Sunday, January 5, 2014

Break up the Port Authority and impeach Christie

Luxury apartments on Palisade Avenue -- among hundreds built in recent years downtown and along Route 4 in Englewood -- have done little to turn around the fortunes of local merchants and restaurant owners. Now, Hackensack hopes hundreds of new apartment tenants will revive its economically depressed Main Street.


An editorial and a Margulies cartoon in The Record today continue to nibble away at the notion that Governor Christie caused four days of gridlock at the Fort Lee end of the George Washington Bridge.

The goal was to get back at the borough's Democratic mayor for not supporting Christie's re-election (O-2).

Why wait for the conclusions of three inquiries -- in the state Assembly and U.S. Senate, as well as by the Port Authority's inspector general -- to make fundamental changes in the imperious bi-state transportation agency?

And why wait for the GOP bully to export his war on the middle class to the national political arena and declare in the 2016 race for the White House -- a move The Record's adoring editors, columnists and reporters have been predicting for close to two years?

Dump Christie

Let's get rid of New Jersey's worst governor and the Republicans' Elephant Man now. 

Impeach Christie, who has used lies, insults, bullying and vetoes to get his way with the state Legislature's Democratic majority and to silence his critics.

Spin off PATH

And commuters would cheer breaking up an agency that serves as a patronage mill for Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Spinning off the PATH rail system and bistate bus operations is the only workable option amid increasing traffic congestion.

No agency that depends so heavily on bridge and tunnel tolls -- and which continues to raise them to fund its capital program -- can be expected to expand rail and bus transit, which are at capacity.

'Character flaws'

In a letter to the editor on Saturday's A-9, Christie supporter David B. Simpson of Tenafly draws parallels between Watergate and Bridgegate:

He notes Richard Nixon was driven from  office because of his "connivance in the coverup of a scandal and his pervasive vindictiveness toward those whom he saw as a political enemies."

"Christie's behavior in regard to the bridge issue is beginning to reflect similar character flaws," Simpson says.

This ramp to the George Washington Bridge's lower-level tollbooths from Fort Lee -- and the lower level itself -- remained clear during four days of so-called gridlock in early September, when two of the borough's access lanes to the upper level were closed by Governor Christie's cronies on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, purportedly for a "traffic study."

Silly columns

Today's paper carries boring columns from Staff Writers John Cichowski (L-1), Mike Kelly (O-1), Bill Ervolino (BL-3) and Elisa Ung (BL-1), who continues to praise chefs and ignore issues facing restaurant goers.

Travel Editor Jill Schensul has an endless column about her search for a lounge at the airport in Miami, another in a series of pieces where she portrays herself as a jet-lagged klutz (T-1).

Schensul never tells readers that airport lounges now admit so many travelers they resemble crowded bus stations.

Farewell, Barry

In Local, readers learn that Barry Honig, a conservative Republican councilman in Tenafly "departs the council today," but the story doesn't explain why (L-3).

Just when I thought Honig's opposition to extending light-rail service to the wealthy borough was short sighted, The Record reports, likely for the first time, that he is blind. 

Second looks

Three poorly edited briefs caught my eye on Saturday's L-6, raising more questions than they answered, thanks to the inattention of the assignment desk:

Readers don't know whether the primal urge to hunt or unhealthy animal fats killed Kenneth Bigert, 58, a Glen Rock man who was found dead in a wooded area in Mahwah.

The story appeared Saturday, and reported he was found "Saturday" near an old cemetery off Route 202.

Maybe, local obituary writer Jay Levin should try to unravel the mystery of the time element and cause of death.

Dead meat

Bigert was dressed in hunting clothes and carried a hunting license. It is poetic justice that he died, apparently before he could kill any animals?

The paper treats him like so much dead meat, never reporting whether he was a husband, father or son or what he did for a living.

Likely story

Police don't name the moron who claimed his 2007 Range Rover with $8,600 in DJ equipment inside was stolen after he left the engine running and went back into his house in Saddle Brook.

The pricey SUV likely has heated seats and an engine with fuel injection that doesn't require warming up.

Another Christie?

The third item carries this headline: "Wyckoff's new mayor is a Christie."

But it never says whether Douglas J. Christie is a Republican or related to the loud mouth who won a second term as governor on Nov. 5.

Storm coverage

On Saturday's Local front, how does Deputy Assignment Flunky Dan Sforza explain the absence of a "snow tale" from Teaneck, one of the biggest, most diverse communities in Bergen County? 

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