Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clinton Latest to Make Her Point in A.C

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clinton Latest to Make Her Point in A.C

Article excerpt

In the 1980s, Donald J. Trump frequently swooped into Atlantic City, often in his yacht or on his helicopter, as the star attraction in his own glitzy fief.

Three decades later, in 2010, Governor Christie arrived by helicopter and, with great fanfare, laid out an aggressive plan to rescue the fading resort.

It was Hillary Clinton's turn on Wednesday, escorted by the Secret Service and police officers to a corner of the city's iconic boardwalk. This time, she made a case to save America from Donald J. Trump.

"And remember, remember what he promised: 'I'm going to do for the country what I did for my business,' " Clinton told a rally of supporters gathered in the 90-degree heat, depicting Trump as a corporate pirate who reaped millions from the city while leaving behind a trail of bankruptcies, unpaid bills, layoffs and lawsuits.

"Well, we should believe him - and make sure he never has the chance to bankrupt America the way he bankrupted his businesses."

Clinton's trip Wednesday reinforced Atlantic City's role as a useful backdrop for those with plans of their own. In the '80s and '90s, there were Trump's grandiose arrivals and news conferences where he boasted of transforming the city into an outpost of his burgeoning real estate empire. During a rally in May, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton's erstwhile rival for the Democratic nomination, cast Atlantic City's troubles as a metaphor of greed and predatory capitalism.

And there are others.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop toured the city earlier this year ostensibly for fact-finding, but later used his visit to justify his startling switch from supporter to foe of a planned casino expansion into North Jersey.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, like Fulop a possible candidate for governor next year, embraced a tough-love takeover of the city's finances, arguing that the city's collapse could have catastrophic consequences for the rest of the state. And Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Secaucus, sought to bolster his standing with public employee unions by opposing the takeover plan backed by Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Christie. Prieto was greeted as a hero by worried City Hall workers on a recent trip.

That kind of spotlight on Atlantic City has helped the politicians clarify their talking points and resumes, but it hasn't brought any clarity to the city's future. The closings of four Atlantic City casinos over the past two years has triggered the loss of nearly 8,000 jobs and a steep decline in the city's tax revenues.

A legislative compromise reached last month will give the city until the end of the year to craft a cost-cutting plan, but longtime observers fear the agreement is only staving off an inevitable state seizure, which could lead to layoffs, salary cuts and the sale of city-owned properties.

It's a state of limbo. …

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