Saturday, April 20, 2013

Something is rotten in the city of Hackensack

A recent City Council meeting in Hackensack's City Hall.

Should a city employee function as "Editor" of Hackensack's Community Message Boards, delete information about the Borg family he considers "a personal attack" and not identify himself?

The "Editor" is Albert H. Dib, executive director of  the Upper Main Alliance, a business group that will receive $360,595 in city taxpayer money this year, including his $58,000 salary.

The Main Street group is dominated by real estate interests who pushed for approval of a downtown redevelopment plan by the City Council.

Dib also is said to be Web master of the city of Hackensack's official municipal site, 

He is listed on the Community Message Boards, at, as:

Offline Editor

The May 14 Hackensack City Council election is one of the most important in Hackensack's history, and recently, a lawn sign supporting the Hackensack Coalition for Open Government -- widely viewed as the "Zisa Slate" -- appeared in front of Dib's home in the Fairmount section.

Victor E. Sasson, an independent candidate for City Council, was able to identify the home as Dib's from the list of registered voters and their addresses.

When Sasson questioned Dib's impartiality on HackensackNow, he replied:

"This is a two-family house. My tenant has a right to display lawn signs as well. I have not made up my mind as to all five candidates yet.

"I have been very careful not to endorse any candidates for office on this site. You don't need to try to do that for me. 

"'Editor' has been my handle on this site for almost 10 years now. I don't plan on changing it for you."

The lawn sign was removed a couple of days ago. 

Lawn signs at Euclid Avenue and Clarendon Place in Hackensack.

Kenneth Martin, a retired detective who heads the Open Government slate, has been charged with removing the signs of a rival slate from in front of Hackensack Market on Passaic Street.

Martin boasts of having been the first school resource officer at Hackensack High School. He's setting quite an example for students.

Martin was undone by a surveillance camera after City Council candidate Leo Battaglia of the Citizens for Change slate filed a complaint with police.

A probable cause hearing for Martin is set for Thursday, according to The Record (Friday's L-10).

The home page of

City employee Dib's role on HackensackNow might be overlooked, if he clearly identified himself and didn't censor and delete remarks posted on the sight by "members," who also don't have to identify themselves.

They use such tags as "JustWatching," "BLeafe" and "averagejoe."

The 537 members -- in a city of 45,000 with 20,000 registered voters -- range from residents proud of Hackensack's history and interested in current events to crackpots and vicious character assassins.

When Sasson started posting Eye on The Record and his campaign announcements on HackensackNow, the "Editor" objected and put them under a new category, "Community Soapbox."

The "Editor" even started a poll among members to see whether he could kick Eye on The Record off the site, but only 6 members expressed any opinion. 

When Sasson defended the blog as trying to tell the story of how the Borg family abandoned Hackensack and stood by as editors drastically reduced news of the city, the "Editor" deleted some of those comments.

Specifically, he deleted how a 2008 downsizing followed by several months Publisher Stephen A. Borg's purchase of a $3.65 million McMansion in Tenafly with a company mortgage.

Dib says he has identified himself on HackensackNow in the past.

But new members remain in the dark about his city salary and his loyalties to the Zisa family and city Democratic Party chairwoman Lynne Hurwitz, who have ruled Hackensack for so many decades. 

Today's paper

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes plays catch up today with an expanded story about Tuesday's school board election in Hackensack (L-1).

The story appears after Eye on The Record wondered why Sykes had published immediate follow-ups on the contests in Englewood and Secaucus, but ignored Hackensack, where machine politics again triumphed over reform candidates.

In Hackensack, incumbent Francis W. Albolino won yet another term, having first joined the Board of Education in 1992. 

Fewer than 1,100 of the 20,000 registered voters went to the polls, so the losing slate -- incumbent Rhonda Williams Bembry, Lawrence Eisen and Judith Carter -- also were victims of voter apathy.

Considering all of the board's failures and the poor reputation of the public schools, Albolino is a persuasive argument for term limits.

Upper Main Alliance


A City in Motion


  1. Mr. Sasson could you please elaborate more on what you wrote in your first paragraph "Delete information about the Borg family". Not sure what your trying to explain here.Thanks.

  2. These paragraphs appear later in the post:

    "When Sasson defended the blog as trying to tell the story of how the Borg family abandoned Hackensack and stood by as editors drastically reduced news of the city, the "Editor" deleted some of those comments.

    "Specifically, he deleted how a 2008 downsizing followed by several months Publisher Stephen A. Borg's purchase of a $3.65 million McMansion in Tenafly with a company mortgage.

  3. Mr. Sasson - you need to check your facts. The money that the Main Street Business Alliance receives from the City is NOT taxpayer money. The City collects extra tax money from the members of the Alliance, all of which have agreed to pay a specific amount to belong to the Alliance, and then this extra money is given back to the Alliance. This money DOES NOT come from the average property owner. This money is collected from the Main Street business owners and then returned to the Alliance, which will then in turn spend the money fixing Main Street. You are incorrect to try to convince voters that somehow property owners are handing over $400,000 to the Alliance and Mr. Dib. Might want to check on Mr. Dib's salary also, as I think that the Alliance splits his salary with the City.........

  4. tsk, tsk, another example of incorrect reporting -- Mr. Sasson claims that only 1,100 people came out to vote -- however, if over nine hundred people voted yes for the school budget and in the area of five hundred people voted no, well there is over 1,400 voters right there.

  5. Wow, that's an impressive 1,400 out of 20,000 registered voters. Did Mr. Albolino have something to do with the pathetic turnout?

  6. Look into the work or lack of Mr Dib performs for the city. According to city and alliance staffers he can never be found. Just another Zisa operative on 2 payrolls. Beware of lawyers who do not practice. Also, do you know how long Dib has sucked off the city?

  7. While it's true the $360,000 comes from a "special assessment" on merchants who are members of the Upper Main Alliance, two other things must be said:

    That assessment or tax is a cost of doing business, and it's certainly passed along to paying customers, who do pay property taxes. Also, it's not clear to me why the alliance only represents "upper" Main Street.

    What about the merchants between the courthouse and Atlantic Street, and what about businesses in other parts of Hackensack, including Anderson and Hudson streets. Are the latter too downmarket for the uppity alliance?

    On the school board election turnout, politicians like Francis W. Albolino, who want to stay in office for 20 years, make sure that contest and the City Council race are decided in April and May, respectively, to suppress the vote.

    Refusing to hold those elections at the same time as the general election not only costs taxpayers an enormous amount of extra money, it keeps the turnout down, ensuring the success of Albolino and others whose first priority is reelection, no matter their performance in office.

  8. In yesterday's post on the lawn sign for the Hackensack Coalition for Open Government -- the dreaded "Zisa Slate" -- I reported the sign in front of Albert H. Dib's home had been "removed."

    But when I drove by on Saturday evening, I saw the so-called Open Government sign had actually only been moved to the property line of his house and the house on the corner that is occupied by a lawyer's office.

    So, I guess Dib is only "distancing" himself from the Zisa Slate. LOL.

  9. I am trying to get information on what Albert H. Dib does for the city and the Upper Main Alliance and how much he is paid in total. When he is in City Hall, he has an office on the first floor, next to the information desk.


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