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Why did Chris Christie veto the agriculture bill to ban the practice of confining pregnant sows in narrow "gestation crates"? Is it because Iowa is the first-in-the-nation to hold its caucus for the Presidential nomination, in 2016? And it is the No. 1 hog producing state.

In May, the Des Moines based National Pork Producers Council (NPCC) contacted governor Christie and instructed him not to let the bill become law. The bill to ban the inhumane caging of pregnant sows passed the legislature overwhelmingly in the spring, by votes of 60 - 5 in the Assembly and 29 - 4 in the state Senate.

g_crates
  The 2' x 7' cages for breeding sows are too narrow to permit the animals to turn around freely.  They are widely regarded as inhumane confinement. Supporting the assembly and Senate vote, a survey of New Jerseyans (Mason-Dixie) has 91% in favor of ending the practice, 4% opposed.

Christie vetoed the bill in June. Two months later, he vetoed 3 gun-control measures, one he had first proposed himself — after the lobby group Pro-Gun New Hampshire sent warnings they were watching him on these bills. (More info on the gun vetoes here.)
Increasingly, Christie will govern with an eye to Iowa and New Hampshire, instead of his own state interests.

[cross-posted at politicalcortex.com ]

It looks like Democrats and independents are about to give Chris Christie a complete pass, abandon his challenger Barbara Buono, and let him sail to a 2nd term in blue New Jersey. It's like the famous bear-hug he shared with President Obama a year ago, at the height of the campaign for president, disarmed the loyal opposition in an instant.

Yesterday's poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University showed 59% for Christie and 40% for Buono, a 19 point spread. The numbers show a significant stride for Buono in the last month, but not closing in fast enough for the time that is left.

Before conceding the race run by state Senator Barbara Buono – a fierce fighter with low name recognition statewide – New Jerseyans should consider how Christie has been governing, and vetoing, this year. And how he has turned his sight already to conservative caucus-goers and voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

You have to wonder if the voters in blue NJ are too scared to vote out their browbeating governor. If apathy and fear propel Christie to a wide-margin victory, Christie will be emboldened to launch his next bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

Certainly the state's largest circulation paper, the Newark Star-Ledger, was cowed by the huge shadow of Governor Christie.

Though billed as an "endorsement" for the incumbent over Democrat Buono, the Sunday editorial was blistering in its list of failures by Christie. Read for yourself:

Balance that against his measurable failures, and you have to conclude he is much better at politics than he is at governing.

The property tax burden has grown sharply on his watch. He is hostile to low-income families, raising their tax burden and sabotaging efforts to build affordable housing. He’s been a catastrophe on the environment, draining $1 billion from clean energy funds and calling a cease-fire in the state’s fight against climate change.

The governor’s claim to have fixed the state’s budget is fraudulent. New Jersey’s credit rating has dropped during his term, reflecting Wall Street’s judgment that he has dug the hole even deeper. He has no plan to finance transit projects and open space purchases now that he has nearly drained the dedicated funds he inherited.

... By removing two qualified justices from the Supreme Court without good cause, he threatened the independence of judges at all levels."

...And why should anyone believe taxpayers got the best price on refuse removal when the governor awarded a no-bid contract through a political friend?

Our own view is that Christie is overrated.

The tremulous, conflicted "endorsement" by the editorial board came after Christie snubbed the board for four years and refused to meet with its editors – a first for a governor from either party.

Should voters be complacent about property taxes hiked 13% in the last 3 years? (If the takeback of property tax rebates are counted in, then the increases are 18% over 3 years.)

Or how about the piddling job growth in NJ, next to its neighbors NY and PA. Only half the jobs lost in the recession have returned under Christie's tax and investment policies, dragging far behind the recoveries of NY and Pennsylvania.

Worst of all, his budget maneuvers the last few years amount to siphoning of funds and reserves "to keep the lights on in state buildings."  The NY Times reports:

During the past two years, he took $175 million from the money paid to states to settle complaints of mortgage fraud, intended to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. (Nationwide, New Jersey has the second-highest percentage of homes in foreclosure.) Last year, he planned to take $166 million that towns were supposed to spend to build affordable housing. (The towns have sued to stop him, so the governor may have to fill an even bigger hole.)
...

Mr. Christie has been especially aggressive about taking funds dedicated to energy efficiency, to developing renewable energy and to reducing costs for rate payers. He has taken roughly $700 million in so-called clean energy funds, dumping most of that into the general fund, and using a smaller percentage to pay utility bills in state buildings.

That money came mostly from a "societal benefits charge" on ratepayers' electric and natural gas bills...

He has similarly drained money intended to fix the state's aging roads, bridges and public transit system. ....

In late 2012, the State Budget Crisis Task Force, a bipartisan panel led by Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, and Richard Ravitch, a former lieutenant governor of New York, warned that New Jersey's reliance on the one-shot practice had led to "structurally unbalanced budgets."

The report argued that the pension overhaul was in trouble: The state would have to come up with $5.5 billion a year in annual payments by 2018, and current budgets did not suggest where that money might come from....

"This pushes difficult budget choices off to future years and is ultimately unsustainable," the report said.

We've seen this playbook before.

Deplete funds, keep taxes and spending unaligned, and let the bills come due years after you've left office.

Jersey voters need to look past bear hugs and endorsements by Shaquille O'Neal. Christie is "hostile" (as the Star-Ledger editorial wrote) not only to low-income taxpayers, but to most other taxpayers too.  If voters stay home and re-elect Chris Christie, the next four years of the governor's administration will be aimed toward the conservative Republican primary voters of 2016.

Read up about Senator Barbara Buono. Don't stay home on Tuesday. Vote for Buono, not for Christie.

        [cross-posted]

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Comment Preferences

  •  can I be the governor of pork? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joan reports, Tinfoil Hat

    Bacon and pork chops for everyone!

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 12:19:41 PM PST

  •  He'll Govern for IA and NH Rightwing Interests (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, thomask

    not his state's interests.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 12:28:37 PM PST

  •  OK Im confused. How does the Gov of NJ affect (0+ / 0-)

    swine farming in Iowa? Or did the bill affect raising pigs in NJ but out in Iowa they still didnt like it for some reason?

    •  It would have applied to hog farming in NJ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      banjolele, jayden

      These are not big operations in the state. Also it would have led some other northeast states to follow suit.

      It was important enough that the NPPC instructed Christie to veto the bill.

      Laws to outlaw are in effect in 9 states so far. A lot of food suppliers are coming around to support these laws: Camden, NJ based Campbell's, Burger King, Costco, and others.

      •  Thanks for the helpful insight (0+ / 0-)

        Im going to ask someone I know in Northern Jersey about this too.

      •  Not just hog farming in NJ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joan reports

        That law would probably apply pork sold in NJ, regardless of where it's raised, so it would affect IA hog factories selling pork in NJ.

        CA and 9 other states have similar laws pushed by the humane society. They don't just apply to gestation crates for sows; they also apply to cages for laying hens, and other possible farm animal abuses.

        Steve King inserted an amendment in the House farm bill to prohibit state laws from applying to food sold in interstate commerce. This is a major issue between the Humane Society and producer groups. King's amendment would not just apply to humane animal practices, it would also over-rule state food safety and consumer protection regulations. Tell your congress critter, "No on the King amendment!" especially if they are among the House and Senate conferees working on the farm bill.

  •  Voters in NJ arent 'scared' or 'cowed' of CC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    banjolele, PeteZerria

    A lot of them just like him on a personal level and thats what their vote is primarily based on. They see a fat guy chasing a questioner down the boardwalk waving his ice cream cone like a light saber and they smile.
     To understand why they like him you have to understand NJ's long long long history of incredibly corrupt, venal, and mendacious pols. Including a whole lot of things youre never going to see on reruns of BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

    I agree he's way over-rated, but again, it depends who and what youre comparing him to.
    Fortunately, he wont ever ever every be nominated for Pres so he's NJ's problem.

  •  my prognostication (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubyr

      If in fact he wins next week - then he will GO far to the right after he is elected so as to make himself acceptable to the far right.   I hope that I am wrong, but this has been what we have seen from a lot of GOP Govs.    

        That is why we will probably see some of the far-right GOP GOVs to modify their positions in early 2014 and see if they can sucker their electorate again.  

    •  I fear that you prognosticate correctly. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 01:21:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i agree completely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joan reports

      the dems that vote for him will have a serious case of buyers remorse in about one year.

      poor barbara buono.  she never had a fair chance.  barbara has done nothing wrong.  she is on our side yet so many have shunned her.  how tragic!

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

      by noofsh on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:41:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amazingly, editorials from the "watchdog" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joan reports

    press are similar, listing negatives that would sink most candidates, yet editorial positions backing Christie as governor. It looks as though the horserace style of coverage once again triumphs over coverage of the issues. Which is why people migrate away from newspapers and over to blogs in increasing numbers. The fly in the ointment remains the approximately one third of independents who can swing an election--many of the low information type. The thing that's politically amazing is how high  "property taxes" got to be not the most important issue in the campaign. That is a feat of political magicianship. Especially in an election month where many have to cough up the property taxes, so it would normally be a front-burner issue.

  •  Gestation crates (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joan reports, jayden, luckylizard

    are not just inhumane, according to the Humane Society, they are a bad animal husbandry practice according to Temple Grandin and scientific research.

    •  Temple Grandin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, cocinero

      is a rare jewel.  Her work should be a blueprint for the whole meat industry.  

      I don't eat much meat anymore.  It doesn't taste like it used to.  Feed lots and pharmaceuticals have ruined it.

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 04:41:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here at casa blue jersey, we will be voting for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joan reports, skohayes, PeteZerria, jayden

    Buono, and for all the down-ticket Democrats as well. There seems to be a lot of out-of-state money supporting the Republican candidates for state senate and assembly. I sit in the 15th district which is indigo blue, but I am very worried about the 14th district next door. I have heard lots of club for Growth-style ads against the incumbent Dems. Please, if you live in NJ, get out and vote.

  •  christie is a right wing asshole (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joan reports

    let me count the ways for you

    veto the minimum wage increase twice
    veto fracking ban
    veto fracking waste ban
    veto marriage equality
    veto assault weapon bans
    killed infrastructure projects
    purposely underfunded public education and the state college
    awards no bid contracts to cronies
    increased property taxes
    worse job creation record in nj history
    second highest foreclosure rate in the country

    wake up nj.  this man is a dedicated right winger.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:38:29 PM PST

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