Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A half-assed assessment of Christie's first term

Route 17 in Paramus, above, and the view through a streaked windshield, below, after about four hours of snowfall today. Municipal crews from Hackensack to Ho-Ho-Kus and Englewood to Elmwood Park will do their usual sloppy job of making streets safe for drivers and pedestrians, but The Record's lazy assignment editors, including Dan Sforza, will merely shrug their shoulders, as their predecessors have for decades.


Slapping an "ANALYSIS" bug on today's lead story allows The Record to present a slanted picture of what Governor Christie accomplished in his first term.

The account by Staff Writer John Reitmeyer of the paper's State House Bureau emphasizes "compromise with the Democrats who control the Legislature," and ignores the GOP bully's war on the middle and working classes (A-1).

Rediscovers vetoes

Christie's pledge to "make full use of my veto pen ... to shape legislative and budget policy" is mentioned on A-4 for perhaps the first time since he made it in 2010.

But last year's veto of a hike in the minimum wage, three vetoes of a tax surcharge on millionaires, cuts in funds for women's health care and other mean-spirited budgeting have been redacted by Wrongmeyer.

There also appears to be a major editing error in this long, tortured and poorly written paragraph on A-1 today:

"And amid legislative inquiries into lane closures at the George Washington Bridge -- the biggest crisis of his political career -- and as mayors, including those running Hoboken and Jersey City, accuse Christie of using hardball tactics, his talk of bipartisanship has been replaced by accusations that Democrats have a political ax to grind."

Of course, it's Christie and other Republicans who are grinding political axes to use on Democrats, including Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee.

Four months late

Why is this story appearing on the day Christie is inaugurated for a second term? Wouldn't even this slanted account have been more useful in the weeks or months before the Nov. 5 election?

Two stories related to the Bridgegate scandal also appear on Page 1 today, including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's adamant denial that she used federal Sandy aid as a political weapon in Hoboken.

What else could she possibly say in response to charges by Democratic Mayor Dawn Zimmer that Guadano pushed a redevelopment project represented by Christie crony David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority?

The Record has called on Samson and the other unsalaried commissioners to resign in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal. 

Brain-dead editors

On the Local front today, The Record reports a young Hispanic couple whose bodies were found inside a garaged car had sought "privacy," but closed the overhead door and left the car's engine running until the fuel tank was "bone dry." (L-1).

That scenario was obvious to thousands of readers who saw Monday's A-1 account, which called the deaths of Melissa A. Pereira and Jorge E. Rodriguez a complete mystery.

One has to wonder whether the Sunday assignment editor and copy desk supervisor who helped prepare Monday's story are brain dead.

More errors

On L-3 today, Kwasi Mendoza, 28, who died in the crash of his car in Englewood, is described as a "legal clerk." The proper phrase is "law clerk."

More than two days after the crash, The Record still hasn't asked police whether speed or alcohol was a factor in the crash of Mendoza's Lexus at 3 in the morning on Saturday, near a cemetery.

On Sunday, Staff Writer John Cichowski wrote another error-filled column on Bridgegate, according to a concerned reader who maintains the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers.

"In his Jan. 19 column, the Road Warrior continues with his congestion of mistakes about the Fort Lee toll-lane closure scandal, while mistakenly reporting about traffic and pedestrian safety in Fort Lee.
"All six of the Road Warrior columns that have addressed the toll-lane closure have contained extensive mistakes, which contradict many other news reports, including The Record's."

See the reader's full e-mail to managers and editors, and keep in mind none of his previous e-mails led to corrections by the most-error prone reporter at the Woodland Park daily:

Road Warrior closes access lanes to accuracy


  1. You should recognize the Record's dogged reporting on the Fort Lee issue. Perhaps you don't want to because of your previous dismissals of what has become an international story. Just weeks ago you referenced the newspaper's many Pg. 1 stories on the lanes and asked: "Does anyone but the Record care?" Turns out, the answer is yes.

    1. As lane closures, they were overplayed, and never did The Record mention that other access lanes in Fort Lee remained open, and that drivers on the lower level into Manhattan experienced only the usual delays.

      A far bigger sin by the Port Authority and Governor Christie, as I have said repeatedly before, is a lack of commitment to mass transit, and a refusal to expand it as a way to reduce traffic congestion regionwide.

      The lack of reporting on mass transit by Shawn Bobourg, John Cichowski and the Trenton staff is simply irresponsible.

    2. And the "dogged reporting" you refer to was based on a tip from the publisher, who got a complaining call from one of his rich friends who drives into Manhattan.

      The tip did not come from any of the crackpots who e-mail Cichowski incessantly to get their name in print -- which is how the addled reporter covers his beat.


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