Ask the Governor [BLOG]
Gov. Chris Christie was in the studio for "Ask the Governor" with Eric Scott on the Townsquare Radio Network Wednesday night. Here is the live blog.
7:04: March edition of Ask the Governor begins.
Discussion starts out with Sandy aid. Christie said they have submitted an amended plan for second round of federal aid, and that they have up to 60 days to approve the plan, "I'm hoping it will be closer to 30," he said.
He added that there is "no harm" in doing an "aggressive" outreach to non-English speaking communities in the northern six counties to address the perception that Sandy funds haven't reached low and moderate income residents.
He said they've put a program in for $40 billion dollars of additional monies for low and moderate income housing.
7:08 - Discussing dune easement holdouts, which he said was down to less than 500, "we'd always take volunteers, I'm not going to take any longer to take formal legal action."
7:10 - Discussing summer 2014, Christie noted that the tourism season in 2013 was better than in 2012. He added, Stronger than the Storm is not coming back as a slogan. "We're going to continue to see ourselves make progress in this."
He addressed a caller to this show last month who wanted to know about the RREM, program, and said since that call, the man has been charged with three counts of fraud against the program, and that he lives in Colorado. "This guy is accused of committing fraud against the program, and he had the gall to Ask the Governor, we've looked into his situation, and he's now charged with three crimes."
He cited another case of a woman who has been taking issue with the program, who has been in area media, who "said she's received no help from us, she's had no less than at least by email 75 different interactions with my office, not to count the three times we came to visit her place of business." He added she's received $50,000 in grants.
Christie said "this process is not perfect ... but you can't believe everything you read in the press, because here's two people, who are complaining, that we're incompetent boobs, and he's being investigated for fraud."
He alluded to DCA taking over for a contractor on a level of service.
7:17 - Check out our Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/nj1015
7:21 - Responding to a question from a caller from Manahawkin, Christie noted that his administration is bringing in more employees to help with the SHRAP program, to address the need for continued assistance, particularly in areas like Southern Ocean County.
7:24: A caller who identified herself as an employee of Motor Vehicles, asked if there's anything in the agenda that the Motor Vehicle hours are going to change. She suggested, on prompting from Christie, that Motor Vehicles employees work regular office hours, Monday to Friday, and lmited overtime for Saturday. Christie noted that the Saturday hours were instituted to make things more convenient for the public. he said he would look into the issue of the Motor Vehicles employees working straight hours. He added, "I don't anticipate the hours themselves changing, because we've had such great feedback from the public on them."
7:29: On the recreational marijuana legalization question from caller Mike, Christie responded, "Mike, I love you baby, but it ain't happening. I don't believe that legalizing an illegal drug for purposes of governmental profit is something we should be doing." He called marijuana a "gateway drug," and he said that is not an "even exchange" for more additional tax revenue.
7:32: Christie added that Commissioner Dowd texted him to let him know that medical marijuana is taxed, so we're already taxing medical marijuana.
7:33: On the Bridgegate report in the New York Times, Randy mastro, Christ said he just got the reported today, and he hasn't finished reading it yet, and he didn't want to comment before he finished reading the whole thing. "As soon as I'm done reading the whoel thing, I'll ahve something to say about it."
He added that Kelly, Stepian, Baroney, Wildstein, Zimmer, refused to be interviewed.
Responding to question on the fact that the report exonerated Christie, he said that the report was based on other data besides the interviews.
"I think all of the important questions will be answered," he added.
7:37: Responding to a question about being a "polarizing" governor, Christie said "polarizing, yes because i strongly state my views, but as of last November, when people had the chance to judge me...61% of the people said I deserve another four years."
7:38: Resopnding to the presidential question about whether he may still aspire to Prsident, Christie said at this point, he's not going to make any decision on it.
7:40: Responding to caller Carl from Brick, who identified himself as a Brick Moose Lodge member, Christie noted that he wanted someone from the AG's office to look into Carl's accusation that a contractor "absconded" with $25,000 of their funds, "secondly, we will have someone from the governor's office and rebuliding, to see if they can be of assistance, and third we will have someone from the New Jersey Sandy Relief fund, call tomorrow."
7:43: Christie noted that he felt teacher's union dues should be optional.
7:46: Responding to a question about whether he should shut down all state offices on Fridays, to save monies, like another state, Christie said: "There could come a time when people say listen, we don't need these offices on Fridays, but .... we've gotten a good response to keeping Motor Vehicles open on Friday."
7:49: Addressing question on state closures of state-run institutions, Christie noted that NJ has second highest institutionalized population for developmentally disabled..he said the closures are complying with court-orders to reduce the number of these hospitals.
7:52: Christie said he tried to work with Tesla electric car company to comply with the law, but he noted it became clear there was not a way to do it without skirting the law. He said there's a law on his desk to chance the concept, but "I can't pick and choose which laws I want to enforce and which ones I don't."
7:55: Final question of the night, from "Ray" who notes we are the only state that does not have the "state hot dog." He suggested that the Italian hot dog, should be renamed the Jersey hot dog, and that a veggie dog could be a "Garden State dog." Christie noted that his mother was a fan of Jimmy Buffs in Newark, and said "Maybe I'll do this."