I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christie's Whopper: A Ton of Proof

I can't wait to see Chris Christie try to weasel his way out of this one:

This video's been burning up the bloggosphere/twittersphere all morning since it was released at Blue Jersey. Let's break it down a bit more:

Christie is dealing with a big problem in his suburban base. He and ACTING Education Commissioner Chris Cerf totally misread the appeal charters would have out in the towns. It turns out many parents and taxpayers are not interested in having outsiders come into their communities to set up boutique charters of questionable value that will drain tax dollars away from high-performing public schools.

So Christie is backing down from pushing charters in the 'burbs; unfortunately, he's already opened the gates, and some charters are coming into communities that neither want nor need them. Worse, these charters are being run by political allies who can burnish Christie's credentials with movement conservatives.

Pastor Amir Khan, for example, is a leading opponent of marriage equity in New Jersey. Christie and Cerf favored him with his own charter school this past fall, over the objections of the citizens and school boards of Cherry Hill and Vorhees - two high-performing districts. Khan is going to close his private, religious school and replace it with the charter (golly, do you think it will be totally free of religious influences?). That's a nice little gift for the social conservatives - unfortunately, it's a gift paid for by his suburban base.

(It's worth noting that, technically, the governor does not approve charters; the commissioner of education does. But, given the way Christie has politicized the office after the firing of Bret Schundler, it's pretty clear who's really running the show.)

So here's the dilemma: Christie can't take away charters from his evangelical friends, but he can't anger his suburban base and take the blame for draining funds from good schools. What's an aspiring vice-president to do?

Easy - pretend he doesn't know who is running the charters:
About an hour into a session that had been cordial and laced with applause, Cherry Hill resident Alan Erlich interrupted Christie as the governor was answering a question about the school, Regis Academy. Emotions quickly escalated. 
“I don’t have a solution for every problem,” Christie said to Erlich immediately after the interruption. “You had an opportunity to speak before. Here’s the bottom line: I don’t have a solution for everything.” 
But after Erlich charged the charter school’s approval was a favor for a Christie supporter, the governor denied the claim. 
“Who are you talking about?” asked Christie, who went on to say he does not know Amir Khan, a pastor who is organizing the school at a church complex in the Ashland area. “I haven’t given one friend a charter school.” [emphasis mine]
There was only one problem with Christie's statement that he doesn't know Khan: Khan was sitting right behind him!

This was a great catch from Darcie Cimarusti, a blogger, a mom, and an intrepid crusader for charter accountability. I know, however, what some of you may be thinking: "Well, it was just one town hall. It doesn't prove he actually knows Khan. How could Christie possible know every person there?"

Well, what if I told you that this wasn't Khan's first appearance with Christie?

This is from a video by the Star-Ledger from May of 2011, taken at a town hall in Cherry Hill. Hey, some folks buy front row seats for the Nets; I guess Pastor Khan has season tickets for Christie's appearances in South Jersey.

"OK, Khan was at two town halls," some of you might say. "That doesn't mean Christie knows him! I'm sure there are plenty of people - OK, maybe not plenty - that regularly sit behind Christie when he records his YouTube moments!"

Well, would it convince you if Khan himself said he knew the governor?
Regis would open at the Solid Rock Worship Center, a nondenominational, predominantly African American church. The Rev. Amir Khan, pastor of Solid Rock, sits on a committee of African American pastors that he said has met frequently with Christie on the issue of charter schools. 
But when Ehrlach shouted at Christie about his connections with Khan, Christie said he didn't know who he was talking about. 
"Amir Khan?" the governor asked, before shouting Ehrlach down, saying that it was interruptions by questioners like him that didn't "allow for civil discourse in this state," a line that received loud applause. [emphasis mine]
Yes, governor, Amir Khan: the Waldo of your YouTube channel.

Still not convinced? What if Christie's own attorney general praised Khan at length while he accepted a grant facilitated by Christie's administration? (2:27)

"What I am so impressed about is you've got a business model in place. That's focusing on those who need you most, giving them the tough love, bring them over board, to the other side back into our communities. And you're teaching them entrepreneurship as a way to become productive members of our society. I know your son is a success story in that endeavor, and I think that's the business model that all of New Jersey should venture out on and follow you as a proud example. Well done!"
Let's review: when Christie is asked about Amir Khan, he says "Who are you talking about?" But we know:
  • Amir Khan was in on the dais behind him when he said that.
  • Amir Khan has been on the dais behind Christie before.
  • Amir Khan says he's met with Christie "frequently."
  • Amir Khan was praised effusively by Christie's attorney general.
Christie Christie has been caught red-handed in a lie: there's not a doubt in the world that he knows Khan. Let's just see what weasel words he uses to get out of this one.

And let's take at good look at Amir Khan and see why Christie's afraid to be tied to him...

ADDING: Darcie Cimarusti has already started to figure out who Amir Khan is:
Now check this one out…

If we have a couple hundred churches and pastors rally behind us, and each one of us as pastors make the phone calls, send out an email, and we get our congregation members to do the same, we can bombard the senators and the speaker with thousands and thousands of phone calls and emails, that will put enough pressure to bring about change. -- Pastor Khan

Now here is my favorite part.  Did you catch that when he is talking about local control the decision should be in the hands of the state, not the local township.  But when he is talking about school choice, he says:

I believe that school choice should be in the hands of not the politicians or the government or the city, but back in the hands of the parents. 

What it REALLY sounds like to me is what Pastor Khan believes is that decisions about public education should be based on whatever is best for HIM and whatever enables HIM to re-open hisprivate school as a charter with public money.  And he's not afraid to lobby Trenton for what's best for HIM. 
Whoo boy... 


Unknown said...

This bloated sack of fly-ridden excrement has already established himself as a filthy liar with teachers, police, and firefighters. Hopefully now, Cherry Hill and Voorhees residents where Christie WAS popular, will see him for the liar that we already knew he was.

Anonymous said...

Christie is shameless and he will come up with any facile excuse for his non acquaintance acquaintance
of Amir Khan that suits his purpose. He'll just say that he misheard the questioner because of the ambient noise, that he was tired from a long day or that he was battling a bout of suppressed flatulence syndrome. Sadly, Christie's approval ratings in NJ are in the 50% range, which I heard on a recent TV news show. If this guy gets another term, he will totally destroy NJ's traditional public education system and that is not a good thing. After 2 terms of governator blunderbuss, NJ schools will no longer be in the top tier and will no longer be #1 in graduation rates and AP scores. How do you answer the charter school bots who contend that the school districts are not losing money to charter schools because they lose the child to a charter school, it is one less student to teach? Doesn't the traditional public school (TPS) lose state funding aid when one of their pupils go to a charter school? The TPS has to fund the bussing of the kids who go to charter schools. Isn't the TPS left with the more expensive kids with special needs? The charter schools can counsel out the problem kids, the special needs kids and the discipline problems. And after a certain point in time, the charter school can keep the pupil funding when said pupil returns to the TPS for whatever reason? Not to mention that when charter schools have abruptly closed down in the middle of the year, all the kids must immediately be placed back in the TPS. That's quite a trauma and disruption for the kids.

Deb said...

I am sure Christie will have his excuse. But the fact that he lies, well all I have to do is look at the quote at the top of this blog everyday to know that. But what deeply, deeply troubles me is how corrupt this process is of approving charter schools, of using tax payer money to pay out special favors and take kids out of authentic public schools to schools of questionable quality, of questionable character and of dubious motives. It has to stop. And we have it within reach to stop it. Let communities decide whether to allow a charter school in its district -- there is no argument against local control which could justify the status quo which is approving schools like Kahn's by the DoE. SIgn the petition for local control:http://www.change.org/petitions/new-jersey-communities-want-local-control-over-new-charter-schools-2 and send a loud and clear message to Trenton -- ENOUGH.

Unknown said...

I love those little dramatic chimes at the end of the Amir Khan evidentiary video. Very evocative!