By VICTOR E. SASSON
The Record finally is giving Calvin Spann, an African-American veteran who lived in Rutherford and Englewood, the recognition he deserves with a front-page story on his memorial service today.
You might remember the editors literally buried Spann's obituary deep in the Local section last Tuesday.
That's the same day Page 1 was dominated by the photo and story of a hospitalized white pilot who crashed his crippled small plane in a Cresskill field, and had been the subject of two previous stories.
Spann, 90, was one of "the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the black World War II pilots who broke through racism to fight combat missions and escort American bombers across Europe," Staff Writer Todd South reports in a stirring salute to a fellow veteran.
Bias against blacks
Spann and other Turkegee Airmen "helped inspire the effort to racially integrate the U.S. military and, early on, set in motion the pent-up forces that would lead to the civil rights movement," South continues.
But the reporter and his editors are silent on the discrimination Spann may have faced after the war when he began "a career in pharmaceutical sales" and settled in Englewood, where he lived until 2006 (A-1).
That's no surprise
Assignment Editors Deirdre Dykes and Dan Sforza, familiar with Englewood from the years they worked as reporters there, have taken a vow of silence on discrimination in the small city -- in the heart of The Record's circulation area -- where Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg has lived for decades.
At one time, the only jobs blacks could aspire to were as chauffeurs and maids to the wealthy mansion dwellers on Englewood's East Hill.
In recent years, county and local officials have been working to integrate Dwight Morrow High School, but the lower grades remain 99% black and Hispanic.
The Record spends far more time reporting about the premier private school in Englewood, Dwight-Englewood, attended by three generations of the Borg family, which owns North Jersey Media Group and The Record.
Bias in layout?
Is it merely a coincidence that a large photo of Spann at a Tuskegee Airmen convention appears on the continuation page next to the photo of a black Rutgers football player who was suspended "after a Saturday night incident" (A-6)?
That reminds readers that for decades the only way blacks could get on the front page of The Record was to break the law or be mentioned in a column on Black History Week.
In an editorial called "Buses over PATH," Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin tries mightily to stop the $1.5 billion commuter rail extension to Newark Liberty International Airport (A-9).
But Doblin seems unaware that until the antiquated midtown Manhattan bus terminal is replaced, officials could easily solve massive rush-hour delays by adding another dedicated bus lane into the Lincoln Tunnel.
Now, a single, reverse lane operates in the morning, funneling buses against traffic on Route 495, but no such lane is set up in the afternoon, when hundreds of buses parked in New Jersey during the day have to return to pick up riders at the midtown terminal.
No to drivers
Operating two dedicated lanes into the tunnel both morning and afternoon would ease bus delays, but the Port Authority fears angering motorists, many of whom drive alone into the city on commutes subsidized by their employers.
What other choice would these morons have but to sit in even worse congestion than now, finally giving long-suffering bus riders some relief?
Are the drivers going to try using the Holland Tunnel or the George Washington Bridge to reach their free midtown parking garages?
Who cares? Let them take the ferry or swim.
You know there isn't much local news today when Sykes and Sforza lead their section with yet another story on a proposed public parking garage in downtown Ridgewood (L-1).
Staff Writer Chris Harris has probably written more stories about this single project than The Record has about a new bus terminal in midtown Manhattan.