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View Diary: Former Christie aide says lane closures were political payback (127 comments)

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  •  Why was Christie so obsessed with mayoral support? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Rashaverak, anna shane

    Who cares who they endorse?

    •  His plan was (21+ / 0-)

      to show just how much Democratic and Independent support he could bring to the table.  By getting as many Democratic mayors as possible, he was hoping that would show he could get support from Democrats in the 2016 presidential race.  

      It was working until he overstepped.

    •  It made him look "bi - partisan" (7+ / 0-)

      and would have allowed him to appeal to those voters in the "middle"..  thereby giving him, supposedly, better odds at winning POTUS in 2016.

      It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness- Unknown -7.50, -5.03

      by dawgflyer13 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 03:00:30 PM PDT

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    •  But according to the reports I heard on MSNBC (2+ / 0-)
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      Rashaverak, Dirtandiron

      last night (can't remember if it was Chris Hayes or Rachel's show), it wasn't because of the mayor's lack of endorsement.
      In fact, the conclusion they drew from Mowers' testimony was the opposite of what Jed is saying.
      Very confusing.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Wed May 21, 2014 at 03:24:11 PM PDT

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      •  There were probably wheels within wheels (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Rashaverak, Dirtandiron

        But this seems to indicate it was just a petty vendetta.  Although I'm not convinced that the whole fiasco was only about that.  The development money seems to fit in nicely, too.

      •  Tamar, what conclusion did they draw? n/t (1+ / 0-)
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        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:41:38 PM PDT

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        •  According to one of the shows and the legislator (1+ / 0-)
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          who is head of the investigation, they ended up more confused because Mowers made it clear that no one seemed to care that Mayor Sokolich wasn't endorsing Christie. So they were saying that once again, it's a mystery and that they never thought the lack of endorsement was the real reason for closing down the lanes.
          I think it was Rachel Maddow but i watch both her and Chris Hayes and just can't remember which one I saw it on. However, both Rachel & Chris are pretty careful about what they say (not that they never make mistakes) so I take it seriously.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:46:00 PM PDT

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        •  Ok -- last night Chris Hayes had the same (1+ / 0-)
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          conclusion as Jed -- that it was because of the mayor's refusal to endorse Christie (so I must have seen the other version on Rachel Maddow the night before).

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 04:14:24 AM PDT

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          •  It was clearly retribution aimed at Ft. Lee. (6+ / 0-)

            But that doesn't say retribution for what?

            This was a political message being sent by the Governor's Office. (I use the term as Gibson Dunn did, a collection of about 40 staffers. Most of these people, if not all, were able to speak to the political world outside that office as if it were the Governor calling. Who is going to cross - or even question - a message from there?)

            The Governor's Office was a campaign staff temporarily in charge of governance. Kelly's e-mail was thought-through political bullying of the first water.

            The mayor of Ft. Lee was not be amenable to the Governor's Office, whether it was:
            -  for support during a reelection (alone, this is nearly trivial, but we don't know all the conversations that preceded it), or
            - some kind of development issue (then, or in the future), or
            - chastisement for Something to Come.

            Whatever the precipitating reason for the lane closures, they were clearly an alert signal into the sky to other NJ pols. No elected or appointed official could fail to get that message! Do. Not. Cross. This. Governor.

            We almost trivialize it when we focus on "retribution for what." The public was massively inconvenienced, potentially very dangerously, on the threshold of remembering 9/11. It was a blatant misuse of power granted to public officials to serve the people of New Jersey.

            2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Thu May 22, 2014 at 05:43:26 AM PDT

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            •  I think your take on this is on target. (3+ / 0-)

              While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

              by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 07:20:48 AM PDT

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            •  There is another theory about the reason for the (3+ / 0-)

              closures and, to my mind, makes more sense than just political retribution.  It concerns the Hudson Lights development in Ft. Lee at the foot of the bridge.  I think that Christie wanted Sokolich's endorsement before the closures because he knew he wouldn't get it after the closures., which were more of a blackmail operation or exercise of power to the developers.  In one of Christie's first defense of the closure, he complained that maybe Ft. Lee had too many lanes, a direct hint to the developers.

              It's been published before:

              "But according to the theory, in August when the "go" order was given to Port Authority official David Wildstein to create traffic problems in Fort Lee, financing for a portion of the project had not yet been secured. Much of the value of the property relies on its proximity to the bridge and the ease of entry, using the now infamous dedicated local lanes out of the borough.

              By diverting - or threatening to divert- those lanes, the value of the property and the burgeoning development would plummet."


              You'll notice that the Chrsitie's commission was unable to come up with a motivation for the closures, except for the idea that Kelly suddenly became "emotional".

              That a commission in NJ couldn't find about 10 plausible reasons for closure is pathetic.

              •  Yes, I've been following this line of reasoning (2+ / 0-)

                also. Apparently there was about half of the land that was owned by one of Samson's clients and the speculation is that they wanted the other half which was owned by others. If financing on the non-Samson portion fell through (and it was supposed to come through soon after the time of the lane closures), then the other owners might lose out and Samson's clients could grab it.
                I'm assuming this is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney -- I certainly hope so!
                As for Kelly's distress causing it -- we distraught women never knew how majorly powerful we were! Just think -- emotional distress over a romantic break-up causes 4 days of complete traffic blockage on one side of the George Washington Bridge. It's like something out of a science fiction story about people with superpowers.
                Just plain silly.

                While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

                by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:35:45 AM PDT

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                •  Still, we males must be wary of distraught women! (3+ / 0-)

                  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

                  I personally have no doubt that the Christie administration will be very, VERY lucky if those lane closures are pinned merely on chastising Ft. Lee Mayor Sokolich for not supporting Chris Christie in what was likely to be a landslide reelection. (Sokolich, with all due respect, is very minor political player, after all, and not very symbolic. The notion that a NJ Democratic mayor approving of a NJ governor will show well for Christie's 2016 run is politically ridiculous.)

                  The proof problem for prosecutors, I predict, will be that this kind of inside gamesmanship is probably compartmentalized. Silos of information and insight are in play and more than one motive could be at stake.

                  Silo #1 could be the campaign staff aka Governor's Office. It might well have had bull sessions on retribution for strictly political purposes - as a warning to Sokolch or more likely, as a generic warning visible to many others, as in Sokolich is small potatoes and look what we did to him! And then Bridget pulled the trigger.

                  Silo #2 could be the development interests, probably a larger and more complicated package than we are aware. This has even more potential for a major important prosecution of high-ranking people than betraying the interests of New Jerseyites, bridge commuters and tourists in the area.

                  You wouldn't wrap the players from Silo #1 into Silo #2 if you could help it. Reelection was foregone, as was a 2016 run. Huge and complex economic interests in development are on the other hand. While someone in one silo may know of the other, the players can be separate. Nothing is gained by combining them, and deniability could be lost.

                  We are probably still looking at the tip of this iceberg. Governor Christie being a pompous, badgering, bellicose bully isn't half of this story!

                  2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                  by TRPChicago on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:35:36 AM PDT

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                •  Not to mention offensive! (0+ / 0-)

                  3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

                  by penelope pnortney on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:20:06 PM PDT

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      •  They want it to look like it was for the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, Dirtandiron, raspberryberet, SGA

        non-endorsement because the real reason, Harbor Lights, is worse?

        "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

        by merrywidow on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:03:07 AM PDT

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      •  I think it was also about the Harbor Lights (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, SGA

        development. Most corruption in NJ that has become public has been in regards to real estate development. It seems to have been both, a twofer to punish a "democrat" mayor and make sure only Christie connected developers got control of the Harbor Lights property.

        Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

        by Dirtandiron on Thu May 22, 2014 at 07:39:02 AM PDT

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    •  As written in the diary, because of this: (4+ / 0-)
      According to Matt Mowers, who worked in both Christie's gubernatorial office and his campaign, and is now executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, Fort Lee was number 47 on a list of 100 towns targeted by Christie's political team, which wanted to use a landslide re-election victory to fuel his electability argument for 2016.
      Emphasis mine.

      This is a common political tactic for governors who are thinking about a POTUS run.  Running the board as much as possible in their own state to show just how "strong" they are as a candidate.

      Across the river, Cuomo, Kos' favorite 3rd Way tool/punching bag/douchenozzle-du-jour to try and take down, is attempting to do the same.  He wants to run the board and trounce his Republican opponent to show he's strong - just in case Hillary doesn't run.  However, he's shitting his pants because the liberals and union members in the Working Families Party are seriously considering running their own candidate, and polling shows it might really screw with his margin of victory.  So now, the Turd Way governor has been working hard to kiss the ass of every liberal everywhere in the state.

      Basically, they all play this "Look at me, everyone loves me!" game if they're governors thinking forward to a promotion to DC.  Running the board shows power and attracts donors.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:35:51 PM PDT

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    •  It's old fashinoned North Jersey machine (0+ / 0-)

      politics at it's worst.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Thu May 22, 2014 at 07:36:45 AM PDT

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