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Jacob Laksin
Camden on the Brink « Back to Story

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The yearly salary of $140,000 is awfully high. California Highway Patrol officers start at $50,000 -- last I heard.

Camden's problems appear to be happening in other poor urban areas as well. Oakland, CA is having its struggles as well.
Camden may be high on the list of worst-case examples of going for reductions in the Police Departments to cut the city's budget, but Stockton, CXa can't be far behind . Living in neighboring Lodi, this is what appears on the inside pages of their newspaper, rotating honors as the worst car theft rate in the country, second-highest violent crime rate in the state, after Oakland, highly developed gang territories that lead to turf wars. And the kicker, while uniformed cops are laid off, five Assistant Chiefs of Police warming their tushes in their offices. Cities five times the size of Stockton don't have that many Assistant Chiefs. The days will come when having to work the Mean Streets with a greatly under-staffed Police Department will not attract high-quality applicants for job openings.Add bleeding heart juries that want to punishinga cop for not waiting for the first shot, and Camdens are going to be common around the country.
Camden is yet another example that government spending does not create wealth or prosperity. It's unfortunate that a relatively small percentage of the city's population makes life miserable for the rest. The greater problem is that realistically, Camden's trajectory is one-way, and that's down. A high-crime, high tax city in a high tax state, Camden's general condition and workforce are not inviting to legitimate business. This is a case where managing decline is probably the best solution that can be applied.
Government unions are destroying this country. They hold the public hostage with threats of massive chaos, and the politicians give into their demands. The politicians do this because it is not their money they give and promise them.
These Guilds must be stopped.
Thank you, David Brown, for your cogent observation about Israel. It all becomes clear to me now: Israel is the cause of all of the problems in the United States and the world.
A simple, uncomplicated, uncluttered explanation for a simple, uncomplicated, uncluttered mind.
More fruits of LBJ's Great Society and the War on Poverty.
So some police officers making north of $100k per year or about 400% of the median income are unwilling to sacrifice any cuts?
[We could stop the war in Afghanistan and aid to Israel and give a couple of bucks but that wouldn't fit certain folk's agenda.]

That would reduce last year's budget deficit from $1.4 trillion to $1.3 trillion.

We're saved!!!

Tell you what: as soon as you enlighten us all as to how to get rid of the remaining $1.3 trillion shortfall...plus make the roughly $200 billion INTEREST PAYMENT that will be due in 2011...then maybe we can "give a couple of bucks" to Camden.

But then again, recognizing fiscal realities doesn't exactly "fit certain folk's agenda", does it?
[...few cities face as stark a choice as the hard-luck South New Jersey city of Camden.]

"Hard luck" had nothing to do with Camden's problems. Stupidity did - the stupidity of electing Democrats. For decades, the residents of Camden chose to dance to the tune being played by liars and thieves - now, it's time to pay the piper.


Unfortunately, the rest of the country isn't far behind them. In the next 20 years, an economic Day of Reckoning is coming that is going to lay waste to this country.

What will it look like?

Think Detroit...everywhere.
We could stop the war in Afghanistan and aid to Israel and give a couple of bucks but that wouldn't fit certain folk's agenda. Would it?
Camden is, in miniature, the end result of cities which are in thrall to public sector unions - so much is paid out that government literally cannot do its job. When I was growing up, there was a trade off for government work - lower salaries, in return for which you got was less work, and a certain amount of job security.

As an adolescent in the 70's I had some summer jobs with local government, and there wasn't much of a work ethic. It seemed like a few people worked very hard, the rest didn't do much at all. Yes, this is entirely anecdotal, and yes police and fire fighters put their life on the line, but overall, governmental salaries have become insane.

There are so many reasons for Camden's problem. Years and years of one party government, which causes enormous corruption. Also low turn out in local elections - with few voters the governmental workers become a significant voting block. An easy solution to that would be to have county, board of education and municipal elections in November, instead of May or June, which would improve turnout, and reduce the ability of public sector workers to influence the elections of the very people who are responsible for their salaries.

Of course, a far better solution would be to eliminate public sector unions entirely - few rational people would argue that the experiment with these types of unions has worked. Public sector unions are entirely a creation of government - there is no federal statutory right for state governmental workers, that right is entirely based on state statute, and what the state can grant it can take away.

However, elimination of public sector unions will not happen in New Jersey. Why? Two reasons: first, public sector unions, including the teachers union contribute heavily to one party in New Jersey - the Democrat party. The New Jersey legislature is overwhelmingly Democrat, and there is NO chance - none - of this party cutting itself off from a huge source of funding. The unions pay heavily and they get something for all that money - protection.

Second, when it comes to media, being next to New York, and Philadelphia, New Jersey is in the belly of the beast. The media is overwhelmingly pro-Democrat and pro-union. Governmental officials, elected or otherwise, know that they will be roundly condemned if they take anti-union positions.

There is such an irony in the fact that because Camden pays such a huge amount of money for salaries it cannot even do the job of governing. It will be interesting to watch what happens.
Dr. Francis Stocker February 10, 2011 at 5:33 AM
Nations such as Taiwan and Singapore execute drug dealers.
Columbia University has a professor - Sudhir Venkatesh who has made a career out of tracking the personal finances of drug dealers in Chicago. Venkatesh or anyone else has failed to publicize the costs of illegal drugs in Chicago. Venkatesh failed to track the government money spent on health care for the dealers children among a host of other cost.
There's a reason why police there make $140K... its the only way they can get anyone to work in such a town.
How's the union working for those cops that have been laid off
The answer to Camden's crime problem is the same as is being promoted in some Ohio counties where there are budget cuts and law enforcement layoffs. Allow the citizens to arm themselves. Wherever the common citizens are denied their right to arms (by bans or onerous restrictions, both of which seem to be common in New Jersey), crime rates soar. Wherever the common people are easily able to be armed, crime rates drop through the floor. Simple solution.. but the bleeding heart liberal socialists promoting rabid gun control will not tolerate this solution. So, what options do the good people of Camden have? None good....
I am devastated; my comments were deleted just as I was writing the final line of a lengthly piece of expository information and examples of the negative effects of unionism. Expletives are not appropriate in this venue,or my 65 year work experinces would provide some colorful examples.
I am devastated; my comments were deleted just as I was writing the final line of a lengthly piece of expository information and examples of the negative effects of unionism. Expletives are not appropriate in this venue,or my 65 year work experinces would provide some colorful examples.
Camden needs to hire a secondary level of police support (unsworn, and doing all the in-station work), and at 1/3 the pay & benefits).

All sworn officers should be on the street... even the old, fat ones. And if the Sworn types make a fuss, refusing to work with them, a Ronald Regan style firing is in order (for insubordination).
What is the explanation for the exorbitant salary of police officers in Camden--$140,000?

The police union refused concessions because they believed help would come from somewhere.

Bad Call!