Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paper's target gets new post in Hackensack

English: This is a photo I took myself of the ...
Michael Mordaga's "heroics" as chief of detectives in Hackensack "propelled him to near legendary status," Staff Writer Hannan Adely reports today. (Wikipedia)

Michael Mordaga, the decorated former chief of detectives in Hackensack, has been under investigation by The Record since at least 2006, three years before the paper moved out of the city and assigned it the news value of an obscure foreign country.

On Tuesday night, Mordaga was named as the city's $150,000-a-year civilian police director -- at a salary that is less than what disgraced former Police Chief Ken Zisa was making. 

In Hackensack, Mordaga will be running a force that is about the same size of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office staff he supervised until 2007, when he retired. 

A clean break?

The lead story on Page 1 today doesn't discuss whether the city manager's appointment of Mordaga is the kind of clean break residents were hoping for after the sordid criminal charges and lawsuits filed against Zisa, whose family has ruled the city for decades.

On A-6, the paper's clueless copy desk identifies Jamayla Scott, who spoke in support of Mordaga, as an "Englewood public school teacher," never explaining why an out-of-towner would appear at the City Council meeting to do so.

Scott is a Hackensack native, she told council officials and the audience.

Crooked city seal

People who attended the meeting on Tuesday night noticed that a large city seal showing Chief Oratam -- which hangs on the wall behind council members -- is crooked, which may be fitting depending on your view of the honesty of city government. 

Christie sellout growing

Editor Marty Gottlieb wastes a large part of the front page today on a photo of Devils hockey fans, minimizing a report on Governor Christie's sellout to special interests (A-1).

Staff Writer Melissa Hayes says the GOP bully raised $2.14 million in the last quarter of 2012, and names the donors, including Big Tobacco, a sports team and the Port Authority police.

Hayes' story doesn't say what Christie is expected to do in return for the money, if he wins a second term in the November election. 

But readers now have an explanation of why Christie -- who appears to be eating everbody's lunch -- and his wife, Mary Pat, didn't attend a New Jersey themed gala on Sunday night to celebrate President Obama's second term (A-6 on Monday).

Christie, who passed up "authentic Jersey diner" french fries at the party, said he was traveling, presumably to collect more money for his re-election bid. 

Goodbye, Silk City 

Also on A-1 today, a decision by Greenbaum Interiors to close its 100,000-square-foot showroom in downtown Paterson is called "the latest blow" to the Silk City. 

I guess that includes the designation of the city's Great Falls as a National Park, which will draw visitors from all across the country and around the world, not just from North Jersey and New York State, as the high-end furniture manufacturer did.

Is this what head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes of The Record calls local journalism?

Runaway column

On Sykes' Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski again substitutes the opinions of cranky drivers for his own reporting, in a familiar Q&A that is pathetically thin on information about commuting problems (L-1).

Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza, needed a gee-whiz photo of a non-fatal rollover accident to fill out the Local front.

Her salad days

On the Better Living front, Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill, who often promotes recipes filled with artery clogging cream, butter and bacon, has a welcome feature on winter salads (BL-1).

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