Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Damage-control worries followed NJ lane closings

Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, second left, arrives at Fort Lee, N.J., City Hall, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Christie traveled to Fort Lee to apologize in person to Mayor Mark Sokolich. Moving quickly to contain a widening political scandal, Gov. Chris Christie fired one of his top aides Thursday and apologized repeatedly for the "abject stupidity" of his staff, insisting he had no idea anyone around him had engineered traffic jams to get even with a Democratic mayor. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

By
From page A10 | January 11, 2014 | 1 Comment

TRENTON, N.J. — Officials squabbled over media leaks and worried about bad publicity in the days after lane closings near the George Washington Bridge caused huge traffic jams that now appear to have been politically orchestrated by members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration, documents released Friday show.

In the documents, officials appointed by Christie seemed more concerned about the political fallout than the effects of the gridlock in the town of Fort Lee during four mornings in September.

The thousands of pages were released by a New Jersey legislative committee investigating the scandal, which could haunt Christie’s expected run for president in 2016. The documents mostly involve the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the bridge.

Lawmakers are looking into allegations that Christie loyalists engineered the tie-ups to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election.

The documents show that the traffic mess created tension between New York and New Jersey appointees at the Port Authority, with the New York side angrily countermanding the lane closings.

In the correspondence, Port Authority chairman David Samson, a Christie appointee, suggested that the authority’s executive director, Patrick Foye, who was appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had leaked to a reporter an internal memo ordering an end to the lane closings.

Samson called that possibility “very unfortunate for NY/NJ relations.”

On Thursday, Christie moved to contain the damage from the scandal, firing his deputy chief of staff, cutting ties to one of his chief political advisers and apologizing for the traffic jams. Two Christie appointees at the Port Authority resigned last month as the scandal unfolded.

Christie has denied any involvement in the lane closings, and the two batches of documents released on Wednesday and Friday do not implicate him.

The latest documents contain several emails from Port Authority media relations staff to higher-ups reporting on calls from reporters with questions about the closings. The agency did not respond to those calls.

It was Foye’s Sept. 13 email that ordered the lanes reopened that generated deep discussion. In it, Foye called the decision to close the lanes “abusive” and added, “I believe this hasty and ill-advised decision violates federal law.”

Bill Baroni, the Christie-appointed deputy director who has since resigned, forwarded a copy of the angry email to Christie’s scheduling secretary.

Later that morning, Baroni emailed Foye: “I am on my way to office to discuss. There can be no public discourse.”

Foye responded: “Bill that’s precisely the problem: there has been no public discourse on this.”

Baroni later authorized a statement for reporters explaining that the closings were part of a traffic study.

In recent weeks, there have been questions about the whether the closings were part of a legitimate study.

Christie himself said on Thursday: “I don’t know whether this was a traffic study that then morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study.”

The newly released documents show that there was, in fact, a traffic study that was done, or at least a preliminary one. Two versions turned up in the documents – one was six pages and the other 16. Both were dated Sept. 12, the day before the lanes reopened.

The documents include study findings that Baroni gave to lawmakers at a hearing last year: When the lanes were closed, the main bridge traffic moved a bit faster, but local traffic had major delays.

Michael Cassidy, a University of California-Berkeley engineering professor who occasionally works with the California Department of Transportation, told The Associated Press that the preliminary study appears to be a legitimate internal report of the sort transportation officials often circulate among themselves.

“It could well be a good-faith effort, if not the finest in the annals. I cannot say this is not a study,” he said. “You wouldn’t want to publish it in an academic journal.”

How to deal with the fallout from the traffic jams became an issue.

In an Oct. 9 email exchange under the subject “morning clips,” Philippe Danielides, a senior adviser at the Port Authority, asked David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the agency who has since resigned, “Has any thought been given to writing an op-ed or providing a statement about the GWB study? Or is the plan just to hunker down and grit our way through it?”

“Yes and yes,” Wildstein replied.

In a Sept. 17 email, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak appears to send Wildstein a response to be sent to a reporter writing about the lane closings. “Traffic studies or pilots are done all the time,” he wrote. “They’re temporary, and if they’re not done, how can the effectiveness of a new approach be tested?”

The documents also showed confusion from some Port Authority employees as the closings were starting.

One employee asked, “What is driving this?” Another responded that he was wondering the same thing: “It seems like we are punishing all for the sake of a few.”

And another employee passed along a complaint from a woman who said that her husband, who had been out of work for more than a year, was 40 minutes late for a job interview because of the tie-ups.

One Port Authority police officer went searching for answers.

“The undersigned inquired if this is a permanent plan or temporary,” Capt. Darcy Licorish wrote in an email recounting her meeting with the bridge manager. “The manager could not supply an answer to that or other questions. Inquiry was also made as to the notifications of the township. No answers could be supplied.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterJanuary 11, 2014 - 8:25 am

    Political tyranny. It happens ALL the time. But why and how did this one reach the light of day? Could those emails that blew open this incident have been captured and leaked by the NSA (a part of the Executive Branch under Democrat Obama) in an effort to clear the way for an upcoming presidential run by Democrat Hillary Clinton? This will be the real story.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Delta barriers no longer needed

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Supervisors voice concern on state Delta plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Dental clinic coming Friday, Saturday

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Rotarians talk about running clinic to help Haitians

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District eyes new auditor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
County honors Purple Heart recipients

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Solano recognizes 1,300-strong volunteer corps

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Garamendi to host open house at Fairfield office

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Highway 12 night work scheduled in Delta

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Kids fishing derby in Fairfield is part of Earth Day

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
County approves Icon agreements

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9

Ceremony set to break ground for Suisun City Walmart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9, 24 Comments | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. opening with free drinks

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9, 11 Comments

 
Museum readies to host Sallie Fox Day in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Golf tournament to raise funds for children

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Mustangs and More event moved back to October

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10

Rotary club to host clay shooting derby

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A11

 
Ghost Walk returns to Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A11

 
NAMI talk on reducing mental health stigma

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
.

US / World

In Internet TV case, justices show concern

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

GOP candidate releases education policy overview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
Obama views mudslide scene, mourns with survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Analysis: Putin likely to ignore West on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Biden: Russia must ‘stop talking and start acting’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Most Sherpas decide to leave Everest for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Jet stowaway at hospital; security issues linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
SKorea ferry toll hits 146 as search gets tougher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine orders new ‘anti-terror’ operation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
In Ukraine’s east, mayor held hostage by insurgent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
IRS awards bonuses to 1,100 who owe back taxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15, 4 Comments

.

Opinion

 
Editorial cartoons for April 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 

Groundwater becomes next big California fight

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
Fairfield’s main problem is the mayor

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 7 Comments

.

Living

Solving and resolving life’s problems

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
 
A healthy take on the very not healthy Scotch egg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Horoscopes for April 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
How can I get my 12-year-old grandson to sleep in his own bed?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

DeGeneres making design series for HGTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Discovery to chronicle Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

5 Fairfield runners finish Boston Marathon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Sharks beat Kings 4-3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep swimming update: Postseason looms on horizon

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCC softball ends regular season with 29 straight wins

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors’ Curry eager to erase Game 2 nightmare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spurs’ Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders begin offseason workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
David Moyes out as Manchester United manager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seahawks acquire QB Terrelle Pryor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL playoff game to air on ESPN for 1st time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB suspends 4 after Brewers-Pirates brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Djokovic: Wrist better, will try to play in Madrid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Armstrong coach Bruyneel banned for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pujols’ 500th HR helps Angels beat Nationals 7-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women’s golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: N.Y. Giants’ Hill facing 3rd suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA Playoffs: Raptors even series with Nets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Novartis reshapes business with GSK, Lilly deals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AT&T had strong 1Q on wireless installment plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Richard P. Horn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Kyong Hee Maxwell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Norma O’Regan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7