Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Despite controversies, editors stop covering Hackensack

On Tuesday morning, the crosswalk and curb at Main and Berry streets in Hackensack were clear, but the NJ Transit bus stop was buried under a snowbank, testament to a sloppy job by snowplows throughout the 4.4-square-mile city. One resident complained snow was cleared with "no regard for pedestrians."


No reporter from The Record covered Tuesday night's City Council meeting, where Hackensack residents again complained about haphazard snow clearing that endangered drivers and pedestrians.

Staff Writer Todd South, who had been assigned to Hackensack and Maywood, has been promoted, and no reporter has taken his place to cover the most populous town in Bergen County.

Only Hackensack police news has appeared in the Woodland Park daily for several weeks. 

South's last Hackensack byline was on Dec. 12, when he wrote about a dispute over a marriage license involving Richard Salkin, the Board of Education attorney.

The Record seems to have stopped covering Hackensack, where the Borg publishing family prospered for more than 110 years before abandoning the city in 2009 for Woodland Park.

Hospital, downtown

Yet, the county seat is embroiled in a controversy with the tax-exempt Hackensack University Medical Center, and residents have questioned concessions to developers during the biggest downtown rehabilitation in North Jersey, if not the entire state.

The Record also hasn't reported who stands to profit most from redevelopment.

On Tuesday night, four residents appeared before council officials, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, to complain about snow clearing after the blizzard of 2016, and to urge officials to draw up a plan for future storms.

Irrelevant columns

Instead of municipal news, Editors Martin Gottlieb, Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza continue to choke readers with hundreds of inches of type from Columnists Charles Stile and John Cichowski (A-1 and L-1) -- the editorial equivalent of fiddling while North Jersey burns.

Stile and another reporter filed 50 inches to 60 inches of type on A-1 and A-10 analyzing Governor Christie's response to criticism that he left New Jersey too soon after the snowstorm to return to his doomed New Hampshire campaign:

"I don't know what you want me to do , you want me to go down there with a mop?"

Meanwhile, Cichowski continues to distance himself from the pathetically inadequate advice he gave car owners on how to cope with the blizzard.

Sadly, a 23-year-old woman and her 1-year-old son died on Saturday from carbon-monoxide poisoning in an idling car with a snow-blocked exhaust, a hazard that Cichowski didn't mention (L-1).

Abe Vigoda

Staff Writer Bill Ervolino's obituary for actor Abe Vigoda demonstrates once again why The Record's columnists -- including Stile, Cichowski and Mike Kelly -- fail readers day after day (BL-1).

I can't make any sense of the so-called humor columnist's first paragraph that "if you don't have an uncle who looked a whole lot like Abe Vigoda, then you probably aren't Italian," followed by news that Vigoda was a first-generation Russian Jew.

Readers would do better with a sidebar from local obituary writer Jay Levin, who interviewed Vigoda's daughter after the 94-year-old died in his sleep on Tuesday in her Woodland Park park home (BL-3).

The best lines: 

"This is a man who was never sick a day in his life," Carol Vigoda Fuchs told Levin. "He could've waited for his birthday" (Feb. 24).


It isn't enough for Staff Writer Sophia F. Gottfried to quote dietitians on hidden sugar, sodium and fat in foods and products many people consider healthy (BL-1).

Her article doesn't name alternatives, making the advice useless, unless readers embark on their own investigations.

And if they are going to do that, what's the point of her article?


  1. A reader in Hackensack says the Abe Vigoda obituary sidebar didn't tell the whole story:

    Victor -- Nice post today.

    I looked up Abe Vigoda on Winipedia -- I see where the term "Vig" comes from. Anyway according to the post -- he knew that he was dying and was in hospice care and then went to daughter -- quite different from the story in the paper.


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