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Author: Ed Sheppard

What’s up with the Taj Mahal?

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

Save Jersyans, on Friday you read how the Press of Atlantic City reported that the Taj Mahal casino was now expected to stay open. I was happy, as that meant 2,800 jobs would not be lost.

Unfortunately, since that report, there has been a flurry of news about the Taj.

A quick recap:

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Good News for 2,800 Taj Mahal Employees

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

taj mahalGood news, Save Jerseyans:

As I was putting on the finishing touches of my ideas to keep the Taj Mahal open, The Press of Atlantic City reported that the Taj Mahal, which was in danger of closing on November 13, has no immediate plans to announce its closure (click here to read my last post if you’re not all caught up).

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Forget I Ever Said ‘Thank You’ Vince Mazzeo

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

Vincent Mazzeo

Vincent Mazzeo

Save Jerseyans, you may remember back in July, when I was one of the first to point out that the GOP was working to save Atlantic City while Democrats appeared to be ready to declare it dead, that I also noted that the sole Democratic exception was District 2’s Vince Mazzeo.

At the time, Mazzeo came out against North Jersey casinos, and I gave him credit for that. I even thanked him.

But now, I feel I must retract those sentiments.

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What’s Going on With the Taj Mahal?

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

taj mahalThe Taj Mahal is on the verge of closing, Save Jerseyans, and 2,800 people may lose their jobs. But unlike the other casino closings this year, where the main focus was on trying to find buyers for the properties, the main focus on the Taj is trying to save it, as management and other stakeholders are actively trying to do.

Which makes this a much more complicated process than the other closings. Which means it can also be easy to lose track of what is happening with this process and why. This is a volatile process with no easy answers to help solve it. Thousands of livelihoods are at stake. 

So let’s go over the facts of what is happening with the Taj Mahal, to the best of my knowledge, so we will all be on the same page later when we analyze this situation:

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: 20 Ways to Improve the Boardwalk Empire

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

atlantic cityAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part seven of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one (cutting taxes and red tape), two (natural gas), three (wind power unit production), four (aquaculture), five (veteran care reform) and six (cruise ship port) if you haven’t already.

Save Jerseyans, while doing my series on job creation, I’m sure you were all wondering why I haven’t mentioned the 800lb gorilla in the room: Atlantic City.

And you don’t take on an 800lb gorilla on a whim; you need a plan. I laid out a few big ideas to get things rolling back in July. The other night, I decided to take a deeper and much more comprehensive look at the problem and flesh some things out:

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Cruise Ship Port

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

cruise shipAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part six of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one (cutting taxes and red tape), two (natural gas), three (wind power unit production), four (aquaculture) and five (veteran care reform) if you haven’t already.

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Veteran Care

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

The James J. Howard Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Brick, New Jersey

The James J. Howard Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Brick, New Jersey

This is part five of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one (cutting taxes and red tape), two (natural gas), three (wind power unit production) and four (aquaculture) if you haven’t already.

For the benefit of those of you who don’t have South Jersey’s population demographics data memorized, Southern New Jersey is home to large percentage of New Jersey’s nearly half-million veterans, significantly more than most areas of the state. This is a direct result of 1) indigenous individuals from the area who serve and decided to come back and 2) veterans from other parts of the country who retire to South Jersey, often to the Shore points.

They haven’t found a strong job market.

Currently, many of these same veterans must travel to VA facilities and hospitals in Delaware or Maryland for certain vital kinds of treatment, as much as 5 or 6 hours away. That’s ridiculous. And there’s a simple win-win solution staring us right in the face…

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Aquaculture

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

aquacultureAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part four of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one, two and three if you haven’t already.

As part of their 1st District Economic Task Force announcement, Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-1) and Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-1) mentioned only one industry they see as a potential area for growth: aquaculture.

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Wind Turbine Production Plants

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

Wind TurbinesAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part three of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read part one and part two if you haven’t already.

I think that South Jersey has the potential for becoming a manufacturing hub of offshore wind turbines. If we act now, that potential could result in a huge of infusion of jobs into the region.

Some background…

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Natural Gas Power Plants

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

The Tatan Power Plant in Taiwan, that country's largest of its kind.

The Tatan Power Plant in Taiwan, that country’s largest natural gas facility of its kind.

Atlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole,” and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part two of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read part one if you haven’t already.

Moving forward: in my opinion, there are not one, but two opportunities to create jobs via natural gas power plants in South Jersey. The first you have heard about before. Let’s build the BL England Pipeline and convert the coal plant into a natural gas plant. It means jobs, lower emissions, and lights staying on in Cape May County. So let’s build it.

But you haven’t heard about the second opportunity…

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey Starts with Making Jersey Business Friendly

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

south jersey mapAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole,” and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area.  All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

Here’s my first offering:

Before we can start to lobby companies to invest in South Jersey, we need to make sure the stage is set for such an endeavor. It be pointless to convince businesses to come here if we aren’t ready to accept them. So my first post will focus on New Jersey’s business environment.

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Christie Responds to Showboat Employees

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

governor christie speaks in ocean cityGovernor Christie brought his “No Pain, No Gain” tour to Ocean City on Thursday, Save Jerseyans. So I biked on up to the Music Pier to see him speak.

Now, if you’re reading this blog, you’re obviously familiar with our pension and benefits situation. So I am not going to focus on that.

Because if you read this blog, you’re also aware that I am a staunch supporter of forward-thinking strategies geared towards turning Atlantic City around and saving/creating as many jobs as possible.

The Governor was met with a handful of protesters. Some oppose his pension plan and there were a few granola types protesting the BL England Pipeline. There was also a group of Showboat employees (the casino slated to close on August 31st unless a buyer is found) demanding that Gov. Christie save their jobs by forcing Showboat to remain open.

Before delving into his pension-related remarks, the Governor took the time to address these employees. Below is video of what he said (sorry, my phone is not a TV studio). I’m not going to include any commentary; watch and arrive at your own conclusions…

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Two Pressers, Two Visions for A.C.

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

atlantic_city_boardwalk_NJThe contrast was dramatic.

Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown (D-2) led a press conference on Tuesday with Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, Republican Mayor Don Guardian and various Atlantic County leaders at the Steel Pier on the Atlantic City Boardwalk to express their optimism that Atlantic City is not finished and, contrary to what you’re hearing in the news, has a bright future ahead of it.

The NJ GOP leaders stressed the fact that there are many good indicators out there which suggest that Atlantic City is actually on the upswing, but they also insisted that Trenton keep its word and give Atlantic City its promised five years:
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LD1 Jobs Report Card

How Have My Legislators Been Doing on the Jobs Front?

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

LD1From some of my previous posts, Save Jerseyans, you might have picked up that I live in the 1st Legislative District. And in the 1st District, jobs was the number 2013 campaign issue, as it still is today. As a result, I have closely been following what my three legislators have been doing to bring jobs to the region.

Why am I doing this? Because I love where I live, and it pains me whenever I hear that people are planning on moving away because they feel the area does not offer them a future. I want my home’s future to be bright. Unemployment in “deep” South Jersey remains at the highest levels of anyone in New Jersey.

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