Thursday, December 29, 2016

Gannett compares N.J. criminal-justice reform to Monopoly

Let's see how this works once Republican con man Donald J. Trump is sworn in as president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017.


You'd expect Staff Writer Jim Norman, a former New York Times reporter, to do a good job explaining the many complex changes in New Jersey's criminal justice system to readers of The Record today.

But imagine the dilemma of a faceless Gannett editor holed up in a production center in Neptune, where he or she had to come up with a Page 1 headline that is both bright and right.

Well, the headline certainly is bright, if not downright sensational:

"Get out of
jail free,
or court

What an abomination, not to mention inaccurate.

"Get out of jail free" sounds like a reference to Monopoly, the board game, but the phrase also strongly suggests that convicted criminals will go free once the changes go into effect on Jan. 1.

Unfortunately for the inept headline writer, all of the people who will remain free while awaiting trial are innocent until proven guilty, a bedrock of our legal system.

Numerous errors

Since Gannett's drastic November downsizing of North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, bad headlines and errors seem to have increased.

Today, for example, a photo caption on 4A refers to the "Bronx section of New York," when everyone knows the Bronx is one of New York's five boroughs.

On 2BL in Better Living on Wednesday, a story on the expected opening of Azucar Cuban Cuisine in Closter says you'll be able to spot the restaurant easily by a "black 1950 Chrysler parked in front (pictured)" -- except no photo of the car appears with the story.

Also on Wednesday, the lead news story on Page 1 carried a totally meaningless headline:


"Details on PATH station
ceremony offers glimpse
of governor's preparation"

The reaction of most readers: 

So what?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

With Trump, Americans must renew struggle for equality

From Jimmy Margulies, the Sunday cartoonist at The Record of Woodland Park.
In "Half the nation was shocked" by cartoonist Daryl Cagle, the losers on Nov. 8 are all people of color. They have the most to fear from the policies of Donald J. Trump, who will be sworn in as president of the United States in 23 days.


With billionaire Donald J. Trump poised to take the oath of office in only 23 days, millions of Americans are worrying about losing freedoms they have taken for granted.

They also worry about a nuclear war, accelerated climate change and trade battles with other countries.

And many of us fear Trump will eclipse George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan as the worst president in the history of the republic.

Christie focus

At The Record, editors have been focusing on their nasty fight with Governor Christie over a book deal and his bid to end payment of millions of dollars for legal notices published in newspapers.

Today, the lead Page 1 story recalls the morning of Aug. 13, 2013, when Christie appeared at a groundbreaking ceremony for renovation of a PATH station.

Most readers are clueless about why the story by Dustin Racioppi is on the front page or just what point the Trenton reporter is trying to make.

Racioppi says details of how the governor's appearance at the groundbreaking was stage managed by his staff were obtained "through a public records lawsuit by The Record" (1A).

And on Tuesday's front page, another Racioppi story reported judges ordered state officials to pay attorneys for The Record and others who won such lawsuits more than $900,000 in fees. 

'Group of the day'

Today's front-page feature on an 8-year-old transgender boy from Secaucus who was barred from a Cub Scout pack is a departure from recent "group of the day" features.

However, a related story on 8A compares Joe Maldonado's struggle with the former plight of "gay scouts and gay Scouting leaders."

On Tuesday's 1A, so-called Dreamers were the "group of the day" -- 23,500 illegal immigrants in New Jersey who may lose protection from deportation when Trump takes office.

On Monday, the front page focused on "faith groups" -- churches, synagogues and mosques that are helping refugees to settle in New Jersey, despite opposition from both Trump and Christie.

From frying pan ...

No one at The Record seemed to question moving a family of four refugees from Afghanistan into an apartment in Paterson, parts of which are more dangerous than their native country.

Sunday's Page 1 focused on wealthy suburbanites who volunteer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens.

On Saturday, the focus was on knitters; last
Friday, it was holocaust survivors; and on Dec. 18, Staff Writer Lindy Washburn did a takeout on women who undergo medically unnecessary cesarean sections.

Washburn reported Hackensack University Medical Center performed more of the risky C-sections than any other hospital in the state.

The story was a departure from The Record's usual policy of showering praise on doctors and administrators at the medical complex.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Editors testing readers' patience for unlimited holiday cheer

"Refugees" is from cartoonist John Cole. The Record and many other news outlets continue to ignore the carnage of the Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011; the role of Russia in keeping the regime in power and whether Russian President Vladimir Putin helped Donald J. Trump win the U.S. presidential election.


We have much to celebrate during Christmas and Hanukkah, but the holidays aren't easing our nationwide anxiety with a Trump presidency just 26 days away.

Meanwhile, the Sunday edition of The Record is laying on the holiday cheer with upbeat columns and stories on nearly every section front, even though many of them are flawed.

For example, on Page 1, the enormous amount of space devoted to Nora Renzulli, a Wayne woman who volunteers to serve meals at Eva's Village in Paterson, ignores thousands of others who are just as dedicated (1A).

On the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski so-called Wish List for Santa is so heavily focused on drivers that he becomes a Road Scrooge for the tens of thousands who commute by train or bus (1L).

His lone reference to the midtown Manhattan Port Authority Bus Terminal as "a sardine-can relic" is inaccurate.

Nor does he know enough to call for more exclusive bus lanes to the Lincoln Tunnel as a way of providing immediate relief until a new terminal is built.

2016 election

An Associated Press story reports that polling after the November election found that "nearly two-thirds of voters described the [strong] economy as 'not so good' or 'poor' (16A).

But the AP ignores whether racism and misogyny were among the real reasons they voted for Trump.

On the Opinion front, a long piece by Merrill Brown, director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University, argues a Trump administration will test news organizations as never before (1O).

However, Brown doesn't discuss how the news media's intense focus on state and national politics -- as opposed to policies, issues and what's good for the state or country -- is the biggest possible disservice to voters.  

Friday, December 23, 2016

Who lied more during nasty campaign, Trump or Conway?

"Puppies for Putin" is from cartoonist Stacey Fairrington. You can see more political cartoons on I guess the cartoonist thought better of showing President-elect Donald J. Trump and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson kissing the Russian dictator's ass.


During the nastiest presidential campaign in memory, the news media rarely challenged Donald J. Trump or GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway as the streets ran red with their lies.

Now, the president-elect has named his former campaign manager as White House counselor, according to a Page 1 story in The Record.

Trenton reporter Salvador Rizzo, whose byline misspells his first name, calls Conway "the first woman to manage a winning campaign" (1A).

The appointment suggests voters are so gullible they will elect the presidential candidate who lies the most, lies about those lies and puts his campaign in the hands of another enormous liar.

Christie and press

After a lull in a war of words, Governor Christie again lashed out at New Jersey newspapers for lobbying against a bill that would cut into their revenue (4A).

"Just another special interest feeding like pigs at the government trough" is how Christie described newspapers on his monthly radio show.

The GOP bully should know all about special interests, as Rizzo reported in a front-page story last Sunday.

"At a time when New Jersey lawmakers are rushing a bill to end what they call 'corporate welfare' for the news media, Gov. Chris Christie's administration this month surpassed $7.4 billion in tax subsides awarded to hand-picked businesses and nonprofits."

Who is right?

Still, isn't Christie on the right side of the issue?

A requirement that towns, banks, law firms and even homeowners facing foreclosure publish notices in newspapers amounts to a subsidy of millions of dollars to publishers who are supposed to remain independent.

The New Jersey Press Association portrayed the proposal to drop that requirement as a "free press issue."

But the legal notices, published in type so small few people read them, are in no stretch of the imagination a public service or a free-speech issue.

Anyway, the bill didn't come up for a vote, but isn't dead, and is expected to be proposed again in the new year. 

So, we can look forward to Christie once again bashing what he calls the "billionaire bosses" at Gannett, the payroll-slashing owner of The Record and six other dailies in New Jersey.

Where to eat

Better Living readers in search of a restaurant review find instead a list of restaurants, bars and even a dinner cruise that will serve "a sumptuous holiday repast" on New Year's Eve (12BL-13BL).

Freelancer Joanna Prisco, who also owns a "pop-up" culinary business, suggests spending up to $280 per person at venues in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties.

Her reporting sounds more like promotion or advertising. Here are examples:

"Ring in 2017 with style at Esty Street, "stay up late with the fun folks at Chakra," "the sexy, Asiatic restaurant will offer two seatings" and "the same Neapolitan-style pies that put Asbury Park back on the culinary map are being slung at ... Porta."

Gag me with a spoon.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cartoonists are having a field day with Trump transition

President-elect Donald J. Trump's nomination of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State raises potential conflicts in Russia and other countries where the oil giant does business. This cartoon, "Scrabble Connection," is from R.J. Matson. Go to to see this and many other political cartoons.
"Nyet" is from cartoonist Dave Grunland.
"Trump's Cabinet Picks" is from cartoonist Daryl Cagle.
"Rex and Vlad" is from cartoonist Taylor Jones.


Now that the nasty battle with Governor Christie over public notices has subsided, The Record returns to peddling front pages filled with soft news.

Meanwhile, the transition of President-elect Donald J. Trump continues to set a record for potential conflicts of interest, but readers have to search the paper for them (7A). 

Bergen County readers looking over the Local front today find that three out of four stories are from Passaic and Hudson counties (1L).

USS Ling

Stephen A. Borg, former publisher of The Record, is denying any moral responsibility for saving the USS Ling from an ignominious end.

An editorial and a news story allow Borg to bow out of any role in saving the World War II submarine, which is literally stuck in the mud of the Hackensack River (8A today and 1A on Wednesday).

Borg -- whose grandfather negotiated the 1974 deal to lease land to the New Jersey Naval Museum for $1 a year -- ended the arrangement this year, apparently in anticipation of selling The Record and other North Jersey Media Group newspapers to Gannett. 

The Borg family reportedly received $40 million for NJMG, but retained the publishing company's retirement and pension funds, as well as nearly 20 acres along River Street in Hackensack, where the Ling is tied up.

Abandons Hackensack

The younger Borg has formed a new company, Fourth Edition, and calls himself a developer. 

The land, which is believed to be worth more than $20 million, is in a flood zone.

Nevertheless, the city of Hackensack has approved it for apartments and possibly a hotel as part of a sweeping downtown rehabilitation plan.

After he took over from his father, former NJMG Chairman Malcolm A. Borg, Stephen Borg worked quickly to cut The Record's ties to Hackensack and the USS Ling.

Borgs always first

Still, the younger Borg made sure to line his own pockets with a $3.65 million NJMG mortgage for a Tenafly McMansion, and drew a salary of about $350,000 a year.

He moved printing of The Record and Herald News to Rockaway Township nearly a decade ago.

In 2008 -- several months after he received the $3.65 million mortgage -- he put into the motion the biggest newsroom downsizing in the paper's history.

And in 2009, in a royal F.U. to Hackensack, he closed NJMG's headquarters, moving the newsroom to Woodland Park.  

The Record had prospered in Hackensack for more than 110 years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christie trashes Gannett's 'billionaire bosses' on Twitter

Governor Christie's Twitter page, above and below, has been filled with criticism of "billionaire newspaper owners" demanding a government subsidy in the form of payments to publish legal notices. This week, the state Legislature deferred action on a bill to remove that requirement, which Christie claims would save taxpayers $80 million a year.


@GovChristie has been flailing away on Twitter at "billionaire newspaper owners" who "demand Gov't subsidy from taxpayers but refuse to open their books to show how much tax $ they already take."

The GOP bully just suffered an embarrassing defeat when he tried to get the state Legislature to enact what he calls "a commonsense piece of legislation" to "reform an archaic practice requiring taxpayers and private businesses to pay for costly legal notices" in newspapers.

But the bill isn't dead; action was deferred until the next session in the new year.

Hidden revenue

The Record of Woodland Park, now owned by Gannett, disputed the $80 million in savings Christie cited, if the new law offered the option of posting public notices online.

But nowhere in the week-long blitz of news stories, columns and editorials attacking Christie did The Record mention that, according to a message from the governor posted on Twitter:

"In the case of foreclosure, every family going through that trauma is charged an average of $910 just for the legally required newspaper notice.

"That is unconscionable, and in response to the advancing legislation the New Jersey Press Association proposes to increase those charges.

"As a result, required legal notices earned newspapers approximately $14 million for the 12-month period ending in October 2016," Christie says.

"Today, there are more than 65,000 foreclosures currently pending in New Jersey. That's $59 million in potential revenue going to private media outlets that can instead be saved by citizens experiencing foreclosure.

"For government entities, hundreds of millions of dollars of future resources to be spent on legal notices could now be made available ... for municipal and county services...."

One of Christie's Tweets refers directly to the layoffs at North Jersey Media Group after the publisher of The Record and other newspapers was purchased in July by Gannett Co., which now owns seven dailies in New Jersey.

Attacks Gannett

"Reporters blindly defend their billionaire bosses and their $80m subsidy while Gannett lays off their colleagues in Bergen," the governor tweeted, in an apparent reference to The Record, once known as The Bergen Record.

Of course, the paper's Hackensack headquarters were shut down in 2009, and the newsroom moved to Woodland Park.

The Record and Herald News have been printed in Rockaway Township for about a decade.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Legislature stops Christie, gunman avenges Syrian slaughter

Moments after pumping several bullets into the back of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov on Monday, a Turkish police officer shouted, "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" This photo and others from Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici, who was covering the event at an arts center, are certain to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


Governor Christie is down but not out after the state Legislature killed a bill that would have allowed him to cash in on a book-publishing deal while giving hefty raises to his Cabinet officers, judges and legislative aides.

But a separate bill -- to drop the requirement that public notices be published in newspapers -- survived, and will be debated again next year  (1A and 6A).

For the biggest piece of fiction in today's paper, see the third paragraph of the Page 1 news story:

"It was a stunning turn of events for Christie, who was once regarded as a master of cutting deals with New Jersey's Democratic political bosses and muscling the bills through the Legislature" (1A).

Christie hasn't made deals for years; instead, he's unleashed more than 500 vetoes to get his way with the majority Democrats -- vetoes that have hurt the working and middle classes in New Jersey.

And shame on Charles Stile for yet another front-page column on what Christie once was and what he is now -- amounting to a rewrite of every piece under the byline of the burned-out Trenton reporter since the GOP bully abandoned his White House dreams last February (1A).

Defending profits

The Record and other newspapers, as well as the New Jersey Press Association, portrayed the battle over legal notices as a "free press" issue.

The NJPA ran a full-page ad on the back of The Record's Local section claiming Christie is trying to "hide ... vital information" from the public, including "government contract bids, air and water pollution emergencies, and meetings of legislative bodies" (8L on Sunday).

But the substantial revenue generated by publication of the notices amounts to a questionable subsidy to newspapers, which are supposed to be independent.

Finally, the notices are of little use to taxpayers, because they are printed in small type and poorly organized. 

In Hackensack, the City Clerk's Office spends about $1,000 a month on publishing the legal notices, an official said on Monday.

The city's Board of Education also publishes its own meeting schedule and budget, but spends less than the City Clerk's Office.

Christie apparently exaggerated the savings to government and business as $80 million a year, if the notices were put online.

'Don't forget Aleppo'

Every time the news media reported Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Tump's praise for Vladimir Putin, few editors reminded readers of the Russian bombers that were pulverizing Aleppo to keep a dictator in power.

On Monday, a Turkish cop fatally wounded Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, avenging all of the deaths of innocent civilians during the civil war struggle for Syria's biggest city.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Years too late, The Record keeps up the assault on Christie

After the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane closures, Governor Christie became the butt of jokes for cartoonists across the country, including Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee.


An editorial in The Record today urges the state Senate on Monday to override a Governor Christie veto of "a bill that would ensure women receive the same pay as men for the same work."

Apparently, the veto occurred seven months ago, but this is the first time The Record has reported on an override attempt or what the editorial board is calling "legislative action on a bill of great importance to women across the state" (2O).

Can you imagine how many other issues of importance to taxpayers, low-wage workers, environmentalists and others the Woodland Park daily has consistently ignored?

Christie has vetoed more than 500 bills since he took office -- surely a record for any New Jersey governor -- but The Record's Trenton reporters long ago gave up counting them.

Focus on politics

The Record's editors and columnists rarely come to bat for those hurt by Christie's vetoes, because their work has been tightly focused on politics, not issues.

In the past week, only the GOP bully's last-minute proposed book deal; pay raises for legislative aides, judges and other state employees; and pulling public notices from newspapers have whipped them into a frenzy of coverage.

The headline over today's editorial:

"Fighting for a free press"

"Fighting for a profitable press" might be closer to the truth.

Today's editorial says that removing public notices from newspapers "would have a radical impact on our bottom line and the bottom lines of other newspapers across New Jersey.

"Some publications may fold and hundreds of Jersey-based jobs will be lost."

Sadly, Gannett Co. and the Borg family, the previous owner of The Record, have used publication of budgets and other public notices as an excuse to reduce the coverage of local news, even though the type they are printed in is so small hardly anyone reads them.

Christie coverage

For all of Christie's first term and the first half of his second term, The Record treated him uncritically, and portrayed the Republican governor as a compromiser who could reach across the aisle and make deals with Democrats who hold the majority in the state Legislature.

Of course, every veto and every unilateral action, such as killing the Hudson River rail tunnels and grabbing leftover funds to fix roads and bridges, gave a lie to that portrayal, but they were ignored.

Even after the paper broke the story of the politically motivated Bridgegate scandal, the editors kept on insisting there was no proof the governor knew about the plot.

All that came undone in September and October, when witness after witness testified in federal court Christie knew about the conspiracy as it was being executed, causing five mornings of gridlock in Fort Lee.

That unleashed many critical columns and editorials, and no love was lost when President-elect Donald J. Trump passed Christie over for an important post in his administration.

Trump coverage

During the presidential campaign, The Record and other news media reported every one of Trump's racially motivated attacks on President Obama without any reference to his accomplishments on the economy, health care, the environment and so much more.

That's because, as with Christie, the relentless focus was on partisanship, not policy; and insults and lies, not issues. 

In a column for the Daily News on Saturday, Linda Stasi wrote about the coming "neo-nasty era" of a Trump presidency:

"The Obamas represented not just the best of black people, but the BEST of all people -- white, black, brown and everything in between.

"The Obamas are a credit to the race all right -- the human race.

"Yet, President Obama, the most honest, decent President of my lifetime, who leaves with a 56% approval rating, is, if you listen to the right wing's very mainstream media, a man loathed and hated."

After reviewing the president's many accomplishments, Stasi concludes, "Maybe, just maybe, the most decent president of modern times ... is hated simply because he's black, a black President in a white country. Likely.

"Hidden racism in America is as rampant as blatant racism."

Friday, December 16, 2016

Editors finally focus on crisis in Aleppo, Syrian-Americans

In this map of Aleppo, Syria, published in August by the Carnegie Middle East Center, the Old City is in East Aleppo, right, where fighting to retake rebel-held areas and the humanitarian crisis have reached a crescendo in recent weeks.


Today, The Record's editors finally discover a local angle for reporting on the deepening humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Syria.

Staff Writer Hannan Adely interviewed Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed Khairullah and other Syrian-Americans who have lost touch with friends or relatives or know people who have been killed in the Syrian civil war (1A and 4A).  

This Page 1 story reminds readers of the one Adely wrote in November 2015 -- more than a week after Governor Christie announced that he wanted to bar all Syrian refugees from entering New Jersey.

Why the delay? Syrians have been immigrating to Paterson since the early 1900s.

In his column on Nov. 22, 2015, Staff Writer Mike Kelly called Christie "a crazy uncle" for saying he would not even allow Syrian orphans under the age of 5 into the United States.

His Page 1 column the day before was completely devoid of criticism or condemnation of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

Putin and Trump

Until today, The Record has avoided reporting on the links between President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russia.

A story on 11A today traces Trump's "soft spot for Russia" to his desire to sell his luxury condos to wealthy Russians.

Trump, a major apologist for Vladimir Putin, also has dismissed reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian dictator tried to influence the outcome of the Nov. 8 election in favor of the New York billionaire.

You need a magnifying glass to read the legal notices in The Record.

Book deal, legal ads

Since Sunday, The Record's news editors and editorial writers have been consumed by what they see as an assault on the right of the press to profit from the publication of legal ads (1A, 8A and 16A).

One question isn't addressed: 

Does anyone actually read those legal notices, which are printed in small type?

Today's front page is dominated once again by a package of legislation that includes Christie's "book bill;" raises for his Cabinet, legislative staffs, judges, county prosecutors and others; and eliminating the long-standing law requiring local governments to publish legal notices -- such as budgets, ordinance changes and contracts.

"Motivation for pushing the bill, and tying it to action on salaries and book deal, said to be revenge by Christie against newspapers for their coverage of his administration," according to The Record.

Local news?

Still, readers of The Record have to ask whether the publication of budgets and ordinances gives the news staff an excuse to ignore important local news, such as the campaign by nine candidates in the April election for three Board of Education seats in Hackensack.

There was no discussion of the issues in The Record or Hackensack Chronicle.

Nor did the daily or weekly paper report any of the details of the proposed $104 million school budget before voters went to the polls to approve or reject it -- even though education accounts for 44% of every homeowner's property tax bill.

Another 'food crawl'

Have "food crawl" articles in Better Living replaced the weekly restaurant review, and is it a budget-cutting move?

Freelancer Shelby Vittek is back today with a "Polish Food Crawl" on 14BL and 15BL, although the out of focus cover photo of pirogis with sour cream doesn't look appetizing at all.
Elisa Ung, the restaurant reviewer who left the paper in November, likely blew $200 to $300 or more on two meals with a friend at every one of the fine-dining restaurants she reviewed.

When Ung was hired more than 9 years ago, The Record allowed the restaurant critic to treat three other people to two dinners at each restaurant.

When The Record introduced the "Informal Dining" reviews Ung did once a month, that cut the paper's expenses.

Now, if the food crawl has replaced all restaurant reviews, the additional savings would be significant. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Editors start screaming only after Christie threatens profits

Before-and-after photos of Aleppo by Hannah Karim show the ravages of the Syrian civil war. Despite Syrian immigration to North Jersey dating to the early 1900s, The Record of Woodland Park continues to downplay the death of civilians and Russia's role in the destruction of the country's largest city.


Chris Christie lied repeatedly during his 2009 election campaign about providing more tax relief to homeowners than his Democratic opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine.

And after he took office in January 2010, he began to wage a war against New Jersey's middle and working classes that continues to this day.

Yet, only now are The Record's editors screaming bloody murder because the governor wants to end the requirement for the publication of legal notices in newspapers -- cutting into the profits of Gannett Co. and other publishers.

Chutzah and profits

The story has been on the front page of the Woodland Park daily since Sunday, and an editorial today savages Christie for "a punitive hit on state newspapers," as well as his bid to profit from a book deal while in office:

"The governor's chutzpah is remarkable.... The most unpopular governor in recent memory should not be in a bargaining position for anything -- let alone a deal that benefits not the people of New Jersey, but only the singular constituency of Chris Christie" (18A).

Wednesday's editorial, referring to ending the publication of public notices, said:

"The absence of this revenue stream will deeply affect the bottom line of some -- if not all -- of the publications, including The Record, The Herald News and [Gannett-owned] North Jersey Media Group's portfolio of 30 community publications.

"Stripping hundreds of thousands of revenue dollars from print media companies assuredly affects jobs."

But Gannett and the Borgs, who sold NJMG to the nation's biggest newspaper publisher in July, started downsizing their staffs and reducing local news coverage years ago.

Just last month, Gannett executed plans to cut more than 200 jobs at NJMG, and reduce the number of its weeklies to 30 from 50. 

Promoting HUMC

Also on Page 1 today is another story promoting Hackensack University Medical Center -- a tradition dating to when former NJMG General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg sat on the hospital's board (1A).

HUMC claims to be a non-profit, thus skipping out on $10 million in property taxes in Hackensack, and shifting the burden to home and business owners -- a story The Record has long ignored.

The photo with the hospital story shows a smiling Robert C. Garrett, a co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health Network.

In 2012, Garrett was paid $2.72 million, according to

Diabetes special

Today, the Better Living front is calling all diabetics and readers watching their cholesterol.

Food Editor Esther Davidowitz reports a coffee shop and bakery in Rutherford uses "high-quality ingredients," including Valrhona chocolate and Cabot's butter.

Davidowitz doesn't mention how much sugar is used in the "baked treats" at Erie Coffeeshop and Bakery, but I'm sure many readers -- whether they're watching their weight, cholesterol or sugar intake -- won't go near the place.

'Aleppo's destroyers'

A story about Aleppo, Syria, appears on Page 13 of The Record's A-section today, but I can't recall the editorial page condemning Russia's role in the death of innocent civilians during the civil war.

An editorial in The New York Times today appears under this heading:

"Aleppo's Destroyers: 
Assad, Putin, Iran"

"In 2011, President Bashar al-Assad ignored the demands of peaceful protesters and unleashed a terrifying war against his people.

"More than 400,000 Syrians have been killed while millions more have fled.... Mr. Assad could have never prevailed without the support of President Vladimir Putin of Russia.... 

"That is a truth that President-elect Donald Trump, a Putin apologist who is surrounding himself with top aides who are also Kremlin sympathizers, cannot ignore.

"During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Putin for being 'a better leader' than President Obama.

"This would be a good time for him to persuade Mr. Putin to end the slaughter.

"Mr. Putin's bloody actions -- the bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the destruction of hospitals, the refusal to allow non-combatants to receive food, fuel and medical supplies -- are all in violation of international law."