Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lazy editors still ignore long-suffering property tax payers

As they do four times a year, hundreds of Hackensack homeowners will be dropping off their property tax payments at City Hall early next month. The city tax collector offers a 10-day grace period for payment of taxes, so the deadline is Feb. 10. Quarterly payments above $3,000 and $4,000 are not uncommon.


Tens of thousands of readers are bracing for their 1st quarter property tax payments on Feb. 1.

But if they're scanning Page 1 or the Local front of The Record today, they won't see anything on why their taxes keep going up year after year, and why services, such as street paving, remain stagnant.

Today, thousands of Jewish, Muslim and Hindu readers are staring dumbly at all of the front-page space devoted to a Ridgewood church former members call a cult, wondering what the controversy has to do them (A-1).

And the rest of the page -- devoted to Iran, a North Jersey casino proposal and Rutgers -- surely means Editor Martin Gottlieb still hasn't retired to his Manhattan apartment (A-1).

Local news?

Local Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza lead the first page of the Local news section with a story on a proposal for affordable housing in tiny Ho-Ho-Kus (L-1).

Do residents fear an influx of minorities seeking the low- and moderate-cost town houses? Reporter Steve Janoski doesn't say.

Reinforcing the stereotype of minorities committing crime, a rare story from Hackensack focuses not on property tax increases or unchecked school board spending, but on a black church that helps inmates reenter society (L-1).

Police news

A large piece of L-3 is devoted to a fatal Route 4 crash in Englewood that saw the driver ejected and killed by a second vehicle, but he isn't identified and police weren't asked if he was speeding or racing.

Sykes and Sforza desperately need this and other Law & Order stories to plug holes in their section that should be filled with municipal news.

More and more, The Record reads like a police blotter, but the online service Hackensack Daily does a far better job, and regularly scoops the supremely lazy local editors.

Fact checking?

A Business front story on New Jersey's antiquated liquor-license laws incorrectly calls Costco Wholesale's house brand "Kirkland" instead of Kirkland Signature (B-1).

And Costco offers its own brand of French champagne, Italian prosecco, cognac, California cabernet sauvignon and other red wines, not just the "chardonnay, tequila and whiskey" described in the article.

$4M-plus houses

The Real Estate cover on sale of a dozen Bergen County houses for more than $4 million in 2015 must have been commissioned by the publisher's office (R-1).

Publisher Stephen A. Borg may be feeling a little cramped in his $3.65 million Tenafly McMansion, purchased with a mortgage from his family's North Jersey Media Group.

Only months after the home was purchased in 2007, Borg put into motion a major newsroom downsizing in Hackensack that saw the departure of many veteran employees.

The following year Borg closed the landmark Hackensack building, and decamped to a nondescript office building in Woodland Park.

Who's depressed?

The Record continues its one-dimensional coverage of seniors with a Better Living cover story on depression (BL-1).

The majority of readers are older, but it never occurs to the editors that many seniors dine out regularly, enjoy Broadway shows or concerts of classical music, and do so well into their 80s.

Mike and Chris

Columnist Mike Kelly is taking more swings at Governor Christie, our absentee governor, but the veteran reporter still can't bring himself to tell it like it is (O-1).

The GOP bully certainly is the worst governor in state history, and holds the record for vetoes -- 450 and counting.

Many residents believe Christie lied about his involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal, and should be impeached. 

But not Kelly, who has been writing a column for more than 25 years.

So, you've got to wonder why the reporter still hasn't grown a pair of balls.

Money talks

Today's nostalgic Travel cover story on the lire and other national currencies replaced by the euro is of little practical use (T-1).

Jet-lagged Travel Editor Jill Schensul should be telling Europe-bound readers about credit cards that don't impose a foreign-currency transaction surcharge, and where to get the best exchange rates.

Saturday's paper

On Saturday, Gottlieb led the paper with yet another column on how Christie is doing in his futile bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

This front-page column was from Herb Jackson, the paper's so-called Washington correspondent, not Charles Stile, who is recovering from injuries he suffered from all the time he has spent in bed with the GOP bully.

Jackson also had a rare story on Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, the conservative who defied the reporter for six months "on his decision not to give money to a Republican campaign fund because of its past support for gay candidates."

Almost all of Saturday's local-news section was devoted to state and county politics; and police and court news, including a lawyer sent to prison for embezzling legal fees.

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