Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our bankrupt state, towns can't fix potholes

All of the pothole photos on today's post were taken on Tuesday on one block of Euclid Avenue in Hackensack, above and below. Drivers who took the George Washington Bridge exit for the Palisades Interstate Parkway on Tuesday encountered a minefield of potholes between the bridge and Exit 1 in Englewood Cliffs that were so numerous, they could not steer around them.


Our state and our towns appear to be so broke they cannot afford to fix potholes -- nasty reminders of the bitter winter we barely survived.

After a flurry of columns and stories, The Record has been ignoring the increasing number of potholes and the rising chorus of curses from drivers, as well as the lack of repairs.

Up close and personal on Euclid Avenue in Hackensack.

The front page today carries another story on the state's severe financial problems under Governor Christie, the GOP bully who refuses to raise taxes on millionaires and throws away hundreds of millions more on tax breaks for wealthy business owners (A-1).

Christie also has refused to raise the low gasoline tax, which could revive the bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund, which is used to repair potholes on Route 4, Route 17 and other state highways.

Zisa Family Memorial Potholes on Euclid Avenue in Hackensack, above and below. Members of the current City Council argue they can't afford fix streets because of all of the financial problems caused by the former administration, allied with the Zisas, who ruled Hackensack for decades. Those problems range from millions of dollars lost because bills were never sent out to many more millions of dollars spent to defend and settle lawsuits against Ken Zisa, the former police chief who was convicted of official misconduct and insurance fraud.

Today's paper

President Obama says 7.1 million Americans signed up for health coverage, and that "doesn't include enrollments through 14 state exchanges or people who started the process and weren't able to finish because of technical problems," according to today's Page 1 story.

"The Affordable Health Care Act is here to stay," Obama said.

Let's hope The Record's negative coverage isn't here to stay.

The Woodland Park daily and its medical writers virtually ignored any success stories, including reporting on people who saved money by signing up for federal health care.

The federal program is expected to lower health-care costs, as well as depress the profits of the insurance companies who have donated millions of dollars to the GOP's disinformation and repeal campaign.

Exploding cars

Readers who remember exploding Ford Pintos and Crown Victoria Police Interceptors or Toyota vehicles that accelerated out of control aren't surprised by today's front-page report on cost-cutting at General Motors that killed at least 13 people (A-1).

On A-2 today, the editors correct two of the many reporting, grammatical and other screw-ups that appeared in the paper recently.

Bridgegate costs

A story on A-3 reports state officials don't know how much they will be billed for the self-serving whitewash Governor Christie commissioned to clear him of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Last week, news stories and columns put the damage to taxpayers at $1 million or more. What were they based on?

Christie was skewered on the Bridgegate scandal and his weight at a 90th-birthday roast of Brendan Byrne, a former governor (A-3). 

Of course, as with anything involving Christie, the joke is really on middle-class taxpayers, especially those who gave him a second term in November.

Local news?

On the Local front, an accident photo carries a caption that is unusually complete, including the name of a driver killed by a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike (L-1).

But Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza continues to rely too heavily on police and court news to flesh out his thin local-news report.

He still hasn't answered a nagging question on the mind of residents:

Why is no one fixing thousands of annoying and dangerous potholes? 

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