New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration not only denied Hoboken its hurricane recovery money, but turned on a loyal mayor.
Like flounders, more reports about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s trademark bullying have begun to come out of the mud since “Bridgegate” broke. At MSNBC, Steve Kornacki writes about a story arguably worse than Governor Traffic Jam’s administration shutting down two of Fort Lee’s entrance lanes to the George Washington Bridge with little thought for the consequences ― not only for commuters, but for themselves.
It seems that after Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, which is on the Hudson River not far from the Atlantic Ocean, requested a share of the FEMA-administered $50 million coming New Jersey’s way. But she was told by the Christie administration that if she failed to expedite a development project in Hoboken, she’d be denied the bulk of the recovery funds due her. The project in question, per Kornacki:
The deal, as envisioned in 2008, would have awarded the Rockefeller Group – a New York developer – the right to redevelop a stretch of Hoboken. … If done right, it would have been an immensely lucrative deal in a town that has become a hip bedroom community of Manhattan.
Zimmer wasn’t against the deal but she wanted a professional study done on the projected development. The problem was that Hoboken’s finances were in disarray and she wanted to wait until the community was on sounder footing before spending the money for a study.
Read Kornacki for more about the deal. As for the warning, the New Jersey Star Ledger reports:
“The lieutenant governor stood in the parking lot and pulled me aside and made it very clear that there was a clear connection between the Sandy funds and the Rockefeller project,” Zimmer said.
That sentiment was later reiterated to Mayor Zimmer by Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner. Zimmer said, “We requested $100 million in hazard mitigation funding and we received $142,000.”
Christie spokesman Colin Reed responded to Kornacki’s report: “MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him.”
In fact, it’s a lack of partisanship that makes this story even sadder. Turns out that, though she was a Democrat, Mayor Zimmer had been a fan of Christie and his efforts to combat corruption while attorney-general.
“I was emotional about governor Christie,” [Mayor Zimmer] wrote in a diary entry she provided that is dated May 17, 2013. “I thought he was honest. I thought he was moral. I thought he was something very different. This week I found out he’s cut from the same corrupt cloth that I have been fighting for the last four years.”
Leaving a true believer’s idealism broken in pieces at her feet is far from the least of political sins.