PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Reporter Amy Rosenberg analyzed the angered leveled by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at Atlantic City’s Mayor, Don Guardian, and the City Council for resisting a state initiated takeover of their town’s finances, saying Christie is still operating like he is dealing with a previous regime.
Rosenberg, who writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer, told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that Guardian was under the impression events were going to play out much differently.
“He really thought he would be working with the state. This is a surprise. The level of hostility he’s received from Christie is a little mysterious. Even in Council last night, they spent a long time talking about why is the Governor so hostile? They were exploring his psyche. Why? It’s a little mysterious. Christie, literally, flew into Atlantic City, he was across the courtyard from City Hall and he just met with the County Executive. Anyone who knows the Mayor and has spoken to him, he’s not the kind of guy that you need to avoid talking to.”
She said it feels like the Governor made up his mind a while ago and has refused to reconsider anything as conditions changed.
“I think he’s always wanted to take over the town. Atlantic City unexpectedly switched Mayors and there’s a Republican Mayor [and] everyone thought [it] would be a much more collaborative situation with the state, but the state is on the same playbook. Christie’s level of hostility, he seems to get more and more dug in. It is a puzzle. Guardian’s personality is very welcoming. He really seems to sincerely want to solve the problem for Atlantic City and I think Guardian, in a way, doesn’t understand why he can’t just meet with Christie.”
Rosenberg painted a bleak picture for Atlantic City, which, no matter who controls the town’s finances, will be difficult to revitalize and reinvigorate.
“What brought Atlantic City to this point is, in Philadelphia and other states, that casinos spread beyond Atlantic City. Originally, Atlantic City was the only place on the East Coast you could go to a casino, so everyone in Philadelphia and everywhere else went to Atlantic City. That changed. The city’s gambling revenue went from over $5 Billion to $2.5 Billion and more casinos closed, famously. The city’s finances are in disarray. Historically, the City Council has spent pretty loosely because they had all this casino money coming in. Everything has changed in the last couple of years.”