I am repeatedly appalled at the consistency of the Cumberland County freeholders under the lead of Lou Magazzu in their inability to address our poor rankings in the Kids Count rankings annually. Teen pregnancy, infant mortality, poverty – we regularly post appalling numbers, coming in first and second in all of the wrong categories. Lou Magazzu has repeatedly refused to address these shortcomings, or propose a plan that doesn’t involved funneling hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to Al Kelly’s wallet.
Recently, the county was upstaged by Atlantic county’s atrocious showing in the current Kid’s Count. However, this is one difference. Atlantic County Freeholder Jim Schroeder did address the public. In today’s Press of Atlantic City:
Atlantic County government is, in fact, taking Atlantic County’s disappointing ranking on the recent KidsCount report very seriously. So, too, are community groups such as the United Way, as evidenced by the July 22 column from United Way Executive Director John Emge, “United Way, Atlantic County addressing issues of report.”
It is our intent to delve deeper into all 18 criteria entailed in the KidsCount report to see where Atlantic County might target resources or make policy changes benefitting our children. The Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition is already aggressively targeting such issues as teenage pregnancy, pre-natal care, low birth weight and infant mortality. In the months ahead, we hope to meet with early childhood and K-12 education leaders to focus on the educational components of the KidsCount report.
Finally, it is important to note that the national recession and the serious economic downturn affecting our regional economy appear to have contributed significantly to conditions adversely affecting our children whose families now find themselves at or below the poverty level. Through our research and through the cooperation of county government and community groups like the United Way, we hope to effect positive changes on behalf of all of Atlantic County’s children.
Atlantic County Freeholder
When will the leaders of Cumberland County come up with a “viable” plan to address these quality of life issues? Then again, maybe it is better that Lou keeps his hands off, he doesn’t have a strong track record, and the only thing he knows how to do is toss more money at Al Kelly.