By VICTOR E. SASSON
There's been a lull in the action since the explosive e-mail -- "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" -- blew open the investigation of George Washington Bridge lane closures and the resulting gridlock in early September.
Now, The Record reports on Page 1 today, newly released messages between Governor Christie's aide and his crony on the Port Authority make a New Jersey rabbi the butt of jokes.
No closer to truth
In August, Bridget Anne Kelly, then-Christie's deputy chief of staff, joked with then-Port Authority executive David Wildstein about causing "traffic problems" at the home of the rabbi, who is the Port Authority's police chaplain, and delaying flights to Tel Aviv.
Readers can plow through thousands of words in today's paper and come no closer to an understanding of whether Christie was aware members of his inner circle were using traffic and Sandy aide as tools to exact political revenge against Democrats.
Brigid Harrison, a political science professor and opinion columnist for The Record, is quoted today as saying the jokes again highlight "a culture of arrogance" that "reflects poorly on the Christie administration" (A-1).
But the messages also reveal that everyone -- from Democratic mayors to middle-class property taxpayers in New Jersey -- have been treated as mere pawns in Christie's grand conservative scheme to wage class warfare.
In a letter to the editor on A-10 today, retired Paterson teacher Patricia Montalto of Little Falls decries Christie's continuing attacks on the pensions of public employees (A-1).
An editorial on A-10 today again demands that Christie call for the resignation of Port Authority Chairman David Samson -- a father figure to the GOP bully -- and all New Jersey commissioners.
"Christie needs to vent the same anger on ... people he put into power that he has at ordinary citizens who have done nothing more than to disagree with him at public forums," the editorial says.
Black church goers
Another Page 1 story today on a dramatic increase in the number of black church parishioners from Africa and the Caribbean is really old news.
The Church of God of Prophecy, a Jamaican-American congregation in Englewood, recently purchased the West Side Presbyterian Church on Demarest Avenue and other buildings, including one housing the Center for Food Action.
In Hackensack news, The Record continues to report on the arrest during drug sweeps of Charles T. Williams, a convicted child rapist and murderer who may be linked to unsolved killings (L-1).
But at the Hackensack Chronicle, the big news is the possible formation of a "snow committee" in Hackensack.
The story quotes Mayor John Labrosse and interim City Manager Anthony Rotino, but both try mightily to avoid any suggestion the city's Department of Public Works did an awful job removing snow after a series of storms.
|Barricaded bus shelters on Summit Avenue in Hackensack.|
|Euclid Avenue and Main Street in Hackensack after the nor'easter.|
|Blocked crosswalk at Anderson and Main streets (Sears).|
How Hackensack talks
Rottino apparently was rewarded for his loyalty to the Citizens for Change reform slate that was swept into office last year, not for his command of the English language.
Rottino suggests snow removal could be "a little more organized."
But Labross takes the cake for dancing around the need to assess blame:
"When the storm is over and everything has calmed down, you go back and you do an evaluation of how you handled everything -- not to beat anybody up or to back breath down anybody, but to see what we can do better."
Come to think of it, the editors, reporters and the Road Warrior columnist at The Record also were reluctant to assign blame for sloppy snow removal and slow pothole repairs throughout North Jersey.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room, a glitzy mall restaurant in Hackensack, inexplicably gets a "Good" rating today from Staff Writer Elisa Ung, even though she calls a $54.95 steak "the biggest rip-off" (BL-16).
Scallops were "stringy," she says, not criticizing the addition of artery clogging cream and "huge chunks of heavenly bacon" ($41.95).
She found the colossal Thai shrimp "rigid," but doesn't say whether they were previously frozen ($38.95)
In another restaurant appraisal filled with poorly prepared food and mixed messages, Ung ends on an upbeat note, giving in to her obsession and praising the desserts.
In all the years she has been reviewing restaurants, the woman has learned nothing about how beef is raised.
She says the 20-ounce rib-eye she calls a rip-off had little flavor and loses points for not being aged or prime -- the fattiest cut.
Of course, it loses the most points for apparently not being raised completely on grass and without harmful animal antibiotics and growth hormones.