Belmar Mayor “Lawless Matt” Doherty commemorates the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. photo by Tim Larsen/Governor’s Office
Former Belmar Councilman Jim Bean filed an Ethics Complaint with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Local Finance Board against Mayor “Lawless Matt” Doherty on Friday, August 19, alleging that Doherty did not have the authorization of the Borough Council to grant a campaign donor permission to land a helicopter in the Borough or on Borough property. Additionally, Bean alleges that Doherty did not provide public notice nor notify Monmouth County officials of the temporary landing permit, as is required by the Department of Transportation when applying for said permit.
A surplus helicopter previously deployed by the Monmouth County Mosquito Commission was sold via online auction on June 17 for $421,000, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
All told, the County netted $2,686,208 through the online sale of 38 surplus items from the County Fleet, the Sheriff’s Office, Buildings and Grounds, the Reclamation Center and property seized by the Prosecutor’s Office during the spring auction.
Gov. Chris Chrisite boarding a State Police helicopter on his way to address a power outage in Atlantic County after addressing the press in Monmouth County about the current water crisis. Photo by Art Gallagher
Oceanport, NJ- Governor Chris Christie implored Monmouth County residents to conserve water and to express their patriotism by not shooting off private fireworks for the duration of the water crisis caused by the major infrastructure failure at New Jersey American Water Company’s Swimming River water treatment plant. Addressing the press at the Wolf Hill Recreation area in Oceanport, Christie said “if a lot of things go perfectly” the water crisis will be over by the July 4th holiday.
Christie announced that residents of twenty two towns should boil their water before drinking or cooking. Those towns are :
AP Report: Christie and GOP reimbursing state for cost of flight
By Art Gallagher
I ran into former Governor Brendan Byrne earlier today at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick where I had a business meeting.
“Hello Governor,” I said while zipping my fly, “what do you think of the controversy over Christie’s helicopter ride?”
“It’s bullshit,” he exclaimed while drying his hands, “that’s what I said when I was governor. If Corzine had been using the helicopter he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”
We weren’t exactly in a locker room, but as close as you can get to one in a law center I guess. I appreciated Byrne’s candid venacular.
The media and partisan outrage over Christie’s use of the state police helicopter is bullshit.
The Associated Press is reporting that Christie and the state GOP are reimbursing the state for the cost of the helicopter ride.
No doubt the reimbursement is being made to quiet the bullshit. There is serious state business to be done. The budget. Pension and benefit reform. A new collective bargaining agreement. The ridiculous nonsense over the governor’s use of the helicopter has become a major distraction. Since there have been no natural disasters (the tornadoes missed NJ and hit Massachusetts), terrorist attacks, corruption arrests or revelations of love children to knock the helicopter ride off the airwaves and front pages, Christie and the GOP did the right thing paying for the chopper rides. Not because the flight was inappropriate, but because the hullabaloo is a distraction from important state business.
If it had been Frank Pallone or Steve Rothman who tweeted a picture of his package to a coed instead of NY Congressman Andrew Wiener, Christie’s chopper ride would not be dominating the news and there would be no reimbursement until the next ride during a slow news cycle.
Christie spokesman Mike Drewiniak said in an email explaining the reimbursement:
Also, though the Superintendent of the State Police noted yesterday the travel does not cost taxpayers additional dollars, the Governor understands the sensitivity about this kind of thing and believes he owes it to the public to ensure that this is not a distraction. As such, the Governor is reimbursing for the last two trips dated 5/27 and 5/31 in the amounts of $919.20 and $1232.30, respectively.
Drewniak also released a list of instances in which State Police helicopters have been used by the Governor’s office since Christie took office. 33 flights were by the Governor. 1 by the Lt. Governor and one was for transporting staff between consecutive press conferences at the Meadowlands and Atlantic City. You can download the list here.
Some of the active MMM commenters have indicated that they think State Police Col. Rick Fuentes statement that the governor’s helicopter rides do not cost the taxpayers additional money is disingenuous. I disagree. That kind of thing is too easy to verify. I’m sure some industrious reporter is checking it out now. If Fuentes made it up we’ll read all about it and he will lose his job. If he is telling the truth, as I believe, we’ll hear no more about it.
I want the Governor to use helicopter more than he does. If it makes him more productive at his job, or God forbid, gives him more quality time with his family, I’m all for it. That the State Police have to put in hours flying the choppers anyway makes it a no brainer.
The opposition to helicopter use is petty partisan bullshit.
The demogougues who are invoking the working Moms and Dad’s who are sitting in traffic while missing their kid’s games are full of it. I don’t believe the majority of New Jerseyans are that petty. The media is that petty. The politicians are that petty. I don’t believe the people are. I know Governor Byrne is not that petty.
State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes issued a statement to the media this afternoon stating that Governor Christie’s helicopter ride to his son’s baseball game yesterday didn’t cost that taxpayers money because the Governor’s travel was required flight training for the pilot.
The cost of the actual trip was $2500.
Assemblyman Joe Cryan, the $112,000 undersheriff of Union County said, “but, but, uhm, hmmm.”
The media is making a huge deal of Governor Christie’s use of a state police helicopter to attend his son’s baseball game in Bergen County yesterday afternoon and flying back to Mercer County in time for dinner at Drumwatcket with the presidential recruiters from Iowa.
Naturally, Democratic blowhards in the legislature are blasting the Governor in the hopes they can get their names in the paper.
Christie gave his critics a lay up. Governors have been criticised for their use of state helicopters for decades. Christie had to see this coming.
But does the public really care? Maybe Patrick Murray or the FDU EmptyMind will poll the question. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority already thinks that the Governor uses the helicopter to travel the state regularly rather than “occasionally as the schedule demands,” as Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said.
If Jon Corzine had been in a helicopter instead of a Suburban, trying to get from Atlantic City to New Brunswick to meet Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team in 30 minutes would have worked.
Christie’s critics are making a deal out of the fact that he helicopter usage was apparently not for state business. The Governor’s office is not saying where Christie was before or after the baseball game, but the governor was seen entering Drumthwacket an hour and 10 minutes after leaving the game.
Once again I wonder if the public really cares. It is a question of Christie juggling his family life and commitments with his job. Back in December the media and the Democrats had a field day over Christie being in Disney World with his family during the blizzard. Paul Mulshine was angry that he couldn’t get litter for his cat to poop in, as if that was the Governor’s or Lt. Governor’s fault, but before long no one cared where Christie was during the storm.
I doubt he will do it, but I would like to see the Governor maintaining a schedule that demands the use of the helicopter more often. I bet he could outlast the whines from his critics in the media and the Democrats and that most people will think that he’s traveling the way that Governors have always traveled throughout the state.