By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Government is the one place where institutional failure is “solved” by the institution demanding more power for itself.
Normal person puts his or her hand on a stove and gets burned? It’s a one-time mistake.
Trenton does it? Stove-touching becomes a recurring tradition and the taxpayers get stuck with the hospital bill.
You get the point.
Having succeeded in securing his preferred North Jersey casino expansion ballot question, Senate President Steve Sweeney is getting ready to hold all of our collective hands on the stove. “Atlantic City has to recognize and accept the serious financial problems that continue to plague the city’s operations and management. We have given the city every opportunity to make the right decisions and take the needed actions to adequately address the ongoing fiscal crisis, but the job has not been done,” Sweeney said in a news release following reports of a long-in-development takeover plan for the troubled resort.
Of course it’s doomed to fail.
50 minutes west and approximately 14-years ago, former Governor James McGreevey initiated a takeover of the perennially-imperiled City of Camden back in 2002. Corzine doubled-down on the takeover scheme in 2007.
The idea was suspiciously simple. Camden’s mayor and City Council were turned into powerless figureheads in exchange for $175 million to “rehabilitate” the former industrial town. The most extensive municipal takeover in United States history ultimately failed to make a single dent in Camden’s crime rate or debilitating poverty.
To quote noted history professor and Camden historian Howard Gillette, “Raw power masquerades as benevolence.” Don’t kid yourself into believing this latest takeover push is about anything else.
Billions of dollars from state, school, and police takeovers/mergers haven’t helped a single Camden resident escape this government-engineered hellscape. Those efforts have helped line the pockets of the Machine that presided over Camden’s decline. Everything that happens relative to Camden – even the bipartisan-facilitated stuff – isn’t always what it looks like at first blush.
Why would anyone expect better? Even if we set aside the clear political and greed-driven motivations behind these takeovers, it’s worth remembering that Sweeney is a union organizer and machine lieutenant. McGreevey was a career politician and notorious pervert.
Neither man is qualified to run a lemonade stand let alone a city in distress.
Atlantic City’s newest councilman, Republican Jesse Kurtz, gets the joke but doesn’t find anything funny about it. “I find it ironic that a state that cannot balance its own checkbook claims it can balance ours,” Jesse told Save Jersey. “This is horrible timing by the state. We recently elected a new mayor and three new councilmen, who are working to address the years of mismanagement in Atlantic City.”
Let’s get real: Atlantic City’s transition from a gaming-dependent depressed ocean resort into a more well-balanced eastern entertainment hub (Vegas East?), if it ever happens, can never be achieved by the Trenton establishment that’s only tangible accomplishment is swelling other state’s populations with New Jersey tax refugees.