This is the sort of "bipartisanship" we could all do without.
The governors of New York and New Jersey, defying the unanimous votes of both their Legislatures, on Saturday rejected a bill aimed at curbing political interference and patronage at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, more than a year after lane closings at the George Washington Bridge set off a scandal that looms over the agency to this day.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a Democrat, announced the veto of the bill just hours before a midnight deadline and in the face of almost-unheard-of bipartisan support.
Because the authority is governed by both New York and New Jersey, approval is needed by both Legislatures to make changes in its structure and operations. On Saturday night, the anger over the governors’ rejection of the bill was felt on both sides of the Hudson River.
“It’s appalling and disappointing,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat of Bergen County, N.J., who sponsored the bill in Trenton, adding: “The Legislatures of New Jersey and New York crossed party lines to pass Port Authority reform. The governors crossed party lines to obstruct it.”
The veto came as prosecutors continue to investigate the politically motivated lane closings at the bridge last year, a scandal that marred the reputation of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey as a rising star in the Republican Party. A bistate agency whose commissioners and top staff members are appointed by the two governors, the authority has vast transportation responsibilities, including several of the region’s airports and major bridges.
But it has also faced withering ethical questions over its reputation for rewarding politically connected officials with patronage jobs and allies with lucrative contracts. Read on...
Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo vetoed legislation passed unanimously in both of their state legislatures that would change the management structure at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.↓ Story continues below ↓
Instead, Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, and Cuomo, a New York Democrat, said they accepted revisions recommended by a special panel to reorganize the agency, and urged their respective legislatures and the Port Authority to implement them, according to a joint statement released today.
The report’s recommendations include consolidating the agency under a single chief executive officer; the appointment of a chief ethics and compliance officer; making public-records rules consistent with state laws; divesting real-estate holdings that aren’t vital to the agency’s mission, including commercial properties at the World Trade Center; and building a new bus terminal in Manhattan, according to the governors’ statement.
“The changes proposed in the bill necessarily lack the insights and extensive analysis contained in the special panel’s report, resulting in ideas that are too narrow, and lacking in the changes needed for reform,” Christie said in a veto message.
Lawmakers, transportation advocates and government watchdog groups have pressed for a housecleaning at the 93-year-old agency since e-mails came to light showing the involvement of Christie allies in engineering traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge as political retribution. Read on...
So what's the likelihood of any of this stopping the Villagers in our corporate media from treating either of these two as viable presidential contenders? I'm guessing somewhere between zero and none.
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