Friday, October 31, 2014

Christie's frequent hand jobs are the only 'job' he is doing

A smaller number of homes on Clinton Place in Hackensack have been decorated for Halloween than in past years. Does the addition of a lawn sign suggest that this candidate's campaign is dead or that he wants the dead to vote for him?


The Record keeps on quoting Governor Christie as saying he is doing his job, but his constituents are baffled by the claim.

On Wednesday, Christie bullied a former Asbury Park councilman who protested the glacial pace of Sandy recovery two years after the superstorm hit New Jersey.

On Thursday, the GOP bully said, "It's just another day at the ranch, the Rancho Christie, and so we'll keep doing our jobs" (A-3).

"Rancho Christie"? Is that the governor's way of trying to appeal to Hispanics in his quixotic bid for the White House?

Sloppy reporting

The Record's story on Thursday didn't mention that protester Jim Keady is a former councilman and part of a Sandy victims advocacy group called Finish the Job.

Nor did Staff Writer Melissa Hayes report how angry and unpresidential Christie was when Keady stood up and kept talking over the politician, as you could clearly see if you watched TV news on Thursday.

The Record's Christie-friendly filter is evident again today in an editorial noting that only half of the 8,800 homeowners approved for relief money have received it (A-20).

The editorial doesn't even come close to saying Christie bears some of the responsibility.

One of the trainers at 24 Hour Fitness in Paramus this morning.

How is Christie doing?

Shouldn't the taxpayers dock Christie for the more than 65 days he has spent out of state this year to raise funds as head of the Republican Governors Association?

He's visited 36 states and Washington, D.C., according to what reads like one of the governor's press releases on The Record's A-3 today.

Besides hand jobs, has Christie done the job of expanding mass transit in one of the nation's most traffic-choked regions or cleaning up the environment?

Christie can't even figure out how to fix the bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund for infrastructure and mass-transit improvements.

What else has he accomplished besides vetoing numerous initiatives from the Democratic-controlled state Legislature -- from raising the minimum wage to open space preservation? 

Election coverage

For the second day in a row, The Record questions the viability of a candidate based on how much he or she has raised in contributions (L-1).

The story makes no mention of the many Democrats who voted for Kathleen Donovan, a Republican who is seeking a second term as county executive on Nov. 4.

I am among those Democrats who split their vote and chose Donovan then and again on my mail-in ballot for this election, because I am repelled by the practices of the county and local Democratic organizations.

Are polls reliable?

Another story on the election appears on L-3, a poll that purports to show that Rep. Scott Garrett, the Tea Party icon from Wantage, is leading challenger Roy Cho by a wider margin than before.

With about 70 percent of the voters living in Bergen County, only widespread voter apathy could derail Cho's momentum in the 5th Congressional District.

Recall the polls that said the race between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney was too close to call. 

If fact, the president's resounding victory embarrassed the candidate of the 1 percent.

The rest of Local today is filled with an inordinate amount of Law & Order news.

Too sheepish

Despite the poor preparation of entrees and a dessert, Staff Writer Elisa Ung gives a rave, 3-star review to The Plum & Pear in Wyckoff (BL-1).

She again touts the "quality of the ingredients" and praises the restaurant's global focus, but doesn't say why the owner chose domestic chops over naturally raised Australian lamb in a $34 special.

And she was bowled over by three desserts, which many health conscious customers never eat.

Why didn't she report on the taste of the house-made whole wheat linguine or a popular "greens and grains" salad? 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A fading Christie lacks the temperament to be president

On Saturday, The Record reported twice on the front page that Hackensack University Medical Center's mobile treatment unit for potential Ebola cases is "behind" a McDonald's on Essex and South Newman streets in Hackensack. But that's not the case. The hospital-owned lot is actually between the McDonald's and NJ Transit's Essex Street Station.

In today's paper, a front-page photo caption says the mobile treatment unit is "near a McDonald's." City officials want the hospital to move the unit, above. 


"Sit down and shut up."

With those words, Governor Christie dismissed another protester, even though everyone but The Record thinks the GOP bully has bungled the recovery two long years after Superstorm Sandy (A-3).

"Why isn't he [Christie] in Ship Bottom today?" protester Jim Keady of Spring Lake said. "Why isn't he in Ortley Beach, where people aren't back in their homes? He's got to finish the job."

Keady held up a sign -- "STAY IN NJ & FINISH THE JOB" -- an apparent reference to Christie's travels raising money for conservative politicians like himself who have been waging war on the middle and working classes. 

Well, is there really any chance Christie will even get the nomination, given his far-from-presidential temperament and his low approval ratings in New Jersey?

If he can't veto bills, he just tells his critics to shut up and sit down.

Voter apathy

He was elected to a second term last November, but the turnout was the lowest for any gubernatorial election in state history.

Christie won, because droves of voters stayed home.

In fact, none of the election coverage so far has addressed how much voters are turned off by the partisanship in New Jersey and Washington, and the Woodland Park daily's relentless focus on politics.

Take today's Page 1 column on the challenge to Rep. Scott Garret, R-Wantage, in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Bergen County (A-1).

Columnist Charles Stile and other staffers give the most coverage and credibility to the candidate who raises the most money, but never say why that is so important.

And this year, I haven't seen one analysis of the distorted and false attack ads big campaign money buys.

Even such an eminence as Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson left out damaging information about Garrett in the first front-page piece on the challenge posed by Democrat Roy Cho, an attorney who lives in Hackensack.

What The Record reported as Garrett's initial opposition to federal Sandy aid is now being called  "raising questions about the potential for wasteful spending" (A-11).

Wednesday's paper

High school football has such a grip on Editor Martin Gottlieb that he ran a two-year-old story about a Paramus Catholic player and his mother all over Wednesday's front page.

Gottlieb again led the front page with lots more on Ebola, even though not a single case has been confirmed in New Jersey.

Two more embarrassing corrections appeared on A-2.

In Wednesday's Better Living section, clueless freelancer Kate Morgan Jackson continues to recommend recipes that turn healthy ingredients into artery clogging nightmares (BL-2).

Her Lobster Frittata includes five whole eggs, a half-cup of cream, 2 ounces of cream cheese and 4 ounces of Swiss cheese.

Jackson should visit a hospital cardiac ward, and talk to patients who have had heart attacks from clogged arteries before she pushes another unhealthy recipe.

Third look

How can Road Warrior John Cichowski be so wrong about so many things in column after column, escaping even basic fact checking by his assignment editor, the copy desk and six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton?

In last Friday's column, which I discussed on Tuesday, Cichowski was relating the history of George Washington Bridge construction.

Then, the clueless transportation writer said:

"Until the Holland Tunnel was completed in Hoboken in 1927, the main method for drivers to get their cars across the Hudson River was by ferry...."

Of course, the New Jersey entrance to the Holland Tunnel is in Jersey City, not Hoboken.

And, of course, no correction appeared.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why is Publisher Stephen A. Borg's hair turning gray?

Shuttered businesses in Englewood, above and below, cast doubt on the strategies of officials there and in Hackensack to revive their business districts by building more apartments downtown, as reported today and Monday in The Record.

Landlords charging high rents could be causing business failures in Englewood in Hackensack, not the lack of foot traffic.


Stephen A. Borg of Tenafly is president of North Jersey Media Group and publisher of The Record, the company's flagship daily newspaper.

He lives in a $3.65 million McMansion bought with a mortgage from NJMG, and he's sitting on a pot of gold -- the 19.7-acre parcel that has been empty since the paper left Hackensack in 2009, as reported today in The Record (A-7).

That property might not be as attractive once Costco Wholesale closes its 20-year-old Hackensack warehouse store nearby and opens a bigger one in Teterboro (A-1).

But that certainly shouldn't be turning his hair gray.

You can clearly see the transformation in a photo on Page 112 of the October 2014 issue of (201) magazine, which celebrates the Dwight-Englewood School's Anniversary Gala in Englewood under the heading, "Giving Back."

Borg is shown with his wife, Monica, who appears in another photo on Page 102 of the same issue, one of four women in the "Best Dressed of the Month" feature.

Same old, same old

If anything, the hair of readers should be turning gray over the sameness of the front page today -- more boring news about the Ebola epidemic that isn't, and yet another tedious political column on Governor Christie's image (A-1).

The Costco story is the only one on the front page that could pass for local news, and that has been rumored for more than a year.

A bigger Costco is under construction near Teterboro Airport, about 3 miles from the Hackensack warehouse.

Second look

Road Warrior John Cichowski counts on his readers having memories as bad as his, especially when he repeatedly screws up the age of the George Washington Bridge.

Last Friday, Cichowski finally got it right, reporting the bridge was 83 years old on that day (Oct. 24) after four previous columns as far back as last December had already declared its age as 83.

According to the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers, the veteran reporter also messed up the name of the award bestowed on the subject of his column, Warren "Pops" Tashian, 99.

Cichowksi claims that in 2004, the Bergen County YMCA gave Tashian its "Man of the Year" award.

But the award has never been called that. The award is "Person of the Year," and Tashian didn't get that, either.

He was honored as "Most Inspirational Adult."

The Bergen County Y may add a "Most Incorrect Adult" award, and give it to Cichowski. 

See: Playing dumb and dumber again

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ebola hits newsroom, editors feed media hysteria

Park Avenue in Park Ridge also is called James Gandolfini Way. The Ridge Diner's coffee is good enough to drink black, but if you order a cafe latte, it will be served sweetened and with whipped cream on top. Yuck.


The irresponsible editors at The Record aren't even waiting for the first confirmed case of Ebola in New Jersey.

Joining the electronic media's hysteria, the Woodland Park daily today and Saturday broke out the big, black, doomsday headlines.

Transportation reporter Christopher Maag is back on the Ebola beat today, and the paper's medical writers also have entered the fray.

If you are already tired of Ebola stories, there isn't much else to on Page 1 today -- except another pedestrian political column, and a pissing match between two New Jersey architectural schools.

Is Editor Martin Gottlieb, the worldly former Timesman, this boring in person?

Joining Maag in not covering his beat is Road Warrior John Cichowski, whose L-1 column today again strays far from commuting issues.

Last Sunday, the Road Warrior column predicted Route 20 construction could be finished by December, as reflected in the headline and text, but others believe it will take longer.

See the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior issues another dumb prediction

Noise makers

I get a kick out of photos The Record runs publicizing the charity work of Harley-Davidson owners, who cavalierly break every anti-noise ordinance on the books.

Today, the Bergen County Harley Owners Group is shown "during a benefit for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" (L-2).

So, modifying their motorcycle mufflers to be as loud as possible and cruelty to the eardrums of humans is OK. 

Word pusher

It must be hard being Mike Kelly, to echo the first line of the reporter's piece on Governor Christie (O-1).

Kelly rehashes the controversy over Christie's insensitive remarks about being tired of the Washington debate over raising the minimum wage.

But the burned-out columnist can't muster an opinion, and is reluctant to condemn the GOP bully, who has waged war on New Jersey's middle and working classes, and even vetoed a hike in the state's minimum wage.

"He needs to open his eyes," Kelly says lamely about Christie.

Kelly will be celebrating his 4oth year at The Record next year, if you can believe that.

'Cho in the 5th'

The Record's Editorial Board has finally come to its senses about Scott Garrett, the conservative Republican who has represented the 5th Congressional District for the past 12 years.

Today, an editorial endorses Democrat Roy Cho of Hackensack on Nov. 4 (O-2).

The district runs from the Delaware to the Hudson, and includes Bergen County.

Garrett voted "no" on the Violence Against Women Act and to end the government shutdown last year.

He also initially opposed federal Sandy aid, but lied about it in campaign literature.

Cho's highest priority as a freshman congressman would be transportation, an issue that has been neglected by The Record and ignored by Garrett and Christie.

Saturday's paper

The Ebola coverage on Saturday's front page mentioned twice that Hackensack University Medical Center's mobile satellite emergency department is parked "behind a McDonald's, in fact."

Is there a connection?

Symptoms of the African virus include "diarrhea, vomiting [and] stomach pain." 

They sound a lot like what McDonald's customers experience after eating the low-quality beef and other food.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Overplayed, incomprehensible and a huge waste of time

Aggressive police ready to pounce on any driver who doesn't yield to a pedestrian in the many crosswalks are the least of your problems, if you use Cedar Lane in Teaneck as a route to Englewood. The four-lane street through the township's main business district narrows, above, causing conflicts with other motorists, and the many slow, older drivers act as moving road blocks.


Readers who don't choke on the lead paragraph of the overplayed and overwritten turnpike story on Page 1 today are probably scratching their heads, trying to figure out what it says.

Is there something in the newsroom water at The Record or did Editor Marty Gottlieb rewrite Staff Writer Christopher Maag, exposing how out of touch the former Timesman really is (A-1)?

Anyone who has been caught in one of the region's massive traffic jams knows a wider turnpike isn't the "road to the future."

How does the new, 12-lane stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike below Exit 8 show the state remains "confident ... a place still unafraid to etch its belief in a brighter future into the contours of the land"?

A mass-transit corridor down the center of the 35-mile section, not more asphalt, really would have been forward looking.

Too little, too late

Where was Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, when Governor Christie killed the Hudson River rail tunnels in 2010, setting back for at least a decade expanded train travel between New Jersey and New York (A-1)?

The do-nothing six-termer seeking election on Nov. 4 from the 5th Congressional District -- which includes Bergen County -- is facing a formidable challenge from Roy Cho, a Hackensack attorney who has surged in the polls.

In a letter to the editor today, Bruce de Lyon of Dumont notes Garrett ducked debates, adding:

"As long as we allow Garrett to run a dismissive and underground campaign, he will continue to ignore issues crucial to the residents of northern New Jersey" (A-18).

Another Kelly error

Among the many embarrassing corrections published on A-2 this week is the one today trying to fix another Mike Kelly screw-up.

The burned-out columnist "misstated the year of a hazing incident at Holmdel High School" in his boring Page 1 piece last Sunday (A-2).

Desperate editor

A desperate local editor must have written the headline over  today's Road Warrior column -- "A commuter's tale" -- which reports the recollections of a 99-year-old man who took part in the 1931 ceremony opening the George Washington Bridge (L-1).

The rambling piece by Staff Writer John Cichowski has absolutely nothing to do with the ordeal of commuting, and is a colossal waste of readers' time.

Food coverage

Hackensack police should check hospital emergency rooms for two men who allegedly skipped out on a $100 restaurant bill (L-3).

The suspects, who spoke English and Hebrew, ignored Lotus Cafe and the fine-dining restaurants in The Shops at Riverside to rip off Applebee's on Tuesday night, police said.

They likely sought medical help for a huge case of indigestion.

Agita is in store for readers who bother with today's lukewarm, 2-star review of the 14-year-old Martini Grill in Wood-Ridge (BL-18).

Staff Writer Elisa Ung praises "the restaurant's focus on fish," but she chose poorly, "a thick fillet of swordfish flecked by capers and sun-dried tomatoes ($25.95)."

Swordfish contains a large amount of mercury, and isn't recommended for women of child-bearing age.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Christie move helped mobster, Garrett opposed cops

An NJ Transit train stopping at the Anderson Street Station in Hackensack. Governor Christie's decision to cancel the Hudson River rail tunnels stuck the mass-transit agency with an $8.1 million debt to the family of a jailed mobster, The Record reports today.


You could call today's paper the mean-spirited-Republican edition -- with stories on Governor Christie and Rep. Scott Garrett, and their opposition to everything good and decent.

The Record reports on Page 1 that Governor Christie's cancellation of the Hudson River rail tunnels in 2010 led a court to rule the state owes $8.1 million to the family of convicted mob boss Carmine Franco (A-1).

Screw voters, workers

Christie also came out in favor of voter I.D. laws, which courts say are "discriminatory and, in some cases, racially motivated" (A-1 and A-6).

Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- basically, his wealthy donors -- the GOP bully also didn't waste any time dumping on workers fighting to raise the minimum wage (A-6).

"I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am," Christie said.

Christie's net worth is put at $4 million by

Screw cops, too

Meanwhile, Garrett, a Wantage Republican seeking a seventh term in Congress, supported cuts to a program "that funds federal grants to cities and towns to hire police" (A-7).

So, you can add opposition to more police in Paramus to the growing list of what Garrett opposed, including Sandy aid and legislation to help women.

Roy Cho, a Hackensack attorney, is seeking to unseat Garrett, a Tea Party icon from the 5th Congressional District, which includes Bergen County.

Internet or rent?

The Page 1 story on people who can't afford Internet service runs with a big photo of some of them using computers in the Johnson Public Library in Hackensack (A-1).

But there is absolutely no reference to the demonstration against cuts to the library's funding that took place Tuesday night at the Hackensack City Council meeting (L-1).

Isn't the Internet or rent story a poor choice for the front page?

For years, The Record took no notice of people, most of whom are black and Hispanic, who can't afford cars and were forced to ride on decrepit NJ Transit buses to get to work.

More Law & Order

Most of the thin Local news section today is filled with police and court news, including yet another story about Teresa Giudice (L-3).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Editors continue to ignore the issues facing voters

A rare sight at the Lincoln Tunnel: Hardly any waiting at the tollbooths.


With only two weeks to go before the Nov. 4 election, readers aren't seeing much coverage of the issues -- what the candidates believe in and what they propose to do to help New Jersey and the region.

Stories about candidates on A-3 and L-1 of The Record today reflect the editors' continuing obsession with politics.

Two other stories, on L-3, do involve a rare discussion of issues.

Bare-bones coverage

The Record's editors and reporters have never liked covering elections.

Years ago, coverage of school board elections was reduced to briefs -- four or five paragraphs -- and only contested elections merited a full-fledged story.

Is it any wonder hardly anyone votes in those elections, despite all of the property taxes that go to run the schools?

Cho v. Garrett

The Record didn't bother covering a candidate forum and debate in Ridgewood on Monday night, when Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, was a no-show.

In an e-mail to supporters, Democratic challenger Roy Cho said, "Scott Garrett has millions in campaign funds from lobbyists and special interests, but our campaign relies on grassroots support from people like you."

Garrett, one of the most conservative members of Congress and a Tea Party idol, is seeking a seventh term from the 5th District, which includes Bergen County.

Idiotic editing

A perfect example of the editors' dislike of elections -- and their contemp for voters -- appeared on the front page of Saturday's paper, in the very first paragraph of a story about a Fort Lee man who sells T-shirts that portray Russia's leader in a positive light.

I can't imagine why any editor would approve this introduction:

"NEW YORK -- Julius Kacinskis does not consider himself political -- he does not even vote."

Since when is voting a political act?

Hey Staff Writer Mary Diduch, if you vote for a candidate who believes in equal pay for women, is that political?

How about if you vote for a president who wants all of us to have health insurance to help reduce the charity care burden on the nation's hospitals?

That's not "political," even if you and the other pea brains at the Woodland Park daily say so.

What Marty believes

If you want to know whether elections are important to Editor Martin Gottlieb, take a look at Page 1 today:

Just above the fold we get the breathless news that Saks Fifth Avenue will be closing its store in The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack (A-1).

This is Gottlieb's way of keeping the focus off of the struggling downtowns of many communities, including Hackensack's.

That's especially egregious, given how the departure of North Jersey Media Group and The Record from 150 River St. sent the city's Main Street into a tailspin.

Local goes tabloid

The biggest local news in the paper today?

It leads L-1 -- the arrest of "a Paterson civic leader and former school board member" after police allegedly saw him leave a motel with a 12-year-old boy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why are the editors going easy on Rep. Scott Garrett?

Someone used a shopping cart at Target in Hackensack to "recycle" several items today, including a plastic toilet seat and cover, above.

Not far away was this pair of children's shoes, above and below.


Scott Garrett, the conservative Republican seeking a seventh term in Congress, is ducking out of a candidate forum tonight and a debate with his Democratic challenger.

But you wouldn't know that from The Record today.

A rambling column by Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin recalls that in 2008, Garrett "declined to attend a candidate forum at a temple in Bergen County" (A-11).

Doblin says the Wantage Republican "sent a blind Jewish man as his surrogate," because his opponent, Dennis Shulman, was "a blind rabbi."

Can you just imagine who Garrett would send as his surrogate tonight, seeing that his challenger is Hackensack attorney Roy Cho, who is Korean-American.

Doblin makes no mention of tonight's candidate forum at Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center in Ridgewood.

Cho is seeking to unseat Garrett in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Bergen County.

Garrett is a Tea Party favorite for his opposition to just about everything, especially programs that help the middle class.

He initially opposed federal aid for Sandy victims and voted against legislation that would help women, then lied about his stance on both issues in campaign literature.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Are the reporters or editors the real problem?

NJ Transit's No. 165 Turnpike Express, which I boarded in Hackensack, approaching the ramp to the problem-plagued Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan on a wet Thursday morning. Why is The Record's chief transportation reporter writing about the rebuilding of a church today? 

One of the few improvements in recent months are touch-screen terminals to help commuters find the platform where they can catch the bus back to New Jersey. I have yet to see any mention of them in The Record.


In today's disappointing Sunday edition, don't look for stories and columns that are relevant to your life in North Jersey.

The only local dateline on the front page is Fairview, where Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado explores the problems of a family headed by an illegal immigrant who was arrested and thrown into a cell (A-1).

Columnist Mike Kelly is so burned out he's back on the Sayreville beat, which is way out of the circulation area, rehashing old cases of football hazing (A-1).

Kelly tackles another "local story" -- Ebola -- on the Opinion front (O-1).

Dog chases bus

Like an adoring lap dog, Staff Writer Melissa Hayes again follows Governor Christie around on his travels raising money for the mean-spirited Republican Party -- totally ignoring the mess he's left behind in New Jersey (A-1).

Christie has really screwed up the region's mass-transit network, but Staff Writer Christopher Maag, the chief transportation writer, was sent to the city to write about a church destroyed on 9/11 (A-3).

You will find a column about the problem-plagued Port Authority Bus Terminal in the Opinion section, but that was written by a daily bus commuter from Rockland County, N.Y. (O-2).

An escalator takes commuters from the upper-level bus platforms to a lower floor at the Manhattan bus terminal.

More road kill

On the Local front, addled Road Warrior John Cichowski is writing about yet another delayed road-construction project, this one in Passaic County, that affects only a small fraction of the readership.

This isn't news, and doesn't help commuters one bit.

Hackenack news

The most readable story in the paper today is also on L-1, where Kazmier Wysocki, 95, a three-time Hackensack mayor, is shown with his wife, son and grandson at his city manufacturing company.

It's refreshing to read about Hackensack history that doesn't involve the Zisa family, which ran the city for decades and stuck the county seat with the derogatory name of "Zisaville."

Staff vacation?

None of the stories in today's 8-page Business section appears to have been written by a staffer in the Woodland Park newsroom (B-1).

The cover story on "crowdfunding," which discusses North Jersey business people, carries the byline of Virginia M. Citrano, a freelancer.

The rest of the section was supplied by news services or The Wall Street Journal.

Ignoring local stores

The Better Living cover today is about the cheese department at Zabar's on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- not about any of the great cheese departments in North Jersey (BL-1).

Ditzy Food Editor Esther Davidowitz profiles the Leonia woman who runs the department, and in the process, ignores tens of thousands of readers who are watching their weight and cholesterol.

How predictable. The head of Zabar's cheese department, Olga Dominguez, is called "a big cheese."

She is quoted as saying there are three basic types of cheeses -- hard, soft and semi-soft -- but to people watching their weight and cholesterol there are only two -- full fat and reduced fat.

Unfortunately, the sloppy six-figure production editor, Liz Houlton, missed a typo in Dominguez' name in the photo caption. 

Doesn't compute

There is an easy way to avoid the table-top computers Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung seems so fascinated with in her silly column today:

Don't go to Chili's and other chain restaurants to eat the crap they serve (BL-1).

More on Germany

For the third week in a row, a major wire-service story is needed to fill the thin Travel section.

This despite Travel Editor Jill Schensul telling a respected media blog,, that the paper negotiates favorable "press rates" for trips to minimize the use of canned wire copy.

As for Schensul's column today, a large part of it is based on one of those trips, her visit to Papenburg, Germany, where she went on a Royal Caribbean tour of a shipyard building two mega cruise ships.

The gushing story about the new ships appeared as her section's cover story on Sept. 14, though its relevance to most North Jersey residents eluded me.

Today, she describes the graveyard she found in Papenburg as "a veritable botanical garden."

The respect for the dead shown by these Germans only serves to remind me of the lack of respect they showed to millions of living and dead during of the Holocaust, and wonder why Schensul even bothered to write about the cemetery.

She also omitted any mention of the Day of the Dead, which is widely observed in the North Jersey's Mexican-American communities. 

The real questions

So, we know Editor Marty Gottlieb controls every word that appears on Page 1 -- including endless speculation about Christie's White House bid -- but why are the clueless local editors assigning the transportation reporter to non-transportation stories?

Why are Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza allowing Cichowski to write the majority of his Road Warrior columns off of complaining e-mails from readers whose only interest is seeing their names in print?

And when will Kelly stop making every new column seem old?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Editors taunt Hackensack with medical center's success

One of NJ Transit's roomy double-decker trains pulling into the Clifton station last Monday. Clifton is one of the few stations with a free parking lot for commuters.

Upper deck or lower? Avoid the train's poorly designed upper deck, with its low, head-cracking metal luggage rack. The lower deck, shown here, is a far better bet.


The Record's breathless front-page account today of another Hackensack University Medical Center expansion examines the deal from every angle except the one that means the most to residents of its host city.

"The new organization ... will employ 23,400 people and have more than $3.4 billion in revenues ...," the story reports in the second paragraph (A-1).

The medical center's building boom in Hackensack fundamentally changed the residential character of the neighborhood, and the city has little to show in terms of property tax revenue.

HUMC is non-profit, and hasn't returned anything in lieu of the tens of millions of dollars in taxes denied to the city.

Businesses and homeowners pay more as a result.

Yet, The Record's coverage of HUMC resembles boosterism, perhaps a legacy of the years North Jersey Media Group Vice President/General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg spent on the medical center board.

Localizing Ebola

The local assignment editors sent Staff Writer Christopher Maag to Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday, the first day of "targeted health screenings for the Ebola virus" (A-6).

But someone, likely as editor, screwed up Maag's lead paragraph:

"The first day of targeted health screenings ... was quiet Thursday ...."

Instead, this is how it should have read:

"Thursday, the first day of targeted health screenings ..., was quiet ...."

Why send Maag and not a medical writer? 

The reporter covers NJ Transit and other transportation issues, and the airport presumably is part of his beat, according to the assignment editors' tortured reasoning.

Back to the story. Let's hope Nana Smith of Hackensack doesn't suffer any fallout from being photographed at the airport "waiting for a friend from Ghana" (A-6).

More Garrett lies

Diane Callaghan of River Vale, a letter writer, says a TV ad promoting another term for Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, claims the six-termer hits the ground running every morning "to create better economic opportunities for women and their families" (A-18).

Callaghan notes Garrett voted against the Violence Against Women Act, which would have passed tougher sentences for those who commit crimes against women, as well as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which strengthened laws against wage discrimination.

Add women to Superstorm Sandy aid, both of which the Garrett campaign claims the conservative Tea Party icon favored, contrary to the truth.

Garrett will say anything to win another term in the 5th Congressional District -- getting elected is his main concern.

Roy Cho advances

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Roy Cho of Hackenack says two recent polls show he has "vaulted into a very competitive position within single digits" of Garrett.

Compared to Garrett, who is against anything that will help the middle class, Cho has a lot going for him, including his making his first bid for elective office.

Redistricting of the 5th District in 2011 added several heavily Democratic communities, including Hackensack.

Seventy percent of the voters in the district live in Bergen County. 

The boomerang-shaped district stretches from the Delaware to the Hudson rivers.

Stomach turning

Flies not only stand on poop, they eat it, so word that Staff Writer Elisa Ung "repeatedly waved away flies in the dining room" of S. Egidio in Ridgewood is an instant turnoff (BL-16).

Only an overweight restaurant reviewer who tops off full meals with a Nutella-stuffed calzone and cheesecake could love this Neapolitan pizzeria, on which she bestows 2.5 stars.

Restaurant names continue to puzzle me. 

This joint is named after saint I never heard of. What about the Indian restaurant called Dhoom?