Supreme Court's decision could affect Pennsylvania politics, two casinos open in Atlantic city | Morning Newsletter

Good morning, thanks for starting your day with us. Today’s a big day for Atlantic City as officials and business leaders are hoping two new casinos will breathe more life back into the boardwalk and city. Given Atlantic City’s history, they’re a gamble. If you’re taking a short trip to New Jersey, be aware that some towns may not allow Airbnb to accommodate your stay. Case in point: Collingswood, where local officials are shutting down Airbnb listings. There’s also been a lot of news out of the Supreme Court lately, and one recent ruling against unions could have rippling effects across Pennsylvania for years to come. We dove in to explain what the decision means in a state that’s politically charged following the recent primary races.

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— Tauhid Chappell (@tauhidchappell,


Two new casinos have emerged in Atlantic City. Will they survive?

Camera icon Amy Rosenberg
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 27, 2018, toward a planned June 28 opening. It is located on the site of the the former Taj Mahal, which closed in 2016 after a labor dispute.

We’ll have updated coverage throughout the day of the grand openings for the Hard Rock and Ocean Resort casinos in Atlantic City. They actually quietly opened early last night. They replace the failed Trump Taj Mahal and short-lived Revel on the boardwalk.

Both casinos have different plans of attack to capture eyes and wallets. Hard Rock already has an established brand, and its rooms have already sold out on opening weekend. There will be several events planned for opening weekend for guests, too. Ocean Resort is banking on customer-friendly service while also offering pristine nightclubs to visitors. For opening weekend, it will offer some top DJs at the reopening of the popular day club and nightclub HQ. Ocean also is ahead of Hard Rock in that it’s already allowing sports betting.

It will take time to see if the casinos will help expand the market by bringing in new clients, gamblers and travelers or end up cannibalizing the current clientele. Or, simply repeat history by falling flat. City officials are holding their collective breath.

If you’re thinking of visiting either of these new spots, food writer Michael Klein says there’s plenty of places to eat. Not into gambling but want to enjoy the beach? There’s plenty of other things to do and places to see. Check out our 2018 Jersey Shore guide to plan your trip.

Collingswood banned Airbnb housing, for now

In the age of the sharing economy, millions of Americans are using Airbnb to host a range of travelers and pocket some supplemental money in the process. Not all towns and cities are happy with the $31 billion company, though. Towns like Collingswood, New Jersey, are moving to eradicate the company from its neighborhoods, drawing ire from residents who are trying to utilize extra space in their homes to supplement their income.

Collingswood resident Suzanne Cloud, who listed her three-bedroom house on Airbnb in 2014, was shocked to receive a cease-and-desist letter from the city. The city cited that operating an Airbnb violated local zoning laws.  Cloud is one of just 20 Airbnb hosts in Collingswood, according to an Airbnb spokesperson, and even though the number is marginally small compared to other cities, the move to force hosts to remove their listings from the site emphasizes the complexities cities are realizing as they try to find workable solutions to address the tech behemoth’s presence on their streets.

In fact, Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley said officials had no idea residents were even listing their property on Airbnb until someone complained. The more officials probed, the more concerned they became. Collingswood already has a detailed history in trying to retain residents and dissuade absentee owners.

One city commissioner is trying to convince the mayor to enact an official policy so residents have a better understanding on what they can and can’t do – and whether Airbnb will truly be allowed to exist in their homes,

Supreme Court’s ruling against labor unions could impact how they participate in future Pennsylvania elections

A recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision struck a blow to unions and may not only discourage employees from actively participating in unions, but weaken how unions spend their campaign money in future elections. This ruling, along with the recent announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire, could have everlasting political effects on the country.

In Janus vs. AFSCME, the nation’s highest court ruled government employees who decline to join unions are not required to pay “fair share” fees to those labor groups that collectively bargain on their behalf. For Republicans in Pennsylvania, it’s a win that could help weaken their Democratic rivals, as unions spend millions of dollars on political campaigns each year.

In fact, Pennsylvania labor unions represent one out of every eight workers in the state and this ruling could substantially handicap them if unions need to spend more money on recruitment and retention, rather than camapigning.

Some labor union leaders see this ruling with a silver lining, though, arguing that union members may double down and mobilize workers who feel their benefits and securities are under attack. “We’ve seen our members, even Republican members, even Trump supporters, who are actually sending more money to the union PAC fund because they don’t want to see unions go away,” said Gabe Morgan, vice president of Services Employees International Union 32BJ.

However, a recent nonprofit whose ties can be traced to the Koch brothers has been campaigning hard on the heels of this recent decision to persuade workers to drop their unions. Ultimately, it’s a battle for workers attention.

Nationally, labor unions are more popular among Americans now than at any point in the last 14 years, according to a 2017 poll by Gallup.

What you need to know today 

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That’s interesting


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“[Rep. Maxine] Waters’ fellow Democrats — including leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — wrongly believe that tyranny can be combated with polite discourse. That naïve worldview is exactly why Democrats find themselves out of power.” – columnist Soloman Jones says Waters deserves better treatment and support from fellow Democrats after her comments.

What we’re reading

    • In a shocking election upset, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive from Queens, ousted Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th District primary. This profile from BuzzFeed News digs in to how she did it.
    • Oklahoma voters went to the polls and legalized medical marijuana in the Sooner State. Oklahoma is now the 30th state to legalize marijuana in some capacity.
    • A federal judge in San Diego weighed in on the border crisis issue and has ordered those currently detained under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy be reunited with families within 30 days.

Your Daily Dose of | Music

Camera icon Markku Hyttinen
Nicole Sevcik, winner of both last year’s regional competition in Philadelphia and also the proceeding national competition in Washington, D.C., performs under the name of ‘Mom Jeans Jeanie’, a playful persona she devised after the birth of her first son.
PHOTO COURTESY Markku Hyttinen

Believe it or not, you can compete in air guitar. In fact, Philadelphia hosted the U.S. Air Guitar Regional Championships. Whip out your fake guitar and get to strumming.











Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter stated the city of Philadelphia walked away from a potential partnership with Temple University relating to the Philadelphia History Museum. It was Temple University that ended talks about the proposal.