Here is the first in a series of interviews with the three Democrat and one Republican candidate preparing for the June 3 primary election. All candidates were sent the same eighteen questions. Following is Mr. Langford’s response.
Jesse O. Kurtz: What makes you different from the other mayoral candidates?
Lorenzo T. Langford: I am the only candidate for Mayor of Atlantic City possessing both legislative and executive experience.
2: How do you describe Atlantic City to people not familiar with the City?
LL: That would depend on the context, but politically speaking, the city is like a ship right now, without a rudder and in need of a good steward.
3: What does the Mayor of Atlantic City do?
LL: The Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer, where in a business sense, would be like a corporation with over 1700 employees. Additionally, there is the ceremonial aspect of the position, such as social and ceremonial and other special events that enhance the reputation of our city, as well.
4: What does the term “Moving the City Forward” mean?
LL: It means accentuating the positive, and eradicating the negative.
5. What will you add to City government?
LL: Integrity, experience and leadership.
6. What will you eliminate from City government?
LL: The stigma of ineptitude and corruption in government.
7. Do you support an ordinance banning smoking in casinos?
LL: I support the compromise legislation, that would have designated certain areas for smoking.
8. Should casino employees be able to run for political office?
LL: Yes, as long as they live in Atlantic City and meet all requirements to be a candidate. They should be afforded the same rights and privileges of every other citizen, and should never be discriminated in any way.
9. Do you prefer a larger legal department that does less contracting of attorneys, or a smaller legal department with more contracting of attorneys?
LL: I think that you have to strike a delicate balance between the two.
10. Do you support the City’s employment of lobbyists?
LL: To put this into context. Before my administration, this had never been done before. I went to Washington, DC to research proposals to help the citizens of Atlantic City in receiving aide with tax dollars we had already sent to Washington. As long as the program is effective and we receive a bigger bang for our tax dollars sent, it is a win-win for the people of Atlantic City.
11. Are you satisfied with the City’s public transportation regulations?
LL: The transportation industries regulated by the city, would be the Jitney’s and Taxi franchises. I believe we are on the right track of policing these industries. The other forms of transportation remain out of our hands.
12. What are your priorities for upgrading City infrastructure?
LL: I will continue the plan I started as Mayor, wherein we re-paved 1/3rd of the city streets per year, and other beautification programs to enhance the city for our residents and tourism interests. I would continue to implement plans and programs like these, as needed in an overall management plan.
13. Will you promote more, less, or the same amount of public housing?
LL: My priority would be in maintaining what we have and protecting the existing housing to meet the needs of our residents.
14. Are there too many, not enough, or just the right number of City employees, vehicles, and cell phone plans?
LL: When I took over as Mayor, there were over 1900 city employees. When I left office after four years we had reduced the number of employees to under 1600. With respect to vehicles, we had a vehicle maintenance program, which would replenish the fleet as necessary, except for police vehicles that we endeavored to replace every three years for safety. Most importantly however, for every vehicle that we purchase, we have to retire the same amount through city auction to reduce costs and keep the required numbers in line.
15. Is there enough enforcement of drug, prostitution, and overcrowding laws?
LL: There is always work to be done in that regard, as these are never-ending types of issues and problems. I do believe that we have the resources to combat these issues.
16. Does the City have a role in enforcing immigration laws?
17. Do you support the needle exchange program?
LL: Yes. Needle Exchange Programs have been proven to be a useful tool for reduction of HIV/AIDS incidents, when incorporated with a comprehensive education to drug resistance. And, when taking proactive measures in a city with one of the highest rates of infection and other drug problems, you save resources and money many times fold on the potential back-end treatment for these problems.
18. How will you avoid scandal and build a more positive reputation for Atlantic City?
LL: I already have. My administration and reputation remains impeccable and our administrations record remains, to this day, beyond reproach.