This is kind of old, but I don't think we did it when it first came out (early December) and new evidence just came out.
Basically, one of Chris Christie's appointee's and long time friend (David Wildstein) has been accused of purposefully closing most of the lanes of George Washington bridge to Fort Lee, NJ back in September in order to get back at the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting Christie's potential presidential run.
The closures caused major delays, with some reports saying that what is normally about a 45 minute commute stretched into 4 hours, and among other things caused a lot of kids to be stuck in buses for hours and very late for school that day (like, 3 hours late!)
The Christie administration originally said that the lanes were closed as part of a "traffic study" (whatever that even means!) but then the Port Authority came out and said that they knew of no such study taking place at the time. Also, the normal procedures such as notifying the police and local officials ahead of time so they could be on hand to help had not been done.
The guy that ordered the closures (David Wildstein) has since resigned. He was an appointee and supposed life long friend of Chris Christie (i.e. they went to the same high school just one year apart, et cetera.)
So now, there has been an email chain leaked that is pretty damning that yes, the whole thing was planned and WAS personal against Mayor Sokolich (who they refer to as "the Serbian" and "Serbia" in the emails and text messages.)
About three weeks before the lane closure, Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie?s senior staff, wrote an email to David Wildstein ? a Christie childhood friend who?s also a former executive at the Port Authority ? saying it was ?time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.? Wildstein?s response: ?Got it.?
In another correspondence, this time between Wildstein and an unknown interlocutor (the documents are partially redacted), Wildstein dismisses his correspondent?s concerns over how the lane closure and the ensuing traffic jams affected New Jersey residents. ?I feel bad about the kids,? the unknown person texts Wildstein. Wildstein responds, texting, ?They are the children of Buono voters.? Barbara Buono was Christie?s Democratic opponent in 2013′s gubernatorial election.
Private messages between Governor?s Christie?s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create ?traffic problems in Fort Lee? by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock.
The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee?s mayor ? who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election ? and they chronicle how he tried to reach Port Authority officials in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the world?s busiest bridge.
The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor?s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough?s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta?a notion that Christie has publicly denied.
Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,? Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie?s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: ?Got it.?
Other top Christie associates mentioned in or copied on the email chain ? all after the top New York appointee at the authority ordered the lanes reopened ? include David Samson, the chairman of the agency; Bill Stepien, Christie?s re-election campaign manager and the newly appointed state GOP chairman; and Michael Drewniak, Christie?s spokesman.
Christie has previously said that no one in his staff or campaign was involved in the lane closings and he has dismissed questions about political retribution by joking that he moved the traffic cones himself.
But the messages, mostly sent through personal e-mails accounts, indicate that Kelly, a senior staff member in the governor?s office, was involved in the planning and received updates during the week of the traffic jams. She was also informed that week that Christie?s executives at the Port Authority were ignoring the Fort Lee mayor?s desperate attempts to get a reason for the sudden unannounced closures, as the borough?s first responders struggled to respond to emergencies and buses arrived late on the first day of school.
On Sept. 9, the first morning of the lane closures, Kelly asked in an e-mail if Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich?s numerous calls to Port Authority officials had been returned.
?Radio silence,? Wildstein replied. ?His name comes right after mayor Fulop,? an apparent reference to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who also said this week that the Christie administration had retaliated against him last year because he didn?t endorse the governor for re-election.
When reached early Wednesday morning, Kelly said: ?I?m literally in the middle of a conference call. ?I?m going to have to call you right back.?
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the governor, declined to comment Wednesday morning. Neither Wildstein nor his attorney, Alan Zegas, responded to requests for comment Wednesday. Christie?s office cancelled a previously scheduled event in Ocean County.
The explosive documents, supplied by Wildstein in response to a subpoena issued by a panel of state lawmakers, don?t spell out the precise reason for the apparent retribution. But they lay bare a disdain for the mayor and an apparent indifference to the hardships suffered by North Jersey residents who sat in four-hour backups. Wildstein has been called to testify about the documents under oath before the panel tomorrow.
In one exchange of text messages on the second day of the lane closures, Wildstein alludes to messages the Fort Lee mayor had left complaining that school buses were having trouble getting through the traffic.
?Is it wrong that I?m smiling,? the recipient of the text message responded to Wildstein. The person?s identity is not clear because the documents are partially redacted for unknown reasons.
?No,? Wildstein wrote in response.
?I feel badly about the kids,? the person replied to Wildstein. ?I guess.?
?They are the children of Buono voters,? Wildstein wrote, making a reference to Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, who lost to Christie in a landslide in November.
The e-mails could prove a serious threat to Christie?s credibility at a time when he has emerged as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. And they are likely to raise questions about whether the governor?s office was involved in what Democrats have said was a coordinated cover-up that has stretched on for months, as damaging details slowly emerged.
Thes rest of the article and the actual email chain can be found at that last link.
1) Do you believe that the CC administration purposefully caused a traffic jam, or is this all being blown out of proportion?
2) If you do think so, do you think CC is personally liable for the actions of his administration?
3) Do you think this will (or should) hurt his chances if he officially runs for president?
4) Any other thoughts?