|Broken chairs blocking access to the pumps at a shuttered gas station on Passaic Street in Hackensack.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
It's been apparent for years that readers of The Record often see important issues with far more clarity than all-seeing, all-knowing editors, columnists and reporters.
On Friday's editorial page, a letter to the editor took Columnist Charles Stile to task for getting the math wrong on a proposed hike in the gas tax to pay for road, bridge and rail repairs in exchange for a cut in the sales levy.
"The reduction in the sales tax would have been from 7 percent to 6 percent," Joe Kennelly of Ramsey wrote. "This is not a 1-cent break, as Stile heralds in the first paragraph of his [July 1] column.
"It would have been a 14.3 percent drop in the sales tax," Kennelley says of a plan pushed by Governor Christie and rejected by the state Senate.
"The 23-cent increase [in the gas tax] increase would be less on a percentage basis, based on today's oil prices and ultimately [have] much less impact to most consumers," his letter said.
"Certainly, most of us pay far more on items that are taxed by sales tax than we pay for gasoline."
The Ramsey man's letter also highlights how The Record and other media rarely deal in issues and whether a proposal is good for New Jersey or the nation.
Instead, every plan is examined in terms of partisan politics -- as is clear once again on Page 1 today -- in a gross disservice to readers.
On the proposed gas tax-sales tax deal, nearly every story has talked in terms of Christie vs. the Democrats who control the state Legislature, and no one but Kennelly has mentioned that consumers would save more money overall.
The Record also has ignored the environmental benefits of higher gasoline prices and improved rail service -- no surprise from a newspaper that depends so heavily on advertising revenue from car dealers and manufacturers, as well as oil companies.
As further evidence that Staff Writer John Cichowski has completely lost it, see his Road Warrior column on the Local front today.
He reports a Hackensack woman's E-ZPass makes her trips across the George Washington Bridge "so deliciously convenient" (L-1).
The lead local story today reports on Saturday morning tractor-trailer accidents on Route 287 in Oakland that injured no one.
Staff Writer John Seasly, normally assigned to cover Hackensack, mined his sources to find out one of the trucks carried beer (L-1).
Meanwhile, environmental reporter James M. O'Neill's entertaining story with photos on a vintage baseball game in River Edge was played inside the section, even though it is a far better read than a report on truck accidents or Cichowski's idiotic column (L-3).
The headline was a good one, too:
Given all the readers struggling to control their intake of sugar, the headline on Staff Writer Elisa Ung's column on the Better Living front today might as well read:
"Diabetes makes a sweet return to relevance"