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Thu, Nov 27, 2014

VINSON: Parking lot would have been smarter choice

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Unless you’re wandering around lost in the parking lot, you should be familiar with, at least, the rudiments of the scandal involving New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

As is customary, though, here’s a short synopsis to ensure all are on the same page:

First, Christie is the 51-year-old hefty Republican governor who is considered to be fairly moderate by many fellow party members. Admirably so, Christie publicly discussed his obesity, and further, if all reports are true, underwent lap-band surgery as a corrective measure.

The only reason I dare mention his weight problem is that many felt Christie is a strong candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

A strong orator, former attorney in the private sector, and former prosecutor Christie seemingly has the credentials to be commander-in-chief.

However, on the flip-side, many counter that a man unable to control his own weight is not capable of running the country.

I’ll just say  I wish Christie luck in battling his weight because he is currently facing a bigger problem, if you please.

Fort Lee is a borough of approximately 35,000 residents and is located just across the Hudson River from New York City.

If one travels over the George Washington Bridge and onto the New Jersey Turnpike, he will pass right over the middle of Fort Lee.

Its mayor is Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who had the stones not to endorse Christie’s bid for re-election last year.

In September 2013, two months before Christie’s re-election in November, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed two of the three lanes that lead to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, across the Hudson from Manhattan.

The closures caused days of colossal traffic jams in Fort Lee.

Purportedly, the closures were ordered by David Wildstein, a Christie confidante and appointee to the Port Authority.

The Port Authority operates the George Washington Bridge, which has the distinction of being the nation’s busiest bridge.

The shutdown, which lasted for approximately four days, caused hours of backups on the roads and highways leading to the bridge, delaying traffic within the borough, as well as commuters traveling in and out of it.

At the time, the Port Authority claimed it was conducting a traffic study.

However, the lack of warning  caught city officials and residents off guard, and a catastrophe of near biblical proportions followed.

By the fourth day, the closed lanes were reopened by New York officials.

Expectedly, a major investigation ensued.

Investigators seized text messages and  e-mails, which strongly indicated that Christie’s aides and Port Authority staffers had conspired in the lane-closure scandal to get back at Sokolich for not endorsing Christie, and, worse yet, had joked about the closures.

In early January, approximately two weeks before Christie was sworn in as governor of New Jersey, a court subpoena mandated the scandal be made public.

Though Christie has denied any knowledge of the scandal and claims to support a full investigation, many believe he is culpable and  merely attempting to cover his political behind.

Of this historically infamous scandal, charges are: The cost to American taxpayers could be in the 10-figure range, and, even more serious, many lives were needlessly lost and negatively impacted.

As a crusty attorney put it to me, “Christie and the whole bunch need to be charged with domestic terrorism under the Patriot Act.”

By all accounts, it was the  exchange of texts and e-mails that ultimately snagged Christie and cohorts.

If guilty as charged, are Christie and these upper echelon officials too arrogant and lazy to walk to the parking lot and hatch their plans instead of sitting at their desks and electronically transmitting them, leaving behind a trail of evidence accessible to the world for eternity?

And these are the people leading our states – our country?

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get people at this level behaving so recklessly and naively.

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Chris Christie, New Jersey, Politics, Voices
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