Reviving Atlantic City

Atlantic City casino revenue drops 6 percent in February; blackjack whiz takes Trop for another $2 million – Today’s Top Headlines.

I chose this story over one that appeared somewhere else because it is the AC newspaper and despite the anecdotal reference to the blackjack guru, it offers more detail about the dilemma AC is facing. I will also incorporate some testimony of friends and family members who like AC. I, personally, find gambling boring and can count with my fingers the times I have played poker in 60 years of existence. The other article that appeared during the weekend is below:

Warm weather brings no wonder to Atlantic City earnings |

Atlantic City faces several challenges: Competition, poor infrastructure for access, a belt of poverty surrounding the casino district, general neglect, and not much to do in town except for gambling itself. I have anecdotal info about crime, beggars, prostitution, etc., but all that has come to me from individuals; not the media. I recall having been in AC twice in my 32 years in New Jersey and both times I had to go for reasons other than the casinos. To figure out where things are, I have to look at a map of the city or reach for Google Earth.

The Christie administration has placed most if not all of its hopes for AC in the new Revel which is scheduled to open soon. Of course I wish it all will work out well and that AC will be already on the road to recovery if I am elected governor of New Jersey in November 2013. It would be one less problem.

Just in case that does not happen, this is what I intend to propose to the Legislature to rescue what was once our jewel on the seashore. Keep in mind that these are proposals and not all may fly with the N.J. Legislature and part of the public. We will adopt what passes but the following I consider fundamental steps to make Atlantic City unique in the nation:

1 The beaches or at least a good portion of the beach in front of the hotels must be declared clothing-optional (CO). It does not mean that one has to be naked but the choice would be there. The only other CO public beach in New Jersey is in Sandy Hook, on federal territory. Same as in SH, alcohol should be allowed on the beaches.

2. Prostitution: It is already there (and everywhere) so we may as well legalise it in a limited district near the casinos with the following conditions: Sex-workers must be in a house, must be tested regularly for STD, and have at all times an updated medical affidavit of health in the form of a card. Sex-workers must not operate in the streets.

3. I already have proposed the legalisation of marijuana statewide. It may be more appropriate to call it the decriminalisation of marijuana by the State of New Jersey; the U.S. DEA will still chase everybody. So it is not pertinent to speak of decriminalising marijuana in Atlantic City because it would be legal everywhere in N.J. But if the Legislature cringes at the idea of decriminalising marijuana statewide – their blunder in my opinion – then I would settle for doing it in AC only.

4. I do not know if AC has a curfew. If it does, it must be abolished. Police presence must be commensurate with needs.

5. We have to improve the infrastructure of access but I am not able to offer more details at this point. Same goes for the airport which is, I believe, about 9 miles away.

This is still work in progress and I am very open, as always, to suggestions and criticism.