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Sunday, July 14, 2024


From the Editor – Slink Zelman – 4.26.2006

By Rick Racela

There’s a little electrode or something inside my iMac which magically produces a curly red underline beneath any word I type that it thinks I have misspelled.
Then I hold down the control key, click on the word, and this little electrode suggests what I really meant.
Never has there been a better example of the ancient computer-suspicious term, “garbage in, garbage out.”
The little electrode inside my computer consistently draws a curly red line beneath the  “Zelnik” in my byline. Click on it and we learn that the electrode thinks my name should be “Slink.”
The electrode’s second choice is “Zelman.”
That got me to thinking. What if my name were Slink Zelman?
Would I be a different person? Would my wife have married me if my name were Slink?
Would that name have hampered me in my chosen career? Does anyone know of a journalist named Slink? Would the reader trust a writer named Slink? Or would I have to become a country music star to make a living?
Does Slink suggest a certain cynical toughness I lack? If my name were Slink Zelman, would I still believe and parrot everything the freeholders tell me? Or would I be meeting secretly in a Wildwood bar to listen to complaints from a county employe with red toenails?
If my name were Slink Zelman, would I get to the bottom of who screwed up the Wildwoods’ JCOW approvals, or just get in line with the other confused reporters?
I registered online with ShopRite the other day and took advantage of the opportunity to ask them why the local store doesn’t carry Don Imus Ranch Products.
I got an email answer – “we will be carrying these products shortly” – addressed, “Dear Zenik.”
If my name were Zenik Zelnik, that would almost qualify as news.  There’s a fellow in the Stone Harbor Post Office who always calls me Zenik and I accept that as the price one pays for home delivery.
Possibly names don’t mean that much. Drew Pearson seemed like the perfect name for the muckraking columnist who wrote the Washington Merry-Go-Round column.
When Pearson died in 1969 and reporter Jack Anderson took over the column, I remember thinking things would never be the same. Jack Anderson? Sounds like he should be on a box of Wheaties.
But Anderson did a great job for almost four decades, breaking scandals, holding politicians accountable, fearing no one. A regular Slink Zelman, he won the Pulitzer prize.
Anderson drove Nixon nuts. Actually, Nixon was already nuts, but Anderson did his best to put him over the edge. Anderson was placed high on the Nixon enemies list. They actually discussed how to kill him. Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy (New Jersey’s own) favored a fatal auto crash. I heard Patrick Buchanan last week praise Liddy for doing five years in Dannemora rather than squeal on higherups the way Scooter Libby is.
Anderson died (of natural causes) last December. Now the FBI is demanding to go through his files -188 boxes – to remove classified material he may have accumulated plus look for fingerprints on  documents leaked to Anderson.  Yes, this is the same FBI that performed so well pre-9-11 (sarcasm).
Anderson’s family members have said they would go to jail first.
I don’t expect my wife to go to jail for me, but I do expect someone in government – U.S. Marshal Jim Plousis, Sheriff John Callinan, Prosecutor Bob Taylor, Animal Control Officer John Queenan- to demand access to my files after I’m in the ground (or on the mantle if cremated).
We are prepared.  My wife has the county MUA shredding schedule on her nightstand and she will stall the officials until all my secret files are eensy weensy scraps of paper.
A name getting a lot of attention right now is Valerie Armstrong, Superior Court assignment judge, after her recent decision affecting North Wildwood.
According to the judge, a property owner there built way beyond what he was permitted to do, then went to the zoning board and got the after-the-fact variances to permit it.
Judge Armstrong said the variance was issued to “legitimize an illegal structure.”  She reversed the board’s decision as “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.” And she told the home owner to tear down his illegal structure.
Many people around here think the laws don’t affect them. All the reval whiners are a good example.  They think they should just be left alone in houses assessed at $100,000 that could be sold for $400,000.
Dennis Township Committeeman Edward Beck is the current best example, blaming a state-ordered reval for the township’s higher budget. First ordered to reval in 2002, Dennis got a two-year extension. Its assessments were 61 percent of true value last year and would have been 52 percent this year.  That is unfair, inequitable, and crazy.
Beck also said the increase – the township’s ratables jumped two and one half times, from $392 million to $1 billion – can’t be used in this year’s budget. Wrong.
Too many countians feel they should be able to do whatever they want, laws aside, including build whatever they want where ever they want. Apparently they connect the right to hammer nails with the right to bear arms.
Just as many planning and zoning boards grant variances that make no sense and, thus, make one suspect the entire system.
Look for a move to elect Valerie Armstrong president and look for my name among the first to sign her petitions: Slink Zelman.

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