Saturday, May 25, 2013

It's raining on Christie's Jersey shore parade

In covering his Port Authority beat, Staff Writer Shawn Boburg has written hundreds of thousands of words about the new World Trade Center, which has reached its full height of 1,776 feet, above. But he hasn't reported how little the bistate agency has done to expand mass transit and ease nightmarish traffic congestion.

Rain pounding down on my roof in Hackensack this morning made the sunny headline on Page 1 of The Record -- "THE SHORE IS OPEN" -- ring hollow.

And what do you make of the sub-headline -- "Jersey summer kicks off before eyes of nation"?

Editor Marty Gottlieb must be kidding. Hey, Marty, you're not at The Times anymore. 

Are the people in Oklahoma or Texas or California really on the edge of their seats, wondering about the shore's recovery from Superstorm Sandy?

Gottlieb isn't the only one bamboozled by Governor Christie's campaign to win a second term on the backs of Sandy survivors.

Christie got the "Today" show to broadcast live from Seaside Heights on Friday, giving national exposure to his uniquely Jersey freak show.

Christie is hoping his massive P.R. campaign makes voters forget how badly he's mismanaged state finances and broken his promise to lower property taxes when they go to the polls in November.

Old home week

Staff Writer Shawn Boburg's photo-and-text package on A-1 and A-7 today appears to complete three days of reporting from his old neighborhood in Moore, Okla., devastated by Monday's tornado.

Boburg's accounts, including takeouts on Thursday's and Friday's front page, are way more than any reader wants to know about the survivors or the reporter's boyhood.

Boburg's beat at The Record is the Port Authority, but he's managed to ignore how the bistate agency's only strategy for keeping commuters' cars off the road is exorbitant toll increases, which were rubber-stamped by Christie.

Wardrobe problems

Before I left The Record in 2008, Boburg dressed like a hayseed, recalling the old joke, "Why don't you throw a party and introduce your pants to your shoes."

That was in contrast to his stylish girlfriend, Staff Writer Stephanie Akin, who treated the newsroom carpet between her desk and the women's bathroom as if it were a Fashion Week runway.

Great reporters know legwork is a must, but a hack like Road Warrior John Cichowski stays glued to his computer, sifting through e-mails from readers. Some copy editors believe Cichowski has occasionally made up the questions he answers in his column.

Road worrier

The Port Authority reporter's failure is compounded by Road Warrior John Cichowski, whose obsession with potholes and MVC lines blinds him to commuting and mass-transit problems.

Cichowski's pothole-and-utility pole column on Wednesday was the 66th with problems since Sept. 12, 2012, according to a concerned reader, who e-mailed management yet again:

"Readers are  finding fault with the Road Warrior's same old mistaken stories and readers' questions about pothole-ridden roads and lost drivers using utility poles, as shown in his May 22 column.

"Road Warrior and his clueless drivers [readers] are NOT being truthful or are fools if they think anyone believes repeated archaic tall tales about finding their bearings when lost by getting out of their cars to check, many times cryptic or missing, municipal acronyms on utility poles. 

"Road Warrior continues his pompous behavior and asks insulting questions not deserving of answers.

"He continues to suffer from clueless syndrome and forgets what he wrote in previous columns that contradicts his May 22 column.
"He reports about a business owner, who repeatedly damages his car and tires, by endlessly driving his car into potholes near his business over a 5-year period. I feel sorry, but wouldn't trust such people."

See the full e-mail at the Facebook page for road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior's 66th column with problems
More tax woes

Friday's front-page story on the failure of Mary J. Blige of Cresskill and other prominent African-American entertainers to pay federal taxes seems incomplete (A-1).

Are they protesting how previous administrations treated minorities? Did they also evade state income taxes?

Hackensack news

After years of neglect, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes is paying more attention to Hackensack news outside of former Police Chief Ken Zisa's lingering legal problems.

Sykes has commissioned unprecedented coverage of municipal affairs since the May 14 victory of a slate of City Council reformers took her and other editors by surprise.

But on L-6 today, the reference to "the new council majority" in a transition-team story is puzzling.

Councilman John Labrosse and his four running-mates won all 5 seats. Isn't that more than a "majority"?

The story says state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, has finally gotten off her duff, and agreed to serve as "honorary chairwoman" of the transition team.

Before the election, Weinberg refused to endorse reform candidates in the crucial Hackensack contest.

More news of poles

Also today, Sykes advances her photo staff's coverage of downed and damaged utility poles with the image of damaged traffic-light pole (L-6).


  1. You may be the only person I know who has a problem with Stephanie and Shawn.

    Then again i don't know you.

  2. I don't have a "problem" with them. They are clearly treated like star reporters, but both could have done a better job, he on the Port Authority beat and she on her former Hackensack beat. And I doubt I'm the only one who feels that way.


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