Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Editors cranking up Christie P.R. machine on front page

Parking meters that accept payment by credit card have arrived in Hackensack. This one is next to the Atlantic Street Park. The new rate is 25 cents for 15 minutes, two to four times the cost at some older meters.

Not far away from the new meters, several copies of The Record of Woodland Park were delivered to an Atlantic Street law office by throwing them onto the snow or sidewalk.


Like her predecessor, Editor Deirdre Sykes is doing her best to keep alive Governor Christie's doomed campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

Today's Page 1 headline and story on the GOP bully downplaying his pathetic 10th-place finish in Iowa essentially repeats the same upbeat message readers saw in Tuesday's A-1 column from the shameless Charles Stile.

Today's story also corrects Stile, without acknowledging the veteran reporter goofed (or was it deliberate?) when he claimed Christie finished seventh in the hayseed state's caucuses on Monday.

Stile was quick to climb into bed with Christie right after he took office in 2010, and he's stuck with him, even as he waged war on the middle class and used more than 500 vetoes to get his way with the Democratic majority in the state Legislature. 

Stile's columns and today's story by Staff Writer Dustin Racioppi amount to little more than public relations for Christie, who has turned his back on New Jersey to pursue his selfish political ambitions.

Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin should be demanding Christie's resignation, not waiting for the results of the New Hampshire primary (A-10).

On Monday, only one lane was open on Main Street in Hackensack near the railroad tracks. So much utility work has been done on Main the roughly patched downtown street is one of the bumpiest stretches in Bergen County, from the state courthouse to Euclid Avenue.

Test scores

A story on public school students failing new state tests discloses the percentage of Hackensack students in Grades 3-8 and 9-12 to meet expectations was among the lowest in Bergen and Passaic counties (A-1 and A-6).

This despite the city's free-spending school board approving a $106 million budget that exceeded the city's own last year.

The graphic on test results in Hackensack is the first news Sykes has published on city schools in one, possibly two years.

And as she did when she was running the local-news section, Sykes devotes a huge amount of space to first responders doing their job, in this case saving a 9-year-old girl "trapped by smoke and fire" in Mahwah (A-1).

This story falls into the same category as endless reporting on police, fire and EMT training; and photos at council meetings where cops join the force or are promoted.

They aren't news, and have no place in a paper that does such a poor job of reporting on how well or poorly our towns are being run.

Local news?

Readers of Local haven't been told which assignment editors succeeded Sykes and Dan Sforza, who was promoted to managing editor on Friday.

But today's section, dominated by sensational crime news, is more of the same old crap the lazy, incompetent assignment editors jammed down readers' throats for years (L-1).

More Law & Order news appears on L-3, including the earth-shaking news Harrington Park is seeking a $1.48 million federal grant to replace an aging firetruck and buy gear for volunteers.

Road Warrior John Cichowski has turned his commuting column into anything but (L-1).

Instead of writing about crowded buses and trains, the hopelessly confused Cichowski churned out an entire column today on taxis outside the Secaucus Junction rail station.

Artery clogging

There is nothing like artery clogging butter to ruin a heart-healthy fish dish, but don't tell that to Food Editor Esther Davidowitz, who today promotes a smoked sablefish risotto prepared by a chef at a Manhattan restaurant (BL-2).

Extra-virgin olive oil is the smart choice, but more butter appears in a pasta recipe from clueless freelancer Kate Morgan Jackson in Upper Saddle River (BL-2).

All but one of the items in FYI, a feature claiming to report "what's new, what's happening, what's trending in the North Jersey dining scene," appear to be taken straight from press releases put together at great expense by public relations firms (BL-2).  

The three food features on BL-2 today amount to the crumbs readers have been thrown on Wednesdays since Publisher Stephen A. Borg folded The Record's award-winning Food section.


  1. Victor -- Saw your post on the parking meters.

    Actually the rate is 25 cents an hour, not 25 cents a half hour, so that the rate is four times the regular rate. That will discourage people coming to Main Street. if I wanted to go to Subway for a sandwich I would have no qualms about paying a quarter but a whole dollar, I would think twice. It affects me as most of my clients park at the meters.

    On another note a lot of people who work in Hackensack park on Main Street and feed the meters all day for eight hours. It only costs $2 and many of the lunch places close at 3, so from 9 to 3 only costs them $1.50.

    Some of the meters near the courthouse appear to be for a four hour minimum at a cost of $4. That is quite a fee for someone who is only going there for an hour.

    I went to V & T on Main Street for breakfast this morning -- they make great French Toast. They told me that all the way down there they can hear the banging from the construction site. A woman who works on Banta Place said the same thing.

    On another note, I heard that Hackensack Hospital [HUMC] rented many of the new apartments on State Street and intend to use them as dorm space for medical students doing rotations there or residents and interns

    1. The prior comment came from a lawyer in Hackensack.

  2. That's interesting about HUMC possibly renting out the apartments. According to the Meridia Metro apartment's website, they have a rooftop deck, fitness center and coffee area, among other things. As a 10-year resident of Hackensack in that area, I was surprised about their asking rent price, though. 1-bedrooms are going for $1,600+. With a little searching, you can find 2-bedroom rentals in Hackensack for close to that price (maybe a couple hundred more to be precise). If they can fill the apartments, that will be good for Hackensack's downtown. I always liked the downtown. It wasn't glamorous, but it had good places to eat, and for those of us who lived in the city a while, it had it's own gritty charm. But, that construction at Main and Mercer streets -- that was annoying. From the lane pinching to the noise to the dust -- ugh!

    1. Yes. The quality of life in Hackensack is declining, and I'm seriously thinking of looking at houses in Paramus, where the property taxes are literally half.

      There are more than 200 on State, and there will be more than 300 at Main and Mercer, plus 700 at the old Record property.

      That doesn't count the ones in the old bank building on the other side of the tracks, and more on the parking lot near Bowler City and the ice rink.


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