In our "Some Folks Never Learn" special edition, published on my Ipad from a Burger King in SW Florida, the Star-Ledger brings us, Christie administration gave more Sandy funds to controversial Belleville project, even though the town suffered almost no storm damage. The Democratic mayor did endorse Governor Christie in the last election. I know I promised I'd be gone this week, but the force of "the Christie addiction" was too strong to resist. And, below the fold, a new Quinnipiac poll confirms Christie's drop in support, and Politico reports Christie fielded no questions on Sandy at his town hall today.
The project, which was pushed by Gov. Chris Christie, had been approved for $6 million in May from a federally-funded, state-administered program intended to replenish the state’s affordable housing damaged or destroyed in the storm. But according to figures provided by the Department of Community Affairs last week, that figure has increased, to $10.2 million.
A Department of Community Affairs website still says Belleville got $6 million, which is what The Star-Ledger cited in a January article on the project — even though the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) changed the project's funding to $10.2 million in December as the anticipated cost rose from $18 million to $22.8 million.
Chris Christie's Hurricane Sandy problem Ledger Live for February 20, 2014 - Ledger Live with Brian Donohue - Hurricane Sandy victims in Old Bridge Township are up in arms over the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to award $6 million in federal storm relief funds to a senior citizen housing project in Belleville, a town barely affected by the storm. That same amount of money could have funded the buyout of their devastated neighborhood, where only one of 33 residents has been able to return to his home.
The initial grant ignited controversy after The Star-Ledger reported that the funds were secured just two weeks before Belleville's Democratic mayor, Raymond Kimble, endorsed the re-election of Christie, a Republican. Belleville suffered little damage from Sandy when compared with coastal towns that bore the brunt of the storm.
The developer glibly proclaims the 'costs of his development changed' so he needed a 'recommitment' from the state. The mayor admitted he knew no one in his town displaced by the storm. Ah, the joys of "free market" capitalism, New Jersey style.
A new poll fom Quinnipiac confirms a plummet of support for Governor Christie, in Ohio, that we've seen in the last weeks in several other polls, nationally.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sweeps the 2016 presidential field in Ohio as New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie is stuck in traffic with other leading Republican contenders, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.Politico brings us,
Secretary Clinton tops Gov. Christie 49 - 36 percent in an early look at the 2016 presidential race in this critical swing state. This compares to results of a November 27 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University showing Clinton at 42 percent, with Christie at 41 percent. The Democrat tops other possible Republican contenders:
51 - 36 percent over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush;
50 - 36 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida;
51 - 38 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;
49 - 40 percent over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin;
51 - 34 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas;
51 - 39 percent over Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Ohio voters say 55 - 39 percent that Clinton would make a good president. No Republican listed gets a positive score on this question, as even Gov. Kasich gets a negative 34 - 47 percent. Christie gets a big negative 31 - 48 percent, compared to a positive 44 - 32 percent November 27.
A more restrained Christie holds court
“I’m glad to get back out here and start doing this stuff again,” he told the crowd of more than 300 people.
The venue was a VFW hall in Monmouth County, which was hard-hit during Hurricane Sandy. The topic was relief after the storm that sent Christie’s approval ratings soaring.
There were no questions about the federal or state legislative investigations into Bridgegate, the infamous traffic jam heard ’round the country that a handful of his aides set in motion in Fort Lee, N.J., last year. (Christie aides insisted questions were not pre-screened.) But that topic hovered over the forum — some 18 television cameras lined up to catch any Christie utterance about it — and was never far from the minds of reporters seated a few rows from Christie.
Its 79 degrees here in Fort Myers. It was 20 degrees and snowy when we left Boston. Gina and I are looking for a new home in the sun. We might not come back.
4:07 PM PT: This following article should be labeled as speculation, as Josh Marshall did at Talking Points Memo, but as I have this link handy in my notepad, and it is awkward and time consuming to publish this on my Ipad, which I've never done before, I'll leave you with this, which expresses the same question I was thinking.
If you were to ask me, it would appear that Christie’s staff vetted all the questions before the event and only had the Governor answer non-Bridgegate related questions. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo thought the same thing and called Christie’s camp up. Of course, he was told that none of the questions were vetted and it just so happened that not a single person thought to ask Christie a question about the biggest story, by far, surrounding him and his administration.
4:20 PM PT: I corrected the first line below the fold, to more accurately represent this poll is on Ohio voters, and it reconfirms the trends we've seen last month nationally. Sorry for this ambiquity. (Not only does this make me feel like one of those high brow journalists, I got another burger out of the deal by going back into BK for WiFi.)
If these poor folks only knew what an international celebrity was sitting here, I'd probably get free burgers and fries just for signing autographs. Woof, woof.
4:52 PM PT: The ever vigilant Middlegirl brings us the Star Ledger's demand that Port Authority chairman David Samson should resign.
Wednesday’s apology by Port Authority Chairman David Samson, for the agency’s role in the George Washington Bridge entry lane closures, rings hollow. He hit bottom when he called the weeklong traffic bomb his co-workers dropped on Fort Lee last September an “inconvenience.” Mea culpa came five months too late.
Worse still, Samson’s half-hearted attempt at remorse ignored his own failures as head of this hopelessly broken agency — a list of ethical lapses, broken promises and business-as-usual, with new examples breaking by the day.
Samson must step down. His resignation would mark a strong first step in an overdue overhaul of the entire Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.