Thursday, January 14, 2016

Columnist Mike Kelly is wrong again on Christie, Obama

At Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, a photo of jazz legend John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was put up in a corner of the lobby where volunteer and paid musicians entertain visitors. The trumpet virtuoso, who lived in Englewood, died in the hospital on Jan. 6, 1993, from pancreatic cancer. A memorial fund in his name covers the care of uninsured jazz musicians without the ability to pay.


Part tedious history lesson, part fiction, another Mike Kelly column on Page 1 of The Record today couldn't be more wrong about Governor Christie and President Obama.

Kelly claims both Christie's State of the State speech and Obama's State of the Union address spoke of where "each man hopes to find himself ... in the future" (A-1).

But the veteran reporter must have missed or ignored what Obama said about the future of the country:

How he hoped for "better politics," including an end to divisive rhetoric and taking money out of the electoral process.

Obama also urged Republicans who control the House and Senate to "do the right thing" for the American people -- hardly a message about his future.

A selfish Christie, on the other hand, has changed his stand on gun control and numerous other issues to appeal to conservative voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states in his quixotic campaign for the White House.

In a recent column, Kelly also echoed Christie's racially inspired campaign attacks on Obama's leadership.

More numbers

Road Warror John Cichowski, another failed Record columnist, bombards readers with more statistics about bicycle fatalities and other traffic deaths, as he has done so many times in the past (A-1).

And if the past is any guide, many of his numbers and conclusions are flawed.

Cichowski has not only ignored the mission of the column to help commuters, but spends little time reporting on North Jersey's antiquated and poorly lit street and road system, and how they contribute to bicycle, pedestrian and other traffic deaths.

Take a major thoroughfare like Passaic Street in Hackensack, Maywood and Rochelle Park -- a narrow, two-way street with few turn lanes let alone bicycle lanes, and poorly lit crosswalks.

Profile of judge

Property tax payers in Hackensack, Englewood, Teaneck, Ridgewood and other towns welcomed the profile of Vito L. Bianco, a tax court judge who stripped Morristown Medical Center of its tax-exempt status (A-1).

But reporter Abbott Koloff could have gone further and asked the Hackensack city attorney and his counterpart in every North Jersey town with a non-profit hospital why they aren't filing a suit like the Morristown action.

Sloppy editing on Page 1 trips up Koloff.

Koloff wrote the judge stripped the Morristown hospital of its "tax status," when he surely meant "tax-exempt status."

GWB conspirators

The far bigger story about Christie appears on A-3 today -- the attempt by the news media to get the names of officials who prosecutors believe were involved in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal, but who weren't charged.

Attorney Bruce Rosen, a onetime reporter at The Record, represents eight media companies, including North Jersey Media Group, publisher of the Woodland Park daily.

"The indictment presents allegations ... of significant abuse of power and violation of the public trust by appointed Port Authority ... and Christie Administration officials," Rosen wrote in his brief (A-3).

Municipal news?

Obama may want to take money out of politics, but The Record can't resist covering challengers to U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, solely on the size of their "war chest." 

What does Democrat Josh Gottheimer of Wyckoff stand for? Readers don't have a clue (L-1).

Today's Local section carries municipal news from Englewood, Rutherford and Teaneck, but nothing from Hackensack.

You'd never know Hackensack is remaking its downtown, selling itself as an important transit hub and trying to keep allies of the Zisa family political dynasty from returning to power.

Food coverage

Wednesday's Better Living cover -- "5 foods to eat more of in 2016" -- is the latest in series of stories on a healthier diet.

Yet, on the next page, clueless freelancer Kate Morgan Jackson of Upper Saddle River included two tablespoons of artery clogging butter in a cream-free Winter Vegetable Soup.

If readers, the majority of whom are older, waited for The Record to tell them which foods are heart- and brain-healthy, they'd be deader than door nails.

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