Sunday, October 11, 2015

More Gov. Christie myth making has no basis in reality

With no turn lanes at Summit Avenue, above, two-lane Passaic Street in Hackensack is one of the many traffic bottlenecks drivers encounter when traveling over Bergen County's antiquated street and road system.


The Record's front page today continues to portray Governor Christie's first term as "bipartisan," when the reality is far more sobering.

Columnist Charles Stile has written a variation of this argument so many times he actually believes it, as does Editor Martin Gottlieb, who leads the Sunday edition with the Christie myth they won't allow to die (A-1).

There is nothing "bipartisan" about the more than 350 vetoes the GOP bully has used to keep the state Legislature's majority Democrats in line -- everything from killing stricter gun control to a millionaires tax surcharge to a hike in the minimum wage.

"Listen," Christie says in his quixotic quest for the White House, "I've dealt with a Democratic Legislature in New Jersey for every minute of my six years as governor, and I've never used it as an excuse not to get things done."

"Get things done" is code for his hundreds of vetoes.

Is there anything else worthy of reader attention today?

Jo Ann Hans

The only story that can be considered local is an update on the condition of Jo Ann Hans, the Bergenfield crossing guard who got mowed down and nearly killed by a driver on Sept. 15, the first day of the Jewish new year (A-1).

Readers who plow through the entire story won't find the name of the driver or whether he was charged for failing "to heed her hand-held stop sign" outside an Orthodox synagogue (A-12).

Nor does Staff Writer Nicholas Pugliese explain why the Bergen County sheriff launched a ticket blitz against pedestrians as part of a "safety program" instead of tackling a far more menacing problem, drivers who speed and blow through stop signs and red lights.

School news

Today's Local section includes two more stories about Englewood schools (L-2 and L-6).

In contrast, the Woodland Park daily has completely ignored education issues in Hackensack, the biggest school district in Bergen County.

That's been the case even though the school budget exceeds the municipal budget there, and board members have spent an inordinate amount of time launching partisan attacks against City Council members and other city officials.

High salaries

Karen Lewis, superintendent of Hackensack schools, is being paid $167,500, but other payments to her means she is getting more than Christie's $175,000 a year. 

Assistant Superintendent Rosemary Martin Marks is being paid $167,280 a year, and Assistant Superintendent Joseph V. Cicchelli gets $161,515.

High school Principal James Montesano receives $172,868 -- a higher annual salary than the superintendent -- and five other high school administrators get paid more than $157,000 each.

Other salaries include Hillers School Principal Joy Dorsey-Whiting, $165,455; Jackson Avenue School Principal Andrea Oates-Parchment, $165,455; Parker School Principal Lillian Whitaker, $162,319; Middle School Principal Corey Jones, $162,398; and Fairmount School Principal Rhonda Ashton-Loeb, $159,370.

High school Director David A. Petrella receives $157,770 a year, as do each of the four high school vice principals -- Anibal Galiana, Mark Johnson, Celso King and Patricia Lozano.

High school Supervisor Talin Young is paid $150,860. 

A dozen lunchroom aides at Fairmount and Hillers schools are paid $22 an hour.

Restaurant help

Readers hoping for help with all of the issues they face when dining out -- from tipping to exorbitant mark-ups on wine to meat and poultry from factory farms -- strike out again today.

Staff Writer Elisa Ung, the paper's chief critic, devotes The Corner Table column to the problems of a local restaurant owner who is struggling to reopen after a car destroyed the place (BL-4).

Saturday's paper

The Record's front page on Saturday was dominated by ISIS, and the end of a U.S. program to train moderate rebels in Syria.

The program spent $500 million before it was abandoned, but the sub-headline on Saturday referred to it incorrectly as a "plan."

Local editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza commissioned stories on schools in Paterson and Englewood, but not Hackensack.

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