Be more aggressive
to attract conventions
Since 2008, we have witnessed a progressive downfall of the Atlantic City economy due to competition from other convention and tourism markets that offer a more positive experience for delegates and tourists than Atlantic City has to offer.
How do we become more competitive? We must offer tourists and conventions an improved infrastructure, which begins with beautifying the look of the city - not only the Tourism District but the entire city. In addition, we must offer incentives such as free parking in all of the casino hotels, a reduction in booth set-up fees for conventions and a reduced room rate for conventions and tourists.
We must also attract more airlines to Atlantic City International Airport by subsidizing them. We can also use Philadelphia International Airport by having bus service to Atlantic City provided free with the use of Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Atlantic City Alliance money. In the past, all our winter citywide conventions would arrive by Salem Transportation from the Philadelphia airport, with the fees paid by conventioneers.
It's time for our leaders to become innovative and realize we can be very competitive in attracting tourists and conventions to Atlantic City. We just must be more aggressive in our approach to achieve these goals.
CURTIS H. KUGEL
Regarding the April 8 story, "Casino earnings off 35 percent in 2013":
Are they kidding me? Instead of reporting this as if it was bad news, why wasn't the story that Atlantic City casinos reported operating profits of $235 million for 2013?
Even I do not need my calculator to figure out that $235 million in earnings is a significant profit given the state of the economy. Southern New Jersey is experiencing high unemployment, and people do not have disposable income they can gamble with. And forget about drawing from other neighboring states now that they have gambling of their own. But Atlantic City casinos still managed to report high profits. They need to stop focusing on what used to be and focus on what is and what can be.
The casinos argue that their city tax assessments are too high and have won their appeals every time. I say they made $235 million in Atlantic City and Atlantic County, and it's time they go back to paying their fair share. Many county residents live week to week or month to month and never have any savings (read "profit") at the end of the year. If the casinos do not like their taxes in Atlantic City, they can sell their properties for pennies on the dollar, and others will come in for a piece of that $235 million.
FRANK X. CAVALLARO
Gov. Chris Christie used $1 million of taxpayers money to have a New York law firm conduct a so-called "independent" investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal. Surprise. The firm that Christie hired cleared him of all wrongdoing. Who knows? Maybe for $2 million the report could have included a recommendation that he is the best candidate for president in 2016.
The report is not worth the paper it was written on. How can any report prepared by an investigator who has been hired by the person under suspicion be considered unbiased and independent? Would anyone have ever trusted an investigation of Watergate conducted by someone hired by President Richard Nixon? David Samson, who suddenly resigned on March 28 as head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was not even interviewed during this investigation.
But the most important reason why the report should be accorded little or no weight is that it appears that neither Christie nor anyone else who was interviewed was asked questions under oath. Statements that are not given under oath involve no potential penalties to the person making the statement, nor do carefully planned television interviews. It is only when people are questioned under oath that a real search for the truth of any matter can begin.
JAY L. HUNDERTMARK
Egg Harbor Township