Dan Aubrey’s first person account of his run-in with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno over management of a state-funded arts project in 2011 drew some immediate attention after it was published January 15. And then it got examined in another light over the weekend, when Guadagno figured as the central character in another charge involving heavy-handed conduct by the governor’s office toward the mayor of Hoboken.
Princeton University professor, New York Times columnist, and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman posted the following on his blog on Monday, January 20:
“One of the interesting and bittersweet aspects of the burgeoning Bridgegate-plus scandal in New Jersey has been the centrality of local newspapers. The original story wasn’t broken by the crack investigative reporters at the New York Times, or the fake-scandal-chasers at 60 Minutes. It was broken by the transportation reporter of the Bergen Record.
“What makes this bittersweet is that local news is in decline, savaged by the decline in classified ads and other key sources of revenue.
“So I thought I might do a public service by drawing attention to another super-local report that I suspect hasn’t gotten on the radar of many big-paper reporters. I mean, unless you live right here [in Princeton], who reads U.S. 1, a weekly that mainly covers . . . the Princeton area? But the current issue has an account of one person’s interactions with Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor now accused of threatening storm-wracked Hoboken — and it fits the narrative perfectly.
“Maybe this account is all wrong. But if it isn’t, you have to wonder how many other similar stories of vindictiveness — enough to make the Hoboken accusations completely plausible — are out there, waiting for reporters to find them.”
While some other readers had supportive words for Aubrey (but did not want their names printed), at least one was willing to go on the record with his reaction.
#b#‘Culture of Fear’ Can’t Be Tolerated#/b#
Thank you for publishing Dan Aubrey’s account of his troubling struggle with the “Culture of Fear” perpetuated by Chris Christie and his lieutenants (U.S. 1, January 15).
FDR’s admonition that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is apropos here. This fear is a heavy weight pressing down on the citizenry. It is a real impediment to thoughtful and compassionate government service. It squeezes the lifeblood out of organizations and individuals who would otherwise contribute to our collective well being.
Except for my military service and college years, I have been a lifelong New Jersey resident. I am a father and grandfather who wants a better world for them.
I have voted for Democrats and Republicans over the years. While I have not opposed all of Christie’s programs, I find his character and that of his chosen lieutenants to be especially repugnant. The governor and the lieutenant governor have indeed created a climate and culture of fear. The wagging finger and sarcastic put downs are no substitute for civility and reasoned discourse. This administration has had four years in which to set the tone for how it governs. We saw how Christie used Hurricane Sandy to advance his political agenda. We see now how the George Washington Bridge fiasco was spawned by this culture. Dan Aubrey’s saga is just more evidence of the same.
This culture of fear is inimical to every society where it exists. We must demand that our government and governors act with a sense of decency rather than intimidation. Should we wait until 2017 to remove this cancer? Is impeachment or recall required?
Thomas F. Marshall
Marshall is a retired attorney.