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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Chris Christie’s bridge scandal just got real Private messages between Governor’s Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock.

The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor, who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election and they chronicle how local officials tried to reach the Port Authority in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the bridge, the world’s busiest.

The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," one senior Christie staffer wrote another. Another said they felt sorry for the kids trapped in traffic jams on their way to school, the response was, "They are the children of Buono voters" — referencing Christie’s Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race.

This makes the scandal harder for Christie to ignore and reinforces his image as a bully. Just coming off a win in New Jersey, he may get a pass from voters there. But national voters may not let it slide, putting his presidential aspirations in question.

This is abuse of power, pure and simple. The sheer pettiness of it all just makes everything worse. Christie would get nothing out of creating traffic headaches for the residents of Fort Lee, other than revenge on the one mayor who refused to kiss his ring. it serves no other purpose.

[photo by Gage Skidmore]

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