Sunday, May 31, 2015

We can't get a break from Christie 'news' on front page

The landmark Sears building in Hackensack on an overcast afternoon (and through a dirty windshield). The store, built in art-deco style in the early 1930s, was repaired and repainted in 2011.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Readers incensed over all the time Governor Christie is spending out of state find more so-called Page 1 news about his exploratory presidential campaign.

In fact, the GOP bully is a fixture on Editor Martin Gottlieb's front page, landing there on Thursday and Friday, as well, with other stories inside the paper.

No governor who has done so little for New Jersey has gotten such prominent play while in pursuit of a nomination few experts say he will get.

But, really, if Gottlieb is going to run columns from political writer Charles Stile and other staffers on Page 1, they should be labeled for what they are -- opinion or analysis or whatever -- they certainly aren't news.

And I guess readers can't expect Gottlieb to update those ancient thumbnail column photos -- from Mike Kelly's shit-eating grin (O-1) to Travel Editor Jill Schensul's glamorous puss, far from what the aging klutz looks like today (T-1).

Medical bills

Dominating Page 1 today is another chapter in medical writer Lindy Washburn's horror stories about out-of-control medical bills (A-1).

At least today's story discusses how families are negotiating lower payments or making monthly payments on the outrageous charges from out-of-network providers.

But missing from this and previous stories is how Christie stands on calls to reform the system.

Seat belts save lives

After the crash death of Nobel laureate John Nash and his wife, Road Warrior John Cichowski finally comes to his senses and reports on the life-saving value of passengers buckling up in the back (L-1).

In February,the clueless columnist argued rear curtain airbags would have saved CBS newsman Bob Simon, who wasn't wearing his seat belt when his speeding limo crashed in Manhattan.

That's nonsense, of course. 

A couple of weeks after Cichowski's column, The Record reported the unbelted Simon became "a back-seat bullet" when his limo crashed on Feb. 12. Simon died of his injuries.

Lazy cops?

Today, The Record again reports Broad Avenue and Fort Lee Road is Leonia's busiest intersection, because it "receives so much traffic from commuters who cut through the [borough] between Route 95 and the George Washington Bridge" (L-3).

But Staff Writer Nicholas Pugliese, reporting on a woman driver who knocked down a school crossing guard with her luxury SUV, never asks police why an officer isn't assigned to the intersection.

That is where Leyla Kan, 60, of Fort Lee was struck last August in the Broad Avenue crosswalk, and dragged to her death by a small school bus.

No criminal charges were filed against the bus driver.

Today's story calls Leonia a "borough" and a "township" in the same sentence. The story also notes the crossing guard was struck on "Wednesday" and on "May 27."

Let's hope a judge sets fire to the license of Bridgette Pursley, 49, the irresponsible motorist who has been charged with assault by auto and hindering apprehension, and orders confiscation of her Lexus RX 350 for use in undercover police work.

Sam Ciccone

Congratulations to the layout editor who decided to give better play to the obituary of Sam Ciccone, a former Fairview cop and gay activist, than the usual treatment of burying it among the paid death notices (L-1).

Saturday's paper

Kelly, the burned-out columnist, continues to excoriate U.S. officials for not prosecuting "terrorist" Joanne Chesimard, who was granted political asylum in Cuba 35 years ago (Saturday's A-1).

But in this and previous columns, Kelly has never mentioned Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Castro exile living in Florida, who has been accused of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger flight, killing 73 people (Saturday's A-8).

Paterson coverage

Stories on Paterson continue to portray the city negatively (Saturday's L-1 and L-5).

On the Local front, reporter Joe Malinconico calls Paterson "a city notorious for negativity."

Couldn't the same be said for Malinconico?

On L-2 today, he reports on the city's 30th shooting of the year, but never asks police why they aren't doing more to control Silk City gangs and guns.

Local news?

Even if you don't drink beer, news of a microbrewery moving to Hackensack is welcome.

But why did Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza allow Staff Writer Todd South to go on and on about a business that still hasn't opened (Saturday's Local front)?

That's likely because those supremely lazy editors struggle daily to fill their section with municipal news, and have to rely on accident photos, police and fire news, and features to fill holes in their pages.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Schoolchildren, teen drivers again dominate news, views

Residents fear that when completed, the Hudson Lights residential-retail project near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee will make the borough's heavy traffic even worse. This photo might remind some old timers of "Heavy Equipment," a 1940s film starring John Derrick and Jean Crain.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

As a senior citizen, I still can't figure out why "new standardized tests tied to Common Core" are so controversial that just the mention of them by Governor Christie lands him on Page 1 of The Record (A-1).

In fact, I have no idea what Common Core is, thanks to reporters who wait until deep into the continuation page today to explain it and quote New Jersey education officials defending it (A-7). 

Then, on the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski has another boring column on teen drivers (L-1).

News bias

North Jersey Media Group has always steadfastly denied discriminating against older workers.

But the editorial policy of The Record, the company's flagship paper, has long discriminated against older readers, the majority.

Autism, not Alzheimer's disease, often dominates Page 1 and the Better Living front.

The challenges facing older drivers are routinely ignored by Cichowski.

And his editors lampoon those drivers when they confuse the accelerator for the brake pedal by running numerous filler photos of the mayhem that causes.

Correction

A Thursday story on high school journalism and censorship has been corrected (A-2).

Why is L-9, a Business page, dominated by rising rents in New York and other cities?

What about rents in Hackensack and the rest of North Jersey?

$92 entree

Orama in Edgewater is really making customers pay for the restaurant's spectacular location on the Hudson River, with entrees up to $92.

I loved what Executive Chef John Piliouras did with fresh fish at Nisi Estiatorio in Englewood -- now replaced by a car showroom.

But I doubt I'll ever eat at Orama. 

There are plenty of great seafood restaurants in Bergen County with down-to-earth prices, and Fort Lee and Edgewater boast at least three Japanese restaurants with great sushi menus.

And the far more affordable food court at Mitsuwa Marketplace has the same great view.

Restaurant critic Elisa Ung's 3-star review today shows a photo of Niman Ranch loin lamb chops, but doesn't tell readers all Niman Ranch meat is naturally raised or give the price (BL-16).

In her text, she confuses readers by describing what apparently is a second dish, "Colorado prime porterhouse-cut [lamb] chops ($21 and $32)." 

"Prime" and "porterhouse" usually describe beef. Maybe these Colorado sheep were raised on steroids.




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Christie has been lying to N.J. voters since '09 campaign

Further adventures in navigating Bergen County's antiquated road system: A short drive from Englewood to Hackensack at about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon was agonizingly slow, especially when a tractor-trailer tried to turn into narrow Forest Avenue in Teaneck from Teaneck Road, above and below. I guess it would be too much to expect the cops to direct rush-hour traffic, as they do in Manhattan.

Cedar Lane in Teaneck is always a challenging drive, especially during the afternoon rush hour, with township police lying in wait for drivers who don't yield to pedestrians in the many crosswalks. An elderly woman trying to back into a parking space too small for her car stopped one lane of traffic dead for several minutes.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Today's Page 1 story on Governor Christie holding town-hall events in New Hampshire is the second to tell readers what they already know from his 2009 New Jersey campaign and his record since he took office.

Or, as The Record's so-called analysis puts it:

"Like politicians from time immemorial, [Christie] tends to gloss over the weak spots or present them in a more favorable -- sometimes less accurate -- light" (A-1).

What State House Bureau reporters Salvador Rizzo and Melissa Hayes are trying to say is that Christie, in an apparent bid for the GOP presidential nomination, lies a lot.

Just like he did when he was swept into office in November 2009 after promising to lower New Jersey's notoriously high property taxes and force inefficient home-rule towns to consolidate agencies.

Censorship

On the Local front today, censorship of a high school newspaper editor isn't much different than squelching any mention in The Record that Christie's chief gubernatorial fundraiser, Jon F. Hanson, has close personal and business ties to the Borgs, who own the paper (L-1).

Ed Schwartz, 47, of Ridgewood is an expert on sustainability known as "Eco Ed," The Record reports today (L-1).

But why did the Woodland Park daily wait until Schwartz's final "battle" with cancer to profile him?

An Associated Press brief on the Business page reports the Urus SUV is expected to be sold in 2018 "with a production of 3,000 vehicles a year, more than doubling Lamborghini's current output of 2,530" (L-7).

Second look

Despite its extraordinary length -- or because of it -- Mike Kelly's 100-plus-inch column on Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of Englewood got only limited reaction from readers on North Jersey.com.

And most of the comments were negative. It's unclear how many readers actually plowed through the entire, long-winded puff piece, which started on Page 1.

One North Jersey.com reader refers to the rabbi as "Shmuckley."

Kelly's Sunday column runs on the front of the Opinion section.

Why wasn't his Boteach column labeled "Opinion"?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Naked puff piece is prominent on rabbi's Facebook page

Loud, smelly motorcycles were the only off-note at Englewood's Memorial Day parade. Even though these and other motorcycles violate every municipal anti-noise ordinance on the books, their owners -- including many cops and firemen -- are rarely ticketed as a matter of professional courtesy. And when these motorcycle groups hold charity runs, The Record always finds room for the photos, complete with glowing captions.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Columnist Mike Kelly's shameless Page 1 puff piece on Shmuley Boteach of Englewood is featured prominently on the rabbi's Facebook page today.

And why not?

The veteran Record columnist -- a Catholic -- delivered more than 100 inches of flattering coverage on Tuesday that some view as little more than an elaborate B.J. on the circumcised rabbi.

And just two days earlier, Boteach's own Opinion piece appeared in The Record, describing Governor Christie's meeting with Elie Wiesel, "the world'[s] most well-known holocaust survivor" (O-3 on Sunday).

That piece drew a comment from reader David Wilson on North Jersey.com:
"I know this is published in the Opinion section of the newspaper. But I question whether or not Schmuley Boteach was paid to write it. It sure reads like a paid campaign release."
Indeed, does the rabbi's support for Christie really deserve such prominent coverage in The Record -- unless it is part of the Borg publishing family's campaign to make the GOP bully seems like a viable candidate for president?

Most polls, experts and observers have already predicted Christie will fail to get the nomination in 2016, and if he pulls off a miracle, will be in line for a good spanking by Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.

Corrections

Kelly's piece is not only suspect, he managed to misquote Boteach, according to a correction on A-2 today.

A second correction today noted Friday's Business section "incorrectly described New Jersey's employment recovery since the recession."

The Record's Hugh R. Morley reported the state has 1.8 percent more jobs, when, in fact, it has 1.8 percent fewer jobs.

That's embarrassing, and opens up the business editors to charges they have neglected to fully report Christie's mismanagement of the state economy.

Local news?

Today's Local section is filled with Law & Order news, as the editors are still trying to walk off their Memorial Day barbecues.

Typical of the accident photos Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza like to use as filler is one on L-3 today with a caption that makes no attempt to explain what caused a truck to crush a car.

However, Cliffview Pilot. com reported the 64-year-old driver of the Lexus sedan cut off the tractor-trailer in attempting to turn into the driveway of a Polish restaurant.

There was no word whether the West Orange man, whose ribs were broken, was able to order takeout from Royal Warsaw in Elmwood Park before he was taken away in an ambulance.

Better living?

The Better Living cover story today, "Taking Steps Against Arthritis," makes readers wonder when the editors are going to commission two other pieces:

"Taking Steps Against Obesity"

"Taking Steps Against Dementia"


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tens of thousands of Jews say: Shame on you, Boteach

Four photographers from The Record managed to cover Memorial Day parades in only five Bergen County towns, according to today's Local section, but none visited Englewood, above and below.




VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Shame on you, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, for your publicity mongering and your support of Governor Christie, the worst leader in New Jersey history.

And shame on you, Editor Martin Gottlieb and Columnist Mike Kelly, for devoting more than 100 inches in The Record today to a rabbi who makes tens of thousands of Jews cringe at the thought that they have anything in common.

How can Kelly -- himself a walking question mark --dare ask on Page 1, "Who is he [Boteach], anyway?" (A-1).

Readers know Boteach purchased a mansion on Englewood's East Hill, even though it was next door to the home of the Libyan ambassador to the U.S.

Then, in 2009, the shamelessly self-promoting rabbi grabbed the front page of The Record several days in a row, protesting the planned visit of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.

Folloing those news stories was a glowing profile by Staff Writer Jim Beckerman, who described pop king Michael Jackson's visit to the Boteach mansion for Friday night dinners.

The reporter referred to the mansion as "an ordinary house in Englewood."

Must-read list

Head Assigment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza managed today to find room for Memorial Day photos from only a half-dozen North Jersey towns (L-1, L-2 and L-3).

Any other photos were held to make room for thousands of names in a huge Dean's List (L-5), which Sykes and Sforza rely on frequently when they can't find legitimate municipal news.

Monday's paper

The Record's front-page story on the crash death of Princeton University mathematician John Nash fails to report the Nobel laureate and his wife weren't wearing seat belts in the back seat of a taxi.

NJ.com reported the Nashes were ejected from the cab during the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign on seat-belt use, a stepped up enforcement program that runs through May 31.

In mid-May, Road Warrior John Cichowski warned more than 4,400 tickets were issued in Bergen County alone during last year's two-week crackdown.

Yet, The Record consistently fails to report whether people killed in car crashes were belted in.

Christie and crime

In another front-page story on Monday, Gottlieb and the other editors managed to hold Christie blameless for police layoffs that resulted in a spike in violent crime in Camden, Newark, Paterson and other cities.

The story by Staff Writers Abbott Koloff and Melissa Hayes goes on and on, but never reports the GOP bully cut state aid to poor cities in 2011.

Camden lost 163 officers and Paterson -- which has twice as many residents -- let go 125.

The Record's revisionist theory is that the layoffs were caused by the "recession, coupled with a freeze in state aid and a 2 percent state-imposed cap on local property tax levies" (Saturday's A-11).

Different story

In 2011, The Record and other media attributed the layoffs to Christie's state aid cuts. 

On July 1, 2011, NJ.com reported the governor cut aid for the state's most troubled cities to $10 million from $149 million.

On Monday, The Record described that drastic aid cut as "a freeze in state aid."

Now, the Woodland Park daily -- which struggles to report what happened yesterday completely and without errors -- can't be relied on to accurately report what Christie did in his second year in office.


Monday, May 25, 2015

In Englewood, annual parade celebrates past, not present

Strutting to the beat of a New Orleans-style brass band, above and below, was a musical high point at Englewood's Memorial Day Parade today.


Spectators gathered in front of City Hall on Palisade Avenue. As he does every year, Dwight Morrow High School graduate and attorney Frank Lucianna, 92, marched in today's parade.

Despite the construction of hundreds of luxury apartments on Palisade Avenue and on Route 4, plus multi-million dollar mansions on the city's East Hill, Englewood's downtown merchants continue to struggle. That's a story The Record of Woodland Park has never told.

The only businesses that thrive consistently are the realty companies and landlords, below.





On South Dean Street, Poached operates next door to a vacant storefront, above and below.


Charles Hamade's U Pie Company and Clam Bar on Palisade Avenue, opposite his old restaurant, is flanked by vacant storefronts.

Moosavi Rugs moved into the building where Mitchell Simon Co. operated a hardware store for seven decades, closing in February 2013, above and below.


Across from the old Mitchell Simon building, a storefront is vacant next door to Cassie's, one of the city's most popular restaurants.

North Dean Street has its share of empty storefronts, above and below, as counterpoints to the street's expensive boutiques.



An unwelcome addition to this year's parade was a group of the noisiest and smelliest motorcycles I have ever had the displeasure of seeing and hearing.

An Auburn Speedster was an oasis of calm when compared to the motorcycles, which are modified to make as much noise as possible.

The city's many black churches were well represented, but children attend public elementary and middle schools that remain segregated.

A new firehouse is being built next door the police headquarters and Municipal Court. Yet Englewood officials balked at the expense of turning the old Lincoln School into a community center.




--VICTOR E. SASSON


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Editor says publisher's pal tipped paper on Bridgegate jam

Drivers of three municipal waste tractor-trailers taking a break in front of a cemetery on Hudson Street in Hackensack on Sunday afternoon.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

On an episode of Carpe Diem, Editor Martin Gottlieb of The Record praised staffers -- several by name -- and said that despite "our share of cutbacks," "the quality of the product comes first."

Gottlieb appeared on the weekly half-hour magazine show produced by Montclair State University some time before indictments were issued in the George Washington Bridge political-retribution scandal on May 1.

The editor praised "traffic reporter" John Cichowski, but noted a friend tipped Publisher Stephen A. Borg about a massive traffic jam at the Fort Lee end of the bridge on the first day of the lane closures in September 2013.

Borg "passed it on to me and I passed it on to Johnnie," Gottlieb said, referring to the Road Warrior columnist.

Borg family

Gottlieb noted the Borg family, owners of North Jersey Media Group, "still live in Bergen County."

Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg visits the Woodland Park newsroom occasionally, and everyone wants to hear what he has to say, the editor said.

He praised Jennifer A. Borg, vice president/general counsel of North Jersey Media Group, for being active in asking courts to disclose documents officials are trying to keep secret.

The newsroom, he said, is filled with "awfully talented people," including Port Authority reporter Shawn Boburg, political Columnist Charles Stile, Sunday Cartoonist Jimmy Margulies and Alfred Doblin, editor of the Editorial Page.

Gottlieb didn't mention Columnist Mike Kelly.

To see the interview with Gottlieb -- whom the moderator called "one of the most influential journalists in the region" -- click on the following link:

Carpe Diem: Editor Martin Gottlieb of The Record

Today's paper

Five years after his first column on Governor Christie's political image, could Stile possibly have anything new to say (A-1)?

One has to question Gottlieb's judgment on what readers find interesting. Politics is the all-time most boring subject for the front page -- or any page -- of a general-interest newspaper.

The focus should be on what a crappy job the GOP bully is doing as governor of the Garden State, not on his chances for the presidential nomination in 2016.

'Traffic reporter'

For his Sunday column, Cichowski, the paper's traffic reporter, is writing about bicyclists and how much room drivers should give them (L-1).

For the third day in a row, Memorial Day notices appear on L-3, telling readers local Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza must have taken a three-day weekend.

Junk-food trucks

Restaurant critic and Sunday Columnist Elisa Ung is tireless in reporting on the unhealthiest food available in North Jersey.

Today, she leads the Better Living section with a breathless column on a food-truck festival produced by Exposure, a division of NJMG, the publishing company that employs her and pays for all of those artery clogging desserts she crams down her throat (BL-1).

It's hard to understand her enthusiasm for food-truck hot dogs filled with antibiotics, preservatives and other harmful additives.


Other sections

Business, Opinion and Real Estate contain little of interest today.

Travel carries an Associated Press cover story praising the charms of Dominica and Barbados, two small Caribbean islands.

Meanwhile, Jamaican-American readers in Bergen County are wondering when the AP or any other American news medium is going to report on their native island's rampant gun violence.

Every Jamaican living in the United States knows someone on the island who has been robbed or killed by "gunmen" armed with weapons shipped there from America. 


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Editor touts 'quality' journalism -- readers aren't convinced

On Friday night, downtown Ridgewood was filled with restaurant and movie goers, and others stopping at Starbucks Coffee on East Ridgewood Avenue, above. This Starbucks gives away used coffee grounds for the garden.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Readers interested in how The Record has changed in the past few years shouldn't miss Editor Martin Gottlieb's appearance on a weekly cable show produced by Montclair State University.

Most notably, Gottlieb boasts of "quality coverage," "quality of the product," "a sense of quality"  and "quality of reporting and editing" when referring to the daily he has guided since early 2012.

The interview for the half-hour show, Carpe Diem, was conducted by another journalist, Merrill Brown, director of Montclair State's  School of Communication and Media.

Brown only lobs softballs at Gottlieb, a former New York Times editor and reporter, and sounds as if hasn't read the Woodland Park daily recently or noticed all of the errors -- corrected and uncorrected -- and serious omissions in stories.

Corrections

Today, for example, four corrections appear on A-2 of The Record, including a major problem likely caused by the inattention of Liz Houlton, the six-figure editor in charge of production.

It seems the entire page of Memorial Day listings in Friday's paper was "incorrect," and the correct page was run today (L-3), including a story by Mary Diduch.

Another correction noted a Page 1 story incorrectly reported Elmwood Park police were considering body cameras for officers; the department has already purchased them.

Cub reporter

Gottlieb noted he got his start in journalism at The Record in the early 1970s, covering Oradell, River Edge and New Milford, and was mentored by Susan Servis-Scilla.

As an example of the paper's "quality," Gottlieb cited circulation figures, noting that when he left in 1973, The Record was selling 150,000 copies daily.

When he came back in 2o12, Gottlieb said, the circulation was 148,000 daily. 

But he didn't mention that figure includes the Herald News, which long ago was made an "edition" of The Record, apparently for the purpose of padding the flagship daily's circulation and keeping advertising rates high.

Today's paper

Let's hope Gottlieb's "quality" boasts didn't include the many flawed accident and pedestrian fatality stories The Record publishes, including the one on L-1 today.

The story reporting an off-duty Fort Lee police officer was ejected from his vehicle in a head-on collision on Friday is missing an essential detail:

Was Police Officer Laki Pothos, 32, wearing his seat belt, and if not, will he receive a summons?

The story carries the bylines of the overworked police reporter, Stefanie Dazio, and Staff Writer Nicholas Pugliese.

Still, there is not a single word on the cause of the accident, although the reporters seem to blame the cop, saying his Jeep Wrangler "collided with a ... Nissan Altima" being driven by a 65-year-old man (L-3).

Was Pothos, the cop, using his mobile phone or texting? Did something break on his vehicle, causing him to cross over the line and hit the poor old guy's car?

Stay tuned. The Record may or may not answer any of these questions.


Friday, May 22, 2015

People of New Jersey deserve an apology, not Christie


Rush-hour traffic on Route 4 east crawling through Paramus a little after 8 a.m. today at the start of the Memorial Day weekend.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Governor Christie is complaining about "media bias"? 

What a joke.

The story on A-4 of The Record today reports the GOP bully is demanding an apology from news outlets that branded him as "guilty," claiming he was cleared by three investigations into the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

But U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman never cleared Christie, himself a former U.S. attorney.

Fishman obtained indictments against two of Christie's closest aides and accepted a guilty plea from a third, who has pledged to cooperate with the government.

And he has refused to identify unindicted co-conspirators or give defense attorneys 1.5 million pages of documents and other evidence, which may eventually show Christie had a pivotal role in the 2013 political retribution scandal.

Shameless

Christie should apologize to the people of New Jersey for being the worst governor in the state's history, one focused on helping his wealthy supporters at the expense of the middle and working classes.

For many years, the media's "bias" was in his favor as The Record and other news outlets swallowed whole the governor's elaborate public relations campaigns:


"Reform Agenda," "Jersey Comeback" and "Stronger Than the Storm" are only three of the elaborate dog-and-pony shows the media dutifully attended and regurgitated as Christie destroyed the state's economy. 


Correction?

The correction on A-2 today appears to be in error.

"An article on Page A-1 Tuesday about an FBI presentation on terrorist propaganda misidentified the location of Bergen Arts and Science Charter [High] School. It is in Hackensack."

But the front page of Tuesday's paper makes no mention of the FBI or the school. 

Wednesday's Page L-1 did, the story carried a Hackensack dateline and reported the school is, in fact, in Hackensack.

Cops kill man

Hackensack police officers opened fire on a city man who allegedly threatened them with a cleaver, and he died of his wounds (L-1).

This police shooting is different than so many others that have sparked riots and media feeding frenzies: The suspect was Hispanic, not black.

On today's Local front, the compelling photo of an officer comforting a woman at the home where Elvin Diaz, 24, was shot is by Staff Photographer Tariq Zehawi.

Sadly, Assignment Editors Dierdre Sykes and Dan Sforza have demoted Zehawi to ambulance chaser in the past few years, and he has turned in scores of non-fatal accident photos, especially gee-whiz rollovers and other filler material (see L-6 today).

Don't you wonder why the woman in the photo isn't identified in the caption?

Or why Hackensack's Fairmount section is described incorrectly as a "working class neighborhood," when it is far more varied than that, including both modest homes and multi-million dollar mansions.

In fact, Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg grew up in such a mansion at Summit and Fairmount avenues, and frolicked in a 14.2-acre forested backyard that has been preserved as Borg's Woods.

Road kill

Why did it take Road Warrior John Cichowski four days to throw water on Monday's wildly exaggerated front-page story on the probable end of self-serve gas in New Jersey (L-1)?

As in her March 11 story on a pedestrian fatality in Hackensack, Staff Writer Stefanie Dazio doesn't say whether an elderly Fort Lee woman killed by a car was in or near a crosswalk when she was struck (L-2).

Today, police reporter Dazio's byline or credit line appears on eight stories or briefs, making her the most overworked staffer in the newsroom.

But something has got to give when she handles all or most of those assignments by telephone, and it usually results in holes big enough to drive a cop car through.

Elisa and Emma

Readers can't tell whether Elisa Ung withheld a third full star from Emma in Englewood because she hated most of the desserts or because of what she calls "unpolished and occasionally confused" servers (BL-1 and BL-14).

And the paper's chief restaurant critic devotes so much space to the resumes of the consulting chef and two partners readers never learn whether the skirt steak shown in a big photo was naturally raised.

After so many years in the gig, Ung remains tongue tied, and the editor who read the story before publication must have been out to lunch:

"A much bolder sauce stampeded an already overcooked salmon dish ($22)." 


Some readers would like to stampede Ung out of the Woodland Park newsroom.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Evidence mounts of Christie's pivotal role in Bridgegate

Traffic on Center Street in Fort Lee crawling toward Main Street on Monday, when construction on Main made driving in the borough an ordeal, as it has been on so many days in the past two years.

A digital sign on Main Street warned motorists of similar disruptions through Friday.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

I'm betting the 1.5 million pages of evidence federal prosecutors won't make public show Governor Christie had a pivotal role in the George Washington Bridge political-retribution scandal.

Indeed, the GOP bully could be one of the unindicted -- and as yet unidentified -- co-conspirators mentioned in today's Page 1 story in The Record.

There is a lot more negative news on Christie in today's paper, but you won't find it on A-1, where it belongs.

Joke's on us

Editor Martin Gottlieb used precious front-page space to recap the stupid jokes that closed out David Letterman's late-night TV career (A-1).

Letterman's 6,028th and last show on Wednesday night upsets only insomniacs and workers stuck in crappy night jobs, like the luckless copy editors in the old Hackensack newsroom.

On A-4 today, readers can find stories on an attempt to stop Christie from developing the Liberty State Park waterfront in Jersey City, and on a favorable legal opinion from his appointee on disclosing gifts from Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones and other friends.

Mass transit

More on Christie can be found on A-20 today, where an editorial finally calls on the worst governor in New Jersey history to "make mass transit a priority," noting in an understatement that he hasn't done so since taking office in 2010.

For years, The Record has reported negatively on the extension of light rail to Bergen County, and ignored the need to expand both bus service to Manhattan and the PATH commuter rail system (A-3).

The editors also allowed Road Warrior John Cichowski to stray far from his role as a commuting columnist, and almost exclusively cover problems associated with driving and drivers.

Now, the editorial declares, "Mass transit needs public subsidies; there isn't anyway around that fact.

"Taking commuters off highways is a boon for  commuters in cars as well as for commercial truckers."

Correction

On A-2 today, Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza acknowledge that after decades of covering similar local stories, they don't have a clue which Ho-Ho-Kus board will hear a large-scale housing plan on June 4.

In Local -- the section edited by Sykes and Sforza --the death of that vicious German shepherd at the hands of a Wyckoff cop three weeks ago gets better play on L-1 than the L-6 obituary of jazz music executive Bruce Lundvall, 79, also of Wyckoff.

Low gas prices

An Associated Press story reports low gas prices in early 2015 didn't boost the economy, as the media predicted they would (L-9).

Of course, the clueless wire-service reporter, Christopher S. Rugaber, doesn't bother exploring whether low gas prices encouraged people to drive more.

That would have worsened air pollution, increased traffic congestion and discouraged owners of gas-guzzlng SUVs from switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles.