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Union Blasts Former Port Exec, Christie for 'Children of Buono Voters' Barb

Fort Lee Education Association calls politically motivated communications surrounding the Bridgegate scandal 'despicable' and 'disparaging.'

David Wildstein / AP photo
David Wildstein / AP photo

The Fort Lee teachers union Monday lashed out at the Christie Administration and an ex-Port Authority official for “despicable” and “disparaging” remarks they say were made about students following the closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge late last year.

The Fort Lee Education Association slammed David Wildstein and Gov. Chris Christie for mixing politics and education in a blog post dated Jan. 13.

The group said it was “deeply offended by the disparaging remarks made about our students by David Wildstein.” 

“When members of the Christie Administration callously created a traffic nightmare in our community, Mr. Wildstein wrote that Fort Lee’s youth are ‘the children of Buono voters’ so there was no problem with them being stuck in gridlock and late to school,” the letter read.

“Our only mission is to provide the best possible education for our students every school day. We never judge our students based on the politics of their parents, because their education is our only concern,” according to the unsigned letter. “For Mr. Wildstein, though, they were nothing more than acceptable collateral damage of a politically-motivated attack on our community.”

The letter shrugs off Christie’s in-person apology to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, saying that the governor “has fostered an environment in his administration of hostility toward public schools and the people who work in them. 

“He is part of a movement that promotes the corporate privatization of schools,” the letter reads. “Students are seen as commodities to help private companies increase profits. Mr. Wildstein’s remarks exemplify the true contempt this administration has for New Jersey’s public school students.”

The letters author concludes that Wildstein owes a personal apology to students “whose education he disrupted and whose value he denigrated with such callous indifference.”

Wildstein faces contempt charges after he refused to answer questions before the Assembly transportation committee last week during that committee’s widening inquiry into the sudden closure of lanes to the George Washington bridge last September.

Shelynne Weis January 16, 2014 at 08:15 AM
If it were a bus with a child, like my diabetic grandson, there would have been serious issues with no access to proper sugar monitoring and lack of food. That could have resulted in seizures or death. Luckily, none of those 'children of Buono supporters' died.
Martin Rommer January 16, 2014 at 09:53 AM
I don't understand why there is even an issue with the remark or how it could possibly be taken to mean something negative toward the children unless of course you believe in YOUR OWN mind that there could be some truth to the comment. I liken it to shouting "ah pasta fasul" at someone and them thinking you have just yelled a curse word at them. Certainly this off the cuff remark was not as crude as Al Gore's "extra chromosome crowd" remark in a speech indicting that condition was a something shared by everyone on the right, but then again, as someone who regularly debates politically on the web, I have noticed that many on the left refer to people on my side as “retards.” I find that funny, because we are always told not to use that word. It offennnnnnnds people. Well, are “progressives” exempt from things like that? And for Shelynne, I do not mean to disparage your remark because I do not know where in the mix your grandson is but I think you're over dramatizing the Diabetes thingy. In the early stages (when diagnosed) there is extensive sugar testing. As medicine is adjusted, you need less testing. Eventually when they get the med dosages right you don't test as often. I know about this and now I test once a week, if I remember. At first, it took over 5 months to get my sugar levels down to acceptable levels, but after that it’s smooth sailing. Since you are a second hand party to the patient with the condition you may not be aware of what is actually going on at this point unless of course he is in the early monitoring stage. There was a report of how someone may have died because the ambulance was delayed getting to the patient because the response time was longer. When the smoke cleared, the TRUTH came out and the ambulance arrived 7 minutes after the call, which to me is an acceptable response time. I doubt if they had arrived in four minutes that it would have made a difference to the 94 year old woman.
William Mays January 16, 2014 at 04:49 PM
The issue with the remark is that it is justifying shutting down traffic and keeping kids from getting to school because it was assumed that their parents wouldn't vote for Christie.
maryann January 16, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Believe it or not many children are aware of this comment. Is this what we want them to see or hear as examples of adults that govern the lives of their families?
Marge Teilhaber January 16, 2014 at 06:48 PM
Christie owes it to everyone to make sure that toll and tax money does not pay one single dime of the legal fees for Wildstein, Baroni, and Samson when he resigns. What despicable people they are. After Wildstein and Baroni resigned in December, surely Christie learned that they were running scared. Boy, does this smell.
maryann January 16, 2014 at 08:46 PM
Ms. Teilhaber that is an excellent point. This is a shame on our government, however we must all be on our toes or we cannot complain.
Marge Teilhaber January 16, 2014 at 09:58 PM
And how about forcing us to go vote twice in two weeks, first in a special one-vote-only election for Senator Lautenberg's replacement and then 2 weeks later on Election Day for governor and whatever else was on the ballot that day. I was a Christie fan before that. What a despicable thing to do, spend all that taxpayer money to get a larger victory margin for his second term. I must be the only one ticked off about that because so many people voted for him that day. Not me.
maryann January 16, 2014 at 10:08 PM
I did not vote for him either. Important for us regarding our gut feelings and outside information. Let us just respect what we feel as well as what we read or better put what we read between the lines.
Ottmar Pak January 18, 2014 at 10:57 AM
I'm so disappointed that people don't seem to care enough about his character flaws or his policy choices to vote him in again. Amazing what money and power (and apparently some threats) can do for your popularity. Today's breaking news is Hoboken's mayor coming forward that she had Sandy funds withheld specifically because she did not approve a windfall to Christie's property development group of choice - Rockefeller Group - represented legally by Samson's firm (David Samson - nominated to the PA by ... Chris Christie). The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, requested $127,000,000 in hurricane relief and only received $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator, plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.
John Santaella January 21, 2014 at 08:25 PM
The problem with the remark is that it demonstrates extreme calousness to the residents of not only Ft. Lee but by extension all residents of NJ who don't happen to hold to this man's politccal views. They were after all just Buono voters kids. The cynicism in this comment is beneath contempt. It shows not only his feelings but by extension Christies feelings. My respect for our governor has lowered to the point of disappearing. This man must have read and commited to heart Haldeman's and Erlichman's handbook. Plumbing is a respectable profession and these guys give it a bad name.
iMan9796 January 21, 2014 at 11:28 PM
This same type of Bridgegatesque corruption, cover-up & retaliation is standard operating procedure at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC by Port Authority Supervisors. Gov. Christie promised to disclose any evidence “that come forward that requires action to be taken.” He added, “I will take it, no matter how much it hurts me personally or dismays me, because this is the job I asked for, and I’ve got to do it.” I wonder if that applies to the well documented rampant theft of Lost & Found property at the Port Authority Bus Terminal by Port Authority Supervisors, and the illegal written policy of throwing lost valid passorts in the garbage instead of mailing them to their respective embassies if their owners could not be found. Now just imagine the damage that a terrorist group or an identity theft ring could do with those valid passports. Google “Donna Lebourne abc news" & see the vile face of shame being confronted and exposed for the world to see. http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9105280 http://www.my9nj.com/story/24313600/inside-the-port-authority http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9277998 http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/found_stolen_trashed_by_pa_V4RMICgPyy2bhAVzDkW9EL If the Gov. is a man of his word, he can start by axing all the supervisors at the Port Authority Bus Terminal involved in this criminal activity, the supervisors that turned a blind eye to it, and all the supervisors who participated in the coverup and retaliation as well. Every single one of them must be fired & prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for aiding and abetting this criminal activity. As a matter of fact, Gov.Cuomo stressed that the traffic scandal did not take place on his side of the bridge, which is controlled jointly by New York and New Jersey.“It was done on the Jersey side of the bridge,” he said. “The Jersey officials handled it. The thefts from the PABT’s Lost & Found Dept. by PABT Supervisors along with their illegal written policy of throwing valid lost passports in the garbage happened on the NY side of the GWB, so the New York officals should handle it. Gov. Cuomo it’s your turn to act, & don’t act like you didn't know. I've come to realize that ignorance is not only bliss, it is also contagious & spans both sides of the GWB. The ball is in your court. Finally, a traffic study on 9/11...really, what’s next, the Port Authority giving all TSA airport screeners the day off on 9/11/14 to see if that speeds up the “screening process study?” I guess that makes as much sense as the Port Authority’s written illegally policy of throwing lost passports in garbage & letting their supervisors steal from the Lost & Found Dept. at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The new investigatory panel should investigate these well documented crimes as well because the Port Authority has degenerated into a cesspool of crime, corruption, cover-ups & retaliation staffed with a bunch of clowns, cowards, liars & thieves. http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2013/12/george_washington_bridge_direc.html
John Santaella January 22, 2014 at 11:20 AM
iMan9796, I hope you've contacted the Record as well as the Star Ledger with this information.
iMan9796 January 27, 2014 at 03:44 PM
John, I've contacted them both, so far only Steve Strunsky of the Star Ledger got back to me. He said he was busy getting a Bridgegate related story out & that he would contact me shortly thereafter. I'm still waiting on his call. Nevertheless, I will continue undeterred until justice is served.

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