Friday, April 15, 2016

Editors cheat us on local school elections and so much more

A sample ballot for Tuesday's school election in Hackensack shows voters can choose three out of nine candidates to fill seats on the Board of Education, above. They also will have their say on a tax levy of $79 million to support a total school budget of $104 million, below.
School taxes represent nearly half of the total property tax bill in Hackensack.


You can't miss the big, black headline on the front page of The Record today:

"Battle for New York"

But what about the battle over Hackensack schools and those in other towns that are having Board of Education elections next Tuesday?

In the past 10 days, Editor Deirdre Sykes has been choking readers will endless reporting on the City Council race in Paterson (see the latest on Tuesday's L-6).

Sykes, who hated covering school elections when she was running the local-news section, seems to find them just as distasteful now that she is running the whole paper.

$104M budget

She ignored the Hackensack board's March 31 approval of a $104 million school budget for 2016-17, and still hasn't reported nine candidates are fighting over three seats on the board that runs Bergen County's biggest system.

Today, an ad for one of the slates, Citizens for Better Schools, appears on Page 5 of the Hackensack Chronicle, the weekly delivered on Fridays with the Woodland Park daily, North Jersey Media Group's flagship. 

That slate represents the first chance in many years to end the status quo on a school board that ignores low test scores and fails to engage parents in the education of their children.

Yet, trustees have been known to spend more per pupil than the well-respected Ridgewood system.

Plus, they are paying the superintendent and top administrators almost as much or more than Governor Christie.

What does Sykes think about that? Who knows? 

She has virtually ignored Hackensack schools in recent years, and hasn't assigned a reporter to cover a board meeting in many moons.

Voter forum

All nine candidates were invited to speak to parents and grandparents on Thursday night at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack, but only three attended.

Lawrence E. Eisen, Lancelot Powell and Victor E. Sasson -- who call themselves Citizens for Better Schools -- heard complaints about a rude and dismissive Board of Education president.

That stuffed shirt has shown his abiding distaste for the city's schools by twice running unsuccessfully for City Council since 2013.

And even though 90 percent of parents are in favor of school uniforms, trustees have turned a deaf ear to their appeals.

Veteran board member Francis W. Albolino attended the forum with his wife, and announced that he is leaving the board for good at the April 26 reorganization meeting.

In view of the sad condition of some Hackensack schools, no one at the forum put him on the spot and asked him to explain just exactly what the F he has been doing for 24 years.

A photo of Food Editor Esther Davidowitz from her Twitter page.

$1 tacos

Elisa Ung, The Record's chief restaurant critic, thinks nothing of blowing a couple of hundred dollars of the company's money on a meal at an expensive steakhouse.

Today, though, her Informal Dining review has her literally bottom feeding at Mexico Deli Restaurant, which slings $1 tacos in the city of Passaic.

Yummy. You can order tacos filled with tongue, head or ear from animals that were pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, and likely were raised in horrifying conditions.

I don't know about you, but I stopped eating shit years ago.

I've eaten plenty of tacos and other Mexican food in Passaic over the years, but today stick with fish tacos, such as those served at Taqueria Los Gueros.

In a tweet today, Food Editor Esther Davidowitz refers to Ung's review and describes Mexico Deli Restaurant as "taco bliss," but I'll bet she wouldn't touch one with a 10-foot pole.


  1. Victor, Victor

    Such a harsh review of Ung's visit to Passaic to the Mexicans. Are you letting your inner vegetarian out or your outer vegetarian in? You sure are a tough crowd.

    Admittedly Ung et al are usually purveyors of dreck and chazzerai but in this case, lighten up a little. This is the neighborhood where my grandfather and great uncles started out in America. They had their groceries and fruit stands on Market Street in Passaic. I'm sentimental about such places. Give the Mexicans a break. Back in the day tongue and brisket were still the coin of realm.

    1. I don't eat meat or poultry, but do eat fish and other seafood.

      Passaic has been completely transformed by Mexican immigration, much of it from Puebla. I used to shop in the wholesale Mecican warehouses open to the public, and wolfed down tacos at Brenda Lee and other taquerias. But the sanitation was awful and I didn't want to know where the meat came from.

      Taqueria Los Gueros has a great fish taco and branches in Englewood and East Rutherford, and I've been to both.

      What I really object to is Ung and her overeating cohorts completely ignoring how the food she raves about was grown or raised.

  2. I forgot to mention that in 2003, The Record published my cover story in the Food section on the transformation of Passaic. The headline: "Mexican Revolution in Passaic."

    I described the authentic food, and the restaurants, bakeries, markets, manufacturers and wholesale warehouses.


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