Thursday, December 1, 2016

Editors ignore Christie role in housing and health-care woes

A Christmas Tree went up in the lobby of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center the day after Thanksgiving.


Staff Writers Lindy Washburn and Salvador Rizzo of The Record continue to give Governor Christie a pass on his bid to sabotage both President Obama's health-care initiative and landmark court rulings on affordable housing.

In fact, the conservative Republican governor's name is completely missing in Washburn's upbeat story on the Affordable Care Act (3A).

Nor does the GOP thug's name appear in Rizzo's piece on skeptical state Supreme Court justices hearing a plea from towns to forgive their affordable housing obligations in the past 17 years (4A).

Gee, it isn't news that Christie takes credit for an expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey -- thanks to an infusion of federal funds -- but refused to set up a state marketplace residents could use to buy health policies under the Affordable Care Act.

That has thrown New Jerseyans onto the overburdened federal marketplace, and reduced their choice to two insurers in 2017, compared with five this year.

Nor is it a secret Christie tried to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing, the state agency that is responsible for ensuring that all 566 municipalities in New Jersey provide their share of low- and moderate-cost housing.

Many of Christie's supporters live in largely white suburban towns that have refused to accommodate affordable housing and an influx of minorities.

Water on brain

The Record's so-called commuting columnist continues to diss long-suffering NJ Transit bus and rail riders to lavish praise on NY Waterway, a trans-Hudson ferry company that celebrated its 30th anniversary this week (1A).

Taking the ferry is the most expensive way to commute to the city with the exception of driving there yourself and paying exorbitant parking rates.

Page 1 today also appeals to high rollers who are willing to pay $10 for a reserved parking space at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

Gannett editors put this story on the front page to please one of the paper's biggest advertisers.

More Bridgegate

The story that belonged on Page 1 today is Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol in Hackensack saying she will release a Bridgegate-related decision on Friday (1L)

Bill Brennan, a former Teaneck firefighter with a law degree, is asking her to appoint a special prosecutor in the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal (1L).

Brennan wants Christie prosecuted for doing nothing when he learned about the Fort Lee traffic jams in September 2013.

Christie wasn't named in a federal indictment, but three of his former aides or associates have been convicted of conspiracy and other charges.

All said he knew about the lane closings while they were happening.

Still, the governor has somehow managed to avoid testifying under oath and in public on what he knew and when he knew it.

EPA mileage rule

An Associated Press story on a proposal to boost average fuel economy and emissions targets in the U.S. also appears to be slanted toward other big advertisers -- automakers and auto dealers (16A).

The U.S. Environmental Agency proposal is a victory for the environment, but the story doesn't discuss the impact of auto emissions on climate change or their role in the deaths of 53,000 people every year.

The EPA is standing by an Obama administration proposal for an average fuel economy of 50.8 mpg by 2025, compared to 35.3 now.

Each automaker would be required to hit that average across its entire model line -- including hybrids and EVs -- not for individual vehicles (the acronym CAFE stands for corporate average fuel economy).

Manufacturers are upset that to meet the targets, they would have to reduce the number of highly profitable but gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs they sell.

This year, both Ford and Nissan have ramped up production of big SUVs and pickups to take advantage of low gas prices.

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