Driving back over the Margate causeway and bridge was a bit of a shock Tuesday.

I love that drive: the egrets, the ospreys, the wooden pilings in the water with the birds on top, the fallen piling that looks like the cross as it was being carried by Jesus through Jerusalem - man, don't get me started! It's beautiful.

Usually the only sign that irritates me is the one informing me that I must pay a toll and, frequently, that the amount of that toll is going up.

But Tuesday, I got to see the fun, new, light-up ginormous billboard erected in front of Gilford's Marine, bigger and more annoying than any of the old billboards that mar the view.

Aw, come on, really?

The land is part of Egg Harbor Township, one of those odd boundary things that stem from EHT once being all of Atlantic County and the towns seceding and drawing their own boundaries.

Mayor Sonny McCullough of Egg Harbor Township told me Tuesday: "I wish it wasn't as high as it is. It's in compliance with our zoning. There's not much you can do about it. I have discouraged this type of high-profile signs in other areas of the township."

Sigh. I guess maybe market forces can discourage this type of thing. What business would want to advertise on a billboard that will mostly annoy people on their way to the beach? And who would want to patronize a business that ruined their view so clumsily like that?

Or maybe we'll just get used to it like everything else.

-Amy Rosenberg


Blinq: Agency is target of Christie's ire

"OLS" is Gov. Christie's new least-favorite acronym.

After gleefully bashing the NJEA (New Jersey Education Association) for years, the governor is making the state's Office of Legislative Services his piñata of choice.

The sins of the studiously nonpartisan OLS include telling Christie he can't simply force a divorce of the state university system from Rutgers-Camden to facilitate his shotgun wedding of that campus and Rowan University.

Accustomed to getting what he wants when he wants it, the governor wants a review of the OLS ruling, presumably in time to salvage his ambitious/preposterous merger-mania deadline of July 1.

The OLS on Tuesday also had the temerity to suggest that Christie's "Jersey Comeback" revenue projections - crucial to his income tax-cut proposal - are overly optimistic. By more than half a billion dollars.

This bit of disobedience drew a characteristically uncivil response from the governor, who proclaimed the OLS a "tool" of various, nefarious Democrats hoping to create "background noise" to distract the public from his festive Jersey Comeback promotions.

For good measure, he also pronounced the OLS revenue projections "DOA."

The acronym acrimony, while amusing, is nothing compared to the latest Christie-isms inspired by his Rutgers-Rowan merger proposal.

Three Democratic legislators with the gall to question his pet plan are akin to "pigs at the trough," Christie said Tuesday, two weeks after referring to a citizen who dared to interrupt one of his "town hall" performances as an "idiot."

-Kevin Riordan


Burlco Buzz: Democrats in Burlco have high hopes for board race

Hoping to break Republican domination over county government, the Burlington County Democratic Committee is announcing two politically experienced candidates for the Board of Freeholders.

Aimee Belgard, who serves on the Edgewater Park Township Committee, and Joanne Schwartz, who has served as an elected officer of the Mount Laurel Fire Commission, will run against incumbents Bruce Garganio and Mary Ann O'Brien. Before Garganio and O'Brien began their three-year terms on the board in 2010, they also held local office. Garganio was a former Florence Township councilman, while O'Brien served on the Medford Township Council.

The GOP has controlled the board for more than 35 years. Currently its members are all Republicans.

Belgard, a lawyer, ran for freeholder as a Democrat in 2010. Democratic Committee chair Joe Andl said she "came very close" to winning a seat that year.

Andl said Belgard and Schwartz, who also is a volunteer with the Hampton Lakes Emergency Squad in Southampton, will campaign to bring jobs back to Burlington County.

"There's been one-party rule in Burlington County for 35-plus years. It's time for a change," he said. The Democratic candidates, he said, will "be watchdogs for working-class families of Burlington County."

-Jan Hefler