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Gov. Christie Shamelessly Exploiting Sandy for Personal Benefit

When will the NJ media write substantive investigative accountability stories?

[Update 2: 2/4/13 -Looks like the media finally gets it: Christie urged to separate himself from Sandy relief fund:

“This is exactly where the wealthy special interests will then go throw money in order to buy favor with the politician who is associated with the non-profit,” Holman said.

He said the charity also can be used to promote the governor’s image — Christie is displayed prominently on the group’s Facebook page hugging a victim of the storm — in an election year.

Update 1:  Gov. Christie opposes a Coastal Commission or any legislative role. Gov. doubles down on the Rebuild Czar and moves quickly to shut down any debate, even before the bill is introduced - see Asbury Park Press: Chrisite opposes panel to oversee shore rebuilding - end update]

Yesterday, I was disgusted by reading a story where Gov. Christie crudely exploited Sandy for his own personal and partisan gain:

Gov. Christie: “I will be in Belmar” next Memorial Day to open new post-Sandy boardwalk

Aside from the Belmar Boardwalk, I’m sure Gov. Christie will be breaking out  his Sandy Fleece in the cool fall days before next November’s election too.

I’m also sure the governor’s political team is planning all sorts of ribbon cutting campaign events, as those billions in federal taxpayer Sandy bailout dollars flow to NJ.  The Gov. will use them as a twofer: to shamelessly self promote and to cover up his performance and policy record, which made Sandy worse.

We got just a small taste of that  yesterday in a Star Ledger report:

FEMA approves $19 million in grants for sludge shipment, park cleanup

Two sewage treatment plants and several state parks affected by Hurricane Sandy are the beneficiaries of $19 million in emergency storm grants, Gov. Christie announced today.

Notice how the story is all good news – no reporting at all of the fact that those grants did not come with strings attached to require these sewage plants to conduct a vulnerability assessment and to retrofit facilities to avoid the next storm. 

No reporting that those plants and DEP screwed up. Current DEP regulations make vulnerability assessment voluntary and DEP dos not enforce some emergency planning and preparedness requirements that are in permits – that’s why these plants were not prepared and got hit harder than if they were.

But, enough of those complicated and DEP regulations and back to the politics. In addition to the Gov.’s  rank political exploitation of the Belmar Boardwalk, there is the simply astonishing hypocrisy of Gov. Christie demanding federal taxpayer dollars to restore beaches that his Administration is reducing public access to (see: Environmental groups sue NJ DEP over new beach rules that could limit access).

On top of the crude political exploitation, demagoguery, and the  hypocrisy, there also is the fact of the Gov.’s actual policy record, which directly contributed to the Sandy problems (for investigative news on the Christie record,see:

But, of course all this ignored by NJ’s hometown cheerleading press corps, who broke new depths of depravity today  in the Star Ledger’s page one story, a disgusting display of lap dog journalism:

Christie looks ahead to big victory in 2013, reflects on how Sandy changed him

While I’ve written in detail – perhaps to much detail for the average intrepid journalist to follow – because the media seem incapable or unwilling to investigate the Governor’s actual policy and performance related to Sandy, let me just simply lay out  just one specific example of Sandy SNAFU: 1 – 2 – 3:

1. DEP recently completed a pilot study with shore towns.

In March 2011, DEP released the results:

“Coastal Community Vulnerability Assessment Protocol (CCVAP) is a GIS-based methodology to assist land use planners, hazard mitigation planners, emergency managers, and other local decision-makers in the identification of their community’s vulnerability through virtual mapping. By applying the methods defined in CCVAP to the pilot communities, areas were identified where built infrastructure, sensitive natural resources, and special needs populations overlapped areas of potential inundation. This vulnerability mapping supports community efforts to make the connection between the potential consequences of sea level rise and inundation to their vulnerability – ultimately to guide the community for resilience planning.”

2. The implementation of the CCVA would require close coordination and assistance to local governments from DEP.

3. So, meet your DEP Director of Local Government Assistance, a woman – like the boss that hired her, Commissioner Bob Martin –  with no academic or professional training or government experience, whose only qualification is partisan hack, and who told a local environmental Commissioner that sycamore trees at Bull’s Island are an invasive species:

full story, with links to documents:

So, when will the NJ media write those kind of investigative accountability stories?

 

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