They’d very much like to find a direct Bridgegate tie to Chris Christie more than anything in the world but they don’t have it. Not yet.
In the interim, as Dawn “Fibber” Zimmer’s Hoboken Bridgegate sideshow quickly comes off the rails, Save Jerseyans, the Governor’s opponents (better described as Hilldawg surrogates) in the media need something else to discuss ad nauseam on air.
They think they’ve found it by continuing to attack the Governor’s greatest perceived strength: Hurricane Sandy. Just elsewhere. Both the general pace of aid disbursements AND how it’s spent, specifically, in the Essex County community of Belleville.
The only problem with charge #1? Setting aside for a moment the blatant hypocrisy of Democrats criticizing their own ass-backwards bureaucratic nightmare? The Feds directly tasked with oversight don’t detect a problem…
“Well, first of all, we just talked about the tragedy of homelessness. Sandy was a tragedy of a scale—I’m a New Yorker—that I have never seen. And, by definition, money can never get to families fast enough to repair that damage. And so, are there things that could move faster? Absolutely right. But, if you look at overall, this money is moving faster than in any prior major disaster, and also remember the CDBG money is really the last resort for families…Who haven’t been able to get help…They get immediate money from FEMA…They get money from their insurance programs, and this is the last step. So, it’s not unusual that we would have folks a year after the storm who are still rebuilding. Remember, these are the folks whose homes were devastated the worst and where we knew the rebuilding process would be a long one. So, what I will tell you is, could it be going faster? Yes. Are we doing everything we can to cut red tape? Absolutely. But I am confident that we are monitoring this money closely.”
The HUD Secretary’s comments directly contradict those of Sen. “Hudson Bob” Menendez lodged earlier this week who, in case you’ve somehow forgotten or have taken up residency under a large rock, is reportedly undergoing federal scrutiny himself. Again. Frank Pallone will also be sorely disappointed by this news from HUD and will, undoubtedly, spend this evening concocting a new lie for more earned media.
Want a little more background? Matt Friedman of NJ.com discussed the Belleville storyline on Chris Hayes’s Wednesday evening program.
Video of Matt’s interview: