|The redevelopment of Hackensack's Main Street is underway.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Former Democratic power broker Joe Ferriero is himself a lawyer so perhaps it is fitting he has been exploited so thoroughly by his fellow attorneys.
Look at the convicted racketeer in the photo on the front page of The Record today:
Ferriero has gained a lot of weight from the stress of fighting federal charges for the last eight years or so, but he blew so much money on defense attorneys he can't even afford to buy a new suit that fits him (A-1).
And the legal bills didn't end with his conviction in Newark federal court on Thursday.
None other than Columnist Mike Kelly reports that the losing defense lawyer, Michael Baldassare, "promises that Ferriero ... will be vindicated when he appeals and is found to have done nothing wrong" (A-8).
What a joke. Done nothing wrong? Kelly should be fired for even quoting the self-promoting lawyer spouting such nonsense.
The real crime is that reporters endow Baldassare and other big-name defense lawyers with nearly magical powers to save a client like Ferriero, who was convicted on most of the federal charges he faced, including racketeering, wire fraud and bribery (A-1).
Nowhere in the two news stories or column on Ferriero will you find anything reporting just how much the former Bergen County Democratic Organization chairman spent on his defense -- is it tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars -- all in vain.
It's likely Ferriero, who was convicted of using his power and position to "line his pockets," as U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman put it, already has gone through all of his ill-gotten gains and is spending personal funds (A-8).
If the party organization Ferriero presided over in Bergen County was corrupt, he ended up being exploited by an equally corrupt legal system that denies access to the courts to anyone who isn't wealthy.
A defense attorney like Baldassare, if paid enough money, can keep the Ferriero conviction and coming sentence on appeal for as long as two years, meaning this racketeer isn't going to prison anytime soon.
The Record's amateurish editing bites readers again today with Staff Writer Lindy Washburn's story on the dramatic rise in the use of electronic cigarettes by high school and middle school students (A-1).
The second paragraph is filled with so many confusing numbers that it stops readers dead.
The third paragraph should have followed the lead paragraph, and all of those numbers could have been left for much later.
Also, the reporter and editors assume readers who might not turn to the continuation page are familiar with electronic cigarettes and whether they contain nicotine or other harmful ingredients.
The big local news today is that Ringwood and Ford Motor Co. continue to take the cheap way out of protecting residents from contaminated soil linked to dumping 40 years ago (L-1).
The Record launched an investigation and published a series, "Toxic Legacy," tracing the pollution to paint sludge from Ford's Mahwah plant, where more than 6 million cars and trucks were produced.
The residents sickened over the years are mixed race, and don't have much pull with the Woodland Park daily, officials in Ringwood or Ford.
A photo from Governor Christie's "town-hall-style event" in Hasbrouck Heights should have been on Page 1 today.
Dan Buckley of Lodi is shown with a large sign, "LIAR LIAR," and a photo-drawing of the GOP bully with his pants on fire (L-6).
Editor Martin Gottlieb still gives a pass to the worst governor in New Jersey history.
Christie's poor job-creation performance is reported on B-1 today.
Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung is so enthralled with the souffles and the "tempting" sweets and pastries at Tisha's Main Ingredient in Westwood she gave the Asian fusion restaurant a Good to Excellent rating (BL-16).
But diabetics and others hoping to restrict their intake of sugary food should probably eat elsewhere.