COMMENTARY: Billion Dollar Baby, the Camden redevelopment scam

by Paul A. Jargowsky

“Camden is solved,” New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno triumphantly proclaimed at a recent charity event. That’s funny, I thought, given that the city’s poverty rate hovers around 40 percent and its streets – where I had just gotten lost on the way to the elegant gala – are still filled with potholes, dilapidated housing, vacant lots and the ruins of former industrial sites. She was referring, however, to the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which has doled out $1.3 billion in tax breaks over 10 years to selected companies who agree to move to the beleaguered city. But what will this massive program accomplish?

Recipients of the program’s generosity include Holtec International ($260 million), a manufacturer of small nuclear reactors; the car maker Subaru ($118 million); EMR Eastern ($253 million), which recycles metal; American Water Works ($164 million), a utility company; and the Philadelphia 76ers ($82 million), who recently held the grand opening for their new practice facility. Camden is clearly better off to have these companies building new facilities and moving their operations within city limits. All of these companies, however, are moving from nearby locations within Camden County or a neighboring county and are bringing most of their employees with them.


Next CURE seminar Dec 16 — Mark Krasovic, PhD “American Urban Culture in the Great Society”


Various federal programs in the 1960s – including Kennedy’s anti-delinquency program, the War on Poverty, and Model Cities – funded large numbers of arts programs in America’s cities, often intending to provide job training for marginalized peoples or to bolster their chances of survival in modern urban society. But the process of federal grants almost inevitably defies intentions. Local community groups often put the money to different uses, re-imagining its purpose and what constituted “urban culture.”

Mark Krasovic is an assistant professor of history and American studies and interim director of the Clement A. Price Institute at Rutgers University-Newark. His first book, The Newark Frontier: Community Action in the Great Society, was published earlier this year.

Visitor Parking
Parking in Rutgers–Camden lots is by permit only. Visitors to Rutgers–Camden should obtain a temporary permit to park in a lot from 8 a.m. Mondays through 5 p.m. Fridays. Contact Parking and Transportation for more information.

Parking and Transportation
(within the Rutgers University Police Department)
409 North Fourth Street
(856) 225-6137
Visit these sites for directions to campus and to view a campus map

“Rio’s True Olympic Legacy: What have we learned? What next?” Nov 15

“Rio’s True Olympic Legacy: What have we learned? What next?”
Theresa Williamson
Executive Director, Catalytic Communities, Rio de Janeiro
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Multi-Purpose Room Campus Center

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy and Administration, CURE, Urban Studies Program, and the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

riopicDozens of official legacy promises were made to Rio de Janeiro’s citizens that would come as a result of hosting August’s Olympic Games. In the end, what Rio experienced was a very public six year “boom and bust” resulting in deep skepticism and anger over the failed legacies of the Games. Now, two months after the Games, Brazil is living through a deep economic recession, and in Rio crime rates and unemployment are rising while resources dry up, the police are downsizing, and the international media are swooping off to cover the next beat. The Olympics, which invested some $15 billion in the city, feel like a distant memory. And the past week’s mayoral election also brings an entirely new political agenda to the table.

With all these changes taking place as we speak, and taking Rio’s favelas–the city’s most chronically underserved communities–as the focal point, Williamson’s talk presents a deep introduction to Rio and its social struggles, including the city’s racial history, through the lens of Olympic legacy. What do Rio’s Olympic legacy promises tell us about Rio? About the Olympic Games? What were the true impacts of the Games and is there a silver lining? That is, were there impacts the city wouldn’t promote as legacies, that are, in practice, the true legacies? How have communities learned to act and resist thanks to the Games? And in this context, what will happen next to Rio de Janeiro? Is there hope?