Saturday, November 30, 2013

Does big cutback in food coverage serve advertisers?

The old headquarters of North Jersey Media Group and The Record in Hackensack is now used primarily as a parking lot for attorneys, jurors and visitors to the Bergen County Courthouse a few blocks away ($5 per car). Many courthouse visitors are finding free parking elsewhere.


Under Publisher Stephen A. Borg, food coverage in The Record has declined drastically -- only to be replaced by highly promotional stories about the restaurants and chefs that advertise heavily in The Record of Woodland Park.

Eating Out on $50, the so-called budget restaurant review written by freelancer Jeff Page, appears to be the latest casualty, ending its monthly run in Better Living without an announcement.

Less space

The fine-dining restaurant review, written by full-time Staff Writer Elisa Ung, continues to cram photos and text into half the space it once commanded in the Better Living tabloid on Fridays, and Ung is restricted to taking one guest, instead of three, to the two dinners she buys.

Even if she were inclined to, Ung has little room to discuss whether restaurants are serving wild-caught fish and naturally raised or grown food.

Organic, shmorganic

Similarly, The Record's monthly Market Basket survey of supermarket prices continues to ignore the revolution in organic food that began with the opening of Whole Foods Market more than 30 years ago.

Doesn't this serve the majority of supermarket and restaurant advertisers who fatten their bottom lines by selling or serving cheaper conventionally grown food or farmed fish filled with harmful antibiotics and preservatives?

Wasted space

Ung continues to waste space in the data box that appears with every review, listing what the restaurant is "good" or "appropriate for," instead of whether it serves naturally raised or grown food.

And on Friday, she wasted two of the 11 paragraphs in her review of Solaia in Englewood on the lousy desserts, even though the vast majority of her readers don't touch the artery clogging, cloyingly sweet stuff out of concern for their waistline and their health (BL-18). 

Ung said Solaia "would be good for relaxing dining in downtown Englewood," but "less appropriate for big, loud groups."

She must think her readers are morons who can't figure that out on their own, and wouldn't the restaurant owner encourage diners to order wine and spirits from his full bar, rather than try to keep them quiet?

Raw or cooked?

Inexplicably, Ung used "sushi-quality fish" -- a term applied to fish served raw -- to describe a pricey grilled sea bass served at Solaia for $29.

As one of his first acts as publisher, Borg signaled an end to serious food coverage when he killed The Record's weekly Food section, promising daily stories about food that the editors were unable to deliver.

It's been all downhill from there.

Today's paper 

The Record doesn't bother with a full story about the third phase of Port Authority toll hikes that kick in on Sunday -- just four paragraphs on Page 1.

Nor does it report a statement from state Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski.

He called the bitstate agency "dysfunctional" and one that operates with "minimal accountability" -- an indirect slam at Governor Christie, who rubber stamped the toll hikes on the George Washington Bridge and other crossings.

Wisniewski said higher tolls come at a time "of stagnant wages and negligible inflation."

The Record also doesn't mention that the heavily discounted E-ZPass off-peak toll for hybrid cars with a Green Pass is going up on Sunday to $5.50 and the carpool discount, available at all hours, increases to $5 -- both are 75 cents more than before.

High-tech traffic system

The major element on today's front page reports on a high-tech traffic management system in the Meadowlands, but doesn't explain whether it can handle the influx of cars expected when American Dream, a huge entertainment and retail complex, opens (A-1).

In Hackensack news, Staff Writer Hannan Adely reports that more than $9,000 has been raised for James Brady, the former homeless man who was penalized for his honesty (Local front).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Borgs are selling the front page to highest bidders

Nov. 16, 2013: Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood.


Why are shoppers desperate for a bargain and how big retailing chains do on Thanksgiving front page news in The Record today and every year around the holidays?

Does every advertising contract sold by the Borg publishing family include a clause guaranteeing news coverage to Macy's, Target, Walmart and the other retailers whose glossy fliers are keeping the Woodland Park daily afloat?

Mauling the reader

More than a decade ago, The Record created a retail beat, though the reporter wasn't identified as such in her byline.

What has followed are literally millions of words on the opening of new mall stores -- and the abject neglect of so many struggling downtowns --plus such probing journalism as quoting a maker of mattresses as saying his product is the best in all of sleepdom.

The play on words attempted in the Page 1 headline over today's centerpiece falls flat:

Buy, buy holiday

What about all of the pre-Christmas sales that will be chronicled on the front page in less than a month?

The first paragraph also raises the question of when most people eat Thanksgiving dinner. Isn't it early to mid-afternoon?

So, why does The Record report: 

"North Jersey shoppers showed they're willing to reschedule Thanksgiving dinner."

Apparently, that first sentence was based on an interview at the very end of the story with a 19-year-old Paterson man at Best Buy who said he didn't mind missing Thanksgiving dinner to get a good deal on a TV for his mother (A-6).

Puck you, editor says

If only the wealthy Borgs are really interested in how retailers are doing, why did Editor Marty Gottlieb think anyone would care how the pathetic Devils are doing on selling tickets in Newark (A-1).

The hockey team has managed to lift its ranking among 30 teams to 20th from 24th (A-8).

The story doesn't say a word on such factors as the cost of tickets and parking or  whether food and beer prices at the Prudential Center are exorbitant.

Spacey columnist

On the Local front today, Road Warrior John Cichowski is back with a compelling commuting issue:

Finding parking at the mall on Black Friday (L-1).

The silly column for "road warriors" appears just below two stories about the increasing number of people who can't afford to buy food five years after the start of the Great Recession.

Why aren't those stories on Page 1 today?

Record errors

On Wednesday, Cichowski scored a record 21 errors in his column on Monday's meeting of the state Transportation Committee in Trenton, according to a concerned reader.

Some of the mistakes were quotes that were made up, according to the reader.

As an example of the errors, the reader, in an e-mail to managers and editors, noted:

"Road Warrior indicated that Bill Baroni, a PA executive, managed to explain away an unannounced change in a George Washington Bridge traffic pattern that caused five days of gridlock in Fort Lee.
"As the committee chairman and majority of committee members made very clear, Baroni tried, but did not manage, to explain away or provide all needed documents and information about the unannounced change that only caused four days -- not five -- of gridlock."

To read the full e-mail, see the Facebook page for Road Warrior Blooppers:

Is the Road Warrior hard of hearing?

Local yokels

In today's Local section, Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sfroza again fell flat on his face in attempting to fill the section with legitimate local news:

Check out the long, wire-service obituaries for Alfred Feld, Jane Kean and Ye Htut -- three more people you have never heard of (L-5).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Borgs are getting fatter on backs of low-wage workers

The warm, cozy interior of the restored train station in Ramsey, above and below. The ticket window was closed permanently this year, but commuters can wait for trains out of the weather, as well as borrow something to read from the public library. Hackensack, a far larger community with far more rail users, hasn't had anything like this for many years.

By Victor E. Sasson

Today's Thanksgiving edition of The Record is stuffed with the fliers of retailers who will further exploit their low-wage workers by opening on the holiday.

The Borgs are growing fatter on the profits generated by all that glossy advertising from Walmart and other big chains.

Of course, an editorial today doesn't bite the mouth that feeds the greedy publishing family, and holiday store and mall openings don't even rate a mention (A-22).

No free lunch

The photo of a plump turkey under the headings "Taking stock" and "Thanksgiving comes to North Jersey" reminds veterans staffers that the Borgs -- many years ago -- ended the tradition of laying a free Thanksgiving buffet for employees who work on the holiday.

Where are the Borgs gathering for their bountiful holiday meal -- in Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg's East Hill mansion in Englewood or in son Stephen A. Borg's $3.65 million McMansion in neighboring Tenafly, where the publisher counts all his money?

Addicts on A-1

On Page 1 today, annual "giving thanks" coverage has Superstorm Sandy victims in Little Ferry playing second fiddle -- below the fold -- to recovering addicts in Paramus (A-1).

Meanwhile, the majority Democrats in the state Legislature have asked Governor Christie to suggest changes to a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to pay lower, in-state college tuition and qualify for state financial aid (A-1).

Otherwise, they are asking Christie to veto the measure he says he opposes, as he has with so much other progressive legislation, including a modest hike in the minimum wage.

"When he was running for governor, he supported it," said Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, referring to the tuition bill. "Now that he is running for president, he does not" (A-10).

More lies?

Does Christie's stance on the measure give a lie to all that promotion in The Record of the GOP bully as bipartisan and a compromiser who can get things done?

On A-3, a story notes that many of the so-called illegal students in New Jersey were brought to the United States at a young age by their parents, and have been living here for decades. 

Local yokels

Even with several holiday and Law & Order stories, as well as news about the police, Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza couldn't find enough local news to fill his section today.

For the three readers who know who Conrad Susa was, a long, wire-service obituary appears on L-5.

Check out the awkward headline on the Local front -- "Cop chief" -- for police chief (L-1).

What was wrong with the well-worn "Top cop"?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

King Christie is going after minorities once again

What disability would allow someone to install tile and park legally in a handicapped space at 24 Hour Fitness in Paramus? This seemingly able bodied driver was at the gym before 9 a.m. Tuesday, above and below. 

By Victor E. Sasson

You could make a good case that Chris Christie is a racist, starting with his removal of the state Supreme Court's only African-American justice only a few months after the governor was inaugurated in 2010.

Are there any minorities in Governor Christie's Cabinet or did Christie appoint any to the Port Authority, the patronage mill that runs the region's bridges, tunnels, sea and airports?

Today, The Record reports that Latinos and blacks are complaining of a "disorganized system of processing applications [for federal housing grants to Superstorm Sandy victims] that in effect discriminated against" minorities (A-3).

Christie made storm recovery -- financed almost entirely by the Obama administration -- a centerpiece of his reelection campaign this year.

The governor also has refused to sign a bill passed in the state Senate that would grant in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities to some students who are living in New Jersey illegally (A-3).

Christie claims the bill grants more benefits than the federal program, and would make "us a magnet state for people."

At least he called illegal immigrants "people."

Hasn't Christie noticed that the Garden State is one of the most diverse in the nation, and that with its seaport and international airport -- only miles from New York City -- that it is already a magnet for legal and illegal immigrants?

That damn PA

The Record continues to gush ink over the big, bad Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Today, an editorial (A-22), two Opinion pieces (A-23) and a Road Warrior column (L-1) expand on the brouhaha over the closure of some Fort Lee toll lanes to the upper level of the George Washington Bridge in September or a toll hike that kicks in on Sunday.

One of Christie's flunkies -- David Wildstein, a former columnist for a state political Web site -- is taking the heat for closing the lanes for a "traffic study."

On Tuesday, The Record identified Wildstein as a "former political consultant" and "Christie's No. 2 at the agency."

So, is he a former columnist who called himself "Wally Edge" or a former consultant or did The Record screw-up again?

More babbling

The Road Warrior column is usually difficult to fathom, but Staff Writer John Cichowski is just babbling on and on today about matters unrelated to Monday's legislative hearing on closure of the GWB toll lanes:

He refers to "people who make and remake New Jersey's transportation laws," "a plan to bring driverless vehicles to New Jersey" and "extending a Queens rail line to our shores" (L-1).

Cichowski also reports the lane closures occurred "11 weeks ago without bloodshed."

City Clerk is defiant

In Hackensack news, the new City Council is asking City Clerk Debra Heck to step down or it will remove her (L-1).

Heck has been city clerk since 2002.

"I am not resigning. I did not do anything wrong," Heck said, referring to charges she is not doing her job properly.

The council voted unanimously on Monday night to file a written complaint with the state, seeking her removal, but The Record either didn't cover the meeting or couldn't get the story into Tuesday's paper, because of its notoriously early deadlines.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dull and uninteresting -- even on Page 1

A group of clouds -- real and reflected -- almost makes you think The Modern, a 47-story residential tower in Fort Lee, is transparent. The building is the first of two.

By Victor E. Sasson

When the editor of a general interest newspaper gets desperate, he runs front-page headlines like the one leading The Record today:

All eyes on N.J.'s online wager

Of course, Governor Christie and state treasury officials are the only ones who care whether this gamble succeeds in boosting tax revenues after making such a mess of state finances (A-1).

And the other eyes on online casino gambling are the bloodshot ones of gambling addicts and assorted perverts.

Toll weary

State lawmakers are so frustrated over Christie packing the Port Authority with his cronies and rubber stamping big toll hikes they continue to blast the agency over the closure of a few toll lanes way back in September (A-1).

The lead paragraph of today's story claims eastbound drivers "were stuck in nightmarish gridlock" at the George Washington Bridge -- when, in fact, only two of three lanes leading from Fort Lee to the upper level toll plaza were closed, and the vast majority of drivers were unaffected.

This is the kind of coverage you get from Editor Marty Gottlieb, who ignores the daily commuting nightmare experienced by all drivers and mass-transit users.

The story identifies the official responsible for closing the lanes as David Wildstein, a former political consultant who got his job at the Port Authority from Christie (A-1 and A-7).

He is also identified as "Christie's No. 2 at the agency," but he isn't quoted and his name appears only one time in the long story.

Reunion in Sin City

On the front of Local today, what are the majority of readers to make of the big splash given to former Beatle Ringo Starr's long-delayed meeting with five Fair Lawn residents in Las Vegas (L-1).

OK. The drummer photographed the fans in 1964 from a passing car. Who the F cares whether they ever met?

Hackensack news?

I didn't see coverage of Monday night's Hackensack City Council meeting or a story about a part-time job going to another insider.

William Russiello has been hired as a "property management inspector" at $15 an hour, according to the Hackensack Scoop blog, which questions why an attorney would take such a "menial" job.

A link to Hackensack Scoop appears on the homepage of Eye on The Record.

Despite the ascendancy of the Citizens for Change slate on July 1, residents are still waiting for the City Council to run Hackensack more efficiently, reduce spending and slow the increase of property taxes. 

Monday's paper

If you think today's front page is dull and uninteresting for local readers, Monday's was equally uninspiring, especially with a Page 1 column from the paper's only female sports reporter, Vagina Monologue Tara Sullivan.

News about seniors was front and center on Monday, but it was another account of a 77-year-old who "falls between the cracks of different government programs" (A-1).

Staff Writer Colleen Diskin specializes in these hard-luck stories, but she apparently doesn't think her seniors beat includes the vast majority of older readers, who are well-off and balancing their active lifestyle with the realities of aging.

Second look

Sunday's Road Warrior column was full of his usual errors, including his claim Pulaski Skyway repairs are being paid for with toll money, when, in fact, the money is part of the funding for the Hudson River rail tunnels Christie cancelled.

A concerned reader also notes Staff Writer John Cichowski never tells readers what they want to know most -- when road and bridge construction projects are scheduled to be completed.

See the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

When ads are more readable than so-called news

The beach at Cape May, a jewel of the Jersey shore.

By Victor E. Sasson

The danger of wrapping a supermarket flier around the main news section is that readers might find Thanksgiving promotions more interesting than anything a turkey like Staff Writer John Brennan has to report about horse racing (A-1).

And what is the publisher of The Record trying to say by wrapping a hearing-aid advertisement around today's Sports section?

Important news

There is compelling reading scattered throughout the paper today, starting with a dramatic Page 1 account of how three women and a girl from different walks of life were all victims of domestic violence, and another piece on the law (A-1 and O-1).

Giving a lie to the bounty promised by the ShopRite ad wrapped around the A-section today, a story on the Local front reports on a continued decline in donations to North Jersey food pantries (L-1).

Even a Business front story on the proposed ban on trans fats (B-1) has more universal appeal than all that front-page space Editor Marty Gottlieb wasted on The Meadowlands Racetrack and gambling addicts (A-1).

Veteran newsroom staffers will get a kick out of the black-and-white photo of a packed grandstand on opening day of the racetrack, Sept. 1, 1976, showing two lifers, Jim "Corny" Cornelius and Vinny Byrne, as young men eagerly pressing against the fence (A-6).

More A-1 space is wasted on Governor Christie, the new chairman of the Republican Goobers Association, and corporate campaign donations.

Tolls going up

On the Local front today, Road Warrior John Cichowski awakes from a deep sleep and finally takes notice of all the road construction that has been driving his readers crazy for several years (L-1).

But even without road work, commuting by car, bus and train is a nightmare -- a story Cichowski has ignored.

And another phase of the increases Christie rubber stamped go into affect next Sunday, when E-ZPass tolls at the Hudson River crossings go up to $11 during peak hours and $9 off-peak -- 75 cents higher than before.

The $13 cash toll doesn't increase, but the Dec. 1 hikes are only the third of five scheduled through 2015 by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which the governor packed with his cronies.

Why is the GWB cash toll $13 -- $8 more than at the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York?  

Stupid idea

On L-3, a story on Englewood officials providing free LED bulbs to downtown store owners willing to leave their lights on until midnight would be only a cosmetic fix for the city's main street.

What do officials intend to do about all of the vacant storefronts on Palisade Avenue?

Palisade Avenue in Englewood.

Downsized staff

A full-page ad on the back of the Local section shows what appears to be the entire skeleton crew running The Record, North Jersey Media Group's flagship daily (L-8).

Contrast the small number of employees shown in what I'm guessing is the publishing company's Rockaway Township press room with the 1,500 who worked for the paper at its peak in Hackensack, which the Borg family abandoned in 2009.

Sloppy editing

Poor editing continues, as confused readers can see from the Business front story on trans fats (B-1).

A photo shows Admiration-brand Pro-Fry -- liquid shortening made by the Supreme Oil Co. in Englewood -- with the words "ZERO TRANSFAT" clearly visible on the package front.

But in the second paragraph, the story reports "demand for Pro-Fry ... made with trans fatty partially hydrogenated oil ... has been on the wane and may soon disappear."

Production Editor Liz Houlton should be asked, Does it or doesn't it have trans fats?

Good neighbor?

Supreme Oil Co. is well-known in Englewood for using unusually noisy tractors to move truck trailers to an Englewood Avenue lot around the corner from its South Dean Street headquarters.

Because Dean Street is one way in the wrong direction, the noisy tractors wake up residents through the night as they use residential streets, including Grand Avenue, which is lined with apartments.

JFK and the media

The Record's three-week focus on where readers were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, completely missed the point.

Most of that space should have been devoted to his legacy as a great president and the contrast he represents to the sorry lot of selfish, conservative leaders we have today -- from Christie to House Speaker John Boehner to your favorite Tea Party crackpot (See Your Views, O-3).

Say what?

It's hard to understand how Houlton, who is paid six-figures to supervise editing and proofreading, can allow the following sentence to get into the paper, especially on A-1.

"As of [Beth] Fabbricatore's death Monday, theirs constituted the gross majority of Bergen County's five homicides in 2013."

In other words, as of Monday, domestic violence killed four of the five homicide victims in Bergen County this year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Editors shrug at Christie's fiscal disaster

The Sports section and virtually all of the advertising inserts and sections that came with The Record today go straight into the recycling bin.

By Victor E. Sasson

On Page 1 of The Record today, readers find more evidence of the fiscal disaster caused by Governor Christie's unyielding no-tax policies:

A $115 million revenue shortfall, up from $62 million last month; a loss of 7,100 jobs in the last four months; and the second-highest number of foreclosures in the nation (A-1).

Then, under a heading that inexplicably echoes "Chairman Mao," an editorial paints another glowing portrait of Christie as the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association and the party's presumed presidential hopeful in 2016 (A-11).

I still believe this group of nuts should be called the Republican Goobers Association.

Myth makers

The editors have been in bed with Christie for years, and they don't even bother to be objective in news stories.

The editorial claims the GOP bully is a "bridge builder, a consensus maker and strong believer in bipartisanship," but doesn't explain how such a myth-making leader could cause a huge fiscal mess in four short years.

If Christie has built bridges, it is to the richest and most conservative residents, having vetoed a modest tax surcharge on millionaires that would have raised $1 billion a year, and forked over hundreds of millions in tax breaks to business owners.

He not only hasn't built bridges, he stopped the construction of the Hudson River rail tunnels and refused to raise the low gas tax to pay for road repairs and mass-transit improvements.

Loaves and fishes  

Also on Page 1, companies that polluted the Passaic River are acting Christ-like.

They hope to save the billions of dollars it would take to clean up the river by giving healthy fish to anglers so poor and desperate they eat contaminated fish now (A-1). 

Thankfully, regulators call the idea ridiculous (A-6).

Maybe, Sherwin-Williams, PSE&G and other corporate polluters can send their corporate jets to fly over Passaic and other poor cities, and drop coupons for free fish sandwiches at fast-food restaurants.

Pole vaults

In Local today, Ridgewood residents can't catch a break.

The Board of Public Utilities on Friday rejected a petition from village officials, meaning the installation of 65-foot wooden utility poles can resume along two streets (L-3).

Second look

Road Warrior John Cichowski appears incapable of getting anything right, and that is a huge liability for a newspaper reporter who doles out advice to readers.

In his column on Friday, Cichowski got several details wrong about new penalties for cellphone violations, including the start date in 2014 and the amount of the fines.

He also failed to mention a 3-point penalty and possible 90-day license suspension for a third and subsequent offenses.

See the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers for the full e-mail from a concerned reader to editors and managers:

More wrong numbers from the Road Warrior

Friday, November 22, 2013

Worst U.S. president backs N.J.'s worst governor

A rainy day in Hackensack.

By Victor E. Sasson

Governor Christie continues to tell lies about his first term -- all of which are swallowed whole by The Record of Woodland Park -- so it's no surprise he sought the endorsement of former President George W. Bush.

W, you'll remember, told some whoppers of his own to get us into the ruinous war in Iraq (A-1).

Christie and Bush have other things in common besides being Republican and telling the Big Lie: 

The GOP bully's no-tax policies have wrecked the state economy (see L-7 today), and the inept Bush pushed the nation into the recession.

On Page 1 today, The Record quotes Christie telling the media at the Republican Goobers Association meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., he will use a message of "bipartisanship" to get other GOP governors elected.

This allegedly is the same message he used to win a second term on Nov. 5, reports Staff Writer Melissa Hayes, who sounds like she is already on the aspiring president's payroll.

Governor Veto

Hayes makes no mention of all of those highly partisan vetoes Christie unleashed to undo progressive legislation passed by the state Legislature's majority Democrats -- from a tax surcharge on millionaires to a hike in the minimum wage.   

What was the point of Christie, now chairman of the goobers group, inviting Bush to lunch on Thursday? According to The Record's story, the ex-president said nothing quotable (A-1 and A-4).

Kelly still gazing

Columnist Mike Kelly is back with more on the media's obsession with reporting where everyone was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago today.

In the past few weeks, The Record has been publishing readers' recollections, and ignoring the real question:

Will such conservatives as Tea Party fanatics, financed and armed by the trigger-happy National Rifle Association, ever try to take out another liberal president?

I notice two things about Kelly's Page 1 column: 

He's sticking with that dated thumbnail photo with his unflattering, shit-eating grin, and he continues to struggle as a writer, using "gazed" again for probably the thousandth time (fifth paragraph on A-1).

A special Margulies cartoon commissioned for the 50th anniversary of JFK's murder says more than the tired, tongue-tied Kelly could ever say (A-20).

More road hype

The Road Warrior continues to use exaggeration, distortion and hype to sell his silly column, as he does today on L-1.

He calls "distracted driving the single chief cause of highway crashes and deaths," when, in fact, speeding is the chief culprit.

Staff Writer John Cichowski, the addled reporter who writes the column, continues to give a pass to speeders, who also are most likely to get caught by the red-light cameras he demonizes.

In his last column on Wednesday, Cichowski wildly exaggerated the number of rush-hour drivers who get caught in the Route 4 east bottleneck, using the larger number of people who use the eastbound roadway day and night.

According to a concerned Hackensack reader:

"Road Warrior falsely indicated that 50,000 Manhattan-bound commuters experience traffic back-ups due to the reduction in traffic lanes from three to two on Route 4 in Teaneck.
"Road Warrior confused readers since there is a TOTAL of 50,000 Manhattan bound commuters during the entire day and night. Only a smaller portion of these commuters are affected by this traffic back-up around the times of the extended morning and afternoon rush hours.
"Road Warrior went on endlessly with his misleading analysis that the primary reason for this traffic congestion was due to Teaneck’s historical efforts to prevent commercial development on Route 4.
"The sole reason for this traffic congestion was that Teaneck's previous efforts for preservation of space prevented an additional third lane for eastbound Route 4."

For a blow-by-blow of all the flaws in the column, see the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior is suffering mental congestion

Crash diet?

In a historic first, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung didn't order dessert at The Original Mama Angelo's in North Arlington (BL-18).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Suckers! You voted for an absentee governor

This eyesore at 177 Euclid Ave. in Hackensack looks much the same as it did when I moved into the neighborhood in August 2007, except the furniture piled on the front porch was removed a few years ago. Ignoring complaints to the city's Building Department and visits by city inspectors, this homeowner doesn't appear interested in finishing the renovation project.

By Victor E. Sasson

On Tuesday, The Record named seven states Governor Christie plans to visit in the coming year as chairman of the Republican Goobers Association (Tuesday's A-2).

Today, in a Page 1 story, the Woodland Park daily expanded Christie's campaign itinerary to 36 states where fellow Republicans will be involved in gubernatorial races (A-1).

The Record sent Staff Writer Melissa Hayes to Scottsdale, Ariz., to continue her work of building Christie's image into a viable presidential candidate in 2016 -- despite his abysmal record in New Jersey on the economy (L-7), mass transit, tolls, property taxes and other issues.

Guadano to rule

When our absentee governor is on the road, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadano, a non-entity who gives a bad name to women, will be the acting governor, Hayes reports today.

As head of the goobers group, Christie will command an enormous slush fund of campaign money from corporations and other anonymous donors -- all of it intended to do the evil work of the 1% against the rest of us.

Today, The Record said the association raised nearly $24 million in the first six months of the year, nearly $1.6 million from New Jersey.

Racist blacklash

On Monday, Christie attacked President Obama and claimed the Affordable Care Act is "a failure," The Record reported on Tuesday's A-2.

But the GOP bully forgot to mention that he and fellow conservatives in more than 30 other states are doing their best to subvert the enrollment effort -- as part of the racist backlash by congressional Republicans.

Second best for N.J.

Christie gladly accepted millions of federal dollars to expand health care to the poor in New Jersey.

At the same time, he refused to set up a state health-care exchange, forcing residents to use the problem-plagued federal Web site, reducing choice and limiting competition among insurers.

So North Jersey residents get to see glowing TV ads about New York State's health-care exchange and affordable policies, but remain in the dark about buying insurance in the Garden State.

Baseball prick

Christie's ascendancy to head of the GOP goobers is the lead story on Page 1 today, where Editor Marty Gottlieb wastes a great deal of space on Alex Rodriguez, the drugged baseball player who does a good imitation of a walking erection.

'Pedal error'?

In the seven days since Ruta Fiorino, 49, an employee of Trader Joe's, was hit by a car outside the Westwood store on Nov. 13, The Record appears unable to find out how the accident happened (L-1).

Today's story on fundraising for the severely injured woman reports the car driven by Maryann Lewis, 75, of New Milford "apparently accelerated and lurched forward." 

A common problem among older drivers is "pedal error," mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal.

What about programs to help seniors improve their driving skills and cut down on similar accidents? 

The Record apparently doesn't know or doesn't care.

Dissing seniors

Even Staff Writer John Cichowski hasn't tackled the question for the Road Warrior column, which  has spent the last decade examining driving, drivers and the MVC is such minute detail.

Typical of The Record's coverage of the elderly, who aren't confined to nursing homes or mental institutions, is the rare mention of Alzheimer's disease in a photo caption on L-1 today.

When food is garbage

The Better Living cover today confirms that 50 years of cooking shows and other nonsense about food on television have been little more than fluff (BL-1).

Not a single Food Network show has focused attention on factory farms and the unnatural lengths processors, restaurant owners and chefs go to fatten their profits at the expense of the consumer.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Editors hide Christie's brand of voter suppression

A Page 1 story in The Record today claims the developer and architect for twin 47-story residential towers in Fort Lee "spent nine hours sketching ... their vision" of what they hope will be the gateway to North Jersey. The account doesn't explain why the first building, above, resembles little more than an enormous, glass tombstone.

By Victor E. Sasson

The all-seeing and all-knowing editors of The Record haven't bothered to explain the historically low turnout on Nov. 5, when Governor Christie won a second term.

Fewer than four of every 10 voters cast ballots after enduring months of distorted TV ads, and campaign coverage that ignored Christie's failed economic policies.

Now, researchers suggest that long commutes adversely affect being engaged in civic affairs, according to a report on National Public Radio.

"There's something uniquely stressful about commuting, and so when you get home after a hellacious day, you really have nothing to give to other people in terms of civic engagement, in terms of getting involved in your neighborhood politics," NPR Science Correspondent Shankar Vedantam reported on Tuesday.

In New Jersey, the commute -- by car, bus or train -- has become more of an ordeal since Christie took office in 2010.

First, he killed Hudson River rail tunnels that promised the biggest expansion of public transit in decades. Then, he rubber stamped higher tolls.

Instead of forcing the Port Authority to expand the PATH rail system and add a second reverse bus lane into the Lincoln Tunnel, Christie packed the bistate transportation agency with his cronies.

After all those hours caught in massive rush-hour traffic jams or standing in the aisles on buses and trains, who wants to go to the polls and vote?

Today's paper

The front-page centerpiece on twin Fort Lee residential towers -- called The Modern -- doesn't explain why the design of such prominent buildings are so uninspiring (A-1).

You can't miss the first 47-story monolith, which is sheathed in glass that reflects the setting sun and blinds some drivers approaching the George Washington Bridge.

If this enormous, glass tombstone actually ends up causing accidents and killing drivers, developer Allen Goldman and architect Howard Elkus might want to rename it The Dead.

On A-2, The Record acknowledges misspelling the name of a restaurateur who paid big money to advertise in the 2014 Dine Out Guide.

Counting cars

The Road Warrior column on L-1 today claims "50,000 or so Manhattan-bound commuters" get caught in the Route 4 east bottleneck in Teaneck each day.

Given Staff Writer John Cichowski's reputation for inaccuracy, I doubt the figure.

On Sunday, Cichowski reported incorrectly that a red-light camera study had been performed by Rutgers University.

To read about that and other flaws in the column, see the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior makes readers see red

Witness is mum

Photos of Samantha Perelman -- daughter of Revlon billionaire Ronald Perelman -- show her on the stand during her testimony in the Hudson News inheritance battle in state Superior Court in Hackenack.

In today's L-1 photo, she has one hand to her chin and her mouth is closed, yet the caption claims she is "testifying."

On Tuesday's Page 1, she is shown slouched in a chair with her mouth tightly shut, but the photo caption insists she is "answering questions."  

Also on L-1 today, The Record reports Joseph Mellone, the Hackensack "construction official mired in scandal over alleged sexual harassment and code-enforcement oversight," has told city officials he will retire.

Mellone, an ally of the Zisa family, heads one of the city's most unreponsive departments.