By VICTOR E. SASSON
Politics are an obsession at The Record of Woodland Park.
The current members of the City Council are described as "a political coalition" in the first paragraph of the story, which is written by Abbott Koloff and former Hackensack reporter Hannan Adely.
To get the story on Page 1, the reporters also claim Rottino's suit is a sign the City Council has failed to "put an end to costly legal disputes," without explaining all of those suits were filed against the corrupt former police chief, Ken Zisa, whose family ran Hackensack for decades before his allies were thrown out of office last year.
Calls to resign
At council meetings, gadflies and other critics have repeatedly called for Rottino to resign, claiming the Citizens for Change fund-raiser isn't qualified for the city manager's job.
In his suit, filed Monday in Superior Court in Hackensack, Rottino accuses "top officials of violating state law, condoning 'mob-like and thuggish behavior' by the police union and conducting a smear campaign to 'destroy his reputation'" (A-1).
Rottino also claims some city officials are trying to fire him, in part, "because he opposed raising police salaries and sought to protect the job of a public relations consultant who is being paid $78,000 by the city while working two other public jobs, " referring to Thom Ammirato.
Rottino, 48, is being paid $176,000 a year as economic development director and acting city manager.
|Staff Writer Jim Norman of The Record, left, covered tonight's Hackensack City Council meeting, along with Marko Georgiev, a staff photographer.|
Blood in water
Rottino's lawsuit has North Jersey Media Group smelling blood in the water.
The official didn't attend tonight's council meeting -- the second meeting in a row he missed -- but four NJMG reporters and a photographer did.
Staff Writers Jim Norman, Mike Kelly and Adely of The Record were there, along with Jennifer Vasquez of the weekly Hackensack Chronicle.
Staff Writer Christopher Maag, who took over the Hackensack beat from Adely, is on vacation.
During the meeting, council members went into executive session, then emerged and voted to fire Ammirato, their former campaign manager, whom they hired last July as city spokesman.
They also voted to adopt a $94.46 million budget.
|Columnist Mike Kelly of The Record, left, at the back of the City Council Chambers with attorney Richard E. Salkin, a longtime ally of the discredited Zisa family. Compare Kelly's mantle of gray hair with his shit-eating-grin column photo.|
Us v. them
The millionaires tax also is portrayed as a partisan battle, despite lagging tax revenue, high unemployment and Christie's grab for mass-transit funds to fix roads.
The Record's story quotes Republicans as claiming "increasing taxes would cripple the state's economy," but Staff Writer John Reitmeyer betrays readers by failing to note it is already crippled (A-6).
This is a common practice in electronic and newspaper journalism, going for "sound bites," no matter how ridiculous or nonsensical they are, as long as they stir controversy.
Fat guy strikes out
In contrast to the editorial idolatry of Christie, today's unflattering front-page photo clearly shows a man of his size shouldn't wear shorts and a T-shirt, and shouldn't show himself to be such a klutz with a baseball bat (A-1).
In Better Living, the owner of The Plum and the Pear, a new restaurant in Wyckoff, justifies charging $31 for several ounces of Copper River sockeye salmon from Alaska by noting it is "usually available five or six weeks a year" (BL-1).
The clueless editors publish the quote, even though fresh wild sockeye salmon from other Alaskan rivers, as well as other states, are just as delicious and will be available until early October.