Norcrossippi Rising

A Blue Jersey commenter has repeatedly written what I consider insulting remarks about residents of South Jersey and Mississippi. I want to believe that his comments were not meant to be insulting, but nevertheless, that’s how I interpret them. There are many fine and decent people both in South Jersey and in the Magnolia State who don’t deserve such disparaging remarks, regardless of their political affiliation.
 
I love New Jersey. I live in South Jersey, used to live in Central Jersey, and have close relatives whom I frequently visit in North Jersey. The state offers a tremendous amount of diversity – not only in its residents, but in what it has to offer. Most people I know from out of state envision the Garden State the way it is portrayed in the opening scenes of The Sopranos – a series of dirty highways littered by oil refineries and crumbling infrastructure and nice homes occupied by crooks and thieves. But anyone who has lived here knows we’re more than that.
 
So I decided to have some fun with our commenter’s proposition. What would happen if he had his way?
 
Story below the fold… 

CAMDEN – January 1, 2015. Today the State of South Jersey celebrated its first anniversary. It was one year ago that President Obama signed into law an act narrowly passed by Congress that split New Jersey into two states. Like the Dakotas and the Carolinas, the states were named North Jersey and South Jersey. They joined the new states of North Texas, Central Texas, and South Texas that were also part of the legislation.

Since Trenton and Mercer County remained with North Jersey, the citizens of South Jersey determined that Camden would be the capital of the new state. As part of the Federal legislation to create the new state, the U.S. Government allocated $1.7 billion to build a new capitol complex along South Front Street, overlooking the newly-renamed Battleship South Jersey. The thousands of construction jobs created by this grant have helped revitalize the Camden economy. In his introduction of the governor, Camden Mayor José Delgado pointed out how these grants are also providing affordable housing for the residents of Camden and surrounding areas.

South Jersey Governor Diane Allen presided over the anniversary ceremonies along with Lieutenant Governor Jeff Pickens. (The South Jersey Constitution permitted separate voting for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, so the state is being run by a cooperative bipartisan team.)

In front of the new State Capitol building (under construction and on track to open in June), Governor Allen remarked on how successful the first year has been. “We are in good shape financially, even with our assumption of a per-capita portion of the old state’s pension obligations.” “Since the lion’s share of those obligations was for North Jersey employees,” she continued, “our portion is still large, but more manageable.” Allen’s reduction of the state sales tax to 3½ percent has been a boom to stores and shops near the North Jersey border, with shoppers coming in from as far away as Bergen County to take advantage of the lower rates.

Another factor that has helped reduce South Jersey’s unemployment rate to 4.1% has been the legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Barry Bendar and signed by President Obama, allocating $2.3 billion to the cleanup and remediation of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant, scheduled to close in four years. At the anniversary ceremony, Bendar said “South Jersey’s commitment to renewable energy is second to none, and our dependence on fossil fuels is being reduced every day. We are the leader in solar generation, and with the commissioning of Fisherman’s Energy’s wind farm off the South Jersey shore, we will be a net exporter of energy in two years. North Jersey Governor Guadagno is building coal-burning plants to meet their needs, while we are emphasizing clean technologies.” He continued, “The remediation of the Lacey Township nuclear site will take ten years and employ 1700 highly skilled people. Also, we are no longer burdened by the costs of upgrading the power distribution infrastructure in North Jersey, and our transmission line systems will be adequate for decades to come.” Lori Braunstein, South Jersey’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection, praised Senator Bendar’s commitment to bring federal funds to South Jersey for these environmental initiatives.

In enumerating the new state’s first year accomplishments, Allen also touted the marriage equality legislation that she signed into law last month. “Under the leadership of Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman Jay Lassiter, we were able to do what we couldn’t do under the old system. I’ve been especially pleased how Atlantic City has become the ‘go to’ destination for weddings as they adapt to the proliferation of competitive gambling establishments along the East Coast.”

“People are no longer battling the cross-Hudson congestion to hold weddings in Manhattan when they can more easily get to Atlantic City on the South Jersey Parkway for their celebrations”, Lassiter added.

Also speaking at the ceremony was U.S. Senator Louis Greenwald, who announced that the latest Race to the Top grant, which was written in cooperation with the South Jersey Education Association, will bring $350 million in federal revenue to help boost South Jersey’s public school system. Greenwald remarked, “I’m pleased with how Governor Allen and Education Commissioner Jersey Jazzman worked closely with the teachers’ union to come up with an innovative proposal that meets the needs of our school kids and their teachers. Naming a school teacher as education commissioner was a smart move on the part of the governor.”

Also in the education arena, State Commissioner of Higher Education Wendell Prichett announced the merger of Rowan University and Stockton College into the new Mason Gross University. “While we may have lost Rutgers to the political whims of former power brokers, the new Mason Gross University will continue the tradition of excellence in teaching and world-class research right here in South Jersey. It’s fitting that our new State University is named after an accomplished academic and former resident of Monmouth County.” Of course, prior to the merger, due diligence was performed and a detailed plan for transition and operation of the new institution was reviewed by academics, students, and the general public.

Following Pritchett’s remarks, South Jersey Attorney General Aimee Belgard announced the approval of seven more medical marijuana dispensaries, bringing the total across the state to 42. “We have the appropriate safeguards in place, and thanks to the leadership of State Health Commissioner Herb Conaway, we are providing compassionate palliative care to those patients in need.” She also pointed out the influx of patients from North Jersey, who are spending their money in the south in order to get the care they can’t obtain in their home state.

Meanwhile, back in North Jersey, after he was fired as Goldman Sachs CEO after only one year on the job, Chris Christie blamed the recent poor performance of his company on the actions of Jon Corzine back in the late 90s. Goldman Sachs announced that George Norcross III has been appointed as the new CEO.

Comments (26)

  1. Swamp Watch

    Well done.

    Fun Facts: The star of Mercury Rising, Bruce Willis, grew up in Carney’s Point, Salem County. A South Jersey native!

    Stephen Spielberg grew up in Haddon Township, Camden County.

    Looks like Norcrossippi could put together one hell of a Tourism PSA.

    Reply
  2. Rosi Efthim

    get plum jobs in this little southland worldview dream, which is very cool. But I have to say that as much as I don’t buy the unkind and poorly-descriptive Norcrossippi, I also don’t really see the most of the vectors in SJ that you expand into this future story. And a big reason for that is the stranglehold on its direction exerted by its unelected powers over its elected ones. It blots out so much potential.  

    Reply
  3. ken bank

    What’s with this “Mason Gross University” nonsense? First of all, there already is a Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. Second, I don’t consider Monmouth part of South Jersey any more than Mercer is. Third, I totally support the Rut-Ro merger, which would be the basis of a world-class state university complete with professional schools of medicine, law and business, that would compete with and eventually surpass Rutgers and Penn State as the top state-affiliated academic institution in the Mid-Atlantic states. But it needs to have its own name and own identity, as well as accompanying athletic programs to enhance the rivalry with Rutgers and Penn State. What better name than Norcross University – The State University Ofr South Jersey. Who knows, someday the “Norcross” name will

    stand for academic excellence and achievement exceeding the reputation of schools like Temple, Rutgers and Penn State, and will make the State of South Jersey represent something other than gambling, beaches and boardwalks.  

    Reply
  4. jeffpickens

    There was a real South Jersey secession movement:

    http://www.angelfire.com/nj4/secession/secede.html

    Reply
  5. carolh

    was divided – but East and West.

    http://www.westjerseyhistory.o

    BEFORE the Revolution. So why don’t we just pretend like we won the Revolution AND the Civil War and keep NJ together so we don’t wind up being divided and conquered… by the RNC.

    Reply
  6. Jersey Jazzman

    …as Education Commissioner is to use the money from the new Health Insurance Executive Surtax to fully fund universal, full-day, high-quality pre-school in Camden.

    The DOE will be closed early during all day games of the Phillies, which I will travel to in the new ARC-South tunnel.

    (Funny – thx, D!)

    Reply
  7. SpecialEd

    Slurs aside, Norcross owning media like that should be scary to all progressives since he went to the Dark Side last year.

    Reply

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