Congratulations, Atlantic City Voters on Your No Referendum Victory

By Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, M.Ed. | Guest Blogger AC JosepH Media

Congratulations are in order to the residents of Atlantic City, their political, community, and religious leaders, for their victory at the polls on May 12. The people of Atlantic City always showed solidarity with those who have always shown solidarity with them.

The good people of Atlantic City have an ingrained conscious that if anyone tries messes with the residents of Atlantic City they mess with all its supporters. The many “no” votes against the “yes” proposal that would have eliminated the city’s representative form of directly electing their mayor and nine members of city council.

However, voters in the shore city are looking forward to the future expecting a relationship with their elected leaders that transcends the May 12 election victory. Many city residents, I’ve spoken with, told me the referendum will long be remembered as a hard-fought awesome victory against formidable odds. The deep-pocket outsiders threw lots of cash at their failed effort to usurp the voting power of a people fighting for the city they love, Atlantic City.

More than insults, name-calling and baseless accusations, Atlantic City residents, expect a respectful, honest healthy dialogue will ensue with the architects and strong supporters of the “yes” vote. The decisive battles will take place now that the referendum fight has been settled with the opposition accepting defeat. However, without continued virtual and door-to-door political voter registration and education with residents, and the provision and access to elected officials, the residents will face the peril of procuring little from the May 12 victory.

On the horizon is the upcoming July 7. Primary elections, where a buffet of candidates will be offered for Atlantic City voters’ choice. The races to watch, and I consider the most important ones, are the mayoral contest, the city council competition, and the marquee race in the 2nd Congressional District.

The candidates seeking election to represent Atlantic City residents in the United States Congress all had the opportunity to publicly support Atlantic City’s fight to retain its strong mayor-council form of government, but only Democrats Amy Kennedy and Will Cunningham stepped forward to express support.

As the election 2nd Congressional District election  gets closer there is an internal fight in the Democratic Party that signals that one of its candidates has prematurely peak and now that candidate is in a dangerous electoral decline. 

The Democratic field of multiple candidates is engaged in a cannibalistic struggle within the ranks of that party. It is something like save yourself so you can face Jeff Van Drew in November; some in the field are already selected as victims who will be sacrificed. Only two, Kennedy and Cunningham, took anti-referendum position. 

And they have stood firm, and vocal in their opinion that Atlantic City residents should run their own city.  The July 7 election will show if they will be rewarded by Atlantic City voters. If Atlantic City voters turn-out is as high as it was in the referendum vote, that city can decide the outcome of the hotly contested 2nd District Congressional race.

Please feel free to share your views on my opinions.

Bio: Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas is an award-winning columnist, veteran civil rights activist and former officer with the Gloucester County NAACP. He is the cofounder and retired director of Philadelphia Prison System’s Office of Community Justice and Outreach.

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