Friday, April 29, 2016

Editors serve local readers warmed-up old news on Page 1

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS: The bridge connecting Anderson Street in Hackensack and Cedar Lane in Teaneck, above, reopened this week ahead of schedule, but only one of the two original lanes is available. Now, westbound lanes are closed for interim repairs until the entire bridge can be replaced. My guess is that will be in 2050.

With the reopening of the bridge, Hackensack residents on Wednesday reacquainted themselves with the joy of driving through Teaneck's Cedar Lane business district, where construction closed two lanes, above. Other hazards include 80-year-old drivers going 10 mph, and aggressive police officers in unmarked cars enforcing the crosswalk law and 25 mph speed limit.


Readers are shaking the sleep out of their eyes and checking the date on Page 1 of The Record, where most of today's stories are warmed up old news.

And where is a story delivering real news on Governor Christie being more unpopular than ever?

It should be on the front page, but it's buried on A-4, as you'd expect from the only major New Jersey daily that refused to call for his resignation after he endorsed racist Donald Trump in the GOP presidential contest.

Editor Deirdre Sykes and Managing Editor Dan Sforza really flop today with this deja-vu edition, recalling all of the no-news Local sections they scrambled to put out before being promoted to run the entire paper in January.

Local news?

Readers turning to Local today find a second, long story about the embarrassing public celebration for a Hackensack police officer who became the first black captain, only to fail part of the exam and return to his previous rank of lieutenant (L-1).

Meanwhile, Staff Writer John Seasly finally reports on the $104 million spending plan for city schools, but his story appears on the front page of the weekly Hackensack Chronicle, which is delivered with The Record on Fridays.

Seasly interviewed Louise Davis, the school district's business administrator, about the budget and $79.1 million tax levy -- both of which he ignored before a tiny minority of voters OK'd them on April 19.

The Chronicle also carries a Page 1 story on Hackensack City Council approval of a smaller $100.4 million municipal budget.

The city tax levy increase is 2.5 percent -- less than half of the 5.6 percent tax hike for the schools.

Saving newsprint

Publisher Stephen A. Borg continues to cut expenses on the backs of long-suffering Bergen County readers.

Today's Local section includes six major stories from Passaic County (L-1 to L-6), including another in a series of long pieces exploring "the policy positions of candidates in Paterson's May election for City Council" (L-6).

Keep in mind the Woodland Park daily never explored the issues in the April 19 school board and budget election in Hackensack, Bergen's biggest district, where the Zisa family backed two of the three winning candidates.

Let's hope Borg isn't using his newsprint savings to spruce up his $3.65 million McMansion in Tenafly.

Oil v. butter

Today's Good to Excellent review of Lili's Bistro in Washington Township includes a surprisingly superficial discussion of the kitchen's "light hand with oil and butter" (BL-16).

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung never tells reader whether she means heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil or less desirable vegetable oils, most of which contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Why limit extra-virgin olive oil in cooking or salads or as a substitute for butter with bread? 

And why even review a restaurant in far-off Washington Township, then tell readers it's not appropriate for a "destination dinner"?

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