Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bergen's Keystone Kops are alive and well

More than 50 years after the invention of the turn lane, none exist on Passaic Street at Summit Avenue in Hackensack, meaning drivers behind a turning vehicle feel lucky if they can squeeze through on the right, above. Often, they can't.


Two days after an undercover cop was shot in a Garfield pot sting that went awry, a big photo of plainclothes officers at the suspects' court hearing appears on the front page of The Record today.

Let's hope none of the cops in the photo are actually working undercover or the photo makes their future effectiveness questionable (A-1 and A-6).

Only four days earlier, Page 1 reported that a Bergen County police officer was hospitalized in critical condition after an allegedly drunk driver crashed into the back of his marked vehicle, which was stopped in the right travel lane of Route 46 in Lodi.

Good police work?

Are these two examples of misplaced police priorities, and a cop who didn't know enough to pull his vehicle onto the shoulder to avoid a drunk who used the vehicles flashing emergency lights as a target?

Even civilians know enough to pull ahead of a vehicle stopped on the shoulder of a highway to avoid just such an eventuality. 

So far, The Record hasn't reported whether the cop was following procedure.

Heroin, not pot

The Woodland Park daily also conveniently ignores its own series of stories in 2013 on a heroin epidemic in Bergen County, and four dramatic ads paid for by Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, sounding an alarm in March over the rise of opiate addiction and heroin overdoses, and announcing stepped-up enforcement.

But the undercover operation at the center of Tuesday's shooting in Garfield was a $400 purchase of marijuana, not heroin.

Is stopping the distribution of marijuana really worth endangering the lives of an undercover police officer and Walmart shoppers?

Wasting tax dollars

Boy. If you wonder why our property taxes are so high, just look at Wednesday's Page 1 photo, showing at least 18 police officers, standing around and bullshitting in the shopping center parking lot in the aftermath of the shooting.

Don't they have anything else to do, like chase the suspects? 

And I'll bet all of their marked and unmarked gas guzzlers are running, wasting precious tax dollars and polluting the air. 

Maybe some of those idle officers could be used to boost DWI patrols and catch allegedly repeat drunk drivers like Michael Ettz, the high school teacher who slammed into the county police car.

No father figure

Wednesday's front page also carried a hilarious story on Governor Christie being named "a Father of the Year by the National Father's Day Committee," whatever that is.

Melissa Hayes, the adoring reporter who is assigned to cover the GOP bully, doesn't mention the contradiction of a doting father who treats middle- and working-class state residents like dirt.

Also on Wednesday, the Better Living cover promoted the expansion of Stickey's BBQ to Hillsdale, where sauces mask the taste of mystery meat and poultry pumped full of harmful animal antibiotics.

Today's paper

Today's coverage of the court hearing for two of the three suspects in the shooting of the undercover cop includes:
  • An awkwardly written caption noting that Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg is "addressing the press," using an improper catch-all for print and electronic media (A-6). 

Dissing Hackensack

A brief on Wednesday's Hackensack school board election doesn't say how many residents voted in the election, which was ignored by The Record (L-1).

Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza couldn't rouse himself to actually ask a reporter to do a story on who was running and what they stood for, and Hackensack residents received no mailings from the candidates.

Today's brief notes the $140 million operating budget was approved, and reports for the first time a budget reduction of a half-million dollars will still result in a tax hike.

Zisa allies win

A total of 601 residents voted on the budget, less than half the number that cast votes in last year's school board election.

The four seats were won by allies of the city's former Zisa administration, including Joseph Barreto, a guidance counselor who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last May.

The highest vote-getter received 490 votes in a city with more than 19,000 registered voters.

Tabloid editor

It's clear municipal news isn't a priority for Sforza, the lazy editor who has taken over for boss Deirdre Sykes during her prolonged sick leave.

Today's Local section is filled with tabloid news, starting with the lead story on a Paterson man imprisoned for raping his daughter and fathering four children with her.

A road-rage story also appears on L-1.

And L-2 carries another sensational account, this one about a Hawthorne cardiologist accused of fondling patients.

Of course, cardiologists assigned to North Jersey heart-surgery units are cheering the news of Stickey's BBQ opening in Hillsdale, and a potential increase in patients.

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