Home > Uncategorized > Christie Abuses Power Again – Declares War on Poor

Christie Abuses Power Again – Declares War on Poor

tennants in low income housing in Phillipsburgh, NJ

tenants in low income housing in Phillipsburgh, NJ

[Update #1: excellent coverage by NJNewsroom.com]

[Update #2: 2/11/10 – another view: Paul Mulshine is a wingnut]

Continuing in the same legal fashion as his arrogant War on the Environment via Executive Order fiat, NJ Governor Christie issued another Executive Order declaring a war on the poor, opening another front in his power hungry radical right wing battle on progressive policy.

This quote from today’s Star Ledger says it all – and it follows the same pattern set by Christie’s environmental rollback executive orders (and tellingly, the new task force will be chaired by Marcia Karrow, the right wing attack dog X-legislator who did such a poor job on the DEP Transition Report:

“The governor is charged with executing the laws, not making them,” he said. “The executive order defies the court’s directives to adopt and implement regulations that comply with out (sic) state constitution.”

(see: NJ Gov. Christie creates task force to review affordable housing

I view housing as a human right and strongly support affordable housing and state imposed legal mandates to fulfill the constitutional obligation found in the 1975 Mt. Laurel case. But I don’t pretend to be an expert on COAH, so will refer interested readers to the Star Ledger story, affordable housing advocates’ website, and the Christie Executive Order #12.

abandoned housing in Camden, NJ

abandoned housing in Camden, NJ

On the environmental and land use policy side, I think my enviro colleagues are under some expectation that “gutting COAH” will somehow result in better land use planning, stronger environmental protection, and an end to the “builders remedy” that is driving so much sprawl development. This may lead them to sit out this debate, or actually support Christie.

my nomination for the worst sprawl in NJ

my nomination for the worst sprawl in NJ

But my ENGO colleagues are deluded, because to achieve the growth management, land use planning, and environmental protections they seek would require a complete reversal of Christie’s strongly pro-economic anti-environmental policies. It would also take state mandates, which Christie has rejected in Executive Order #4 and strong state leadership, which Christie has rejected by making this a home rule issue, driven by the League of Municipalities.  Plus, there is a potentially significant public health downside.  Due to the scarcity of developable land in NJ, high land prices, racist and exclusionary suburban factions, and pressures to redevelop marginal lands and toxic sites (known as “brownfields”) it is likely that locally undesirable affordable housing will be built on toxic sites and old landfills, exposing low income residents to unacceptable health risks.

But regardless of one’s views on affordable housing, we all should be very concerned when a Governor oversteps his authority and abuses power in such a fashion.

We are talking about constitutional issues of separation of power, judicial power, and human rights.

freedom in America - free to sleep on a bench

freedom in America - free to sleep on a bench

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  1. Arnold Cohen
    February 11th, 2010 at 10:46 | #1

    Bill, Thanks for the great comments. Christie’s efforts will stop towns where there are jobs and/or public transport from having to provide an opportunity for working people to live. This will drive people to live in PA. or South Jersey and drive over a hour to work. This will add to sprawl and hurt our environment.

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