November 17, 1999
Azzolina's apology is appropriate
Joe Azzolina apologized from the Assembly floor on Monday for comments he made recently regarding Camden. His apology was the right thing to do.
Azzolina recently told The New York Times, “As soon as you walk off the (Waterfront's) parking lot, you're in the middle of the murder capital of the world.” Not only were his statements incorrect, they were insulting.
Camden's murder rate is high, but nowhere near the highest in the world.
And, Azzolina's words were especially stinging given that a lot of people in the city are working hard to stop the violence.
They took his statements as a personal attack on their city and a slap in the face.
The passion surrounding the selection of a final berth place for the USS New Jersey is high. Azzolina, who also was honored Monday for his efforts to bring the ship home, shares that passion. His battleship commission's tactics haven't always been fair to South Jersey, but there's no denying his desire to bring the “Big J” back to its home state.
We still strongly believe the facts favor a Camden berth over Bayonne. Last week's stirring homecoming only offered more proof that South Jersey is the USS New Jersey's true home.
Azzolina never expected such a strong effort from South Jersey. His comments about Camden most likely were more frustration than anything else.
It's good to see Azzolina recognize the error of his ways. His apology was appropriate.