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Camden, New Jersey: Another Christie failure

The city of Camden, New Jersey, once a key manufacturing center, is now a city in decline. Due to political corruption, high unemployment and crime, it is now labeled "the most dangerous city in America."
The city of Camden, New Jersey, once a key manufacturing center, is now a city in decline. Due to political corruption, high unemployment and crime, it is now labeled "the most dangerous city in America."

Unilever may have recently pulled its ad for July for its Dove product which many residents in New Jersey were offended, but what’s going on with the governor is producing foul smells.

“We don’t stink,” Secaucus resident Joan Gazzillo told The New York Times. "In fact we’re a great state. Everyone wants to live here.”

Some people in the state didn’t like the way their state was portrayed as an armpit marketing tool even though Unilever’s headquarters is in the state providing jobs. Perhaps the marketing could have been better. But not everyone wants to live in New Jersey.

The governor of the state, Chris Christie, has been in hot water lately for the scandal caused at the George Washington Bridge. There is also news about Christie spending Sandy relief funds. Major newscasts have reported about this with CNN making this call –

His performance during and after the October 2012 storm just before the presidential election has been widely praised and is a fundamental illustration of his straight-shooting political brand.

In the new investigation, federal auditors will examine New Jersey's use of $25 million in Sandy relief funds for a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone told CNN

In an August letter, Pallone asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general to look into how Christie chose to spend the marketing money approved by the department.

The inspector general's office confirmed the investigation.

More the CNN story is here.

Christie is scheduled to speak today at 11:45 a.m. at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2014 which started this morning. The conference will continue until March 8 in Washington, D.C. Christie is considered a major figure in the Republican Party and his once popular stance remains to be seen if he still wishes to run for president in 2016.

Politico President/CEO Jim VanderHei stated on “Morning Joe” today that the media has turned against Christie. Let’s see what the major media players have to say about him when the conference ends Saturday.

But there is a city in New Jersey that the governor does not seem to give more attention to that is in dire straits. Camden is a city that basically has been in ruin for years; due to high unemployment, manufacturing closures, drugs, homelessness, inadequate schools and crime. A quote from Wikipedia describes the city’s condition of turmoil as this –

In The Nation, journalist Chris Hedges describes Camden as "the physical refuse of postindustrial America", afflicted by homelessness, drug trafficking, prostitution, robbery, looting, constant violence, an overwhelmed police force (which in 2011 lost nearly half of its officers to budget-related layoffs).

Especially crime. Wikipedia stated this about the city’s crime rate –

Camden had the highest crime rate in the United States in 2012, with 2,566 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, which is 560% higher than the national average of 387 violent crimes per 100K citizens.

The city has a long history as support. expressed this in an article on Jan. 1–

A key character in the critically acclaimed film American Hustle is based on former Camden Mayor Angelo Errichetti. Renamed Carmine Polito and played by actor Jeremy Renner, Errichetti is portrayed as a man of the people tripped up by con artists and federal agents working together to take down crooked politicians in disco ball-tinged 1970s America.

But when Camden Mayor Dana Redd was asked if life imitated art in the film, she said she didn’t know and had no plans to find out.

“I’m not really inclined to go see it. I really am not,” Redd said outside the swearing-in ceremony of Brick Township Mayor John Ducey on Wednesday. “My heart goes out to his family, and his family has paid the price. He was held in high regard by many in the city of Camden – he was iconic. He helped a lot of people.

From the pictures presented online of mayors in the last U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Winter Meeting held in January, eight mayors were registered for the state of New Jersey. Redd was not one of them.

In 2011 the city was in turmoil in cutting its police force and other measures. The story is below. wrote an article in November 2009 called “Ungovernable?” which stated due to Camden’s condition the state took over its operations in 2002. Here is a caption of what was written –

Little wonder then, that Chris Christie, the governor-elect of New Jersey, has called the state takeover a “failed experiment”. He hopes to return control to the city, perhaps even before the takeover expires in 2012. But not everyone feels the city is ready. One former chief operating officer predicted it would stay under state control until 2030. As there is no tax base to support city services, Camden would still have to depend on the state for funding. But New Jersey is struggling to balance its own books, and it is not alone: less state support can be expected all over the country, just when cities most need help. The National League of Cities has found that 88% of city finance officers are less able to meet fiscal needs this year.

The blight of Camden is a wake-up call for cities that have already been through this dilemma. It is a wake-up call for all major cities; especially those with high populations with people of color, politicians lacking business and financial expertise, political corruption and other underground factors.

Randy Miller, who posts his blogs on the Huffington Post, has two in-depth articles on the current conditions of Camden. Perhaps the governor should read them and try to assist this city, which will take a long time to heal.

Father Michael Doyle, a parish priest who has helped the Camden community for 39 years, stated the city today is worse off than when he first arrived. More on the compassionate priest is below.

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