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Messages - Victor E Sasson

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Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: February 11, 2019, 02:06:07 PM »

The readers of The Record's print edition are predominantly older, and I imagine many went into diabetic shock when they saw a huge photo on the Better Living cover last Friday, Feb. 8, of a French dessert called tarte Tartin topped with a scoop of ice cream, said to be served at a restaurant in Westwood.

The cover photo was part of a story on "5 new restaurants you need to try now" by Food Editor Esther Davidowitz, who single handedly has recommended more unhealthy or low quality, crappy food than any other single staffer at the paper. (There's the number 5 again, suggesting that is all the room the paper had on that Friday, when you include blown-up photos of the recommended dishes.)

Don't you resent some faceless food editor claiming you must try a restaurant and do it now? What arrogance. Davidowitz is one of the staffers who survived the Gannett takeover; the rest of the staff is made up of young, inexperienced reporters who don't know shit from Shinola, and can't possibly fathom some of the biggest issues in Hackensack, such as the impact of tax-exempt non-profits on the property taxes paid by homeowners and small businesses.

Two days earlier, on Wednesday, Feb. 6, the Better Living cover article carried these headlines:

"Urge to splurge"

"Treat yourself to fabulous food at these 14 restaurant"

Make sure your gas tank is full or that your electric car is fully charged, if you intend to eat at all of them. Although Bergen County is where the majority of readers live, eating at most of the 14 would be a road trip -- the recommended restaurants are in Princeton, Warren, New Brunswick, Merchantville, Swedesboro, New Hope (Pa.), Collingswood, Middletown and Asbury Park.

And, of course, if you went to any of those 9 far-off restaurants and wanted to enjoy wine with your dinner, you'd have to have a designated driver.

Davidowitz, the arrogant food editor, sniffs, "Here are 14 NJ restaurants where the food may be more than you're used to paying but it's often better -- much better -- than you're used to getting."

How could she possibly know that? And she wrote "the food may be more..." when she meant to say "the food may cost more..."

What she doesn't say is to assure readers she and the other reviewers whose bylines appear over the article actually paid for their meals; otherwise, the article would be little more than advertising.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: February 11, 2019, 01:22:04 PM »
You've been cataloging these errors for how long, and you claim one of your readers works at The Record and cares how the paper looks? No he or she doesn't or you wouldn't have anything to write about. It's getting worse, not better. As for the union truck parked in front of a no parking sign, were you suggesting it should be ticketed?

You are aware the paper isn't even edited in New Jersey anymore? After Gannett took over, more than 350 layoffs included nearly all of the remaining copy editors, the last line of defense against grammatical and factual errors, and the enforcers of style. The design studio for The Record was in Neptune, N.J., where Gannett's crappy Asbury Park Press was published. That place closed, and design of The Record was moved somewhere out of state where minions work on a number of Gannett papers.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: February 02, 2019, 12:28:09 PM »

Friday's Hackensack Chronicle finally carried a front-page story on the results of the special school election on Jan. 22, when voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed $170 million school construction and renovation bond. The caption under a photo of poll workers said: "Hackensack held a referendum Tuesday...."  The story cited results "Tuesday night." In both cases, the reference was not to the previous Tuesday, Jan. 29, but to Jan. 22 -- 11 days before the paper hit driveways.

Sharing Page 1 with that story was the monumental news that a second brewery will open in Hackensack. Now, residents can drown their troubles in beer, including high property taxes aggravated by non-profits like Hackensack University Medical Center, Bergen County and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The brewery story says the new one will open its doors "next month," then noted the grand opening will be Saturday, Feb. 2. The paper is dated Friday, Feb. 1.

So, there's no telling when the Chronicle, which reprints stories from The Record, will tell residents that another important school election is coming up in April, when the City Council hopes to seize control of the school board and finally get to review and cut its bloated budget, which accounts for 45% of each resident's property tax bill:


Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: February 02, 2019, 12:15:49 PM »
1 or 4 items not related to sports is immaterial. My eyes glaze over just trying to take in all the stuff you post, and it's extremely repetitive. Seems like you have nothing better to do. I can relate to that. And, again, the paper is doing a lot more disservice to readers by reducing local coverage and filling local news pages with police news. One Local section was an economy instituted by Stephen Borg, but it means Bergen readers have had an overwhelming amount of Paterson news shoved down their throats for years.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: January 29, 2019, 04:00:47 PM »
What food obsession? And the last list you posted had 1 non-sports item out of 17 or 18 items.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: January 27, 2019, 03:33:29 PM »
When I got The Record home delivered, I used to put the Sports section into the recycling without ever reading it. So, all of this exhaustive review of typos and so forth seems like another waste of space.

The real horror about The Record and Hackensack Chronicle, both gutted by Gannett, is that they are a parody of a local daily and weekly newspaper. The Chronicle no longer has its own staff and merely reprints stories from The Record or The Wretched, as many say.

The Friday, Jan. 25, Hackensack Chronicle carries not a single word about the special school election 3 days earlier, when voters overwhelmingly rejected a $170 million school construction and renovation proposal that would have triggered a 30-year tax hike of $308 to $650 and more a year. Instead, the weekly carried a front page tribute to Harold Bloom, a former Hackensack High School principal who died at 89.

Even though the election was held and decided 3 days earlier, the second page carries a story reporting a judge ordered a change in the wording of the ballot proposal, which didn't state the tax hike would be yearly for 30 years. And on Page 8, a long letter reacts to Mayor John Labrosse opposing the proposal, which was reported on Page 1 of the Jan. 11 Chronicle. The long, long letter was signed by Ellen O'Reilly of Hackensack (whoever she is), and it's the only letter in the paper.

The Record and Hackensack Chronicle have never as far as I know explored an issue that incenses property tax payers in Hackensack, namely the impact of so-called non-profits such as Hackensack University Medical Center on the taxes you and I pay. They include Bergen County, Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Bergen County Academy, Eastwick College and so forth.

The front page of the Dec. 28 Chronicle reported HUMC will be building a 43,500-square-foot utility plant, and I also saw a story -- I'm not sure where -- reporting the hospital is building a 300,000 square foot medical tower. If both of those are tax-exempt, as is most of the rest of the complex that ate Hackensack and spit it out long ago, that will only shift the tax burden further onto homeowners and small business owners. The hospital pays its CEO about $3 million a year and takes in money hand over fist, so how can it legitimately claim to be non-profit?

Sadly, the City Council will not sue HUMC and take the case all the way up to the state Supreme Court, thus establishing a precedent that will bind all non-profit hospitals to start paying their fair share of property taxes. In Hackensack, that would be about $19 million a year, not including the new utility and patient projects on the way.

Instead, the council announced last year how proud officials are of a new 6-year agreement that will see the hospital pay $4 million a year in "host community fees." Months after that agreement was announced, council members could not say whether some of the money will be used to pave some of the crummy potholed streets drivers find all over the city.

City officials also are getting the shaft from Bergen County, which has dragged its feet on paving parts of Prospect and Summit avenues that are in terrible shape or installing turn lanes on Passaic Street, in both directions at Summit Avenue, a choke point for traffic. One city council member said the city couldn't "force" the county to take part of the properties on each side of Passaic to create the turn lanes on the narrow, two-lane street, which dates to the Revolutionary War.

The Chronicle is such a piece of Gannett crap that the front page story on Dec. 7, 2018, was about a dog that was allegedly missing for 9 months before it was found. And it wasn't even a Hackensack dog; "Zina" escaped from her River Vale home; she was found in Hackensack. Page 2 reported that renovations at the Lido Restaurant in Hackensack were being delayed.

On Nov. 16, a story about a new commuter shuttle in Hackensack was buried inside while Page 1 of the Chronicle (or maybe "Hackensack Chronic Pain") reported the body of a man, 39, who tried to swim across the Hackensack River on Nov. 4, was recovered on Nov. 6. By the way, a free shuttle runs from the city's bus terminal to its two train stations, the county complex and the "local hospital," presumably a reference to the mammoth HUMC complex. The "Hackensack Transit Connector" is being paid for by the Federal Transit Administration, North Jersey Transportation Authority and Bergen County; I'd like to see more such giving back to the city by non-profits.

Meanwhile, an editorial in the same Nov. 16 Chronicle notes the Trump administration is denying funding for a 10-mile extension of the misnamed Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Bergen County, terminating at Englewood Hospital.

No time to relax: Another school election is set for April 16:

The Bergen County Election Division today released final tallies in the Jan. 22 special school election in Hackensack -- 2,265 against the $170 million bond and 652 in favor, for a 13.18% turnout of the 22,126 registered voters, some sort of record. The totals include 499 mail-in ballots (305 against and 194 in favor) and 51 provisional ballots (38 against and 13 in favor).


Hackensack Discussion / Re: boycott
« on: January 23, 2019, 10:28:00 AM »
There is a search box on my merged blog you can use to find Hackensack posts.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: boycott
« on: January 21, 2019, 11:11:33 AM »
Eric, I just posted more on the school referendum tomorrow, on this message board and on my blog And you're wrong that I am against education. I'm just against the Zisa-controlled school board's profligate ways -- high legal fees, high administrative salaries, schools run into the ground, no green energy on any school building or apparently for the proposed new junior high. etc. etc.



I disagree with Mr. Martindale the $170 million school bond proposal will pass on Jan. 22. Hackensack schools have a terrible reputation, and it's not the brick-and-mortar that's responsible. The schools here spend far more than in other districts regarded as far more desirable. Maybe it's the Zisas' iron grip on the school board until the last election that is the corrosive influence; administrative salaries are said to be among the highest in the state. This proposal is doomed to failure. It's too big. School buildings were allowed to fall apart as officials in the superintendent's office, principals and other administrators got fat on salary hikes.

Hackensack officials, homeowners urging 'no' vote on $170M proposal:

MAIL-IN BALLOT reveals average property tax hike of $308.66 for 30 years:

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