5 times NJ looked REALLY bad in the national spotlight
There are plenty of reasons to be proud to be from New Jersey. Whether it's our scenic views, the wonderful agriculture or the array of stars that were raised here like Sinatra, Bon Jovi, Bruce Willis or Jack Nicholson, the Garden State is a great place to be.
While New Jerseyans have plenty to boast about, there have been some times when the state has made the national spotlight for some not-so-great moments as well. It's those cringe-worthy moments that cause Garden State residents to take the palm of their hands and collectively smack their foreheads.
Whether it was from political scandal or fist pumping in Seaside Heights, New Jersey has had its share of embarrassing moments in the national media. Here are the top 5 moments New Jersey looked really bad in the spotlight.
"Time for some traffic!" That was the term used in an email as part of a reported retribution towards the Mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Governor Christie. Members of Christie's staff and appointees allegedly conspired to create traffic jams by closing lanes headed towards the George Washington Bridge masked as a traffic study. Prior to Bridgegate, Christie was at the height of his popularity. While Christie has been adamant that he has had no knowledge of what was going on, his popularity both locally and to some extent, on a national level, took a huge hit, as more stories about the lane closures came to light.
2. 'TP Tax' Revolt
There have been some flat out dumb ideas over the years by New Jersey politicians, but this one has to rank up there as the dumbest. Former Governor, Jim Florio was voted out of office, for raising taxes on numerous things, the most egregious being raising the tax on toilet paper. The "TP Tax" started a campaign to "Flush Florio" and caused one of the largest demonstrations by angry New Jerseyans in the state's history.
3. Governor Jim McGreevey Resigns
In 2004, James McGreevey resigned as governor after revealing he had an affair with a man that he had appointed to advise the state's Office of Homeland Security. McGreevey's ex-lover was being paid $110,000 even though he wasn't qualified to hold that type of position.
4. Money laundering scandal rocks NJ political landscape
In 2009, three mayors and two assemblyman were part of 44 people arrested in huge money-laundering scandal that stretched from Israel to the Garden State. Salomon Dwek, the informant for the massive corruption sting , was also sentenced for six years for fraud and money laundering. The sting also included the arrests of five rabbis and the illegal sale of body parts.
5. Reality TV gives NJ a 'real' bad image
As reality shows became a mainstay of America's TV programming, a couple of shows focused on New Jersey, but they were anything but real. Shows like the "Jersey Shore" and "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" became huge hits for the fans of the shows but weren't exactly indicative by any means, of what New Jerseyans are really like. Reality "stars" (and we use that term EXTREMELY loosely) like Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and her hair bump, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, and others became the face for New Jersey. Thanks to the cast of the Jersey Shore, everyone out of the state believes all residents want to do is "Gym, tan, laundry," and first pump at clubs.Yikes!
If that wasn't bad enough, there's "RHONJ" star Theresa Giudice who is not only known for flipping tables on the show but also for being guilty of fraud. Theresa, along with her husband Joe, were found guilty of several counts including bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and failing to pay taxes. Not exactly what New Jersey wants as our national model by any means.
Chris "Double Down" Swendeman is the producer of the Bill Spadea Show.
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