Thursday, August 25, 2016

What did we do to deserve Governor Christie and Ken Zisa?

The Hudson Riverfront 9/11 Memorial in Weehawken marks the site where about 60,000 people were evacuated to New Jersey after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Governor Christie was conspicuously absent when the memorial was unveiled on Sept. 7, 2011.

The land surrounding the memorial is a huge construction zone for apartments with a river view.


For the second day in a row, Hackensack taxpayers are horrified over the prospect of a long legal battle with their disgraced former police chief, Ken Zisa, whose never-ending saga again lands on Page 1 of The Record. 

And when they turn to A-3, they learn that despite continuing gun violence in Paterson and other cities, Governor Christie wants to make it easier to carry a concealed weapon in New Jersey. 

Christie also vetoed a bill that would bring "smart gun" technology to retailers statewide.

Governor Veto

What did long-suffering taxpayers do to deserve these two? 

The Record hasn't bothered recently to report just how many times Christie has vetoed progressive legislation (more than 500), but he surely has set a record for a New Jersey governor. 

We can thank apathetic voters for his reelection to a second term just a couple of months after the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013. 

The voter turnout was the lowest for any gubernatorial contest in state history.

Ex-Chief Zisa

Ken Zisa joined the Hackensack Police Department in 1976, according to today's Page 1 story. He was arrested and suspended from his post as police chief in 2010.

Yet, here we are about six years later and his legal problems haven't been resolved -- a testament to a glacially slow system that guarantees lawyers hundreds of thousands of dollars in exorbitantly high legal fees, which are only loosely regulated.

On Tuesday, a Superior Court judge dismissed the remaining charge from Zisa's 2012 trial, official misconduct, ruling that to retry the ex-chief would violate his constitutional rights.

Now, Zisa may sue Hackensack and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office for $35 million, but he's declared his intention to get his old job back, even though the city abolished the position a few years ago.

More hearings

The prosecutor, on the other hand, may restart his investigation of disciplinary charges alleging Zisa intervened in a 2008 accident involving his girlfriend, Kathleen Tiernan, whom he drove away before a sobriety test, and in a 2004 incident involving her teenage sons, who took part in an assault on a classmate.

City Attorney Alexander Carver said a disciplinary hearing --plus any appeal -- could take years to resolve. 

The Record doesn't take a guess at how much the city will have to pay lawyers to hold the disciplinary hearing and handle any appeal or what it will cost to defend against a $35 million lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Zisa; and his brother, former four-term Mayor Jack Zisa, have formed Team Hackensack, which is expected to field a slate of candidates in next May's municipal election in hopes of once again flying the despised "Zisaville" flag from the roof of City Hall.

Sloppy editing

In his lead paragraph, Staff Writer John Seasly wrote the judge "threw out the last criminal conviction" against Zisa.

Four paragraphs later, the reporter refers to it as "the remaining charge of official misconduct" (A-1).

A "charge" and a "conviction" aren't the same.

In the next paragraph, he has Judge Susan Steele "arguing ...." Judges don't argue; they rule.

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