By VICTOR E. SASSON
At a forum in a Prospect Avenue high-rise on Wednesday night, all 11 candidates for Hackensack City Council pledged to stop a developer who is fighting a zoning-board decision that rejected his plan for a 19-story hospital.
The long-term, acute-care center -- known as Bergen Passaic LTACH -- would be built between Prospect and Summit avenues, near Golf Place, outside the city's hospital zone.
A coalition of Prospect Avenue residents fought the plan for about three years before the zoning board decided the matter in January 2012.
In a basement meeting room at The Whitehall luxury co-op, independent candidate Victor E. Sasson, editor of Eye on The Record, was seated between his opponents -- two 5-member slates that call themselves Hackensack Citizens for Change and Hackensack Coalition for Open Government.
Sasson felt like he was being asked to part the Dead Sea.
Where was The Record?
No reporter for The Record covered the forum, the first of four planned at Prospect Avenue high-rises near the proposed site, which is zoned residential.
Citing the tax-exempt status of Hackensack University Medical Center, Sasson said there is no way of knowing whether developer Richard Peneles would apply for non-profit status after his hospital was built and stop paying property taxes.
Go to the river
An appropriate place for such a hospital is the 20-acre River Street parcel owned by the Borg family's North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, which abandoned Hackenack in 2009.
The property has become an eyesore. Now, wire is being stripped from the four-story building in anticipation of its demolition.
Sasson urges Pineles and the Borg family to get together and work out a land and money swap that would pave the way for construction of LTACH in a commercial zone with access to highways.
Because NJMG's land is in a flood zone, LTACH could take the form of a dry docked hospital ship -- with parking below decks -- and be dubbed Borg's Ark.
Then, when the next Sandy hits, LTACH would be able to ride out the storm.
Another appropriate place for the 19-story hospital is also on River Street, at Kansas Street, land occupied by Costco Wholesale, which is rumored to be leaving Hackensack in about a year.
Superstorm Sandy unleashed unprecedented coverage of the Jersey shore, as two stories on today's front page show.
Now, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza, have an excuse for not covering Hackensack and many other towns.
Paramus officials seem blind to the possibility that merchants who allow their sign lights to burn after 11 p.m. are contributing to public safety and deterring burglaries (A-1).
Big local news
Readers will find major Hackensack news on L-2, where a photo shows a street-light and solar-panel pole that was knocked down by a bus in front of police headquarters.
The photo caption says only the pole fell "on State Street."
Was the NJ Transit driver cited? Readers have no clue.