The meeting of the Dune Committee (a subsidiary of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Committee) with the acting commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection was to have taken place on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 10am, but was rescheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29, at 2:30pm at Boardwalk Hall. The meeting is open only to the three Atlantic County legislators, Atlantic County’s executive director and planning director, Atlantic City’s mayor and director of neighborhood services, the Dune Committee and members of the press. Details of that meeting will appear in this column after it takes place.
Major Economic Development
Tom Carver, the efficient executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, said that the establishment of the Aviation Research and Technology Park (ARTP) is the fifth biggest economic development project in New Jersey. It was stated by those who spoke that this will not only provide more area jobs, but will provide careers for those who will work within the confines of this development. We will also see major university and college sites in our area prepare the engineers, the computer technologists and other high-qualified positions that must be filled by those who will be conducting the research and development for the future of our aviation industry.
The development of this project can be attributed to many organizations and people who believed it could happen, and fought through hell and high water to get it to the point that it is now a reality. It is anticipated that there will be buildings completed within an 18- to 24-month period. The South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) is currently working on a road that will lead directly from the Atlantic City Expressway to the Atlantic City International Airport and the ARTP. There is also a study underway for a railroad connection that will bring train service to the site. One further note is that one can see the power of George Norcross, the former chairman of the Camden County Democratic Party, with the selection of people from his area of the state to fill three of our top local agencies’ top spots.
Will It Happen Again?
Several years ago, 1971 to exact, Tom Kean Sr., a Republican, was a member of the New Jersey State Senate. The Democrats had the majority and, therefore, were able to name who was to be the Senate president. There was a battle within the Democratic Party as to who would be selected. As a result the minority group of Democrats decided to join with the Republicans and make Kean the president of the Senate. This was a very unusual act. Now the question is, will it happen again?
At the present time, Richard Codey is the president of the Senate and is being challenged by Senator Steve Sweeney for the president’s office. According to press reports, Sweeney has 14 votes supporting him while Codey has nine. The Republicans have 17 senators and they will vote as a block. There is an intense rivalry between the two factions. One of the problems is that the northern New Jersey Democrats feel that the aforementioned Norcross, a highly reputed power broker of the southern half of the state, would become the power behind Sweeney. Those in the know will tell you that there is a possibility that history could repeat itself. If Codey’s nine supporters remain as a block, they could choose to unite with the 17 Republicans and name Tom Kean Jr. to be the new Senate president. Whether it will happen again is anyone’s guess. But there is that possibility.
Are We Safe From Storms?
The recent doubleheader Northeast rainstorms showed how we should have grave concerns about the safety of the people on the barrier islands in southern New Jersey. The effect of the new moon, strong winds and heavy rain isolated many areas along the seashore. Major roads such as the Black Horse Pike in West Atlantic City, Route 52 into and out of Ocean City and several others were cut off by flooding, causing people to be isolated with no means of getting out.
A good example would be those living in Ventnor Heights who were cut off by the flooding of West End Avenue. Many inland areas and island communities had streets that were flooded and cars trapped in them. Unfortunately, there were quite a few who did not listen to the warning about the extremely high tides that we were facing. There has to be a study of what took place over the past weekend, and an effort to figure out what needs to be done to alleviate such problems in the future.
Atlantic County under state of emergency effective 6am, Oct. 27. Residents urged to relocate.