Wednesday, August 26, 2015

With Christie's support, Big Oil is ruling New Jersey, too

At the post office in Hackensack, employees used official Postal Service tape to hold together these signs.


For decades, the noxious Bayway Refinery has given hundreds of thousands of visitors a negative impression of the state as they drive by on the New Jersey Turnpike.

And it helped fortify the "Cancer Alley" reputation of the Garden State, which had the nation's highest incidence of the disease in the 1970s.

Who knew that Exxon was at the same time contaminating 1,800 acres of wetlands at the oil giant's former refineries in Linden (Bayway) and Bayonne, according to a lawsuit the state filed 11 years ago?

Now, The Record says, a Superior Court judge has OK'd a settlement of the case for a mere $225 million, most of which will go to balance Governor Christie's voodoo state budget and to pay legal fees (A-1). 

The state had sought $9 billion in damages when the case was filed in 2004 by the James McGreevey administration (A-6).

Koch brothers

Is it any coincidence the Koch brothers, who made their fortune from the refining and distribution of petroleum, are putting hundreds of millions of dollars behind conservative Republicans like Christie in the 2016 presidential race?

Big Oil and the nation's automakers also have worked hand in hand to fight the production of more efficient cars and trucks, and to delay implementation of higher gas-mileage standards.

That only aggravates air pollution and hastens climate change -- two environmental issues that aren't mentioned in a wire-service story on increasing traffic congestion (A-1 and A-4).

Today's front page

With not one but two silly sports-related stories on Page 1 today, the Exxon ruling is the only news of any real relevance to North Jersey residents whose property taxes continue to climb as the state's economy sours under Christie.

In Ridgewood, it seems, desperate residents are stealing street signs and even poles, and selling the scrap metal as they struggle to pay property tax bills inflated by the wasteful system of home-rule government (L-1).

Look at the hysterical reaction of New Milford officials, who are opposing a plan by Fresh & Fancy Farms to hold healthy farm-to-table dinners, cooking classes and festivals at River Road and Stockton Street (L-1).

Officials cite traffic "congestion" and "parking shortages" in the neighborhood.

Tea Party news

Also on L-1 today, the editors run a rare story on Rep. Scott Garrett, the Tea Party idol who represents part of Bergen County. 

As usual, the story doesn't report on what Garrett is doing to improve life in New Jersey and the nation, only what he is doing to block President Obama's every action and initiative.

Instead of pandering to a regressive like Garrett, local Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza should use their Local front to celebrate the lives of people like Deborah Hubsmith, a Woodcliff Lake native.

Hubsmith, who died on Aug. 18 at 46, is founder of Safe Routes to School Partnership, which encourages children to bike or walk to school and spurs government to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety (L-6). 

Tracy Morgan

Today's Business page story doesn't say whether comedian Tracy Morgan used any of the settlement money from a 2014 turnpike crash to purchase a 22-room brick "manor" in Alpine for $13.9 million.

Instead, the Business editors' focus is on how the transaction is "the priciest so far this year in Bergen County," promoting the health of the real estate industry (L-7).

The settlement was probably reduced because Morgan wasn't wearing a seat belt when a speeding Walmart tractor-trailer slammed into his limo van on June 7, 2014.

The comedian's lawyer said he suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash. 

This past June, NBC News reported Morgan still walks with a cane, gets headaches and has memory problems.

After the turnpike crash, The Record and other media ignored major safety questions surrounding the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter passenger van like the one Morgan and fellow comedian James McNair were riding in. 

McNair died from his injuries.

See the original Eye on The Record post from June 8, 2014:

Gravely injured comedian
rode in van prone to rollover

Ode to heart disease

Clueless freelancer Kate Morgan Jackson of Upper Saddle River is back today with another recipe that seems healthy, but includes a half-cup of artery clogging heavy cream and chicken breasts pumped up by harmful antibiotics (BL-2).

The headline claims "Summer Chicken Pasta" is an "ode to summer," but given the heavy cream, a more accurate heading would be "ode to heart disease."

"Eat it outside for maximum happiness," Jackson suggests.

Like when you are waiting for the ambulance.

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