I do not believe the overwhelming sweep of democrats into office is an acceptance and endorsement of all their policies. I believe it is the ongoing repudiation of the things we don’t like about politics and politicians. With this in mind, I thought I would give impressions of a recent meeting with Sean A. Thom, Democratic Candidate for LoBiondo’s seat in NJ’s 2nd congressional district.
As part of Voting Block, a collaborative reporting project on the governor’s race involving 25 news organizations and dozens of neighbors, we want to know what your priorities are for the next governor. We’re creating a “people’s agenda” to send whoever wins the election on Nov. 7. And we need your help to build it. Tell us what you want the next governor to focus on during the first 100 days in office.
The first thing the next governor of New Jersey should do is get out of Atlantic City, a group of city residents agreed at a recent dinner in Bungalow Park. The almost one-year-old takeover of the city, which came after years of state oversight failed to avert a fiscal crisis in the gambling resort, is deeply unpopular with residents. Not one of the 13 guests at our Voting Block gathering at the Back Bay Ale House thought the state should continue its oversight. Neighbors from Bungalow Park, a bayfront enclave of homeowners that has withstood Superstorm Sandy and AtlanticheCity’s many cycles of urban renewal and urban neglect, fear rising property taxes are threatening their community. And with the state in charge of the city government, they have even less of a platform from which to raise that issue – and others – than ever before.
Congrats to Atlantic City for shining bright with Pink on July 12th and kudos to all involved, including the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority! I spent the time walking all over town. Everywhere I went was mobbed, and full of smiles, except on Bart Blatstein’s Playground Pier. There, the restaurants were packed: yet, below is the last picture taken before staff on the pier lowered hurricane shutters so you could not see the crowd outside. Additionally, the Pier’s observation decks were closed.
The city and county are mad at the other over taxes, the Governor and his cohorts seemingly lied to both about many things, and New Jersey’s bureaucratic presence known as the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) voted to adopt a new master plan. It is understandable that much of the local populace seems mad at them all. Years ago, we learned the world isn’t flat… it’s round. Round worlds don’t have corners.
“If Dorothy was a hooker.” I laughed out loud when I received that private message. It was sent from a former resident of Atlantic City in response to my public post on Facebook, with a wonderful picture of Atlantic City, wherein I stated our beloved city is like “Oz on the Ocean”. It doesn’t matter how much I love AC – the truth is the truth. Our city, to outside eyes is ugly, unsafe, and a place that begs you to be careful.
We all know the problems. To date, I can count on one hand how many locals agree the $2 million being spent on the renovation of unused bathrooms in Boardwalk Hall is a good idea, or at the least, where we should start. I can also count on one hand how many local people like the CRDA. I had the opportunity in January to meet with Chris Howard, the new Executive Director of the CRDA. I found a bright man hoping to bring change. The idea behind the CRDA remains noble.