By James J. Devine
Essex County legal cases have not been suspended indefinitely because of a hot political dispute between Gov. Chris Christie and state Sen. Ronald Rice, as reported in Alexi Friedman’s front page story on Sunday.
They are on hold because Christie is failing to do his job and appoint urgently needed Superior Court judges.
While each side blames the other, the Governor has refused to do his job because the Senator is doing his by blocking the appointment of Christopher Cerf as state education commissioner.
Cerf should not have a job in which his ethics, experience and political agenda disqualify him.
New Jersey has an obligation to provide every child an opportunity to receive a quality education. Cerf is a profiteer who would undermine democracy itself by dismantling public education, privatizing schools and advancing segregation.
Arguments over Cerf’s appointment are a legitimate subject of debate, as opposed to Christie’s act of extortion.
Essex County Superior Court Assignment Judge Patricia Costello said she had no choice but to halt civil and family court trials, affecting hundreds of cases, because there are 11 judicial vacancies.
Christie is not doing his job and people in this state are suffering for it.
He previously blew a chance to get $400 million in federal education funding because he appointed incompetent staff.
At least 6,000 jobs went up in smoke and New Jersey taxpayers got hit with a bill for $95 million on top of the $591.4 million spent on the project since 2006, because Christie threw away $3 billion of federal financing when he killed the trans-Hudson commuter train tunnel.
After Christie killed the $9.5 billion ARC tunnel, Amtrak said it will spend $13.5 billion. Christie’s cost to taxpayers: $4.1 billion. Christie also used state tax dollars to pay $1.2 million to politically-connected lobbying law-firm Patton Boggs clean up that mess.
The state also lost $9 million in federal funding for family planning services to uninsured women when Christie pulled $1.1 million in state money out of the program.
Christie supported 20 years worth of state tax breaks for the Revel casino in Atlantic City, which will cost taxpayers $261 million.
Christie gave away $200 million tax breaks to the foreign company that took over the failed Meadowlands Xanadu project.
In addition to his innumerable screw ups, Christie is making nothing better for Garden State residents.
The New York Times reported in November that the number of New Jersey students receiving free or low-cost school lunches increased by 25 percent. There has been a 23.2 percent rise food stamp use in New Jersey since 2009. U.S. Census data shows half of New Jersey’s population — once predominantly middle-class — has dropped below the low-income threshold or fallen into poverty.
Democrats in Trenton need to put aside political cowardice and take on the bombastic Republican once and for all, with a swift and fair, but final impeachment proceeding.
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