New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wants to dissolve the bi-state Waterfront Commission, created to fight organized crime at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Gov. Kathy Hochul needs to block Murphy’s cave to the International Longshoremen’s Association.
For nearly seven decades, the Waterfront Commission — established by Congress in 1953 with authority over the ports in Newark, Elizabeth, Bayonne, Staten Island and Brooklyn— has guarded against organized crime and ensured fair hiring.
After Murphy moved to unilaterally dissolve the interstate compact last year, the commission went all the way to the Supreme Court to try to stop the execution — but the justices declined to hear the case, saying the commissioners lacked the standing to sue.
New York state clearly has the standing, but Hochul has been silent.
The ILA’s fingerprints are all over Murphy’s effort. The Jersey gov recently appointed a new commissioner, Joseph Sanzari, a state contractor with ties to the dock workers’ union. He replaced an ex-prosecutor whom Murphy claimed had a conflict. (Only in New Jersey is mob-busting a conflict of interest.)
To be clear, the years-long drive to kill the commission is bipartisan: On his last day in office in 2018, Gov. Chris Christie signed the law to withdraw New Jersey.
Critics claim the port watchdog makes it difficult for shipping companies to hire new workers and exaggerates the presence of organized crime on the docks. But the FBI bureaus in both states, the federal Labor Department and the US attorney for the Southern District of New York all say that the commission’s work has been vital in investigations and prosecutions that combat the Genovese and Gambino organized crime families’ continued influence over the ILA and waterfront businesses.
Murphy, meanwhile, says the State Police can patrol the ports. Really? Among many other issues, the commission has also fought racist hiring practices.
Hochul’s staff says the gov is reviewing her “options to determine how best to proceed and ensure robust law enforcement” at New York ports. Standing up to Jersey’s unilateral, mob-friendly play is by far the best option.
This article was originally posted here