News of Otsego County

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Antonio Delgado

KUZMINSKI: On Playing The Race Card

Column by Adrian Kuzminski for July 27, 2018

On Playing The Race Card

Adrian Kuzminski

There was a time not so long ago when the ideal on racial issues was to be color-blind, presuming the equality of all.
When that proved not to effectively
address the underlying problem of racism, affirmative action became the order of the day. It played an important role in bringing minorities, especially blacks, out of the ghettos and into prominence in the professions, the media and middle-class life.
But, at the same time, life for most blacks in the inner cities continued to deteriorate in a downward spiral marked by increasing crime, police repression,
drugs and desperation.
This is the world which gave us rap and hip hop.
Antonio Delgado’s early hip-hop recording, “Painfully Free,” has come to dominate the opening stages of the race for the 19th Congressional District.
According to the New York Times, the lyrics of his CD, made in Los Angeles when he was 28, “include frequent use of a racial epithet common among black rappers, and criticize some of the founders as ‘dead presidents’ who ‘believe in white supremacy.’”
His opponent, Congressman Faso, was quick to jump on the issue, claiming, according to the Times, that Delgado’s lyrics are “inconsistent with the
views of the people of the 19th District and America.”
Delgado shot back at once, saying of Faso, according to the Times: “In his dated mind-set, he thinks it’s accurate to suggest that if you’re black or if you’re of a certain race, you can’t be of this community.”
In an earlier interview with his alma mater, Colgate University, reported by Hybrid Magazine, he discussed his CD, saying, “Hip Hop is misunderstood.” “Hip hop is a philosophy to live by … Hip hop is its purest form conveys the plight of the underprivileged.”

The Freeman’s Journal – Antonio Delgado confers with Adrian Kuzminski at last week’s candidates’ forum in Cooperstown, hosted by Sustainable Otsego.

Delgado, a product of a middle-class upbringing in Schenectady, and of Colgate, Harvard Law and Oxford University, hardly grew up a desperate ghetto kid. But
he did give voice to the plight of the underprivileged, as he says, and used their idiom to do so.
The world of inner city ghettos represents a festering wound in America, and its unsettling, provocative language is an unpleasant reminder to the rest of us of a major failure of our society – something we still need to fix.
No matter how uncomfortable it makes us, we should respect not condemn hip hop for the challenge it poses.
The rappers are telling us that racism, far from being something we can ignore, has been built into our culture, and thereby into how we think.
Delgado is saying that we’re not color-blind, that we’re all racists on some level. This is meant not to condemn us, but to invite us to acknowledge a common problem, which is the first step to overcoming it – like an alcoholic admitting he or she’s an alcoholic.
Like an addict in denial, Faso pretends to be color-blind. But he betrays his own prejudices by cynically stooping to play the race card against Delgado.
I’m not a racist, he insists, but Delgado must be
because he has the audacity to remind us of the truth of our tragic history.
By insisting that Delgado’s lyrics are un-American, when they are in fact as American as apple pie, Faso only deepens the racial divide. To exploit racism for votes is despicable demagoguery.
Luckily, the voters will have a choice in November of either giving in to their racism, or beginning to
transcend it.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, resides in Fly Creek.

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AD The Voice’s Rap Career Emerges As Campaign’s First Hot Potato

Editorial, July 20, 2018

AD The Voice’s Rap

Career Emerges As

Campaign’s First Hot Potato

Get ready, folks. We’re going to be hearing a lot of hip-hop music between now and Nov. 6.
It was generally known during the just-completed primary campaign in our 19th Congressional District that the victor, Antonio Delgado, had been involved in a rap venture in Los Angeles more than a decade ago, but details were fuzzy. And they didn’t really matter: Chances were even or better that he wouldn’t win.
But June 26, he did win the nomination to challenge freshman congressman John Faso, R-Kinderhook, and it didn’t take long for the New York Post to get or, or be put on, the scent.
“He put out an 18-song CD titled ‘Painfully Free,’ in 2006,” the Post reported July 8, “in which he frequently hurls the N-word, slaps the two-party political system, rips the ‘dead’ president as ‘white supremacists,’ blasts capitalism, likens blacks to modern day slaves, calls poverty the ‘purest form of terrorism’” etc., etc.
Ouch.

Get ready for hip-hop in campaign ads.

Since, other outlets are picking up on the story, thanks to a press release from Faso saying, ““I was shocked” – shocked! – “and surprised to learn Mr. Delgado authored some very troubling and offensive song lyrics.”
On July 12, HV1.com, the website for five weeklies around Woodstock, had this: “Faso hammers Delgado on past hip-hop lyrics; Delgado says Faso’s ‘feeding into racial biases’.”
On July 14 in The Gazette, Schenectady: “Faso pivoted from carpetbagger attacks to arguing that the Schenectady native’s hip-hop lyrics ‘paint an ugly and false picture of America’.”
On July 13, the Times Herald-Record, Middletown, reported on a statement from 17 local clergy: “Shame on (Faso). This tactic should be called out for what it is: a thinly veiled racist attack for the purpose of insinuating fear in the voters of our district.”
And it’s accelerating. The fat’s on the fire.

There’s a cautionary tale here.
At the end of May, six of the seven Democrats running in the primary signed a pledge agreeing not to criticize each other.
Why, in a hard-fought campaign where candidates were having a problem differentiating themselves from everybody else in voters’ eyes, would this be desirable?
From a practical standpoint, if Delgado’s hip-hop muse had been dissected in the primary, perhaps he wouldn’t be the Democratic candidate; if he had been anyhow, the rap revelations would have been a shock to no one by now.
Yes, there are practical reasons to fully practice First Amendment Rights.
As you might expect, Delgado – a Colgate and Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar and lawyer at a top (albeit politically connected) firm – had a smooth response to the Post.
“This is a willful and selective misreading of my work for political purposes,” he said. “My music defies the same stereotypical notions that led you … to immediately hear certain words and think they are bad or scary. If you listen to the content of the lyrics, my mission is clear.”

In 2006, Congressional candidate Antonio Delgado was AD The Voice, producing hip-hop music in L.A.

One review of “Painfully Free,” the 2006 CD, cited in the Post, said its “hardcore hip-hop/rap numbers tear into society hypocrisies and imperfections.” The album notes call the sound “fresh, sharp, political and spiritual” –
not so bad.
In any event, voters can decide for themselves. Go to Spotify, the music site, type in “AD the Voice,” Delgado’s stage name, and you can listen to it all.

Of course, rap itself has been controversial since it came onto the general music scene a three decades ago.
In 2012, theologian Emmett Price III sought to understand the music as part of black tradition. A reviewer of his book of essays, “The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture,” that found both the church and rap were “impassioned with the same urgent desires for survival and hope.”
Nothing the matter with that. Still, the actual lyrics in AD the Voice’s numbers will no doubt be jarring to many in the 19th. And, if the lyrics are being misinterpreted, it will be Delgado’s challenge to put them in context. He very well might.
If you haven’t met him, you will find him open, engaging, approachable; hardly threatening – “a young Barack Obama,” he was called in this newspaper a year ago after his first appearance in Oneonta. He has many strengths to bring to bear.
For Faso, this issue may seem like pure gold, and it may be. (The first radio ad, by the Congressional Leadership Fund, cited Delgado’s views as “explosive,
out of touch, liberal.”)

But given Delgado’s TV ad in a last days of the primary – a cancer victim wins Faso’s assurances he will protect her insurance, only to vote to water down the Affordable Care Act; Google “antonio delgado promise ad” – he would be wise not to be complacent, which no doubt he isn’t.

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Delgado, DiPerna Tilt Over Rap CD, How To Handle It

Delgado, DiPerna

Tilt Over Rap CD,

How To Handle It

Democratic Candidate Speaks

To Full House In Cooperstown

Democratic congressional candidate Antonio Delgado thanks Greta Green, 9, for asking a question about gun violence and school safety at the end of a forum this evening at Templeton Hall. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Delgado resisted answering questions about lyrics on a rap CD he produced in 2006, but Paula DiPerna, a former Congressional candidate herself, persisted.

COOPERSTOWN – Antonio Delgado was met with cheers and applause from 120 of the Democratic faithful – and a handful of Republicans – in Templeton Hall this evening.

Questions ranged from fracking to FERC and Social Security to Glass–Steagall.  A 9-year-old, Greta Green, who lives in Washington, D.C., but is visiting her grandmother, Cynthia Benjamin, in Garrattsville, asked about protecting children from gun violence.

“It hurts that a 9-year-old even asks that question,” he said.

But the question of the hour – the 19th District Congressional candidate’s former life as AD The Voice, a hip-hop performer in L.A. whose lyrics in his “Painfully Free” CD were liberally sprinkled with the N-word and epithets – was only touched on lightly during the formal part of the evening.

As the Q&A began, moderator Paula DiPerna advised the candidate she would be questioning him more closely later on the issue – Delgado’s rap career was reported on July 8 in the New York Post, and his Republican opponent, Congressman John Faso, issued a press release expressing “shock” at the “troubling and offensive lyrics” – and to be prepared.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, JULY 18
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, JULY 18

Tour Oneonta’s Downtown

Revitalization Then & Now

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WALKING TOUR – 7 – 8 p.m. Bob Brzozowski & Gary Wickham lead walking tour, “Downtown Revitalization Then & Now” through Main & Market Streets. Learn urban renewal plans of 1970s to today’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Admission by Donation. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta 607-432-0960 or visit www.facebook.com/OneontaHistory/

TOWN HALL – 7 p.m. Meeting features Antonio Delgado (Running for Congress), Joyce St. George (Running for State Senate), & Chad McEvoy (Running for State Assembly). Sponsored by Sustainable Otsego. Free, open to the public. Templeton Hall, 63 Pioneer St., Cooperstown.

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KUZMINSKI: OPEN LETTER TO ANTONIO DELGADO

Column by Adrian Kuzminski for July 13, 2018

OPEN LETTER TO ANTONIO DELGADO

Fight Faso Over

Big Money In Politics

Adrian Kuzminski

Congratulations on winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in New York’s 19th Congressional District.
You’ve got a tough fight ahead against a smooth and wily opponent. I’m one of many who would like to see Representative John Faso defeated. He is a bought and paid for ex-lobbyist with big hardcore far right support.
The Mercer family, investors in Breitbart News and supporters of Steve Bannon, gave a half-million dollars to the pro-Faso PAC “New York Wins” in the last election, helping put him over the top.
All told, the Mercers spent over $25 million in 2016 supporting far-right candidates PACs, and organizations across the country, including New York State. Their agenda of radical privatization requires the destruction of public institutions and entitlement programs. That means lowering the standard of living for most people while concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands.
The Mercers are the .001 percent, and Faso is the guy they’ve hired to represent us in the 19th CD in
Washington.
All that ought to be a slam-dunk for the Democrats, but not unless they act on it. This is an opportunity for you, Mr. Delgado, to take up the challenge. Faso needs to be called out on his right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-people agenda.
The Democratic leadership unfortunately has enabled, even embraced, much of that agenda. Beginning with the Clinton years, they abandoned labor unions and sided with corporations, supporting trade agreements that outsourced jobs, and tax breaks that favored corporate development over public service.
They continue “to talk the talk” about fighting for their constituents, but they no longer “walk the walk.”
You and the Democrats aren’t going to win this election by supporting a status quo that is working for fewer and fewer people. Defending the status quo is Faso’s job, not yours. You need to challenge the system, not claim that you can work it better than he can, or that it’s not so bad.

Parker Fish/The Freenan’s Journal  – During a visit to the Hometown Fourth of July celebration in Oneonta, candidate Delgado chats with Steve Londner of the League of Women Voters.

You have to show voters that Faso is the local agent responsible for people’s growing insecurity.
You need to expose the sham property-tax reduction he tried to pawn off on voters by gutting local healthcare funding. You need to alert voters to his duplicity in
voting to repeal Obamacare, after promising otherwise – something he’s likely to do on Social Security and other entitlements.
You need to remind voters of his support for deregulating Wall Street and destabilizing the economy.
And then there’s Trump. He’s a demagogue who’s been left free to exploit the insecurities and fears of the people whom the Democrats have left behind, and Faso seems 100-percent behind that.
Trump and Faso’s agenda is the same as the Mercers’: Privatize everything in sight.
You’ve got to do what other Democrats haven’t done. They have not attacked the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the culprits blocking the kind of universal, affordable healthcare enjoyed by citizens of almost all other developed countries.
They have not broken up monopolistic corporations, whether it’s Amazon, the Wall Street banks, Google, or Walmart, which collectively have killed off small business, the backbone of the economy.
The Democratic leadership has not fought to reduce military spending, which is funding immoral wars abroad and bankrupting our government, while sucking up tax money that should go to social services and infrastructure.
They have done little to get us off fossil fuels and onto renewables, allowing for the acceleration of greenhouse gases and the destabilization of theclimate.
And they have completely failed to get money out of politics, leaving us stuck with a corrupt, pay-to-play system, for which Faso could be the poster boy.
You don’t want to be part of those failed strategies.
If you fudge on these issues, you’ll lose; if you face up
to them, you have a chance to win.
But there’s an even bigger challenge. There’s little doubt that the benefits of American imperialism since World War II have run their course. Globalization led by unrestrained corporate power is no longer a tide that lifts all boats. It only lifts the yachts.
We can no longer economically dominate Europe and Asia, nor can we afford our massive global military machine.
Those days are over.
If globalization has a future, and I hope it does, it has to be more inclusive economically. In the meantime, America must figure out its own identity in a new, multi-polar world.
Now is the time to put our own house in order, and rethink what we’re doing. We need a new definition of American Exceptionalism, one that rejects racism, bigotry and narcissism in the name of a common understanding of the deepest American principles: democratic accountability, Constitutional rule, economic justice, and the greatest possible liberty that’s consistent with mutual respect.
Then we can redefine our place in the world. The Republicans aren’t going to do that, but you might. It could be our last chance.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.

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Delgado In Oneonta For 4th of July Festivities

Delgado In Oneonta

For July 4th Festivities

Democratic congressional candidate Antonio Delgado meets with Carla Nordstrom, a democratic activist from Seeds of Change, during Oneonta’s Hometown 4th of July celebration in Neahwa Park this afternoon. With him are Mayor Gary Herzig and Police Chief Doug Brenner. The city was one of three stops on Delgado’s first day campaigning following his primary win on Tuesday, July 26. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – There are 163 towns in the 19th Congressional District, many of them with fireworks, parades and other events celebrating Independence Day.  And Antonio Delgado, the Democratic candidate for Congress, chose to spend his Fourth of July in Oneonta.

“Oneonta is a wonderful place,” he said. “I have a responsibility to touch every part of the district, to meet with people and listen to them.”

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POLITICAL LETTERS for 19th District Democratic primary

POLITICAL LETTERS

Seven Democrats running in next Tuesday’s primary for their party’s nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, in November, are, from right: lawyer Antonio Delgado, Rhinebeck; Woodstock teacher and former CIA agent Jeff Beals; business consultant Brian Flynn, Hunter; famine-aid worker Erin Collier, Cooperstown; former Cuomo aide Gareth Rhodes, Esopus; and, standing, Kingston lawyer David Clegg. At left is the moderator in last week’s debate at Cooperstown Central’s Sterling Auditorium. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

Editor’s Note:  Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal went to press last night, and any further political letters regarding the Tuesday, June 26, Democratic primary received through next Monday will be published on www.allotsego.com.  Please e-mail them to jimk@allotsego.com   The polls will be open noon-9 p.m. next Tuesday across Otsego County.

STERNBERG:  Flynn Will Be Attentive To Our County
MARIETTA:  Flynn Will Improve Healthcare Access
ABBATE:  Delgado Will Restore Dignity To Politics
STAMMEL: Service, Experience Qualify Pat Ryan
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ABBATE:  Delgado To Restore Dignity To Politics
ABBATE:  Delgado To Restore Dignity To Politics

To the Editor:

As the former county Democratic chairman for many years, I always felt and made sure that the Democrats made an endorsement early.  I felt as the party leader we needed to fight hard to get our voices heard in elections. It’s always a tough call with so many talented people who have entered the race, but there is always one who stands out the most, and at this point we need to make that decision.

In this case Antonio Delgado is that person, for many reasons. He knows the meaning of hard work. He comes from working-class roots and understands the needs of families in Otsego County and across New York’s 19th District. He has brought his work ethic and the values of integrity, honesty and service that he was raised on to this campaign, building an outstanding organization that reaches every part of this region. He is committed to restoring dignity to our politics and will be a credit to us in Congress.

I am proud to endorse Antonio and I hope you will join him on this journey in winning back Congress.

Please join me in supporting and voting for Antonio Delgado on June 26.

Thank you,

RICHARD ABBATE

Cooperstown

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Cooperstown Debate Lets Candidates Ask The Questions

Cooperstown Debate Lets

Candidates Ask Questions

All seven candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the 19th Congressional District gathered in Cooperstown tonight for a debate, which was formatted to allow each candidate to ask one question that the other candidates had to answer. The format allowed candidates to showcase their strengths, while also allowing the audience to view the candidates under a more critical light, according to organizer Richard Sternberg. The debate, held in the Sterling Auditorium at Cooperstown Central School, brought Democrats from across the county to hear from all of the candidates. The Democratic primary election will be held on June 26 to determine who will go toe-to-toe with Faso in the general election to be held on Nov. 6.  The 300-seat auditorium was almost filled. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)
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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, APRIL 22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, APRIL 22

Discussion With The Candidates

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CANDIDATES FORUM – 6 – 8 p.m. Democrat Congressional candidates for the 19th district, Jeff Beals, David Clegg, Erin Collier, Antonio Delgado, Brian Flynn, Gareth Rhodes, and Pat Ryan discuss issues, more. HIRC Lecture Hall 1, SUNY Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/OneontaCollegeDems/

YOUTH PROGRAM – 2:30 p.m. Workshop introducing children to methods archaeologists use to find and identify archaeological sites. Cooperstown Village Library. Call 607-547-8344 or visit www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103