Hard Rock, Taxes, Cognitive Dissonance — Tuesday’s Roundup!

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Hard Rock’s going before the CRDA today to seek both preliminary and final site approval for their project to redo the Taj Mahal and does it seem weird to do preliminary and final at the same time? It seemed weird to Jim Kennedy – the former CRDA head – who tweeted, “I’m a big fan of Hard Rock Atlantic City. But, it’s just wrong for the CRDA to conduct a same day Preliminary & Final Site Plan approval process. The reason there is a two step process is it’s a deliberative process.”

We called the CRDA spokespeople for comment, but they never get back to us. I wouldn’t get back to us either. It’s like Roger Stone said about us in media. We’re either evil or we’re lazy or both. “And if you understand that, you can do whatever you want.”

Anyway, David Danzis at the Press of AC points out Hard Rock’s going on a three-city road show to announce their opening date and entertainment lineup tomorrow, i.e. “less than 24 hours” from now, so I guess they feel like they’ve got approvals in the bag.

Phil Murphy announced “measures to reduce the outsourcing of certain Atlantic City operations…” and end “the designee within the next 30 days…” Meaning Jeff Chiesa’s leaving town. Tim Cunningham’s staying. Everyone’s delighted, thrilled even. You can read the gov’ners statement here.

Elsewhere in press releases from Phil Murphy, the governor announced eight nominees for the state investment council and three nominees for superior court. One of the noms for investment council is Wasseem Boraie, who’s building that multi-family project on the hugeous vacant lot formerly known as Pauline’s Prairie.

We’re Number One!
It’s tax day and everyone knows New Jerseyans get the shaft. Lucky for us we have Jonathan Salant at NJ.com to tell us just how badly. New Jersey’s the top subsidizer state in the union (!) getting back only 74 cents for every dollar paid in federal taxes, and the states we mostly subsidize are Red States of Ruulh America. Wait, did Josh Gottheimer call them moocher states? I guess I’d find that funnier if I didn’t think our economy was an interlocking set of pyramid schemes.

Elsewhere in cognitive dissonance, Tom MacArthur, the voice of hillbilly America, introduced a bill that would effectively preempt the Martin Act. What’s the Martin Act? Why, it was “the sweeping state securities law that was used against” Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former chairman and CEO of AIG, for whom MacArthur used to work.

Have you ever hung around investment bankers? They all talk like farmers–“buckets” of this and “silos” of that. “Tranche” is an old word for “ditch” isn’t it? That they think deregulating Wall Street is high on the Trump Country agenda is the least surprising thing you’ll read all day.

Good Idea of the Day #1
Matt Friedman has a good idea, prompted by the recent hiring of a former political operative who a few years ago, “accidentally taped himself allegedly trying to rig a bid in favor of a specific company.”

“We teach fourth graders about the political process in Trenton by having them come up with ideas for bills, like designating the bog turtle as the official state reptile,” Friedman writes. “Perhaps we should have them come up with ideas of behavior that would be too outrageous, or violative of the public trust, to be hired onto a lawmaker’s payroll.”

Kids need to learn civics somehow. It would be better if they didn’t learn it by looking at us and seeing what idiots we are.

Good of the Day #2 (also from Jim Kennedy)
Turn your old multi-story parking garage into a subrosa bicycle party spot – “Fight Club” for cycling enthusiasts. They did it in Crystal City.

“Inside, giant speakers blast rock music. Cow bells ring. There’s whooping and hollering, there’s pie and beer—and there are bikes everywhere.”

I’m old enough to remember when Glenn Straub wanted to turn Revel’s parking lot into an endurance bike track.

Job Opening: 
The Pine Barrens Tribune is hiring! Get on it if you have social-media skills.

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