Monday, February 29, 2016

Surely, Chris Rock also didn't want to miss a huge payday

The Whitehall, left, built in 1960 on Prospect Avenue in Hackensack, was the first of the city's many high-rises.


Google, The Record and other news media are failing us today in not reporting just how much comedian Chris Rock stood to lose, if he joined other black celebrities in a boycott of the Oscars.

Rock was heaped with praise for his hilarious performance on Sunday night, and The Record's Virginia Rohan even blurted out on Page 1:

"Man, how could I have forgotten just how good Rock can be?"

The comedian noted, "I thought about quitting ... but I realized, they gonna have the Oscars anyway" (A-6).

So, I was waiting for Rock to admit the hundreds of thousands of dollars he likely received was another factor in his decision to host the 88th Academy Awards.

But he only blasted the $20 million paid to one of the boycotting celebrities, Will Smith, for his role in "Wild, Wild West."

Rock, who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion in Alpine, is seen often at The Gym in Englewood.

Media on 'Spotlight'

On the Better Living front today, The Associated Press reporter at the Academy Awards called "Spotlight" -- winner of Best Picture -- "an underdog win for a movie about an underdog profession." 

I don't know about "an underdog win," but newspapers are far from an "underdog profession," give all of the arrogant editors and weakling reporters and columnists at newspapers big and small, including The Record of Woodland Park.

You only have to look at the paper's equivocal reaction to Governor Christie's endorsement of racist Donald Trump, and the GOP bully's return to the campaign trail, to realize The Record holds itself far above readers and voters.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Editors should demand Christie departure or impeachment

The Record of Woodland Park probably doesn't get much ad revenue from merchants on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, above, or from downtown Hackensack and many other communities. That's why the paper's editors and reporters ignore our fading downtowns, and knock themselves out covering malls, restaurants and other big advertisers.


The Record's editors claim they don't have a "clue" whether Governor Christie feels as committed to New Jersey as he does to Donald Trump.

At least that was the last paragraph of Saturday's editorial on how Christie's endorsement of Trump, and his return to the campaign trail, affects the Garden State. 

Bewildering, isn't it? 

With the GOP bully's popularity in the state at an all-time low, readers and voters long ago made up their minds, as you can see from letters to the editor today (O-3):

"I am feeling so disgusted with myself for voting for Governor Christie in New Jersey's last gubernatorial election," writes Charles Inhulsen of Guttenberg.

"If Christie puts one foot out of state to campaign for Trump, he should resign as governor or be impeached," says Frank Gunsberg of Englewood.

"Chris Christie's endorsement of Donald Trump is a calculated, blatantly ambitious move on the part of our governor, who has completed abdicated his responsibilities to the people of New Jersey," writes former supporter Richard Muti, onetime mayor of Ramsey.

Swelled heads

Readers are telling Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin and the other editors they finally should remove their swelled heads from their enormous assholes, and call for Christie's resignation or impeachment.

And readers certainly don't want to see another opinion piece on Christie from the shameless Carl Golden, a former Record reporter who was press aide to two of the governor's Republican predecessors (O-1).

Golden says Christie has nothing to lose by endorsing Trump, but the so-called public policy analyst ignores the impact on a state beset by problems -- from credit downgrades to crumbling roads and bridges.

For the only hard-hitting commentary on Christie, see the Margulies cartoon on O-2.

Page 1

Editor Deirdre Sykes really came up with a stinker in today's front page, which is completely devoid of anything interesting or engaging for local readers.

Nor is there much news in Local, unless readers want to take Road Warrior John Cichowski's quiz on road safety (L-1).

A monthly news quiz appears on L-3.

Get me rewrite

In Better Living, Food Editor Esther Davidowitz, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung and reporter Sophia F. Gottfried rewrote press or public-relations releases for the First Course feature on BL-2 today.

The pitches for a restaurant, bakery, cookbook and more sound as promotional as advertising.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A front page full of big losers: Christie, Trump, Tung, Stile

On Friday, a Superior Court judge in Hackensack imposed a life sentence on a Manhattan man who murdered Robert Cantor, 59, of Teaneck on March 6, 2011, for having an affair with his estranged wife.


How is the backing of the worst New Jersey governor ever supposed to help Donald Trump in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination?

You won't find the answer on The Record's front page, which is devoted today to Trump, Governor Christie and other big losers (A-1).

Christie and Trump have a few things in common, including hate speech -- the governor against Syrian refugees and the billionaire against Mexicans.

Political satirist Bill Maher said a photo of Trump and Christie in Texas looked like a presidential ticket.

"I'm sure Hillary Clinton ... was thinking, 'I'm sure I can make America hate me slightly less than these assholes.'"

The front page of the Daily News. The Record's bland front page labeled the endorsement of Donald Trump as "Christie's new cause," and reported the GOP bully is back on the campaign trail.

Sui Kam Tung

No one except Editor Deirdre Sykes and Staff Writer Allison Pries is surprised at the life sentence imposed on another loser, love-triangle murderer Sui Kam Tung, who shot Robert Cantor, 59, of Teaneck and then set his body on fire in March 2011.

Today's Page 1 story makes no reference to Pries' trashy jailhouse interview, splashed across A-1 on Friday, repeating Tung's hollow claims of innocence, all of which the jury heard before finding him guilty in December.

Tung, 52, who has been jailed for four years, will remain in custody during his defense attorney's futile appeal of the conviction and 68-year sentence.

Charles Stile

The Record's chief political columnist, Charles Stile, makes another desperate stab at describing Christie, a chameleon and dirty trickster who enforced his conservative agenda by executing more than 500 vetoes in the last six years.

How can that loser Stile possibly describe Christie as a former moderate?

Municipal aid

Taxpayers in Hackensack and the state's 566 other municipalities get some bad news today -- Christie's proposed voodoo budget keeps state aid flat for the sixth year in a row (L-1). 

Eight reporters worked on the story, but none answer the question posed by Patricia Murphy on North

"How has Christie's non-stop record tax cuts, in the billions, for businesses affected the state aid for municipalities?"

The Oscars

Hollywood continues to fail us with films like "The Revenant," "Brooklyn" and "The Big Short" (BL-1).

Historical movies are just fluff, often made to impress other directors.

Sadly, the film industry continues to ignore how the Koch brothers' billions are poisoning elections, the insane political partisanship in Washington, the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, and all the other madness celebrated by the news media.

Second looks

North Bergen became the eighth town in the state to sue a tax-exempt hospital since Christie vetoed legislation last month that would have preserved their non-profit status, according to Thursday's front page.

But Staff Writer Lindy Washburn didn't bother asking officials in Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood and Ridgewood why they aren't taking legal action against non-profit hospitals in their towns.

A story that led the Local front on Wednesday dramatizes the ridiculous salaries paid to the nearly 70 police chiefs in Bergen County.

Palisades Park Police Chief Ben Ramos receives $174,557 a year -- just under Christie's $175,000 salary.

In July 2010, Christie placed a cap ranging from $125,000 to $175,000 on the salaries of school superintendents.

But the GOP bully never squawked about the pay of police chiefs, some of whom were making $200,000 or more a year.

The Record just shrugged.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Making excuses for a murderer, celebrating girls and guns

Defense attorney Robert Kalisch, seen on Dec. 8 in a courthouse elevator, delivered a long, rambling closing argument that failed to win a not-guilty verdict for his client, Sui Kam Tung, who is to be sentenced today for the love-triangle assassination of Robert Cantor of Teaneck.


A desperate editor teams up with a desperate defense attorney, and in the process, The Record once again prostitutes itself to sell papers.

Editor Deirdre Sykes splashes all over Page 1 the hollow claims of innocence from love-triangle murderer Sui Kam Tung, who shot Robert Cantor of Teaneck in the back of the head in 2011 (A-1).

Defense attorney Robert Kalisch, having failed to win a not-guilty verdict late last year, launches a public relations campaign for his client in the shameless Woodland Park daily and in a TV interview.

His client faces 30 years to life in prison when he is sentenced today in Superior Court, Hackensack.

Let's hope Tung, 52, who is known as "Tony," rots in jail and then hell.

Today's irresponsible story was written by Allison Pries, whose journalism credentials were so strong her first job at The Record was as an empty headed clerk in the business news department.

Girls and guns

Readers also are shaking their heads over Sykes approving a photo of Clifton High School student Nikki Klinger, 17, holding an assault weapon, her finger on the trigger (L-1).

Hard to imagine that was the only image available to illustrate the event, "Introduce a Girl to Engineering."

Maybe Sykes is arguing girls have an equal right to be viewed as potential mass murderers, just like the males who slaughtered innocent students and teachers at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Rare correction

A-2 today carries a rare correction of an error in the Road Warrior column.

Staff Writer John Cichowski has committed literally hundreds of errors in the dozen years he has written the column, but few of them have been acknowledged on A-2 by six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton.

Today, Houlton notes Cichowski blew the name of flying ice victim Michael Eastman's daughter, calling her Michele Redfern in the second paragraph of Thursday's column.

The confused reporter even quoted her mother, Catherine, calling her "Michele" in the fourth paragraph.

Her name is Nichole Redfern.

Local news?

In Local today, a story on downtown redevelopment carries a dated headline (L-3):

"Hackensack acts to renew downtown"

The first apartment project is already leasing, work is under way on others, and the Borg family will be laughing all the way to the bank when they sell the old Record property in Hackensack to a developer.


Unfortunately, the Better Living cover photo illustrating today's Informal Dining Review shows a bread bowl filled with what looks like vomit (BL-1, BL-14).

It's actually spinach dip, one of the food distractions at The Plank Pizza Co. Beer Parlor in Saddle Brook.

Why didn't the Better Living editors run a more appetizing cover photo, such as one of the personal pizzas in the bar's name?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Practicing journalism for the few while ignoring the many

Watching the construction of a new Bergen County Justice Center next to the courthouse in Hackensack is about as exciting as watching paint dry. On Wednesday, attorneys, visitors and jurors who parked in a new garage on Court Street had to walk past the site in puddles or over mud and rocks to reach the courthouse entrance.

Nearly five months after the new Court Street Garage opened, parking still is free. Ticket machines and gates aren't working. What exactly is the financial loss to the county? Bergen paid $777,660 to lease 540 parking spaces for two years at the old Record headquarters on River Street during construction of the garage.


On Page 1 today, The Record updates readers on the decades-old deaths of Americans from Teaneck and West Orange "in Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks."

On the Local front, another column revives the death 20 years ago of driver Michael Eastman from ice that flew off of a truck on Route 17 in Paramus (L-1).

What is all this dated journalism about a relatively few people doing in The Record today, even as the vast majority of readers search in vain for coverage of their lives in North Jersey?

On the front page, Columnist Mike Kelly is so shameless he doesn't mention that he wrote a book about Sara Duker, a Teaneck woman who was killed in a Jerusalem bus bombing "20 years ago today" (A-1).

Iran, Cuba

What Kelly refuses to recognize in his rants on the Iran deal and normalization of relations with Cuba is the likely benefit to tens of millions of people that far outweighs the lingering pain of a few dozen families.

On L-1, Columnist John Cichowski is so confused he calls a driver who was injured, but not killed, by flying ice "a likely poster child" for getting a law passed in New York State to require motorists to sweep ice and snow off of their cars.

Facebook changes

The Page 1 column on new Facebook "emojis" makes you wonder when The Record's editors are going to explore how computers, smart phones, navigation systems and other advances are leaving an increasingly large number of older readers in the dark.

The Woodland Park daily largely confines its coverage of seniors to those who are institutionalized or are attending day care programs for adults suffering from dementia.

Local news?

Today's Black History Month story from Hackensack's Jackson Avenue School reminds city residents they haven't seen any coverage of their school board for more than a year, if not longer (L-1).

Staff Writer John Seasly, newly assigned to Hackensack, also has a second story in the paper today on a federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit against two city police officers (L-3).

Fairway losses

Part of Staff Writer Joan Verdon's story on the financial problems that may drive New York-based Fairway Market into bankruptcy seems to have come from a public relations firm (L-7).

"Fairway's niche is offering a quintessential New York-style shopping experience, with butchers and bakers who banter with shoppers, along with low prices on produce, and staples, and a wide assortment of specialty and gourmet food items and prepared meals," Verdon reports. 

Sadly, those low prices are only a memory. 

And Fairway's store in the Fashion Center, the struggling mall in Paramus, never offered shoppers 5 cents or 10 cents back for bringing a reusable shopping bag.

But the biggest turnoff was the staff's abrasive New York attitude, such as a fish-counter employee's refusal to devein $15-a-pound jumbo shrimp.

With ShopRite, Costco Wholesale and Whole Foods Market, Bergen County never needed Fairway, and many people won't be sorry to see the arrogant New York owners fail miserably in their greedy over-expansion.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Editors ignore racism -- from Ringwood to White House

The rebuilding of the Route 46 Bridge over the Hackensack River is 99% complete, above, and a lane is closed on the new Court Street Bridge between Hackensack and Bogota, below. Still, The Record's Mike Kelly on Monday focused on the Anderson Street Bridge as an example of "how New Jersey does not have enough [money] for all of the bridges that need fixing." Was Kelly's column the 49th or 50th piece to make that point in the last year or so?


Even though Ford Motor Co. began dumping toxic paint sludge in Ringwood nearly 50 years ago, The Record today is splashing across Page 1 an exposé about the discovery of a new, cancer-causing chemical.

The focus of Staff Writer Scott Fallon's story is whether chemicals, including the newly discovered 1,4-dioxane, "are migrating from the site ... above the Wanaque Reservoir, a drinking source for 3 million people" (A-1).

Readers have to search on the continuation page for Fallon's description of the people who live in a "low-income neighborhood" near the mines and landfill where Ford dumped the sludge (A-4).

Later, Fallon quotes Vincent Mann, whom he describes as "chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation's Turtle Clan." 

But nowhere does the reporter note the Ramapoughs are a mixed-race people who have faced discrimination for centuries.

Same as in '05

Today, as they did in their 2005 "Toxic Legacy" series, The Record's editors refuse to explore whether racial animus has shaped how the Ramapoughs have been treated by Ford, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ringwood officials, the courts and the media.

Readers have noticed the same blind spot when it comes to critics who still haven't gotten over the election of our first black president, including Governor Christie and Record Columnist Mike Kelly.

Local news?

Hackensack residents won't find any news of their city on Page 1 or the Local front today.

The lead story on L-1 is about a dog that was found dead in the home of a Northvale man who is being held in the Bergen County jail on weapons charges. 

Hackensack may be the most populous community in Bergen County, but it continues to be slighted by local assignment editors.

Monday's Local section also contained no Hackensack news, and the closest the paper came was a front-page column on closure of the Anderson Street Bridge to Teaneck. 

Although that piece, by Kelly, went on and on, the columnist didn't explore whether closure of the bridge will hurt merchants along Teaneck's Cedar Lane.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Editors are turning front page into a dog-and-pony show

Finally, two eastbound lanes are open on the Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River, above, more than 19 months after work began to eliminate the Little Ferry Circle and rebuild the span. One westbound lane remained closed with cones on Saturday. The project created a major traffic bottleneck.

Now, drivers on Bergen Turnpike, above, have two left-turn lanes that lead to the eastbound lanes of the Route 46 bridge.

On Route 46 in Little Ferry, drivers can use turn lanes in each direction. Above, drivers preparing to turn left into Bergen Turnpike. A letter to the editor of The Record today misidentified the intersection as Route 46 and "South River Street" (O-3).


The Record's editors -- seemingly unable to find local news worthy of Page 1 -- today waste a huge amount of space on a 9-year-old girl "boxer" from Bergenfield.

The story by Staff Writer Colleen Diskin doesn't explore why for the past two years, Pedro Silva has been pushing daughter Jesselyn into a brutal sport with the potential of horrific injury and death (A-1 and A-8).

Editor Deirdre Sykes, who once ran The Record's thin local-news section, showed even more desperation last Wednesday, when two show dogs from a small Bergen County town landed on A-1.

Sykes continues to preside over a weak municipal-news report -- whether it's rooted in a shortage of staff, laziness or sheer incompetence.

Local or loco?

On the front of Local today, John Seasly, whose byline has appeared over two Hackensack stories recently, writes about skiers in Mahwah (L-1).

The section carries municipal or school news from Fort Lee, Teaneck and several other towns, but nothing from Hackensack.

An entire story is devoted to the 40-year-old elevator at West Milford High School, even though the paper has never reported on the frequent breakdowns of the elevator at Hackensack High School (L-3).

Strong tea, weak story

Tetley is only the second-largest manufacturer and distributor of tea, but the company gets millions of dollars worth of free publicity from Food Editor Esther Davidowitz today (BL-1).

What motivated Davidowitz and her bosses to run a story that is the journalism equivalent of dishwater?

Supreme waste

Another waste is a column about the friendship between Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia or what Mike Kelly calls a "lesson for our times" (O-1).

An editorial today states incorrectly that the Lincoln Tunnel has a "finite capacity for accommodating more buses" (O-2).

That's certainly the case as long as the Port Authority operate only one exclusive bus lane into the tunnel, and does so only on weekday mornings.

But the Lincoln Tunnel has six lanes in three tubes, so that leaves plenty of room for more buses from North Jersey -- as long as two exclusive lanes are operated both morning and evening.

Now, those lanes are clogged with cars that often carry only a driver. 

A rendering of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

Saturday's paper

The Record continued its one-dimensional coverage of mass transit on Saturday's front page with a story on the cost overruns at the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

Sykes and other editors continue to ignore the tremendous cost to society of an over-reliance on the automobile -- from increasing air pollution, sickness and disease to the tens of millions of dollars in lost productivity.

A new transit hub should be celebrated, if it means commuters leave their cars at home, and ride buses, ferries and trains.

The Port Authority is behind the $4 billion transit hub, but the bi-state agency is supported by tolls and fees from bridges, tunnels, air and seaports -- not taxpayer money.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Christie ignores media questions on voodoo budget plan

An NJ Transit bus stop on Main Street in Hackensack remained buried after last month's snowstorm. Governor Christie's budget plan doesn't make clear whether the state mass-transit agency will be able to avert "a second fare increase in as many years," according to The Record.


First, he spent hundreds of days out of state chasing his White House dreams.

Now, Governor Christie is in hiding after delivering a budget address filled with "unknowns," as The Record puts it on Page 1 today.

Tuesday's budget proposal calls for $2.485 billion for the debt-ridden Transportation Trust Fund, which fixes roads and bridges, and subsidizes NJ Transit (A-1).

But no official in the Christie administration could say where the state's share of nearly $1.2 billion will come from.

The GOP bully also didn't mention a total proposed budget for NJ Transit, but is planning to increase the subsidy from the state general fund to $127.7 million in 2017 from $33 million this year (A-6).

"That's still less than half the subsidy of $309.4 million that NJ Transit received as recently as 2012," Staff Writer Christopher Maag reports (A-8).

In keeping with his voodoo economics, Christie proposes to subsidize transit with $62 million from the state's Clean Energy Fund, which pays for solar panels and energy efficiency projects in homes and businesses.

However, Maag doesn't link last year's 9 percent fare hike directly to Christie's cuts in the state subsidy.

Nor does the reporter mention that tax surcharges on millionaires and corporations could generate $1.12 billion in new revenue for the cash-strapped state.

Local news?

The only other front-page story of interest to local readers dramatizes the death of Miguel Fabian, 43, a jaywalking father of three, who dashed across Route 46 in the dark early Thursday morning, instead of using a crosswalk 320 feet from where he got off of a bus (A-1).

Staff Writer John Cichowski seizes upon the man's predictable death, and compares it to 17 other times "a pedestrian was run down and killed in a heartbreaking crash along a New Jersey roadway " (Road Warrior, A-1).

Of course, most if not all of those occurred in or near crosswalks in towns, not on highways like Route 46, and were attributed to aggressive driving.

Cichowski continues to ignore the mandate of his column to discuss commuting problems, including increasing traffic congestion at the Hudson River crossings and the lack of mass-transit alternatives.

Bergen news?

Readers won't find any Hackensack news in the paper today, and the closest thing to a story from Teaneck is the obituary of Phyllis Scott, 90, "who promoted equality for women, minorities and the disadvantaged" (L-1).

For the second day in a row, the desperate local editors ran a long Dean's List on L-2 to fill their thin section.

Greek to me

You'd better rush over to Angelo's Greek Taverna, which gets 3 stars from Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung (BL-14).

Ung doesn't answer a number of questions, including why the Albanian natives behind the venture didn't open the 46-seat restaurant on West Pleasant Avenue, in Maywood's bustling business district.

Nor does she tell readers that no matter how good the food, every other restaurant failed after settling for what she calls the "awkward spot near railroad tracks" on Maywood Avenue.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Budget 'analysis' is as informative as spread on bagels

Last Saturday morning, one of Manhattan's voracious tow trucks had hooked another vehicle and was on the way to the pound on West Street.


I made the mistake of plowing through another so-called analysis on The Record's front page, but didn't learn anything more about Governor Christie's budget plan than I did from Wednesday's news reports.

The story doesn't deliver on the promise of the A-1 headline: "Christie budget speaks volumes." 

There are references to a budget that "doesn't raise taxes" (A-6), but the reporters don't explain it's a tax surcharge on his millionaire supporters Christie has been desperate to avoid.

The rest of Page 1 doesn't hold much interest for the majority of readers, especially all that space wasted on girls basketball injuries.

Local news?

Two stories about Hackensack appear in the paper today.

The Local section finally catches up to the state designating the city as a Transit Village (L-3), as the head of a business group announced in a letter to the editor on Monday.

And the Better Living cover carries a column on the man behind Gamewell Street in Hackensack (BL-1).

Food news?

Meanwhile, the food editors still get queasy at the notion they should be telling readers about all of the meat and poultry raised on harmful antibiotics and growth hormones.

Such exposes might jeopardize advertising from restaurants.

So, today's food feature focuses on hand-rolled bagels. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

With Christie budget, we get arguments, not leadership

The single lane open on the Anderson Street Bridge from Hackensack to Teaneck was closed on Tuesday for long-term repairs to the span, which has carried restricted traffic since September 2012.  Despite Tuesday's torrential rain, not a single photo of flooding appears today in The Record of Woodland Park, where presumably the sun was shining. See photos below.


Even though Governor Christie was humiliated on the presidential campaign trail, he was back to contentious business as usual in Trenton on Tuesday.

Reading between the lines of his argumentative budget speech, as reported in The Record, Democratic lawmakers likely were reminded the GOP bully standing before them has already executed more than 500 vetoes since early 2010.

Today, we're no closer to resolving some of the biggest issues facing the state, including the underfunded public employee pension fund and the debt-ridden transportation fund that pays for bridge and road repairs, and mass transit improvements.

Flattering editorial

"The good news is that Christie sounded like a governor committed to doing his job," claims an editorial on A-10 today.

Gee. To me and many others, he sounds like the combative governor who turned his back on the middle class in New Jersey to pursue a doomed bid for the White House, and now he's back to make our lives even more miserable than before.

Or you can read more crap from Charles Stile, the political columnist who is one of Christie's biggest boosters at a paper that has far too many (A-1).

Flooding on Euclid Avenue in Hackensack.

Flooding on Hudson Street in Hackensack.

Flooding in the H Mart parking lot in Little Ferry.

Local news?

The hysterical reaction to a proposal for 142 apartments in Dumont -- and the threat of a suit by the school board -- speaks volumes about what is wrong with North Jersey's home-rule system of government (A-1).

Another front-page story today shows local news is literally going to the dogs.

What is a story about the Westminster Kennel Club and dogs from Bogota (New Jersey, not Colombia) doing on A-1 today?

The local editors needed several photos of power outages and fires, as well as crime and court news, to fill their thin section today (L-1 and L-3).

News from Hackensack went missing again today.

Bill Ervolino

Readers scanning Bill Ervolino's Better Living cover story on "kitchen gadgets" sigh with relief that at least he isn't writing about his father again (BL-1).

Then, they turned the page to see yet another Ervolino column about his parents on BL-3.

Ervolino and The Record's other veteran columnists, including Stile, John Cichowski and Mike Kelly, long ago ran out of ideas.

They remind readers of the kitchen gadgets Ervolino writes about today:

They're nice for the paper to have, but does anyone really read them anymore?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Editors still ignore need for more bus lanes to Manhattan

At the midtown Manhattan bus terminal, The Port Authority provides several large touch screens that make easy work of finding the departure platform for your North Jersey-bound bus, above. But once you get there, you might find a long line of fellow commuters and too few seats, photos below, as I did in late January.

Today, The Record runs a so-called analysis on Page 1 that brings expanded bus service between northern New Jersey and Manhattan no closer to reality, just like the last long story on proposals for a new terminal. 

In mid-afternoon, there were more than 50 commuters on this line to Door 1, where I boarded the No. 165 bus to Hackensack and Westwood, and others boarded the No. 166 to Englewood and Cresskill.


During the morning rush hour, it's standing room only on NJ Transit buses carrying North Jersey commuters to their jobs in Manhattan, and in the evening, riders face delays as buses bog down in traffic jams around the midtown terminal.

Yet, long-suffering commuters know the solution would require no great expenditure of money, and could be implemented in a matter of days -- instead of the 10-year, $10 billion plan for a new terminal:

Two express bus lanes to and from the Lincoln Tunnel -- operated weekdays during both the morning and evening rush hours -- would provide more seats, and speed buses back to the terminal from parking lots in New Jersey.

The single exclusive bus lane, which operates only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., was opened more than 45 years ago.

Us v. them

Today, The Record's car-loving editors run another long, so-called analysis on the split among Port Authority officials on whether a new bus terminal should be built in New York or New Jersey (A-1).

This story, like the last one The Record ran on a new bus terminal, doesn't advance the debate or the cause of bus riders.

Staff Writer Paul Berger, who is assigned to cover the behemoth bi-state transportation agency, likely has never ridden an NJ Transit bus to or from the city.

If he did, he could tell his office-bound editors about the promise of adding express bus lanes.

Of course, they would be opposed by the Port Authority, because new bus lanes would anger and displace toll-paying drivers, cutting the revenue the agency depends on to cover cost overruns in such projects as the new World Trade Center.

Sloppy editing

The lead paragraph refers to the Manhattan bus terminal as "depressing and overcapacity," but shouldn't "overcapacity" be written as two words, "over capacity"?

And "depressing" might be the wrong word for a terminal where bathrooms have been or are being completely renovated, touch terminals help you find your platform quickly and new concessions are being added.

On the continuation page today, a photo shows lines of commuters at Coach USA gates, not the NJ Transit gates that are used by the vast majority of readers (A-5).

Ford contamination

Today's lead front-page story on a Superfund site in Ringwood is further testament to the abject failure of Ford Motor Co., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the media, especially The Record, to protect the lives of a mixed-race people (A-1).

Ford dumped paint sludge and other industrial waste into Upper Ringwood mines for about four years, beginning in 1967, near a reservoir that provides drinking water for millions of people, Staff Writer Scott Fallon reports (A-5).

That's nearly 50 years ago, and now, the EPA has ordered Ford to conduct more tests on whether the reservoir, and nearby creeks and ponds, have been contaminated with high levels of benzene, arsenic and heavy metals.

The Weeknd

On TV, I watched a singer who calls himself The Weeknd (without an "e"), and looks like he is wearing a black wolf pelt on his head.

So, I am glad to see The Record's front page focus on singer Tony Bennett and jazz pianist Bill Charlap as Grammy winners on Monday night (A-1).

Local news?

There has been so little Hackensack news in The Record in recent weeks the chairman of a business group in the city had to write a letter to the editor on a big development (A-6).

Hackensack, which already has two train stations and a bus terminal, has been designated a Transit Village by the state, and that brings "high priority for state funding of transportation and planning initiatives."

The Local section delivered to Hackensack and other parts of Bergen County today continues to overemphasize news from Paterson (L-1, L-2 and L-3).

Inexplicably, the lead story on the Local front today is about a rabbi in Franklin Lakes who recited the Gettysburg Address in Hebrew (L-1).

Monday's paper

An editorial on Monday threw cold water on Republicans who want to delay the nomination of a Supreme Court justice to replace the late (though not lamented) Antonin Scalia.

But The Record should have gone further and suggested none of the GOP clowns left in the campaign have a ghost of a chance of beating the Democratic nominee in November.

As usual, there was little Hackensack news in Monday's paper, but an inspirational front-page obituary on a woman who lived in the city helped readers overlook that.

Staff Writer Jay Levin called Rosemarie Kasper, who was under 4 feet tall, "an indefatigable advocate on behalf of the physically challenged" (Monday's A-1).

On Monday's L-2, a story reported traffic across the Anderson Street Bridge between Hackensack and Teaneck will be "restricted" from today through June 28.

So does that mean the work will close the single lane?

The story didn't say.