Friday, October 9, 2015

Local schools, government? Readers come up short again

SIGN CONFUSION: At this Hackensack intersection, where a Wawa is under construction, the sign says South River Street, but another sign near the traffic signal, below, calls it "South River Road."


Should a local daily newspaper like The Record lead the paper with "chaos" among do-nothing Republicans in Congress?

Or a long column on a protest in front of the White House over lax gun-control laws, even though it involves an Oakland rabbi whose father was shot to death way back in 1999?

Is there anything else to read on Page 1 today?

Editor Martin Gottlieb, who thinks he still works at The New York Times, runs an inconsequential story about a man who feeds homeless cats in the Meadowlands, and an even sillier piece on Mets fans using social media (A-1).

Couldn't Gottlieb find anyone who feeds homeless humans?

This is an irresponsible waste of space on the page that should be reserved for the most important local or regional news of the day.

Local news?

But The Record, it seems, has given up covering most of the local governments and school systems in its circulation area, relying instead on sensational crime and court news to fill its Local section, as it does today (L-1, L-3, L-5 and L-6).

And that's the case despite the impact those schools and governments in nearly 90 towns have on the property taxes that seem to go up with little if no improvement in services to residents and businesses.

Tenafly police

An editorial today praises a three-year contract for Tenafly police, who will get no raises and have to wait longer to reach the highest salary tier (A-22).

"This ruling is ultimately positive for the region at large and is exactly what needs to happen in other municipalities, if there is hope of reining in property taxes," the editorial trumpets.

But in the news story on the arbitration ruling in Thursday's Local section, Tenafly officials couldn't say how much the police contract will save the borough, and there was not a single word on how any savings would affect property taxes.

The editorial also ignores all of the tax appeals that have forced some towns, such as Hackensack, to issue bonds to pay property owners who have filed successful challenges to their assessments and bills.

So, even if a town saves money by denying raises to police officers or other municipal workers, those savings could be wiped out by other factors in home-rule communities, which aren't known for efficiency, let alone competent managers.

Worth the detour?

Staff Writer Elisa Ung continues to explore the outer fringes of the circulation area in her restaurant reviews.

Today, she reports on Yuki, an expensive Japanese restaurant in an Oakland strip mall -- more than 18 miles from Hackensack -- and it doesn't even have a Japanese sushi chef or owner (BL-16).

With authentic Japanese-owned restaurants in Fort Lee and Edgewater, why would any reader in central Bergen County want to drive so far to experience the discourteous customer service Ung complains about?

She was so upset, she suggested "takeout may be the way to go." Yet, she rates the place Good to Excellent (2.5 stars).

Go figure.

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