Tag Archive: rural

Vineland-Bridgeton-Millville: New Jersey’s Forgotten Towns and Their Struggling Economies

Imagine, if you would, a part of New Jersey where farmland and marshes take precedent in the landscape over developed cities and towns, and instead of the urban issues that preoccupy cities like Camden, Newark and Trenton, different issues — development vs. an agricultural economy, migrant workers vs. working-class and working-poor New Jerseyans, and urban redevelopment zones and their lack of investment — are dominant. In getting to this triangle of cities in Cumberland County, one could be at a loss in whether they’re in New Jersey at all; after waking from sleep on a trip north, one out-of-state person I know who came to Cumberland County asked what state she was in, after seeing the vast tracts of open spaces, the dense pine forests, and the low-lying swamps and streams that are dotted with old farms. This narrative is about the economic problems besetting three urban areas of this region: the mini-metropolitan triangle area of VinelandBridgetonMillville and what can be done about it.

Reforming School Aid Formula Will Wait Yet Another Year

Cross-Posted from ShapTalk.com:

More than half of New Jersey’s property taxes are used to finance public schools.  For the past seven months, Governor Corzine and the State Legislature have attempted to reform the school aid formula that determines the amount of State funding each school district receives.  For many years, the aid has disproportionately gone to underperforming urban school districts while suburban and rural districts receive little in the way of funding.  Unfortunately, because of political wrangling, plans to implement a new school aid formula for the upcoming fiscal year have been scrapped.  Instead, hundreds of millions of dollars in Governor Corzine’s upcoming budget proposal will be pledged to boost state aid to our school districts.  While increased funding is a welcome change, meaningful property tax reform will never occur unless our legislators are willing to tackle the unfair school assistance program.

 

DNC Winter Meeting: The Rural Council and the Internet

My favorite event on the first day of the Winter DNC meeting was the meeting of the Rural Council.  I now live in a rural part of New Jersey so I thought it would be especially relevant.  I was a bit late to it. And had to navigate a large crowd to get through into the room.  The reason became obvious as I heard Howard Dean’s voice.  He emphasized that the 50 state strategy means that the Democratic Party wants to win in all regions of the country.  Even if we can’t win North Dakota at the presidential level, we can compete there so we can win at the local level now, and someday in the future.  The audience members thanked Chairman Dean for `fighting inside the Beltway’ for funds.

I was inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of the Rural Council.  Four years ago, they were brainstorming about how to reach voters.  Today, they were able to compare notes on their success in the last election, and make plans for more victories. At one point, as I and Natasha of Pacific Views took notes, the chair announced `We’ve arrived, because the bloggers are here!’