Colin Reed, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie, released the following statement on Saturday after MSNBC reported that top officials in the governor’s administration warned Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that her town would be starved of Hurricane Sandy relief funds unless she approved a redevelopment plan supported by Christie.
“MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him, even taking the unprecedented step of producing and airing a nearly three-minute attack ad against him this week. Governor Christie and his entire administration have been helping Hoboken get the help they need after Sandy, with the city already having been approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid and is targeted to get even more when the Obama Administration approves the next rounds of funding. The Governor and Mayor Zimmer have had a productive relationship, with Mayor Zimmer even recently saying she’s ‘very glad’ he’s been our Governor. It’s very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television.”
Some important background:
1. Mayor Zimmer has effusively praised Governor Christie, with this tweet coming as recently as August. She also had a meeting in Trenton this Thursday with members of the Government Office of Recovery and Rebuilding and NJ Transit, which she referenced on her Twitter feed.
Later, Zimmer wrote on Twitter that she’s ‘very glad’ Christie is governor. In response, the Hoboken mayor wrote that Christie has ‘done a great job for NJ & Hoboken.’ She then noted that she has her own re-election fight on Nov. 5.”(Terrence T. McDonald, “Zimmer: ‘don’t expect’ endorsement in Christie/Buono race (wink, wink),” Jersey Journal, 8/20/13)
“On behalf of the City of Hoboken, I thank Governor Chris Christie, First Lady Mary Pat Christie, and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund for their support as we continue to rebuild our community,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. (“Hoboken Schools to get portion of $4.5 Donation from United Arab Emirates,” The Boken, 7/15/13)
“Zimmer praised President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie for their much-discussed working relationship in Sandy’s aftermath, a comment that elicited applause from the crowd.”(Terrence T. McDonald, “Hoboken mayor hopeful power will be restored sooner than 7-10 days; FEMA on the scene,” Jersey Journal, 11/1/12)
2. MSNBC has dedicated nearly twice as much coverage to Governor Christie over the last week and a half than CNN, and three times as much as Fox News.
“[T]he chart above literally shows that MSNBC has a hard-on for Christie.” (Tommy Christopher, “The Only Question That Matters in Chris Christie’s Bridgegate,” Mediaite, 1/17/14)
MSNBC Wrote, Produced And Aired An Anti-Christie Ad On The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. “MSNBC is now doing the Democrat National Committee’s work for them. On Wednesday evening, host Lawrence O’Donnell produced an anti-Chris Christie ad and provided opponents material for future TV spots. O’Donnell told viewers he wrote the ad while watching the New Jersey governor’s two-hour press conference last week. He presented the ad as one that the governors opponents could use in the 2016 GOP primary. ‘I mean, I wrote that ad in a few minutes,’ he said. ‘I was just sitting there listening to him, just grabbed those quotes and wrote it. You can do this at home, it’s easy.’” (Andrew Johnson, “MSNBC Writes, Produces, Airs Anti-Christie Ad,” National Review - The Corner, 1/16/14)
Fox News Faced Strong Criticism In 2012 Over A Similar Ad. “In May of 2012, Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends found themselves in hot water when the program produced and aired their own campaign-style ad targeting President Barack Obama. The 4-minute commercial was roundly criticized by media observers and prompted Fox News Channel’s Executive Vice President of Programming, Bill Shine, to issue a statement insisting that the ad was ‘was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network.’ Conservative media critics like HotAir’s Ed Morrissey and The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik came out strongly against the move by Fox. Zurawik said the video package ‘resembled propaganda films from 1930s Europe more than it did responsible TV politics of today.’” (Noah Rothman, “Will O’Donnell Have to Answer for Anti-Christie Ad like Fox & Friends Did for Anti-Obama Ad?” Mediaite, 1/18/14)
· Rachel Maddow Offered A Purely Speculative Theory That Bridge Closings Were Tied To Supreme Court Nominees, Which Was Then Promoted By MSNBC For Days. “Chris Christie just flipped out. He had enough. He pulled that justice off the Supreme Court rather than submit her to renomination before the Senate Democrats…That was an angry Chris Christie. So angry that he was doing something almost unprecedented in New Jersey…That was an angry Chris Christie, furious at Senate Democrats at a hastily called press conference that took place late in the day on Tuesday, August 12, 2013, late in the day. The Governor blows up at Senate Democrats. Yanks the judgeship of a Supreme Court Justice and calls the Senate Democrats animals…It is the next morning at 7:34 in the morning on August 13 that his Deputy Chief of staff gives the go ahead to the Port Authority.” (MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” 1/9/14)
· Hardball’s Chris Mathews Suggested That Richard Nixon’s Response To Watergate Had Been On Governor Christie’s “Mind From Day One.” “So, the M.O. if you will was established by Nixon so his people and all them knew what he wanted done, or certainly would have supported. And then he got caught with Watergate and he knew – Hey, I didn’t order Watergate, but I ordered all this other stuff. My God, it looks like my guys did this. That might have been on Christie’s mind from day one. The minute he heard about the bridge closing, he may well - this is conjecture - have known this is the kind of thing I wanted my people doing. I never ordered them, I’m covered, as long as I don’t talk to them, I’ll never be blamed for it, so I’m going to keep radio silence.” (MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 1/15/14)
Matthews Has Focused His Coverage Every Day For A Week On Comparing Governor Christie To Nixon. “For seven straight days, Chris Matthews and his Hardball guests have hyperbolically compared Chris Christie’s bridge scandal in New Jersey to the constitutional crisis that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency. On every single program since January 8, Matthews and guests have linked last fall’s traffic jam to Watergate.” (Scott Whitlock “Watergate 2? For Seven Straight Days, Chris Matthews Hypes Christie as the New Nixon,” NewsBusters 1/17/14)
3. After Sandy struck, Mayor Zimmer requested $100 million out of a $300 million dollar pot of money. To put that in perspective, the city of Hoboken is 2 square miles, and there were $14 billion worth of requests for aid up and down New Jersey for that same pot of money. Since then, Hoboken has received approval for nearly $70 million dollars worth of funding, and has been identified … as a pilot community to receive comprehensive future resiliency measures to prevent flooding - one of only four projects in New Jersey selected by the Obama Administration.
With respect to Hoboken, please note important examples of aid administered to support City’s recovery thus far:
· The State Office of Emergency Management (“NJ-OEM”) continues to provide technical assistance to help the City navigate FEMA’s Public Assistance program and maximize hazard mitigation opportunities in rebuilding. This effort has resulted in approximately more than $4.3 million in FEMA grant-related projects to date.
· Hoboken residents received nearly $6.3 million through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, which includes monies for home repair costs, rental assistance and other needs assistance.
· FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has paid out more than $43 million to homeowners and businesses in the City. (This is in addition to over $80 million paid out for other private insurance coverage lines – and the State has been an advocate for its residents for the acceleration of payment on private insurance claims, an important part of determining an areas remaining unmet needs).
· We have also worked to coordinate with Mayors to distribute information regarding availability and eligibility of SBA loans, resulting in over $8.5 million in loans being made available to individuals and businesses within the Hoboken.
· Of the State’s CDBG-DR funded housing programs, 156 qualifying residents of the City of Hoboken have been approved for $10,000 Resettlment Program grants and 38 residents have been preliminarily approved under the RREM program.
· The State has allocated federal Social Service Block Grant funds to Family Success Centers located in Hudson County to expand service capacity (evening hours, weekends, etc.), and facilitate wrap-around services ranging from legal and financial literacy support, to support group services. In addition, Hoboken residents are eligible to apply to the State’s Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP), which provides for up to $15,000 to qualifying individuals still facing Sandy-related financial challenges in making rental and mortgage payments.
· The City was also approved to receive post-Sandy planning assistance grants in the total amount of $200,000. These CDBG-DR funded grants will help the City improve community design standards, develop code/ordinance standards and prepare plans that will set address capital improvement needs, hazard mitigation and open space/preservation.
· The State’s Economic Development Authority has approved a CDBG Stronger NJ Business grant to a qualifying Hoboken business in the amount of $46,000.
· The Federal Transit Administration has funded approximately over $2 million in projects within the City.
· Through a program developed by the State to pursue creative and cost-effective alternatives to enhance statewide energy resilience and administered using HMGP funds, the City of Hoboken received an energy allocation of $142,000.