Sunday, June 12, 2016

Christie's war against mass transit, columnist without balls

A view of the Hackensack River from the parking lot behind the White Manna on River Street in Hackensack


Page 1 of The Record today and Saturday detail the sad state of roads, bridges and public transit, but the editors refuse to point their fingers at Governor Christie.

Since 2010, the GOP bully pulled the plug on the original Hudson River tunnels; threatened repeatedly to veto a modest hike in the gas tax to fund road repairs and rail improvements; and did nothing to force the Port Authority to add bus-only lanes into the Lincoln Tunnel.

Today, readers have to plow through paragraph after paragraph in a long, tedious story before Staff Writer Paul Berger comes clean on A-9.

That's when he reports the "$1.8 million in Port Authority funds" he mentions in the lead paragraph on A-1 was mass-transit money left over from the first Hudson River rail-tunnels project (A-1).

Berger doesn't even mention other tunnel-project money Christie misappropriated from NJ Transit before he started cutting millions in state subsidies, forcing the mass-transit agency to raise fares and cut service.

Why 'ambitious'?

On Saturday's A-1, why did Staff Writer Christopher Maag call a fuel-tax plan to raise $20 billion over 10 years "ambitious"?

You'd expect that description from Christie, whose threats to veto any gas-tax increase forced legislative leaders to include a phase-out of the state's estate tax and deductions on some charitable contributions.

New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund is expected to run out of money by the end of the month.

Maag reports the proposals "could increase the cost of gasoline by 23 cents a gallon ... still less than the amount charged by neighboring states, including New York and Pennsylvania."

Saturday's paper included three sections of advertising from car dealers, so The Record's editors likely have been ordered not to report higher gas prices would be good for the environment, if people drove less, bought fewer SUVs and pickup trucks, and turned to hybrids and all-electric cars instead.

Local news?

Road Warrior John Cichowski continues to betray older drivers like himself with yet another column on cellphone-addicted teens (L-1).

In the 12-plus years he's been writing his column, hundreds of seniors have mistaken the gas pedal for the brake pedal, often with fatal consequences.

Cichowski's reaction has been to urge older people to give up driving, and take one of the few ride services available. 

'Me, me, me'

Why does Mike Kelly's Opinion front column on Donald Trump and "labels" begin with the veteran reporter screaming, "Me, me, me"?

"Some years ago, I knocked on the front door ... where Al Sharpton was living," Kelly says in a first paragraph guaranteed to put the reader to sleep (O-1).

"Some years ago"? That was more than 25 years ago, when a white Teaneck police officer shot and killed a black teenager.

When Kelly eventually gets to the billionaire racist demeaning the judge hearing the fraud case against Trump University as "Mexican," all the columnist can manage is to call it "deplorable" (O-4).

Where are Kelly's balls?

He then goes on to declare "this presidential sweepstakes has become another journey into America's racial divisions," and in the process, offends supporters of Hillary Clinton.

The columnist describes "Trump's smarmy decision to reach out to white, working-class voters and ... Clinton's equally smarmy courting of African-Americans" (O-4).

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