New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's beach visit during budget crisis steams residents

Many New Jersey residents steamed Monday over aerial photographs that showed Gov. Chris Christie and his family sunbathing in the privacy of an empty beach while frustrated beachgoers were turned away because of a budget impasse.

After failing to reach agreement on a new budget by Friday, the state closed beaches, parks, museums and the division of motor vehicles. The shutdown angered residents who hoped to enjoy the 80-degree-plus temperatures during a holiday weekend.

Friends and foes alike condemned Christie’s beach expedition. His lieutenant governor, Kim Guadango, a Republican who is running to succeed him, said in a statement Monday: “It’s beyond words. If I were governor, I sure wouldn’t be sitting on the beach if taxpayers didn’t have access to state beaches.”

“Tell Gov. Christie: Get the hell off Island Beach State Park,” a banner plane flying along the Jersey shore on Monday chided.

The budget crisis in New Jersey has resulted in 30,000 state employees being furloughed.

Meanwhile, the powerful New Jersey teachers’ union Monday won a temporary restraining order against Christie, blocking him from putting up misleading signs on state property blaming the shutdown on his political rival, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

“This facility closed because of this man,’’ read the signs plastered at the entrances of state parks and buildings that included the telephone number for the speaker’s office.

In the complaint filed before a state judge in Trenton, the New Jersey Education Assn. said “it is believed that the cost of the signage and the labor for erecting the signage is drawn from the state treasury,” and that the signs were “political advertising — and they are knowingly false to the extent posted on buildings or facilities that are open or quasi-open.”

Christie’s staff said that the governor had said earlier he planned to spend the weekend at a state-owned retreat in Island Beach State Park. But at a news conference Sunday, before he knew he had been photographed by the Newark Star-Ledger, Christie answered in the negative when asked whether he had gotten any sun during the day.

“I didn’t,” Christie said. “I didn’t get any sun today.”

After being told about the photographs, Brian Murray, the governor’s spokesman, tried to do a quick spin: “Yes, the governor was on the beach briefly today talking to his wife and family before heading into the office.”

“He did not get any sun,” Murray added. “He had a baseball hat on.”

Reaction on social media was fast and furious. #ChrisChristie instantly became among the most popular Twitter hashtags.

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