|Have you seen any pothole-filling crews in Hackensack?|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Newspaper readers are accustomed to seeing light, bright and tragic stories on the same front page.
But Page 1 of The Record today sets a new low, devoting more space to a new Jets quarterback than to the rising number of heroin deaths in Bergen County (A-1).
Couldn't Editor Marty Gottlieb find room in today's thin Sunday edition for a sidebar on whether customs officials, state lawmakers, local police, parents and the media are doing enough to stop drug overdoses?
Deep in the text on the continuation page (A-8), where Caitlin Reiter's heroin addiction and tragic death are described, a throwaway line continues the paper's one-dimensional portrayal of Paterson as a drug bazaar.
Well, at least the morons in the Woodland Park newsroom are having second thoughts about their light treatment of the theft of $460,000 in parking-meter revenue in Ridgewood (A-1 and L-1).
"Questions are being raised" about the plea deal with a former village employee who is "likely to be spared any jail time," The Record reports today, quoting famed defense attorney Frank P. Lucianna and Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn.
Thursday's front-page story referred to admitted thief Thomas Rica as a "coin collector," and compared the weight of the stolen quarters to nine Honda Civics.
Joke is on voters
A third front-page story today reports on all of the jokes about Governor Christie in the wake of the politically motivated George Washington Bridge lane closures, resulting in four days of gridlock in Democratic Fort Lee last September (A-1).
Of course, the joke is on readers and voters who were let down by the media, which didn't uncover the scandal before the GOP bully was elected to a second term in November, in what was the lowest turnout ever for a gubernatorial election.
More road kill
Gottlieb and Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza continue to treat readers with contempt by publishing Staff Writer John Cichowski, the confused reporter behind the Road Warrior column.
Today's rambling discussion of mass transit -- from buses to trains to ferries -- makes flawed comparisons and shows Cichowski's ignorance about service problems he has rarely addressed in more than a decade (L-1).
Reporting that NJ Transit diverted nearly 700 bus riders caught in a massive traffic jam to a trans-Hudson ferry, Cichowski wondered whether the agency was "responding to withering customer complaints" about delays at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.
But the ferry diversion was in the morning; the long lines at the PABT are in the afternoon and evening, so there is no way they are related.
Water on brain
The idiot also reports that paying private ferry services to carry bus riders is "certainly cheaper" than expanding rail service by building new rail tunnels under the Hudson, a project killed by Christie in 2011.
But Cichowski doesn't seem to know Amtrak, the federal passenger railroad corporation, is completing the tunnel project, which won't increase bus capacity into the city.
Only another express bus lane into the Lincoln Tunnel can do that.
Cichowski's previous column also was confusing, and focused on highway lighting, not poorly lighted streets where pedestrians are killed routinely by drivers who get away with murder by claiming, I didn't see him.
Cursing the Road Warrior's dim bulb
Celebrating hard work
For a change, the featured obituary on the front of Local today is about an ordinary, previously unsung African-American woman:
Levonia Chaney, who died this month at 104, was the great-granddaughter of a slave who worked as a seamstress and lived in Hackensack, where she and her husband, a porter, put two sons through medical school and saw their daughter become a music teacher (L-1).
An editorial today questions the lack of security at the new World Trade Center, where a New Jersey teenager was able to climb up to the iconic building's antenna mast (O-2).
Good for Justin Casquejo of Weehawken. Too bad he or someone like him didn't do the same at the mall in Short Hills, where a young lawyer was murdered, or Westfield Garden State Plaza, the Paramus shopping center invaded by a gunman who fired random shots before committing suicide.
More Ung nonsense
If you believe Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung, restaurant goers have no "pet peeves" concerning the low quality of the food they are served or the ridiculously high prices for a glass of wine (BL-1).
The problem may be that she doesn't have to pay for her meals; the paper's expense account has completely spoiled her.
On Friday, The New York Times gave a rating "just shy of excellent" -- its top endorsement in New Jersey -- to Terre a Terre in Carlstadt, where Ung claimed she was served seafood that "smelled and tasted past their prime."
Contrast The Times' review to Ung's lukewarm appraisal:
New American amid the salt hay