Friday, March 8, 2013

Since Sandy, coverage shifts to the shore

Another rough ride on Louis Street near Fairmount Avenue in Hackensack has many residents wondering why city officials are giving a 30-year tax break to a wealthy apartment developer, especially in view of hundreds of millions of dollars in property that yields no taxes to pay for road paving, city owned hybrid cars, better food in the high school and other sorely needed improvements.

Hey, Editor Marty Gottlieb, remember North Jersey?

More than four months after Superstorm Sandy, The Record today leads Page 1 with two more stories about the mess -- in a shift of coverage that has left many towns in Bergen and Passaic counties feeling neglected.

Yes. We want front-page, blow-by-blow coverage of  a lucrative clean-up contract awarded to AshBritt, a Florida-based disaster recovery firm with close ties to Haley Barbour, one of Governor Christie's key allies.

And yes. Most North Jerseyans love the shore, but few can actually afford to own a home there, so how about putting stories about homeowners bracing for another storm or having to elevate homes inside the paper.

Hospital expansions

Ridgewood residents girding for new hearings on the expansion of The Valley Hospital are lucky they don't live in Hackensack, which has been changed fundamentally by the expansion of the non-profit Hackensack University Medical Center (A-1).

The Record's coverage of  the growing medical center pales in comparison to the endless stories about the Ridgewood hospital, and the Borg siblings may have something to do with that.

Vice President and General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg was an HUMC board member for many years, and may have discouraged negative coverage.

Meanwhile, Publisher and President Stephen A. Borg, who is on the President's Council at the Ridgewood hospital, may be encouraging blanket coverage. 

Little comfort 

Protestations over dedication of a stone to women sexually enslaved by the Japanese armed forces -- and even claims that it never happened -- remind many of the annual denial of the Armenian holocaust by the Turks (A-1).

Production Editor Liz Houlton's copy desk made a mess of this story, which never uses the word "Korean" or "Koreans" on Page 1, even though many of the so-called comfort women were Korean.

The headline also is botched in an irresponsible way that insults the victims

They were not "Japan's comfort women," as the headline says, but women from Korea, China and other Asian countries invaded by the Japanese.

Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado also refers to e-mails as "electronic missives." Give me a break. 

Houlton should be fired immediately, and her six-figure salary distributed as bonuses to the staff.

Hackensack news 

On the front of Local, Staff Writer Hannan Adely reports on the possibility of higher parking fees on Main Street and higher parking fines -- in her fourth story about the city in as many days  (L-1).

Residents would like to see some of the extra revenue from parking fees and fines -- along with revenue from red-light cameras and stricter enforcement of traffic laws -- dedicated to property tax relief.

John, Sandy and errors

As if readers aren't already sick and tired of Sandy coverage, Road Warrior John Cichowski revisits the gasoline shortage brought on by the Oct. 29 storm (L-1).

In Wednesday's column, the tired Cichowski confused miles and minutes in his incredibly boring column about a small minority of commuters who travel at least 90 miles and spend at least 50 minutes getting to work:

"He doesn't complain about the time (90 minutes) or the distance (52 minutes) required to reach Manhattan," Cichowski wrote, and the error was completely missed by his assignment editor and the copy desk (Wednesday's L-2).

For the complete text of a concerned reader's e-mail to management, click on the following link to the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

John Cichowski: Can you find the error?

Lays an egg

In Better Living, I'm glad to see a review of a restaurant that serves "mostly organic" food, but surely The Record can do better than the Red Hen Bistro, which is open only two days a week (BL-14)?

And isn't this at least the second review of the small Wood-Ridge BYO, which was run by a different chef in 2011

See previous post, 
A rare peep from a North Jersey racist


  1. I miss the drawings of editorial cartoonist Jimmy Margulies in The Record. He brought a local and state perspective to skewer the politicians and bring about commentary on social issues. The replacement cartoons haven't matched his skills. This week alone I believe all the cartoons focused only on the sequestration. Maybe since the NY Times has no editorial cartoonist, Marty Gottlieb saw no need for one in-house at his new domain?

  2. You are so right. What a boneheaded move, especially with do-nothings like Deirdre Sykes, Liz Houlton, Jean Rimbach and Dan Sforza on the staff.


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