Sunday, August 7, 2016

Older readers are begging for an 'age-friendly' newspaper

A woman catching the spirit at a free concert Friday night in Hackensack's Atlantic Street Park, where a Colombian band played salsa and cumbia tunes.


The predominantly older readers of The Record rarely see a story about themselves like the one that led Saturday's paper.

Staff Writer Colleen Diskin, who spends most of her time writing about the institutionalized elderly, reported that five Bergen County towns "are on a mission" to become places where residents "can grow old" (A-1 on Saturday).

The headline:

"Towns map an 'age-friendly' future"

Isn't that rich? The Record has never seemed interested in becoming an "age-friendly" newspaper.

Road Warrior John Cichowski consistently ignores the challenges facing older drivers -- his peers -- but writes column after column about teenagers.

(On Saturday' front page, Cichowski wrote about one of the most pressing issues facing older drivers -- tinted windows in cars -- and today on L-1, he goes on and on about license-renewal lines at the Motor Vehicle Commission.)

The No. 1 killer in the United States, heart disease, and dementia have consistently been ignored in favor of covering autism.

Editor Deirdre Sykes also ignores the biggest reason residents leave New Jersey -- a highly inefficient home-rule system of government supported by increasingly higher property taxes.

And The Record's editorial board has never urged towns to consolidate and lower costs by sharing services or to replace do-nothing police chiefs with police directors who are paid less.

Superficial story

In her superficial Saturday story, Diskin mentions high taxes in passing, suggesting more seniors "could cope ... by moving in together, sharing costs, rides and lives."

Then, on the continuation page, Diskin says Micki Shalan, 82, of Teaneck has used her home, her only asset, "to make ends meet, taking out a reverse mortgage and renting out a room to a number of different tenants over the past few years" (Saturday's A-6).

That's pathetic. A reverse mortgage means the poor woman will lose her home upon her death, and won't be able to pass it on to survivors.

Is that the best Teaneck and the other towns can do? 

The best solution isn't to force seniors into the sharing economy, but to make fundamental changes that will lower taxes and retain residents.

Today's front page

Except for photos from the Rio Olympics and several news briefs, Page 1 today is filled with politics:

The lead story is a deadly dull discussion of "Rule 3" at the Port Authority -- the patronage mill that keeps on giving to Governor Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who have vetoed reforms.

Record Columnist Charles Stile delivers yet another boring exploration of Senate President Stephen Sweeney positioning himself for the 2017 gubernatorial election.

And Columnist Mike Kelly seems to be the last journalist to report wacko racist Donald J. Trump has shot himself in the foot so often lately supporters are abandoning his GOP presidential campaign.

A second major article on Trump's racist supporters appears on A-4.

More Trump news

If you think Kelly said all he wanted about Trump on A-1, you're mistaken.

His second column appears on the Opinion front, predicting Tump's defeat on Nov. 8 and how that will affect Governor Christie, the head of the businessman's transition team (O-1).

Affordable housing

The Real Estate front today carries an upbeat story on the affordable housing that replaced Paterson's notorious Alexander Hamilton projects (R-1).

You haven't seen a similar story about a town in Bergen County, because many have fought units for low- and moderate-income residents, fearing an influx of minorities.

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