Governor Chris "Who, Me?" Christie held his first town meeting since the GWB caca hit the fan, and I'm sure you will be surprised to hear that he blamed "federal red tape" for his inability to get Sandy recovery money to people in need. (Even though most of it, from what I've read, is in the form of block grants which have no restrictions on how he uses them.) Fortunately, he's been able to get millions to politically connected developers, so at least someone's putting food on the table!
And then there's the $38 million or so in private Sandy relief donations that Mrs. Who Me is overseeing and appears to be using them more as a political slush fund. But then, I'm not from Jersey and I probably don't understand why it actually saves money to parcel it out to potential supporters right before Mr. Who Me's reelection.
Meanwhile, I suspect that many Jersey shore residents are slowly becoming more sympathetic to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, who also sat in the mold for years, waiting for help that never came:
PORT MONMOUTH — Gov. Chris Christie kicked off his 110th town hall in a hard hit Monmouth County community by telling a crowd of residents that the state has hard choices to make.
The governor said the state suffered $37 billion in damage, but will receive between $15 to $20 billion in aid from the federal government..
"All of you can do the math. That’s anywhere from a $17 to a $22 billion dollar gap," he said.
Christie said that means tough choices will have to be made and that "not everybody can be whole."
Except Shaquille O'Neal, whose company's high-rise development far from the shore got, what, $14 million? Obviously, endorsements are expensive these days.
The town hall was originally scheduled for last week but had been postponed twice because of weather.
The town hall is the first the governor has held since his emails were revealed linking his staff to the controversial lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, and since Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer accused his administration of threatening to withhold Sandy aid if she didn't push forward a redevelopment project.↓ Story continues below ↓
Christie said that the federal government has come to the state's help in providing aid.
"But also what happens when you deal with the federal government is the red tape is measurable. This is especially true in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," he said.
The first question the governor took was a from a homeowner in Brick who has still not been able to return home because of Sandy and who said she's been put on the wait list for a major state-run housing rebuilding program.
Christie told her if he could make the decisions himself, she'd likely be home, "but I don’t have the checkbook and I can’t make these decisions by myself.”
Unless you're politically connected, in which case, the money seems to speed through. Like for that senior center in Belleview?
Tom Largey, a Sea Bright resident waiting for help with grant money, asked the governor several questions about the state-administered grant program, including asking why private contractors were hired to run the initiatives.
"The fact is that we don’t have the number of employees, thankfully, thankfully, for you and your tax rates that could run an additional $15 to $20 billion in programs," Christie said.
Isn't that nice? He's bragging about the fact that he doesn't have enough employees to perform the needed functions of his government. Yes, "thankfully," the bulk of that money will be siphoned off by private contractors who will cost a lot more.
Ladies and gentlemen, I remind you: This man is the Great White Hope of the Republican party.