Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Public closes Gov's book deal; newspapers win a reprieve

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
It was the overwhelmingly negative public reaction--phones ringing off the hook in many legislators' offices--that killed linked bills on Monday in the New Jersey Assembly that would have allowed Gov. Chris Christie to profit from a book deal while in office and also eliminate the long-required printing of public legal notices in newspapers--a revenue source vital to the daily and weekly publications. 

David Cruz puts it all together in this NJTV NEWS report.

Republican Gov. Christie's unprecedented working relationship with Democratic party bosses (the mostly hidden figures who really call the shots in the State House) allowed the so-called 'revenge bill' to fly down the pre-Christmas fast track until newspaper publishers and open-government groups fought back and incited the public reaction.

The Governor who rarely loses in the Legislature didn't take this one well. Witness the Asbury Park Press by Bob JordanChris Christie in Twitter storm after bill defeats 

Star-Ledger editorial writer and columnist Tom Moran, who has been an pebble in the governor's shoe for most of Christie's two terms in office, wrote in Christie & Dem bosses get public spanking they deserve:
In the end, no damage was done, except to the reputations of the politicians who tried to pull off this dirty stunt.
This time, they couldn't get the votes. The players were all in the regular seats, with Gov. Chris Christie playing the tune, and the three chieftains of the Democratic Party dancing with him. Just like the old days.
This time, though, the followers didn't follow. This time, on a memorable Monday in Trenton, they revolted.  

The Ledger followed up with an editorial: Dear Gov. Christie: Your priorities are cockeyed. Sincerely, N.J.  It read, in part:

Chris Christie has priorities, and he's sticking by them. Never mind that they are irrational and that almost no one else shares them: He is convinced that his support of 18 percent is such an ironclad mandate, he could go around kicking kittens each day for the next 12 months and still be applauded for his authenticity. 
So with a resolve that borders on psychosis, our governor continues to ignore New Jersey's most urgent concerns, authorizing a spokesman to affirm that the effort to eliminate legal notices from newspapers is neither dead nor buried. In fact, he vowed that it will be "a top priority when we return from the holidays."
Really, you have to give the guy credit for trying, just like you gave credit to Sisyphus for getting pancaked by a boulder for all of eternity.
It would be immodest for a newspaper to rank its own concerns among governmental priorities, so we won't try - judging by countless calls and emails from our wonderful readers to lawmakers since Friday, that argument has already been made with gratifying gusto.
But we can make this observation: When a governor engages in revenge politics - which is the best way to define this effort to destroy newspapers - he makes it too easy for everyone to question his so-called "priorities."

As we've long noted, Politics is New Jersey's favorite spectator sport. 

We wish you all a wonderful holiday but almost can't wait to get back to the Legislature in January. Oh, such fun to ride.

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