Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reporter again ignores bitter partisan battle for Hackensack

Hackensack Board of Education President Jason Nunnermacker ran unsuccessfully for City Council twice with the backing of the Zisa family political dynasty, which controlled the city for decades before reformers were elected in 2013. Now, he attends council meeting regularly to attack Mayor John Labrosse and other officials.
At a council meeting in May, Nunnermacker, in a hoodie, tried to hide from the camera after Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino rebuked him publicly for falsely claiming he and other school board members were responsible for cutting taxes $214 for the average homeowner. A citywide revaluation cut city and school taxes an average of $400 for about one-third of homeowners, she noted.


John Seasly, The Record's Hackensack reporter, continues to ignore the Zisa family's battle to regain control of the city they ruled for decades.

A slate of Zisa allies -- including school board member Jason Nunnermacker -- was defeated in the 2013 municipal election, but the family continued to control the Board of Education, where Nunnermacker is now president.

And Richard Salkin, the board attorney and a former city attorney, lost his second job as municipal prosecutor after Mayor John Labrosse and other council members took office.

In April, two members of Team Hackensack, backed by former four-term Mayor Jack Zisa and other Zisas, were elected to the Board of Education and the third member of the slate was appointed later to fill a vacancy -- solidifying their control.

Seasly completed ignored the Zisa family's role in the school election, as well as the issues brought up by the other candidates, including three backed by the current council.

He also ignored the proposed $104 million school budget, which accounts for 44% of a homeowner's property tax bill and which exceeded the city's own spending plan.

'A frequent critic'

Today, in a story on the Local front, Seasly identifies Salkin as "a frequent critic of the municipal government," but doesn't mention all of the jobs the attorney held during Zisa administrations or when the council was controlled by the family's allies (L-1).

To further insulate Salkin from charges of partisan politics, the reporter deftly quotes Labrosse, the mayor, as citing "the lawyer's loyalty to the Zisa political family" (L-7).

"It's a political stunt that stinks of the old-style politics that have plagued this town forever," Labrosse says, referring to another lawsuit Salkin filed against him.

That let's the reporter, his assignment editor and Editor Deirdre Sykes off the hook for their slanted reporting and shocking disregard for Hackensack residents and readers.

2017 election

A Zisa-backed Team Hackensack slate is expected to oppose the reelection of Labrosse and other council members in the non-partisan May 2017 election.

Let's see if Seasly manages to ignore that contest as he did the school board election:

Zisa-backed school trustees sworn, 
editors could care less 

With reporters like Seasly telling only half the story in Hackensack, the county seat may once again be cursed as "Zisaville."

Christie-Trump tax deal

Today's paper carries extensive coverage of Governor Christie becoming "a Trump man," as if readers missed the GOP bully's endorsement of the wacko racist presidential candidate in February (A-1, A-3 and A-6).

Still, I can't find a word about a New York Times report that in December 2011, the Christie administration settled a lawsuit seeking payment of $30 million in overdue taxes and interest owed by his friend Trump's Atlantic City casinos.

After six years in court, the state agreed to accept just $5 million, The Times reported on Tuesday.

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