An express trains speeds past Ramsey station in this 2003 photo, ruffling Mayor Richard Muti's jacket, but not the mayor.


Governor Christie's Siren Song

August 27, 2016

Tags: Chris Christie, school funding, Fairness Formula

Governor Chris Christie's "Fairness Formula" for public education funding plays upon the frustrations and anxieties of property tax-weary suburbanites like the song of the sirens played upon the ears of ancient Greek sailors. If listened to, it will surely lead our ship of state onto rocky shoals as perilous as those that threatened Odysseus and his men in Homer's immortal tale. (more…)

No Motive to Lie

January 21, 2014

Tags: Chris Christie, Hoboken scandal, Mayor Dawn Zimmer

Clearly, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is telling the truth, and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable are not. How can I be so sure, when the matter seems like a classic "she said-she said" standoff? The mayor has no motive to lie, while Guadagno and Constable have every motive to lie: otherwise, they'd be admitting to a crime.

Using federal funds, or the withholding of those funds, to pressure a public official—in this case, making Sandy relief money for Hoboken contingent on the mayor supporting a redevelopment plan promoted by Gov. Christie's closest political ally, David Samson—is extortion. (more…)

Bridging the Credibility Gap: Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge Scandal

January 12, 2014

Tags: Chris Christie, New Jersey politics, George Washington Bridge

Gov. Chris Christie, in a December 2, 2013 news conference, ridiculed the notion that anyone in his administration had anything to do with the GWB lane closures, which snarled traffic for four days, September 9-12, 2013, at the bridge and throughout most of Fort Lee.

"I moved the cones, actually, unbeknownst to everybody," Christie said, with his trademarkable brand of sarcasm. It was a traffic study, the governor asserted, referring to testimony of his appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, before the NJ Assembly's Transportation Committee, on November 25th.

In an attempt to transform outrage over Fort Lee's traffic problems into a discussion of preferential treatment, Christie expressed indignation at the idea that Fort Lee, or any town, would have three dedicated bridge lanes. He promised that PANYNJ Chairman David Samson, another of his appointees, would look into that policy.

There was no traffic study, despite Baroni's dog-and-pony show before the Transportation Committee. (more…)

Gov. Chris Christie's electoral triumph

November 14, 2013

Tags: Chris Christie

If you've read my op-ed articles in The Record or my blog posts, you know that I have often been critical of the governor. I blasted him when he cut $800 million in state aid to education soon after taking office ("NJ schoolchildren caught in the crossfire"), giving school boards little time to plan for the impact. I blasted him for expense-account overreach when he was the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey ("A Tale of Two Christies") and for screwing up our "Race to the Top" application for federal aid to education ("Christie plays the blame game, the digs a bigger credibility hole").

But then, in a featured Sunday op-ed piece last December ("Rethinking Christie"), I succumbed. The man has political courage, perhaps the trait I admire most. And he was responsible for getting a pension and health benefits overhaul through the Democrat-controlled state legislature, despite the opposition of public employee unions. It will save property taxpayers in New Jersey a billion dollars per year once fully implemented. (more…)

Selected Works

A fast-paced, one-volume study of the most fascinating entertainer of the 20th century. The book isn't an academic tome, although it is extensively researched and footnoted; rather, it is designed to be a highly readable page-turner, for avid Sinatraphiles as well as more casual fans of his music and films. It examines the forces, both positive and negative, that made Sinatra Sinatra, with special attention given to the love-hate relationship he maintained toward Hoboken and New Jersey for most of his life. He once called the city of his birth a "sewer," but later observed, "When I was there, I just wanted to get out. It took me a long time to realize how much of it I took with me."
"Richard Muti's essays are smart and provocative, personal and political."
–Linda Fairstein, former prosecutor
and crime novelist
As this eBook is published, Gov. Chris Christie enjoys a 72 percent approval rating, the highest level attained by any governor in New Jersey history. Yet, the man still evokes passionate feelings from supporters and foes, alike.
"Much needed fresh air out of New Jersey, where the political atmosphere has long been foul."
Kirkus Discoveries
True Crime
"The Charmer is definitely one of 2012's 'must read' books."
True Crime Book Reviews
Filled with “brilliant plot twists, vivid descriptions, and great dialogue, with a smooth, easy-to-read writing style.”

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