New Jersey’s economy should be booming with reconstruction. It isn’t.
There should be hundreds of construction workers in Highlands, Union Beach, Sea Bright and other Sandy impacted communities every day. They are not working and don’t look to be anytime soon.
Short changed by insurance companies/the National Flood Insurance Plan. Arduous applications for aid followed by red tape, bureaucratic incompetence and rules that halt rebuilding. Expensive and time consuming zoning approvals to rebuild what was there before. Pleas for help are answered with finger pointing between bureaucrats at different levels of government who are getting paid for their bullshit and going home every night.
“GO, GO, GO, REBUILD, you’ll get reimbursed,” we were told after the storm. We trusted our government. They lied.
Sport’s Illustrated’s annual swim suit edition, usually shot in tropical island locations, features supermodel Hannah Davis enjoying the boardwalk at Seaside Heights and the beaches of Island Beach State Park and Cape May.
It is not known at this time if any federal Sandy Relief funds were used to recruit SI and Davis to the Jersey Shore, but Congressman Frank Pallone will probably call for an investigation.
Congressman Frank Pallone moving his lips, and fingers
On early Monday morning, 6:54, in the midst of the Bridgegate network and cable TV media feeding frenzy engulfing Governor Chris Christie, CNN reported an “Exclusive” story that “federal officials” were investigating whether Christie had “improperly used” some of the Sandy Relief money used to produce the Stonger than the Storm tourism ad campaign. The source of the “Exclusive” was Congressman Frank Pallone.
That should have been the media’s first clue that Pallone is not trustworthy. He offered an exclusive to CNN, and then spread, the story, like a crack whore needing another fix.
But no, the media lapped up the story. It led the 8 am hour of most network morning news shows, and dominated the the political news of the day as an “additional federal investigation” that Christie was facing.
Christie was not first choice as star of #STTS campaign
Congressman Frank Pallone during the 2013 Democratic U.S. Senate Primary Debate
Congressman Frank Pallone lied to the Department and Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General when he asked that they audit the Christie Administration’s 2013 post-Superstorm Sandy Shore Tourism ad campaign.
In his August 8, 2013 letter to HUD Inspector General David Montoya, Pallone said:
Recently released documents relating to the bidding process and contract award for this marketing campaign show that the contract was awarded to a firm that is charging over $2 million more than the next lowest bidder to develop the marketing plan. The winning firm is being paid $4.7 million for their work, while a comparable firm proposed billing the state $2.5 million for similar work. This large discrepancy between the competing proposals raises concerns as to whether these federal funds are being spent in the most cost effective manner, and should be reviewed by your office.
I am also concerned that the winning bid proposed including Governor Chris Christie in the advertisements, while the lower cost proposal that was not selected did not. As you know, the Governor is running for reelection this year in a high profile race. It is inappropriate for taxpayer-funded dollars that are critical to our state’s recovery from this natural disaster to fund commercials that could potentially benefit a political campaign. In these sensitive circumstances, even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided.
The fact that this particular proposal was chosen despite an obvious conflict of interest, in addition to the higher costs, raises serious concerns with the entire process. I fought hard for passage of the Sandy aid package in Congress by assuring my colleagues that this funding was critical to our recovery and that it would be spent responsibly without waste, fraud and abuse. Many in Congress objected to this funding precisely because of concerns their citizens’ tax dollars would be misspent. In that regard, the state’s mismanagement of taxpayer funds for this marketing campaign is extremely troubling, especially when there are so many New Jersey residents still in need of assistance to recover and rebuild from this historic storm.
But the firm behind the #STTS ad campaign, MWW of East Rutherford, said their proposal was $2.745 million under the $25 million budget and $1.47 million lower than the runner-up’s bid. MWW said their proposal offered the lowest hourly rate of all bids.