Sunday, March 10, 2013

Do-nothing slate starts Hackensack campaign

Extra-wide Fairmount Avenue runs through one of Hackensack's quiet neighborhoods.

Hackensack City Councilman John Labrosse is the only incumbent seeking another term in the May 14 election, but his own campaign literature is silent on exactly what he's accomplished in the past four years.

In a pamphlet he is distributing, Labrosse claims his victory in 2009 was "a blow against the city's power elite."

Now, he calls his 5-person slate Citizens for Change.

Labrosse's seat warming on the council only shows change is long overdue.

HUMC monster  

More troubling is that Labrosse works in plant operations at Hackensack University Medical Center, whose tax-exempt property is a burden the city's hard-pressed homeowners and other property tax payers can no longer afford.

If he is elected, Labrosse will be totally ineffective in getting his employer to give back more to Hackensack in lieu of taxes. 

Shouldn't the highly profitable hospital contribute millions of dollars to a city that has been changed fundamentally by its expansion and an ambulance service that disturbs residents at all hours of the day and night?

The money could be used to repave Prospect Avenue from Ross to Central avenues and beyond; install traffic lights at Prospect Avenue intersections with stop signs and plant vegetable gardens to improve nutrition at the public schools, among other projects. 

That's part of the campaign platform of blogger Victor E. Sasson.

Many residents believe another 5-person slate, the Coalition for Open Government, is backed by allies of the Zisa family, which has ruled Hackensack for decades.   

Today's paper

Here's another Sunday front page from Editor Marty Gottlieb that brings a collective shrug from the vast majority of The Record's readers.

As Hackensack residents re-assess how HUMC can improve residents' quality of life, Gottlieb obsesses over hospital "rivalries worthy of a novel" in Passaic city and Newark (A-1).

A silly Page 1 column grades two baseball players as readers continue to give flunking grades to the paper's sports and news columnists, including Mike Kelly (O-1) and Road Warrior John Cichowski (L-1).

Also on A-1, a gee-whiz, who-cares story reports a blind scientist disputes the 2011 guilty verdict against a man who threw his wife off the Palisades.

Finally, tens of thousands Jewish and Muslim readers shrug over who will be the next pope (A-1). 


On the front of Local, Staff Writer John Brennan claims the scheduling of a meeting is "another sign of the quickening pace of renewal for American Dreams Meadowlands" (L-1).

Readers roll their eyes.

On the Business front today, The Record continues to ignore customers with a splashy story on a wealthy "restaurant sales guru," whatever that is (B-1).

Using their beans

Just about the best thing in the paper is on the Better Living cover, a story on Phoebe's Place in Teaneck and other coffeehouses that serve as cultural communities.

I also loved the headline, "Cafe ole!" (BL-1).

Can't afford the time

The Opinion piece on affordable housing is also welcome, but its length will put many readers to sleep (O-1).

Hundreds of words should have been edited out, including the writer's annoying habit of quoting people with such introductory phrases as "in the word of one of its fiercest critics" or "in the words of ... a Springfield attorney."

It's no surprise the piece was written by lifer Charles Saydah, who until recently had the cushy job of editor of the letters to the editor. 

Saydah laughed at deadlines and left the building nearly every day to jog -- this while some of his co-workers on the news copy desk were denied meal and coffee breaks.


  1. Regarding your blogging about hospital coverage, you might notice that The Valley Hospital is preparing an elephant footprint for Ridgewood not totally dissimilar to that of HUMC in Hackensack. So, it's not necessarily inaccurate to report and believe that the opposition to Valley is still alive and kicking with Valley's every new step along the way. Also, we should all recall that Valley, along with Englewood Hospital, objected about HUMC's slimy tentacles wrapping around the former Pascack Valley vestige in Westwood in partnership with a for-profit partner. The objectors were vigorous in their complaints to state health authorities. In the case of Pascack, public benefit has been washed away by private profit and, presumably, property taxes.

    The Wretched may have reached a new low in inaccuracy via a false public notice from the Borough of Montvale published on Jan. 25, which claimed to be from the borough planning board and announced a Feb. 5 public hearing on a planned amendment to Montvale's master plan. However, the agenda for the Feb. 5 meeting had no reference to the amendment, and there was no public mention of it during the meeting. Asked about the notice in The Wretched, the planning board vice chairman said he knew nothing about it. I sent letters calling attention to the situation to the editors of both the daily and NJMG weekly servng Montvale. Neither letter was published by either paper. At The Wretched, Saydah went into a huff? DO YOU KNOW WHO HAS REPLACED HIM? -- BECAUSE THE 3/9 ISSUE HAS A REPEAT OF THE NOTICE, telling readers this time that the planning board will hear the amendment on 3/19. Either this notice is as false as the last or Montvale thinks no one is looking for facts behind public notices any more than ad takers at the paper.

  2. Did you get enough petitions signed at Dunkin Donuts to be eligible to file tomorrow?

  3. Yes. I have enough, but will be getting more than enough.

  4. Judging by your comments about the papal election, can we assume you're running on an anti-Catholic platform?

  5. Dear anonymous: Check with municipal clerk, who would have placed the ad. Blaming the paper for not fact-checking a legal notice is like blaming the paper because you don't Ike the sale price of grapes at Kings.

  6. No. It's a non-partisan, non-denominational election. I love Catholics, but not their spiritual leaders.

  7. The paper did charge for the bogus ad, and my letter to the editor started by questioning whether newspapers should vet public notices allegedly from Montvale. That prompted an e-mail exchange with Saydah in which he claimed I was accusing the paper of something, that it was guilty of nothing, and that there was an official signoff to the notice that would make it subject to usual billing. I protested that I was accusing the paper of nothing, only claiming that the borough was a false advertiser. Then there was silence.


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