Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lawyer threatens suit to stop Hackensack park

On Tuesday night, a consultant told the Hackensack City Council that building the Atlantic Street Park downtown would add 137 parking spaces and more than triple parking revenue to $64,000 a year from $19,000 in 2013. The Record's story on the meeting didn't include the consultant's profit projections.


Four-letter words flew during Tuesday night's Hackensack City Council meeting, including "park" and "suit."

Two prominent Hackensack lawyers spoke against building an Atlantic Street Park downtown on a city owned parking lot at Atlantic and Warren streets -- spaces now used by their clients and visiting attorneys and stenographers.

The attorneys made it clear their firms' considerable profits come before a quality of life improvement, including lunchtime concerts, that can be enjoyed by residents, visitors, jurors and people who work downtown. 

Property owners

Arthur P. Zucker said his law office occupies more than 8,000 square feet in a condominium building a 27 Warren St., and that inadequate parking is hurting his business, a claim echoed by attorney Seymour Chase. 

Zucker threatened to file a lawsuit against the city, comparing elimination of the parking lot to taking away the driveway of his home.  

Chase claimed a bank vacated the ground floor of the building he owns at 1 Atlantic St. due "to a lack of parking."

Many spaces nearby

Neither Chase nor Zucker explained why their clients and visitors -- or bank customers -- couldn't use the hundreds of parking spaces available for $5 a day at The Record's old headquarters on River Street, two to three short blocks from their offices.

The Record's story today claims the debate over the park "comes down to an age-old fight: parks versus potholes" (Local front).

The story by Staff Writer Christopher Maag doesn't report any of the comments by Zucker or Chase, including the former's threat to sue.

Maag, the new Hackensack reporter, also doesn't back up the central, preposterous premise of his story: 

That parks and potholes have competed for municipal dollars for many, many years.

Let developers pay

One resident (yours truly) urged the council to negotiate harder with developers and get them to finance the park, other amenities and the estimated $1 million cost of returning Main Street to two-way traffic.

The Upper Main Alliance, a public-private partnership that includes downtown business and property owners, has been pushing hard for the park, but Chairman Jerry Lombardo hasn't expressed a willingness to help finance it.

Lombardo and other property owners will profit greatly from the downtown redevelopment they have been promoting for the past decade. 

No vote scheduled

A vote on the park wasn't scheduled Tuesday night, and in any case, two council members were absent.

Mayor John Labrosse asked for a moment of silence after telling audience members the mother of Councilman Leo Battaglia had died the night before.

Also absent were Councilwoman Rose Greenman and acting City Manager Anthony Rottino. 

With two council members out on Tuesday night, there was no discussion of making Rottino permanent, which some residents strongly opposed at Monday night's work session.

"This guy is not city manager material," resident Rich Gelber of Clinton Place said during Tuesday's public comment period, echoing son Steven, editor of the Hackensack blog.

At the request of  Hackensack Councilman Leo Battaglia, a crew roughly patched potholes on Euclid Avenue, between Prospect and Summit avenues, on Monday afternoon, but didn't complete the job, below.

Bridgegate stalemate

The big news on Page 1 today is the outrageous $1.1 million legal bill taxpayers may get stuck with thanks to Governor Christie's nasty politics.

The law firm that produced the whitewash clearing the GOP bully of any involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane closures last September presumably charged for the time attorneys spent on toilet seats, mulling how they could help the governor save his reputation (A-1).

A second story related to the scandal reports hours of testimony by Christine Renna, a former member of Christie's staff.

But her appearance before a state legislative panel didn't bring investigators or readers any closer to the truth or whether Christie used traffic and threats to withhold aid to get back at Democrats who refused to endorse him for a second term last November (A-1 and A-6).

Second look

The entire premise of Saturday's Road Warrior column on Page 1 was false.

Staff Writer John Cichowski gathered moronic alternatives to spending $68 million in toll money to switch Route 17 exits to the right side of the Garden State Parkway.

The exits are now on the left and cause fatalities and injuries in crashes when traffic backs up onto the parkway.

But Cichowski didn't tell readers it is illegal to use toll money for projects on non-toll roads, including patching potholes on one reader's street.

How embarrassing for Editor Marty Gottlieb, who doesn't realize putting the addled Road Warrior on Page 1 only exposes the hundreds of errors he has made and keeps on making.

See the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Never mind, the Road Warrior says

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