County Board’s Partisan Divide Comes To Fore

County Board’s

Partisan Divide

Comes To Fore

Resolutions On Hot Current Issues

Blunted, Or Sent Back To Committee

County Reps. Dan Wilber, a Republican, top row, center, and Clark Oliver, the county Democratic chairman, in box below him, jousted this morning in discussion of partisan issues.   Others in top row are Vice Chair Meg Kennedy, from county office building, and Ed Frazier, top right.  Second row, from left, Reps. Keith McCarty, Michele Farwell, Jenifer Mickle and Adrienne Martini.  Third row, from left, are board Chairman David Bliss, County Attorney Ellen Coccoma, Andrew Stammel and Jill Basile.  Bottom row, Danny Lapin. (From Zoom)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Partisan perspectives led to lively debates this morning at the February meeting of the county Board of Representatives, but the three related resolutions were blunted or failed to reach the floor.

  • First, a resolution – to chide Assemblyman John Salka and state Sen. Peter Oberacker for a bill specifying New Yorkers can refuse the COVID vaccine – was watered down into a neutral statement asking the state Legislature to do what it could to expedite inoculations. It passed unanimously.
  • Second came two warring resolutions on violence – the Republican one decrying the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol AND violence at Black Lives Matter protests over the summer; the Democratic one decrying just the Jan. 6 assault. Both failed to garner sufficient support.

FIRST, SALKA, OBERACKER CHIDED

Rep. Stammel

The first resolution, proposed by Rep. Andrew Stammel, D-Oneonta, the Health & Education Committee chairman, accused Salka and Oberacker of “supporting legislation that will decrease vaccinations in Otsego County,” and asked them to support measures to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick, Milford, New Lisbon, pointed out that Salka’s bill, later supported by Oberacker, sought to ensure “no one should be made by law to take the vaccine,” as Governor Cuomo was threatening.  Since, it appears court decisions bar such a mandate, which makes the issue moot.

“The way it’s written,” Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, said of the resolution, “misrepresents the intentions of our assemblyman and senator.”

But Rep. Clark Oliver, D-Oneonta, who is also county Democratic chairman, agreed with Stammel.

He was taken on by Rep. Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, who quoted now-President Biden as saying last September that “he supported vaccines, but not one that was readied by Donald Trump.  Let’s put out a message without the politics.  We can do that.”

Said Oliver: Salka and Oberacker “happened to be our representatives at the state level.”

“This happens to be our president,” Wilber replied, referring to Biden.

In the end, County Attorney Ellen Coccoma edited the resolution to add the county’s other three assemblymen – Brian Miller, Chris Tague and Joe Angelino – and asked all five of them to do what they could to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Coccoma also recast the resolution’s concerns in the passive voice, taking onus off Salka and Oberacker.

The revised resolution passed unanimously.

CAPITOL ASSAULT AND/OR BLM RIOTS

Then came two battling resolutions, Late Resolution G and Late Resolution H.

Because the resolutions had not gone through the county board’s committee system, each required a two-thirds vote to be introduced.

At first blush, Late Resolution H seemed innocuous enough. It didn’t turn out to be.

G, which decried the attack on the Capitol AND the violence during the riots that followed George Floyd’s death while in police custody, was approved by all the Republicans present –  Kennedy, Frazier, Wilber, Chairman Dave Bliss and Representatives Rick Brockway, Jennifer Mickle and Keith McCarty – and opposed by all Democrats.

H, which focused solely on what happened at the Capitol, won support of all the Democrats present – Oliver and Stammel, and Representatives Michele Farwell, Adrienne Martini, Danny Lapin and Jill Basile, plus Kennedy, the board’s sole Conservative – and was opposed by all Republicans.

Both resolutions failed to marshal the necessary two-thirds vote, and each failed.

Rep. Wilber
Rep. Oliver

In the discussion, Wilber said, “You need to recognize that it’s all connected.  We have an anger problem in this country that needs to be addressed.  Both sides of the aisle need to tone it down.”

Oliver said the reps should pass a resolution without “ifs, ands and buts … There’s an inability to put blame where blame belongs.”

Lapin decried a “false equivalency” he sees in the Republican resolution:  On the one hand insurrection; on the other, fighting for civil rights.

In the end, Chairman Bliss and Stammel agreed that, depending on how resolutions were crafted, the board could conceivably approve two resolutions, one on the Capitol, another on the riots.

He referred the issue to the Administration Committee, chaired by Kennedy.  If Admin introduces two resolutions at the county board March meeting, each could be passed – or rejected – by a simple majority.


4 thoughts on “County Board’s Partisan Divide Comes To Fore

  1. Thomas Lieber

    Enough lies folks, open your hearts and your minds…BLM riots were caused by proud boy supporters… not BLM peaceful protestors…FACTS look into them

  2. dploutz

    H-False equivalency on the part of the Republicans. The Capital insurrection sought to stop the normal course of counting the electoral votes received to confirm the 2020 election results. The active attempt to stop that process with mass violence, encouraged by the then President, was an attempt to overthrow the US government and subvert the US Constitution. It stands on its own.

  3. Claire A Beetlestone

    THE NATION WAS BROUGHT TO THE THE BRINK OF DISASTER.
    THIS IS S DEMOCRACY. WE HAVE THE TOOLS TO MAINTAIN IT AND ALLOW IT TO THRIVE.
    THE PROCESS WE HAVE IN PLACE IS VALID.
    THE PROCESS WE HAVE IN PLACE IS PRECIOUS.
    WE ALL MUST CONTRIBUTE TO IT
    AND WE CAN, BUT IT IS NOT EASY

  4. John Moore

    Why is the county board wasting their breath on bickering over BLM and Jan 6th when Otsego county has plenty of trouble of its own to navigate. All were elected to serve Otsego county. If they are not going to do that lets replace the whole lot of them.

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