Friday, October 24, 2014

Overplayed, incomprehensible and a huge waste of time

Aggressive police ready to pounce on any driver who doesn't yield to a pedestrian in the many crosswalks are the least of your problems, if you use Cedar Lane in Teaneck as a route to Englewood. The four-lane street through the township's main business district narrows, above, causing conflicts with other motorists, and the many slow, older drivers act as moving road blocks.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Readers who don't choke on the lead paragraph of the overplayed and overwritten turnpike story on Page 1 today are probably scratching their heads, trying to figure out what it says.

Is there something in the newsroom water at The Record or did Editor Marty Gottlieb rewrite Staff Writer Christopher Maag, exposing how out of touch the former Timesman really is (A-1)?

Anyone who has been caught in one of the region's massive traffic jams knows a wider turnpike isn't the "road to the future."

How does the new, 12-lane stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike below Exit 8 show the state remains "confident ... a place still unafraid to etch its belief in a brighter future into the contours of the land"?

A mass-transit corridor down the center of the 35-mile section, not more asphalt, really would have been forward looking.

Too little, too late

Where was Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, when Governor Christie killed the Hudson River rail tunnels in 2010, setting back for at least a decade expanded train travel between New Jersey and New York (A-1)?

The do-nothing six-termer seeking election on Nov. 4 from the 5th Congressional District -- which includes Bergen County -- is facing a formidable challenge from Roy Cho, a Hackensack attorney who has surged in the polls.

In a letter to the editor today, Bruce de Lyon of Dumont notes Garrett ducked debates, adding:

"As long as we allow Garrett to run a dismissive and underground campaign, he will continue to ignore issues crucial to the residents of northern New Jersey" (A-18).

Another Kelly error

Among the many embarrassing corrections published on A-2 this week is the one today trying to fix another Mike Kelly screw-up.

The burned-out columnist "misstated the year of a hazing incident at Holmdel High School" in his boring Page 1 piece last Sunday (A-2).

Desperate editor

A desperate local editor must have written the headline over  today's Road Warrior column -- "A commuter's tale" -- which reports the recollections of a 99-year-old man who took part in the 1931 ceremony opening the George Washington Bridge (L-1).

The rambling piece by Staff Writer John Cichowski has absolutely nothing to do with the ordeal of commuting, and is a colossal waste of readers' time.

Food coverage

Hackensack police should check hospital emergency rooms for two men who allegedly skipped out on a $100 restaurant bill (L-3).

The suspects, who spoke English and Hebrew, ignored Lotus Cafe and the fine-dining restaurants in The Shops at Riverside to rip off Applebee's on Tuesday night, police said.

They likely sought medical help for a huge case of indigestion.

Agita is in store for readers who bother with today's lukewarm, 2-star review of the 14-year-old Martini Grill in Wood-Ridge (BL-18).

Staff Writer Elisa Ung praises "the restaurant's focus on fish," but she chose poorly, "a thick fillet of swordfish flecked by capers and sun-dried tomatoes ($25.95)."

Swordfish contains a large amount of mercury, and isn't recommended for women of child-bearing age.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Christie move helped mobster, Garrett opposed cops

An NJ Transit train stopping at the Anderson Street Station in Hackensack. Governor Christie's decision to cancel the Hudson River rail tunnels stuck the mass-transit agency with an $8.1 million debt to the family of a jailed mobster, The Record reports today.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

You could call today's paper the mean-spirited-Republican edition -- with stories on Governor Christie and Rep. Scott Garrett, and their opposition to everything good and decent.

The Record reports on Page 1 that Governor Christie's cancellation of the Hudson River rail tunnels in 2010 led a court to rule the state owes $8.1 million to the family of convicted mob boss Carmine Franco (A-1).

Screw voters, workers

Christie also came out in favor of voter I.D. laws, which courts say are "discriminatory and, in some cases, racially motivated" (A-1 and A-6).

Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- basically, his wealthy donors -- the GOP bully also didn't waste any time dumping on workers fighting to raise the minimum wage (A-6).

"I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am," Christie said.

Christie's net worth is put at $4 million by celebritynetworth.com.

Screw cops, too

Meanwhile, Garrett, a Wantage Republican seeking a seventh term in Congress, supported cuts to a program "that funds federal grants to cities and towns to hire police" (A-7).

So, you can add opposition to more police in Paramus to the growing list of what Garrett opposed, including Sandy aid and legislation to help women.

Roy Cho, a Hackensack attorney, is seeking to unseat Garrett, a Tea Party icon from the 5th Congressional District, which includes Bergen County.

Internet or rent?

The Page 1 story on people who can't afford Internet service runs with a big photo of some of them using computers in the Johnson Public Library in Hackensack (A-1).

But there is absolutely no reference to the demonstration against cuts to the library's funding that took place Tuesday night at the Hackensack City Council meeting (L-1).

Isn't the Internet or rent story a poor choice for the front page?

For years, The Record took no notice of people, most of whom are black and Hispanic, who can't afford cars and were forced to ride on decrepit NJ Transit buses to get to work.

More Law & Order

Most of the thin Local news section today is filled with police and court news, including yet another story about Teresa Giudice (L-3).


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Editors continue to ignore the issues facing voters

A rare sight at the Lincoln Tunnel: Hardly any waiting at the tollbooths.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

With only two weeks to go before the Nov. 4 election, readers aren't seeing much coverage of the issues -- what the candidates believe in and what they propose to do to help New Jersey and the region.

Stories about candidates on A-3 and L-1 of The Record today reflect the editors' continuing obsession with politics.

Two other stories, on L-3, do involve a rare discussion of issues.

Bare-bones coverage

The Record's editors and reporters have never liked covering elections.

Years ago, coverage of school board elections was reduced to briefs -- four or five paragraphs -- and only contested elections merited a full-fledged story.

Is it any wonder hardly anyone votes in those elections, despite all of the property taxes that go to run the schools?

Cho v. Garrett

The Record didn't bother covering a candidate forum and debate in Ridgewood on Monday night, when Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, was a no-show.

In an e-mail to supporters, Democratic challenger Roy Cho said, "Scott Garrett has millions in campaign funds from lobbyists and special interests, but our campaign relies on grassroots support from people like you."

Garrett, one of the most conservative members of Congress and a Tea Party idol, is seeking a seventh term from the 5th District, which includes Bergen County.

Idiotic editing

A perfect example of the editors' dislike of elections -- and their contemp for voters -- appeared on the front page of Saturday's paper, in the very first paragraph of a story about a Fort Lee man who sells T-shirts that portray Russia's leader in a positive light.

I can't imagine why any editor would approve this introduction:

"NEW YORK -- Julius Kacinskis does not consider himself political -- he does not even vote."

Since when is voting a political act?

Hey Staff Writer Mary Diduch, if you vote for a candidate who believes in equal pay for women, is that political?

How about if you vote for a president who wants all of us to have health insurance to help reduce the charity care burden on the nation's hospitals?

That's not "political," even if you and the other pea brains at the Woodland Park daily say so.

What Marty believes

If you want to know whether elections are important to Editor Martin Gottlieb, take a look at Page 1 today:

Just above the fold we get the breathless news that Saks Fifth Avenue will be closing its store in The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack (A-1).

This is Gottlieb's way of keeping the focus off of the struggling downtowns of many communities, including Hackensack's.

That's especially egregious, given how the departure of North Jersey Media Group and The Record from 150 River St. sent the city's Main Street into a tailspin.

Local goes tabloid

The biggest local news in the paper today?

It leads L-1 -- the arrest of "a Paterson civic leader and former school board member" after police allegedly saw him leave a motel with a 12-year-old boy.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Why are the editors going easy on Rep. Scott Garrett?

Someone used a shopping cart at Target in Hackensack to "recycle" several items today, including a plastic toilet seat and cover, above.

Not far away was this pair of children's shoes, above and below.




By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Scott Garrett, the conservative Republican seeking a seventh term in Congress, is ducking out of a candidate forum tonight and a debate with his Democratic challenger.

But you wouldn't know that from The Record today.

A rambling column by Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin recalls that in 2008, Garrett "declined to attend a candidate forum at a temple in Bergen County" (A-11).

Doblin says the Wantage Republican "sent a blind Jewish man as his surrogate," because his opponent, Dennis Shulman, was "a blind rabbi."

Can you just imagine who Garrett would send as his surrogate tonight, seeing that his challenger is Hackensack attorney Roy Cho, who is Korean-American.

Doblin makes no mention of tonight's candidate forum at Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center in Ridgewood.

Cho is seeking to unseat Garrett in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Bergen County.

Garrett is a Tea Party favorite for his opposition to just about everything, especially programs that help the middle class.

He initially opposed federal aid for Sandy victims and voted against legislation that would help women, then lied about his stance on both issues in campaign literature.