Regarding the May 23 story, "Local legislators question Atlantic City focus on art":

State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, and Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic, are right. But they are constrained and have to be "politic." Allow me to more direct.

Atlantic City has one more last chance, and we are blowing it.

Enough with the art. What a colossal, idiotic (well-intentioned, but idiotic), ineffective waste of money. $12 million for art? You have to be kidding. No one - yes, no one - is coming to Atlantic City to see art. It won't add one iota to our economy. It is hard to think of a less effective use of promotional money.

Please understand, this is nothing personal. The people involved are well-educated, well-informed and well-intentioned. But they won't be here in five years. I will, as will many readers and their families.

There is something very different about Atlantic City and there always has been. Most outsiders don't get this place. Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore are about beaches, Boardwalks, clubs, gambling, recreation, etc. This is not Haddonfield; it is not New Hope, and it is not Napa. Does anyone seriously think that people are going to come to Atlantic City to see a sculpture of a naked woman holding a deer, or to see sculpture along the walkway from Golden Nugget to Harrah's? If they do, they are delusional.

And don't tell me about studies. So-called experts get paid big money to do studies confirming the predilections of decision-makers. Coke had a study that said New Coke was a great idea. Revel had studies as well. Every failed project has a study saying it's a good idea.

What happened to "clean and safe"? We were told that was the prime objective. Atlantic and Pacific avenues are both disgraces. Neither is particularly well-lit. The roadways are much in need of paving. The Boardwalk lighting works sometimes and in some places. The money that was spent on the naked woman and other sculpture could pave and light Atlantic and Pacific avenues and light the Boardwalk. And there would probably be enough left over to subsidize events at Boardwalk Hall, Bader Field, etc., which would actually bring people to the city.

Enough is enough. Sorry if anyone's feelings are hurt. But this is way too important to just let it go. If this fails, people's lives will be changed. The fate of local businesses - and the jobs they provide - is at stake. We can't turn a blind eye to this or allow it to continue of its own inertia.

To those involved, it is your responsibility to rethink this entire strategy. What you are doing now is jeopardizing the lifeblood of the entire community.

Rethink what you are doing. If you can't get it right, then go home. We will still be here.

PHILIP PERSKIE

Margate