Shelee has worked in security in casinos for years. She described the defunct Revel casino as a “dead, clunky building, nothing but a shell.” Many jobs were lost when casinos started to close, and dilapidated and abandoned casinos serve as a constant visual reminder. About Trump, she said “those closings have his name all over them.” The city should be able to make its own decisions, because the people who live in the city, and have lived there for years, know what is best for the city. A representative from the state may not have Atlantic City’s best interests at heart; profit may be the primary concern.
Atlantic City residents deserve a say in what happens in their city. With the state takeover, the power of residents and representatives has been taken away. Shelee expressed concern that the water that is used by the city is in jeopardy; Atlantic City currently owns this water, but the state takeover could lead to the sale of this essential resource. The city’s loss of power could cause them to lose a very essential resource. If the water source is sold to investors, the residents of the city would have to pay more to use their water. Residents of low socio-economic status may not be able to afford hikes in water prices.
Shelee mentioned that residents need to be engaged in their own future. She attends takeover meetings and events related to Atlantic City Politics. Increasing tourism for things other than casinos could help bring business to the city. She mentioned supporting local artists, including fine art and writing. Bringing visitors to the city who are interested in different industries could help create a steadier economic system for the city. Revitalizing the beach tourism in AC could also help with this.
Stockton’s move into Atlantic City is concerning to some who have seen University-led gentrification in other areas. It is important that the University keeps this in mind as they make the transition. Shelee was concerned about displacement of the current residents of the area, especially low-income residents. Universities bring higher rents, different kinds of business, and a different community overall. They can bring positive economic growth, but it is important to consider the way this effects the current residents. Current residents should not be excluded from the campus; Stockton should provide jobs to residents who need them. Gentrification can destroy neighborhoods, culture, and lives.