Tag Archive: Ledger

Ledger: In an ideal world, taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for Christie’s Bridgegate camouflage

We flame the Ledger – and especially its head opinionator Tom Moran – plenty when we think they’re wrong. Today, they make a crucial distinction between what the public got for Chris Christie’s Bridgegate legal bill ($6.52 million) vs. what it got for the much-cheaper (and , uh, more transparent) legislative investigation. And it’s dead-on:

The legislative investigation has cost $725,000 through March. From that, we learned that this traffic jam was manufactured for political reasons. We learned the order came from Christie’s inner circle. And we learned that the “traffic study” excuse was nonsense. We will learn more, no doubt, but Democrats are rightfully holding off on key witnesses to give prosecutors first track.

What did we get from Mastro, at nearly 10 times the expense? Few helpful facts, but plenty of laughs.

We read that Christie got all misty when he learned that his staff went rogue. We learned that it’s perfectly reasonable for him to forget that David Wildstein, his own appointee, told him about the lane closures as they occurred. We learned that Mastro did not even interview Patrick Foye, the Port Authority executive director who first exposed the lane closures as a scam. And we learned Mastro drew conclusions even though the other key players refused to speak with him.

@StarLedger Editorials: Consistently Wrong About Newark Education

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

I reached the end of my rope with the Star-Ledger Editorial Board and its chief, Tom Moran, a long time ago. When it comes to education — particularly in Newark — both the paper’s unsigned editorials and Moran’s columns have displayed massive ignorance. Frankly, I’m tired of having to address their nonsense when it’s clear that Moran and his board lack the journalistic integrity to engage in good faith arguments about the schools in a city their publishing company has abandoned.

But this weekend’s editorial is so wrong, so ignorant, and so full of sophistry that it just can’t go unchallenged. Fortunately, Bob Braun has already done most of the heavy lifting: as he correctly points out, the discriminatory practices in the school district restructuring plan, One Newark, are quite real and quite pernicious:

The sheer chutzpah of a newspaper that is abandoning the city to leave behind a “Dear John” letter that essentially supports the denial of civil and human rights to its people-rights enjoyed by New Jersey’s predominantly white suburban population-is breathtaking.

Amen. I just want to add a few more points to Bob’s post:

Earth to @starledger: There Are No Miracle Charter Schools

Cross-posted with Jersey Jazzman.

What do you do with someone who, when presented with the truth time and time again, refuses to see it? What do you do when a person of influence — for example, the Star-Ledger’s Editorial Page Editor, Tom Moran — repeatedly, stubbornly, infuriatingly continues to perpetuate myths that are demonstrably untrue?

Newark, for all its woes, is a city that’s surprisingly easy to fall in love with if you spend enough time here.

It’s not beautiful by any stretch, and it breaks your heart all the time. The violence here devours children with a merciless regularity. The schools lose one-third of their students to the street before high school graduation.

Public meetings turn into ugly and pointless shouting matches all the time.

But it always feels that something better is just around the corner for Newark. And people here never seem to give up. That fight is baked into this city’s DNA.

And good things do happen. A downtown construction boom. A miraculous chain of charter schools. New parks. Hope lives. [emphasis mine]

Go ahead and read the rest of this patronizing nonsense if you want. Apparently, Ras Baraka’s desire to be paid like a professional when he was principal at Central High (where even Moran admits he did an outstanding job) gives Tom Moran a case of the vapors. Let’s concentrate here on this particular phrase: “A miraculous chain of charter schools.” Click on the link and you will be guided to US News’s rating of TEAM Academy Charter High School. TEAM is a division of KIPP, the national charter management chain. Is TEAM “miraculous”? Let’s hold off for a second on testing that claim with some outside sources and look, instead, at what US News has to say:  

The @starledger’s Reformy Fantasyland

Cross-posted with Jersey Jazzman.



I really can’t tell you how grateful I am to have Bob Braun blogging; for a while there, it felt like I was the only one who cared to point out that the Star-Ledger, Bob’s former paper, was writing education editorials that were both massively ignorant and callously dismissive of the needs of children in New Jersey’s cities.

Bob’s skewering of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board (SLEB) includes a history lesson on the civil actions that led us to the segregated apartheid schools we have today. This is a history of which the Star-Ledger’s editorial writers remain blissfully, willingly ignorant. They foolishly continue to believe the primary issue in urban education today isn’t segregation or adequate funding, but teacher quality:  

Star-Ledger doubles statehouse bureau staff

Star-Ledger announced some news of the own last night. They’re doubling their staff at their statehouse bureau to cover Gov. Christie, the legislature, and the NJ Supreme Court. And, for their part, Politicker is launching their State Street Wire March 1. More coverage isn’t necessarily better coverage. And we compete with both, for readers and to provide context for those readers. But I’m glad to see this happen in commercial news coverage because they’ve taken a lot of hits over the last few years, and both the Ledger and politicker have, and I read them both.

Three years ago, Star-Ledger laid off 40% of its newsroom staff, which the New York Times noted at the time was one of the largest reductions in a single move by a major American paper. The Times had just had its own round of editorial layoffs – a first for the Times – and was soon to lay off another 100 newsroom staff, and the national paper of record no longer covers New Jersey news as closely as it once did. Across the country newsrooms were and are hurting; advertising down, and costs up – from bedrock papers like the Times and Ledger to smaller, locally-essential weeklies. The Delaware Valley News, which covered the river towns along the New Jersey and Pennsylvania banks of the Delaware, closed three years ago too – the first paper I ever worked for. Around the same time, Politicker’s national expansion took a dive, shutting down 12 state sites. (Juan Melli, who became Associate Editor at politicker.com 3 years after founding Blue Jersey, was out with that round of layoffs).

With massive shifts in editorial staffing have come changes, new ventures like newjerseynewsroom.com, formed out of the ruins of the Star-Ledger layoffs by journalists whose experience “adds up to over 1,000 years”. And into the reporting void, hyperlocals are springing up to catch news a new way, in very focused geographical areas. Citizen’s Campaign’s new NJ Hyperlocal News Association is helping hyperlocals develop, an effort Blue Jersey is involved in, in our own small way.

The latest bad news for newspapers came in a one-two punch over the last few days. It was the last day at work for nearly half of Gannett’s editorial staff with job losses at Courier News, Home News Tribune and Daily Record. One of those let go, Daily Record’s political columnist Fred Snowflack, who outed himself as a Democrat on his way out the door. And – bad timing – that bill that would allow municipalities to post legal notices on their websites rather than requiring them to pay newspapers for the service. Newspapers, the Star-Ledger in the lead, are charging that this is less a cost-cutting option for government and less an effort by government to control their content and cripple them financially. Jury’s still out on that one, for me.

So, I’m liking new reporting muscle at the state house. Good luck, Star-Ledger. Politicker too. Good luck.