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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The GWB Is Not Chris Christie's Greatest Sin

UPDATE: Apparently, there was a fatality connected to Bridgegate. Did this woman die directly from the delay? Who can say?

I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me these people ought to be brought up on charges.

Well, I guess this is one way to boost your national name recognition...

We will, of course, be hearing more and more about Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge scandal for weeks to come. Credit to The Record for (apparently) breaking the story, and screwing up what was once considered Christie's inevitable march to the Republican presidential nomination.

But let's get one thing clear:

Yes, what Christie's staffers did was awful, and far from trivial. Closing traffic lanes for political retribution is not only petty and a serious abuse of power; it's dismissive of the many commuters who live in Jersey and were inconvenienced by a small, mean gesture. It's also incredibly dangerous: I don't think we can say for sure that no one was delayed in getting first-responder care due to this malicious and unthinking act. Thank the lord there wasn't a serious, widespread emergency in Fort Lee or the surrounding areas during this stupid stunt.

However: this is not the worst thing Chris Christie has done in four years of disservice to the citizens of New Jersey:

- Christie has recklessly put the state on a path toward a fiscal meltdown by selling his pension "reforms" -- which were, in reality, nothing more than breaking promises to public workers -- as a real budgetary solution. Wall Street doesn't believe his snake oil sales pitch, and neither should anyone else.

- Christie has given away an astonishing amount of tax gifts to corporations, but job growth here has been anemic, at best (can you live with that sentence, Politifact?).

- Christie has consistently underfunded schools, while his secretive Schools Development Authority has dragged its feet and allowed students in Trenton, Paterson, Newark and elsewhere to attend crumbling, disgusting schools.

- Christie has been at the forefront of privatizing government functions, evidenced by the scandal surrounding his privatization of prisons and his charter school expansion plans, which are bringing in operators who grew fat in other states.

- Christie has been a one-man environmental wrecking crew.

- Christie shamelessly used Sandy to build his own brand while alienating many of the storm's victims with his mediocre leadership.

- A personal one: Christie has waged a war on the teaching profession so shameful that I wonder if gifted young people will ever again consider a career in education within our state.

I could go on; add your own here if you'd like. Again, those traffic jams on the GWB were no joke.

But the sins of Chris Christie are not limited to Fort Lee. This is a man who has done real damage to this state; heaven help us if he ever gets into the White House. After all, it's well worth remembering where the man got his start.

America, consider yourself warned.


Mrs. King's music students said...

It's not about the gwb - its about the way Christie handled an elected official who refused to negotiate. The hope is that an investigation into his tactics here will shed light on the actions of elected officials organizations across the state who did negotiate with him. That could cover the destruction of the horse racing industry, privatization of both the NJ Lottery and public schools, the $ "saved" by the cap on school funding - diverted to municipal govts and ultimately into Christie's campaign fund. Then, if anyone still has an ounce of energy left, it could even lead to investigations of appointed BOEs replacing thoroughly corrupt elected ones and their co-conspirators in the NJEA who 'spent the troops' (aka ignored the high rate of teacher
attrition) for decades in the poorest performing schools in the nation.

The gwb has the capacity to peel this onion even for voters who normally pay little attention to these issues.

Giuseppe said...

I'm sure that some people will find a way to blame teachers and the "EVIL" NJEA for the GWB scandal. Waa, waa, the nefarious NJEA made me do it. The mean NJEA alien force and mind meld capacities compelled me to betray what's left of my morals, sob, sob.

Mrs. King's music students said...

Zero sum game won't work here. You can't say that Christie's petty vindictive behaviors prove the NJEA is right. They've got to prove that themselves. Instead, they've indicted themselves for decades with obscene rates of teacher attrition. For example, Im still waiting for the NJEA to go to war for the union pres and vp who were terminated in the middle of negotiations in Highland Park!!! Were they expendable or did someone somewhere get something they liked better in return for throwing teachers like them under the bus?

Catherine Lugg said...

Here's an idea: The Fort Lee Public School District enrolls 3,721 students.

The putzes involved in shutting down the lanes to/from the GWB mentioned that this would affect children, particularly since it was the start of the school-year.

Uhm...they also willfully endangered the lives of 3,721 public school students for 4 days, since getting to and from school became dangerous.

Let's see, 3,721 times 4 equals over 14,000 separate charges of "child endangerment."

That prosecutorial possibility might encourage folks from the Christie administration to sing like entire species of birds.

Yeah, it was and is child endangerment--but clearly, kids don't count in Christie's world, particularly if their parents are viewed as Buono voters.


Giuseppe said...

How the hell has the NJEA caused decades of "obscene rates of teacher attrition?" Is the NJEA in control of the school districts, the hiring and firing of teachers? Is the NJEA in control of school funding? Some people seem to think that the NJEA has the power and clout of the Koch Brothers+BillGates+Eli Broad+Michael DEll+Jeff Bezos+Carl Icahn. How is the NJEA in any way responsible for what happened in Highland Park? What could the NJEA have done? And who knows, maybe they did raise an objection and maybe the NJEA did advise and assist the fired teachers and union leaders. Oh wait, I forgot, the NJEA could have used its SWAT team of retired teachers to descend on Highland Park and make the school board an offer they could not refuse. It looks like certain people have NJEA derangement syndrome.

Giuseppe said...

I'm not saying the NJEA is perfect, it certainly needs to rethink the compensation for the NJEA hierarchy in light of frozen teacher wages, so many cut backs of teachers, their benefits and pensions. The enemies of the NJEA, like Christie, will always bring up the $275,000 (give or take a few thousands) salary of the NJEA president. That's not an accurate figure but it's close to what the head of the NJEA gets, more than the governor. But overall and on average, the NJEA has been a positive force for teachers and has done more good than harm. The NJEA is under constant attack by Christie, the media and NJ 101.5 in particular. All unions are under attack across this country, the unionization rate is down to 11.3% and that's not an accident. There is a well funded and well orchestrated war against unions.

Mrs. King's music students said...

Sorry I took so long - I in training for a new career with Metro Public Adjustors - 4 former teachers in my class btw. As a trainee I can't speak for the actual job yet but the instructor is superb.
I'll give you that the NJEA exhibited superior business sense and value when they negotiated benefits instead of $ for forward thinking people willing to deferr payt. The notion of tenure was critical to awarding "stripes for skills" to an entire profession that doesn't 'do this for the money'. And there's the rub. If the NJEA can't guarantee that one thing to hard working, underpaid, underemployed members, what good is it? Especially when you take the decade of high rate of teacher attrition before Christie came along and the losses that will continue long after he's history because the NJEA will not be held accountable for their losses. A factoid from M Rhee states that only 1 in 1000 teachers is dismissed for poor performance. Compare that to NJEAs 475 in 1000 rate of teacher attrition. If only 1 of them is actually a bad teacher, what's going on w/the other 474? And why isn't the NJEA taking the exit data from them to better serve/protect its membership?