Judging from coverage in The Record, readers outside Hackensack -- and thousands who live here -- might not know 11 candidates are involved in one of the most important municipal elections in city history.
The struggle between reformers and powerful allies of the ruling Zisa family is being played out in forums sponsored by the Prospect Avenue Coalition, Bergen County NAACP and others.
All 5 seats on the City Council will be decided on May 14 -- in an election that historically has never engaged voters, despite rising property taxes, declining city services and insider deals with a select group of lawyers that have looted the city treasury.
No campaign coverage
The Record hasn't covered any of the forums, and likely will publish a prefunctory pre-election story that will amount to little more than he said/she said.
That contrasts with more than 3 years of intense coverage of the city Police Department.
Starting in 2009, the paper printed a series of stories about Ken "I Am The Law" Zisa, the former police chief and state Assemblyman, culminating in coverage of his trial and May 2012 conviction for official misconduct and insurance fraud.
Long, detailed stories about state and federal lawsuits filed against Zisa by police officers -- and administrative hearings for cops brought up on charges -- filled The Record, to the exclusion of routine coverage of the proposed city budget, school board election campaign and other news.
That pattern continued through 2012.
Since then, routine coverage of Hackensack has been hit or miss, even though it is the county seat, the most populous community in Bergen County and the city where The Record prospered for more than 110 years.
Mike Mordaga, who became the city's first civilian police director on Feb. 4, stepped up patrols to fight street crime and started a crackdown on moving violations by drivers, among several other, sweeping changes.
Mordaga also has asked the non-profit Hackensack University Medical Center and Bergen County to give back to the city in lieu of paying property taxes.
Today, Hackensack readers will search The Record's Local news section for that story or anything else about the city, as they have on so many previous days.
So, get up from your computers and put down your mobile devices and give a big round of applause to Deirdre Sykes, the six-figure head assignment editor who apparently spends more time planning her next meal than she does the next day's Local news section.
And don't forget to cheer Steve McCarthy, the assistant assignment editor who supervises Hackensack news coverage.
|Two restaurants on Main Street in Hackensack are outside the zone represented by the Upper Main Alliance, a public-private partnership that was set up in 2004 to promote the struggling shopping district.|
Main Street boycott?
No restaurants on Main Street in Hackensack will be taking part in "The Taste in Hackensack 2013," a food-centered fund-raiser set for Sunday at The Shops at Riverside.
Two restaurants from outside Hackensack and the Stony Hill Inn, the lone city representative, will join shopping-center restaurants in serving samples of signature dishes to raise funds for a Hackensack High School scholarship fund.
The event is named cleverly. It's "The Taste in Hackensack," not "The Taste of Hackensack."
The lack of Main Street participation raises a question about the effectiveness of the Upper Main Alliance, a public-private partnership set up in 2004 to promote the city's struggling downtown.