Saturday, April 18, 2015

More evidence many N.J. politicians are rotten to the core

The Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, the sixth built for the county, celebrated its 100th birthday in 2012.


The front page of The Record today once again is consumed with the defense cases of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and Joseph Ferriero, a former Democratic Party power broker in Bergen County (A-1).

In the past few weeks, Editor Martin Gottlieb has been pushing back against federal prosecutors, a federal grand jury indictment and, on Thursday, a guilty verdict against Ferriero.

Is this any way for the editor of a supposedly objective daily newspaper to be acting?

The indictment of Menendez and trial of Ferriero have exposed both men's greed while representing the party of the middle class.

A developer, builder, supermarket owner, Port Authority commissioner and others have given Menendez $1.3 million to pay for his legal defense on federal corruption charges.

Do these contributors expect anything in return or are they paying some "debt" to the senior senator from New Jersey? 

Ferriero can't appeal his racketeering conviction until he is sentenced, but The Record is already working hard to lay out losing defense lawyer's Michael Baldassere's legal arguments.

Today's story repeats much of what Baldassere told a gullible Mike Kelly for his Friday column.

Christie P.R. 

Gottlieb gives better play to Governor Christie's return to New Hampshire (A-3) than to another downgrade of New Jersey's credit rating (A-4).

An editorial notes the ninth credit-rating downgrade in six years and a loss of jobs is "not good news for a governor thinking about running for president" or residents (A-11).

Royal carriage

And will you get a load of the horse-drawn carriage bearing the casket of Cliffside Park Mayor Gerald Calabrese, who died at 90 (Page 1 photo)?

The story on the Local front doesn't report whether New Jersey's longest serving mayor turned borough hall into an employment agency for relatives, friends and cronies in the best tradition of home rule (L-1).

Calabrese's son, Thomas, is council president and acting mayor. 

Local news?

Law & Order news is so prevalent in today's Local section, a story about a man getting five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl gets better play than Calabrese's funeral (L-1).

The lead story from a weekly, Paterson Press, reports the family of Nazerah Bugg, 14, wants the three teenagers held in her shooting death to be tried as adults (L-1).

A related story on L-6 quotes Superior Court Judge Bruno Mongiardo lamenting "the street violence that has consumed Paterson's streets."

But the judge, like The Record, does not blame the Police Department, Police Director Jerry Speziale or the country's gun culture.

Hackensack reporter Todd South does a nice job covering an Earth Day celebration at the Fanny Meyer Hillers School -- a rare education story from the county seat (L-3).

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