Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring fever brings boring news

The former Tenafly Railroad Station, currently...Image via Wikipedia
The train station in Tenafly, where, according to Zillow.com, the value of Stephen Borg's house has fallen $1,394,500 since he bought it in 2007 for $3,650,000.

Did Editor Francis Scandale get the call in the middle of the night?

Or did Publisher Stephen A. Borg storm into his Woodland Park newsroom office, demanding to know why the F his property tax bill on 93 Churchill Road in Tenafly, already well over $60,000 a year, hit $70,000 in 2010 -- even as Governor Christie promised to lower taxes?

Now you know why boring process stories on the lack of property tax relief have been leading the paper lately, even though all North Jersey property owners have feared it since they got their higher bills a couple of months ago.

Taxes 101

Today's Page 1 story by Staff Writer John Reitmeyer is a slow-moving Property Taxes 101 lesson that begins, "State government doesn't collect property taxes." Duh.

A day after publication of a new legislative map, two out of four drivers are still lost -- thanks to Bergen County's antiquated road network and inadequate signs (Editorial, A-10).

Every seat in the Legislature could be held by Democrats, but given their lack of political courage, nothing will stop Christie's veto-fueled conservative juggernaut.  

I'm searching The Record today for a story on new TV ads by the teachers union that point out Christie gave a tax break to millionaires such as Borg as he cut more than $1 billion from public schools and higher education.

Police blotter

There are more than a dozen Law & Order, court and fire stories in the paper today, starting on A-1 and filling Local, but you won't find much municipal news.

On L-2, a story on fund raising for Japan relief is short on details, listing only $3,000 collected since the March 11 quake and tsunami. 

What about all the Japanese companies headquartered in North Jersey? What about Toyota dealers? Are the latter only raising prices?

Editors daydream

Spring fever has emptied the newsroom, but assignment editors under Editor Deirdre Sykes and many reporters seem to be daydreaming, not covering their towns.

Scandale's mobile-journalist initiative (MOJO), which allowed for the move to the smaller Woodland Park newsroom, appears to have been abused by the municipal staff.

To many, "mobile" has been taken to mean shifting from one buttock to the other as they read and answer e-mails from friends and make lunch plans.

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