Governor Christie, too little to late for Atlantic City

executive order

image source: www.nowpublic.com

Coming soon to Atlantic City, the third casino closing. Trump Plaza will close its doors , and out more people out looking for a job. What has te state government done for AC’s casinos and their workers? Yesterday’s announcement that our beloved Governor signed sports betting into law should be making is very angry. Especially the jobless of AC. Why? Just two months ago Governor Christie vetoed the same legislation. So why the change of heart? Could it be the clicking up of the unemployment number ha him worried? He does have presidential aspirations? Well of course he does. That is why Christie was down in Mexico recently “gaining some foreign policy experience.”

So while AC sheds casino’s and jobs by the thousands, Christie is working hard in Mexico. Maybe for a “Mexico-NJ trade agreement. He can’t handle the business in his own state people! The act of sports betting, just damage control.

Atlantic City’s Revel closes their doors

NJ internet gamblingApril 2, 2012- September 2, 2014. Just short of two and a half years, Atlantic City’s Revel has closed its doors. (Officially at 5 p.m. today the casino will close.) This after two bankruptcies and, a short search for a buyer. So why do you think the most beautiful casino on the boardwalk went under? Competition for your gambling/resort dollar. Far too much competition within the city and outside. A simple concept and one that should have been recognized prior to construction.

On a recent visit to a AC casino specifically the now closed Showboat (8-31-14) I waited in line to check in for one hour and 20 minutes. Why such a line? Discounts my friends, free rooms all you need to pay is the tax $9. And this was an unprofitable casino? This type of promotion usually offered Sunday-Thursday brings people in to what otherwise would be an empty hotel/casino. To clearly understand I am no high roller and by the looks of my fellow line-mates they were not either (all in beach wear, some with kiddies in tow). Novice gamblers who may spend $100 dollars or less. This is not what the casino patron Revel was attempting to lure. They didn’t and they didn’t lure enough of the “other” level’s of gamblers either.

When you plan a business of this magnitude one would think you would census the area. After that census, build around the largest target audience. Affluent Casino Patron the Revel apparently thought was that target audience. Their failure would quantify that this target audience is not enough to keep open a $2.5 billion dollar casino. So should have they shed that image halfway in to their existence or prior to the second bankruptcy? Would more have come if they did? I doubt it would have mattered much.

The answer to “why did the Revel close” should be obvious. There is not enough casino dollars to go around. Affluent, novice, or desperately poor patrons dreaming of the big hit. Closed the Showboat with the hour and a half wait to check-in and the beautiful empty Revel, Atlantic City’s worst performing casino. What will happen next at this location? Well whoever buy’s it, that is if somebody buys it ; they better do their homework. Atlantic City’s casino industry is growing smaller by the day. next up for closure, Trump Plaza.

 

Atlantic City out of business?

NJ internet gamblingThe Atlantic Club, Showboat, Trump Plaza victims of the failure to look toward the future? With the gigantic Revel possibly the next to announce closing their doors is Atlantic City on their final leg? Competition with Pennsylvania has taken plenty of gambling dollars away from Atlantic City and in response what has New Jersey done to inject life into the gambling town? Well they threw big money in tax incentives at the Revel to finish and open. In-state online gaming passed, not that this will do anything to bring customers to the city. So, what is next?

On a recent trip to Atlantic City I covered it all, the beach, the boardwalk and the casino’s.( Note in the casino I found the soon closing Showboat the busiest of the three I entered). What surprised me was the potential! The beach, much cleaner then what I previously experienced years back. The boardwalk (where all boardwalks began!) also clean, organized and ripe for growth. People and a good amount of them, walking, talking and peaking in the shops. The problem I did find, not enough shops for the everyday beach patron. In need are more of the games, rides and such that make the Jersey shore what it is, FUN and family fun. Adding these types of attractions will draw more families, children and the sounds of summertime fun.

The vacant casino’s and what to do with them? Converting them into rental apartments, complete with kitchens to draw families to Atlantic City, one possibility. The failure of the casino industry in Atlantic City is visible as soon as you leave the boardwalk area. The promises of improving the city and its image on the arrival of Resorts and the entire industry is non-existent. The future? Some casino’s will remain and it is up to Trenton and Governor Christie to direct the iconic shore town in a new direction. this will take hard decisions and MONEY. If our leaders do nothing, then quite possibly there will be some great ocean views from the ghetto after the casino’s are torn down.

Shared Services in New Jersey expanding to fireworks?

we the people

image source: http://www.shelbyvilletnpolice.org/fireworks.htm

In many towns across the United States this past holiday weekend, fireworks were part of the festivities. The grand finale and the final BOOM! The crowd shows their appreciation with some applause, then scurries to the cars. All total, show lasts 20-30 minutes. Unless, the town bordering yours is firing off fireworks on the same day. A bit of searching, you might get another glimpse of this wonderful July 4th tradition.

New Jersey like many states across the nation, have tightened the reins in on spending (well they would like you to believe they did). Way back when during Governor Christie’s first term he was calling for “shared services” between towns. “Save the taxpayers money, combine police departments and other services, lower taxes”  The biggie, The Camden County Police, that was the biggest of the shared services ideas, with no voluntary takers, Camden City the CCP’s only patrol.  So with town A blasting off fireworks and next door town B doing the same it got me thinking, WHY?

Yes many towns have eliminated the expense of holiday fireworks, average cost for 20 minute show $30,000 many have not. Where is the influence from Trenton, the Governor, Legislature while the explosions are going off? Is it that there is some economic gain from firework show’s? We are selling (in some towns) enough ice cream, glow-sticks, etc, to cover the huge expense? The thought of my town blasting off $30,000 of my tax dollars when I could have driven 2 miles to see the same show? Well it made me think of Governor Hamburger in Trenton  and why he didn’t “demand” a change in this practice.

The answer, it is unpopular! Isn’t that what it is really about? Making the hard decisions is not easy and mandating neighboring towns to share fire work shows is way too hard for the politicians of New Jersey or anywhere else in the United States. Do I think we should have less firework shows around the state? Well…….Do YOU?

Governor Christie to short state pension system

artist: Dan Stoner

artist: Dan Stoner

When Governor Christie passed his 2011 pension and health benefits reform, there was a PROMISE. The promise to actually pay the benefits. Fast forward to 2014, Governor Christie’s budget is short to the tune of $2.7 billion and he wants to reduce payments to the state pension system. For those with short memory, the pension issue was huge in his election victory. Christie hammered then Governor Corzine for his “budget gimmicks” and his lack of responsibility to those in the state pension system. Christie has used executive order to skirt pension payments, reducing the states payments from $1.6 billion this year to $696 million and next year from $2.25 billion to $681 million.

MORE OF THE SAME, the Democrats propose the full payment and have passed a tax on millionaires and business for three years to plug the budget. Governor Christie has stated he would VETO any new taxes. The reality of this mess? Christie lied when he originally passed the legislation, he lied in all of his previous budgets. The worst of it, he still has some support from NJ voters. Gimmicks, Christie has been full of them and is full of it, presidential aspirations?

Record snowfall prompts New Jersey bill to protect workers

minimum wage increase

image source city-data.com

After record amounts of snowfall in New Jersey this winter and many lost sick, vacation and personal days a bill has been introduced to protect workers. Senator Barnes (D-Middlesex) has proposed legislation preventing employers from requiring NJ employees from using sick, vacation and personal time when a state of emergency is called. Recalling many of the poor road conditions during this winter, Barnes believes workers should be able to make their own decisions on travel without fear of retribution or loss of sick/vacation or personal time. Exempt from the bill, police, fireman and other public safety employees. Employers who violate the bill would be subject to a fine of up to $5000.00 for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent violations.

What issues do you believe stand in the way of the bill’s passage? Calling a state of emergency has been very broad this winter, covering a small snowfall of 4 inches to a foot. Leaving it up to the workers discretion on “when it is safe to drive” or being comfortable with the conditions, will many just stay home when the state of emergency is called? When lifted, will then the employee be required to depart for work?

Don’t get me wrong, I am for this legislation. This issue has been on the table many times this year and in previous years. Attempting to work out a reasonable solution with employers has not been easy and with some hasn’t been worked out at all. Let us wait and see if Senator Barnes is successful in getting it through the legislature. I doubt though that Governor Christie will be on board.

Raising the Federal minimum wage, New Jersey is the truth meter

unemployment

image source: marketmixup.com

Raising the minimum wage will cause job losses! This the fear statement coming from the Right-Wing and their media mouthpiece Fox News. In November, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved raising the minimum wage in the state to $8.25 an hour (with cost of living). So to accept the “fear statements” from the Right-Wing as fact, one would think that employers across New Jersey would shed jobs moving into the New Year. What we saw was not the exodus to the unemployment office. December saw New Jersey’s unemployment rate decline to 7.3%, lower by .5%. This the second largest one month decline in New Jersey history!

To beat the Right-Wing to the punch, this is what they will be saying. The .5% decline in unemployment was from the workers no longer looking for work, leaving the workforce. Let’s take that into the equation to entertain the nonsense. The .5% left the workforce but, the unemployment number did not increase!

Nationally there is a push to increase the minimum wage and the FEAR language has been coming hard. Fox reports a loss of 1 million jobs if the minimum wage is increased. Looking at New Jersey as 1/50 of this equation this statement would appear FALSE.

We must focus on the unemployment number in New Jersey in the month’s ahead to get the truth of the effect of raising the minimum wage. What we are looking for? A stable number would solidify the Rights claim of job losses to be a lie.

George Norcross hand picks successor to Rob Andrews seat, the Dems are all lining up

image: insurancejournal.com

image: insurancejournal.com

Democrats have held the 1st District Congressional seat for the past 39 years (Jim Florio/Rob Andrews). When Andrews announced his resignation, the Democratic Party Machine or the George Norcross machine’s first name, Donald Norcross. Yes, George’s brother. Following up in typical South Jersey political fashion, they all have lined up. From State Senate President Steve Sweeney, Camden Mayor Dana Redd to departing Congressman Andrews have all thrown their support behind Donald Norcross. What makes Donald Norcross the man for the job? Well if you know anything about South Jersey politics, because George said so!

In time we will evaluate Donald Norcross and whoever else dares to run against him in a primary (if there is another). Only one other name to date has shown on the radar, former Eagles linebacker Republican Garry Cobb. What credentials does Cobb bring to the table? None in the political sense. But he certainly has name recognition, which is something. Could he possibly challenge and win the 1st District seat? The last outsider another former Eagle Jon Runyan managed victory though in a Republican district. I for one have much interest in this coming election. Can 39 years of Democratic rule be overthrown? More importantly can George Norcross’s wishes be defeated?

In short-time we will know if another Democrat will take on Donald Norcross. If we get one, I am throwing my support behind them. The state of South Jersey and the 39 year political machine’s wishes speaks for itself. We need change. I as a Democrat want to support the party that aligns with my beliefs. If the nominee is Donald Norcross without challenge, I will rethink this. ENOUGH! Big time and non-elected George Norcross is not doing anything for the voters best interest only his.

New Jersey to bring casino to Camden? You must be joking!

NJ internet gambling

Gaming and online casinos

This afternoon on talk radio 1210, it was announced that NJ Senate President Sweeney was looking into the possibility of a new casino. The possible sites, Camden or Newark.
Considering the state of the Atlantic City Casino industry this is a scary proposal and more scary if tax dollars are used. First for Camden, the poorest city in NJ, why would we want one there? Competition from Philadelphia alone should disqualify but we must also take a hard look at crime. The most dangerous city in America, who would possibly go there? Newark is not much different in regard to crime as well, but would make a bit more sense just by geography.
I can hear the promises of economic growth and success, just as they promised in Atlantic City. The bottom line, too many casinos already in the region would make it a waste of tax dollars. Can one not remember the money thrown at the Revel? Far from a success.

Tax-Freeze coming to New Jersey, get serious!

The much praised tax-cap of Governor Christie could be headed to a tax-freeze. Reading that Senate President Steve Sweeney desires a push for legislation for a Zero-Cap or tax-freeze doesn’t excite me or my wallet. Sweeney believes this legislation would be a push for towns to share services. Police, fire or any other functions of local governments. Considering local governments managed to get around Christie’s cap through re-evaluations, what success would ZERO bring? It all sounds good but at what cost?

minimum wage increase

image source city-data.com

Local towns and their citizens, would they be willing to lose their identities to save money? The glaring example that there is little interest in shared services, The Camden County Police Force. Yes the wonderful move made by government with the Metro Division that services Camden City. What other towns participate in the County Police Force? That number would be ZERO! So in the wonderful democracy that we call New Jersey, the next step would be to squeeze (or starve) other towns into submission. Cutting off the ability to raise funds to honor police, fire, teacher contracts? Yes this is what could happen under tax-freeze legislation. Towns/Cities will be forced to make some tough choices.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The reality is that state employees do cost taxpayers. State employees are also taxpayers. Forcing towns into shared services will reduce payrolls and increase those on unemployment, food-stamps and other aid. The bottom line is this, if the taxpayers are outraged, let them deal with their own towns elected officials. Big Brother Trenton has screwed up this state and now on the backs of the little people they will spin make-believed success that they tackled the property-tax issue. Who will take care of the waste that takes place in Trenton?  The biggest of offenders?

Corrupt Governor Christie, finally called out by Democrats! NJ suffers by lack of GUTS!

Long before bridgegate, and the Obama embrace on the beach, who knew the Christie Administration was corrupt and bad? I did! Click the tag in this article, long before it was cool to be bashing Governor Christie, I WAS! And I was in the minority, at least in the sense of voters and much of the media. So where were all these scandals and victims of Christie’s hard nose or play and Ill take the ball away politics? Where was Hoboken’s mayor Dawn Zimmer when her complaint would have really mattered? (prior to Christie’s re-election) Or the special investigations called for by the Assembly? (bridge lane closures in September) Or the complaints against Christie’s Sandy commercial featuring him and his family? (began late spring) Now only weeks back an investigation began for this misuse of funds.

Who really is the victim? ALL OF NEW JERSEY! The Democrats of the state were again asleep at the wheel, or was it corruption? We might never know and we will never know the impact of all these investigations if they were to have happened prior to November’s election. No wonder Barbara Buono the democratic challenger was pissed off at her party after the election. Further quantified by all the above. Maybe we need a special investigation into the Democratic Party and their lack of GUTS!

It is all below and it was written long before it was “COOL” to bash Governor Christie! And yes I was the first to coin “Governor Hamburger”

http://defenderofthemiddleclass.com/tag/governor-christie

 

protest Gov Christie

car magnet $10.00 GET yours by emailing paul@defenderofthemiddleclass.com

 

source: www.flickr.com

source: www.flickr.com

 

Artist: Dan Stoner

Artist: Dan Stoner

 

artist: Dan Stoner

artist: Dan Stoner

 

gov.christie

image source:www.leighvalleylive.com

 

Chris Christie

artist: Rebecca Betzler

 

Where do you stand on Governor Christie’s proposal to extend school year?

schools in NJ

picture: Rebecca Betzler

Governor Christie’s State of the State had one interesting proposal,” extending the school year”.  Christie pointed out the obvious failures of public schools in New Jersey, the state-run Camden and Newark districts. It all boils down to if we are preparing our children for success and will we be competitive with neighboring states and ultimately the world in the future.

The longer school day? Is longer better? Adding time to the school day certainly does not guarantee a better education. How would children respond to a longer day, are they equipped for a 8 hour school day? Maybe making more of the school day would be a better start. High School as we know allow students to choose a study hall or even two! Is this making the most of the school day?

Adding to the school year to go beyond 180 days. Another Christie idea and one that I am sure would be met by many a parents complaints on infringing on the family vacation. Heck my first question would be will the state mandate that all schools have air conditioning? I for one can’t imagine a young student having an open, clear mind to learn if the temperatures in the classroom are 95 degrees!

Christie should start here> A mandated summer curriculum of Math, Science, English and History, that would be graded and be a part of the next school year. Students would continue to learn and expand their skills while also still having summer fun. The cost to the taxpayer would be minimal (materials/grading when they return). The program would be universal throughout the state by grade level. Maybe even a way of seeing how each grade/school is performing. The next logical step would then be eliminating standardized testing during the year. By eliminating standardized testing the students would gain back valuable time in the classroom being wasted on preparing for and taking these tests.

Christie’s last State of the State?

artist: Dan Stoner

artist: Dan Stoner

Today, Governor Christie will give his state of the state address. Expected? Christie will tout his bi-partisan success in turning around NJ. Unemployment is tracking down, finally below 9%. Maybe even the economic success in tourism last year despite Hurricane Sandy.
What we will not hear? Bridgegate, Christie’s use of federal funds for a “tourism ad” or anything related to any scandal within his administration.
Although it took a long time for the Feds to look into his use of Fed relief money for what amounted to a campaign ad, it has now begun. Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone asked for this way back in August 2013. So why is it now being looked in to? One can only guess, incompetence? More important issues to take up? Christie was not a threat at the federal level? Who knows.
The bottom line, Christie is up shit’s creek without a paddle. Despite the deflection attempts by the right-wing, Christie is done and this might very well be his last State of the State. He might want to steal some more funds from FEMA to get that paddle he desperately needs.

The Right-Wing attempts to bail-out Governor Christie

When the heats on their guy how does the Right-Wing Media respond? Point to the “other” guy! This seems to be the plan in the wake of Governor Christie’s bridge-gate. Bill O’Reilly rolling out Bernie Goldberg to downplay the Christie controversy, calling it just a traffic jam? Moving on to issues in the Obama Administration, comparing Benghazi? Complaining of unfair coverage? O’Reilly is not alone in the RW attempt(s) to move the direction of the conversation away from Christie. Hannity, 1210 a.m. radio in Philly (multiple broadcasters) are attempting to direct the conversation away from the severity of the actions within the Christie Administration.

Time will tell us (hopefully) the real truth, as pages upon pages of information have been released in bridge-gate. Bridge-gate is not only about retribution. We can also include lost economic dollars, the production of those workers who lost time waiting in traffic. What about the wasted resources? Yes the gasoline burned away, sitting and waiting in that one lane traffic nightmare. Nobody seems to be talking of this, is it important? What of the wasted time of Governor Christie himself, defending himself? Christie hit the nail on the head in the statement of calling it stupidity. If he is part of the stupidity he should be run out of office. For the retribution and the waste of it all. Because isn’t this what he claims he has fought against for the last four years?

It is impossible to stay away from the attempts to misdirect, just don’t buy it! This is a big deal make no bones about it.

Governor Christie a bully? That’s news!

gov.christie

image source:www.leighvalleylive.com

Bridge-gate, if you did not know anything about it you sure do now. Emails that have made it to public knowledge, have top Christie aides discussing what sure looks like retribution/punishment against Fort Lee’s mayor (not endorsing Christie). Initially Christie denied and now he backtracks, throwing his aides under the bus, stating he was misled by staff. Christie calling the behavior outrageous and he knew nothing about it. Considering this occurred in September I question the reporting surrounding this entire scandal. Why would it take this long for such information to come to light? Why would top democrats not dig deep from the onset to root out the shenanigans? Were they afraid of the bombastic Christie and what closures he could create in their own towns?

“The bully” who runs New Jersey has finally lost his luster, month’s too late. What everyone LOVED about him is now what they are whining about? The Star Ledger (the former endorser of Christie) who is on board with the credible news outlets in hammering Christie? Screams this question to be asked, “why is your paper in the business of endorsing?” You should have done your investigating when the story was important, to all who reside in New Jersey.

Christie a bully? It took this long for you to finally get it?