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Monday, April 24, 2017

Zisas back Iranian-American, incumbents in Hackensack's school board election

Last Tuesday morning, these pedestrians were in the crosswalk and had a walk sign, but had to wait to cross Forest Avenue at Spring Valley Avenue in Maywood, because the drivers of several turning vehicles refused to yield to them.

And Record columnist asks if you're  'dying' to know worst crosswalks



The Record's coverage of elections has gone from bad to worse, especially if you live in Hackensack.

On Tuesday, polling places will be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the 2017 school election.

But for the second year in a row, the Woodland Park daily hasn't reported on the issues involved or provided any details of the proposed school budget of $109 million, an increase of $5 million.

The budget has increased in recent years even as public-school enrollment is declining.

Four candidates are competing for three three-year terms on the nine-member Board of Education, but readers haven't been told anything about them.


Three of them are backed by Team Hackensack, an organization created by the Zisa family political dynasty, which ruled the city for decades.

The Zisas were responsible for bringing Hackensack to its knees, and holding it up for statewide ridicule as a backwater called "Zisaville."

Residents also can vote "yes" or "no" on the $81.2 million tax levy that supports the proposed budget.

Homeowners and other property owners fork over 44% of their taxes to support the schools.

A "no" vote would allow the City Council to examine the budget, recommend cuts in expenditures or leave it as it is.

Team Hackensack

A letter from Team Hackensack asks residents to vote for two incumbents, Robin E. Coles and Johanna Calle, and newcomer Leila T. Amirhamzeh, an Iranian-American who is director of development for New Jersey Citizens Action.

NJCA calls itself a grassroots group "fighting for social and economic justice."

The fourth candidate is Patrick C. Allagoa.

Allagoa, listed first on the ballot, is seen as a protest vote against the Zisas' continuing domination of the school board.

School board member Veronica Bolcik McKenna is not seeking re-election.

In a March 7 story listing school board candidates, Record Staff Writer Rodrigo Torrejon reported incorrectly the two incumbents, Coles and Calle, are running against Amirhamzeh and "Chimelozonam Patrick Allagoa."

A sample ballot for Tuesday's school board and budget election in Hackensack.

100 days

The Record is running a USA Today story on President Trump's first 100 days under a headline that ends in a question mark:

"A bumpy 100 days for Trump?

That calls into question what even Trump's supporters would agree have been three-plus months of legislative setbacks.

The story is a lot more unequivocal than the headline:

"The courts have blocked his signature immigration plan. Congress has balked at delivering on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The FBI is investigating Russian meddling in the election" (1A).

Saturday marks the 100th day of his term.

The USA Today story warns, "Just wait for the 1,361 [days] to follow."

Road kill

Staff Writer John Cichowksi, The Record's so-called commuting columnist, continues to make light of pedestrian deaths and injuries:

"If you're dying to know which crowded intersections require the most caution, here's a little ... advice to keep you from joining the ranks of nameless pedestrians who typically are killed or injured ... in Bergen and Passaic counties each year" (1A).

Of course, the pedestrians who have been killed are far from "nameless" -- The Record has covered the crashes and their deaths, sometimes in great detail, and has identified them, even if Cichowski has shown little interest in seeking justice for them.

His Page 1 story includes a photo of the second-most injury prone intersection for pedestrians, Essex Street and Prospect Avenue in Hackensack (but pedestrians are shown crossing Prospect, not the more dangerous Essex).

More errors

On the continuation page, Cichowski reports "pedestrian crashes" began plummeting in the same year as the crosswalk law took effect requiring drivers to stop -- not just yield -- to pedestrians in marked crosswalks [2010].

But the only data he cites is from 2015.

On the Local front today, the name of a teen-ager who demonstrated in Paterson against Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad was misspelled in a photo caption.

She is Mariam Alzouabi, 15, not "Alzoubabi" (1L).