Disaster! Name-Calling! and our first ‘Noncommittal Headline of the Week’ in today’s Roundup

Mature discourse continued to characterize discussions over the Atlantic City fiscal crisis, with Steve Sweeney labeling Mayor Don Guardian’s warning/threat about a possible bankruptcy, “idiotic” and Gov. Christie telling Guardian he should, “do his job.”

Christie, btw, is in New Hampshire, running for president, as a winter storm bears down on the state where his job is located. The Howler notes our guvnor has a peculiar gift for selecting rhetorical zingers that seem to refer back, in some weird subliminal way, to himself. FWIW, Sweeney, a little over a week ago, said he would support a bankruptcy filing for the city, but that was during a different hand of the poker game. Elsewhere, Mayor Guardian said the city made 300 job cuts and millions in budget cuts last year, and if Christie didn’t know about those, he should fire his chief of staff.  “She knows 300 families are no longer working for the city, and that we cut $25 million from the budget.”

Our Crumbling Infrastructure
The likely carcinogen perfluorooctanoic acid has been found in twelve New Jersey water systems at levels at or above the “guidance level” set by the state as the upper limit for safe consumption, NJSpotlight writes.

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Mayor Calls B.S. On A.C. ‘Fatigue,’ and the Many Vetoes of Chris Christie

Atlantic City officials are “threatening” (NJ.com’s Brent Johnson’s word) to declare bankruptcy for the beleaguered municipality a day after the governor vetoed* legislation designed, allegedly, to stabilize city finances, thus paving the way for further state control (i.e. takeover) of city government—for the next fifteen years. Given the city’s been on double-secret probation for some time now, it’s unclear what another “takeover” would actually entail exactly (“We couldn’t mismanage a paper clip without a review”), as Mayor Don Guardian points out in a rather long, impassioned op-ed in the Press of Atlantic City: Though that didn’t stop him and other city leaders from vehemently opposing the takeover. Among the many important points the mayor gets off his chest in the Press of A.C. op-ed, the Howler’s favorite facts include the $21 billion the city has sent to the state in taxes in the past thirty years (state officials aren’t really “fatigued” by the city) and the “600 parcels of land” the state owns around town, which add to the general post-apocalyptic charm of the place, and aren’t the city’s fault.

The Howler, peering into his crystal ball, thinks Atlantic City’s going to look like a much different place in five years, let alone fifteen, with far fewer of those vacant lots and far more conventional, city-type things like houses and businesses. He wonders if state pols aren’t already getting in line to take credit for the A.C. renaissance. Of course there could be something much more sinister afoot.

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Checkmate Atlantic City and more on the Hillcrest Tavern in today’s Roundup

A.C. Takeover: Checkmate? Governor Christie vetoed the PILOT* (“Payment in Lieu of Taxes”) bill designed to stabilize Atlantic City’s municipal budget, precipitating an acute crisis for the city, whose many problems the state proposes to address through a more aggressive takeover of local government. This is a metaphor, the Howler can’t help thinking. The indefatigable Amy Rosenberg of Philly.com has many details on the implications. Christie’s move comes a day after leaders from around the city and the state gathered at St.

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Daily Roundup

A.C. Fights Back, Lucy Loses A Friend and Our Crumbling Infrastructure in Today’s Route Forty Roundup – BETA
The Press of A.C. reports on the widespread opposition across Atlantic County to Steve Sweeny’s takeover plan. Marty Small said the plan robbed the city of its “sovereignty” noting no municipality in the country faced the problems Atlantic City had, while Mayor Don Guardian challenged the narrative the city was at war with the state, saying he and his colleagues were voted to be “diplomats.”

Moody’s said the plan to expand casino gambling would be “bad news” forAtlantic City and cause more casinos to close there, NJ.com reports. Because it’s helpful to have the banker perspective on every issue. Meanwhile, city gambling revenue has been cut in half since 2006, Politico reports (subscription). Rebecca Forand reports on the “swanky” Mullica Hill house Rowan University bought for its president, supplying many photos of the $975,000 spread, which, spoiler, resembles a bog-standard McMansion outfitted to the tastes of Marshal Tito. Meanwhile Rutgers is asking the state for $98.5 million.

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