Sunday, August 28, 2016

We're stuck with cronies, corruption, patronage, home rule

This 2012 photo from focuses on the natural beauty of the Meadowlands.


The Record's front page today -- dominated by two articles on the 40th anniversary of the Meadowlands Sports Complex -- is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

A story on the pivotal role of young voters in the Nov. 8 presidential election completely ignores the real problem -- apathetic voters of all ages (A-1).

And Staff Writer Pat Alex repeats a common theme in media coverage of the presidential race -- that wacko racist Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton "are among the most unpopular candidates in the history of modern polling."

The media adore polls -- unreliable indicators that allow Alex and other reporters to portray the contest between Trump and Clinton as a horse race.

And such coverage surely contributes to apathy among readers and voters, because The Record and other media refuse to focus on such issues as gender equality, a higher minimum wage and taxing the wealthy.

Local news?

Law & Order coverage is dominating local news again, as readers can see from today's lead story on Paterson's 11th homicide in 2016 (L-1).

And in recent days, the local editors have needed a long Dean's List to fill holes in news coverage (L-3).

L-3 also carries the Monthly News Quiz, which asks readers, "How well do you know what happened in N.J. and beyond?"

That's a question readers want to ask the editors and reporters who put out the pathetically thin Sunday edition and its Local section.


Let's hope Margulies' cartoon on O-2 today doesn't become reality, though you never know with Governor Christie.

"Have you heard about Christie's Motor Vehicle Commission efficiency plan," a wife asks her husband.

"To automatically get a gun license when you renew a driver's license?"

Saturday's paper

Staff Writer Jeff Pillets could have gone deeper in his review of more than a decade of "missed deadlines and broken budgets" on publicly financed projects (A-1 on Saturday).

He shows how Trenton has left "the public on the hook for helping to fund failed or stalled projects," but doesn't explore a system of local and state government that thrives on cronyism, political patronage and corruption.

So, the story played next to it was no surprise:

To help his campaign, Trump tapped Bill Stepien, a former Christie crony "whose ascent in Republican politics was shot down by the politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge."

Rudy Van Gelder

Editor Deirdre Sykes probably has run more animal stories on Page 1 then the obituaries of prominent local residents.

But below the fold on Friday, she ran a story about a starving pit bull from Paterson next to the obituary for Hackensack native Rudy Van Gelder, who died on Thursday at 91.

Staff Writer Jay Levin and Carla Baranauckas, an assignment editor, called him "perhaps the most influential recording engineer in the jazz genre, who brought to life the sounds of such legendary artists as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard."

The dog got better play, though.

And the Van Gelder obit erred on where he recorded Monk's "Hackensack" and other jazz classics.

The Van Gelder family home in Hackensack was on Prospect Avenue, not "Prospect Street." 


Kosher restaurants usually are more expensive, but do customers get food of higher quality than at non-kosher places?

In Friday's Informal Dining Review, Staff Writer Elisa Ung doesn't bother answering the question.

As is usually the case in her reviews, she doesn't say whether the kosher chicken and turkey served at Schnitzel+ in Teaneck are naturally raised.

And a photo of what she describes as a "huge platter" shows five falafel, a single pocket bread cut into four piece and some hummus. 

The price is an inflated $11.95.

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