Written by Opinion Saturday, December 29, 2012 12:00 am
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To the editor:
As if the past year wasn't bad enough, with hurricanes, gun rampages and the fiscal cliff; 2012 ends on a downer locally. Revel’s woes continue, and just in time for the New Year, it gets another $150 million infusion of money to pay its old debt, plus the new debts that will accrue over the winter 2013. I call this The Casino Industrial Complex: an entire "industry" comprised of local politicians to governmental agencies like the CRDA, which have an incestuous stake in feeding the Atlantic City gaming monster. From the tax abatements, Bass Shops and Margaritaville to monetary incentives for local artists to display paintings in Atlantic City – say what?
Here's how you save Atlantic City. Trenton steps in, but this time, sees to it that Revel goes bankrupt and makes it so no outside casino suitors steal it like before. Instead, the taxpayer takes over (for pennies on the dollar) and transfers over one important address – the Convention Center/Sheraton at the Expressway entrance moves over to Revel.
Next, remake it better than ever. But first we have to say now, as in right now, they'll be no future infrastructure improvements surrounding Revel. Nobody will pay anything for it in 2013 except the citizens of New Jersey.
New Jersey then seeks either the 2016 Republican or Democratic National Convention (held in September). As incentive, a bond is issued and the second tower gets built at old Revel, now a convention center, providing about 2,500 nongaming rooms total. It gets folks in Washington's attention. The other casinos (grateful Revel was taken out in 2013) would gladly give all their rooms over to delegates in 2016, and the rest would stay in Philadelphia and get here on NJ Transit express trains. After the distresses of hurricane Sandy, a Northeast venue is perhaps proper in 2016?
As far as the old Convention Center/Sheraton, throw the keys at some entity – a Boxing Hall of Fame, even though there are two already. Nobody's ever heard of them. Throw in an Olympic training facility for boxing, and dedicate the whole shebang to the late Joe Frazier of Philadelphia. More attention, more reason for a convention in 2016.
Egg Harbor City
Gary Stein is a candidate for New Jersey Assembly.