Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Black lives aren't worth much to Paterson police, editors

In the past two years, Main Street in Fort Lee has been closed for utility work and other projects more than any other two-lane road in Bergen County it seems, as it was Monday afternoon, when traffic was funneled into one lane at Anderson Avenue, above, and at Center Street.

Meanwhile, work continues on Hudson Lights, the huge retail and residential project near the George Washington Bridge. And across the street, an expanded Plaza Diner has reopened after renovations, offering free valet parking.


"I've had enough of these killings. Enough is enough."

"Everyone says it has to get worse before it gets better. But we don't see any progression. It's only getting worse."

"I'm scared."

How many ways can Paterson residents and friends of slain basketball phenom Armoni Sexton say it (A-1 and A-7 in The Record today)? 

They are wondering when Police Director Jerry Speziale and his force are going to do something to prevent more killings of young people like Sexton, 15, who was slain by gunfire attributed to a gang rivalry city officials have known about for decades.

Today's Page 1 coverage of Armoni's funeral on Monday doesn't even raise the responsibility of police to prevent gun violence in Silk City's impoverished neighborhoods, even though the force has been depleted by Governor Christie's mean-spirited aid cuts.

The A-1 headline is predictable:

"Mourners seek meaning"

The line over the front-page photo of young mourners reads:


Burying anger

Quotes from fed-up residents are buried deep on the continuation page, and reporters didn't even bother asking Speziale and Mayor Joey Torres for their reactions. 

If black lives are cheap in Paterson, they are even cheaper in the Woodland Park newsroom, which doesn't have a great record on minority employment or an editorial policy that holds cops' feet to the fire.

Armoni was the third innocent young person killed by gunfire in the past 10 months.

Typically, The Record's Monday edition carries a story on the latest weekend shooting in Paterson, the same kind of body count journalism the media practice in wartime.

'Best towns'?

Have you ever heard of New Jersey Family magazine? Neither have I.

But all over the Local front today is a story about four Bergen County towns the magazine calls "Best Towns for Families" in 2015.

What follows is more reporting about Oradell, Closter, Harrington Park and Demarest than readers have seen in the last five or 10 years (L-1 and L-3).

You know the assignment editors, Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza, are lazy and incompetent when Palisades Park changing seven streets to one way makes the front of the Local news section.

Better to warn readers Pal Park is one of the few towns that keeps meters in effect until 9 p.m., as well as on Sundays, hoping to fleece customers of dozens of Korean restaurants.

Second look

In his column on the Local front a week ago, Road Warrior John Cichowski played dumb on the reasons pedestrian deaths are rising in New Jersey.

He only had to report a major development across the Hudson River, where New York City is now charging drivers with a crime if they injure or kill a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way.

Cichowski knows most New Jersey drivers are treated far more leniently -- a major factor in the rising death toll.

And he has even quoted one of those morons saying he wanted to run down a pedestrian who didn't use the crosswalk.

Sloppy reporting

A week ago, Cichowski also listed some of the pedestrians who were killed in Bergen County, but didn't bother reporting the lenient treatment some of the drivers received.

He listed Hue Dang as one of the 17 "walking deaths" in March.

The veteran reporter noted the Hackensack woman, 64, was fatally injured crossing Jackson Avenue at Kennedy Street.

But the confused Cichowski forgot to say no charges of any kind were filed against a Bergen County Prosecutor's Office detective, John Straniero, who was driving the unmarked car that ran her down.

That accident is being reviewed by the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

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