News of Otsego County

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

DOWNEY: Affordable Power Needed: For Now, That Means Gas
LETTER from DICK DOWNEY

Affordable Power Needed:

For Now, That Means Gas

To the Editor:

Adrian Kuzminski’s latest editorial, “Refocus $500M From Pipelines To Renewables,” plays three-card monte with reality and the truth.

Mr. Kuzminski questions NYSEG’s petition to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for a rate increase. In particular, he objects to the allocation of $203 million (not $500 million as headlined) toward upgrading and expanding capacity of the DeRuyter gas pipeline servicing Oneonta. He states, “To cover costs of the pipeline, NYSEG is asking for a combined gas and electric hikes of 27 percent.”

Better to fund renewables, he says. Their energy source, the sun, is FREE (his emphasis). He notes, “wind farms have gotten so cheap you can build and operate them for less than the expected costs of buying fuel for an equivalent natural gas plant.” Supporting gas infrastructure denies funds for renewables which, in turn, “all but guarantees our region will remain an economic backwater.”

Wrong overall and often disingenuous.

First, some background. The state grants utilities area-specific monopolies but regulates rates. That’s the deal. To the Editor

Utility companies aren’t exciting businesses like Amazon or Apple. They attract investors by paying decent dividends. The state allows for this attraction but little else. Rates must serve the public while guaranteeing a reasonable profit to the utility. Profits increase as the monopoly area prospers, drawing new ratepayers who want to work and live there. NYSEG isn’t that fortunate. It services Upstate New York. Now New York saddles NYSEG with extra burdens which brings them before the PSC.

Mr. Kuzminski neatly combines NYSEG’s gas and electric components in the rate hike of 27 percent. He neglects to tell you that natural-gas expenses account for only 2 percent of that hike. The remainder, the burdensome part of the rate hike, is the electricity costs.

This isn’t due to an uptick in tree trimming or emergency calls. The cause is Andrew Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV), an energy plan filled with a web of renewable subsidies, rebates, priorities, mandates, favored businesses and programs that that bleed traditional energy servers such as NYSEG in favor of renewable energy entities.

The beauty part for the Governor is that his thumb on the scales is never seen; his policies cause the rate hikes (in reality, a tax) but the utility does the collection and takes the abuse. Sweet!

When the REV was published two years ago, Otsego Electric warned its subscribers that rates would rise. Good call! However, this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

In Europe, where REV-like policies were already in place,  rates had skyrocketed. Germans pay three times the amount paid by Upstate New Yorkers for electricity. If our current rates and policies are unable to attract industry, what happens when the rates triple?

The consulting firm McKinsey recently found that Germany is endangering its economy and energy supply through the transition to renewables. (Forbes, 9/5/19). After favoring renewables for almost 20 years, Germany gets only 27 percent of its electricity from wind, solar and hydro. To offset an energy disaster, it burns biomass, garbage, and lignite (dirty coal), is building a second gas pipeline to Russia, and is constructing an LNG hub near Hamburg.

That’s the real cost of FREE energy, Mr. Kuzminski.

Mr. Kuzminski praises a wind farm breakthrough where the cost per kilowatt hours is less than that of gas. The praise is well deserved. We need cheap energy, be it from sun, wind, water or gas, all competing in the marketplace for the best price.

Not mentioned in Kuzminski’s column is that these breakthrough wind farms are few in number, well over a thousand miles away, situated in that great geographic wind tunnel extending north from Texas to the Canadian border. This area, called the Interior, has the greatest wind resources, and therefore the greatest growth.

The Northeast has less wind, has the highest construction costs, and produces a more expensive product. However, we do have gas, under our feet and in Pennsylvania. Regionally, it’s our best road to economically attractive power.

Finally, Mr. Kuzminski predicts Upstate New York is doomed to be an eternal “economic backwater” if we don’t go all in for renewables. Really? One million people left New York in the last decade. They left for better opportunity elsewhere — lower taxes, less regulation, lower cost of living, and a lower cost of doing business. No one’s leaving town over a lack of renewable energy infrastructure.

Affordable power and heating is part of the solution to our economic woes. Here and now, natural gas fills the bill.

DICK DOWNEY

Otego

 

McLAREN: Not Every Client Can Be Top Model
LETTER from ANDREW McLAREN

Not Every Client

Can Be Top Model

Andrew McLaren was featured in NBC’s “Stars In Stripes,” among acting gigs.

To the Editor:

I have known Victoria Pressly since July 2012. She was professionally known as Victoria Talbot back then.  She was recommended to me by my former acting agent Noel Palm. He told me if I hire her she would get me a lot of good press which would help advance my career in showbiz.  I was on a prime time NBC show called “Stars Earn Stripes” and wanted to capitalize on the notoriety the TV series was garnering.

I subsequently hired Victoria and she did in fact get me a lot of great press, including the cover of Millennium magazine, “Fox and Friends” twice, Sirius XM national radio tour, Channel 12 News interview, and several high-profile photo shoots with expensive photographers such as Jim Malucci who were for free for me since I paid Victoria $1,500 and she was friends with him.  Jim is Miami-based and usually charges $7,500 a shoot and does various covers.

XEN SAMS: I Love Talent Agent To Pieces, Actress Says
LETTER from XEN SAMS

I Love Talent Agent

To Pieces, Actress Says

To the Editor:

Xen Sams

I have worked with Victoria for close to 10 years. She’s a hustler in piranha-filled waters.

She works hard to promote her clients, follows protocol, respects the art and bows to the game.

She rolls up her sleeves if called upon and works hard to create a marketable brand for her clients.

She creates synergies, combines personalities and aids in any way she can to create something wonderful.

Models, actors, filmmakers, producers and directors dance at her parties, but she’s up “farm girl” style at 6 a.m.

She is very family-oriented and stable. Victoria is unique, because she is a business person and a mother – passionate and gentle.

Victoria is a firecracker wrapped up in a Chanel lipstick!  Love her to pieces.

I am currently working with Victoria to promote my next round of films, but I am very excited in particular about “The Banker and Waldo.”

XEN SAMS

Actress

KUZMINSKI: There Is No Gay Lifestyle, And No Straight Lifestyle
LETTER from ADRIAN KUZMINSKI

There Is No Gay Lifestyle,

And No Straight Lifestyle

To the Editor

An earlier column of mine, “Flying the Flag,” generated some strong responses, mostly private.

Some friends were outraged, saying that I lent credibility to homophobic attitudes by citing a comment a community member made about “gay lifestyle.”

That was not my intent, but it clearly had that effect in too many minds, which I deeply regret.

The idea of a “gay lifestyle” is as much of a myth as the idea of a “straight lifestyle.”

How easy it is, I’ve learned, to give support inadvertently to things that you don’t mean to support.

ADRIAN KUZMINSKI

Fly Creek

NORTHRUP: Protocol Directs: Don’t Put Private Flag On Public Pole
LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

Protocol Directs: Don’t Put

Private Flag On Public Pole

To the Editor:

I was so flummoxed over the slavery flag issue that I almost overlooked the other flags. Public flag protocol is governed by established tradition and state law, not by local plebiscites or whims.

If any flag goes up on a public flagpole, it should be the national flag, then the state flag, then a municipal flag.

A municipal flagpole is not a sign board for a cause du jour. Under no circumstances should a public flag pole be used to display the banner of a private interest group, a religion, political party or local glee club.

If you want to fly a special interest group flag in public, get your own flagpole.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

WOODBERRY: Victoria’s Network Impressive; Connections Beyond Expectation
LETTER from WARREN WOODBERRY

Victoria’s Network Impressive;

Connections Beyond Expectation

To the Editor:

Warren Woodberry Jr.

From the moment I met Victoria Talbot Pressly she proved she was a serious connector whose impressive Rolodex has played an integral part in the growth and sustainability of Millennium Magazine.

I met Vicky while standing in line for drinks at a doctor’s summer penthouse party on Manhattan’s Eastside in 2011. She was standing in front of me when I stepped up and she turned around to say, “Hi,” and introduced herself. She told me she was a publicist and I told her that I was a magazine publisher and that we should talk.

Minutes later she introduced me to her friend Lauren, who covered the Hamptons for another magazine out East. I welcomed her to join my venture, and Vicky’s friend proved to be such an outstanding contributor to Millennium I later made her editor at large.

MOYNIHAN:  To Predict Recession, Read Entrails
LETTER from ROBERT MOYNIHAN

To Predict Recession,

Read Entrails

To the Editor:
Predicting an economic future? Just forget the past and reliable evidence.
1. No society has survived by increasing debt and reducing income – that is our present national pattern of lowering taxes and inflating expenditures.
2. Whatever minor tax relief given average citizens, increased fees and higher prices for goods limit their spending ability.
3. Because of new tariffs, U.S. farming communities already face depressed markets and massive reductions of income.
However, ancient methods do exist for any commentator who erases experience to celebrate a blank slate.
Divination pretends to foretell the future with signs – and there are dozens of them beginning with the a’s – alectryomancy, a chicken eating grains placed next to letters in a circle – ending with xylomancy – the use of supposedly predictive twigs.
When any of these inevitably fail, mythic futurists can turn to road-kill: haruspex forecasts the future when interpreters “read” entrails.
One may become infatuated with ignoramuses, but national decisions based on their actions and statements result in destructive economic policies.

ROBERT MOYNIHAN
Cooperstown

NORTHRUP: Whartons Best President, First Lady We Never Had
LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

Whartons Best President,

First Lady We Never Had

Dolores Wharton, whose book, “A Multicultured Life,” will be available on amazon.com Sept. 1, and her husband, former SUNY Chancellor Clifton R. Wharton Jr. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

To the Editor:

Your newspaper did us all a great favor with its coverage of Dolores Wharton’s autobiography, which serves as a fine complement to her husband’s book. You have helped put the Whartons in their proper historical context – they were pillars in the advancement of minority meritocracy in the United States, moreso than any ballplayer in the Hall of Fame.

Because, while Jackie Robinson proved that a black man could play in the Major Leagues, the Whartons proved minorities could rise to the top in the real-world major leagues of commerce, international relations, finance, government and the arts. And, in so doing, they paved the way for the advancement of the next generation of minority leaders – Barack Obama,
Julián Castro and Kamala Harris.

The Whartons may well be the best President and First Lady that the United States never had.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

DUNCAN: Flag Already Symbolizes Hope, Freedom, Equality
LETTER from R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Flag Already Symbolizes

Hope, Freedom, Equality

To the Editor:

I get tired of all these special interest groups whining for attention. Basically, the Pride flag is a symbol of whom you want to embrace and the freedom to do such and be loved and accepted.

The design of the flag is not very creative. That flag design is used to represent the Inca Empire, the indigenous in Peru and Bolivia. The design is used around the world for many different things. For me, rainbow belongs to everyone, it is about nature.

When you put up one flag for a special interest group then you must put a flag up for other groups. A heterosexual flag must go up. How about a flag for swingers? And don’t forget the people who don’t care. Let’s put up a flag for Arabs … let them feel accepted too.

A flag every foot down Main Street covering everything to show acceptance for all people and not just a specific group. Isn’t that a Christian thing to do?

All these different groups take the attention away from the real problem: the need for kindness, compassion and acceptance for all. Don’t get lost in special interest groups’ demands.

We are a ragtag group of people.

We are indigenous people who have lost almost everything and are struggling to regain a sense of purpose and belonging. We are slaves who have been dragged here kicking and screaming from our own homes who are now trying to build a new life.

We are neighbors across the borders who have come here to seek a better way of life to live a life without fear. We are refugees from around the world gathering here in what is supposed to be a land of opportunity, hope and quality of life.

America is the melting pot of all kinds of people from all places. It is time to focus on our common desire of quality of life for all the residents in America. We need to focus on the big picture, which is that we all deserve a decent quality of life and not have to live under the tyranny of corporations or power-hungry government people.

We are “Americans”: it’s time we all practice compassion, kindness and acceptance of our fellow man and women.. and whatever.

Flags are a symbol of countries. We only need one flag. It’s time to make it mean what it symbolizes; hope, freedom, and equality and justice for all.

R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Hartwick Forrest

Flying Confederate Flag Dishonors Our Ancestors
LETTER from CONSUELO KRAHAM VELEZ

Flying Confederate Flag

Dishonors Our Ancestors

To the Editor:

My great-grandfather, Malachi Kraham, an Irish IMMIGRANT, came to this country in 1859.  He settled in Otsego County and shortly after arriving, like many other young men from Otsego County, he joined the New York Militia during the Civil War.  He served in the Union Army, under the American flag to preserve the Union and abolish slavery.

Eventually, he came back to Cooperstown, to his young bride, raised a family, ran a business, became fire chief of the Neptune Company and mayor of Cooperstown.  He was one of the lucky ones.  Many of his comrades were not so fortunate and died valiantly in a noble cause.

I find it particularly repulsive to see Confederate flags being prominently displayed and sold at the Otsego County Fair and along the highways and byways of our beautiful county.  (Don’t bore me with the “free speech” argument. Everyone knows what is really being “telegraphed”.)  The Confederate flag represents sedition against the United States, i.e. seeking the violent overthrow of the government.

This is about decency.  This putrid symbol of oppression and division mocks the sacrifice of Otsego County’s brave young soldiers.  To fly or otherwise display this treasonous symbol dishonors our ancestors.

CONSUELO KRAHAM VELEZ

Cooperstown

Developing Method Helps To Handle Disagreements
LETTER from JASON HEWLETT

Developing Method Helps

To Handle Disagreements

To the Editor:

Through much trial and error, I have learned how to express my opinions in a respectful, honest and productive way instead of being unfair with the people who have different opinions than I do. It wasn’t easy for me to learn that valuable life lesson because when you’re so sure you’re right about something, you feel entitled to be the final authority on the subject.

One of the ways I’ve been able to swallow my pride and be fair to my critics is to be open and objective enough to read or listen to both sides of an issue and not just my side.

A one-sided viewpoint, even if it’s true, doesn’t give people an opportunity to think for themselves and they end up letting other people think for them.

I have also learned through my own personal failures that letting my critics speak their mind rather than silencing them actually increases the value and validity of my own viewpoint.

I have accepted that I may need more education and guidance, even constructive criticism, about the things I believe and write about. But can the public, including my critics, admit that as well?

If you or I cannot swallow our pride about something we believe, something we’re very passionate about, then the least we can do is read and listen to both sides of the story, whatever that story may be, before we jump to conclusions about our critics.

Then we can at least know the reasons for their views and help them.

JASON HEWLETT
Oneonta

AOC’s Family Lived In U.S. Since 1898, How About That?
LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG

AOC’s Family Lived In U.S.

Since 1898, How About That?

To the Editor:

I have a problem with Mike Zagata’s last opinion piece.

In it he quotes Donald Trump’s tweet, “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democratic congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken crime infested places from which they came? Then come back and show us how it is done.”

Well, I have a real problem with the president disparaging the United States. Three out of the four members of “The Squad” were born in the United States.

In spite of the current national dichotomy I think it is despicable for the president to declare our country “totally broken” and “crime infested” but I assume Mr. Zagata has no problem with this based on the way he comments on it.

Before he implies that they are immigrants by failing to correct the president’s comments, and Congress-woman Ocasio-Cortez’ family has been American since 1898 at least one generation and probably two before the Trumps, he should be aware that Donald Trump has claimed that his father was an immigrant. (By the way, he wasn’t, but the president’s grandfather was.) He then takes the liberty of loosely translating the president’s words. He is very loose with his “translation.”

I myself have a great deal of problems with “The Squad” and have found myself opposed to almost
all their proposals but the president having similar problems does not give him the right to deprecate our wonderful country.

RICHARD STERNBERG
Cooperstown

Want To Revive Baseball? Make It Kid-Centric Again
LETTER from KEVIN GRADY

Want To Revive Baseball?

Make It Kid-Centric Again

To the Editor (and baseball fans everywhere):

Kudos to former Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson for co-founding Grassroots Baseball, an effort to connect young kids to what at one time was our National Pastime. When my generation was growing up, we would race home after school to catch the World Series at about the third inning, creating fond, lifelong memories.

My kids didn’t have that opportunity. For too long, all MLB playoff and World Series games start past Little Leaguer bedtimes. As usual in our country, the almighty dollar runs the show.

On another note, I read the other day of MLB’s plans to have the White Sox and the Yankees play A REGULAR SEASON GAME at the corn field in Iowa where “Field of Dreams” was filmed. I hope it’s a day game.

The Yankees and Red Sox played TWO REGULAR SEASON GAMES in London earlier this year and there are plans for games in Williamsport, Pa., and Omaha, Neb. I think it’s wonderful that MLB is taking the initiative to reconnect people to baseball.

Once upon a time for more than 50 years, two Major League teams played AN EXHIBITION GAME every year on Doubleday Field to celebrate the induction of baseball’s greatest players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Commissioner Manfred, would you care to comment about any of this?

KEVIN GRADY
Cooperstown

Brooks Robinson Photo Recalls Best Play Ever

LETTER from JIM FRANCIS

Brooks Robinson Photo

Recalls Best Play Ever

To the Editor:

Re: Brooks Robinson photo on recent front page:

I watched a lot of baseball on TV around 1970. The single best play I ever saw was in the 1969 All-Star Game.

Johnny Bench hit a rocket down the third-base line. Brooks dove flat out to glove it and threw the ball to first while airborne. It was high and a bit on the second-base side.

Carl Yastrzemski leaped off the bag to catch the throw and swipe-tagged Bench out.

JIM FRANCIS
Oneonta

Lack Of Energy Trumps ‘Economic Independence’

LETTER from BOB HARLEM

Lack Of Energy Trumps

‘Economic Independence’

To the Editor:

Adrian Kuzminski’s article on “Economic Independence” was very interesting.  I’m happy to see that reality is setting in and there is an awareness that “until we begin to make products replacing at least some of those we import we will remain far from economic independence, and true prosperity will continue to elude us.”

An economy based on “Beds, Meds and Eds,” is not sustainable.  The “Beds” portion is not only based on discretionary income but is also subject to trends, which can be fleeting.  There is the seasonable aspect which produces temporary jobs which are generally lower paying and provide minimal benefits.

The “Meds and Eds” portion of our economy, while creating economic opportunities, has created other issues.  The simple fact that these institutions do not pay taxes, many do not use local suppliers or services and often those who work for the “Meds and Eds” don’t even live in the area, puts an unstainable burden on the host community.

One need only to look at the City of Oneonta, where more than half the property is tax exempt resulting in the other 47 percent paying 100 percent of the tax burden for the necessary services such as police and fire, etc.  The City of Oneonta has the 13th highest cost for rental housing of all cities in Upstate New York while having one of the lowest per capita incomes.

As was so accurately pointed out, the answer is to create opportunity by building on what we have.  The farm community is a good place to start, as the “multiplier” (the number of times a dollar changes hands in the local community) of a farm dollar is one of the highest, between 5-6 times.

In other words, when a farmer receives a milk check for $4,000, it will put between $20,000 and $24,000 in the local community.  Farmers spend their money on feed (maybe from Lutz Feed) and vet bills, they buy local supplies and local insurance, use local banks, and the milk is trucked by local haulers who buy many of their services locally.

It should be noted that Lutz Feed not only supplies feed, it also buys the farmers’ corn and processes it for sale.  In all these instances, there is a need for reliable energy.  Energy is needed to milk the cows, harvest the hay and corn, transport the milk, deliver the feed, and process the feed and corn.

Opportunities also exist in the logging industry.  There’s Wightman Lumber, Leatherstocking Timber and F.S. Forestry LLC, which all do some form of logging and, in the case of Wightman’s and Leatherstocking,  process, manufacture and export finished products out of this locality.  Their process is energy dependent as they need kilns to dry the wood and trucks to move the products.  Both these businesses use their by-products to supplement their energy needs but they still require a reliable power source.

It should also be noted that other industries export products and import dollars into our region. Oneonta Block manufactures concrete block, both regular and archictural, which are used throughout Upstate New York and beyond.  They are used in schools, hospitals, housing projects, malls, wastewater facilities, etc.  Simply put, 95 percent of what Oneonta Block manufactures goes 60 miles or further, while the raw materials used to produce are purchased within a three-county area.  These products require a kiln and trucks to move the product, all of which require a reliable energy source.

So to have “Economic Independence” for a sustainable local economy, it is imperative that we stress the need to develop and expand the local production capabilities.  For this to occur, there needs to be a reliable and affordable source of energy.  Renewable energy such as solar and wind are a part of the solution but unfortunately they are not a 24/7 source of energy.

There are also other issues that limit the use of each.  Solar takes up a lot of space and will result in many acres of land becoming virtually useless for such things such as farming and forestry.  Wind mills can only be used in areas when there is the proper wind currents and they require large setbacks.  Wind doesn’t eliminate the land from use as much as solar.

Two other sources are water and biomass.  Hydroelectric power has been in the area for decades at the Goodyear Lake Dam.  This could be expanded or a series of smaller dams could be developed, but this would require the DEC to allow for temporarily disturbing the river and the aquatic life, not to mention the potential of “flooding” large areas to store the water to guarantee the flow.  The other source of water energy is geothermal.  This can be done in situations when a steady source of lower temperature energy is needed.

The last source locally would be biomass.  This opportunity was presented to us years ago, but the naysayers shouted it down.  Biomass may be one of the best sources, as it would incorporate our local area strengths by allowing our farm community to develop an additional crop, switch grass, which is grown and used to power biomass facilities.

Unfortunately, there are many in this county who are against anything and everything no matter the consequences of their negativity.  The biomass plant, the pipeline, the compressor station, the re-development of the rail yards, the baseball parks, housing developments, and the list goes on.

The benefits of these projects would not only have been jobs but also increased school and local tax revenue, lower energy cost, create spin off businesses, better housing options and a brighter future for our children.

The failure to have the pipeline has resulted in the creation of the “virtual pipeline” which is the trucks that are carrying the CNG to the markets where it is needed without providing any additional energy or revenue to the local community.

The end result being during the severe winter days the hospitals and educational community are forced to burn a much dirtier and more expensive fuel in order to sustain their operations.

Once one starts to understand the local situation, one cannot help but realize why it is so difficult for those in the “Meds” and “Eds” field to recruit doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals.  This is part of the reason why many commute into the area from Binghamton, Utica and the Capital District rather than call our county home.  If these trends continue then “true prosperity will continue to elude us.”

The choice is yours, you can find a way to make things happen by being part of the solution and support the efforts such as the rail yards or be against everything and continue to offer no real solutions.

BOB HARLEM

Oneonta

 

 

 

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