By VICTOR E. SASSON
Depending on which page of The Record you read today, federal investigations are a minor annoyance to Governor Christie or they could eventually end his "presidential aspirations."
A news story leading the front page puts a positive spin on the resignation of United Airlines' CEO in an investigation of the Port Authority related to the George Washington Bridge lane closures.
The headline -- "Scandal still taking a toll" -- is clear enough, but the caption under Christie's photo says:
"Two years after the George Washington Bridge scandal, Governor Christie has never been accused of wrongdoing" (A-1).
A better, more accurate caption would have been that many questions remain about Christie's role in the scandal.
And those questions may finally be answered by the upcoming testimony of ally David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty to helping plot and cover up the Fort Lee lane closures two years ago (A-10).
"This is not good news" for Christie, according to an editorial on the shake-up at United Airlines and questions surrounding a special flight for Christie mentor David Samson, when he was chairman of the Port Authority (A-20).
Christie nominated Samson, his former campaign counsel, to the board of the bi-state transportation agency, which runs the bridge and Newark Liberty International Airport.
"If Samson, known as 'The General,' is linked to a deal trading flavors for a non-stop fight to South Carolina [where he has a vacation home], the political damage to Christie will be monumental.
"Just the reemergence of the Port Authority narrative at this point in Christie's struggling presidential campaign inflicts damage."
How many years?
Editor Martin Gottlieb couldn't resist sensationalizing the front page today with a big photo of Monica Mogg, who was sentenced to consecutive life terms for the murder of her ex-lover and his new girlfriend in a bedroom.
The A-1 photo sends readers to the full story on the Local front, plus two more photos, but all of those elements contain so many different descriptions of the sentence readers can't be blamed for being confused.
The A-1 photo overline says, "Two life terms for double homicide."
But the big, black headline on L-1 says, "166 years for 2 murders," forcing readers to wonder how that number was arrived at.
Doesn't "life" in prison mean until you die? Apparently not.
Finally, the lead paragraph of the story contains this awkward, hard-to-read phrase:
"A former preschool teacher was sentenced Wednesday to two back-to-back life terms in prison .... [italics added]."
That's too many to's or two's.
Also on the Local front, The Record announces that plans for North Jersey Media Group's 19.7 acres on River Street in Hackensack have received preliminary approval from the city Planning Board (L-1).
Publisher Stephen A. Borg is quoted as saying the hotel-residential-retail project includes a "connection" to downtown, but no details are provided.
In all the years The Record operated at 150 River St., employees were forced to take their chances with fast-moving traffic as they tried to cross River Street to reach Main Street restaurant and shops.
If a hotel and 700 apartments are built there, a footbridge over River Street would be the only way to guarantee pedestrian safety.
The Record prospered in Hackensack for more than 110 years and its departure in 2009 sped up the decline of Main Street.
Ode to crap
On the Better Living front, chief restaurant critic Elisa Ung celebrates "North Jersey's most classic, old-time hot dogs," but doesn't tell readers they are full of harmful antibiotics, growth hormones and preservatives (BL-1).
Three of the photos show fried hot dogs from Rutt's Hut in Clifton, Hot Grill in Clifton and Hiram's in Fort Lee covered in what looks like vomit.