This afternoon, Governor Christopher Christie announced that immediately, he intends to spend approximately $300 million dollars of taxpayer hard earned money for an interior and exterior restoration/renovation of the New Jersey Statehouse. Code violations which Christie described as “too numerous to list here today” were among many of the examples for such a massive and costly undertaking. According to Christie, he hopes that the building can once again be a place that citizens can once again be proud to visit. It is important to note that Christie made a case that leaving the Statehouse in its current condition would be an “embarrassment to the people of the state.”
I listened to Governor Christie’s highly “anticipated announcement” today. This Governor’s priority list never ceases to amaze me. At one point during his address, I honestly believed that he was vividly describing the learning conditions of the Paterson Public Schools District. I truly do not have any sympathy for the condition(s) of the NJ Statehouse. In fact, I believe that the conditions explained by Christie pale in comparison to the learning conditions that our students and educators endure on a daily basis in cities such as Paterson, Newark, Jersey City, Camden, and Trenton.
Over the years, I have personally observed educators utilizing umbrellas while teaching a class in Paterson to avoid a leaky roof. Our students and educators work in disgusting school buildings with mice, roaches, unsafe electrical outlets, leaky ceilings, mold, a lack of security/nurses, a lack of toilet paper/hand soap, and windows that in many schools remain open with textbooks, and close like guillotines. Students at many schools are forced to utilize makeshift playground areas riddled with condom wrappers, dime bags, and broken beer bottles. Our students and employees work without air conditioning during extreme heat and pray for the boiler to turn on days when temperatures are bone chilling. So until our children and staff in Paterson, and beyond, are afforded the luxuries, and safe working conditions, which Gov. Christie seeks at his place of employment, pardon me if I give a damn if the HVAC system in the NJ Statehouse is fully operable.
In the end, we learned that Gov. Christie’s entire term of office was predicated on his self-serving, “Constituency of One” megalomaniac attitude. What Governor Christie fails to recognize, is that the Statehouse isn’t the “embarrassment,” he portrays it to be. The actual “embarrassment” is the stench from who works inside.
John McEntee, Jr.
President of Paterson Education Association