Wednesday, December 28, 2016

An Open Letter to @GovChristie

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" ~ The Beatles

Dear Gov. Christie,

I hear
 you're very upset about your book deal failing. You said the legislation wasn't just about you profiting from writing a book while still in office; it was also about political payback to newspapers giving some high-ranking public employees a well-deserved raise. As you said: 
"Judges today make less than they did in 2003. You don't want judges who think getting $140,000 a year is a raise... You want to appear before stupid judges? Then don't raise their pay any more."
I get that we don't want incompetent public employees in any position: 
Christie complained that paltry public sector salary caps had cost him qualified staffers, noting that legislative staffers had not received a pay raise in 15 years.  
Christie said that top candidates had turned him down because they "can't afford to live in New Jersey." 
I'm sure those judges and staffers do an admirable job. They put in an honest day's work, and most likely their workday consists of many more hours than those they are contracted for. You want to attract and retain the best people for those positions. Taxpayers deserve no less.

So, I don’t understand why you demand pay increases for them, yet you make completely false statements like this: 
Teachers are paid too much, that’s what’s bankrupting the system. Some teachers make six-figure salaries and that’s not including retirement benefits.
How can you, the governor of New Jersey, have absolutely no idea what teachers earn? I mean, you built your reputation on cracking down on "greedy" and "selfish" teachers. Surely you would want to make sure your numbers are correct. But, just in case you forgot, click on this link. You'll be reminded that the majority of us make nowhere near that amount.

And what about superintendents? I don't understand you not wanting to hire and retain the very best to run our, as you call them, "failure factories". Once you put the cap on their salaries, quality school leaders fled the state in droves to NY and PA for higher salaries—and respect. 

Judges and staffers aren’t the only ones who struggle to live in New Jersey. Everyone in this state who didn’t directly benefit from your draconian cuts over the past seven years (aka the 99%) knows that story all too well. Did you forget that property taxes rose on average 20% in 2011 after you slashed billions from public education funding as part of your war on education? Are you aware that, after you signed Chapter 78 into law, tens of thousands of public employees saw our net take home pay slashed because we now must work longer, pay more for our pensions and health insurance premiums and get less in return, with no guarantee our pensions will even be there when we retire? Hell, we can't even move to PA or NY to make ends meet because you made us indentured servants

Don’t believe me? We have the pay stubs—and the second and third jobs—to prove it.

If you want quality public employees, you have to pay them all a living wage and treat them all with respect. Anything otherwise is, quite frankly, terrible leadership.

For so many years, you've expressed so much vitriol toward so many people in this state. Why are you surprised that many feel that way about you now? Actually, I don’t think it’s hatred on the part of our elected officials. I believe it’s simply a case of what goes around, comes around.

You see, for the past seven years you have disrespected, demoralized and demonized tens of thousands of public employees who are simply putting in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. You've trashed and bashed and lied about elected officials, and those of us who are not as fortunate as you or those judges; who don't earn anywhere near $140,000 a year, let alone your salary of $175,000 a year with a $95,000 a year 'entertainment' stipend.

Since you took office, you have sown the seeds of hatred from High Point to Cape May and now it's time to reap what you have sown. So, no, this isn't a case of "'the haters'" [who] allowed personal animus to deny [you] the ability" to profit from a writing book while in office. No, this is karma, plain and simple.

“I am tired of you people.”
When you break promises, when you go back on your word, when you don't play fair, when you pit people against each other in some sick game of chess, when you call people names, when you act like a school yard bully, people remember. And they are not too enthusiastic about supporting legislation that would directly line your pockets and put hundreds of people out of work, even if it means denying some fellow public employees a raise.

Remember this? This is where it all started. These are your words, Governor, uttered before you even won the election. Although they are aimed specifically at educators, they are symbolic of your sleight-of-hand treatment of everyone in this state who is not like you. And now you must accept the consequences. And it’s pretty sad that judges and legislative staffers have to suffer. 

Welcome home, Governor. New Jersey is a different place since you left two years ago to pursue your presidential dreams. You can rant and rave all you want about the loss of your book deal, but remember what Lennon and McCartney said. Then look in the mirror ask yourself what you’ve done in the past seven years to deserve it, and what you're going to do during the next year for the people you were elected to serve. 

There is still time for redemption.


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