Sunday, April 7, 2013

More deeply flawed reporting in Local

An ambulance from Hackensack University Medical Center, whose repeated expansions have forever changed life in its Hackensack neighborhood, and not for the better. The non-profit hospital doesn't pay taxes on an estimated $130 million in property.

On the front of today's Local news section in The Record, the first major Hackensack story since March 22 and the Road Warrior column both contain major errors.

If past practice is any guide, readers shouldn't expect to see corrections published on Monday's A-2.

Today's L-1 story on attorney Richard Malagiere and the controversial Bergen Passaic Long-Term Acute Care Hospital almost halves the height of the rejected building.

Given the bitter, 3-year battle between Prospect Avenue residents and the developer, reporting that the hospital would be 10 stories -- and not 19 stories or the originally proposed 24 stories -- is simply irresponsible, and only rubs salt in residents' wounds.

Dissing Hackensack

Hackensack readers are accustomed to being ignored by head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza.

But they continue to wonder why The Record pays a six-figure salary to Production Editor Liz Houlton, whose sleep-deprived copy editors and proof readers keep on missing major errors passed onto them by Sykes and Sforza.  

The story on LTACH, as the hospital plan is known, quotes only two of the 11 candidates in the upcoming City Council election in reference to Malagiere, a Zisa family ally who is the former zoning board attorney.

Zisaville pays well

Malagiere has received more than $1.2 million in legal fees from Hackensack and the Bergen County freeholders in the past three years.

The story also quotes City Attorney Joseph C. Zisa Jr. as defending the retention of Malagiere on the LTACH case at $125 an hour to fight the developer's appeal.

Zisa, cousin of disgraced former Police Chief Ken "I Am The Law" Zisa, appears to see his role as facilitating the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to a small fraternity of lawyers, including Malagiere.

Say it ain't so, Joe

In the nearly 11 months since Ken Zisa was convicted, The Record has never questioned why Joseph Zisa still is the city attorney.

Throw the bum out, says City Council candidate Victor E. Sasson, editor of Eye on The Record. 

Another bum

Staff Writer John Cichowski has made so many major errors in The Road Warrior column, he has totally lost any credibility.

Today, his response to a question from Hackensack reader James Pepe about "anonymous reporting of litterers" is not only flip (L-6), but completely ignores the right to swear out a citizen's complaint, as I did when I saw a woman throw a lit cigarette butt out of her car in Teaneck.

I wrote down her license-plate number and make of car, drove to police headquarters and asked that a summons be issued to the car owner.

I was notified of a court date and showed up, as did the woman who littered.

The judge didn't fine her, because he said I couldn't positively identify her as the driver, but he did lecture her about the fire danger of throwing a lit cigarette butt out of her car window.

Any driver or pedestian can use the same procedure to have a summons sworn out against someone who litters, passes a stop sign or red light, or doesn't yield to them in a crosswalk.  

See previous posts on mass transit 
and Hackensack City Council campaign 

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