After some opportune aerial photographs showed NJ Governor Chris Christie sunbathing on a beach during a government shutdown (that closed state beaches), his lieutenant governor slammed him, saying, "It's beyond words." Now, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno wants to sell the New Jersey governor's summer residence that launched a thousand memes.
A three-day government shutdown over how much control NJ can have over its largest insurer kept state facilities, like parks and beaches, closed. But Christie went ahead with his family plans to head to the NJ governor's beach house at Island State Beach and spend Monday on the otherwise closed beach.
The incriminating photographs, which Star-Ledger photographer Andrew Mills captured by hanging out of a private plane, reinforced a perception of Christie as an out-of-touch, unethical, lame-duck and petty bureaucrat.
New Jersey, one of only three other states have more than one governor's residence (Alabama, Michigan and North Carolina; N.C. actually has two governor's vacation homes), bought the three homes at Island Beach State Park more than 60 years ago. The AP reports:
The cedar-shingled Cape Cod-style home was constructed by steel magnate Henry Phipps, a partner of Andrew Carnegie. Phipps had bought the park property in 1926 to turn it into an exclusive seashore resort. Only three large homes were built before the 1929 stock market crash halted construction. Phipps died the next year.
In 1953, the state bought the Phipps estate and additional land to preserve the island’s natural beauty and create a recreation area. Island Beach opened as a state park in 1959."
The other homes are used for security and the governor's guests.
Guadagno, who is running for governor, told the NJ Advance Media, "I've never thought there should be a beach house for the governor. I think it should be sold."
State Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) is proposing legislation that would allow the beach house to be rented by the public. He also is floating a bill that would prohibit use of "any residential property owned by the state and provided exclusively or primarily for the governor's use - including the beach house at Island Beach State Park -- during a state budget-related government shutdown."
"There is no real burning need to have a private beach house. Especially in a state as small as ours," he said to NJ Advance Media.
The public may have a chance to ask Christie about his beach boondoggle next week: He's going to be subbing in for Mike Francesa on WFAN.