Last week, Press editors asked Liza Cartmell what changes - of the things that are beyond her control as president of the Atlantic City Alliance - she would like to see in Atlantic City to make it more attractive to prospective visitors.
We've taken some shots at the alliance's priorities at times - fair shots, we believe. But as head of the alliance, which receives $30 million a year from the casino industry to market Atlantic City, Cartmell is in a unique position to see the things that are holding back the city.
The first thing she mentioned: Relocating the social-service organizations in the Tourism District, by which she meant the John Brooks Recovery Center and Sister Jean's Kitchen.
That problem, of course, is both well-known and, so far, proving difficult to fix. But it's worth noting that Cartmell thinks it should be job No. 1. Both the Brooks Center and Sister Jean's perform noble and needed purposes - rehabilitating drug addicts and feeding the poor. But they are incongruous and counterproductive in a tourist destination. Somehow, somewhere, there must be a way to overcome the NIMBY problem and move these valuable facilities elsewhere.
The two other problems Cartmell mentioned are less obvious and are rarely, if ever, mentioned.
Why, she asked, aren't Atlantic City police officers and firefighters required to live in the city? Other cities do this. It helps create the stable, middle class that any city needs to survive.
State law currently prohibits municipalities from requiring that police officers and firefighters live within their borders - a testament to the power of the public-safety lobby. But what purpose does such a law serve?
Why not give cities the freedom to decide if such a residency rule would be helpful? Police and fire applicants would then be free to decide if they wanted to work in a town that required them to live there. (Current officers and firefighters, of course, would be grandfathered and not required to move.)
We can't see the harm - and it could be a major plus for Atlantic City. (The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority once had a program that offered low-interest mortgages to police officers to encourage them to live in the city, but that program ended several years ago.)
Finally, Cartmell wondered why there is no weekly rental market in Atlantic City. Such rentals are the backbone of shore economies up and down the coast. But they are virtually non-existent in Atlantic City.
We realize everyone would not think weekly rentals are such a good idea; year-round residents tend to object. But surely, more could be done to encourage the development of that missing segment in the Atlantic City market.
So there you have it. Three good points - one obvious, two less so - that the woman in charge of selling Atlantic City says would make the resort more attractive.