Saturday, August 6, 2011

Editors help PA sell toll, fare hikes

img_0547Image by Mulad via Flickr
At $2.75, the PATH fare would be one of the highest in the U.S.

Hey, Shawn Boburg, you're supposed to be a reporter covering the Port Authority, so why do you sound like an agency spokesman trying to sell a plan to more than double Hudson River tolls and make the PATH rail fare one of the highest in the nation?

Hey, Deirdre Sykes, you're supposed to be the head assignment editor of The Record, so where is reaction from commuters in today's lavish Page 1 coverage? Did you go home early on Friday to get a jump on your weekend?

And where is the editorial condemning the plan from Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin, seemingly the paper's only advocate of mass transit?

Lazy edition

You know the Woodland Park daily is falling down on the job when a paper like the Daily News delivers a complete package that includes reaction from a Teaneck commuter, and his photo, as well as an editorial.

Boburg, on the other hand, front-loads his story with what sounds like the bi-state agency's press release, complete with justification for the record hikes.

Readers have to wade through the boilerplate and turn to A-6 to hear U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., slam the proposal as "unfair" and "yet another assault on New Jersey's commuters."

Another critic noted Governor Christie redirected $1.8 billion from the Port Authority for use on state roads after he killed the biggest expansion of passenger-rail capacity in memory, the Hudson River rail-tunnel project.

Pay for what?

Why should drivers and PATH riders pay for cost overruns and mismanagement of the World Trade Center site construction, which will be incomplete on the 10th anniversary of 9/11?

Will the increased revenue result in the long-overdue second bus lane on the helix into the Lincoln Tunnel to relieve a standing-room-only commute for thousands? 

Boburg doesn't bother asking those questions and others, and his assignment editor must have merely spell-checked the story before sending it on.

Also on A-1 today, why did it take six days to report July was the second-warmest month ever recorded, dating to 1895?

On A-11, four letters to the editor slam gullible Staff Writer Elisa Ung -- the restaurant reviewer and columnist -- for her July 31 article putting a positive spin on the brutal force-feeding and killing of ducks to produce swollen livers known as foie gras.

However, on Twitter, her editor praised her handling of the story:

 Susan Sherrill 

Second look

One of the best stories in the paper this week was in Sports: Staff Writer Gregory  Schutta turned in a detailed and sensitive piece on the adjustment of Paramus Little League ace Hiro Mizutani after he moved here in June 2010 from Japan.

One of the worst was Ung's review of Joe's Crab Shack in Clifton, with an undeserved rating and headlines that seem designed to keep the chain's ads coming.

Maybe the restaurant should be called Joe's Crap Shack.

See previous post on Hekemian & Co.


  1. Victor:

    Congratulations! 50,000+ on the Bravenet counter!

  2. Thanks. That's only since April 11.

  3. You're right. There should have been commuter reaction to the toll hike proposal.


  5. I like the proposed toll hikes. I am also in favor of having exclusive lanes reserved for those willing to pay, perhaps, $25-$35 for express access.

    I also believe governor Christie is doing an excellent job; I thoroughly enjoy the status quo of living in Bergen County and and thrilled that COAH is dead.

  6. It took six days because the Stephen must have seen it somewhere else and copied (a.k.a. stole) it.

    In his actual words as he was justifying stealing someone else's idea two years ago, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

  7. You like the proposed toll hikes because you're filthy rich, take a limo into the city every day and resent having to endure bumper-to-bumper traffic with all those working stiffs?

    Plus, you're asserting your constitutional right to live in an all-white community without any minorities in affordable housing, but you probably employ them to do your garden and clean your mansion, it that right?

    You think Christie is doing an excellent job, because you get to keep more of your money than if you were taxed for your fair share?

    I guess you're not ashamed to be a member of the ruling class, and you probably were just lucky to be born into a wealthy family -- like Stephen Borg and his big sister, Jennifer, the two spoiled brats running North Jersey Media Group.

  8. For some reason I can't recall, I had to reset the Bravenet counter in April after it racked up about 135,000 hits in one year.

    The counter tracks all the hits on the blog, including mine, and it is probably inflated.

    Still, I appear to have more readership this year than last.

  9. Yeah, Stephen Borg also used to trot out the "It's good enough" rationale for lousy work, such as when a special tabloid on the George Washington Bridge's impact on New Jersey carried a cover photo of New York, thanks to the clueless direction of Projects Editor Tim Nostrand.

    Borg apparently didn't know Nostrand squandered a lot of cash to rent a helicopter -- only to capture a shot of the bridge and upper Manhattan.

  10. I think you're not seeing the forest for the saplings. The Port Authority proposal is actually a bargain. Look at it this way. Say you don't have an eZpass transponder in your vehicle and quite by accident you find yourself mistakenly passing through an eZpass lane at the George Washington bridge BAM! Next day's mail there's a bill for eight bucks PLUS a twenty five dollar fee. Why, do the math, what kind of usurious interest is that, 300 percent a day, John Gotti was a bargain next to that.

    SO, say the tolls go up to $12 and careful as you may be, some fool cuts you off and you swerve to miss him and find yourself in the eZpass lane again BAM, twelve bucks plus the same twenty five dollar "fee."

    Do the math, you've just saved 100 percent on the interest Governor Christie is reaching into your pocket to grab. Is that a bargain or what? Think of how much you could save if they raised the GWB toll to $24. Of course then the "fee" would probably go up to $50 and we'd have to start all over again. Are you reading this, Johnny? There's probably a road warrior column or six to be had. Don't thank me for the tip. You're welcome. Look out for the ice falling off the top of that truck in front of you. Oh, I forgot, it's August.

  11. The Port Authority long has talked about how high the tolls would have to be to get people to leave their cars at home and take mass transit.

    Back in the late 1980s, that toll was said to be $8, but you can see how ineffective that has been in cutting car traffic.

    But I'm not sure if the agency still wants to cut traffic and toll revenue, given its lukewarm support of public transportation, especially how it drags its feet on adding a second bus lane into the Lincoln Tunnel.


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