Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Christie's 'Jersey Comeback' is really 'Jersey Come'

A "YES WE CAN TAX THE RICH" bumper sticker on a Toyota Prius, photographed on May 13 in Hackensack, the day before a slate of reformers triumphed in the municipal election. The state's financial problems are caused in part by Governor Christie's refusal to impose a tax surcharge on millionaires that could raise as much as $1 billion in new revenue.

You'd think $132 million in desperate "budget cuts and other spending adjustments" to balance Governor Christie's budget plan would be front-page news in The Record.

No. The editors of the Woodland Park daily see their job as promoting his "Jersey Comeback" reelection campaign, so the story is on A-3, the page for routine state news.

Today's piece by Staff Writer John Reitmeyer is filled with politics -- the biggest reader turnoff, by far -- and doesn't even list the $132 million in new budget cuts and "adjustments," whatever those are.

But residents know the cuts likely will be more bad news for them, as Christie's "Jersey Come" administration continues to royally screw the middle and working classes.

One of the many empty storefronts on Main Street in Hackensack.

Hackensack surprise

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza, left the River Street newsroom and Hackensack news behind in 2009, when North Jersey Media Group moved to Woodland Park and Rockaway Township.

Despite scores of stories about then-Police Chief Ken Zisa's legal problems, those editors largely ignored city life and the decline of Main Street.

So, the victory of a slate of reformers and defeat of the Zisa political machine in the election last Tuesday took the editors and the rest of the media by surprise.

On Monday, a front-page column by Mike Kelly played catch-up, reporting the reformers parlayed discontent over declining city services into victory at the polls.

If it wasn't for Kelly's outdated column photo, complete with shit-eating grin, the piece was indistinguishable from a news story or analysis.

And it's stale news:

On Feb. 15, the Hackensack Chronicle published a letter from independent City Council hopeful Victor E. Sasson, editor of Eye on The Record:

"I joke I am running for Hackensack City Council to get my street paved.

"But the sad truth is that as property taxes have risen, the quality of life in Hackensack has declined dramatically."

Sasson's platform to improve city services, including street paving, eventually was adopted by the other candidates, including the victorious Citizens for Change.

Burned-out columnist

Kelly is a burned-out word-pusher who thinks of himself as a columnist who parachutes in to provide context for readers.

It's been a little more than a year since he last visited Hackensack, and put in many hours of ass time at Zisa's trial, which ended when the ex-police chief and former state assemblyman was convicted of official misconduct and insurance fraud.

Now, instead of peddling old election news, he should be looking into whether Superior Court Judge Joseph S. Conte erred in allowing Zisa to remain free while he appeals his conviction and 5-year prison sentence.

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