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GannettUSA Today

Friday, November 03, 2006

Two wrongs ...

"Two wrongs do not make a right'' is an expression that applies yet again, this time in Asbury Park. Councilman James Keady was wrong for saying there are more than 200 members of the Bloods gang in Asbury in discussing recent shootings in the city with a New York television station. Nobody disputes the presence of gang members in the city, but putting such a high number on them - and Keady hasn't said where he got his figures - is irresponsible. It does nothing more than upset a community struggling with violence amid an oceanfront and downtown renaissance.

But the city's Urban Enterprise Zone board of directors went overboard in condemning Keady's remarks and calling for him to resign from the council and leave town. They said his statement will discourage businesses from locating in the city and people from visiting, which is what the UEZ was created to encourage. They forget that reports of the violence are more likely to undermine their mission. Sending Keady into exile won't make the city any safer and is likely to discourage city officials from taking stands on tough issues for fear they might upset one group or another. If the public believes Keady or any elected official has not served them well, they can let them know at the ultimate judgment place: the polling booth.

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