|The Record's lack of concern for rail riders is well-known, thanks to car-centric Road Worrier John Cichowski. The rail station in Secaucus, named after a U.S. senator, is shown on a quiet day.|
You can tell instantly from his first paragraph on Page 1 today how skewed John Cichowski's focus has been in the seven years he's been writing the Road Warrior column for The Record. He thinks his audience are readers who drive to shopping malls and into the city, so he's turned his back on mass transit users in what was conceived as a column on commuting woes.
He succeeded Jeffrey Page, who started the column in 1990. Page was a reporter who, despite his massive girth, knew what it meant to hustle and do legwork in pursuit of a story. The tall, thin Cichowski, on the other hand, has undoubtedly grown warts on his ass from all the hours he spends in front of the computer, reading complaining e-mails from spoiled drivers.
Chick, as he's known around the Woodland Park office, has become the Desk Warrior and the Road Worrier. He doesn't seem to think taking a train or a bus is commuting. And he's no Jeff Page.
Chick's mind is literally in the gutter as he muses endlessly about potholes and arcane state driving regulations.
He's completely untroubled that mass transit into Manhattan -- buses and trains -- has been at capacity for years, resulting in the huge success of the so-called Spanish bus system, the building of a rail-transfer station in the Meadowlands and construction on a new Hudson River rail tunnel.
People who can't afford cars and have to ride the decrepit local buses are just poor black and Hispanic trash to this white journalist.
His Q&A with the head of the Motor Vehicle Commission should be with the head of NJ Transit, in recognition that mass transit -- not roads -- are the future of North Jersey. But the irresponsible Cichowski and The Record appear to be in the pockets of car dealers, who spend a huge amount of money on ads.
In fact, only a few words are devoted to buses and trains in his main story today and four -- count them, four -- sidebars. This windbag boasts of the 900 columns he has written so far, showing that his real value to the editor who promoted him in 2003, Deirdre Sykes, is as a space filler -- as the rest of the local news staff produces less and less.
Cichowski is skilled at overwriting in the journalistic sense as well as writing too long, as he did when he was a reporter in the Passaic County bureau.
Cichowski's massive presence on the front page today minimizes the importance of a second, A-1 story, this one on Governor Christie's deep social conservatism, as seen in cuts to programs for working poor, legal aliens and women. No mention of his pandering to the rich appears in the story. We can all take comfort in the prospect he may seek higher office after his first term.
The Local news section has stories from many towns, but none from Hackensack or Englewood, two core Bergen communities.
What's wrong with the economy
Limp cake slices or limp coverage?
I guess she couldn't find a volunteer position helping people in that African country.