Accusations that the Christie administration has been using what some call “strong armed tactics” have made recent headlines and Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage claims that has been going on for years. Bollwage told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Christie clearly plays favorites in his politics.
Bollwage said that in 2010, when Christie came into office, he closed the Department of Motor Vehicles in Elizabeth. Elizabeth sent an appeal and received a paragraph back a week before the closing, stating that the reason for the closure was due to fiscal constraints.
“In Elizabeth, we have had a DMV since Henry Ford was building cars. We service a lot of people, we service other surrounding communities. The DMV in Elizabeth was extremely important to a lot of people who sell trucks and cars, and to local governments because we have to get our registrations,” Bollwage said.
Bollwage said that whether Christie signed it or not, he received the letter from Christie about the closing and there was no debate about it. He said that it was “Christie’s way or the highway.”
In regard to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that Christie and his administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid if she didn’t support a development project, Bollwage said that if he had to choose between believing Zimmer or Christie, he would pick Zimmer. He believes that Zimmer is telling the truth and he does not believe that she would make the charges and not be truthful.
“I think Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno has a different perception of what she was saying. In other words, the conversation could have been had where the disconnect in Guadagno’s mind was real, where the connection in Zimmer’s mind was real and I think that’s what happened in that conversation,” Bollwage said.
Bollwage said that there is a power play at work from knowing how Christie closed Elizabeth’s DMV in 2010 and because Elizabeth applied for red light cameras and was denied, despite having some of the busiest intersections on Route 1, while other surrounding towns were approved.
“Christie plays his favorites. All governors do,” Bollwage said.
He said that Christie crosses the line with his arrogance, bullying and having the ability to say things like, “If you don’t do this, you are not getting Sandy aid.”
“This Executive Branch I don’t deal with. The simple reason is, they don’t have the ability to have conversations with you about public policy to benefit the constituents of your community or the state,” Bollwage said. He said that the Christie administration does not have the ability to work with mayors of the opposing party.