Thursday, June 25, 2015

GOP bully grabs veto pen as N.J. budget battle heats up

In a 90-minute ceremony late Wednesday afternoon, more than 440 Hackensack High School students graduated in the school's 120th Commencement. This message on the back of a car in the school parking lot summed up how some of them felt.

Valedictorian Alexis Holmes, left, speaking to parents, relatives and friends of the Class of 2015.


I don't see anything in The Record today, but radio news is reporting Governor Christie is getting his veto pen ready to slash a budget plan from the Democratic majority in the state Legislature.

On Wednesday's A-3, Staff Writer Melissa Hayes seemed to emphasize "a few pet projects for powerful Democrats" over restoring women's health centers, the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor and $2.6 billion for the underfunded state pension system.

Is Hayes, who covered Christie's out-of-state appearances in pursuit of his White House dreams, really the right reporter to cover the annual budget battle?

Just below Hayes' slanted budget story, her byline appears on another report:

"Governor Christie's approval rating in New Jersey continues to fall as he hovers in the middle of the pack of likely Republican presidential candidates among New Hampshire primary voters, according to polls released on Tuesday."

Graduates were arranged in rows from the shortest in front to the tallest in back in two groups, with officials in the center, forming an "H" on the football field.

Selling LG deal

Editor Martin Gottlieb uses Page 1 today to sell the deal that will allow LG to build a five-story headquarters atop the Palisades in Englewood Cliffs (A-1).

In fact, the compromise is a dangerous precedent. The Korean company should have donated the 25 acres to the borough for a park.

Demonizing transit

Gottlieb also continues to argue that NJ Transit and other mass-transit agencies should at least break even or make money.

A so-called Page 1 analysis raises the specter of a 11% increase in fares, if the agency's unionized employees win 3% annual raises over six years.

That would be on top of a 9% fare increase and service cuts that were proposed in response to Christie slashing state subsidies to NJ Transit.

This story and others on the state budget budget seem to be written from Christie's point of view, even though editorials in the Woodland Park daily have criticized the governor for his refusal to raise the low gasoline tax, which helps fund mass transit.


On A-2 today, the editors acknowledge three errors, and provide news on the whereabouts of a missing stock page.

Breaking news

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the latest Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act, ruling President Obama's health-care law may provide nationwide subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy insurance.

In a letter to the editor today, Bob Verbeek of Leonia wrote about how the federal health-car law is working (A-10).

He also slammed Christie "for pandering to the Tea Party crowd in his bid for president" by refusing to set up a state exchange to enroll New Jersey residents.


Board of Education President Jason Nunnermacker, a lawyer, said nothing memorable in his address to Hackensack High School graduates. In fact, none of the speakers exhorted the students to try and make the world a better place.

Guests were forced to sit under a hot sun on cramped, metal bleachers overlooking the football field.

Hackensack news

Today's Local section leads with a report on Tuesday night's City Council meeting in Hackensack, where officials announced the formation of a task force "to help people with mental illnesses" (L-1).

Police Director Mike Mordaga is quoted as saying the department "had 20 stun guns on order" before recent fatal police shootings of two Hispanic residents, but officers are awaiting "training" by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

This story and earlier ones don't explain why a police officer who is already trained to kill an armed suspect with a single gunshot needs to be trained in the use of a Taser or stun gun.

Not working out

Why does today's Business page carry an upbeat, highly promotional story from The Associated Press on one-room gyms in Manhattan (L-8)?

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