Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cheering our Olympians, booing Christie the bully

Hackensack's Department of Public Works removed tons of snow from city streets, above and below, but left a lot behind, covering travel lanes and burying bus stops.


Governor Christie's old chums are coming out of the woodwork, though there isn't much of that at the Fort Lee end of the George Washington Bridge.

Text messages apparently leaked by state investigators reveal that Port Authority police Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels, who grew up with Christie, gave agency bigwig, David Wildstein, a tour of "the traffic" during early September lane closures, The Record reports today.

Wildstein, who went to high school with Christie, is the onetime Port Authority crony who ordered the politically inspired access-lane closures after getting an e-mail from the governor's deputy chief of staff, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

The latest report on the Bridgegate probe appears on Page 1 today, alongside all of the flag waving for the first Americans to win gold in Olympics ice dancing (A-1).

More wasted space

Boy, look at all of that wasted space on Christie's $650-an-hour lawyer, Randy Mastro, walking "a fine line" (A-1) 

Mastro is conducting an "internal" probe of the Governor's Office, as well as defending Christie against charges of political retribution in Fort Lee and Hoboken, both with Democratic mayors.

It's fitting Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer told Mastro to go to hell. 

Taxpayers are footing Mastro's inflated hourly rate, and readers are paying for Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson's ponderous discussion, which is more suited for a law school class.

At Euclid Avenue and Main Street in Hackensack, half a lane is better than none.

Holly Golightly

At least one Republican on the panel probing the lane closures is engaging in unfortunate hyperbole.

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi of River Vale claims, "We are starting to reach grassy-knoll type of conspiracy theories" (A-6).

Why invoke the Kennedy assassination?

Delayed report 

The lead story on the Local front -- "Hospital begins $90M expansion" -- is appearing months after construction started at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, as the photo of extensive steel work shows (L-1).

To fill out the pathetically thin local report, Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza ordered his layout editor to blow up a chimney fire photo from Mahwah (L-3).

Holes in head

Sforza could have assigned a reporter to find out whether towns in Bergen and Passaic counties are repairing potholes. 

No such repairs have taken place in Hackensack, which is playing catch-up with snow removal, and traffic is slowed by potholes and streets narrowed by mounds of ice and snow, including such major thoroughfares as Essex Street.

Instead, Editor Marty Gottlieb ran a pothole-repair story from The Star-Ledger that doesn't discuss a single town in The Record's circulation area (A-3).

On Anderson Street, snow buries a bus stop.

More head holes

In his Friday and Sunday columns, Road Warrior John Cichowski wildly exaggerated the prevalence of "roof snow," and questioned why police are issuing so few summonses. 

A concerned reader notes in an e-mail to editors and managers at The Record:
"The Road Warrior repeatedly lamented the low amount of police ticketing of the supposed widespread problem with vehicles carrying snow and ice, even though I and many others that I have spoken to generally see maybe 1% of vehicles carrying snow a day after a storm.
"Maybe one of the major reasons why police are issuing so few tickets for snow/ice on vehicles in comparison to other violations is because there are much, much fewer violators of that statute in comparison to daily violators for other New Jersey road statutes."

See the full e-mail on the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:  

More snow jobs from the Road Warrior

A real yawner

If you read the debut story carefully, you'll learn that Jimmy Fallon of "The Tonight Show" tapes his farce early, meaning only insomniacs, drunks and the poor schmucks stuck working nights in The Record's newsroom actually stay up to watch, as was the case for David Letterman and Jay Leno (A-1 and BL-1).

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