June 20, 2012 |
The landmarks Camden has lost or tossed away could fill a hall of shame. They include long-gone but still-beloved buildings like the Stanley Theater, the Walt Whitman Hotel, and the Broadway Methodist Church, a list to which the shuttered Sears store on Admiral Wilson Boulevard soon will be added. Let's point out that the disappearance of any single structure in Camden has been far less damaging to the city's viability than the wholesale clearance of blocks along Broadway, Mickle, Federal, and Market between the Delaware River and 10th Street.
December 4, 2011 |
Camden's struggle to keep its streets well-lit illuminates a long-standing disconnect between City Hall and the community. When a neighborhood, nonprofit, or resident city government doesn't control comes up with an idea - even a good one - the city's response is usually a defensive crouch. The default responses from that art deco tower of granite at Sixth and Market are, "We can't do that, we don't have the money," or, "We're already working on that. We just have to find a way to pay for it. " Thus, the city appears to be responsive, can place blame elsewhere (Trenton, Washington, etc.)
October 29, 2011 |
In Camden, four Council seats are on the ballot this fall, with three incumbents vying to keep their seats. Challengers in the three contested wards are playing up the city's high unemployment rate and the recent increase in property taxes. All three are unemployed. In Ward 1, which covers Waterfront South and Lanning Square, incumbent Dana Burley will face Republican Edward D. Torres. Burley, 46, a state Assembly clerk, said she wanted to continue serving the city where she grew up. "I want to bring back stability and improve quality of life," she said.
June 8, 2011 |
Before polls even closed in Tuesday's primaries - with no surprise winners in Camden City Council races - a fresh face with a recognizable name emerged as an independent contender for a Council seat. Milton Milan Jr., 24, son of former Mayor Milton Milan, who served more than six years in federal prison on corruption charges, jumped into the race just before the 4 p.m. deadline to qualify as a candidate in the November elections. The younger Milan will challenge Clyde E. Cook, the Republican candidate, and current Council President Frank Moran for his father's old seat in Ward 3. Moran won the seat in 1997 in a special election to replace the elder Milan when he became mayor.
June 7, 2011
The entire Legislature is up for election in New Jersey this year, but only two suburban Philadelphia primary races Tuesday are contested. Here's a recap of The Inquirer's recommendations: In the Seventh District, voters shouldn't hesitate to vote for the incumbent, DIANE ALLEN, in the Republican primary for State Senate. Allen has won respect from voters in the Democratic-leaning district in Burlington County. Allen is not a rubber stamp for Gov. Christie, and recently opposed him on cutting funds for women's health clinics and making it harder for poor families to qualify for Medicaid.
May 3, 2011 |
Fittingly enough, history was made the night I first encountered the historian Howard Gillette Jr. It was 1997; Milton Milan had just been elected Camden's first Hispanic mayor. City Hall was jammed with media, and Gillette - mild of manner but acutely observant - stood there, smiling, taking it all in. "Who is this guy?" I asked someone. I soon found out, as did hundreds of people Gillette interviewed across South Jersey and elsewhere for his landmark book Camden After the Fall and his 2010 volume Civitas by Design . A professor of history and the founding director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH)
September 18, 2009 |
Accused hitman Juan "Two-Face" Rivera-Velez knew immediately that a confidant had flipped. "Someone must be talking," he told a federal agent when he was taken into custody in 2006 in the shooting death of a murder witness in Camden. His hunch was correct. This week, a federal jury was seated to hear the drug and murder conspiracy case against the 35-year-old Rivera-Velez. He is expected to be the last defendant to stand trial following the fall of one of Camden's largest drug organizations.
February 27, 2009
Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison has decided not to seek another term as head cheerleader for the troubled city. The city's first female mayor has been largely relegated to that role under a state takeover seven years ago that stripped away much of the power of the mayor's office. That was the price Camden had to pay to receive millions of dollars in state aid. To her credit, Faison has put up a brave front while a state-appointed chief executive perched in City Hall has called the shots in New Jersey's poorest city.
February 24, 2009 |
On a night when longtime Camden City Mayor Gwendolyn A. Faison announced that she would not seek another term, the city got a lesson in a powerful, controversial state law that has marked the mayor's tenure. The 2002 law, the Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act, provided $175 million to the city, but it took away almost all the powers of elected officials. "Now, when you talk about democracy in the city of Camden, you have to put the word democracy in quotation marks," said activist Frank Fulbrook, a panelist at a forum last night convened by the mayor about the law. The supporters of the law on the panel, all elected or appointed officials, showed pictures of new community centers and residential developments created with money from the law, and they offered statistics showing apparent economic improvement.