In 2014 the voters in New Jersey overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to ensure permanent funding of the New Jersey Historic Trust and other agencies charged with preserving the state’s cultural heritage. New Jersey has one of the nation’s most robust funding programs for both environmental and building conservation, both of which pour millions into the state’s economy.

Last fall Governor Chris Christie (remember him in the Trump photo?), denied funding for the NJ Trust’s capital grants, approved in the spring of 2015. Applicants lost needed funding for projects that were underway. It was a devastating blow to our building industry.

This month in stealth move the governor vetoed the Preserve NJ Act, despite two votes in the state legislature to approve it, and of course the public vote two years ago. In New Jersey the governor’s powers are far reaching, so Christie has used them for many nefarious purposes in the past. This bold veto was particularly egregious and galling.

It is high time the people of New Jersey acted to impeach this corrupt and destructive leader. Let’s say NO to Chris Christie once and for all.

Greystone Gone

April 3, 2014

I was truly horrified last month when I walked past the Museum of Modern Art and looked at the place where the Folk Art Museum used to be. In its place was a high rise luxury tower, said to be sharing the space with MOMA. I literally felt nausea at the sight.

This week another wonderful landmark building, the Greystone Hospital in Morris Plains, New Jersey, was deemed obsolete and slated for demolition by the State of New Jersey–this after Governor Chris Christie had vowed to save it last year. The forces of greed and no taxes won their battle to rid our state of one of its most important landmark buildings. Next they’ll taking down the Statue of Liberty.

A Bridge Too Far

January 9, 2014

As a proud New Jersey resident, I have never liked the epithet used by New Yorkers to describe my tribe–bridge and tunnel people. However, now that Governor Christie has decided to use our bridges for guerilla warfare, I am happy to be on the side of Fort Lee. Let us use our bridges for travel, not political retribution.

I am hoping that people outside the Garden State realize what a true political bully is capable of, and write off Mr. Christie as a presidential candidate. The man is an embarrassment to every citizen on this side of the Hudson.

Out On A Limb

October 26, 2010

The mind-boggling decision by Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to cancel the largest infrastructure project in America has brought much-needed attention to a problem that is worsening by the day–infrastructure collapse. One commentator suggested that state and federal transportation agencies were facing a Solomonic choice: cut spending for pension programs, or neglect the needed repairs to roads, bridges, rail systems, and other vital pieces of the infrastructure that are wearing out. Talk about a “lose lose” situation.

The impressive infrastructure that everyone is talking about was constructed largely between the heyday of the Progressive Era after 1900, and the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s. Even during the darkest years of the Depression and the height of the war effort in Europe and the Pacific, America’s large infrastructure projects were maintained with wide public support.

That is not true today, and hasn’t been for decades. Not only has the country shrunk from building new systems such as the light rail and high-speed trains that are now common in Europe and Asia; it has also neglected needed repairs and upgrades in the fine but aging systems that our forefathers provided. As a new book by Barry LePatner, a New York attorney, points out, public officials are putting this country on a track to¬† disaster that is unprecedented.

A recent piece on the NTSB findings about the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota is startlingly clear about the political and social malaise that has prevented needed action on these issues. Rather than analyzing the myriad causes of the disaster, and identifying all of the pertinent agencies and actors who contributed to it, the “official” report blames the collapse on a single flaw: the thickness of a few gusset plates. Le Patner even points out that the engineering profession, already in the doldrums, will be hurt by the report’s conclusions, just when we need competent professionals the most. The same has been true of the status of architects, planners, construction companies, and all of the important players in a potential infrastructure renewal initiative.

The shocking thing about the NTSB report, and the boneheaded Christie decision, is that our politicians are bent on blaming others for their own failures to act in the interest of citizens. Our environment is in peril, and not just the natural one. We are out on a limb that is severely bent and ready to break. Rather than helping to support or repair it, our leaders are busy sawing it off.