Atlantic City Is A Winning Destination: Local Government Is Broken
OPINION - EDITORIAL
Atlantic City has so much going for it.
- A thriving hotel-casino industry.
- Non-casino hotels adding vital services and much-needed rooms, meeting and convention space.
- A vibrant MEET AC (convention & visitor’s bureau) bringing in great meetings and conventions.
- An effective Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce.
- The largest mid-week air show in America.
- More than 20 million visitors each and every year come to Atlantic City.
- The incomparable Atlantic City Boardwalk
- The Beach & majestic Atlantic Ocean.
- World-class hotel rooms, suites, concert halls, meeting rooms, and more.
- World-class restaurants.
- One of the finest entertainment line-ups in America … if not the world.
- Sports Books.
- Outdoor beach bars.
- Historic Boardwalk Hall.
- The Atlantic City Convention Center.
This is not a complete list. There’s much more.
With this strong list of attributes and competitive advantages, the only thing that can stop Atlantic City’s next successful act; is the broken local political apparatus that is holding Atlantic City back from growing to its full potential.
Many Atlantic City residents and the various working partners have been expressing legitimate concerns about Atlantic City, New Jersey’s present local political priorities.
There is a demarcation line that is self-evident. The political downfall directly coincides with the change from a non-partisan Commission form of government to the highly partisan Mayor-Council format.
A five-member city commission successfully performed both the legislative and executive branch functions for many successful years.
The accountability level was high. Staffing levels were kept low, except where you needed certain numbers police and fire in particular.
They couldn’t pass the buck to some bureaucracy or other functionary puppet to lay the blame.
There were actually more police officers and professional firefighters on the payroll decades ago than you have now. This is ridiculous and will prove to be dangerous if these staffing issues are not effectively addressed in the very near future.
There's not even a Chief of Police, yet Acting Officer in Charge, James Sarkos is doing a tremendous job under nearly impossible circumstances.
The Atlantic City Professional Firefighters face even more daunting staffing challenges.
The current local political priorities are all mixed-up and messed up. There is a complete lack of focus in attending to basic taxpayer services; in favor of high-profile pipe dreams and schemes that have little chance of ever coming to fruition.
All the local elected officials have to do is focus on the basics:
- Keep Atlantic City Safe.
- Keep Atlantic City Clean.
- Repair potholes, please.
- Get out of the way.
The talented local operators will take care of everything else.
The local elected officials have done such a poor job, that the state of New Jersey has been forced to maintain total operating control of Atlantic City for nearing a generation.
Atlantic City has not operated under the local control of governance since July 2010.
State takeovers typically last for a relatively short timeframe; months or a few years.
The Atlantic City government is so incompetent and feckless that the state of New Jersey simply can’t let go of control, because the stakes are too high.
The state of New Jersey fully controls both the city and public schools. Neither have been able to stand on their own two feet.
Senator Vince Polistina, R-2 now brings the full working knowledge and understanding that has not been in place regarding Atlantic City since Senator Bill Gormley.
Polistina grasps the importance of Atlantic City to the overall success of the region and the state. Polistina is also forging a collegial and effective working relationship with Governor Phil Murphy.
This is already beginning to pay dividends.
As Atlantic City goes … so goes the state.
Atlantic City is just too important for the state to allow it to fail.
Atlantic City's Firsts Throughout History
Exclusive First Look at New Island Waterpark at Showboat Atlantic City