There are two major agencies that have oversight of some phase of South Jersey and Atlantic City that have no representatives from the region.
They are the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which oversees the Garden State Parkway, and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which has recently been assigned the task of overseeing tourism throughout the state.
The NJTA is holding meetings to determine the need for a new interchange for our area on the Garden State Parkway. This issue has been going on for more than 40 years. I remember attending a meeting that was held in the Howard Johnson Hotel, now Caesars Atlantic City. Requests were made to have the southbound entrance to the Garden State Parkway off the White Horse Pike. Unfortunately, that never happened. It is interesting to note that although there are many who are currently asking for that southbound connection, it is not going to happen.
The Sports and Exposition Authority originally was assigned to oversee the varied entities for entertainment and sports in New Jersey, such as the Meadowlands complex, the Izod Center, the Monmouth Park racetrack and, for a period of time, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. It oversaw the construction of the Atlantic City Convention Center as well. But the NJSEA is no longer involved with any of those entities, with the exception of the Izod Center in East Rutherford, as it is now being operated by private investors. It is anticipated that the Izod Center will also be placed in private hands in the not too distant future.
Why is it that these two major agencies have no South Jersey representatives? The NJTA is currently working on widening the Garden State Parkway in South Jersey and in the very near future will begin working in Cape May County to get rid of the traffic lights and make that section safer.
The NJSEA has been directed by Gov. Chris Christie to oversee the tourism industry in the state. Without a doubt, the major portion of the tourism industry is in southeastern New Jersey and the area is deserving of recognition by having someone on the board of directors.
Questions have been raised relevant to this issue by several members of the state Legislature, and to date there have been no new appointments made. I was informed that Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver each has the right to make an appointment to the NJSEA. I would urge that they do so immediately so that proper representation will be presented at their meetings.
The lottery industry in the United States has grown exponentially with the hookup of several states in the Powerball game. You surely remember that two winners shared a jackpot of nearly $580 million just last week. People scrambled from all over the nation to buy lottery tickets in hopes that they would win. It’s interesting to note that a number of people also won $1 million from this drawing.
Recently, there have been slot machine players who have won a few million dollars. What would you think would happen if slot machines were hooked up to casinos in other states around the nation? Just think what this would do to the slot industry if an amount of multimillions of dollars, similar to what just transpired in the lottery, would be available to those playing a slot machine.
It could happen. A bill signed into law earlier this year authorized multistate progressive slots. And just last week, representatives of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement went to Louisiana to discuss this possibility. There are other states that have expressed an interest in seeing this become a reality.
Wow! Would you play a slot machine that would have a jackpot over $100 million? This is truly being considered, and hopefully it will come to pass as it would be a tremendous boost to the casinos’ revenues.
When will they come down?
Several weeks ago this column noted that two buildings on Elberon Avenue in Atlantic City were due to be demolished. As of today, nothing has happened to these buildings, and there’s no equipment anywhere near them that would be used to take them down. When will it happen?
In addition, there is a dilapidated building at California and Pacific avenues that has been in disgraceful condition for too long. If you have noticed, the owner had someone pull out a portion of the second level and put some pieces of wood up that made it look as though work were going to be done. Since the time of the wood being in place, nothing has happened to that building except to make it uglier than it was. When will it come down?
The next one is the Knights of Columbus building at Ocean and Pacific avenues. Here, too, the owners started working on the interior of the building with promises that they were going to resurrect what had been a beautiful facility many years ago. It has been sitting on that site for more than 40 years and nothing has happened to it. When will it come down?
There are several others around the city that are in the same condition. Mayor Lorenzo Langford’s list of decrepit buildings still has several awaiting demolition. When will they come down?
It’s nice to be home
Hurricane Sandy sent bay waters into the building that housed the transmitter of WOND 1400-AM and knocked us off the air for close to three weeks. Longport Media President Dave Coskey decided to use FM station 102.7 to broadcast the talk shows of WOND.
This gave the local community an opportunity to hear all the latest news and keep abreast of what was taking place throughout South Jersey.
This continued until noon Nov. 28, when all of the talk show hosts gathered together in the studio and announced a new transmitter had been purchased and that WOND 1400-AM was back on the air and that 102.7-FM would return to playing the popular music that has made it a hit in our area.
Now you can enjoy listening to Don Williams, the inimitable Barbara Altman, David Spatz, Bob Burns, Pinky’s Corner, WMGM TV40, Chuck Betson and Matt Toenesson for 16 hours of excellent local conversation daily.
We are home and glad to be there. Please, tune us in.
Pinky’s Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky’s Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, “WMGM Presents Pinky,” airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. Email Pinky at: email@example.com.