By Carlotta Grandstaff
Bayonne, N.J. – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced today that, effective July 4, the state of New Jersey would assume local control of the Statue of Liberty.
The iconic emblem of freedom, which has welcomed countless immigrants to American shores, and which has been standing in New York Harbor since the French presented it as a gift to the American people in 1886, will now be managed by the state of New Jersey.
Christie, the presumptive GOP frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, addressed a raucous crowd, including a sizeable contingent of protestors, in Bayonne, across the Hudson River from the famed statue. “The federal government has been mismanaging Lady Liberty for decades,” he told the crowd, without elaboration. “New Jersey can do a better job at it.”
Christie cited the controversial State Sovereignty and Local Control Act, which was passed by a partisan Congress and signed into law by the president last month, as the legal basis for the state assumption of federally managed public land. Ignoring complaints from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and staunch critic of the Local Control Act that the statue stands in New York waters, not New Jersey’s, Christie bellowed at the crowd, “And if Cuomo and other American socialist liberals don’t like New Jersey taking local control of the Statue of Liberty, they can lump it.”
Speaking to the press following his public appearance, Christie acknowledged rumors that the state of New Jersey would paint the statue pink, in honor of New Jersey’s Gay Pride Week, scheduled to begin early next month. Responding to his critics that painting the Statue of Liberty pink was simply a ploy to garner the LGBT vote, Christie, who seldom backs down before his opponents, said, “Right you are, and the month after that we’ll paint it green to make the environmentalists happy.”
Since its passage, the Local Control Act, as it has come to be known, has allowed local governments to gain control over public lands in their jurisdictions. Invoking it has become a badge of honor among GOP elected officials, despite tremendous public opposition.
It has spread across the country like a western wildfire in July.
In Humboldt County, California, county commissioners have invoked the Act to assume local control of the Redwood National Forest for marijuana growers.
“We know which side our bread is buttered on,” said Commission Chairman Bob “Redbud” Smith. Beginning precisely at 4:20 p.m. next Monday – a time Smith said has significance to pot smokers – the Redwood National Forest will be closed to all citizens except those growing marijuana within the forest’s confines. Humboldt County will benefit, said Smith, by a 20% surcharge on all sales of marijuana grown in the national forest. “That’ll give the county the revenue it needs to fix the roads without raising property taxes,” said Smith, who is a grower himself, in addition to his elected position.
“The Redwood National Forest is open for business,” Smith added. “But only for pot growers. Any of them tree huggers want to watch birds or whatever, will have to find another forest to do it in.”
Also out west, the Flagstaff, Ariz. city council last week signed a measure that will turn over local control of the Grand Canyon to the council.
Council president Gus “Ammo” Flake, told an enthusiastic assemblage of state GOP leaders, many of whom had worked for passage of the Local Control Act, that the city had penned an agreement with an unnamed chemical company that would give the company exclusive dumping rights of toxic and nuclear waste into what a company spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, called “ a giant hole in the ground.”
“Flagstaff stands to make a financial killing from this deal,” said Flake. He declined to discuss the details of the financial agreement between the city of Flagstaff and the unnamed company, calling it “proprietary.” He acknowledged, however, that the company had made a “generous offer” that the council could not afford to turn down. Flagstaff citizens will see a substantial decrease in local property taxes as a result of the agreement. For obvious public health reasons, he added, the Grand Canyon will be permanently closed to all visitors.
Flake said that the city council had also stripped all local, state and federal environmental laws from the planned dump, and exonerated the company from any clean-up efforts. “We’ve gotten government out of the way of business,” he said.
Pennington County, S.D. officials are expected to make an announcement next week about the local control of Mt. Rushmore National Monument. A spokesman for the county commission would say only that an advertising deal is in the works. Rumors have been swirling around Rapid City for weeks that an unidentified painkiller manufacturer had leased ad space for the company’s headache medication on the granite foreheads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.
The county spokesman would not comment on the rumors, saying only that the deal was “proprietary.” Local citizens would likely see significant property tax cuts when the deal is finalized, however, he said.
He added that, unlike Redwood National Forest or the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore would be open to visitors as usual. “It’s a win-win,” he said. “And tourists will get used to seeing corporate logos plastered across their presidents’ foreheads quickly enough.”
In Ravalli County, Montana, where the State Sovereignty and Local Control Act got its start, county commissioner Floozy Sauce appeared surprised and confused by the unintended consequences of the local control movement she championed. “I’m trying to connect the dots, or at least the details of the dots. And frankly, I’m offended and insulted at the insinuation that detailed dot connection somehow doesn’t lead to job creation. I’m an elected official, and if anyone is going to murder Bambi, I’m going to insist on the respect my office demands.”
“These are our god-given lands that Americans have fought for for many thousands of years,” she continued, “and frankly I’m not about to hand them over to a bunch of socialist tree-huggers for free who don’t have to pay anything to access these lands when we could have jobs. Everyone just needs to pull up their big girl pants and quit whining.”
Sauce would neither confirm nor deny rumors that the Chinese government had made an offer on the Bitterroot National Forest. “I’m still struggling to connect the dots on that,” she said.