfenberger style he patted himself on the back for a the great job that he did as mayor as the Town faced enormous challenges brought on by the state of the economy and ongoing recession.

He also took time to kiss the ass of his benefactor, Governor Chris Christie, who appointed him to the position of Director for the Office Planning Advocacy back in August, by making sure that everyone in the room know that Christie is the greatest gift to Middletown since the appearance of sliced bread.

There is more if you want to hear it for yourself, the audio clip runs about 7 minutes and includes everything I mentioned above and then some.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

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Filed under Chris Christie, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Office of Planning Advocacy, reorganization

>Politicians’ reputations can be buried by snowstorms; If you’re a politician, beware of snow. It can bury a career.

>Very good Op-Ed by the Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson that discusses the potential danger that politicians face when they downplay the negative effects that weather, in this case snow storms, can have on their reputations.

In the op-ed, Robinson talks about the potential damage that this weeks massive snowstorm may have caused to both Governor Chris Christie (away in Disney World) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (perceived indifference) reputation of being competent and in control of whatever situations that may arise. He qualifies his opinion by detailing the effects that other major storms had on the careers of politicians in cities like Washington DC (Marion Barry 1987), Chicago (Michael Bilandic 1979) and Denver (Bill McNichols 1982), each lost their bids at election or re-election because of how voters in those cities perceived how well or not so well they handled their particular snow crisis.
It’s a good read that I hope others can learn from (are you reading this Gerry?):

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are learning that lesson the hard way, as their angry constituents dig out of last weekend’s blizzard. Bloomberg is being hammered for the city’s slow and incompetent response, especially in the outer boroughs; Christie, for jetting off to Walt Disney World just before the storm dumped nearly three feet of snow in parts of his state.

The two beleaguered officials – both of whom are rumored to have national ambitions – should have had a consultation with Marion Barry.

In January 1987, Barry kicked off his third term as mayor of Washington with a trip to Southern California for the Super Bowl. While he was getting a manicure and playing tennis at the posh Beverly Hilton, the voters who had elected him were being buried under 20 inches of snow. The city was utterly paralyzed – streets unplowed, buses immobilized, subway barely running. The mayor continued to frolic in the sun.

Are you getting any of this, Gov. Christie?

Finally, Barry came home. He wanted to survey the situation, so he had to tour the city by helicopter; his limousine, he explained, would have gotten stuck in the snow. His aerial assessment: “We’re not a snow town.”

Unbelievably, that wasn’t Barry’s first unfortunate encounter with winter weather. In 1979, barely into his first term, he was vacationing in Miami when an 18-inch snowfall shut down the city. When he got home, a reporter asked how people were supposed to get to work. “Take a bus,” Barry said. Informed that the buses weren’t running, Barry modified his advice: “They can walk.”

It’s unlikely that anyone will top Barry for grossly mishandling the aftermath of a snowstorm – and anyway, it was white powder of a different kind that led to his downfall. But his is hardly the only example.

In 1979, Michael Bilandic was expected to cruise to reelection as mayor of Chicago. He had the support of the Democratic machine, which usually guaranteed victory. But a series of big snowstorms that winter turned “the city that works” into “the city that couldn’t get to work,” with some neighborhoods left unplowed for weeks. Minorities and working-class whites felt particularly neglected.

Jane Byrne, an unlikely challenger in the Democratic mayoral primary, took advantage of Bilandic’s missteps by filming campaign ads on snowbound streets. She won narrowly – and went on to become the first woman to serve as Chicago’s mayor. Bilandic spent the rest of his career in the worthy obscurity of the state appellate bench.

Paying attention, Mayor Bloom-berg?

Snow can make voters forget all the good things you’ve done. Bill McNichols, who served as mayor of Denver for 14 years, is generally given credit for the city’s cosmopolitan growth. But a blizzard deposited two feet of snow on Christmas Eve 1982 – when city workers were at home with their families, not out clearing impassible streets and airport runways. How many Denver residents had their holiday travel plans ruined? Enough to get McNichols bounced out of office a few months later.

Snow eventually melts, but hardened hearts may not.


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Filed under Chris Christie, Eugene Robinson, Michael Bloomberg, snow storm, Washington Post

>Unbelievable, Win or Lose Scharfy Was Going to Trenton

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The news coming out of Middletown today about our acting mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, is unbelievable but not really unexpected, many in Middletown thought that Scharfy had higher political aspirations then just sitting around Middletown pretending to care about the town, while driving up the municipal tax rate by 45% during his tenure as a member of the Township Committee.

Today’s announcement that Scharfy has been appointed by Governor Christie to a $95,000 a year job as the new Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy (formerly the Office of Smart Growth), just confirmed it. His appointment to this position is a strange one considering after all considering that the man doesn’t know how to plan for a township budget that doesn’t include huge tax increases.

But I guess the only real qualifications needed for this appointment was his incessant and partisan bashing of all that were not of his same political affiliations and the nonstop, obsessive, sucking-up to Christie that borders on some strange kind of “Bromance”.

Does this mean that he will be leaving his current job as a Senior Lead Archaeologist for GAI Consultants and giving up his part-time teaching job at Monmouth University? I don’t see how he can find time for two full-time jobs, one part-time job and still have time to “volunteer” his services as a member of the Middletown Township Committee. Knowing how egotistical Scharfenberger is, I’m sure that he wont let it get in his way. He’ll continue to serve out his newly elected term while padding his State pension with his new found tax payer windfall.

I wonder how many people would have voted for this sleazy political hack if they had known before Tuesday’s election he would be leaving Middletown to work for Christie in Trenton? I mean really, this appointment didn’t just happen over night. It had to have been planned, win or lose, for weeks if not months.

How good does this appointment look anyway for Christie, do you think that he will get any slack from the public after announcing that 1,200 public employees will be losing their jobs in January? I’m sure one public employee isn’t to happy about it, that would be Acting Executive Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy , Linda Kellner, who has to make way for Scharfenberger.

As an anonymous poster stated on a previous post when the learned about Scharfy’s new gig:


“Scharfy is now exposed and deceptive as usual. All along only interested in self promotion. Appointed to a business position.That’s beautiful, can’t even do his own budget. Great choice Christie.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Office of Planning Advocacy, Trenton

Press Release: Committeman Sean F. Byrnes Calls For Sweeping Changes To The Way Middletown Does Business

Press Release

December 21, 2009
In Middletown today, Committeeman Sean F. Byrnes called for sweeping changes to the way Middletown does business. Since joining the Committee in 2008, Byrnes has continuously called for the creation of a Finance Committee to oversee the preparation of Middletown’s budget, evaluate expenses and investigate restructuring how services are delivered. However, his efforts have failed to garner support from Republican members of the Township Committee.
Citing the worst budget environment in the Township in 20 years , Byrnes called on his fellow Committee members to make dramatic changes to the way the Township does business:
“We find ourselves sinking deeper into debt with fewer tools for pulling ourselves out. Last year, we limped through the year relying upon one-time revenue line items, a request to exceed our cap on increasing tax levies to citizens, and a decision to defer $1.5 million in pension contributions. Yet, by year’s end, we still needed an emergency appropriation of $1.4 million, payable in 2010, to pay escalating health care expenses. I am estimating that we begin 2010 with a shortfall that approaches $5.0 million. We will need a specific plan, very early in the year to offset this shortfall.”
To address the looming budget shortfall, Byrnes has recommended exploring the following cost-saving measures:

  1. Requiring all capital spending projects in 2010 to be competitively bid among 5 pre-approved engineering firms.
  2. Retaining the Township attorney and other professionals to operate on a fixed fee monthly retainer basis and eliminate all hourly billing for all but complex litigation.
  3. In 2010, combining the property maintenance functions within Public Works and the Parks & Recreation Department into one Department within the Department of Public Works, responsible for all property maintenance.
  4. In 2011, combining the property maintenance functions currently operated separately by the Board of Education and the Township Committee into one department to maintain all property within the Township.
  5. Eliminating the Sewerage Authority thereby eliminating the administrative, overhead and professional fees associated with the operations of this Authority.
  6. Soliciting private contracts for 50% of the leaf and brush pickup in 2010 and a larger percentage in ensuing years.
  7. Shifting to a once per week trash pickup in conjunction with mandatory recycling of paper and a campaign to encourage a far greater percentage of composting within the Township. Reducing the volume of paper and vegetable waste will substantially reduce the volume of disposable waste and the need for more than one trash pickup per week.
  8. Offer early retirement to the more senior maintenance workers in the Parks & Recreation Department and Public Works Departments where salaries in the Parks & Recreation Department dedicated to property maintenance exceed $1.0 million.
  9. Commence discussions with the Library Board to consolidate the Arts Center operation into the Middletown Public Library, which has a steady funding source and currently offers arts programming that is similar to programs offered by the Library.
  10. Continue the initiative started by Committeeman Fiore to negotiate a new health care payment arrangement, as the existing self-insured relationship for claims has produced double-digit increases in costs that cannot be sustained.
On a County-wide basis, Byrnes has recommended a consolidation of police, fire and school administration.
“The taxpayers cannot sustain the spiraling salary, benefit and pension costs that follow the large administration that oversees the delivery of police, fire and educational services. We need our locally elected State representatives in Monmouth County to propose State-wide legislation that gives counties and municipalities the ability to engage in consolidation efforts and other cost-sharing measures. The current statutory and regulatory framework ties the hands of municipalities that might be willing to take bold steps to cut costs. ”
Mr. Byrnes also pointed out that two Township officials, Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger and Township Attorney Brian Nelson have been appointed to the transition team for Governor –elect Christie.
Citing the rare opportunity presented by the current economic climate and voter dissatisfaction, Byrnes said, “I am hopeful that Mr. Scharfenberfer and Mr. Nelson will seize this opportunity and advocate for sweeping changes to the laws that foster duplication and overlap of governmental services. As an example, the legal separation of Boards of Education and municipal government is too stark. There must be greater shared services between these public entities and even some degree or merger of some functions such as property maintenance, recreation, human resources and purchasing.”
“The old system is broken, everyone knows it, and we need to be creative and willing to re-design how services are delivered to taxpayers at the local, county and state level. If we do it right, the end product will look a lot different than what we have right now.”

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Filed under Budget Shortfall, Chris Christie, Middletown, New Jersey, press release, Sean F. Byrnes

N.J. Democrats Demand Marriage Vote

Advocate.com

In the wake of reports indicating that New Jersey lawmakers may be reluctant to bring a marriage equality bill to the floor during the lame duck session, some 200 Democrats sent a letter on Tuesday urging senate and assembly leaders to take a vote on the bill.

The prominent Democrats want action on the measure before the session ends and governor-elect Chris Christie, a Republican who has vowed to veto the marriage equality bill, takes office on January 19.

According to the Associated Press, “the Democrats, including members of congress, fundraisers and lobbyists , released a letter to leaders in the senate and assembly Tuesday demanding the bill be voted up or down before the lame-duck session ends in January.”

On Monday, a report in the Star-Ledger suggested that prospects for the marriage equality bill looked extremely bleak. Lead sponsor Senator Loretta Weinberg was quoted as saying, “I can’t say I’m confident now.”


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Filed under Chris Christie, Gov. Jon Corzine, Marriage Equality, New Jersey, PolitickerNJ, The Advocate

Christie Tells Local Officials to Expect Pain

Does this mean that Middletown’s Gerry Scharfenberger and his fellow Republicans will now stop blaming Trenton Democrats for their own failures and tax increases in Middletown and now point their finger at one of their own in the future? Some how I doubt it.

N.J. Governor-elect Christie tells local officials to expect ‘a continued period of pain’

Gov.-elect Chris Christie sent a strong message to an audience of municipal politicians and workers gathered at the luncheon at the annual League of Municipalities convention in Atlantic City today: Stop thinking about yourselves, or you’ll will be voted out. (Video by Brian Donohue / The Star-Ledger)

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Filed under Chris Christie, Middletown, Middletown GOP, New Jersey, the Star-Ledger