Like a modern day Howard Beale, the mayor of Atlantic City is issuing apocalyptic warnings of local government shutdowns and hordes of criminals and prostitutes running roughshod over the state of New Jersey.
On Monday, AC mayor Don Guardian (pictured) failed to convince the New Jersey state government to provide a bridge loan that Guardian claims is necessary for AC to continue to function.
As a result, Guardian says he’ll close City Hall, stop paying around 900 public workers and shut down all non-essential services as of April 8. Guardian said the shutdown would persist until at least May 2, when AC is scheduled to receive its latest quarterly tax payment.
Guardian insisted that he’d been forced to make these “ethical decisions” due to Gov. Chris Christie’s refusal to approve another fiscal bailout package for the troubled seaside casino hub unless the city agreed to a state takeover of its financial affairs.
Meanwhile, Guardian also warned that the state was due for a rise in “prostitution and drugs and other minor crimes” if voters approve a November referendum on allowing two new casinos outside AC. (Even worse, Guardian suggested traffic in north Jersey would be a right bitch.) Guardian believes more competition is the last thing AC’s struggling casino market needs and he’s apparently willing to play the fear card in order to ensure voters reject the new casino plan.
Guardian’s comments earned a swift rebuke from Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association (AGA). Freeman issued a statement on Tuesday saying the debate over north Jersey casinos “should be based in fact, not driven by asinine comments like those made by Mayor Don Guardian.”
Freeman said casino gaming was “a strong and valued community partner” in every US jurisdiction in which it operated and local leaders “routinely tout the positive social impacts of gaming” in their markets. Freeman said it was “disappointing and disingenuous” for Guardian to “recycle tired myths about an industry that serves as the lifeblood of his city.”