Sunday, April 17, 2011

Editors keep on selling home-rule savings

Newark Liberty International Airport Logo.Image via Wikipedia
Readers want John Cichowski and Elisa Ung to follow this sign to Newark airport, get on a plane, relocate and never write another column for The Record of Woodland Park.

Editor Francis Scandale and head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes are such big fans of the wasteful form of government known as home rule, any merger of services earns big headlines, large photos and upbeat copy -- with the tantalizing possibility that property taxes finally will go down for once.

Readers of The Record were treated to more of that B.S. this past Thursday, when most of Sykes' Local front was devoted to Montvale and two other towns beginning a joint municipal court, with a potential savings of $260,000 year, Staff Writer Matthew McGrath reported.

But Sykes, McGrath, and his assignment editor were pulling a fast one on readers -- taking pains to mention nothing about the millions of dollars in debt hanging over Montvale taxpayers since purchase of a commercial building for a new municipal complex, where the joint court is held. 

Here is the real story from Montvale resident Kurt F. Kron:
"The observation in Eye on The Record that the “newspaper” is filled with triviality is painfully accurate, and the inclusion of the Pascack Valley shared court in the triviality would be accurate, too, if it weren't for the fact that the story behind the placement of the shared court is a colossal insult to Montvale property taxpayers.

"The municipal building that houses the court was headquarters for the Wella cosmetics firm in its most recent prior life, after Wella moved from Englewood. Then, Wella was acquired by a German firm, and in fairly short order the building became the “Wella White Elephant.” Nobody wanted to buy it. But elected Montvale empire builders snapped it up, taking it off the tax roles and converting it to a use for which it was never intended, at great expense.

"The value of all Montvale debt at original issue was $13,560,000, “$7,885,000 attributable to the municipal complex,” according to an April 12, 2011 budget presentation, at which the council president thanked a former mayor for his foresight in buying the elephant so others could come to his court. A lot of the expense of converting the Wella building is attributable to construction of an escape-proof, bomb-proof, earthquake-proof holding pen for accused perps.

"At Dec. 31, 2010, $12,098,000 in Montvale debt was still outstanding. In the fiscal year beginning on July 1, Montvale debt service will be $1,855,175. Montvale taxpayers may not know the value of the Wella building, but they do know it's had an expensive face-lift."

Today's paper

The two main stories on the front page of the Woodland Park daily today are so far from being news as to be a laughable waste of space.  Is this the best Scandale can do for a Sunday paper?

The straightforward headlines sound idiotic, because they state what readers already know:

N.J. a hub for drug trade

Mothers who kill kids not so rare

In the story about mothers who kill, The Associated Press (not Staff Writer Jean Rimbach, as I said originally) takes a casual approach, making no attempt to tell readers why on Page 1.

In the drug story, Staff Writer Peter Sampson pored over records to document Newark airport as a major smuggling hub, but the headlines let him and readers down. 

The moral of the third A-1 story -- about how little corruption or waste was found at the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission -- is: If you mess with The Bull (Governor Christie), you get the horns.

Hook, line and stinker

The major news on the front of Local today is Road Warrior John Cichowski's 400th column on long lines at Motor Vehicle Commission offices.

Why is this such a big deal, if the average driver only has to go to the MVC every two to three years? 

From hunger

Six weeks after a food blog called Off The Broiler published a long post with photos of El Caney -- a tiny Cuban takeout place in Bergenfield -- Staff Writer Elisa Ung gushes about her "find" in her Sunday column (F-4).

Then, she quotes blog author Jason Perlow on how good El Caney's food is, without giving him any credit for finding the place. 

The bottom line is El Caney is more appropriate for the Marketplace feature, but Ung has long run out of ideas for her restaurant column and desperately cribs from others.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Mr. Sassoon:

    What constitutes "finding the place" as it pertains to El Canay? Was Mr. Perlow the first customer?

    Thank you.

  2. Food blogger Jason Perlow was the first to tell the world about El Caney, which brought good Cuban food back to Bergenfield after an absence of a few years.

  3. No, I don't think that's true. I remember reading about it in The Record at least a year ago maybe more.

  4. Are you referring to El Caney? If you read about it in The Record a year ago, was that just a brief mention or the Marketplace feature?

    Still, I don't think a takeout place is appropriate for a restaurant reviewer's column.

  5. I believe the comment is correcting your statement that Jason Perlow "was the first to tell the world" or, perhaps more accurately, suggesting you were not fair or accurate when you said Elisa Ung was wrong to not credit him for discovering that.

    Why say he discovered it she or somebody else already wrote about it a year ago? That makes no sense. (Unless in your Eye on Jason Perlow Blog, you're also going to take shots at him for not crediting her with this "discovery")

  6. Reviews of El Caney appeared on as early as January 2010.

    I went over there last year, but was looking for a lunch spot and left because there are no tables. I do not remember where I heard about it.

    I enjoyed Cuban food at Migdalia's Cuban Cafe in Bergenfield for many years at her original spot and later in larger quarters (and wrote about it for The Record), but she closed unexpectedly a couple of years ago.

  7. I think that anonymous commentor is our pizza snob friend from many months ago in disguise.

  8. From Victor Sassoon: "Six weeks after a food blog called Off The Broiler published a long post with photos of El Caney -- a tiny Cuban takeout place in Bergenfield -- Staff Writer Elisa Ung gushes about her "find" in her Sunday column (F-4). Then, she quotes blog author Jason Perlow on how good El Caney's food is, without giving him any credit for finding the place."

    From The Record over a year ago:

    You owe your readers a retraction, Jason Perlow and Elisa Ung apologies and your attitude a few days off from your diet of bile.

  9. Well, if El Caney appeared in The Record's Marketplace feature on March 24, 2010, why is Elisa Ung devoting an entire Sunday column to it more than a year later?

    She is the restaurant reviewer and her Sunday column, The Corner Table, is supposed to be about restaurants, not take-out. Take-out is for Marketplace.

    Maybe, she should have given credit to free-lancer Amy Kuperinsky for finding it.

    Or discussed an issue for her Sunday column of concern to her readers, such as the high price restaurants charge for a glass of wine or why more restaurants don't serve naturally raised meat and poultry.

  10. If anyone should apologize, it's Elisa Ung to her readers for rehashing something that was covered adequately more than a year ago.

    Did she think her readers have short memories? Does she really have no legitimate subjects for her Sunday column?

    On Fridays, she often slams a restaurant in her review, then on Sundays, her column is often so promotional it reads like an ad.

    I apparently saw the March 2010 article on El Caney and went over there, but didn't buy anything because I wanted a sit-down lunch.

    Until Anonymous sent me the link, I didn't remember where I saw something on El Caney.


If you want your comment to appear, refrain from personal attacks on the blogger. Anonymous comments are no longer accepted. Keep your racism to yourself.