On Friday, Gov. Chris Christie triggered a government shutdown in New Jersey when he demanded that an overhaul of Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield be worked into the state budget. The shutdown resulted in the closure of all state parks and amenities during Independence Day weekend. That, of course, didn't stop Christie himself from getting some time in the sun at one of his closed state parks. While this picture was taken, the six families who own properties next to the governor's mansion were being forced to leave under threat of arrest, reports the Daily Mail.
After receiving a call Friday telling them the parks might close, but leaseholders would still be allowed to visit the beach, Howard and Betty Height were among the families told by police officers the next day that they had to leave their Island Beach State Park cottage or they'd be arrested. Howard commented:
They're good guys. They were just doing their job. But they said if we weren't gone by midnight, we'd be arrested.
The governor lounged in the sun while citizens approaching the park were turned away. He arrived at the governor's mansion in a taxpayer-funded helicopter to have a good time with his family while 30,000 government employees were furloughed by the shutdown.
When confronted by the photos of himself on the beach, Christie sarcastically dismissed them as a "great bit of journalism." However, the shutdown has turned into a public relations disaster for the already-unpopular governor, who decided to compromise and end the stand-off Monday.
Though Christie said that although he was "saddened" that the budget was three days late, he would sign it into law without vetoing any Democratic add-ons, including $100 million for K-12 education, $25 million to expand pre-kindergarten, and $25 million for extraordinary special education.
Christie's constituents are mortified by his willingness to cause a shutdown and then take advantage of the very amenities he's denying New Jersey residents. A plane flew over his summer residence Monday with a banner that read:
Tell Chris Christie: Get the h*** off Island Beach State Park.
Here's a video of the plane. Warning: The banner contains some questionable language.
Christie's compromise reopened the parks just in time for the Fourth of July, but constituents are still enraged at his actions. Christie, who Monday announced his intention to vacation at the governor's mansion regardless of whether the state could agree on a budget, continues to deny any wrongdoing. He seems to miss the point that nobody questions the legality of his being on the beach, but everyone can't help but notice the hypocrisy of a man who's supposed to serve the people taking advantage of a basic benefit he denies them.