Sunday, June 22, 2014

Look to readers for the unvarnished truth about Christie

On the Jersey shore, the Sandy Hook national park includes a nude beach, above, and one of the big guns that protected New York Harbor during World War II, with the Manhattan skyline in the distance, below.


If you want the truth about New Jersey's worst governor ever, ignore the front page of The Record today and flip to letters from readers in the Opinion section.

"More important to him [Governor Christie] than a happy New Jersey is a happy moneyed elite who can fund his national run," Dave Palmer of River Edge says of the GOP bully's adamant stand against taxing the wealthy or reducing business tax cuts (O-3).

"New Jersey is dead last among the 50 states in recovery from the recession," reports Mary Ellen Marino of Princeton.

"He proposes to break his promise to fund the pensions of state employees," Marino continues, "as well as such local workers as teachers, social workers, police and firefighters."

Boosting image

Why isn't the mess Christie has made of the Garden State consistently reflected in the columns, news stories and editorials of the Woodland Park daily?

The Political Stile column on Page 1 today -- reporting Christie's renewed focus on the White House -- sounds just like all of the ones we read before the George Washington Bridge political-retribution scandal. 

Staff Writer Charles Stile notes that "on Jan. 8, The Record published emails directly linking two Christie confidants" to the lane closings (A-1).

But the editors have never explained why it took four months after the gridlock in Fort Lee and more than two months after the election to uncover the smoking gun.

And why doesn't Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin condemn Christie's extensive travel as head of a GOP fund-raising group only days before the June 30 deadline to balance the state budget (A-1 on Saturday)?

Do the arithmetic

Today's Local section leads with the dedication of a new riverfront park in Garfield (L-1), but Columnist Mike Kelly is still writing about a three-decade-old chromium spill in that working class city (O-1).

Staff Writer Kim Lueddeke still expects readers to do the arithmetic on the number of floors a new LG headquarters in Englewood Cliffs would have (L-1).

She continues to describe a "143-foot-high" or "143-foot-tall" building, but notes the borough changed the zoning code to allow "buildings up to 150 feet and eight stories."

Does that mean the controversial LG building on top of the Palisades would be eight stories?

Skeleton news staff

The weekend news staff must have been really thin this weekend, if reporters couldn't find out anything about a fatal cement-truck accident on Saturday in Edgewater (L-1 photo).

Sadly, too many of the paper's photographers think their job ends at capturing an image.

Who were Harold Olivares, 49, of the Bronx and Kevin Bonin, 59, of Teaneck?

Stories about their deaths appear on L-3, but this body count style of journalism ignores whether they were fathers or sons, what they did for a living or anything else.

Eat to the death

Why do the editors think older readers (the majority), who may be diabetic or watching their weight and cholesterol, have any interest in Staff Writer Elisa Ung's obsessions with chocolate and other artery clogging food (BL-1)?

The Corner Table column today is a thinly disguised advertisement for a chocolate bar at Westfield Garden State Plaza.

For the $31 price of the Copper River salmon entree at The Plum and the Pear in Wyckoff, you can buy more than 2 pounds of the Alaskan sockeye fillets at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack ($12.99 a pound) and feed a family of six with plenty of leftovers (BL-2).

Too academic

Kevin DeMarrais, the paper's retired consumer columnist, overlooks the most practical tip of all when you are planning to move (R-1).

Make sure you collect plenty of boxes, leave a few weeks to pack and check to see if the mover you hire has even more boxes, which you will need if your estimates of both are off.

A little balance

On the Opinion front today, Columnist Brigid Harrison's profile of Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is a welcome break from the usual all-Christie, all-the-time coverage (O-1).

Now, for a good laugh, read the caption on the photo of Prieto and Christie on O-4. Does that look like "chatting" to you?

Readers are always scratching their heads, thanks to the lack of proofreading under six-figure production editor Liz Houlton, who likely was taking a nap when that page went to press.

More screw-ups

Want another good laugh? A Saturday correction (A-2) noted a story on Friday misstated the number of counties in New Jersey.

It wasn't even close, with the story mentioning "13 counties." There are 21.

Another correction, on Friday's A-2, said a Thursday headline misstated a significant problem in New Jersey nursing homes -- bedsores.

The headline noted a "significant bedbug problem."


If you missed it, Saturday's Local section carried a rare feature about a downtown merchant, as the editors continue to whip their reporters into promoting mall retailers almost exclusively.

Staff Writer Christopher Maag reports Kates Brothers Scientific Shoe Co. has been custom-fitting shoes at four different locations on Main Street in Hackensack for 73 years (L-3 on Saturday).

Why didn't this feature get better play?

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