Most governors have kept their distance from Atlantic City. It was probably a good idea. The good ones — the ones who were good for the city — helped behind the scenes. But face it, no smart governor would want to be too deeply or too publicly involved in the snake pit of Atlantic City.
But Chris Christie came down here in July, stood on the Boardwalk and, basically, took ownership of the “Atlantic City problem.”
I don’t think he had any idea what he was getting into.
He does now, though, with Mayor Lorenzo Langford saying he will fight aspects of the governor’s plan — a state-run Tourism District — “with every fiber of my being.” Langford is even describing the plan by using the “S” word — segregation.
The mayor is not all wrong about the dangers of creating two Atlantic Citys — one for tourists and one where the poor minority population lives. And it was only a matter of time before the mayor played this card.
It’s difficult to believe that the smart political operatives in this very political Christie administration didn’t see this one coming.
But Christie owns the Atlantic City problem now. It’s all his, including Langford, whom he won’t be able to simply ignore.
I just wonder if the governor is having any buyer’s remorse right about now.
There’s a reason other governors have kept Atlantic City at arm’s length. Christie is now learning why.