Thursday, April 11, 2013

When paving streets, residents' income level is crucial

In March, a light rain highlighted broken pavement on Louis Street in Hackensack's Fairmount section, one of the city's nicest residential areas.

At this week's City Council meeting, Hackensack City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono delivered some bad news to well-off residents who hope to see their streets paved before 2050.

This year's proposed municipal budget contains only $300,000 for repairing streets, but the city also will receive an unspecified amount in grants for that purpose.

However, the grants come with a catch. There is less grant money to pave streets where residents have higher incomes, Lo Iacono said.

Go figure. If residents of a street have higher incomes, it's likely they also have more expensive homes or apartments and pay higher property taxes. 

Why doesn't that help determine the amount of paving grants for their streets?

Euclid Avenue

Victor E. Sasson, editor of Eye on The Record and  the only independent candidate in the May 14 Hackensack City Council election, has joked he is running to get his street paved.

Euclid Avenue hasn't been paved since 1979, according to long-time residents of Hackensack, and each year for the past few years, Sasson has called the Department of Public Works, only to be told his street is "on the list." 

Lo Iacono told Sasson at Tuesday night's meeting Euclid Avenue will be paved this fall, which is the "paving season."

Sasson replied his street is far from the worst street. What about Louis Street or Prospect Avenue?

Lo Iacono also said he couldn't even give a ballpark estimate of how much it costs to pave one block, noting it depends on how much of the street has to be torn up and so forth.

'19-story monster'

Residents of Baridge House questioned City Council candidates on Wednesday night, in the second such forum sponsored by the Prospect Avenue Coaltion, which has been fighting a 19-story Long-Term Acute Care Hospital proposed nearby for more than 3 years.

Moderator Ted Moskowitz, an attorney, referred to the plan, known as LTACH, as the "19-story monster down the block."

All of the candidates pledged the city's total resources to stop the hospital. The developer is appealing the city zoning board's 5-0 vote, denying him the variances he needed to build. 

Sasson suggested that all or part of the 20-acre River Street parcel owned by North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, would be an ideal site for the proposed hospital and more than 400 parking spaces. 

The Record, which abandoned Hackensack in 2009, didn't cover Wednesday night's forum or the first one on March 20.

Tick-Tock plot

On the front page of today's paper, regular users of the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway found out why state police haven't been enforcing laws against speeding, tailgating and reckless driving.

In the best New York tabloid tradition, Editor Marty Gottlieb splashes a sensational tale all over Page 1 about a diner manager who allegedly cooked up a plot to kill his boss and the boss' wife.

No patrols

Unfortunately, the "hit man" and a second undercover operative were state troopers pulled off speeding patrols, and who knows how many other state police officers were working behind the scenes.

Is this story really worth an overlong news story, a  sidebar on the Tick-Tock Diner, a map and all of those photos?

And, of course, all that overblown coverage guarantees plenty of errors by head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Production Editor Liz Houlton, supervisor of the luckless copy desk.

The drop headline says awkwardly the manager of the diner "hired hit on boss." 

"Hired hit"? What's missing? The full drop headline is:

Police say
manager of 
diner hired
hit on boss, 
wife's uncle

But the "boss" and "wife's uncle" are one in the same, according to the story, and the photo caption also identifies him as such.

The story also refers to the boss two ways, as "the owner" of the Clifton diner and as the "co-owner." Which is accurate?

yBad lesson

Sykes' Local news section today is dominated by school news, but the only mention of Hackensack is in a chart on per-pupil spending.

With four days before Hackensack's school board election, Sykes still hasn't published a story on the six candidates and what they want to accomplish.   

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