Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bowing down to the mighty Port Authority

Hudson river sailboat
Port Authority executives and cops are among the highest paid in the region.

Where were all the stories in The Record about the Port Authority's profligate pay and overtime policies before the bi-state agency rammed through exorbitant Hudson River toll and fare hikes?

Today's Page 1 expose of "hidden" executive pay is too little, too late -- coming months after the governors of New Jersey and New York approved the increases.

In the months before the hikes were proposed, the crack assignment desk under Editor Deirdre Sykes had reporter Shawn Boburg writing a long story on the plumbing of the 9/11 Memorial waterfalls.

Truth or dare

In a March 15, 2011, interview with Port Authority Chairman David Samson -- Governor Christie's pick -- Boburg asked about tolls and fares. Here's the exchange:

On whether cross-Hudson tolls and fares might go up in the next year:
 "I don't want to speculate on that at this point. … To give you a specific date or specific timeline, there'd be no factual basis for that. … The Port Authority has been tightening its belt with decreased revenues over the last couple of years. We, like all government agencies, and certainly like the state of New Jersey and the state of New York, have to do more with less. And we've had flat operating budgets for two years now. We've got less employees than any time since 1940. So the Port is doing everything it can to keep an eye on its expenses and its revenues."

The bi-state agency proposed its steepest toll increases in memory on Aug. 5, 2011. 

There's nothing in today's story on whether the governors or the agency's chairman will order changes to prevent executives who received $10,000 to $70,000 a year in extra pay from doing so in the future.

Protecting wealthy

On A-3, the Christie administration already has started its propaganda campaign against a tax surcharge on millionaires, getting the jump on any legislative proposal from the Democrats.

Christie's chief economist claims high taxes drive out the state's wealthiest residents, without providing any names. 

Nor is The Record and other compliant media asking the administration to identify any of the GOP bully's millionaire supporters.

One thing is clear: Without an estimated $1 billion in extra taxes from the wealthy, everyone else in the state suffers from Christie's cuts to balance the state budget.

The paper continues to fulminate against Paterson Mayor Jeffrey Jones for thinking its OK to collect overtime during Hurricane Irene, but for some reason, an editorial on A-20 today stops short of asking for his removal from office.

Police news

The death of a 6-year-old Ridgewood girl, who apparently was struck and killed by a vehicle in a family friend's driveway, is the lead story on the front of Local today -- just one of the police and court stories Sykes relies on to fill the section.

A big photo on L-1 shows an injured woman being removed from her car after a collision with an SUV driven by an 81-year-old man, who was cited for careless driving, but don't expect a follow on whether help is available for drivers in their 70s and 80s.

There is no Hackensack news in the paper today.

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  1. Just a dumb observation from someone who never worked at a newspaper...when day after day I see your comment "There is no Hackensack news in the paper today" one would think that this would send a subtle message to those in charge to go find some. Hackensack is a pretty big town. The Record used to be located there. The "interim editor" must have worked there or at least knows where it is. One would think those in charge would devise some way to get "Hackensack news" in the paper on at least one day a week just so that you wouldn't have to point it out. Go figure; I can't.

  2. Maybe the reporter has been diverted into another project, investigation or whatever by the assignment desk or the editors just don't give a shit.

    Publisher Stephen Borg doesn't give a shit about Hackensack or its Main Street, so why should his robotic editors?

  3. I think it was yesterday the Hackensack reporter's byline appeared over a story from tiny Harrington Park, where head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes lives.

    That burg gets better coverage than the paper's former home.

  4. Maybe it should be called the missed-assignment desk. I fall asleep trying to read the paper. Watching glasses of water provide more mental stimulation. I loved today's front page headline "Empowering the tormented"...sounds like the cry of someone who has just stopped their home delivery subscription!

  5. The Local coverage is basically covering meetings and reporting police and court news.

    One day later, I can't recall the story under the headline you cite.

  6. There's a good reason the Record of Woodland Heights opposes a tax surcharge for the wealthy. It would probably force Stephen to move to the Cayman Islands and let NJMG forecolose on his $3.7 million mansion, thus causing even more reporters and copy editors to be laid off. Rumor is the paper is preparing a counterattack against Eye on the Record: Watch for Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin to write an editorial in the near future calling for a surcharge on kimchi to balance the budget.


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