By VICTOR E. SASSON
I question why The Record needed 10 days before publishing today's Page 1 story with the shocking details of Governor Christie's latest plan to rob state employees and use the money to prop up a pension system he has deliberately underfunded.
Staff Writer Melissa Hayes wastes no time listing the potential damage in her lead paragraph:
"Teachers, police officers, state employees and even retirees" would have to pay more for their health-care coverage "to free up money that would then prop up retirement benefits," according to the Christie-endorsed plan (A-1).
And "residents could be facing bigger property tax bills if the state shifts its responsibility to pay teacher pensions to local school boards, as the plan proposes."
Of course, Hayes is blinded by her affection for Christie, and doesn't label this scheme for what it is.
Nor does she ever explain in her so-called Analysis that the GOP bully's refusal to raises taxes on his millionaire supporters and his giveaways to New Jersey corporations are among the major reasons for the state's fiscal crisis.
The numbers are staggering: 885,000 state workers, retirees and dependents are enrolled in two health benefits plan; and more than 128,000 municipal, county and education employees also are enrolled in those state plans (A-6).
Editorial v. Kelly
A day after Columnist Mike Kelly declared on the front page that Christie wasn't "in campaign mode" during a town hall meeting in Fair Lawn, the reporter was contradicted in an editorial (A-12).
The editorial criticizes the GOP bully for effectively blowing off parents of developmentally disabled children:
"Christie wanted to talk pensions and health-benefit reforms long enough to leave the state to attend an American Enterprise Institute Forum in Sea Island, Ga. ... Christie wants to be president and these parents -- well, they just want to be parents."
"He [Christie] needs to show voters outside of New Jersey that he is a problem solver and in touch with his constituents. But he is not...," the editorial states, in unusually strong language for Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin.
Staff Writer Todd South, who is assigned to cover Hackensack, appears to have spent about 5 minutes in the city, interviewing an employee of the Spotless Car Wash for today's snowstorm roundup (L-3).
The car wash is on River and East Anderson streets, but South didn't notice that just across River, an East Anderson Street bus stop remains barricaded by snow many weeks after the first major storm.
That forces riders to wait for their buses in the street or in the driveway of a car rental business. Is that safe?
Two thumbs down
Critic Elisa Ung has managed to find another expensive -- but mediocre -- restaurant in the northern reaches of Bergen County, Brasserie Brandman in Park Ridge.
Who is jumping into the car to drive 30 minutes for the privilege of paying $85 for a porterhouse steak for two pumped full of harmful antibiotics and growth hormones (BL-12)?
Ung gets no editing, so behold this messy sentence:
"My two recent dinners were a frustrating parade of dazzling flavors sabotaged by cooking mistakes, punctuated by some good dishes on the eclectic American menu."
I wanted to throw up at the description of "leathery" rock shrimp ($18), "soggy" pasta in a "watery" sauce ($24) and tough slab bacon ($13).
Another kitchen disaster was a seafood pie in a "separating bechamel sauce" ($34).
Any wild fish?
Of course, people who care anything about their health would never order the problem dishes and desserts sampled by the insatiable critic.
Doesn't the menu list fresh wild-caught fish or steamed lobster, vegetables and salads? Why didn't she sample any of those?
Stephen Brandman, the owner, is a globe-trotting multimillionaire hotel owner from Saddle River who apparently has too much time on his hands.
Ung says the "intensity with which he watched over the dining room" made her feel uncomfortable.
And what's with the clunky headline?
"A well-heeled 'Cheers'"