Friday, April 22, 2011

Christie butts heads with state's high court

HAMMONTON, NJ  - MARCH 29:  New Jersey Governo...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Governor Christie to teachers and everyone else: Do what I say or else.

A governor full of hubris, saying he might defy a ruling of the state's highest court, would be front-page news anywhere but at The Record of Woodland Park, where Editor Francis Scandale is famous for news misjudgment going way back to 9/11.

So, readers have to turn to Page A-3 for a Star-Ledger story reporting Governor-cum-Dictator Christie will close hospitals and lay off cops and firefighters, if the Supreme Court orders him to restore more than $1 billion in education funds -- if he even obeys the ruling.

Christie -- at heart, an argumentative lawyer who has The Record and other media in his pocket -- is really pissed that Associate Justice Barry Albin twice mentioned how Christie cut school aid to low-income children, but refused to impose a millionaires tax to raise $1 billion in new revenue.

To Scandale, this brewing constitutional crisis appears to be less far less significant than more of Christie's do-what-I say-or-else tough talk to teachers, a story that leads A-1 today.

News revolution?

When I first looked at Page 1, I thought the news clerks and reporters had seized control of the newsroom and run a story on the rise of the Tea Party and the Republicans' drive to preserve wealth:

How greed movement
shaped North Jersey

Wait a second. That story is about a different kind of "green." I misread the headline. Never mind. The Record's editors still are marching to the drums of the spoiled Borg siblings.

Searching for municipal news in Local, readers find lots of Law & Order news -- courtesy of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her minions.

Sykes needed two gee-whiz but non-fatal accident photos to fill space on L-2 and L-8.

Poor geography lesson

A huge Better Living cover photo of chicken -- presumably pumped up with antibiotics -- whets readers' appetites for Elisa Ung's review of Mekong Grill, a new Vietnamese restaurant in Ridgewood.

Ung reports that for years before Mekong Grill opened, "Bergen-based food lovers" drove to Spring Valley, N.Y., "to get their Vietnamese fix."

But nothing could be farther from the truth: Chef K.T. Tran has been dishing out great Vietnamese food at a take-out stand or restaurants in Cresskill, Fort Lee, Englewood and Tenafly for well over 15 years.

In fact, in a review just three months ago, Ung praised Tran's "precise cooking and fresh Vietnamese flavors" at her newest restaurant, Simply Vietnamese. 
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  1. I'm not sure about Tran's restaurants. Seems like whites love her food, but not Asians. Perhaps her joints are the Vietnamese PF Chang's of northern NJ.

  2. Her pho restaurant in Fort Lee is filled with Korean customers. And there are plenty of Koreans living in Tenafly, where Simply Vietnamese opened.

    Maybe there are not that many Vietnamese living in North Jersey or they go to the city for their food.

    P.F. Chang's is a lot pricier.

    But Ung needs to be honest with her readers, not try to wow them with her "find."

  3. Another giveaway that she deliberately tried to make Mekong Grill sound like the only Vietnamese place in North Jersey is that the mini-reviews that run on the same page and the next page usually are related to the main review on Fridays in Better Living.

    If Ung does a Cuban place, there might be a mini-review of another Cuban place. But today, there is no mini-review of Simply Vietnamese or Mo' Pho, Tran's restaurants.

  4. I just read Elisa's review. She didn't say it was the only place to get Vietnamese food. She said Bergen people traveled to Spring Valley to get it. She's not wrong. Nothing gave me the impression there is only one place to get it.

    But you're just Victor being Victor. That's why we love you.

  5. She gave the impression it is the only place.

    Bergen people also travel to Fort Lee and Tenafly to get their Vietnamese fix, but she carefully omitted that.

    And why not tell readers how Mekong Grill stacks up against K.T. Tran's restaurants?

  6. Man if that's really how you are you'd be a bitch to work for. A review ad just be a review can it? A review of a restaurant at the Patersonarket has to include information about produce (and others I assume) prices. An ethnic restaurant now has to include comparisons to every other ethnic restaurant in the area (which probably means a lot mote trips). Reporters have enough trouble figuring out what editors want. I guess you'd fit right in.

  7. Mr Sasson I think you wrote an article if Im not mistaken that the Record first had its offices at the courthouse address,can you explain that if to be true (The History). Also has the Record or the owners ever file a lawsuit against The Bergen County Court House? And what was the cases and the results. Thank You Mr.Sasson

  8. To the Anonymous who thinks I would be a bitch to work for, you're right.

    I don't go for dishonest or incomplete reporting. She should have at least mentioned K.T. Tran's restaurants, not make it sound like the place she was reviewing was a first or broke new ground in Bergen County.

    To the second Anonymous, I might have written that Kibret Markos works out of an office in the Bergen County Courthouse -- an office he shares with other members of the media.

    I can't imagine why The Record would sue the courts -- unless the newspaper was trying to get access to sealed files in a lawsuit. If that has happened, I don't know anything about it.

  9. Well, her Pho place closed in Ft. Lee awhile ago. Tenafly does have a lot of Koreans, but her places haven't been popular with them. I think her food is more for white folks. Like PF Chang's her food doesn't seem as authentic and seems more for the mainstream white American.

  10. Are you sure it was her pho place that closed?

  11. Why does she have to compare it to Simply Vietnamese? Is the answer, "Because it's the only other one I know about so it gives me something convenient to complain about." There's another Vietnamese restaurant in the same fricking town. Why not just have her compare it to that? Or are you saying she has to compare every restaurant to every comparable restaurant?

  12. I've pretty much said everything I want on this subject, but please feel free to send in as many comments as you want.

  13. The latest Anonymous comment prompted me to call Simply Vietnamese.

    The man who answered the phone said the Fort Lee restaurant still is open, though that's unclear from the Simply Vietnamese Web site.

    Also I noticed that Chef-Owner Kt Tran writes her name that way, not K.T. Tran.

  14. Mr.Sasson thanks for your response,you said that Mr. Markos has a office with other reporters at the court house? Where is it? Do other newspaper reporters use this office to report on courthouse news, do all County Courthouses have a office specificly for the media? Can you please explain in more detail.Thank You Victor.

  15. Yes. Most state and federal courthouses have "press rooms," where reporters from one or more newspapers have computers, phones and so forth.

    When I covered Superior Court in Paterson in the early 1980s, The Record had a small office in the law library, separate from the press room, which allowed me to file stories the other reporters didn't know about.

    In Hackensack, the press room is on the third floor of the Bergen County Courthouse, near the cafeteria, which is open to the public.

  16. Thanks Victor, So for example, if you have to go to court and you want your story covered, are you saying the best approach is to stop off at the Courthouses pressroom to ask a reporter if they would like to cover there court apperance?

  17. Actually, that wouldn't be a bad idea.

    The Record's reporter is usually doing his rounds or smoking outside the Main Street entrance.

    If he has something to write, you'd likely find him in the office at the end of the court day -- after 4 p.m.

    Any of the sheriff's officers could probably point him out to you, if you don't find him in the office.


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