Sunday, March 30, 2014

Too little, too late on road fund, GWB whitewash

In the all-electric Tesla Model S sedan, a 17-inch touch screen allows the owner to perform most of the functions controlled by buttons and switches in a conventional car.
Tesla provided test drives and took deposits on three versions of the Model S at the Clinton Inn in Tenafly on Saturday. After April 15, New Jersey will bar the California-based company from selling cars directly from showrooms in Paramus and Short Hills, bowing to pressure from a statewide coalition of automobile dealers. The original deadline was April 1. (The Record, A-12 on Saturday).


All that space on The Record's front page today may look like an investigation or expose of how Governor Christie grabbed $1.8 billion in mass transit money for North Jersey road repairs.

But the story describes events at the Port Authority of three or more years ago, and appears to omit what happened to NJ Transit funds for the Hudson River rail tunnels the GOP bully killed in 2010, the year he took office (A-1 and A-6).

Christie's financial sleight of hand served his conservative political agenda, in the same way he retaliated against Democrats who didn't support his reelection last year with gridlock in Fort Lee and threats to withhold Sandy aid in Hoboken.

Central to his philosophy is an unyielding pledge not to raise taxes, even if the state Transportation Trust Fund is bankrupt or he has to cut programs for middle- and working-residents to balance the state budget.

More road follies

On the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski warns readers about a crackdown on drivers who talk on their cellphones or text, starting on April Fool's Day (L-1).

Of course, the addled reporter plays the fool every day, as he did in last Sunday's column, which wildly exaggerated the time savings and low cost of commuting by ferry instead of the bus to Manhattan.

See the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior loses touch with reality again

Miracle birth

Another reporter who lost sight of reality is Staff Writer Chris Harris, who described how an Emerson woman gave birth on a nail salon's bathroom floor (L-1):

"GLEN ROCK -- An Emerson woman walked into a Prospect Avenue nail salon last week for a quick mani-pedi and walked out cradling a bouncing baby boy in her arms."

Readers who stick with the feel-good story find out Anna Rubenstein didn't walk out holding son Damien -- she was carried out on a stretcher, and the baby's umbilical cord had to be cut when she got to the hospital (L-2).

Readers who noticed that glaring error -- completely missed by several editors -- might wonder what else in the paper has been exaggerated or reported incorrectly.

And am I the only one who thinks this story was oddly placed next to the one on protests at an Englewood abortion clinic (L-1)?

ShopRite oysters?

On the Business front today, Your Money's Worth Columnist Kevin DeMarrais claims a new ShopRite in Morris County puts "other food courts to shame" (B-1).

DeMarrais apparently has never set foot in a Wegmans or Whole Foods Market or tasted much supermarket prepared food, or he'd temper his remarks.

Most prepared food, even at Whole Foods or Wegmans, doesn't come close to what you'd get in a restaurant.

The big surprise at the Cedar Knolls ShopRite he raves about is an oyster bar, though I'm not sure a landlocked supermarket is where I want to sample those delicate shellfish. 

On whitewashes

I got a big kick out of The Wall Street Journal Sunday's "10 things ... Real-Estate Agents Won't Tell You" (B-5).

This manages to undo in one article much of the promotional coverage The Record has lavished on real-estate agents in its own laughable Real Estate section.

The whitewash Christie commissioned to hide his role in the politically inspired George Washington Bridge lane closures was leaked by The New York Times last Monday.

Fuzzy writing

But that doesn't stop Mike Kelly from putting his own Johnny-come-lately spin on the 300-page report, in his usual deadly dull way (O-1).

It's sad when a veteran reporter can't write with the same clarity as the headline on his column:

$1 million
report is PR

Kelly describes the report's "bold conclusion," then confounds readers with this fuzzy sentence:

"But such boldness is framed by an all-too-obvious set of holes."

Of course, the biggest hole is Kelly's asshole.

Turn the page for Margulies' Sunday cartoon, which tells the same story in only nine words (O-2).

Readers speak

Four letters to the editor manage to express the anger The Record couldn't muster in its editorial the day after the report was released (O-3):

Warren Nitti of Fair Lawn called the Christie-commissioned report "a transparent, self-serving whitewash."

Debra Roman notes Christie's lawyers blame his problems on "emotional and hysterical women."

Who missed this?

A real eye opener on O-2 today is a column on how Christie replaced the executive director of the State Ethics Commission in 2010 with a member of his own staff, and named a longtime friend as chairman.

The column -- "When the watchdog fails" -- is by Seton Hall Law Professor Paula A. Franzese, former chairwoman of the panel.

Is this more Christie sleight of hand The Record's investigative reporters have to catch up to?

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