Atlantic County?s Republican legislative candidates today charged that Assemblyman Jim Whelan is to blame for the ridicule being heaped on Atlantic City due to the prolonged absence of its mayor.

?If there was any doubt in anyone?s mind that Whelan is callously using the unsettled situation in the City for partisan political advantage, those doubts were removed by his appearance on a nationally televised talk show over the weekend,? said State Sen. James ?Sonny? McCullough and his Assembly running mates, Vince Polistina and John Amodeo. ?The insulting comment by the show?s host that a cocktail waitress should be appointed mayor would never have been uttered had not Whelan agreed to appear on the show because he thought he could gain some political mileage from it.?

?Whelan set off the chain of events when he called for Levy?s resignation two weeks ago and when he brought the Governor to Atlantic City to issue some vague promises of help,? the Republicans said. ?He persisted in calling attention to Levy?s disappearance, invited the ridicule which inevitably followed, and then complained that the City had become a national laughing stock.?

?It was Whelan who invited the media into Atlantic City last week to call attention to the situation at City Hall,? McCullough said. ?He drew the media focus on the City and attracted the jokes and ridicule that went with it. Further, it was Whelan who said the City was paralyzed even though essential municipal functions were uninterrupted and public safety was not compromised. He created this circus atmosphere.?

?Whelan has played politics with the City and its people from the very outset,? the Republicans said. ?His call for Levy to step down, his involving the Governor, his television appearance were all crass political calculations designed to bolster his Senate campaign. All he?s succeeded in accomplishing is holding the City and its people up to national derision.

?His actions are shameful and embarrassing and he has no one to blame but himself for what has occurred,? the three said.

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