Sunday, January 31, 2016

Incompetent local editors are now running the newsroom

Behold a colorful mural by local artists on Main and Bridge streets in Hackensack, above and below, where Choripan Rodizio, an Argentinian grill restaurant, and upper-floor apartments burned down on April 26, 2015. The fire originated in the restaurant.

The mural has upset some residents, who say city codes only allow a chain-link fence around vacant land, like the one across Bridge Street, below.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

There were two cakes at a farewell party on Thursday for Martin Gottlieb, the veteran head-in-the-clouds editor who ran The Record's Woodland Park newsroom for the last four years.

One was to wish bon voyage to Gottlieb, who is retiring to Paris, and the other was to celebrate the birthday of Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg of Englewood, the North Jersey Media Group chairman who hired him twice -- in 1971 and 2011 -- 40 years apart.

Mac, who didn't give his age, is believed to be in his late 70s, and many noticed how the already overweight senior had added more unwanted pounds.

Cub to editor

Marty, who celebrated his 68th birthday on Jan. 10, began his long journalism career in 1971 as a cub reporter covering Bergen County towns for The Record, and ended it as top editor of a newspaper once known for its comprehensive local coverage.

At the party, Publisher Stephen A. Borg, Mac's son, had his cellphone glued to his ear, as usual.

And on Friday -- in a decision that had everything to do with money and nothing to do with journalism -- the younger Borg put the paper's failed local assignment editors in charge of the entire newsroom (Saturday's A-3).

Neither had strong  journalism credentials when they came to the paper.

Local yokels

Former head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes worked on a weekly before she was hired in 1987 as a night copy editor, one of the most thankless jobs in the current newsroom.

And Dan Sforza, who was her deputy, began as a lowly clerk in the old Hackensack newsroom right out of college in 1994.

Stephen Borg named Sykes as editor and Sforza as managing editor, and there is disagreement over whether either will be getting a raise.

The younger Borg imposed a freeze on raises for editorial assistants, reporters, copy editors and editors more than five years ago, when Francis "Frank" Scandale was the top editor.

Scandale was fired in late 2011, and Gottlieb arrived in January 2012 after taking a buyout at The New York Times, where he had risen to editor of editions in Paris and Hong Kong.

Always had Paris

That international experience proved to be a really poor fit at a local daily newspaper.

Readers in Hackensack and many other towns have seen coverage of their communities and schools decline drastically under Gottlieb, Sykes and Sforza.

The local editors scrambled every day to fill their thin, misnamed section, Local (see today's pathetic effort), as Gottlieb ran sports, politics and international news on A-1.

Searching in vain for municipal news, readers eyes rolled at all of the filler -- long Dean's Lists, sensational crime and court news, and gee-whiz photo after of gee-whiz photo of non-fatal accidents and fires.

Then, they were pelted with mindless blather from that moron, Road Warrior John Cichowski, who refused to cover commuting issues, as demonstrated by his statistics-filled L-1 column today.

Sykes was known to keep a shit list, and to form bonds with Jean Rimbach and other women on the reporting staff whose bylines are few and far between, and that isn't expected to change.

A good front

On today's Opinion front, Gottlieb's farewell column explores the fantasy world of journalism he inhabits.

Gottlieb ignores the major newsroom downsizing imposed by Stephen Borg in 2008, the move out of Hackensack in 2009; and the decline in the quantity, quality and accuracy of local news under Borg's watch (O-1).

The biggest laugh line is Gottlieb comparing The Record's Mike Kelly to streetwise, big-city columnists Jimmy Breslin and Mike Royko, as shown by Kelly's exceedingly boring take on Atlantic City (A-1 today).

He praises many newsroom staffers by name, but offends just as many by not acknowledging their hard work during his reign.

The photo with Gottlieb's column shows him on Thursday with Mac Borg and two of his children, Stephen and NJMG General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg.

Typical A-1

Gottlieb's last front page on Saturday is typical of his reliance on sensational crime news and politics to sell the paper to an apathetic readership.

Gottlieb has been hitting readers over the head with coverage of the GOP candidates, including Governor Christie, even though Iowa voters have failed to choose the party's nominee in the last two tries.

Every story in the past year or two on the so-called presidential campaign has meant one less on the mess Christie has made in New Jersey, where he has ruled by executing more than 500 vetoes.

What did local readers get on Saturday?

Another long story, this time on the Local front, about a 6-year-old boy bitten by a rabid raccoon, and lots of news about crime or the courts.

The standing photo of a minor house fire appears on L-3.

Today's paper

"Deirdre Sykes, Editor" appears for the first time on today's editorial page, and her first Page 1 is a real snoozer. 

The package on Atlantic City's future couldn't be more irrelevant to North Jersey readers, who know all too well what a disaster casino gambling has been (A-1).

They will be sure to vote down any attempt to bring casino gambling to the Meadowlands, a desperate move The Record seems to be behind.

Yet another crappy Christie column from Charles Stile, the governor's chief apologist, also appears on Page 1 today.

The veteran Trenton reporter was sent to Iowa at great expense despite the newsroom-wide wage freeze, and I'll bet that is pissing off a lot of staffers. 

Local news?

The alleged husband-wife murder that led Saturday's front page is the biggest news on the Local front today (L-1).

Just below that is the burial of Messiah, 1; and Saniyah, 4, who died of carbon-monoxide poisoning, as did their 23-year-old mother, Sashalynn Rosa.

In a Thursday story, which reported Saniyah's death, the girl was said to be 3 years old. 

The exhaust pipe of their idling car, with the mother and children trying to keep warm inside, was blocked by snow on Jan. 23 as father Felix Bonilla Jr. tried to clear the vehicle after the blizzard.

Unfortunately, the story appears next to today's Road Warrior column, reminding readers how the inept Cichowski failed to warn about that common danger as readers tried to dig out their parked cars after the storm.

Today, Cichowski, as he has done many times before, begins his column with a bewildering non sequitur:

"It's cheap enough to fill a car's tank with gas these days, but the cost of road crashes remains higher than ever" (L-1).

And the Monthly News Quiz on L-3 today shows just how desperate Sykes and Sforza still are to fill the pages of Local.

Fat face?

The best dishes Elisa Ung ate this month show the reporter doesn't flinch from sampling mystery meat and a "chocolate-covered strawberry milk shake" in the name of food criticism (BL-5).

Her contemporaries also may eat such unhealthy fare, but she is out of step with most of her readers, who are far older and watching their weight, and their cholesterol and sugar intake.

That thumbnail of her chin poised over a wine glass is close to 10 years old, and many readers are speculating that her presumably fatter face wouldn't fit into an update photo.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Will ex-Times editor's retirement revive local coverage?

Pedestrians on Euclid Avenue in Hackensack faced a number of obstacles on Thursday afternoon, including uncleared snow in front of the house at 90 Euclid Ave., above and below, and uncleared corners at Euclid and Grand avenues.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

One look at what may be Editor Marty Gottlieb's final front page today tells you the former Times veteran is no fan of the local-news coverage for which The Record once was praised.

In the four years he's been running the Woodland Park newsroom, the number of sports and sensational crime stories on the front-page has soared, such as the amputee and alleged murderer on A-1 today.

And Gottlieb has allowed local Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza to pad their thin local-news section with endless Law & Order coverage, numerous stories about Paterson's dysfunctional government (L-1), and minor accident and fire photos (L-3).


On Thursday afternoon, crossing Grand and Euclid avenues in Hackensack required detours, above and below. Snow from the blizzard of 2016 stopped falling last Saturday night.




The 'context' editor

In a column on A-19 today, Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin appears to be damning Gottlieb with faint praise.

"This is Marty's last week at The Record. He is retiring. He will be missed," Doblin writes, adding that four words sum up what he has learned from working with Gottlieb: "Look at the drapes."

Doblin claims Gottlieb is one of those editors who "leave indelible marks on how to practice journalism," a reference to the editor's insistence that no news story is complete without "context."

Of course, that was what Gottlieb learned in his many years of reporting and editing at The New York Times, where he ended his career as the high-flying editor of global editions in Paris and Hong Kong.

But providing "context" at The Record meant Gottlieb would edit and rewrite every Page 1 story filed by local reporters and approved by local editors.

Then, those reporters and editors would have to rework the stories from his hand-written notes, sucking out what little energy was left in a newsroom that had grown lazy under Sykes, Sforza and Francis "Frank" Scandale, the editor who was fired in late 2011.

Front-page stories became wordier, more complex and far less reader friendly.

And Gottlieb was a big fan of publishing the endless ruminations of Charles Stile, Mike Kelly, John Cichowski and the paper's other burned-out columnists on Page 1.

In the process of focusing on the big picture, coverage of Hackensack and many other towns waned dramatically.


Editor Martin Gottlieb is in his last week at The Record, but it remains to be seen if the Woodland Park daily will boost local-news coverage after he retires.

HUMC

Today's story on a new president for Hackensack University Medical Center is missing salaries for Ihor S. Sawczuk and Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO of Hackensack University Health Network (L-1).

Their bloated salaries are important, because the Hackensack complex has fought for years to preserve its tax-exempt status, shifting the property tax burden onto city residents and businesses.

Garret was paid nearly $3 million in 2012, according to NJBIZ.com's "Medical Millionaires."

Today's HUMC story carries the byline of Mary Jo Layton, but it appears to have been taken straight from hospital press releases, and doesn't mention the medical complex's controversial non-profit status.

And there is no pronunciation guide so are readers to assume the new president's last name sounds like "Sawchuck"?

No shortage of B.S.

Staff Writer Elisa Ung, the paper's chief food critic, is so busy stuffing her face with low-quality burgers she doesn't have to time to investigate how the cows were raised (Better Living).

So readers have to assume the beef used at Black Rebel Burger in Wood-Ridge and Mooyah in far-off Old Tappan is pumped full of harmful antibiotics and growth hormones, and may actually contain manure and superbugs (BL-12).

If you go, stick with the vegetarian options.

See:  How dangerous bacteria travel to your table

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Road Warrior has blood of woman, two kids on his hands

Teaneck police and other employees shooting the breeze shortly before noon on Wednesday, when State Street, above, and Cedar Lane were closed, presumably to clean up the mess left by snowplows after the blizzard of 2016.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The death of a 23-year-old woman and her children from carbon-monoxide poisoning in an idling car demonstrates once again how just how obsolete The Record's Road Warrior column has become.

John Cichowski, the confused, burned-out reporter who has been writing the column for more than a dozen years, didn't even bother warning readers of storm hazards before the snow started falling early last Saturday.

And his first column after the storm didn't even mention the potential for carbon-monoxide poisoning, if car owners didn't first clear snow blocking the exhaust of their entombed cars on streets throughout North Jersey.

As Page 1 of The Record reports today, Sashalynn Rosa, 23; and her son, Messiah, 1, died on Saturday, and daughter, Saniyah, 3, died on Wednesday at a Paterson hospital.

They had climbed into the idling family car to keep warm as the children's father began shoveling to free it from snow pushed aside by snowplows on their Passaic city street (A-1). 

But the car's tailpipe was blocked by snow, causing deadly carbon-monoxide fumes to fill the vehicle.



Instead of warning others about potential carbon-monoxide poisoning, Road Warrior John Cichowski wrote an entire column about a new law that calls for poles like this one in Hackensack that will make fire hydrants easier to find in snowstorms.


Early deadlines

The mother and son died on Saturday, but early deadlines, a lack of contacts in Passaic or sheer incompetence prevented the tragedy from appearing in the paper on Sunday.

That was a good thing for the moronic Cichowski, whose light-hearted column on drivers passing snowplows, roof snow and rock salt dominated the Local front that same day.

Their deaths finally hit the front page on Monday.

But instead of washing the blood off of his hands and warning others whose cars were covered by snow all over North Jersey, the Road Warrior's next two columns had absolutely nothing to do with driving, commuting or anything else.

On Tuesday, he blabbed on and on about a law on clearing fire hydrants of snow. 

And a day later, on Wednesday, he had en eye-glazing column filled with statistics on whether men or women are safer drivers.

Readers no longer doubt that Cichowski has completely lost it, and should be replaced with a fresher voice, something that can be said for the paper's other columnists, including Charles Stile, Mike Kelly and Bill Ervolino.

Martin Gottlieb

Editor Martin Gottlieb, who announced he is retiring at the end of January, is still around, and his name appears on the editorial page today.

That explains why there is little else of note on the front page once you've read about the death of Saniyah Bonilla, 3, of Passaic, four days after his mother and brother.

Also on Page 1, Staff Writer Charles Stile continues to churn out Christie campaign crap as if the governor has even the slimmest chance of winning the GOP presidential nomination.

At the end of this post, see a comment from a Hackensack reader on Stile. 



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Despite controversies, editors stop covering Hackensack

On Tuesday morning, the crosswalk and curb at Main and Berry streets in Hackensack were clear, but the NJ Transit bus stop was buried under a snowbank, testament to a sloppy job by snowplows throughout the 4.4-square-mile city. One resident complained snow was cleared with "no regard for pedestrians."


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

No reporter from The Record covered Tuesday night's City Council meeting, where Hackensack residents again complained about haphazard snow clearing that endangered drivers and pedestrians.

Staff Writer Todd South, who had been assigned to Hackensack and Maywood, has been promoted, and no reporter has taken his place to cover the most populous town in Bergen County.

Only Hackensack police news has appeared in the Woodland Park daily for several weeks. 

South's last Hackensack byline was on Dec. 12, when he wrote about a dispute over a marriage license involving Richard Salkin, the Board of Education attorney.

The Record seems to have stopped covering Hackensack, where the Borg publishing family prospered for more than 110 years before abandoning the city in 2009 for Woodland Park.

Hospital, downtown

Yet, the county seat is embroiled in a controversy with the tax-exempt Hackensack University Medical Center, and residents have questioned concessions to developers during the biggest downtown rehabilitation in North Jersey, if not the entire state.

The Record also hasn't reported who stands to profit most from redevelopment.

On Tuesday night, four residents appeared before council officials, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, to complain about snow clearing after the blizzard of 2016, and to urge officials to draw up a plan for future storms.

Irrelevant columns

Instead of municipal news, Editors Martin Gottlieb, Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza continue to choke readers with hundreds of inches of type from Columnists Charles Stile and John Cichowski (A-1 and L-1) -- the editorial equivalent of fiddling while North Jersey burns.

Stile and another reporter filed 50 inches to 60 inches of type on A-1 and A-10 analyzing Governor Christie's response to criticism that he left New Jersey too soon after the snowstorm to return to his doomed New Hampshire campaign:

"I don't know what you want me to do , you want me to go down there with a mop?"

Meanwhile, Cichowski continues to distance himself from the pathetically inadequate advice he gave car owners on how to cope with the blizzard.

Sadly, a 23-year-old woman and her 1-year-old son died on Saturday from carbon-monoxide poisoning in an idling car with a snow-blocked exhaust, a hazard that Cichowski didn't mention (L-1).

Abe Vigoda

Staff Writer Bill Ervolino's obituary for actor Abe Vigoda demonstrates once again why The Record's columnists -- including Stile, Cichowski and Mike Kelly -- fail readers day after day (BL-1).

I can't make any sense of the so-called humor columnist's first paragraph that "if you don't have an uncle who looked a whole lot like Abe Vigoda, then you probably aren't Italian," followed by news that Vigoda was a first-generation Russian Jew.

Readers would do better with a sidebar from local obituary writer Jay Levin, who interviewed Vigoda's daughter after the 94-year-old died in his sleep on Tuesday in her Woodland Park park home (BL-3).

The best lines: 

"This is a man who was never sick a day in his life," Carol Vigoda Fuchs told Levin. "He could've waited for his birthday" (Feb. 24).

'Superfoods'

It isn't enough for Staff Writer Sophia F. Gottfried to quote dietitians on hidden sugar, sodium and fat in foods and products many people consider healthy (BL-1).

Her article doesn't name alternatives, making the advice useless, unless readers embark on their own investigations.

And if they are going to do that, what's the point of her article?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Editors gaze into crystal balls, ignore our messy present

This morning, Euclid Avenue in Hackensack, between Main Street and the railroad tracks, remained a one-lane street -- just one of the many spots city plows missed after the snow stopped falling on Saturday night.

On Main Street in Hackensack, between Berry and Passaic streets, parking was banned this morning, above and below, until the city could clear all of the snow in front of parking meters.

Lavash City, an Armenian restaurant, and other businesses on this block of Main are lucky to have a rear parking lot for customers.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The Record's editors are so bored with our dysfunctional state government and the blizzard of 2016 they are already looking into the future.


On Page 1 today, Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson and Staff Writer James O'Neill are gazing into crystal balls on November ballot questions and the weather for the rest of the winter.


On the Local front, the moronic Road Warrior, John Cichowski, continues to ignore blizzard dangers -- even as the death toll mounts -- and referees a pissing match over whether residents are obligated to clear fire hydrants of snow (L-1).


On the first Business page, Staff Writer Joan Verdon delivers a breathless report on a German discount supermarket chain that isn't expected to open stores in the U.S. before 2018 (L-8).


Snow clearing

The snow stopped falling Saturday night, but pedestrians continue to encounter third-world snow clearing in Hackensack and many other towns, where bus stops, corners, turn lanes, parking meters and crosswalks remain covered or barricaded today.

On the Local front, the editors published an image rarely seen in the Woodland Park daily -- a Hackensack bus stop blocked by a snowbank (L-1).

On Sunday and Monday, reporters visited a couple dozen towns, but pretty much ignored the amateurish job turned in by municipal crews -- as The Record has done for decades. 

Snow job

One example was reporting from the front lines in Teaneck by resident and Columnist Mike Kelly, the veteran reporter whose work appears regularly on the front page. 

Here is an excerpt from his hard-hitting report in Monday's Local section:

"By noon Sunday, Teaneck's main business district along Cedar Lane was buzzing with traffic and pedestrians."

Kelly probably could have described Cedar Lane the same way on any Sunday, given the large number of Orthodox Jews in town who are forbidden from shopping on Saturday.

He also noted "mounds of snow" were "left at the end of [residents'] driveways by snowplows that worked through the night to clear town streets."

Apparently, Kelly didn't venture very far, because he missed the poor job the snowplows did on Cedar Lane, where only one of two travel lanes was clear between the Hackensack line and River Road on Monday morning.

Wrong headline

Even though a number of people died from shoveling snow, carbon-monoxide poisoning and hypothermia over the weekend, Monday's local front carried an upbeat headline and sub-headline:

Postcards from a wintry land

North Jersey
worked hard
in storm, but 
played, too



This is what a block on Main Street in Hackensack looks like after the snow was cleared from in front of parking meters.

The bus stop at Euclid Avenue and Main Street, where you can board NJ Transit buses to the city, remained buried under snow this morning, including the city provided bench.

Ditto for the bus stop across the street from Sears on Main Street.


Governor Christie

Wow, would you look at all of the ink on Page 1 today criticizing Governor Christie for leaving New Jersey on Sunday and returning to New Hampshire in his futile campaign for the GOP presidential nomination (A-1).

I can't recall headlines this big or similar criticism when he did a number of things as governor -- from cancelling new Hudson River rail tunnels in 2010, waging war on teachers and other members of the middle class, and executing more than 500 vetoes so far to stop bills on gun control and a host of other issues.

Burger King

An editorial today on the response to the blizzard doesn't question why employees of Burger King in Hackensack didn't call police when an elderly New York woman told them she was afraid to drive home in the storm on Saturday afternoon, and planned to park in their Hackensack Avenue lot (A-8).

Police Director Mike Mordaga says in a news story on A-6 today the body of the unidentified woman, 78, was found in her gold Cadillac on Monday morning.

The Burger King had closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and didn't reopen until Monday morning.


On Spring Valley Avenue in Maywood, near the Hackensack border, a woman was forced to walk on the pavement this morning, only inches from passing cars on a street that is too narrow for all the traffic it carries in even the best of weather.

The corner of Main Street and Johnson Avenue in Hackensack.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Columnist should have reported carbon-monoxide threat

On Woodland Street and Palisade Avenue in Englewood, snow covered the right-turn lane this morning. Driving between Hackensack and Tenafly and back today, I saw many potentially dangerous spots on streets and highways, including Routes 4 and 80, where plows did their usual half-assed job even though we pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

In Hackensack, Euclid Avenue between the railroad tracks and Main Street was down to a single lane, and cars on Main could not turn right onto Euclid, normally a wide, two-lane street.
Not far away, the bus stop on Anderson Street in Hackensack, between Main and River streets, above, was covered by a snowbank. On Teaneck Road in Teaneck, a woman who wanted to walk under Route 4 despaired that the sidewalk hadn't been cleared, forcing her to use the pavement, inches from passing cars.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

In October, Record Columnist John Cichowski warned "absent-minded drivers of modern cars" who park in a garage "you might not wake up in the morning," if you forget to push the off-button of your keyless ignition.

But this winter, Cichowski, The Record's so-called Road Warrior, forgot to warn drivers of another potentially deadly carbon-monoxide threat -- warming up a car when the exhaust pipe is covered by snow.

Two die in car

And on Saturday, a 23-year-old mother and her 1-year-old son died inside an idling car on a Passaic city street as the husband tried to dig it out of the snow left by the blizzard of 2016, as The Record reports on Page 1 today.

Deep in today's news story, the paper reports "the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in a snowbound car is one of several wintertime hazards on the list of safety tips published every year by ... Rutgers University" (A-6).

Yet, a day after the woman and her son died, and her 3-year-old daughter was listed as "very critical" in a Paterson hospital, Cichowski's lighthearted column on snowstorm risks was silent on how to safely dig out a snowbound car (Sunday's Local front).

He did have a warning for pedestrians:

"When skipping along in Timberland boots, people are not nearly as light-footed as they are when wearing Nikes. They tend to fall, too, so stopping for them in time is harder than ever."

Really? Boots would make them more sure-footed in snow -- not less. 

Just that excerpt shows why thousands of readers call Cichowski a moron, and demand the firing of his editors, Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza, who have allowed the addled columnist to waste readers' time for more than a dozen years.

Snow clearing

After every winter snowstorm, drivers realize what a terrible job municipal crews do in clearing corners, crosswalks, bus stops, sidewalks over or under highways and other places that can keep pedestrians safe.

Still, after every winter storm, The Record's supremely lazy and incompetent editors, as well as Cichowski, never issue report cards to Hackensack, Teaneck and all the other towns that do a half-assed job of clearing streets and intersections.

This morning, on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, drivers were lucky if both lanes were clear in each direction.


This morning on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, one lane was covered by snow as drivers approached River Road.

Highways, streets

On Route 4 east, the deceleration lane for the Jones Road exit ramp in Englewood was covered by snow, forcing drivers to slow down in the travel lane and turn sharply right, setting up the possibility of getting rear-ended.

On Route 80 west, drivers exiting in Teaneck, near the Glenpointe complex, also found the deceleration lane covered by snow.

On local streets, such as Euclid Avenue in Hackensack, between Main Street and the railroad tracks, you could assign partial blame for the terrible snow clearing on apartment dwellers who leave their cars parked on the street during a storm.

But ultimately, city planners were shortsighted in caving into developers and approving multi-family housing without enough off-street parking spots.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Editors deliver superficial coverage of another big storm

In Hackensack, dog walkers and other pedestrians were stymied today, if they planned to leave their own block. As in years past, city plows and crews don't do corners or crosswalks. Meanwhile, The Record's lazy editors shrugged and went back to sleep rather than cover the blizzard of 2016 in any detail.

Hackensack homeowners who cleared their driveways to the curb or paid someone else to do it found that city plows then threw up an impenetrable blockade -- this only two weeks before several thousand dollars in property taxes are due.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

By noon today, the print edition of The Record still hadn't hit my cleared driveway in Hackensack.

The paper's dysfunctional home delivery unit struggles to deliver a dry paper when it's raining, so I guess I should cut it some slack after more than 2 feet of snow falls.

But that's no excuse for the lazy local Assignment Editors, Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza, who once again deliver spotty coverage of winter's first blizzard, judging by the digital edition I am looking at online.

The biggest fear of residents who lived through Irene, Sandy and other big storms was the loss of power, light and heat, but Page 1 and the Local front carry little or nothing about outages.

Town coverage?

On L-1 -- the main responsibility of Sykes and Sforza -- readers are bewildered by a story on how the storm altered plans for Saturday funerals.

What about Jewish families who must bury their dead within 24 hours? The story is silent on that score. 

There are about 90 towns in The Record's circulation area, but the staff appears to have done reporting from only a couple of dozen of them (L-1, L-3 and L-6).

Hackensack?

Staff Writer Kibret Markos, who usually is assigned to the state courthouse in Paterson, reported on Prospect Avenue high-rises in Hackensack, a city that covers an area of nearly 4.4 square miles and is the most populous in Bergen County (L-3).

Markos interviewed two building employees, a resident of the Blair House, and two pedestrians who said they were Russian and shrugged off the "thigh-high" snow.

Here is one of the sentences in his superficial report:

"The neighborhood of high-rises along Propsect Avenue remained mostly barren, with a few cars driving by every few minutes."

Friday, January 22, 2016

We'd all be better off if Christie moved to New Hampshire

Governor Christie in a moment that cements his reputation as the GOP bully.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The Record's lead story today -- how New Jersey lost out on tens of millions in federal disaster aid -- only rubs salt in the wounds of residents who have been seduced and abandoned by their governor.

Yet, Editor Martin Gottlieb again gives Columnist Charles Stile front-page play to argue that campaigning in New Hampshire is more important to Christie's future than coming home to help the state weather a big snowstorm. (A-1 and A-6).

If Stile, the paper's chief Christie apologist, doesn't make you hurl, take a look at the idiotic headline:


Christie shelters in place

Readers still are waiting for The Record to call for the impeachment of a governor who time and again has put his selfish ambitions above the welfare of residents.

Or, at least demand that Christie resign, give up his million-dollar state police protection and move to New Hampshire as he pursues his doomed bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

Local news?

Bergen County readers continue to get a good spanking from local Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza, who are in charge of the paper's thin local-news section.

Four of the five stories on their Local front today are from Passaic County (L-1).

Three Paterson stories appear on L-2 and L-3, and Pompton Lakes police news can be found on L-5.

The inside pages also carry plenty of crime and court news, including a long, flattering story on the Bergen County Police Academy (L-3).

Hackensack?

There is no municipal news from Hackensack, as has been the case for weeks. 

And school board stories from Clifton (L-1), Elmwood Park and Saddle River (L-6) only remind Hackensack residents they haven't seen a story on their profligate school trustees for more than, what, a year or is it two?

You're mistaken if you think care is taken in the writing and editing of stories, as shown by a mangled sentence in the police academy story referring to Bergen County Corrections Officer Alex Herrera:

"Corrections officers, as he's been since 2005, are limited to posts at the jail and the academy" (L-3).

Ignoring readers

It isn't news that Elisa Ung, the paper's chief restaurant critic, ignores the dietary restrictions of most of her readers, whether they are on a low-carb, low-fat or low-cholesterol diet or are watching their intake of sugar and other sweets.

Today, she recklessly awards 3 out of 4 stars to Porto by Antonio, a North Bergen restaurant that not only charges up to $23 for a 12-inch pizza, but actually fries the dough of another pie (BL-12).

Ung raves the fried pie is "less heavy" and "more subtly rich" than other versions she has tried.