By VICTOR E. SASSON
You have to give points to Staff Writer Christopher Maag for what is likely The Record's first thorough discussion of whether fences and other barriers can prevent people from committing "suicide by train."
But strangely absent from today's Page 1 takeout is any mention of NJ Transit police officers, and how many stations are actually patrolled to prevent intentional and accidental deaths (A-1).
Maag, the new transportation writer, and just about every other reporter in the Woodland Park newsroom have a heavy burden:
Working with clueless local assignment editors who rarely leave the office and whose knowledge of the world fits comfortably inside one of the office toilets.
Still, The Record has been reporting on deaths at or near train stations for years now. Maybe, the next story will discuss the role of transit police officers.
The bottom line
Sadly, today's story notes "the one measure suicide experts believe would be most effective at preventing intentional deaths by train: Building fences to keep people off of the tracks" (A-7).
Maag goes on to say "that would be a daunting and expensive exercise, requiring the already cash-strapped agency to erect up to 1,000 miles of fence."
That last description of NJ Transit as "already cash strapped" is in keeping with the paper's long-held belief that mass transit should pay for itself or even make a profit.
But that's nonsense, and it fed into Governor Christie's mean-spirited move in late 2010 to stop the building of two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River, because they allegedly would cost New Jersey "too much."
That allowed the GOP bully to refuse to raise the low gasoline tax to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund -- secure in the knowledge he could divert hundreds of millions in unused tunnel money to road projects.
Today, The Record carries the second part of an investigative report on the lack of state oversight and regulation of numerous homes that "cater to recovering addicts" (A-1).
Leading the front page is another report on Elizita, a Guatemalan teen who entered the United States illegally this summer to join her father, who also is an illegal immigrant (A-1).
The latter story is sure to inflame readers in Saddle River and other wealthy towns where anti-immigrant sentiment is strong.
You know life is good in Ridgewood and Glen Rock from the lead headline on L-1 today: