NJ Mayors: Was Christie Getting Revenge on Me, Too?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mayors in New Jersey say they're starting to consider foul play by the Christie administration in light of the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says she had a face to face visit with Gov. Christie in the Spring, when he asked her to endorse him for re-election. 

She told him she would be remaining neutral.

“He was quite disappointed, but I wouldn't say that he was angry. He was disappointed and said he would keep asking,” Zimmer said. "And I said, 'We can keep the conversation going but I don't expect to be changing my position.’ And I didn't.”

She had applied for hazard mitigation grants to protect Hoboken from flooding. During Sandy, 80 percent of the city was under water.

Zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in grants. She got $300,000 — a fraction of 1 percent.

“It's a lot less and I was extremely disappointed,” Zimmer said. “And at the time I was angry because I felt like the focus was on the shore.”

Now, she says she can't help but wonder if her decision not to endorse Christie played a role.

“With 20/20 hindsight, in the context we're in right now, we can always look back and say, 'Okay, was it retribution?'” Zimmer said. “I think probably all mayors are reflecting right now and thinking about it, but I really hope that that's not the case.”

Next week a representative from the governor's office is expected to hear Hoboken's proposal for a flood solution. And Mayor Zimmer says she's optimistic the city will get more support this time around.

In Jersey City, Mayor Steven Fulop recently disclosed that the Christie administration cancelled several meetings — the day after he refused to endorse the Governor.  

In Elizabeth, Chris Bollwage, who has been the mayor for 21 years, says his city has gotten payback from Christie after its state legislators opposed several pieces of the Governor's legislation.

“The Governor's retribution was to close down the Division of Motor vehicles here in the city of Elizabeth, which is the fourth largest city in the state of New Jersey,” Bollwage said.

In a 2010 letter to State Senator Raymond Lesniak, the Motor Vehicle Commission wrote that the office in Elizabeth was closed for cost saving reasons, among other things.

Senator Lesniak says he doesn't buy it. He thinks it was retribution.

But other Democrats, like Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, stand by their cross-party endorsement of the Governor. He says Christie really stepped in after Sandy.

“We do have a have a very good working relationship and we had one before and during the storm and it got better after,” Schneider said. “And that’s what led me to do the endorsement, and that has not changed.”

The Mayor of Harrison, Raymond McDonough, was the first Democratic mayor to support Christie. He says he did so because the Governor helped him get $100 million for the city’s PATH station.

In Elizabeth, Mayor Bollwage says he's been wondering what the Democratic mayors who did endorse Christie are getting out of it.

“I said back then, it's only going to be shown when this budget cycle comes around. Who benefits in this budget and who gets hurt in this budget," Bollwage said. “But the GWB fiasco has really taken away the ability for political retribution.”

Now, Bollwage says Christie's budget, and political relationships, are going to be under a microscope.


Comments [14]

Edge from Hackensack

I believe that the 60 or so democratic officials who publicly endorsed Christy should actually be subpeoned for questioning regarding what carrots or sticks were placed on the table.

Jan. 15 2014 12:33 AM from New Jersey

This theory would be in line with treating his

Jan. 13 2014 01:03 PM
Tyco Bass

Rachel Maddow had a very interesting theory as to why the lane closures occurred. Christie called his Democratic-led State Senate a "bunch of animals" at an angry press conference because the Senate was not going along with Christie's plan to remake the NJ Supreme Court. That Press conference occurred the day before his aid sent that infamous 7:50 AM email "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Fort Lee is home to the Democratic head of the Senate.

Jan. 13 2014 12:29 PM

RORY FROM ZIMMERLAND: thank you for saying what I was thinking. ZIMMER much more interested in photos than she is in Hoboken. Barriers were ready to go on my flood prone street, this weekend. Nothing has been done by the city to address flooding problems but development continues unabated. We suggest a row boat be given with each vastly overpriced condo. Your car will certainly not survive the next deluge.

Jan. 13 2014 08:07 AM
beyrich from Jersey City

The only thing Gov Fat Fuck will be President of id his local Jenny Craig chapter

Jan. 12 2014 09:17 PM - Malwarebytes - Behold! The Most Valuable Page on the Internet! -

Jan. 12 2014 05:23 PM

Gonzalez should have written "on the part of" and not "on behalf of".

Jan. 12 2014 06:06 AM
Syl from Ridgefield Park

This will teach everyone that it's not okay inconvenience New Jersey drivers. We have places to go and things to do and none of us should ever have to be inconvenienced or have the threat of it from any government official. First Obamacare and now this ... I'm sure our "leaders" have experienced no inconvenience at all. Obama did YOU have to find different or new health insurance because yours was dropped because of your plan? Christie have you EVER even had to experience sitting in traffic? People were late for things that day .. it is shameful!

Jan. 11 2014 10:47 PM
Abbby from WI

This is an examples of abuses, and exactly why in a Democracy, we have to stop the power of spying on citizens. Bring back our protection, the Bill
of Rights.

Jan. 11 2014 08:08 PM

Keric II for president! the country needs him, now!

Jan. 11 2014 12:49 PM

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Re. An open letter to Governor Christopher Christie

Dear Gov. Christie:
The following are good reasons why you not continue in the Governorship.

Regardless of your good work and obvious political skills, you remain blind to what defines power abuse in "ends justifying means".

Your legal actions alone, demonstrate a distorted sense of what a politician is entitled do to maintain support. You seem confused between leadership and authoritarianism:
 You threatened to veto legislation before you took office!
 In a far-worse misappropriation of a New Jersey Gov.'s unusual degree of "legislative" power you vetoed equal marriage legislation, then threaten to spend more of New Jersey's borrowed money on a Court of Appeal of an override!
 You used the extreme power of line-item veto to punish political enemies.
 Your legal right to call for a special election was not only a clear abuse of power, but ironically could have funded 24 teachers whose jobs you cut, for five more years. Just a 5% cut affects 18,000 students with reduced teacher attention. (Not to mention the costs to individuals and businesses of an unnecessary trip to the polls).
Enough examples; the question is, what can you do about it before we must?

Your political career has likely essentially ended in the minds of the public. Why take on the inordinate real-issue-distracting hurdles? You are a young man who still has time to understand that life is not a football game where the big guy should dominate. However, this cannot happen while you are in the office.

It is immoral to think that the allowable political action is to fire members of your staff, (who albeit suffer morale of the issues of their own), who would not be in their jobs were they not willing to push the practices of politics way beyond its fuzzy line of decency.

Resignation will be best for everyone, as you will realize.
Please enjoy spending time with your family. Why ruin their lives, your own, and cost the State more in investigation, defense, and distraction. Can you really carry on the duties of your office with your full attention on them? The Office of Governor is not primarily a political strategist position. You have already been re-elected. You have a fiduciary responsibility to run the State, not run for President, despite the acceptance of this despicable practice.

You will be remembered as our Sandy hero despite the harm. Please quit before you get further behind.
The fact that you wish to be President is further proof of myopic selfishness. You have inadequate experience and temperament for that job and have nothing philosophically special to offer.
Will you please watch the end of "White Lightning" where James Cagney begs his mother for forgiveness, if any question remains in your mind?


Jan. 11 2014 12:49 PM
stephen from manhattan

There should be no mystery why Christie "stepped in" so prominently after Sandy. He's a proud climate change denier but recognized that the devastation of the Jersey Shore provided a variety of ready-made visuals for re-election campaign TV spots — prominently featuring the governor and his entire family — but paid for by taxpayers. Gov. Christie knows no shame when it comes to politics nor does his senior staff.

Jan. 11 2014 10:36 AM
Rory from Zimmerland

Amazing what zimmer says when the press is around, sort of like when she poses for pictures or gets to be in tv shows. Maybe Zimmer can blame the ice in the hudson on Christie too.

Jan. 10 2014 11:24 PM
John Farrell from MN, formerly Staten Island

To the Mayor of Elizabeth NJ I say, if it walks like a duck (pun) talks like a duck (actual) and acts like a duck (behaviourally), you can bet it's a duck. Even if it later becomes a dead political duck, it's a duck.

Jan. 10 2014 09:54 PM

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