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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Record is clueless on Zisa family's bid to seize power once again in Hackensack

At the Costco Wholesale Business Center in Hackensack this morning, an employee was stocking the walk-in freezer with whole lambs from Australia for Easter, above and below. The lambs, which are halal and weigh 40 pounds and up, cost $3.39 a pound.



With less than a month to go before the municipal election in Hackensack, the powerful Zisas have successfully deflected attention away from their bid to send City Council reformers packing.

The Record's Local section today reports two slates of challengers are questioning the timing of a city newsletter sent to voters "just before the start of a 90-day ban on such mailings" (1L).

Staff Writer Rodrigo Torrejon lists members of the two slates.

But he doesn't report former Mayor Jack Zisa, former Police Chief Ken Zisa and many Zisa supporters attended the kickoff of the Hackensack United for Progress campaign on March 2.

Team Hackensack

More than a year ago, Jack Zisa served pasta and rallied supporters behind Team Hackensack, which he and others described as a new "community organization" that would back candidates in municipal and school board elections.

Ken Zisa and cousin Joseph Zisa, a former city attorney, greeted an overflow crowd of loyalists at the Crow's Nest Restaurant & Pub.

The Zisas didn't waste any time, and successfully placed their slate of three candidates on the Board of Education in the April 2016 election (two were elected and the third was appointed to a sudden, unexplained vacancy).

Although two other slates challenged Team Hackensack, The Record's reporter at the time, John Seasly, didn't write a single word about the Zisas' attempted comeback, the campaign, the issues, runaway spending or the proposed $79 million tax levy, which was approved by only 795 voters.

There are about 20,000 registered voters in Hackensack.

Former four-term Hackensack Mayor Jack Zisa at the inaugural meeting of Team Hackensack in March 2016 at the Crow's Nest Restaurant & Pub.
Former state Assemblyman and Police Chief Ken Zisa and former City Attorney Joe Zisa, back to camera, at the March 2 kickoff of Hackensack United for Progress, which is challenging Team Labrosse on May 9.

Seat of power

The Zisas, who dominated Hackensack for decades, are launching their council campaign from the Board of Education, where they retained power after Mayor John Labrosse led a team of reformers to victory in the May 2013 City Council election.

School board Vice President Lara L. Rodriguez and Middle School aide Rommy Buttafuoco are two members of the council slate, and their campaign manager is Caseen Gaines, a high school teacher.

School board Attorney Richard Salkin, a longtime Zisa ally, has defended Gaines, who was accused of distributing campaign material during school hours.

Frank Zisa served as mayor from 1977 to 1981, and his son Jack was mayor from 1989 to 2005.

Ken Zisa was chief of police from 1995 to 2010. He also served in the state Assembly.

The non-partisan City Council election is set for May 9.

Today's paper

Today's Page 1 column in The Record on cleaning homes of leavened products is a Passover staple that has even Jewish readers screaming, Enough already (1L). 

Editor Rick Green continues to reside in La La Land when he devotes most of Page 1 to the New York Yankees as the nation heads for disaster under President Trump.

Mind on vacation

Under Gannett Co. ownership, readers are being charged more for home delivery of the print edition, and getting less.

Now, when you stop delivery for a vacation, the only option is to donate the papers you missed.

The Record no longer delivers those papers, in what was called a Vacation Pack, a man in customer service in South Carolina told me last week.

So, last Friday, I missed another really big error by Road Warrior John Cichowski, whose mind has been on vacation for more than a decade.

In the print edition, he began a column on two pedestrian deaths in North Bergen this way:

"This week's scary headlines warned of more Libyan terror and another North Korea rocket launch...."

Of course, he meant to write "Syrian terror," as in the corrected version of his column online the same day.

But even if he got it right the first time, why is the moron invoking chemical attacks on Syrian civilians to get readers interested in pedestrian deaths in New Jersey?

Are those Syrian kids' lives worth so little they have become fodder for a burnt-out newspaper reporter?

Instead of employing endless hype and exaggeration, Cichowski should challenge the weakness of laws that allow drivers who kill pedestrians to literally get away with murder.