A microphone can be a dangereous in the hands of a politician

 Gov. Chris Christie introduced incoming Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director John Palmieri at a press conference today as the strong leader Atlantic City needs to maximize its potential as a resort. Press of Atlantic City, 9-7-11

Politics can be very intriguing and absorbing – sometimes; I suspect that by this time next year we will all be very weary of political debate, posturing, name-calling, finger-pointing and advertising.  But, at its best, political debate is the way we determine the best course of action, or at least the one the majority of population believes is best. We use the term politics to describe the process of governing, for the process of seeking to govern and to describe the self-serving manipulation and babbling that can characterized the public behavior of politicians whether they be office holders or office seekers.  There are many things within that definition that are good and that help make our lives and our society stronger, safer and more productive.

At at its worse politics is something less than that; it can become mean-spirited, it can be manipulative and self-serving and have nothing to do with improving anything.  Oft times, politicians are simply posturing, like a rooster or a peacock puffing up their chests, expanding their feathers and crowing to garner the attention and approval of the voters and admiring supporters.

In the second category – politics at its worse – I would like offer up the governor of the great state of New Jersey for your consideration.  As everyone knows the casino industry in New Jersey – the casinos in Atlantic City – is under siege from all of the casinos in the surrounding states.   Since his election in 2009, Governor Chris Christie has been very active trying to shore up the casino industry and make it more competitive.  Christie found ways to reduce the regulatory burden on the industry; he is working to create a more tourist friendly environment with a new state controlled tourism district to manage the famous Boardwalk; Christie even helped the stalled Revel (it is now under construction again) to find financing to complete the project. For all of that he gets recognition for being an example of the best of politics.

Today, he introduced the new director of the tourism district he created – John Palmieri – Palmieri comes to Atlantic City with a resume developed over a career of working in redevelopment in large cities, his latest job was in Boston.  Palmieri is no lightweight and seems to have the skill set and personality to help the governor implement his ideas.  The two have high hopes and grand plans; they also have monumental challenges, but at least they have a real plan.

So where is the fault to be found?  During his introductory speach Governor Christie mentioned Las Vegas; he said, “Anyone who goes to Las Vegas in the summer is crazy.”   It is a silly, foolish statement, Christie is posturing – Las Vegas is not Atlantic City’s competition;  if Governor Christie had read the gaming news for the last week or so he would know that; targeting Las Vegas is just a way of ignoring Pennsylvania and the rest of the real competition that Atlantic City faces.   In the last few days, a new initiative to introduce three full casinos and a racino in Massachusetts surfaced; the racetracks in New York, in agreement with statements from the governor, also plan on introducing a comparable measure for New York this year; the first casino in Ohio is beginning to hire; and the Sands in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania hired the same firm to bring in big name entertainment that two casinos in Atlantic City use.

Governor Christie, the summer is over – the fall is coming – and that is the best time to visit Las Vegas.  Worse for casinos in Atlantic City, winter is coming and that will be followed with another couple of years of increasing competition.  A fool and his money may be soon parted, but a fool and his ego are inseparable; talking too much into a microphone can make a fool of the best of politicians.


2 Responses to “A microphone can be a dangereous in the hands of a politician”

  1. 1 Duncan Winn September 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    What’s he going to say? “Looks like we’re screwed” ??

  2. 2 Ken Adams September 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Duncan asks a good question, what should Christie be saying? I thought he might focus his attention on the real enemies Pennsylvania and New York. The statement by Governor Christie attracted a lot of attention in the national media, but the local paper – Press of Atlantic City – ignored it completely and focused on the mission of the new director.

    Christie’s statement did get top billing in Las Vegas however. I will let the people in Vegas speak for themselves; the former mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman and his replacement, his wife, the new Mayor Goodman both took exception to Christie and his sentiments.

    Asked if he thought Christie had ever been to Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, former mayor of Las Vegas said, “I doubt he would want to have that much fun.”… “I don’t blame him for trying to do what he’s doing, but you’ll fall flat on your face when you try to take Las Vegas on. There’s a lot of smart people here today, so you’ve got to be careful what you say.” “You know, I’m from back there. I think the only reason I’d go back there is if I needed a salt water taffy fix. I can’t see any other reason to go there.” “Who would you rather be with? My showgirls or Snooki?”

    Las Vegas officials shrugged off the comments. “Las Vegas is Nirvana,” said Mayor Carolyn Goodman. “A little heat with our state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, climate-controlled resorts, is certainly much more inviting than having to deal with some of the weather they have had to endure in New Jersey recently.”

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