Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A forgotten neighborhood only blocks from renewal

Look in any direction and you'll find a run-down neighborhood of homes, rooming houses, small warehouses and a large, empty lot only blocks from Hackensack City Hall and the State Street renewal plan headlined in The Record's Local section today.

A house on the edge of the lot, which appears to have been the site of a warehouse or other type of business. The lot could be transformed into a park for neighborhood residents.

There is a good deal missing in the Hackensack story that leads The Record's Local section today on a luxury-apartment plan that city officials are heralding as the first step in the renewal of Main Street (L-1).

Even more troubling is the sentence reporting the City Council will consider an ordinance to approve "a payment in lieu of taxes" from the developer.

The city's hard-pressed property tax payers -- already saddled with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-exempt property -- can ill afford anything but full property taxes on new projects, especially if they add children to the crowded school system.

The State Street redevelopment area is only blocks from a neighborhood City Hall forgot -- at Park and Gamewell streets -- with a gaping open lot, homes  and small warehouses.

Clearly, the City Council feels more comfortable giving tax breaks to wealthy developers than it does in giving neighborhood residents a break in the form of a park or other amenity.

Tractor-trailers must wake up residents or at least assault them with unwanted noise. In the background are high-rises on Prospect Avenue, where residents contend with aircraft noise from business jets headed for Teterboro Airport.
Lawyers who must appear in Municipal Court and worshipers at a nearby mosque on Trinity Place -- a former Knights of Columbus hall -- use the neighborhood off Union Street for the free street parking it offers.
I couldn't find anyone who knew how long this lot has been empty, what had been there or how long ago it had been torn down.

'The Whale'

The thumbnail photo of Governor Christie's full, jowly face on Page 1 today could serve as a compelling argument for New Jersey to adopt the whale as the state fish.

Christie blasts the leadership in Washington, but continues to make a mess of state finances, including a pension system for public workers that has an unfunded liability of $47.2 billion (A-1).

Modern-day plantation

Englewood also is mismanaged, as today's A-1 story on school outsourcing makes clear.

The wealthy city counts Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach as residents, two reasons there are few white students in the public schools.

Tired editors

I love the front-page Chris Pedota enterprise photos of a man balancing a tire on his head in Paterson, but isn't the caption wrong in describing what he is doing as "acrobatic skills"?

You can always count on Production Editor Liz Houlton's copy desk to screw something up on Page 1, and for everyone else to miss it.


  1. Victor, ever hear of a blog/website called "New Jersey Watchdog" by reporter Mark Lagerkuist? What do you think of him and the site. Thanks.

  2. Thanks. Will take a look, and let you know.

  3. Looks like Jennifer Borg is off the New Jersey Press Association as a Officer or Board Member.Not sure if the comment is accurate,might be a interesting story for your Blog.Is there a re-election every year to be a board member?

  4. Sorry. The New Jersey Press Association comment.


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