Sunday, April 17, 2016

Focus on transgender kids, abused horses ignores rest of us

Richard Stenken and Steve Eisenberg, volunteers at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, presenting their $500 scholarship to a high school junior volunteer on Friday during the 40th annual Volunteer Recognition Awards and Luncheon.
Volunteer Betty Karlsen, right, was recognized for  giving 26,000 hours to the hospital. In answer to shouted questions from other volunteers, Karlsen said she has been volunteering at the Englewood hospital for more than 48 years.


One look at the thin Sunday edition of The Record speaks volumes about how Editor Deirdre Sykes avoids covering such local issues as school elections and property taxes.

Her major story on Page 1 today is about transgender children searching for identity -- the media's hot topic of the year (A-1).

And on the local-news front, readers get a heart-warming story on a Mahwah farm that rescues abused and abandoned horses (L-1).

You'd never know there are school elections on Tuesday in Hackensack and other Bergen, Passaic and Hudson county communities.

Or that property taxes continue to skyrocket in home-rule communities with their endless duplication of services.

They include small-town police chiefs who are paid around $200,000 a year to clip Dunkin' Donut coupons and fetch refreshments for the department. 

Campaign material from Citizens for Better Schools urges Hackensack residents to vote for candidates 1, 4 and 6 to fill three seats in Tuesday's Board of Education election. But a sample ballot shows the nine candidates' names appear without the usual numbers, below, apparently the work of the political machine that is seeking to hold onto control of the school board. So voters will have to pay attention to last names: EISEN, POWELL and SASSON.
Voters also will have the opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" on a $79 million tax levy, which supports a total school budget of $104 million. School taxes represent nearly half of the total bill. On Tuesday, polls open at 2 p.m.

Property taxes

Just when I thought my annual Hackensack property tax bill is high, I've been meeting people from Teaneck, Englewood Cliffs and Tenafly who pay far more.

An Orthodox Jewish woman from Teaneck said she is paying about $37,000 in taxes on her 5-bedroom house.

And an African-American man said he recently moved to Wayne, because he was sick and tired of paying $37,000 in property taxes in Englewood Cliffs.

Now, he's cut his property tax bill in half.

Meanwhile, a woman who lives in Tenafly said she is paying $40,000 a year in taxes on an admittedly large home and property.

Yet, when is the last time Sykes has assigned a reporter to one of the hottest, most controversial local topics around? 

Today's paper

The most compelling piece on the front page today is the moving obituary for Petrina Di Cosmo, 95, a Fair Lawn woman, "who mothered her own kids, a slew of foster kids and just about any kid who came her way" (A-1).

Di Cosmo, who was universally known as "Mom," is shown in a Page 1 photo with her mixed-race son, Anthony, whom she adopted when she was 57.  

Christie and guns

For a refreshing change, Mike Kelly gets right to the point in the lead paragraph of his Sunday opinion column on Governor Christie making it easier for people to carry guns (O-1).

Still, the veteran reporter, who has been writing a column for more than 25 years, needs to work on his sense of outrage.

The strongest comment he can muster on O-1 is this lame sentence:

"Well, he [Christie] seems to have his own agenda."

Second look

Readers had an especially hard time fathoming Road Warrior John Cichowski's April 8 column on auto-emissions testing, and this abomination was on the front page no less.

In an email to management that also was sent to Eye on The Record, a reader from Hackensack said:
"The Road Warrior's front page column on Friday, April 8, lived up to its stellar reputation for being clueless & misleading, offering up classless & humorless jokes, presenting quotations of insensitive, exaggerated, and completely out-of-touch rantings from his readers, who appear to be stuck in what can only be described as "The Twilight Zone" from the 1960's since it has little bearing on the reality of today."
Then, the reader compared Cichowski to Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race for the GOP presidential nomination:
"Road Warrior and his Record handlers seem to now be emulating Donald Trump, who gets away with the most classless, exaggerated, unsubstantiated, and laughable false statements. To their small cadre of fooled believers, the Road Warrior and Trump can do no wrong. For those living outside their foolish bubble, the Road Warrior and Trump are regularly mocked and represent what is the worse in people and journalists, some of whom unconditionally reward both of their over-the-top and out-of-touch views and supposed 'facts'."

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