I came across this headline while browsing through the online version of the New York Times, and I thought to myself “Oh LORD I do not know.”
New Jersey and I have quite the love/hate relationship. On the one hand, I love love love my stepdaughter, tomatoes, and not having to pump my own gas, three things from New Jersey that would seem to recommend the state overall; on the other, I hate hate hate Atlantic City (and related environs [unless, of course, I’m at the Gypsy Bar at the Borgata listening to Screaming Broccoli; in that case AC and I are cool]), the turnpike, and really big hair. (For New Jersey’s part, I’m sure it could do without my repeated sigh of “Ugh, I’m in New Jersey”)
Of course, the article wasn’t even remotely about my issues (which I admit I exaggerate out of melodrama. Hello my in laws! You’re fabulous!), but rather the fact that 44 people – including three mayors, two state assemblymen and other public officials- were arrested last week on corruption charges. Dude.
The more I learn about the governance of this state, the more intrigued I am. Check it out:
There are “566 municipalities in New Jersey (California has only 480), 603 school districts (more than the states of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia combined), 187 fire districts, 486 local authorities, 92 special taxing districts, and 21 county governments”
Holy COW that’s a lot of government. Can you imagine trying to get anything done, let alone provide oversight? That almost makes the District of Columbia look well run. No wonder the state is broke. (The consultant in me wants to rush over offer them a total business transformation model. You could Lean Six the hell out of this whole system. Ahem.)
Aside from that, the article in the Times posed an interesting hypothesis: the slow spiral of death that printed media is on is partially to blame.
Perhaps, today’s proliferation of local blogs and Web sites may get more New Jerseyans to turn their attention to the place where they live. On the other hand, as New Jersey and New York’s newspapers reduce their staffs and cutback or eliminate coverage of the Garden State, many New Jerseyans will probably become even less aware of what their local officials are up to
I disagree. Mike over at Loo.Me writes semi frequently about New Media and the changing business rules that are affecting newspapers. One theory posed is that local papers will focus less on international issues, national sports, movie reviews, etc etc (why duplicate the efforts of major media centers?), which makes more sense to me. Additionally, I’d always viewed those stories through the filter of how that will affect people’s jobs and the overall printing industry; I’d never consider how it would affect the political or habits of society as a whole. It makes sense to me that as newspapers reduce their staff and cutback coverage, they’ll cut back the coverage that can be easily found elsewhere; most international and national news can now be found online by major news sources; no need duplicate that effort. Perhaps the cut backs on newspapers will lead to better coverage and oversight of hometown news.