Sunday, August 21, 2011

Christie gets more passes on mass transit

NJ Transit headquarters in Newark, NJImage via Wikipedia
NJ Transit has been slow to replace decades-old local buses in North Jersey,
but The Record could care less about the minorities who ride them.

For the second day in a row, Editor Francis Scandale tries to sell The Record with sensational, tabloid-like, front-page coverage of a crime that has absolutely no affect on community safety (A-1).

Readers are left with crumbs along the edges, including a major piece on Governor Christie, the Hudson River rail tunnels he killed and the toll-and-fare hikes approved Friday.

Neither the A-1 story by Staff Writer John Reitmeyer -- nor a piece on the Opinion front -- really explore how bad Christie has been for public transit, and how his backing of the toll hikes will do little to improve life for commuters standing in the aisles on trains and buses into Manhattan or for minorities forced to ride on rattle-trap local buses.

Tunnel vision

The paper's lazy assignment desk largely ignores public transportation, allowing Road Warrior John Cichowski to continue indulging his obsessions with highway ramps, stop signs, lane lines and other minutiae (L-1); and reducing transportation writer Karen Rouse to a construction-detour  reporter.  

This neglect is an improvement over the major anti-light rail articles by Tom Davis, a former transportation writer, and the Tenafly reporter published under the direction of clueless head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza.

Sforza, whose laziness set the tone for his many successors, spent a lot of his time as a transportation reporter writing about "highways of the future," and ignoring new NJ Transit cruiser buses with defective, screeching rear brakes and roaring engines that drove people crazy along residential routes.

Readers get shaft

Boy, Staff Writer John Brennan does another great job of blowing Jon F. Hanson, a close, multimillionaire friend of Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, who is co-owner of a business jet with the real estate tycoon.

In today's A-1 story on reigning in bloated salaries at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Brennan neglects to mention Hanson was agency chairman when it was even more wasteful.

When Christie named Hanson as his adviser on sports and gaming in the state in February 2010, The Star-Ledger Editorial Page blasted the appointment:

"Judging by the wet kiss [Jon] Hanson gave to the NJSEA in a recent sugar-coated transition report, he is not an objective guardian of taxpayer interests. As a former chairman of the NJSEA, Hanson is an alumnus of Mismanagement University, East Rutherford campus. He helped create the problem. Hanson is joined on the panel by Robert Mulcahy, who was in at the creation as well."

Drink up if you can

On the front of Local, Staff Writer Sachi Fujimori's upbeat story on a Jersey wine festival at Demarest Farms doesn't convey how later arrivals found no room to park at the Hillsdale farm, fought big crowds and got far less than the "inch" of wine she reports was poured into individual glasses (L-1).

The cover story in Real Estate is ruined by an editing error in the first paragraph of a story on tenants, not to mention the unimaginative main headline.

The lead paragraph reports the market "has continued to tightened."

Roof is leaking

It's maddening to see the section wasting space week after week on vacation homes hundreds or thousands of miles away from New Jersey. Today, the section also carries a story on downtown renters in Milwaukee (R-6).

What about a weekly feature readers can use on shore and lake homes in the Garden State?

And why do banks' dirty work by continue to peddle "low interest rates"? Instead, tell home buyers they'll be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest over the 30 years of their mortgage -- close to what they paid for the house.

Why didn't the editors tell readers Martin E. Robins -- author of an Opinion piece supporting Port Authority toll-and-fare hikes (O-1) -- is a former director of planning and development for the bi-state agency?

Travel editor junket?

Travel Editor Jill Schensul swamps readers with details on her application for a Russian visa, but neglects to say whether it's an ethically challenging free travel junket or one that will cost The Record a few thousand dollars (T-1).

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1 comment:

  1. No stories on the Shore because they aren't syndicated.


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