By VICTOR E. SASSON
The Record today delivers more hand-wringing by the editors over whether Super Bowl fans will see the Garden State's best face.
An editorial complains that NJ Transit "is not showing signs of improvement less than two weeks before the Super Bowl" (A-18).
The Woodland Park daily taking the state's mass-transit agency to task for the quality of its bus and rail service is rare, and I cannot recall another instance in the past decade.
N.J. needs column
Every New York City paper, including the lofty Times, has had a subway column examining the quality of service in minute detail.
But Dan Sforza and the other lazy local assignment editors wouldn't be caught dead taking a bus or a train.
So, it has never occurred to any of them to tell a reporter to ride NJ Transit and report on problems, such as standing room only on packed trains and buses during the rush hour.
The Super Bowl is expected to bring an unprecedented number of drunks, sexual perverts and gambling addicts together in one place on Feb. 2 in East Rutherford.
In recent weeks or months, The Record has complained that the Route 3 widening won't be finished in time or that the ugly retail-entertainment complex near the stadium won't be repainted before the big game.
Why wait for the weeks or months before Super Bowl to bitch about them? Don't residents deserve better?
New Jersey's image has always sucked and we have always lived in the shadow of New York, but it doesn't help that the wealthy owners of the Giants and the Jets refuse even to acknowledge their teams play in the Garden State.
And Governor Christie has so politicized traffic that the state has become a laughing stock again.
Running in place
Today's paper doesn't add a thing to the Bridgegate scandal, especially Mike Kelly's lame column on Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, one of the Democrats who have complained about the GOP bully's muscle flexing (A-1).
His lead paragraph is a turnoff:
"Dawn Zimmer sits in a chair in a quiet, sun-splashed conference room next to her mayor's office on the second floor of Hoboken's City Hall."
At least the burned-out columnist didn't have her "gazing" out the window or into the distance or whatever, as he has had so many other subjects in the past.
With an intro like that, readers fully expect the reporter with the shit-eating grin will tell them next where City Hall restrooms are located.
More Super Bowl
Page 1 has a Super Bowl weather story, and four more game-related stories appear inside Local (L-3) and on the Sports front (S-1), which is where they all belong.
All this fuss over a game that isn't expected to improve the state's limping economy or affect its higher-than-the-nation unemployment rate.
Kudos to freelance photographer Boyd A. Loving for capturing the moments after the driver of an SUV knocked down a 45-year-old pedestrian who was in a marked crosswalk in downtown Ridgewood (L-1).
This photo is so complete it almost looks posed, with even the driver standing outside her vehicle with her hands clasped as she looks serious and concerned.
As usual, no one is identified, likely a good thing here, because the photo, showing the Korean-American woman who was issued a summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian, plays into the stereotype of Asians being bad drivers.
Today's Local section continues coverage of this week's "bitter cold," but nowhere will readers find interviews with people who have to work outside, such as New Jersey's unsung gas jockeys.
In Hackensack news, Staff Writer Hannan Adely reports former City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono will receive a $74,683 sick-and-vacation-day payout, while ousted City Clerk Debra Heck is getting a payout of "nearly $32,000" (L-1).
Lo Iacono also is guaranteed payment of his annual salary up to June 14. He was paid $170,516 a year -- about $5,000 less than Christie.
In Better Living, Staff Writer Elisa Ung gives a good-to-excellent rating to Memoire in Ridgewood, where the kitchen overcooked or burned at least three of the dishes she sampled ($16 to $35 each).
The restaurant also shortchanges customers by serving a fillet of artificially colored farmed salmon for $24, and topping it with artery clogging butter (BL-16).