I strongly disagree with a recent Asbury Park Press editorial that said Gov. Chris Christie exhibited “strong leadership” in response to superstorm Sandy. Strong leadership requires vision, planning and a genuine concern for the general welfare, which are attributes that Christie lacks.
Christie learned nothing from Hurricane Irene in 2011 when he told us to “get the hell off the beach.” He failed to prepare New Jersey for a catastrophic storm like Sandy. His natural impulse was to leverage Sandy to serve his ambitions. He used federal funds for Sandy victims to repay his patrons and buy political support.
Christie put incompetent and corrupt cronies in charge of disbursing billions in disaster aid. He grossly mismanaged the Sandy grant programs, especially RREM. Christie took recovery dollars to star in TV commercials. And he doled out large chunks of federal money to buy endorsements from compliant Democratic politicians even when their towns had suffered little or no damage from Sandy.
Christie exhibited poor leadership before and after Sandy. NJ Transit parked its locomotives in a flood-prone area and lost much of its fleet to Sandy. Thousands of flood victims still aren’t back in their homes almost five years after Sandy, have dropped out of the RREM grant program or have sold their homes to vultures for pennies on the dollar.
Christie, always eager to exploit the suffering of others, has recently been offering advice about recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Christie is chasing a few more minutes of media attention before he disappears down New Jersey’s political sewer into the dustbin of history.
Thomas J. Largey