Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stop reading: Port Authority's Guy Tozzoli is dead

The Christmas tree at Bergen Town Center in Paramus. New Jersey residents won't find anything under the tree from Governor Christie, who is traveling around the country campaigning for other GOP conservatives, according to a Page 1 story in The Record today.


When you plaster an expose about lavish spending by a top Port Authority executive all over the front page, the surest way to turn off readers immediately is to start the story with the words, "Back in 1975 ...."

Yes. The two-plus page takeout that starts on Page 1 of The Record today is ancient history in news terms, and imagine readers' surprise to find buried on A-11 word that the target, Guy Tozzoli, died last year.

Indeed, even a probe by the New York Attorney General's Office into the agency's 1986 sweetheart deal with a Tozzoli non-profit is meaningless given that the statute of limitations on any crimes likely has expired (A-1). 

And despite thousands and thousands of words, there is not a single one on why the governors of New York and New Jersey -- who have veto power over actions by the bi-state agency's board -- allowed such profligate spending by the globe-trotting Tozzoli.

Readers aren't interested in what happened in 1975 and 1986, and Editor Marty Gottlieb should know that.

What they are interested in is why Governor Christie and his New York counterpart rubber stamped exorbitant toll increases, and continue to stand by as the agency refuses to expand mass transit. 

The agency isn't supported by taxes. It thrives on toll money, and fees charged at its airports and seaports that are passed along to residents of the two states in higher prices.

The Portly Authority

Another Page 1 story on Christie's extensive out-of-town travel as head of the Republican Governors Association doesn't say who is paying his expenses and how many New Jersey state troopers and aides accompany him (A-1 and A-4).

When Christie is in Idaho or Vermont, do New Jersey taxpayers pick up the tab at the pizzeria and Cheap Beer Depot?

More road litter

On the front of Local, Road Warrior John Cichowski is back with another column of little relevance to long-suffering commuters (L-1).

And this one is probably filled with numerous errors by the addled Cichowski that six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton not only didn't catch, but won't bother to correct.

Mike Smelly

What does Columnist Mike Kelly have to add to all of last week's coverage of Mike Feeney, the Ridgewood boy who succumbed to bone cancer at the tender age of 10 (O-1)?

Nothing, except the shit-eating grin in his dated, unflattering column photo.

The whine business

The best thing in today's Business section is the full-page ad from WSJ Wine (The Wall Street Journal), offering 15 bottles of "impressive wines" for $89.99, including shipping, or about $6 a bottle (B-5).

It's hard to understand how Staff Writer Elisa Ung can object to "the culture created by the free dessert" with children's meals (BL-1).

After all, as the paper's full-time fine-dining restaurant reviewer, she has been gorging on free desserts in the six or so years the Woodland Park daily has been picking up her tab.

As someone who appears devoted to only two food groups -- meat and sweets -- Ung is the one who is setting a poor example for both her child and for readers who might be trying to eat healthier.

Second look

Today's front-page headline about the Port Authority's Guy Tozzoli -- "Prince of the Port" -- fixes the error of Saturday's banner headline on A-1 about another official of the same agency, which was referred to then as lower-case "port."

Saturday's headline also used the awkward phrase "Criticized port official ...."

Much preferred is "Embattled Port official ...."

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