Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christie's Targets: The Who and The Why

We still do not know for sure whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (and\or his staff) targeted solely Ft. Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, or whether he hoped for a two-fer: Sokolich and Democratic State Senator Loretta Weinberg. Although the timing of the initial email closely follows upon an outburst by Christie wherein he called New Jersey's senior Democratic leadership 'animals' and promised 'serious ramifications" (Weinberg is one of several senior Dems), the substance of the emails mocks and taunts Sokolich.

So until the underlings begin to testify under compulsion and grants of immunity, we may not be able to say precisely whom Christie's ham-handed vendetta was targeting.

In like manner, we cannot say with certainty yet exactly 'why' Christie and\or his minions chose the targets they did.

Initial speculation was that Christie had targeted Sokolich because Sokolich refused to endorse Christies' re-election bid. Both Chrstie and Sokolich himself cast serious doubt upon this motive, Christie by dsmissing Sokolich as a 'nobody' whom he'd never heard of, Sokolich by saying his endorsement had never been sought, much less refused. However, Sokolich had earlier complained that Port Authority police (over he had no jurisdiction) were telling angry motorists that the traffic delays were Sokolich's fault.

Attention turned the next day to Rachel Maddow's theory that Christie sought to retaliate against Senate Dems because they were blocking and obstructing his judicial nominations (after Christie had broken with long-established precedent and declined to re-nominate the sole African American on the Supreme Court to a lifetime appointment). According to this theory, Christie wanted Senator Weinberg, the Democratic Senator whose consituency encompassed Ft. Lee, to feel the fury of his wrath and the negative consequences from inconvenienced motorists living in the district. The timing of the first email lends credence to the theory; Weinberg seems intrigued by it, even if other NJ Dems like Senator Sweeney (an early Christie) endorser express skepticism.

Today, on MSNBC, Steve Kornacki explores yet a third possible motivation: a massive billion-dollar development project at the foot of the GW Bridge. The 'Hudson Lights' project featured two 47-story residential structures and 165,000 feet of ground-floor retail space. The company doing the redevelopment project, Tucker Development Corporation, was a major donor to NJ Senator (and former Newark Mayor) Cory Booker's campaign. Booker, as most should know, is a Democrat.

Kornackit's theory involves some very scummy skulduggery, so bear with me - remember that Bridgegate involves reducing hte number of dedicated Ft. Lee toll lanes from 3 to 1, meaning that the same amount of Ft. Lee traffic was now competing for only one toll lane onto the GW Bridge where before that traffic had 3 lanes. Well, it turns out that the reason the Hudson Lights was a 'billion-dollar project,' is precisely becuase of those 3 dedicated lanes making Ft. Lee commuters' daily commute into Manhattan reasonably easy. Reduce their access to the GW Bridge to one toll lane and suddenly the principal attraction of Hudson Lights - ease of access to the GW Bridge -- loses it luster. Suddenly a 'billion-dollar project' is no longer worth a billion dollars.

My speculation: Who knows whom Christie might have intended to get the tip so as to be able to rush in and scoop up a suddenly deflated asset for pennies on the dollar?. Then, wouldn't you know it, Christie could magically re-open those toll lanes and a billion-dollar project gone bust is suddenly golden again, but now in the hands of Christie cronies.

It's all very 'Chinatown,' isn't it? And it makes the prospect of hearing testimony from Christie's underlings all the more enticing and exhilarating. Maybe Christie hoped for a three-in-one: get Sokolich's constitents pissed at him, send a message to Weinberg, and fuck over one of his political rival's major donors (and maybe give his own cronies an insider tip to a killing to be made). Who knows what songs will be heard when the canaries finally begin to sing?

No comments:

Post a Comment