News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
Click for classifieds of Oneonta, Cooperstown, and all of Otsego County. Click for jobs in Oneonta, Cooperstown, and all of Otsego County. Click for dining, entertainment, and things to do in Oneonta, Cooperstown, and all of Otsego County. Click for real estate listings in Oneonta, Cooperstown, and all of OTsego County. click for cars, trucks, and other vehicles in oneonta, cooperstown, and all of otsego county. click for funeral homes, flower shops, and other businesses that specialize in= remembrance in oneonta, cooperstown, and all of otsego county. Click for more great ads from local businesses in Oneonta, Cooperstown, and all of Otsego County.

republican

MIKE ZAGATA: New York Not So Great Lately, Either

Column by Mike Zagata, September 28, 2018

New York Not So

Great Lately, Either

Mike Zagata

‘America was never that great.”
That’s an amazing quote from a man who’s had nothing but opportunity his entire life. Yes, he’s made the most of it, but that’s not the point. The point is that, because America was great, he had the opportunity to succeed.
Before moving to the point of this article, I thought it might be useful to look at the media via a historical perspective. Thus, I offer the following quote:
“Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.”
Any idea who wrote it? No, not President Donald Trump. It was one of the most revered of our early writers – Mark Twain. If you’re following the path of the current nominee to the Supreme Court, it should ring true.

According to that same media, Governor Cuomo is concerned that the recent revisions to the federal tax code will unfairly cost New Yorkers $16 billion in lost deductions. Another way to interpret that concern is that the federal tax code revisions put the spotlight on the “Blue” states – states governed by Democrats – by pointing out that that we are paying too much in taxes. In our case too much is about $16 billion.
According to the governor: “We have high local property taxes and a relatively high income tax.” Is that news to any of us reading this article? About a million folks have figured this out since he became governor and left.
Each time someone leaves New York due to its high taxes, what impact does that have on those of us who remain? By definition, if we expect the same level of government “services,” our taxes must go up.
It’s interesting, the governor chose to lay part of the burden for high taxes off on the local governments by mentioning high property taxes. However, what he neglected to mention is that the county’s obligation for half of the state’s portion of Medicaid drives up local taxes.

Turning Point USA, a conservative campus group, posted this graphic on its website after the governor’s remark.


If I remember correctly the county’s bill for Medicaid was about $11 million. That amount is roughly equal to the money collected from county tax payers. We are being forced to run county government on sales tax revenue and state aid. Our local property taxes go to pay for Medicaid. New York is the only one of the 50 states that does this.
If the government continues to give out money as “candy,” our taxes must go up even more. Some would argue that money leads to local economic growth – I would argue that we need to be certain that it does. Getting a $10 million grant and then using much of it to pay the consultants who oversee it is not a suitable return on investment.
When we read, “Oneonta just received a $250,000 grant and it didn’t cost us anything”, do we take a moment to stop and think about that?
Where does government get its money – from us in the form of taxes, fees and licenses.
This particular project may not have been funded with money from taxes collected from Oneonta residents, but a grant to some other New York community very likely was funded by tax dollars from Oneonta residents – the money all goes into the same “pool.”

However, what’s even more troubling is that a governor, who took an oath to uphold the law, has come up with a scheme to circumvent the law (an attempt to get out of that spotlight). His scheme would have enabled taxpayers to contribute to tax-deductible charitable funds set up by the various local governments which would then provide tax credits to the donors equal to 95 percent of the donations value.
As one might expect, the IRS said “no”. Beyond the scam aspect, think about the impact this could have had on the state’s charitable organizations by diverting funds that might have gone to them to local government as disguised taxes instead.
Even more troubling is the mindset that says, “If I don’t like it, I’m not going to abide by it.” Today, it’s all about “me” and how I can scam the system to improve my lot at the expense of others.

That has to change if we’re going to make America “GREAT” again. To me, what made America great was having pride in our country and being willing to work hard to make it, and thus our lives and the lives of others, better.

Mike Zagata, a former DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and an environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport.

SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Polls Open In County Today For GOP, Democrat Primaries

Polls Open In County At Noon

For GOP, Democrat Primaries

Sheriff, 2 Assembly. Statewide Nominations On Ballot

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. today around Otsego County to decide who will be the standard-bearer in three local races, plus three statewide offices.

Locally:

• Republicans will choose between incumbent Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. of Milford and Bob Fernandez, the retired state trooper from Otego.

SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
For Now, Only Choice In Sheriff’s Race Is For Due Process

Editorial for September 7, 2018

For Now, Only

Choice In Sheriff’s

Race Is For Due Process

A letter to the editor the other week drew on the Biblical injunction, “The son shall not suffer for the sins of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquities of the son.” And surely that’s as it should be.
That said, it’s legitimate for open-minded citizens to question how county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. has handled the situation involving his son, Ros, a correctional officer in the jail his father administers since it surfaced in January 2017. At the least, the situation is an awkward one; at worst, a dangerous one.
In effect, according
to a court decision on a
related matter made public on March 31, 2017, Ros Devlin told a fellow C-O he was thinking of committing suicide in front of his disciplining supervisor at the county jail, after first creating a diversion by shooting up an Oneonta or Milford school. (To read the decision for yourself, type “devlin judge’s order” in the search line at www.AllOTSEGO.com)
From the beginning, the sheriff has stood steadfastly by his son, who was suspended for more than a year – albeit, with pay; since March, without pay – by the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
The sheriff claimed a “witchhunt” was in progress; that his downfall was intended, not his son’s.

Devlin
Fernandez

If Ezekiel was right
about sons and fathers, his declaration should be equally valid for wives
and husbands.
That said, it’s legitimate for open-minded citizens to question the role of Kathy Clark, R-Otego, former county board chair – and a tough-minded and determined one – in engineering her husband, Bob Fernandez’s, challenge to Devlin after Fernandez’s retirement from the state police.
In New York State, the sheriff’s position – as with county clerk – is a constitutional office, filled by election, not appointment by a county board. There’s good reason for ensuring a sheriff’s independence: to keep law enforcement and politics separate.
Clark championing of her husband sought to breach that sensible divide.
Further problematic was the engineering of Fernandez’s Democratic endorsement. It grew out of a longtime personal friendship between Kathy Clark and Oneonta’s former Democratic mayor, Kim Muller, who for the time being is county Democratic chair. (She expects to step down when the county committee meets in early October.)
There’s no secret. Both acknowledge close ties between their families going back decades, when their children played in the same soccer league. Still, as you can imagine, the Fernandez endorsement has caused a rift among the Democratic rank and file.

For his part, Devlin has argued he didn’t trust the county board, under Kathy Clark’s chairmanship, to fairly investigate his son.
To his credit, when David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield, succeeded Clark this past Jan. 3, Devlin then reached out to Bliss, and in March agreed to recuse himself, allowing the board chair to order a medical examination of the son to determine if he is fit to continue as a jail guard.
The good news is: A process is in place. In interview this week, Bliss said the medical examination by a downstate physician who specializes in matters involving law-enforcement personnel is expected by mid-month.
Once the report is submitted, Bliss, in consultation with the county’s personnel lawyers and County Attorney Ellen Coccoma will decide on an appropriate course of action. He said he will keep county reps advised of developments and welcome inputs.
If the decision is made to discipline Ros Devlin, “the officer still has rights,” the board chair said. The younger Devlin could challenge any decision in court. Meanwhile, he will remain off the job without pay.
The bad news, from the perspective if the electorate, it’s unlikely the situation will be resolved before the Nov. 6 general election, Bliss said.

All this matters right now because the first match-up between Devlin and Fernandez comes Thursday, Sept. 13, in a local Republican primary. (That’s Thursday, not Tuesday, which is 9/11 and Rosh Hashanah.) The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. across Otsego County for registered Republicans.
The vote will not necessarily settle anything. If Devlin, endorsed by the Republican county committee last March, wins, Fernandez has the Democratic county committee endorsement; he will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot anyhow.
If Fernandez were to win the Republican primary, Devlin would still appear on three lines – Conservative, Independent and Reform – on the November ballot.

The world is an imperfect place, as we know from our lives and experiences. We often have to choose between imperfect options, and this is one of those cases.
Yet, on the one hand, there is due process, independent of Sheriff Devlin’s control, that we can hope will resolve thinking people’s concerns – either clearing Ros Devlin, or removing him from his position permanently.
On the other hand, there is no due process, only cronyism and the potential that an alliance between husband and wife will inject politics into law enforcement.
For now, the only option is to vote for due process. For the time being, that option is Richard J. Devlin Jr.

 

SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Molinaro Running Mate Tours Cooperstown Today

Molinaro Running Mate

Tours Cooperstown Today

If you’re in downtown Cooperstown at this hour, you may run across GOP New York lieutenant-governor candidate Julie Killian, who is being introduced to merchants by former assemblyman Tony Casale. Killian, Marc Molinaro’s running mate and a former deputy mayor of Rye, said Governor Cuomo’s declaration that “America was never great” is generating much comment among voters she’s meeting. She’s also focusing on Molinaro’s message of lowering taxes and otherwise improving the climate for New York businesses. Killian also toured the Hall of Fame during her visit. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
KUZMINSKI: Nation’s Two-Party System Guarantees ‘The Iron Law Of Oligarchy’

Column by Adrian Kuzminski, April 20, 2018

Nation’s Two-Party

System Guarantees

‘The Iron Law Of Oligarchy’

ADRIAN KUZMINSKI

Most voters enroll in one or the other major party, though the number of non-party enrollees has grown in recent years. In our area, and nationally, it’s very roughly one third Democrat, one third Republican, and one third non-partisan, or independent (small “i”).
The two-party system goes back to the battles between Alexander
Hamilton’s Federalists and Thomas
Jefferson’s Republicans. The
Jeffersonian Republicans have since morphed into the Democrats,
and the Federalists into the
Republicans.
Unfortunately, these parties have become a big part of what’s wrong, rather than what’s right, with American politics.
The two political parties – they are not mentioned in the Constitution – have a strangle-hold on the electoral process. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to get on the ballot without the approval of one or the other party.
In the current race in the 19th CD, for instance, party enrollees need to collect only 1,250 signatures to get on the primary ballot. But if you run as an independent, you need 3,500 signatures.
Party candidates have other advantages. They can go to their county party committees to pitch for support and recruit volunteers to circulate their petitions. The parties are also a source of money for candidates.

SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Online Poll 01.28.16

Online Poll

01.28.16

SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Newly Nominated, Astorino Visits County

Newly Nominated, Astorino Visits

Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com

     Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who accepted the Republican nomination for governor at his party’s convention in Rye Brook, Westchester County, earlier today, is escorted into The Otesaga this evening by Cooperstown’s Tony Casale, who is executive director of the state Republican Committee. Before keynoting the annual Otsego County Republican Dinner, Astorino mingled with the faithful on the veranda overlooking Otsego Lake.

Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com
Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com

Astorino’s runningmate, Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, center, who was nominated for lieutenant governor earlier in the day, poses with two of his local counterparts, Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., right, and Herkimer County Sheriff Christopher Farber on The Otesaga’s veranda.

SHARE: News of Cooperstown, Oneonta, and Otsego County, NY.Share on Facebook
Facebook
0Share on Google+
Google+
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Posts navigation

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