N.J. Assembly Looks to End Gubernatorial Control of Beach During Shutdowns

Aug 02, 2017
Artwork by: L. Ganss

Last month’s shutdown of the state government by Gov. Chris Christie is as politically hot now as when the governor first closed down Trenton – and headed for some R&R at the state-owned governor’s estate in Island Beach State Park. All state parks and beaches, including Island Beach, were closed to the general public due to the budget impasse in Trenton.

Even after the reopening of the state government following a three-day hiatus, there remained seething anger on the part of legislators over both Christie’s public show of defiance during the shutdown and the ridicule, now worldwide, over a gone-viral image of him leisurely sunning on the Island Beach State Park sands.

Literally hundreds of Photoshopped renditions of this image have saturated social media. It has been superimposed on hundreds of unrelated background scenes, ranging from Gilligan’s Island to the International Space Station.

While the governor hasn’t made much of a fuss over this bizarre notoriety, other politicos in Trenton have angrily taken the matter to the floor of the Assembly.

On Monday, the state Assembly approved a bill (63-2-2) that would prohibit the use of the governor’s beach estate during government shutdowns. It now goes before the state Senate for debate. If it is successfully passed out of the Senate, it would then require the governor’s signature, which is said to be highly unlikely, though the governor’s office officially remains mum on Christie’s plans.

Earlier this week, the governor said he would sign a measure passed by the Legislature on Monday that would pay state workers who were furloughed during the state shutdown.

In his own defense, Christie said he had planned the holiday weekend trip to the state mansion long before the Legislature failed to come to a budget agreement.

— Jay Mann

jaymann@thesandpaper.net

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