Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hackensack budget plan tries to fix past sloppiness

The Record again today incorrectly reports Hackensack attorney Richard E. Salkin, speaking at Thursday night's City Council meeting, above, was fired as city attorney in 2013 after a reform slate was swept into office in the municipal election. Salkin was fired as municipal prosecutor, but held onto a second job as Board of Education attorney. He was city attorney from 1989 to 2005. Jim Mangin, the city's chief financial officer, is at right.


As a property tax payer in Hackensack, I was impressed by Chief Financial Officer Jim Mangin's budget presentation at the City Council meeting Thursday night.

Mangin is trying to repair all the damage to city finances during an eight-year reign by officials loyal to the discredited Zisa family.

Sloppy work

Still, Staff Writer Christopher Maag of The Record puts a negative spin on the budget plan, and commits at least two errors in the process (L-2).

In his first paragraph, the reporter says Mangin "introduced" the "latest version" of the city budget, but the agenda listed the CFO as giving a "budget amendment presentation."

The council has already introduced the budget, and on Thursday night, members voted to approve the budget amendment.

The $94.4 million proposal -- about $2 million higher than the previous budget -- calls for a tax levy of $3.3 million and a tax increase of 4.37% or $161.79 more on a home assessed at the $240,000 average.

Maag's second error, which he has committed before, is reporting that Zisa ally Richard E. Salkin was fired in 2013 as city attorney,  a job he held until 2005. 

Salkin was fired as municipal prosecutor.

Staff Writer Christopher Maag of The Record at Thursday night's City Council meeting in Hackensack.

Say what?

On Page 1 today, try to ignore the idiotic headline that leads the paper:

Obama opens door to Iraq

The big element on the front page is an entertaining feature on Jersey, the English Channel island for which New Jersey was named (A-1).

But Staff Writer Jay Levin missed a couple of opportunities in reporting on the state's 350th anniversary:

He doesn't compare the accents here ("Joisey")  and there.

Nor do we learn whether the island offers any fast food to compete with New Jersey's Texas weiners and rippers. 

Or, on the other end of the culinary scale, Levin doesn't tell us whether the island can match New Jersey's sea scallops, fluke, monkfish and lobsters.

More Christie B.S.

Also on Page 1 today, Staff Writer John Reitmeyer reports Governor Christie will say and do anything to ram through his drastic $1.6 billion cut in the state contribution to the public employees pension fund (A-1).

Pollster Patrick Murray, who was incredibly high on Christie before last November's election, is quoted as saying:

"We've kind of reached the Wild West of the Christie administration, where almost anything goes" (A-6).

As usual, foul-mouthed Press Secretary Michael Drewniak declined to comment on the pension issue, saving all of us from a string of obscenities.

Where are the jobs?

As if to punctuate what a mess Christie has made, the first Business page reports "New Jersey's job market continued to flat-line in May" (L-7).

Yet, The Record continues to support the GOP bully's adamant stand against higher taxes on the wealthy, preferring to see the latest budget balanced on the backs of the middle and working classes, as Christie has done since 2010 (A-18).

Fat lover

In Better Living, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung continues to misrepresent "quality ingredients," including beef and lamb (BL-16).

In her appraisal of Novu Restaurant in Wayne, she praises a pricey filet mignon ($39) and rack of lamb (also $39), even though both apparently were raised on harmful animal antibiotics and growth hormones.

Ung sounds like an ignoramus when she describes the filet mignon as "prime -- the highest quality grade," and claims the Colorado lamb "is regarded as "richer and more tender than the same meat from New Zealand or Australia."

The vast majority of prime beef in the United States is raised as quickly as possible on grain, antibiotics and growth hormones. 

Lamb from New Zealand and Australia is often grass fed and raised naturally without harmful additives.

Second look

In his Tuesday column, Road Warrior John Cichowski tried to scare readers by reporting drowsy truck driving is a growing trend when only five days earlier, he said exactly the opposite, according to the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers.

"At the beginning of his column, the Road Warrior tried to scare the hell out of readers by making it seem that the truck crash due to a sleepless driver, which killed comedian Tracy Morgan’s friend and injured Tracy, is a frequent, imminent, and growing trend.
"What makes his false assessment even scarier and more confusing is that the Road Warrior reported later in this very same column, as well as in his June 12 column, that related fatalities are rare and crashes are a declining occurrence.
"Road Warrior indicated that Sens. Menendez and Booker held a press conference to talk about reinstating truck-safety reforms that would have helped prevent the crash of the sleep-deprived truck driver that involved Tracy Morgan's limo.
"They actually only addressed revising proposed legislation based on safety reform changes that would have had absolutely no impact on preventing that accident."


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