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First Bridgegate Testimony Leaves Key Issues Unaddressed

Port Authority Dismantling a Prelude to Privatization

Fear and Loathing In Chris Christie’s Government

Mark Magyar at NJ Spotlight wrote a superb analysis today on yesterday’s first witness testimony to the Legislature’s Select Committee on Investigation regarding Bridgegate, see:

I listened closely to the hearing and thoroughly enjoyed Magyar’s analysis, but feel compelled to add the following observations:

  • The Role of IGA – Important Issues Ignored

The Office of Inter-Governmental Affairs (IGA) has become Gov. Christie’s CREEP (for Nixon’s “Committee for the Reelection of the President).

As such, everything IGA was involved in warrants investigation.

Renna’s testimony provided an opportunity to probe 4 issues that I’ve been working on, all of which were laid out in the Mastro interview summaries:

1) IGA intervention at DEP in general;
2) IGA involvement in the “rollout” of DEP flood hazard regs ( adopting FEMA ABFE’s);
3) IGA involvement in the Hazard Mitigation Grants, including energy; and
4) IGA invitation of Rockefeller Development Group to DEP meetings

Not one question was asked on any of that and Mr. Mowers’ name was mentioned only once.

Mowers is a political animal and Stepien’s “kid”. Mowers was the one who invited Rockefeller to the Cabinet level Commissioners of DEP & DCA & Mayor Zimmer meeting on March 5, 2013.

What was a very young, inexperienced, and political partisan like Mowers doing with Rockefeller Group?

  • Port Authority

Magyar also discusses developments at the Port Authority, particularly yesterday’s move by Governors Cuomo and Christie to control the reform efforts.

For deep ties between Christie and Cuomo cronies involved at the PA, see:

The Port Authority is far too important a regional institution to allow it to be dismantled in order to protect the political ambitions of two governors.

So, I am shocked by the lack of a high profile defense of the Port Authority’s mission and regionalism in general, and the way the press has simply gone along with this dismantling exercise.

[Update: 5/8/14 – The Record editorial writes an excellent strong criticism of the Cuomo/Christie move “Not a Port Authority Fix“, but it is hardly the spirited defense of regional planning and the Port’s mission that needs writing – or the warning about the end game I see. –

5/8/14 Update #2 – I just read this superb May 5 Star Ledger editorial, which says many things that needed to be said.  But if the Ledger wants to make “Soviet” analogies, it should be to the one I make: privatization threats.  ~~~ end update]]

Dismantling of the Port Authority would set the stage for a massive privatization and fire sale of Port Authority capital assets and facilities to billionaire profiteers on a scale not seen since the Russian Oligarchs ascendance in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

That is the end game.

Where are the professional planners and historical advocates of regionalism, like the Regional Plan Assc.?

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