Protesters Again Interrupt Christie Town Hall With Complaints About Sandy Aid, GWB Scandal
SOUTH RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – For the second time in a week, protesters have disrupted one of Gov. Chris Christie’s town hall meetings.
At least a dozen protesters in the audience stood and began shouting about how the administration has distributed Superstorm Sandy relief aid. They also asked why the governor hasn’t fired the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the wake of a political payback scandal.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the governor ignored the protesters and even warned the crowd beforehand to expect some demonstrators.
Christie stood by as the protesters – some shouting “New Jersey deserves better” – were escorted out by police.
The governor addressed some of the issues with doling out Sandy aid.
“Were there problems with the program? There were. Were there miscommunications? Absolutely,” said Christie.
He added there has been a learning curve but for the most part, it has gone pretty well.
“If you look at what is happening in our rebuilding program compared to New York City, at this point New York City hasn’t sent one dollar out,” Christie said.
The governor said New Jersey has distributed $400 million and said the second round of funding should go much more smoothly.
The Republican also criticized the head of a legislative panel investigating a plot by Christie operatives to block traffic for political retribution.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski has been investigating possible abuses at the Port Authority, including the traffic plot.
In February, a report indicated that a close ally of former Newark Mayor, and now U.S. Senator Cory Booker, took improper payments from the Newark Watershed Corporation and that Booker was lax in his oversight.
Christie did not mention Booker but noted that the select committee led by Wisniewski has declined to investigate the Newark situation.
“Obviously Assemblyman Wisniewski’s decided he wants to spend his time on other things, and not on taxpayer abuses in the city of Newark. Whatever Assemblyman Wisniewski decides to spend his tome on, as we’ve seen, is completely up to him,” Governor Christie said.
The crowd applauded at the flash of the “old” Chris Christie, coming out of his defensive posture and going on offense.
On Tuesday evening, Booker spokesperson Monique Waters told CBS 2 in a statement that Senator Booker has encouraged investigation into Newark’s water system and its activities.
“As mayor, Senator Booker led a public battle to reform Newark’s water system and has long sought to dissolve the Watershed. He encouraged investigation into its activities, and has said that if wrongdoing is found, people should be prosecuted,” the statement said.
Assemblyman Wisniewski told CBS 2 that his committee could move on to other things if former Christie staffers would, “Stop fighting and stonewalling.”
The ongoing scandal is overshadowing Christie’s administration and raising questions about his chances as a 2016 presidential candidate.
On Thursday, a handful of demonstrators were ejected from a Christie town hall. They, too, made comments about the distribution of Sandy aid and about the GWB lane closure scandal.
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