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News of Otsego County

2020 Election

Fight Isn’t Partisan; It’s Upstate, Downstate
EDITORIAL

Fight Isn’t Partisan;

It’s Upstate, Downstate

UNITED UPSTATE CAUCUS? Assemblypeople who could form the bi-partisan core are, from left, Otsego County’s Salka, Norwich’s Angelino, Utica’s Buttenschon, Syracuse’s Magnarelli, New Hartford’s Miller and Schoharie’s Tague.

If you’ve lived a while, how often have you heard predictions about the extinction of one party by the other?

After Richard Nixon’s rout of George McGovern in 1972 and Ronald Reagan’s two terms, the Democrats. After LBJ overwhelming Goldwater in 1964, Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection and Barack Obama in 2008, Republicans.

Only one Democrat was elected president between the end of the Civil War and Woodrow Wilson, 47 years later. Only one Republican between FDR’s and Nixon’s election, 36 years later.

Their pro-slavery stance before the Civil War ruined the Democrats. Insensitivity to suffering following the Crash of 1929 ruined the Republicans.

Hubris nemesis – today’s pride leadeth to tomorrow’s fall.

Congratulations to local supporters of the Biden-Harris ticket, some who were seen (and heard) in front of their homes at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, hammering on pots and pans to celebrate achieving 270 electoral votes.

The nation has spoken – for now, and narrowly.

It isn’t astonishing that President Trump’s divisiveness led to his loss; and that the Blue Wave turned out to be a ripple, and challenger Joe Biden achieved such a narrow victory.

What is astonishing is the wide support for Republican candidates in centrist, moderate Otsego County.

Every local winner was Republican, from Assemblyman John Salka and Peter Oberacker, elected to state Senate, to every candidate on the ballot, except Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19. Energetic and conciliatory, even he only narrowly beat Republican Kyle Van De Water, who, from what we can tell, only visited Otsego County twice during the campaign.

The single issue that stood out amid all the verbiage was worries about the state’s bail reform. It, in effect, was the dismantling of the justice system as we know it by the Democratic majority in Albany – state senators, assemblypeople and Governor Cuomo.

Here’s a sampling of local fallout.

• Just hours after the state legislative majority folded bail reform into the 2019 state budget vote – thus avoiding the usual public hearings and, sometimes, compromise – a local man was arrested in the morning for stealing a truck. Freed without bail, he stole another truck that evening.

• A downtown merchant called OPD about a customer shoplifting. The police apprehended the man, then freed him as required. He was back shoplifting that afternoon.

• Following the rash of car break-ins in Oneonta this fall, it surfaced that one of the suspects, apprehended in September, had been arrested four times since Aug. 31 for similar petty thievery.

• Then, Oct. 19, when the first two trials since COVID-19 struck in March were scheduled to start in Otsego County Court, neither defendant showed up, District Attorney John Muehl reported in dismay – but not surprise. Charged with crack-cocaine violations, they were wandering, bail-free, amid our children, our families and our community at large.

That just scratches the surface.

Among all of this fall’s candidates, only the scrappy Salka, the Republican freshman who represents Otsego County’s three largest communities – Oneonta, Cooperstown and Richfield Springs – took the initiative in saying it loud and clear: Bail reform is lousy law.

The blatant injustices that needed correcting were mostly at New York City’s Rikers Island prison, not statewide.

He introduced a bill to repeal the reform. And candidate Oberacker, now elected successor to state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, joined him, declaring that on Day One – Jan. 1, 2021 – he will introduce companion legislation to Salka’s bill in the upper house.

Salka’s winning tally rose from 6,582 in 2018 to 7,879 on Nov. 3, an 8-percent increase, garnering him 56 percent of the Otsego County vote, compared to 41 percent for his in-county opponent. Oberacker’s margin was 61 percent to his opponent’s 39 percent.

Indeed: A Red Wave.

Bail reform is not the only bad law to come out of Albany. The Farm Bill, with its extension of overtime provisions to agriculture, will shutter innumerable farms if imposed, both Oberacker and his Democratic opponent, Jim Barber, agreed. The natural-gas prohibition. Issuing drivers’ licenses to undocumented residents. And there’s much more coming.

This election, the split was Republican-Democrat. Truly, though, the divide isn’t partisan; it’s geographical.

New York City, with 3.2 million Democrats, is lost to the GOP for now; there are only 459,008 registered Republicans there. It’s a long way back.

Upstate it’s a different story, with its 2.9 million Democrats and 2.3 million Republicans. That’s 5.2 million votes a United Upstate caucus could tap to end the city’s predations north of Yonkers, and even send a Unity candidate to the Governor’s Mansion.

With one million people leaving our Empire State in the past decade – more than from any other state –
this is essential to our future.

Salka gets it. He enlisted Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, the Utica Democrat, in his bail-reform repeal drive. He intends to reach out to Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, as well.

The county’s other Republican assemblymen – incumbents Chris Tague and Brian Miller; newcomer Joe Angelino, the former Norwich police chief, all elected – should team up with Salka in reaching across the aisle to other prospects for the United Upstate caucus, as should freshman Oberacker in the Upper House.

This could be the start of something big.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Q&A With Presidential Photographer 11-1-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1

Q&A With Presidential Photographer

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VIRTUAL TOUR – 2 p.m. Zoom meeting featuring walk through of exhibit ‘Pete Souza: Two Presidents, One Photographer’ featuring live Q&A session with Pete Souza himself. Free, registration required. Suggested donation $20. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Early Voting concludes. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Halloween Fun In Richfield Springs 10-31-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SARURDAY, OCTOBER 31

Halloween Fun In Richfield Springs

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HALLOWEEN FUN – 10 a.m. – Noon. Bring painted or carved pumpkins to enter in pumpkin contest, winners announced at 10:15, followed by costume contest. Prizes available. All ages welcome. Richfield Springs Public Library, 102 Main St., Richfield Springs. 315-858-0230 or Click Here

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Click Here for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Trunk Or Treat 10-30-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30

Trunk Or Treat

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TRUNK OR TREAT – 4 p.m. Decorate your cars and bring the kids for fun activities from building a spider, pumpkin carving, make a ghost, and of course collecting candy. All stations are sanitized, 6 feet apart. The Railroad Inn, 28 Railroad Ave., Cooperstown.

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Horror Stories From The Museum 10-29-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29

Horror Stories From The Museum

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HORROR AT MUSEUM – 6 p.m. Enjoy evening of spooky stories from students, faculty, & staff. Will feature readings and performances of original, classic tales of horror and the macabre. Presented by Yager Museum of Art & Culture, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/yagermuseum/ for info.

VOTE – Noon – 8 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Cooperstown Reflects Series ‘On Racism In Healthcare’ 10-28-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28

Cooperstown Reflects Series

‘On Racism In Healthcare’

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COOPERSTOWN REFLECTS – 7 p.m. Join panel on Zoom to for ‘Cooperstown Reflects on Racism and Healthcare’ discussion with Reggie Knight, Spine Care Institute; Dr. Subashini Daniel, Attending Surgeon, Cardiac Surgery; Dr. Jim Dalton, Director of Medical Education, Bassett Healthcare; Vince Solomon, Psychiatric Social Worker; and Candice Shannon, Social Psychologist/Sociologist. Presented by Cooperstown Village Library. Visit fovl.eventbrite.com to register.

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Teens Learn Cooking For Fall 10-26-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, OCTOBER 26

Teens Learn Fall Cooking

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TEEN SCENE – 5 p.m. Teens and caregivers are invited to learn delicious Fall Recipes. Free, registration for Zoom required. Presented by Family Resource Network. 607-432-0001 or visit www.facebook.com/FamilyRN/

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF CANCELLED EVENTS
CLICK TO LOOK AHEAD AT WHAT’S HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Carved Pumpkins On Display 10-25-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25

Carved Pumpkins On Display

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PUMPKIN GLOW – 6 – 7 p.m. See artistically carved/decorated pumpkins for this Halloween season. Wear a mask, social distance, be safe. There will be no indoor gathering this year. Cooperstown Village Library. 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Stream 3 Plays Online Featuring Local Performers 10-24-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24

Stream 3 Plays Online

Featuring Local Performers

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STREAMING – Theater returns with ‘An Evening of Lanford Wilson’ featuring 3 plays performed by local actors. ‘Days Ahead,’ with Gary Stevens, ‘A Poster of the Cosmos’ with Steve Dillon, & ‘The Moonshot Tape’ with Brooke Tallman-Birkett. Cost, $10 for 2-day steaming access. Presented by Stuff of Dreams Productions. 607-432-5407 or visit www.foothillspac.org

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Early Voting begins. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

Primary Results Could Take Weeks To Count

Primary Results Could

Take Weeks To Count

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

New York State’s – and Otsego County’s – primary elections were Tuesday, June 23, but the results won’t be known for at least a week.

That’s because, due to the coronavirus threat, all Otsego County voters – and all voters statewide – received absentee ballots in the mail, along with a postal return envelope, and many took advantage of the opportunity for absentee voting, avoiding any infection at polling places.

The mailed-in ballots had to be postmarked Tuesday, June 23, and must be received by the county Board of Elections by June 30, when the counting begins, according to Lori Lehenbauer, the Republican elections commissioner.

Statewide, 1,744,931 absentee ballots were mailed out and, even before primary day, 157,885 had been sent back, according to the state Board of Elections, which said it is expecting an “unprece-
dented number of voters.”

Locally, 7,550 ballots were mailed out this year. In 2016, the last year of a presidential primary, 317 came back, according to Mike Henrici, the Democratic elections commissioner. This year, the vote will be “a lot bigger,” he predicted.

In Oneonta and Cooperstown, there were three ballots:

• For the Democratic presidential primary. It included Joe Biden’s name; experts say he already has the nomination wrapped up. But it also includes 10 other names, from Pete Buttigieg to Tulsi Gabbard, all who suspended their campaigns after the filing date. Bernie Sanders’ supporters objected to cancelling the state’s primary, hoping to gain delegates that will give them more leverage at the National Convention Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee.

• For the 19th Congressional District, where Republicans will decide between lawyer Kyle Van De Water of Millbrook and Ola Hawatmeh, a Poughkeepsie native and fashion designer. The winner will challenge
Antonio Delgado, Millbrook, the Democratic freshman, in November. The district includes all or part of 11 counties.

• For the 121st Assembly District, where Democrats were choosing between Oneonta’s Dan Buttermann who is competing with Corey Mosher, a Hamilton farmer. The winner will challenge Republican freshman John Salka of Brookfield in November. The district includes Oneonta, Cooperstown and Richfield Springs, the county’s three largest population centers, plus Madison and part of Oneida counties.

Instead of the 121st ballot, voters in the towns of Morris, Butternuts and Unadilla received the 122nd Assembly District ballot, to decide a four-way Republican primary.

Former Otsego County Board chairman Jim Powers was vying with three other Republicans to succeed Clifford Crouch, Bainbridge, who is retiring.

The other three are Nick Libous of Binghamton, the former state senator’s son; Victor Furman, also of Binghamton, running with support of NaturalGasNow, and Joe Angelino, former Norwich police chief.

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