Thursday, February 6, 2014

More evidence against the worst N.J. governor ever

At 10 Wednesday morning, Prospect Avenue was blocked by a wall of snow at Euclid Avenue, reflecting the Hackensack DPW's half-assed job of clearing streets. If I thought this was bad, Englewood's DPW showed even more incompetency, leaving main roads covered with snow and ice or with only one clear lane.

Euclid and Grand avenues in Hackensack.


One of the worst public-transit systems in the world. Hundreds of Sandy victims wrongly denied federal aid. And deliberate sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. 

The Record today contains three more counts in an indictment of Governor Christie's performance since he took office in January 2010 (A-1 and A-3).

Even without a clear picture of his role in the closure of George Washington Bridge local access lanes in Democratic Fort Lee (A-1), the GOP bully has cemented his reputation as the worst New Jersey governor ever.

The big question is when Editor Marty Gottlieb, Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin and such adoring staffers as Charles Stile and Melissa Hayes are going to give up the charade of pretending this mean-spirited conservative is presidential material.

Short memory

Congratulations to Columnist Virginia Rohan for exposing media exaggeration of winter weather (A-1), but why did she omit The Record's own nearly hysterical predictions on Jan. 2?

That's when Staff Writer Shawn Boburg tried to paralyze readers by predicting "near-blizzard conditions" and "a double-headed monster of a storm."

And Rohan is wrong that "you probably don't remember any individual snow day of your youth." 

I clearly remember walking down the middle of Bay Parkway in Brooklyn in the late 1950s or early 1960s after a huge snowstorm that literally stopped traffic and bus service.

Bad editing

Whoever wrote the photo caption for Rohan's story failed Copy Editing 101. 

If you run a huge photo showing Eddie Harrison clearing sidewalks with a snowblower, you don't have to tell readers Harrison is "using a snowblower."

Tell them something they can't see, like how much snow fell in Paterson.

I also was looking at Rohan's column photo, thinking sexism is at work in the recent update. The editors continue to use a dated, unflattering photo of Columnist Mike Kelly, complete with shit-eating grin.

Salt in our wounds

On Tuesday, The Record reported Bergen County and Englewood had run out of road salt, but the paper didn't do a follow today, even though snow clearing in that small city was another big joke on residents and visitors.

I left Hackensack a little after 10 in the morning for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where I volunteer on Wednesdays, and had to drive about 15 mph over snow- and ice-covered streets in Englewood, including East Forest Avenue, Lafayette Place and Englewood Avenue.

On Wednesday night, only one lane of Englewood Avenue past Mackay Park was clear, reminding Jamaican-American residents of their native island -- where the roads are some of the worst and most dangerous in the Caribbean.

Euclid Avenue and Clarendon Place in Hackensack.

When I drove home around 4 Wednesday afternoon, Euclid Avenue looked pretty much the way it did at 10 in the morning, when I had placed an expletive-filled call to Councilman Leo Battaglia.

Battaglia said the plows were set to return to Euclid after 4, and they did, blocking the entrance to our cleared driveway for the second time that day.

On Main Street, near Sears, my car was pounded by the ice-packed roadway on Wednesday morning, and on the way home, I noticed no one had cleared the sidewalk in front of the store's large parking lot.

I spoke to a woman who left Ramsey at 6:30 on Wednesday morning and drove to Englewood, a trip that took an hour, partly because of unplowed entrance and exit ramps on Routes 17 and 4 -- said to be the responsibility of municipalities.

Lazy reporting

I don't see anything about the lousy job of snow clearing in Hackensack, Englewood or anywhere else in today's Local news section, put out by Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza, one of the laziest in the newsroom.

The Record's crack reporting staff continues to chip away at a murder-suicide that left two men dead early Monday morning in a Cupsaw Drive home in Ringwood (A-1).

Now, three days after the bodies were found, the Woodland Park daily reports that Seth Gunar, the homeowner and a gun collector, shot Christopher Coogan after an argument over missing guns.

Seems like poetic justice that a man who collected guns died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Opposite the continuation page of the murder-suicide story, a deceptive half-page ad predicting the "end of obesity by 2018" shows Editor Tim Nostrand during a warm-weather tailgate party (A-11).

Another bad head

Today's paper carries another inappropriate headline -- a silly play on words that sends the wrong message -- this one on the Better Living cover over a story on people who have to work outside in wintry weather (BL-1).

Part of the blame rests on the page designer, who called for a banger head of only two words in oversized type.

Still, that's no excuse to call cold-weather work "SNOW JOBS," which cheapens it and suggests something fraudulent.


  1. Boburg didn't predict that weather, a meteorologist did.

    Boburg may be a Pulitzer winner but he's not a meteorologist.

    1. But he quoted Accuweather, if memory serves, when he should have called the National Weather Service. Or why doesn't he just go up to the roof the next time he is assigned a weather story.

      What Pulitzer? What are you smoking?

    2. He won a Pulitzer before he ever came to the Record. What are you smoking? Maybe you just didn't get to know your colleagues or care enough to know anything about them.

    3. OK, I Googled him and Pulitzer and came up with a story he did for The Eagle-Tribune in I don't know where. Still, as I said in a misplaced response below, he is a talented reporter who got sucked in by the Port Authority's publicity machine, and he won't get any prizes for that.

      As for me not getting to know my colleagues, as a copy editor at The Record, it was the other way around. Copy editors were marginalized and demonized by the editor and the assignment desk.

      To most reporters, we were just the voice on the other end of the phone who was once again saving their ass by catching one of their mistakes or a mistake introduced by the inept assignment editors.

      Some reporters appreciated that and thanked us. Others were oblivious.

      As for the Pulitzer, Frank Scandale helped the Denver Post win a Pulitzer as city editor when Columbine broke.

      He went from city editor to shitty editor at The Record, where he proved to be one of the worst editors in the paper's history.

      So you know what you can do with your Pulitzer Prize winners. In journalism, you are only as good as your last story and you're judged by the stories you don't write, which is epidemic at The Record and with Boburg and other reporters.

  2. "Part of the blame rests on the page designer, who called for a banger head of only two words in oversized type."

    False. Maybe this is how it worked at the newspaper where you worked but The Record doesn't design pages this way, or at least it doesn't anymore. You should check with people inside on how things work if you aren't familiar with it.

    1. OK. So how does it work at The Record? Does a dog paw the page to indicate where the headlines go or does Production Editor Liz Houlton write those idiotic heads herself?

    2. Where and for what story? He is a talented reporter, but he got sucked in by the Port Authority publicity machine.

    3. You tell 'em Victor, Snow Job is a piss poor excuse for a two-word headline as there is. I don't have much experience writing headlines myself, but I would have suggested something like Snow Biz or something a little less demeaning.

    4. At least they didn't go with "Snow show."

    5. Hey, Snow Show isn't bad. Give yourself a kewpie doll.

    6. No. Sounds like "no show." Now "Snow shoes" might work.


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