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News of Otsego County

Politics

Hundreds Attend Rally To Protest Crimes Against Asian People

Hundreds Attend Rally In Rain To
Protest Crimes Against Asian People

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Agostino family displays its signs Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown. (Greg Klein/AllOTSEGO.com)

About 250 people attended a rally Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego County Courthouse, to support the community’s Asian American and Pacific Island residents.

The “Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans” was organized and run by a group of Cooperstown Central School freshmen, including 15-year-old Cate Bohler, who said she wanted to speak up to support her friends or anyone who is being harassed.

“As a young Asian-American girl, hearing people call COVID the China virus is hurtful,” Bohler said, reading from her prepared statement about why she wanted to stage the rally. “It is more than hurtful. It is harmful. It perpetuates anti-American sentiments and racism.”

Speakers included the students, as well as local officials, including Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, Otsego Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan and Otsego County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who said he thinks he is the county’s only elected official of Asian descent. Lapin’s mom is Japanese.

“The deep-seated nature of systemic racism requires us to make continuous choices and take continuous actions to advance anti-racist ideas in the public space,” Lapin said.

CONWAY: Editor’s should write editorials

LETTER from PAUL CONWAY

Editor’s should write editorials

To the Editor:

To the question of whether All-Otsego’s new Editor-in-Chief should (continue to) use the editorial page to express positions on a variety of topics: Of course he should. He must!

It would be an abrogation of his responsibility not to provide editorial guidance to area citizens.

Editorials are widely anticipated to inform, educate, and — maybe least of all — persuade citizens on issues they might otherwise ignore or take for granted. The paper would be far less interesting and less useful without them. As to whether the editor might be too liberal or conservative for many readers, the question is irrelevant unless the editor is politically timorous. Many
issues such as infrastructure, reparations, or correcting misinformation deliberately spread in other media, are not necessarily ideological nor are they “yes or no” issues.

As a Political Science professor in past years I urged my students to realize that citizens need to see and hear thoughtful views to the left and right of positions that they might view as moderate.

There may be many more than two reasonable arguments they should consider. The old cliche, “the devil is in the details”, is often apt on many presumably ideological issues. Editorials
can help readers like me get beyond generalities and my preconceived positions. As a long time reader of newspapers, I turn to the editorial page for enlightenment and look for clarity, conviction, and sometimes even courage on the part of the Editor-in-Chief.

Paul Conway
Oneonta

LWV applauds girls who planned Asian rally

LETTER from LIANE HIRABAYASHI

LWV applauds girls
who planned Asian rally

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area would like to applaud Jaina Bischof, Cate Bohler, Charlotte Feury, Riley Fillion, Elizabeth Hughes, Olivia Lowenguth, Maya Pandit, who, with the support of their families and friends, organized the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans on Sunday, May 2, in Cooperstown. These students’ activism is fully aligned with the League of Women Voters’ goal to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy.

Such outstanding civic leadership and teamwork is an inspiration to all of us to commit ourselves to combating racism through character, intelligence, and compassion. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child; in this case it is these teenagers who have raised the Village of Cooperstown to a new level of community engagement with this highly charged issue. With the shining example of these students to light our way, let us continue this important and good work of making Cooperstown, as Dr. Namita Singh put it so well in her speech at the rally, the “all-American village” of this century: one that celebrates our nation’s diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious roots and on these strong foundations remains a thriving, vibrant community.

Liane Hirabayashi
Co-president, Cooperstown Area League of Women Voters

Views Around New York: May 6, 2021

Views from Around the State

Legislate marijuana, but don’t
opt out on revenue source

From: The Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

For local town and village officials wringing their hands, trying to decide whether to opt out of issuing licenses for marijuana sales and on-site consumption in their municipalities, we have three words: Take the money.

It’s not dirty money. As of March 31, recreational marijuana is now legal in New York state for people 21 years or older, just like alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, which are sold in a variety of locations throughout our communities.

There will be a 13% tax on sales of marijuana products — giving a 3% cut to municipalities and 1% to counties. That money could be useful when times are tough. And let’s face it, when it comes to funding local government, times are always tough.

… In January 2014, Colorado became the first state to sell recreational marijuana products, with total sales to date of $10,333,435,545, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The total tax revenue collected in Colorado since 2014 was $1,698,853,703.

Let’s look at the decision facing town and village officials. They may believe it’s a moral choice, but we think it’s really a business decision.

BUTTERMANN: Reform Marijuana laws on principles, not politics

LETTER from DAN BUTTERMANN

Reform Marijuana laws
on principles, not politics

To the Editor:

New York is now the 17th state in the union to legalize marijuana. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA, Senate Bill S854A; Assembly Bill A1248) passed with only Democratic
votes – no Republicans voted for it.

The Republicans claim their opposition was because the bill was badly written, and that it will serve as a kind of gateway for marijuana into our state. Marijuana is already here, and is not
going anywhere. According to the Washington Post, 55 million Americans have used marijuana at least once in the last year, and a Pew Research Center Poll found that 67% of Americans favor legalization.

Before moving on though, you should know that I have never tried marijuana and do not plan to now – legal or not. My comments going forward are about the policy and politics related to this legislation.

The Republican conference insists they vote independently, and that Democrats vote in lock step with party leadership. Not true. For this bill, three Democratic Senators and six Assembly Members voted against it. Despite this vote tally, is the push to legalize marijuana really just a Democrat initiative? No. Have Republicans led on this issue? Yes!

Montana just passed a legalization bill too, and their legislature is dominated by Republicans. I suspect our state matches national sentiments, and most New Yorkers favored the change, including Republicans and elected Republican representatives. The problem facing Republican legislators is that they are in the minority and do not get credit like the majority does. If the balance was flipped in New York, I bet Republicans would have led the passage of the MRTA. Public support would have been on their side too. The legislation acts upon the opinion shared by most New Yorkers that a legal framework to regulate and control marijuana is the right way forward. This is not a money grab by the government. The estimated tax revenue will amount to about .001% of the total budget – not a noticeable impact, but there will be a noticeable impact on our state’s ability to prevent access to it. Yes – legalization can help control distribution by using the revenues to support programs that keep it away from minors. I definitely want that to happen.

The Republican vote on this legislation was more a vote opposing the majority than a vote on the bill itself. It is unfortunate that they viewed the bill in this way. Progress is not bound to a party. Progress is bound to the ideas that make our society better, and those that make them happen. Our state still needs more change to bring families and businesses back, especially to Central New York. Next time, let’s hope members from both parties will view proposed legislation on merit and not on party politics.

Dan Buttermann
Oneonta

Views Around New York: April 29, 2021

Views Around New York

COVID Impatience Can Be Dangerous

From: The Daily Gazette Editorial Board, Saratoga

The return to normalcy has started. But we’re not there yet.

And if you think we’re beyond the bad old days of seeing big spikes in cases, look no further than Saratoga Springs High School, where about two dozen students contracted the virus recently.

Officials believe the outbreak was largely the result of a teen party in Lake George the weekend of April 10.

… We’re almost there! Now is not the time to get complacent and let down our guard.

To Editorialize Or Not To Editorialize, That Is The Question

EDITORIAL

To Editorialize Or Not To
Editorialize, That Is The Question

GREG KLEIN

In the early 1990s, at my second job out of college, at a newspaper in central Alabama, I made the mistake of writing a column about church league basketball.

I had the best of intentions. I was the sports editor of a semiweekly paper in a small city that was becoming a bedroom community for the state capital and the thriving military base between the two cities. My brand, to the extent a 23-year-old, naive, fish-out-of-water reporter/editor/columnist could have a brand, was to not take sports too seriously, but to view it as a metaphor for life.

One week, I had a handful of people tell me that the best team in the local YMCA Church Basketball League, representing the second biggest church in about the 10th biggest city in the state, was acting reprehensibly in their games. They were not only winning, but showboating, running up scores and rubbing it in, then disingenuously telling their upset opponents not to get angry because, “it’s church league, baby.”

I went to watch a game to confirm the behavior and then I wrote a column that called out the behavior.

I could not have been more unprepared for the result. Although I did not mention the church or any of the players by name, I think I heard from every player on that team, as well as the church’s assistant pastor, who hosted me at his office. I also had way too many pow wows with my publisher.

Although I had gotten some threats at Auburn for being a sports editor who was not rah rah enough about the football team, I had never experienced anything like the church league basketball controversy. People read my words back to me with fury in their voices. They accused me of questioning their religion or their faith in their religion. There was a second round of controversy about how I had only watched one game. When I gave them feedback from two other games, a few of the players started outing and questioning my sources. When the YMCA’s league coordinator later introduced me to his wife, she greeted me by saying, “so, you are the one who is trying to get my husband fired.” I am pretty sure those were the only words she ever spoke to me.

Rally Sunday To Protest Crimes Against Asians

Rally Sunday To Protest
Crimes Against Asians

In response to the rising number of hate crimes directed at Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, local teens are planing a Solidarity Rally for Sunday, May 2, according to a media release.

Otsego Solidarity Rally for Asian Americans will be held at 2 p.m. in front of the Otsego County Courthouse at 197 Main Street.

May is Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage month, according to the release.

Students involved in organizing the rally have created a window display at 149 Main Street, Cooperstown, to highlight the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The exhibit will be on view throughout the month of May.

Cate Bohler, one of the 15-year-olds, said in the release, “I want to organize this rally to see how people come together to fight against racial injustice. My biggest goal is to help people become aware, educate them about things they might not know about. The rally is a starting point for action.”

Speakers will include Otsego County Board of Supervisors Danny Lapin and Meg Kiernan and Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh.

WHELAN: Trump Supporter’s Challenge Accepted About ‘Election Fraud’
LETTER from M. A. WEHLAN

Trump Supporter’s Challenge

Accepted About ‘Election Fraud’

To the Editor:

In his recent communication to the readership of the Freeman’s Journal, Mr. Furnari offered to debate anyone on the subject of Mr. Trumps’ 75 million enthusiasts who, he says, were deprived of their right to vote for him. We could also debate his other statements – but first we would have to establish some Rules of Evidence to abide by, as we seem to differ about what evidence is.

For example, I would regard the 36 judicially dismissed law suits alleging election fraud, and the validation of the election results by recounts, as evidence that such allegations had no merit. And I would regard Trump’s taped conversation in which he tried to bribe/coerce the Elections Commissioner in Georgia to “find” a winning number of votes for him, as evidence of Trump’s attempt to commit election fraud on his own behalf. I would regard the U.S. Government Intelligence Reports of Trump’s campaign connections to Russia and the Ukraine as evidence of attempted election fraud.

On the other hand, we would not regard baseless theories propagated on Social Media as evidence.

City Promotes Mattice To Administrator Position

City Promotes Mattice
To Administrator Position

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – The city of Oneonta has promoted Greg Mattice to fill the position of city administrator.

Mattice, who has been with the city since 2010 and has been the city engineer for about half of that time, was approved for his new position by the city’s Common Council Tuesday, April 20.

The administrator position is a revised position in the city, an attempt to turn the autonomous city manager into an employee for the council and mayor. George Korthauer resigned as city manager in January 2020, about six months before his three-year term was set to expire. In the aftermath, city officials said they had not had a good track record with managers and wanted to reform the position.

The new position, which was created at a special meeting in October, was designed to have less power and independence than the city manager position.

Mattice was a member of the Otsego County’s Energy Task Force and in 2017, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig gave him the key to the city in appreciation of his efforts in keeping the city safe during winter storm Stella.

“I know that both the department heads and the council are both looking forward to working with you in that role,” Herzig said. “We are very excited to have you in this role.”

Mattice, who will begin in his new role July 1, will make $110,000 a year.

DOHNER: Where Was Trump In Virtual Medicine?
LETTER from ERIC DOHNER

Where Was Trump

In Virtual Medicine?

To the Editor:

In his column, “Life in the Time of Covid-19,” Richard Sternberg forgets to credit the person responsible for making Medicare, Medicaid and all insurers pay for virtual visits – Donald Trump.

The former president also required the states to accept virtual doctor visits across state lines, which was a huge stumbling block for online medical care.

ERIC DOHNER
Binghamton

BECKER: Republic Under Challenge; Signals Are All Around Us
LETTER from BRUCE BECKER

Republic Under Challenge;

Signals Are All Around Us

To the Editor:

When millions of Americans understand that the past two elections (presidential and Georgia Senate run-off) were taken (not won) by a party that wants to control us no matter what it takes, it’s scary.

The outcome of the presidential election was planned for a long time. Add to this that this party is financially supported by powerful globalists working toward a one world system and not a strong independent USA, that up to now, has been the gatekeeper for much of the World. Now it gets scarier.

Can this movement be reversed? It is going to take a tremendous shift of voting to the Republican candidates, because close outcomes will just get taken again.

There has been a trend from the ’60s that has changed many voters’ views, which has brought us here.

First, we have taken religion out of the schools, plus put it on the back burner everywhere else possible.

Second, we no longer teach our youths the fundamentals/principles this country was founded on, which brought and preserved the freedom we have been blessed with.

Third, most of our media has moved to the left, so many voters only work with what they are giving us, which has gotten just as corrupt as the D.C. swamp.

Fourth, our Judiciary system has been pushed further and further to the left. It’s amazing what our courts look the other way on now.

Americans love our country and must realize to save our great country we have a big challenge ahead. Currently we have one party controlling us that over time have become secured by outside forces.

I believe our great Lord has watched us waiver from him and he is sending us a signal. Either we recognize his warning and change our ways, or our country will be taken. We have a fight on our hands just like the founders of this country did with the British.

BRUCE BECKER
South New Berlin

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 1619 Project, Jump Back!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

1619 Project, Jump Back!

RUMOR HAS IT… AMERICA IS 400 YEARS OLD

That’s right. On Nov. 11, 1620, the Pilgrims from Holland landed in America and signed the “Compact” “America’s First Constitution.”

…Those who signed the document, called the Mayflower Compact, made a commitment to govern themselves. For the first time in history, they united “together into a civil body politic …to enact…such just and equal laws…unto which” they promised “all due…obedience .”

As we continue the celebration of the 400th anniversary of America, the Liberty Tree Society, Walpole, N.H., is offering to send you, at no cost, a Mayflower Compact Certificate. Two certificates are offered; The Mayflower Descendants Certificate has a blank lineage panel which descendants fill in or if individuals send a list complete with names and birth dates of ancestors, Liberty Tree Society will fill it in and email it to you. The certificate is suitable for framing.

Those interested in history but who are not Mayflower descendants may request a Mayflower Certificate without the lineage panel.

The Liberty Tree Society seeks to celebrate the Liberty Tree of Boston where Freedom was born. 150 years later, after landing in Plymouth, Mass., descendants of the Compact signers rallied around the Liberty Tree and organized the Revolution which set them free.

More information about the society is available at their website www.libertytreesociety.org

Ramsey Clark, Filmmaker Joe Stillman’s Hero
ONEONTAN’S ‘LIFE OF PRINCIPLE’ EXPLORED BOLD LEGACY

Ramsey Clark, Filmmaker

Joe Stillman’s Hero

Ramsey Clark in a still from Joe Stillman’s “A Life of Principle,” the only full documentary on the international activist’s life.

‘Tell me about the War on Poverty,” Saddam Hussein asked Ramsey Clark when they met in Baghdad on Nov. 12, 1990 to negotiate a hostage release, Oneonta filmmaker Joe Stillman recalled in an interview this week.

In reply, Clark, who had been President Lyndon Johnson’s attorney general in the 1960s, told how one afternoon LBJ, “War on Poverty” creator, showed up in his Justice Department office “out of the blue.”

“Johnson started talking about Mexican-American children who would arrive at school with bloody feet,” having walked barefoot across sharp stones to get to class, Stillman reported.

As the president spoke, he began to cry, Clark told Stillman.

“You know,” Saddam replied, “that doesn’t seem quite right. How could he be concerned about children with bloody feet when 2 million people were dying in Vietnam because of U.S. bombing?”

“That was one of the lessons of Ramsey’s life,” said Stillman, who spent “hundreds of hours” with the former attorney general producing the prize-winning “Citizen Clark: A Life of Principle,” (2017). “We think we all have a strong allegiance to our country, but there are a lot of things being done that not everyone knows about.

WALLER: Point – Give Federal Largesse To You, Me
ISSUE & DEBATE

POINT: Give Federal
Largesse To You, Me

Editor’s Note: This is citizen Bill Waller’s recommendation in a March 29 letter to the Cooperstown Village Board on how to spend its expected share from the $1.9 trillion Biden Stimulus Plan.

BILL WALLER

Dear Mayor Tillapaugh and the Board of Trustees;

I read with interest statements relating to the benefits coming to Cooperstown from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan (ARP). According to press accounts, this could be nearly $350,000.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-2022 Village of Cooperstown Budget, I did not see any amount referencing the ARP disbursement. This is entirely understandable since the act has just passed, well after all the budget discussions held by the Board of Trustees.

As this is budget enactment time, I would like to express my opinion as to how these funds should be spent when they arrive.

…I would like to make a radical proposal: Give it back to the residents.

In this year’s proposed budget $1,779,194.00 is listed as the expected income from Village property taxes. I would urge adoption of the budget and then when the ARP funds are received, issuing a rebate check to our Village taxpayers. I would propose 10% of the taxes levied be sent back to every Village property owner as COVlD Relief. This would only cost $177,919.40.

While this may seem a radical proposal, I remind you that no one opposed the $600 and $1,400 checks mailed from the Federal Government. I feel that no matter how small an individual’s Village COVlD Relief may be, it will be well received. It would also be innovative, creative and will reward our Village residents for their endurance during the past year. And other than the massive error on the part of Otsego County Government resulting in 20% tax rebates a few years ago, when has a local municipality rewarded their residents by sending some of their money back?

ARP regulations stipulate that the funds cannot be used to reduce taxes, but they can be used to “offset the impact to households” caused by the pandemic. This would be a fair way to lessen the impact.

I know the Village Board could find many ways to spend the ARP money, giving some of it directly to residents would have a big impact.

Creative minds could even come up with a letter accompanying the relief check noting worthwhile community projects very willing to accept the resident’s donated refund if they so choose.

I hope you will consider my proposals at this opportune time as part of your budget discussions.


COUNTERPOINT: Village
Suffered Real Losses

… and this is Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s April 5 response:

Mayor Tillapaugh

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your letter of March 29 pertaining to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and your recommendations to the Village of Cooperstown on the use of the funds which we will receive.

…On March 23, Congressman Delgado held an information meeting concerning the ARP and provided more accurate funding information. He indicated the exact amount of ARP funds which the Village will receive is unclear at this time.

The U.S. Treasury will be determining the distribution of funds and will be providing that guidance to New York State, which will receive the funds for townships and Villages. The state will dispense them to the respective township which will in turn remit them to Villages. Our share will be based on our population percentage within the township.

One half of the funds will be provided this year and one half 12 months after the legislation is signed. General estimates at this time indicate we may receive approximately $120,000 within the next several months and a similar sum next year.

In budget year 2020-21, the Village of Cooperstown had an $800,000 decrease in revenues – from paid parking, sales tax, chips, and Doubleday Field rentals.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-22 VOC Budget, hopefully you realized that the Village Board did indeed fund an additional full-time police officer. We made this public safety commitment to our community, even though the funds we ultimately will receive from the ARP are only a fraction of the lost revenues due to the pandemic.

As for returning funds to taxpayers, the Village has not increased the property tax levy of $1,779,194 since 2013. Eight years of no increase in the tax levy is our support of Village property owners.

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