Friday, February 19, 2016

Christie ignores media questions on voodoo budget plan

An NJ Transit bus stop on Main Street in Hackensack remained buried after last month's snowstorm. Governor Christie's budget plan doesn't make clear whether the state mass-transit agency will be able to avert "a second fare increase in as many years," according to The Record.


First, he spent hundreds of days out of state chasing his White House dreams.

Now, Governor Christie is in hiding after delivering a budget address filled with "unknowns," as The Record puts it on Page 1 today.

Tuesday's budget proposal calls for $2.485 billion for the debt-ridden Transportation Trust Fund, which fixes roads and bridges, and subsidizes NJ Transit (A-1).

But no official in the Christie administration could say where the state's share of nearly $1.2 billion will come from.

The GOP bully also didn't mention a total proposed budget for NJ Transit, but is planning to increase the subsidy from the state general fund to $127.7 million in 2017 from $33 million this year (A-6).

"That's still less than half the subsidy of $309.4 million that NJ Transit received as recently as 2012," Staff Writer Christopher Maag reports (A-8).

In keeping with his voodoo economics, Christie proposes to subsidize transit with $62 million from the state's Clean Energy Fund, which pays for solar panels and energy efficiency projects in homes and businesses.

However, Maag doesn't link last year's 9 percent fare hike directly to Christie's cuts in the state subsidy.

Nor does the reporter mention that tax surcharges on millionaires and corporations could generate $1.12 billion in new revenue for the cash-strapped state.

Local news?

The only other front-page story of interest to local readers dramatizes the death of Miguel Fabian, 43, a jaywalking father of three, who dashed across Route 46 in the dark early Thursday morning, instead of using a crosswalk 320 feet from where he got off of a bus (A-1).

Staff Writer John Cichowski seizes upon the man's predictable death, and compares it to 17 other times "a pedestrian was run down and killed in a heartbreaking crash along a New Jersey roadway " (Road Warrior, A-1).

Of course, most if not all of those occurred in or near crosswalks in towns, not on highways like Route 46, and were attributed to aggressive driving.

Cichowski continues to ignore the mandate of his column to discuss commuting problems, including increasing traffic congestion at the Hudson River crossings and the lack of mass-transit alternatives.

Bergen news?

Readers won't find any Hackensack news in the paper today, and the closest thing to a story from Teaneck is the obituary of Phyllis Scott, 90, "who promoted equality for women, minorities and the disadvantaged" (L-1).

For the second day in a row, the desperate local editors ran a long Dean's List on L-2 to fill their thin section.

Greek to me

You'd better rush over to Angelo's Greek Taverna, which gets 3 stars from Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung (BL-14).

Ung doesn't answer a number of questions, including why the Albanian natives behind the venture didn't open the 46-seat restaurant on West Pleasant Avenue, in Maywood's bustling business district.

Nor does she tell readers that no matter how good the food, every other restaurant failed after settling for what she calls the "awkward spot near railroad tracks" on Maywood Avenue.

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