EDITORIAL Let’s Make 2020, ‘Year Of The Cooperstownians’


Let’s Make 2020, ‘Year

Of The Cooperstownians’

It’s Time For Trustees To Ask:

What Can We Do For YOU?

First, congratulations to Democrat Mac Benton and Republican Mary-Margaret Robbins for a hard-fought campaign for Cooperstown Village Board.

Mac won, but both he and Mary-Margaret showed a lot of class – he in victory; she in defeat – after the Tuesday, Sept. 29, tallying showed he garnered 343 votes to her 308.

He said her strong challenge will “make me a better trustee.” She praised the people of Cooperstown, those who supported her and those who were active in supporting Mac, as representative of the community’s spirit.

The front page of the March 17, 2011, Freeman’s Journal shows trustees, from left, Jeff Katz, Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and Walter Franck at a victory party hosted by village Democratic then-chairman Richard Abbate. Behind Tillapaugh is her
husband, Gary Kuch.

In looking back over past Cooperstown Election Nights, that Freeman’s Journal front page from Thursday, March 17, 2011 – at right – showed up. It signaled the start of nine years of Democratic domination of the Cooperstown Village Board, which will now continue.

That picture in that front page’s upper left shows Jacob Miller dancing with mom Nancy at the 2011 Cooperstown Cotillion at The Otesaga, where Cooperstown 13-year-olds annually show off newly gained ballroom dancing skills.

Since, Jacob graduated from CCS, graduated from Harvard, and is now an assistant coach with the University of Georgia’s football team.

That’s how long it’s been since Democrats and Republicans balance each other on the Village Board.

That year, Democrats Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, now mayor, was elected to the Village Board, along with newcomers Walter Franck and Jim Dean. Trustee Jeff Katz was reelected to the board. After a year of Democrats bedeviling the only Republican on the board, Mayor Joe Booan, Katz was elected mayor.

Those have been nine years of huge accomplishment for the Village of Cooperstown, fueled by the enactment of on-street paid parking, which generate $400,000 in new money a year for village government.

A decaying downtown has been fully repaired – sewerage replaced, streets and sidewalks redone, new street lamps, benches and $4,000 trash receptacles (they can be locked during the Parade of Legends each Induction Weekend) installed.

Pioneer Park at Main and Pioneer has a brick surface, a slightly elevated bandstand, water cooler, bike racks, new furniture.

The $5.5 million redo of Doubleday Field and the parking lot, completed this summer, is world class, appropriate for the world-class attraction. If you haven’t visited it yet, do yourself a favor: Make the drive to Cooperstown on one of the remaining fall weekends.

Among many, credit goes in particular to the hard-driving, determined Chicagoan Jeff Katz, mayor for six years, and such committed trustees as Tillapaugh, Cindy Falk, Lou Allstadt and several others. Now Mayor Tillapaugh is an able successor to Katz, smart, steady, disciplined, an elegant ambassador for “America’s Most Perfect Village.”

There’s much that these people – and Cooperstown’s citizens at large – can reflect on with pride.

Cooperstown’s Village Hall has been under one-party control for nine years.

While the Democratic bloc remains in control, it can only be learned that something was learned from this hard-fought campaign.

In the long ago League of Women Voters’ forum in this year’s race – March 7; the March 18 election was delayed until a couple of weeks ago by the COVID-19 threat – Robbins suggested the “Year of Cooperstownians,” 12 months when the Village Board focuses on making Cooperstown a more pleasant place to live.

Two incidents led to Mary-Margaret Robbins’ candidacy.

• One, the Village Board, without consulting, sought to impose diagonal parking on lower Pioneer Street, unaware or uncaring that cars entering and exiting would shine their brights into neighbors living rooms, plus adding congestion to the neighborhood.

• Two, one of those infur-iating blinking stop signs was installed at Lake and Fair streets, blinking all night long into a neighbor’s bedroom.

Despite the outcome of Tuesday’s vote, the Democrate bloc should take Robbins’ advice to heart.

The Village Board has a lot of ideas, but has it asked citizens lately, what do you want us to do next?

It might be instructive.

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