News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

Letters To The Editor

In Richfield, Candidate Offers Chaos, Negativity

In Richfield, Candidate

Offers Chaos, Negativity

To the Editor:

It is heartbreaking that our town has been plagued for over a year by Nick Palevsky’s horrendous and derogatory articles in the Pennysaver and other papers about a draft zoning law, the zoning volunteers and board members.

Whenever there is chaos, negativity, and turmoil in Richfield, it is Palevsky at the helm. And his statements are RARELY based on fact. So then the bullying and placing of doubt and fear into residents’ minds begins. The current scene is all too familiar.

Palevsky doesn’t understand that you cannot get a different outcome if you continue to do the same old thing. Some change is necessary, and some of the current board members understand that there are steps you need to take to reach your town’s goals.

Bullies and backdoor politics, which Palevsky has used in Richfield for 20 plus years, will set us back even further. In all his articles, what has he offered? Nothing but misinformation and rumors. Is this the person that you want to put in as supervisor, yet again?

Read between the lines, fellow residents. Palevsky has damaged reputations and the integrity of our town, over and over again. But it is not too late. Republicans can vote in the very important Republican Primary on June 25.

A vote for David Simonds for supervisor will bring unity. Kane Seamon has become a strong councilman and deserves our vote. NO vote for Fred Eckler who lives in Florida four months of the year, is always negative. In November’s General Election another young businessman will be on the ballot for councilman – Jeremy Fisher. He runs the much improved bowling alley, and is excited about Richfield. He gets my second vote!

Town of Richfield

Attention, Boaters! Divers Below

Attention, Boaters!

Divers Below

To the Editor:

I was free diving (mask, fins and snorkel; no SCUBA) in Otsego Lake last Thursday evening, June 13,  when I was run over by a motorboat moving at high speed.

If you see this flag, there are divers below.

No, I was not injured.  I was frightened.  I dug myself into the lake bottom to avoid injury.

A dive flag was clearly displayed, and I was within 70 feet of the Biological Field Station (BFS) boathouse dock.  Clearly, the boater involved would have been devastated if blood had been left in the water.  He seemed oblivious (as did his passenger) to the fact that he was violating at least three laws.

Each year, the BFS volunteer divers report boaters ignoring the red and white divers’-down flag and approaching the site of ongoing SCUBA diving.  The volunteers have learned to keep one diver out of the water just to direct boaters away from the diving.

In New York State, motorboats must remain 100 feet away from the divers’-down flag, and motorboats must not create wake (must drive 5 mph or less) if within 100 feet of the shoreline or any human-created fixture in the lake.

Kaytee Shue, Candidate For Council, Good Manager

Kaytee Shue, Candidate

For Council, Good Manager

To the Editor:

I wanted to introduce you to Kaytee Lipari Shue, a professional colleague of mine, and also a lifelong 30 year resident of Ward 4. Kaytee, with her husband Jared, as new parents moved back to Oneonta to ensure their family would have the same rewarding experiences that Kaytee had growing up.   Born and raised in Ward 4, Kaytee has the understanding, strength and a commitment to seek solutions to grow the center city community that we can all be proud of.

Kaytee has over 12 years in management and has the keen ability to uncover the root cause of any concerns and will find the solution to fix the issues. In her management positions, she developed strong teams and maintained her Maurice’s store ranking in  the top of the Northeast Region, while also growing the store brand and gross sales.

In working daily with Kaytee for over seven years, I know from experience her strong leadership skills are above expectations and her commitment to getting the issues resolved is what we need in Ward 4.

Kaytee is very personable, has great communication skills and is extremely responsible. Kaytee has a lifelong connection to our entire community and will seek out the resources to provide the 4th Ward residents’ with the support and the solutions that WE are looking for.

Please join us 9:30-11:30 a.m. this Saturday, June 22, at Latte Lounge Express & Lizard Lick Ice Cream located on Dietz Street, Come and meet Kaytee Lipari Shue the candidate that I am endorsing!

And vote at Foothills, noon-9 p.m. Tuesday, June 25.



Only Communications Can Root Out Bullying

Only Communications

Can Root Out Bullying

To the Editor:

Last week’s article about school bullying recounts a serious incident in Cooperstown High School (by no means the first), but it begins – and exists – at much earlier levels, as parents and administrators of the lower grades will verify.

This is a problem that needs to be addressed prophylactically and at multiple levels, by parents talking to their own children, by teachers and administrators, and by health care providers.

They need to talk to each other, and to the kids, on an ongoing basis, and not just once.  The students are right to ask: What are they doing?  All of them?  All of us?



Challenge For Candidate: Affordable Housing

Challenge For Candidate:

Affordable Housing

To the Editor:

This is in regards to letters written about Oneonta and attracting young people to work in our area.

What is needed is housing for all working individuals,  as most housing in the City of Oneonta is geared for our student population.

There aren’t homes available to purchase that could be within the reach of these “young people,” nor are there sufficient apartments available to rent, as we have at least four student housing rental corporations that have accumulated houses and apartments to meet off-campus student housing services.

It makes fiscal sense, when you can earn $11,700 for a three-bedroom home renting to students per semester, so for nine months you collect $23,400. Then comes the baseball season with Dreams Park and Cooperstown All-Star Village, 12 weeks at a minimum of $2,000-$10,000 a week for an additional $24,000-$120,000.

So jobs would be great, but in Oneonta there is no housing to support an influx of new residents.

In addition, for those of us who are nearing retirement age, there too is a lack of adequate housing to meet those needs. Try finding a one-bedroom apartment that is affordable, by which I mean under $750, as wages in our area are low.



Ask Mark Davies About His 6 Goals

Ask Mark Davies

About His 6 Goals

To the Editor:

Please help to put Mark Davies, the top candidate for Common Council from Ward 2, on the Nov. 5 Ballot by voting in the primary, noon-9 p.m., Tuesday, June 5, at Foothills.

His June 25 opponent is already on the Republican line for the Nov. 5 ballot. Mark needs your vote on June 25 to win his line on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.   Let me know if you need a ride.

Mark is by the far the most qualified and energetic candidate for the Ward 2 seat. He has served the city and Greater Oneonta on five groups related to the development of the city and initiating environmentally sound policies, such as area-wide composting of waste, ways of saving and introducing clean energy, ways of introducing sustainable practices contributing in long range planning for the city, and ways of supporting challenging athletic programs for youth such as soccer and biking,

As a member of the city Environmental Board, I have watched Mark, who is chair, work with other board members and the community to bring to fruition things like the Community Gardens, to obtain grants to reduce the city’s energy consumption, and to support bringing a few hundred high school students and their families to Oneonta two weekends ago for a biking competition (good for local businesses).

When Mark stops by your house in the next week, ask him about his six goals for the City.

Mark might not tell you this, but his real skill is working with people of all political interests as long as they are interested in working for the betterment of the city, its youth and older citizens.

As a professor at Hartwick College, Mark knows younger folks and has involved them in the sustainability efforts of the city, helping to bring students in contact with other city residents.

Make sure your neighbors in Ward 2 vote too on Tuesday, June 25. It is important!



Oneonta Democrats Seek To Dampen Competition

Oneonta Democrats Seek

To Dampen Competition

To the Editor:

For years, the City of Oneonta has struggled to find passionate candidates in its local elections. Oftentimes, those in power have pushed individuals to run strictly to fill a seat, as evident by a handful stepping down after only one term. While I thank our entire Common Council for its service, Oneonta needs enthusiastic candidates who are committed to our future.

2019 is that year. In multiple Common Council races, we were lucky enough to have had at least two, and in some three, candidates file petitions for office including in the Eighth Ward, which I am running to represent.

Personally, I was excited for a three-way race. It would have forced discussion and debate, the fundamentals of a functional democracy.

Unfortunately, the Oneonta “Democratic” party leaders and my opponent are not so democratic after all, forcing two independent candidates, Eric and Nate Roberts, off the ballot and trying to kick an independent county board candidate, Wilson Wells, off as well – a power move limiting the debate that Oneonta residents so desperately deserve.

Why would they do this? I only see one reason: They are scared of the very democratic principles they claim to uphold because, for the first time in recent memory, the elite few controlling our city are in jeopardy of losing their stronghold.

Local politics should not be partisan politics. We should not be scared of discussion on new ideas, rather embrace them.


Common Council candidate,

Oneonta’s Ward 8

Common Council Hopeful Davies Experienced, Committed

Common Council Hopeful

Is Experienced, Committed

To the Editor:

On June 25 voters in the city of Oneonta’s Ward 2 will have the opportunity to choose between two candidates running for Common Council on the Democratic ticket.

While I live in the adjoining Ward 3, I encourage those in the second to choose Mark Davies. It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside Mark both as a faculty colleague at Hartwick College and on the city Environmental Board.

Mark has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the health of our community. For instance, he has been instrumental in the countywide composting project that secured a grant to purchase the necessary equipment and has been working to get the logistical side off the ground.

He is the co-chair of the Environment Sub-Committee of the Otsego County Energy Task Force. He has been a part of the city’s Comprehensive Planning Committee. He is board member for the Center of Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship, and a former board member of the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Oneonta Community Alliance for Youth.

Finally, he has been a member of the city’s Environmental Board for six years, chairing it for the past four years.

At Hartwick and on the Environmental Board, he is a wonderful leader who works hard to get as many diverse voices to the table; and once he gets them there, he listens carefully to what they have to say.

His ability to facilitate discussion and broker agreements between parties that may have originally thought they were at odds with one another is just the sort of ability the City of Oneonta needs in a council member.

His commitment to this community, not just to the neighborhood he lives in, but to the greater city itself, is evident in all the positions he has held. Mark is committed and has demonstrated his commitment to the economic growth of Oneonta, while at the same time preserving the environment that makes Oneonta such a lovely place to live.

So while I can’t vote for him in the primary nor in the general election, I encourage the voters of Ward 2 to vote Mark, because I know he will do everything he can to make Oneonta the vibrant, healthy community we want it to be.



Is Anyone Doing Anything About High Local Gas Prices?

Is Anyone Doing

Anything About

High Local Gas Prices?

To the Editor:

Ever wonder why the price of gasoline in Oneonta is usually higher than in surrounding counties? Ever wonder why every gas station in Oneonta usually matches one another’s prices to the penny, rather than engaging in healthy competition?

This would seem to be REAL collusion happening out in the open every day, as opposed to the fake
collusion being touted in Washington D.C.

Just yesterday I had to travel outside of the area and filled my tank in Oneonta for $2.90 per gallon of regular gas.

On the way back I stopped at the gas station at the eastern end of I-88, about an hour’s drive from Oneonta. The price of regular gas there?? $2.66 per gallon.

That’s 24 cents per gallon less than what we pay here for the exact same gasoline!

Why do the Powers That Be permit this to happen? Just curious.



Impeachment Would Be Good For Nation; Delgado Shouldn’t Resist Initiating Steps

Impeachment Would

Be Good For Nation;

Delgado Shouldn’t

Resist Initiating Steps

To the Editor:

This is a copy of a letter I sent to Congressman Antonio Delgado.

Dear Congressman Delgado,

It was a pleasure talking with you at the Middleburgh Town Hall. I was the person who asked the first question. We have the same goals, just a different approach.

I brought up the idea that an impeachment inquiry will prevent President Trump from preemptively pardoning persons, as was the case of Ford pardoning Nixon, and more recently by Trump pardoning Arpaio. The impeachment inquiry will, in my estimation, lead to possible convictions while preventing an abuse of the pardon power.

Here is a hypothetical:

Attorney General William Barr has been found in contempt by the Judiciary Committee; he still needs to be found in contempt by the full Congress.

After being found in contempt of Congress, Barr will fight the ruling in court. Assuming he loses in court, Congress will then impose penalties. Barr then continues to refuse to testify, in the end Trump simply pardons Barr, nothing was accomplished. Barr doesn’t testify and walks away from any consequences.

I again cite the Constitution: “The President… shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Impeachment is necessary.

You also brought up several reasons to delay impeachment where I disagree. During the Town Hall, I didn’t want to debate you, I remained silent; I respect you and did not want to keep interrupting, therefore I would like to outline some of the points where we differ:

1) Process: The “process” is an impeachment, not some new invented process. We are better off holding an impeachment inquiry instead of several ad hoc hearings. Witnesses will then know they will not be able to “weasel out” of jeopardy with the issuance of a pardon, all six proceedings under one umbrella. The facts will come out by starting the impeachment inquiry, it doesn’t need to end quickly.

I can make an argument for holding impeachment hearings into the election if the delaying tactics by Trump continue. Impeachment will give you unencumbered access to the Grand Jury information that Robert Barr is withholding.

2) Senate: The argument is that impeachment won’t pass the Senate; then why are you passing legislation that also won’t pass Senate? The act of starting an impeachment inquiry is an accomplishment. If there are impeachment hearings, and as evidence comes out, it will become harder for senators to politically defend Trump without running the risk of losing re-election.

Remember, when Watergate started, no Republican senator was in favor of removal; that changed when it no longer served their political purpose. Put the Senate on record.

3) Divide: That impeachment will divide the country is a fallacy. The country is already divided by Trump’s actions. It is difficult to become more divided. Right now less than one-third of the people in the country are determining the fate of the two-thirds majority. An impeachment inquiry can only help to bring the country back together.

4) Precedent: Impeachment, if not now, then when, or ever? You will be negating your Constitutional duty and allowing for an Imperial Presidency to exist where an elected dictator will do whatever he/she wants without regard to his/her subjects. That is a terrible precedent to set.

We agree there are urgent needs facing the country, from the Russian interference to combating Climate Change, as well as dozens of other very important issues. You’ve already passed over 50 legislative acts to take us into future. I commend you. We now need you to immediately end the obstruction of justice by the criminals in office with an impeachment inquiry, otherwise no meaningful legislation will ever become law.


Richfield’s Zoning Plan Will Give More Options Than Are Available Now

Richfield’s Zoning Plan

Will Give More Options

Than Are Available Now

To the Editor:

The Town of Richfield and the Village of Richfield Springs were given a tremendous gift from the IDA in 2015 by funding the hiring of professionals to help us create a Comprehensive Plan and update the Town Zoning Law that were created in 1992.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Village in December 2017, and by the Town in January 2018.

This Joint Comprehensive Plan received The Comprehensive Plan award in April from the New York State Planning Federation. The next step is to update the Town Zoning Law to meet the Comprehensive Plan.

Our original law created in 1992 had 23 allowed uses, and then in 2005 and 2006 the allowed uses were stripped down to six allowed uses under then Supervisor Palevsky, and allowing other uses by “special permit.”

The updated zoning has 73 allowed uses and they are very broadly defined uses. This will allow us to market our town to businesses that fit the character of the community.

Before businesses will consider a town, they want to know that they are “allowed” and they want to know what else is “allowed” so their investment isn’t negatively impacted by having a business next door that would hurt their investment.

Mr. Palevsky obviously doesn’t like zoning at all, but without good zoning laws your community becomes a dumping ground for unwanted projects, property values can suffer, as well as the quality of life for the residents.

Mr. Palevsky has misrepresented the updated zoning law with false statements very publicly for months in a shameful attempt to scare people. The updated zoning actually gives people more rights than they have currently, and it will help us create the prosperous community that Richfield can be.

Member, Comprehensive Plan Committee
Zoning Commission, Town of Richfield

Article Complicit In Suffering Of Native Americans

Article Complicit In

Suffering Of Native People

To the Editor:

In the May 23-24 editions of your newspapers, Jim Kevlin wrote that “paddlers in the 59th
annual General Clinton Regatta can compete with a clear conscience” because the native inhabitants of a single village, Onaquaga, had deserted it.

As he goes on to explain, they had fled a different genocidal campaign the year before Clinton’s, led by Lt. Col. William Butler. The bylines read “Clinton Didn’t Destroy Indian Village/Famed Regatta Namesake Cleared.”

Toward the end of the piece, however, Kevlin writes that when the Clinton-Sullivan Expedition was over, “the Iroquois were destroyed, thousands of men, women and children killed, and the remaining 5,000 fled to British Canada.”

The Clinton-Sullivan Campaign wiped out at least 40 villages, but apparently we can
overlook that because Onaquaga was razed before Clinton got there.

By trumpeting that peoples’ consciences can be cleared, Kevlin suggests that the ethnic cleansing of the Iroquois – and by extension, the canoe regatta itself – already does weigh on peoples’ consciences.
I should hope it does, because the campaign was an early instance of the ethnic cleansing that laid waste to the indigenous peoples of this country, one of the many indelible stains on American history that has never been fully addressed and that casts doubt on notions of American “greatness” and “democracy.”

Native communities still suffer today and articles like these are complicit in that reality.

What is troubling about this kind of journalism is not merely that it is a disservice to readers and an offense to our ability to read, but that it peddles a narrative of white supremacy. The title of the article is misleading and the content proves it.

Kevlin knows as well as I do how awful the Clinton-Sullivan Campaign was – he even says so in the piece – but he would rather absolve the colonists of wrongdoing than, say, suggest the canoe regatta be renamed because it celebrates the legacy of the Iroquois’ destruction and the violent settlement of White Americans on the land.

Kevlin also gives the last word to local historian Buzz Hesse who is quoted as saying, “Washington could see the future. He knew (the bloody conflict between natives and settlers) had to be resolved.”

Washington’s May 1779 correspondence with General Sullivan, however, looks nothing like “conflict resolution”: “The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible …

“You will not by any means listen to [any] overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected.” (National Archives, Founders Online).

No one today has blood on their hands from the Clinton-Sullivan Campaign, but it’s the least we can do to not pretend it wasn’t as bad as it was.

And beyond that, I would appreciate seeing the Village of Cooperstown publicly honor those killed on the stolen land we inherited as part and parcel of addressing the power imbalance between White Americans and Native Americans.

How about your newspapers organize a write-in contest to rename the regatta?


Clark: Build Future On Student, Resident Collaboration

Build Future On Student,

Resident Collaboration

To the Editor:

Last week, I wrote to this newspaper to report at least 58 Oneonta stores and restaurants have closed down in the past three years. These establishments are NOT being replaced at nearly the rate at which we are losing them, thus creating an unsustainable situation.

That calls for an “all hands on deck” attempt at working together to clear the air of a fog of blame that pervades the city now. While that sounds a little fuzzy, in Oneonta it means something very specific. It means that Oneonta’s college students and the city’s permanent residents will finally need to start getting along.

The college students need to start being treated as full-fledged residents of the city, and the permanent residents of the city need to be treated to quiet nights, less vandalism.

I believe this will create several advantages. The first is that if we start respecting our college students, we may very well get more permanent residents. Mayor Herzig says we need more people, we need to actually grow our population, before we can re-grow our business community, and I think that he is right.

Think about it: every year we import 7,700 new members of the population, and then at the end of the school year, we send them away again. Usually, we grumble about them the whole time they are here, and attribute to the students every broken window, every new bit of graffiti, and every incidence of unpleasant noise, whether we have any proof that they are responsible or not.

We are a college town, and the sooner we embrace that fact, the stronger our economy can be.
Our re-branding consultant wants to concentrate on the “quirky, artsy” side of our city. I tried to point out to their representatives, pretty much to no avail, that there is in fact a history of college towns branding themselves as being quirky and artsy BECAUSE they have a college close by.

If we as permanent residents strengthen our ties with the students, all sorts of possibilities open up: Jerid Goss, another fellow running for City Council, has developed a plan for building a business incubator co-managed by the city and the colleges. This plan involves holding business plan contests for aspiring student entrepreneurs. The creators of the winning business plans would be invited to stay in Oneonta and start their businesses with help from the city government and the colleges.

The goal of keeping new businesses here, run by ambitious young people, would be to create local, well-paying jobs. This would both add new businesses to the local economy, and also grow the population by giving students something to stay in town for after they graduate. Just think of it: A fun, quirky space WITH JOBS!


In Most Elective Bodies, Members’ Vote Required Unless There’s A Conflict
from Anthony Casale

In Most Elective Bodies,

Members’ Vote Required

Unless There’s A Conflict

To The Editor:

Recently the Otsego County Board of Representatives voted on a resolution regarding the issuance of New York State driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. I have no particular issue with those who voted yes and those who voted no.

I am, however, very concerned over those representatives who “abstained,” as reported by your newspaper and confirmed in the draft meeting minutes. In my view, elected legislators at the federal, state and local level have a duty and an obligation to stand up and
be counted on each and  every issue that comes before them.

It is widely understood in government circles that a legislator may only abstain from voting when faced with a personal or professional conflict. The rules of most state legislatures, including New York’s, make that  very clear.

Rule 5-2 of the Rules of the New York State Assembly includes this sentence: “A Member may abstain from a vote only on the grounds that such vote will constitute a conflict of interest.” Our State Senate Rules have a similar provision.

We deserve better from our elected representatives. Those three representatives who failed to stand up and be counted on June 5 should at least tell the public how they would have voted.


Environmentalist Davies Sought To Make City Greener

Environmentalist Davies

Sought To Make City Greener

To the Editor:

As outgoing city councilwoman for Oneonta’s Second Ward, it is my privilege to endorse Dr. Mark Davies for the Ward 2 Common Council seat in the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, June 25.

Mark has been a city resident for 17 years. He is employed as a Hartwick College professor of education, and is coordinator of the environment, sustainability and society major there.

On a personal note, Mark is an avid mountain biker and hiker, and loves working and living in Oneonta. He feels the area offers the best trails for his outdoor pursuits, as well as being rich in agriculture and natural beauty. This gives him an opportunity to educate his students on the importance of protecting the environment.

Mark’s lifelong commitment to social and environmental justice has led him to be actively involved in local initiatives and boards.

As Common Council liaison to our Environmental Board, I have had the pleasure of working with Mark, who is chair, for the past 3½ years. He has been on the Environmental Board for six years, as chair for four years.

Mark works to help the city find ways to reduce Green House Gas emissions, develop “complete streets” to assure a walkable/bikeable city, and create a sustainable vision by being a member of the countywide Energy Task Force and the City Comprehensive Planning Committee. He is working to develop a plan securing grant money for a countywide composting facility to be located in Oneonta.

Dr. Davies’ knowledge of, and commitment to, our city, its residents, the county and the environment, are the reasons I feel he is the best candidate to represent Oneonta’s Second Ward. I encourage you to vote for Mark Davies for second ward councilman on June 25.

Second Ward Councilwoman, Oneonta

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