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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Record politicizes proposed changes in health care; Paterson is two-time loser

Cartoonist R.J. Matson's take on President Trump's unsubstantiated claim his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower in Manhattan before the election.



The Record's front-page stories on proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act couldn't be more different.

Staff Writer Lindy Washburn's story above the fold appears to be an even-handed discussion of the long-awaited House Republican plan to repeal and replace Barack Obama's health-care law:

"How N.J.
may fare
with new
care act

"GOP plan would change
benefits based on income"

If you put aside the misleading main headline -- there is no "new care act," just a proposal -- you have to invest a lot of time in Washburn's story to find out how the changes affect New Jersey residents, including those with employee-sponsored plans, younger than 26, on Medicaid and women (1A and 7A).

But Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson's story, also on Page 1, deals with the proposal in purely political terms as Republicans and Democrats blaze away at one another (1A and 7A):

"Health tax
cuts geared
to help rich

"Corporations, wealthy
will see cost declines"

Confused readers may just throw up their hands and turn their attention to something else, assured by Washburn most of the provisions wouldn't take effect until 2020.

Two-times losers

The Record has for years been shoving Paterson news down the throats of readers -- most of whom live in Bergen County -- and today, two-thirds of the front page is devoted to the indictment of Mayor Joey Torres (1A).

The story is by Paterson Press reporter Joe Malinconico, a byline that has become familiar since the Borgs decided to save money on newsprint by jamming news from Bergen, Passaic, Morris and Essex counties into a single Local section.

Property taxes increased substantially during Torres' first stint as mayor (2002-10) even though he lured big-box stores and ratables to Silk City (6A).

Third term

Despite that, Torres again was elected mayor in 2014, making city residents two-time losers.

Now, Torres has been indicted for allegedly misappropriating "public resources and workers to advance a family business." 

And three DPW supervisors were charged with joining "in his blatantly crooked scheme," said state Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino, who slammed Torres' "old-school political corruption and abuse of power."

The mayor and his co-defendants "used municipal employees to do work on city time at a liquor warehouse leased by the mayor's daughter and nephew," prosecutors said.