Every time we sit around watching press conferences breathlessly waiting for the governor to decide what can open next, we also wait breathlessly to hear what he’s basing his decisions on. And that information never seems to come.

I have always maintained that all of Gov. Phil Murphy’s decisions were made for his benefit first, and then for hours. Whether it is to boost his approval ratings or to increase his odds for political success in the future, the governor's decisions about reopening the state have proven to be arbitrary and self-involved.

But here’s more proof of that. We are all desperately waiting four some sign that our economy can begin to repair the wounds that he has bestowed upon it. And one of the main issues is that restaurants are still only allowed to have outdoor dining. I just came back from a trip where rolling averages for coronavirus are higher than they are here, Indoor dining was allowed, and I could see more easily how unnecessary the ban on indoor dining is here in New Jersey.

In David Matthau’s article on NJ101.5.com, Shirley Tilghman, the co-chair of the governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission, gave the most stark clue to date that saving the state by reopening restaurants is a flight of fancy for Murphy. She was asked what data she thinks we need to prove that opening gyms and restaurants is safe. Her answer, according to the article? “I don’t think there’s a single metric that is going to tell us when it’s going to be safe to begin to reopen more generally.”

In other words, we are doomed. We have given the governor the power to decide based on what, admittedly, is simply the fact that he CAN decide. What her statement really means is that there is nothing in particular we’re waiting for. Except, of course, for the governor/emperor to wave his magic wand and pronounce everything okay according to his own metric. And we finally know what that is: His opinion.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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