Has Trenton turned Christie upside down?

Jim McGreevey is Governor Christie’s Ethical Compass?

Govenor Chris Christie at his Belmar Town Hall on July 31. photo by Art Gallagher

Govenor Chris Christie at his Belmar Town Hall on July 31. Photo by Art Gallagher

In the summer of 2004, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie had Governor Jim McGreevey on the ropes.  McGreevey was “State Official #1,” an unindicted co-conspirator in a pay for play scheme that nabbed Democratic fund-raiser David D’Amiano.  A few weeks later McGreevey was resigning, purportedly because he was a “Gay American” who gave his boyfriend an important homeland security job that he wasn’t qualified to perform.

Yesterday, a decade later, Governor Christie is hanging his hat, and his orange sweater, on a McGreevey Executive Order that exempts the Governor from New Jersey’s ethics laws against accepting gifts.

Chris Christie marched into Trenton promising to turn the place upside down. Five years later McGreevey is Christie’s ethical compass.   Not the man McGreevey has become over the last 10 years.  Christie’s ethical compass is the man he investigated and probably could have indicted and convicted.  To paraphrase Christie on the stump for Mitt Romney two years ago, something got turned upside down in Trenton, but it wasn’t the culture of government that Christie promised he would impact and overturn.

About the best thing we can say about Christie accepting gifts of travel on private jets and seats in owner’s boxes at NFL games is at least it was family friendly entertainment with the cameras running, unlike the alleged entertainment U.S. Senator Bob Menendez flew off to on a friend’s private jet.

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Posted: January 6th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Opinion, Reform Agenda | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Has Christie hitched his wagon to Democrats? Will the bi-partisanship continue?

Governor Chris Christie and HUD Sec Shaun Donovan in Highlands, April 29, 2013

Governor Chris Christie and HUD Sec Shaun Donovan in Highlands, April 29, 2013

Now that Governor Chris Christie has completed his victory lap with appearances on all four network Sunday morning talk shows, the whole world thinks he’s running for president.

His presidential message of getting things done in a bi-partisan manner is compelling given the current national political environment.  If the presidential election was next November, I think he would beat Hillary Clinton or any Democrat.

But the presidential election is in 2016. Before running for president Christie has a year or two governing New Jersey and a year, 2014, as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

2014 will be a busy year for Christie.  In addition to the undefined “big things” he said he will accomplish in his second term, there are 36 gubernatorial seats (38 if you consider the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) up in ’14. 19 (20 if you count Guam) of those seats are currently held by Republicans.

In New Jersey, much of Christie’s first term agenda remains undone.  Tax cuts, “the property tax toll kit,” civil service reform, education reform, reshaping the State Supreme Court, and gutting COAH are all incomplete.  Rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy is his mission. Much of New Jersey is still hurting one year out from the storm.

If Christie can cross off most of his New Jersey agenda from his to do list, get the remaining Sandy survivors back into their homes, and pick up some gubernatorial seats next year, the 2016 Republican presidential primaries will not be much of a challenge. No other GOP contender would be able to match Christie’s “I can get the job done and I know how to win” message.

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Posted: November 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Gubernatorial Politics, 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Reform Agenda | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Christie On Sick Leave Payouts: “Only In Government”

Posted: May 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Reform Agenda | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

This is a compromise? So much for turning Trenton upside down

By Art Gallagher

Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that they had reached a compromise over the nomination of Anne Patterson to the NJ Supreme Court.  

Christie nominated Patterson to the court one year ago today to fill the seek of John Wallace.  Wallace’s term was expiring but he had not reached the age of mandatory retirement.  Christie acted within his constitutional authority but broke with tradition by not reappointing Wallace.

Christie’s Democratic critics, in the legislature and the media, charged that the governor was interfering with the independence of the judiciary.   Christie countered that he was fulfilling his campaign promise to reshape the court which has a long history of overstepping its bounds and legislating from the bench, especially with the Abbott decision which mandates education spending and the Mt. Laurel decision which mandates the development of affordable housing.  These two judicial decisions are responsible for New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes.

Sweeney pledged that Patterson would not get a hearing in the Senate and that her nomination would not be voted on until Wallace, who hails from Sweeney’s home county of Gloucester, reached the age of retirement; March of 2012.  For a year the Wallace seat has filled by appellate Judge Edwin Stern who was appointed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner as a temporary fill-in.

As a result of the “compromise” announced yesterday between Christie and Sweeney, the governor will withdraw Patterson’s nomination to Wallace seat and nominate her for the seat of retiring Justice Roberto Rivera-Sota.  Sweeney pledged a fair hearing for Patterson, and that timely hearings will be held for the Wallace seat and the seat of
Justice Virginia Long who reaches the mandatory retirement age in 2012.

I fail to see the “deal” here.  Where’s the compromise?  What did Christie get?   Christie could have withdrawn Patterson’s nomination for Wallace’s seat and nominated her for Rivera-Soto’s seat without consulting Sweeney.  Sweeney keeps the Wallace seat filled by Stern until March.  Was Sweeney threatening to hold up the nominations to replace Wallace and Long beyond their retirement dates?  Would Sweeney allow three seats on the seven member court to be held by temporary Justices appointed by Rabner? 

The other thing I don’t like about this deal capitulation, is that it is an indication that Christie assumes that Sweeney will be Senate President next year.  While that may be a realistic expectation given the new gerrymandered legislative map, it is disappointing to think that Christie, as the leader of the Republican party, has already given up on trying to win control of the Senate in the legislative election this November.

If Christie has given up on winning control of the Senate, who am I to argue that it is possible?

So much for turning Trenton upside down.

Christie has a Town Hall meeting in Manalapan this afternoon.

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, COAH, Education, Legislature, Property Taxes, Reapportionment, Redistricting, Reform Agenda, Stephen Sweeney | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »