Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Getting a Clear Picture of Gov. Christie

In my 13 years as a company photographer, I’ve managed to capture every New Jersey governor since Christie Whitman.  But I still hadn’t gotten the “big fish”, as it were – Gov. Christie.  There were several opportunities.  However, the specialists never informed me in time.

The governor scheduled a town hall meeting in Monmouth County for March 6th at the Ocean Township Community Gym.  This was my chance, not only to get his photo but to ask him about a certain discrepancy in the State Strategic Plan regarding leadership.

Believing Ocean Township to be farther away than it turned out to be, I arrived 45 minute before the doors open, was one of the first people on line and in the door.  The wait was cold but worth it.  I got an ideal seat on the end of the first row, close enough for a really good angle shot, where I wouldn’t be in his face – and close enough to be noticed and possibly get my question answered.

In his introduction, he said he hoped the press would get a better photo of him than it did last time.  Taking pictures of speakers is a photographic art all in itself.  The first rule of thumb is not to try to take the speaker’s photo if they’re moving or talking.  Otherwise, you get all sorts of unattractive shots – rolling eyeballs, tongues hanging out, one eye open, the other closed, and fingers in all sorts of unfortunate places.  The other rule of thumb is to get the picture-taking over with as quickly as possible.  Today’s cameras are fast but noisy; you can’t want the clacking to distract from what the speaker is saying.

Some speakers are moderate in their speech; that is to say, they measure the pace of their words, rather than have them all tumble out in an existential streams.  Other speakers, like the governor, are inveterate talkers.  They love to talk.  A lot.  Hence, it’s more difficult to get a good shot until you get to the Q&A session when he’s standing still, listening to a question.

Since my primary mission in going to the meeting was to ask a question, I took my pictures in the beginning and put the camera away as soon as I got one or two fairly decent shots of him.  The press photographers took a long time to realize that my side of the room was the better side for getting shots of him with the American flag in the background.  They were soon at my side, though.

But to the point.  I wanted to ask him about the discrepancy in the finalized State Strategic Plan.  In Part I, the Intro on page 6, the Plan states:  “The leadership to effectuate this change must and will not come from the Executive Branch.”

Then, on page 7, in the first bullet-point detailing what the Plan is not, it says:  “This plan is not:

·         A top-down approach to force compliance with a state-wide land-use plan.”

I wanted to ask him which was the correct statement.  I also wanted to ask him about my electric bill, which was outrageously higher than it had been last month, at approximately the same amount of usage.  I’ve been as conservative as possible with my electric usage, seeing that my income is about to be truncated.  Strangely, even with the milder winter, my usage was up, owing to the fact that I’ve been taking Fridays off.  However, it’s one-third of what it was this time last year.  Obama has declared that our energy bills are being purposely increased to punish us for being successful, well-to-do Americans when tribal peoples in Africa and India are heating with cow dung.  I wanted to know if this was what was meant by Sustainable Development and what I was being “punished” for, since I live in a small condo, am ahead in my mortgage payments, conserve energy, and will be out of work by the end of this month?  (I hope my readers will excuse me for using too many personal pronouns….)

The people in Africa and India don’t need heat; they’re in the desert and the tropics.  The nighttime temperature in a city like New Delhi is about 80 degrees.  They use the cow dung principally for cooking.  The SDs also deride Westerners for the fact that Africans and Asians are dying of malaria.  Never mind the fact that it was their hatred of all things chemical that got DDT banned.   The Ganges River is in deplorable condition.  What the SDs want is to redistribute our “wealth” to improve conditions on the Ganges.

They want us to ride bicycles like they do in Amsterdam.  Amsterdam is a cold-weather climate like northern New Jersey.  Unlike the flat, lowlands of Holland, northern New Jersey is all hills.  New Jerseyans are not going to go riding bicycles in the snow, nor are they likely to skate on canals, as the Hollanders do.

When a young adult environmentalist asked Gov. Christie if he was going to veto the RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) bill, which would punish any company that so much as let a whiff of pollution out of its smokestacks, the governor said, “I vetoed the RGGI bill once and if the legislature sends it to me, I’ll veto it again, and I’ll tell you why.  I’m in favor of protecting the environment.  I do not support your social engineering!”

That settled that.  I raised my hand to bring up the topic of the State Strategic Plan, and to enable the friends who had come with me to tell him that West Milford residents are far from the irresponsible, selfish suburbanites the Media paints them as.  When they told me they hadn’t raised their hands because they thought my question was more important, I told them that was nonsense.  What did they think I’d asked them to come for?  Tea?!

Still, towards the end, the last two questions were between myself and a man behind me with a question about a program for drug treatment.  Who could complain about that?  The governor said that I would be next.  In the end, though, the question went to a young gentleman on the side who’d been jumping up and down, waving his arms to be allowed to ask a question.

The governor apologized but how could he resist such a citizen as that?  Quite all right.  The boy stated, “I’m a big fan of Mitt Romney.  If he askses [sic] you to be his Vice President, will you say, ‘Yes’?”

The governor responded that if Mr. Romney won the nomination and he called the governor, he would listen to what Mr. Romney had to say.  However, the governor asked the boy if he was a betting guy (his mother assured the governor that he was not).  The governor assured anyone who was planning on betting on the outcome of this question, that the smart money should put their money on his still being governor in January 2013.


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