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News of Otsego County

Albany Times Union

Views From Around The State: August 12, 2021

Views From Around The State

August 12, 2021

From: The Albany Times Union Editorial Board

One could almost detect a faint “nyah-nyah” between the lines of last Thursday’s announcement that, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lost his sweeping pandemic emergency powers, school districts are on their own when it comes to reopening in September. So there.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker didn’t put it quite that way, of course. Instead, he couched his abdication of duty in more bureaucratic terms, issuing a statement that “with the end of the state disaster emergency on June 25, 2021, school districts are reestablished as the controlling entity for schools.” Opening plans are up to them. For further questions, consult the Centers for Disease Control and local health department.

Views From Around The State: August 5, 2021

Views From Around The State

August 5, 2021

Governments need to refocus on coronavirus

By The Albany Times Union Editorial Board:

New York did a solid job beating back the coronavirus after it took hold here 16 months ago, and for all the sacrifice it took, the state has opened up again.

But now there are signs we are losing ground, as a state government that so ably fought the pandemic seems to have lost its laser focus, and too many unvaccinated citizens live in some kind of illusory state of immunity.

Those two problems were underscored by the revelation this week that the Cuomo administration sat for four months on $15 million that had been set aside in the state budget to address the problem of vaccination hesitancy. It’s an effort that was clearly needed months ago. Barely 57 percent of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control, well below the minimum of 70%. We need more people to get shots to protect those who can’t avail themselves of the vaccine.

Views Around New York State: July 8, 2021

Views Around New York State

Suing Georgia over voting rights is just the start

From The Albany Times-Union:
Georgia was among a host of GOP-controlled states that in the aftermath of Republican Donald Trump’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden for the presidency have intensified efforts to pass laws brazenly aimed at suppressing votes by people of color. Georgia and its defenders offered the weak defense that some of the provisions it passed will expand voting rights, as if a little window dressing is supposed to make up for its draconian measures.

Those measures, as outlined by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke, included a raft of restrictions on absentee ballots, including shortening the time to apply for them and imposing new ID requirements. As Clarke noted, Black voters used absentee ballots at a much higher rate last year than white ones.

The Georgia law — which grew from three pages to 90 on its way from the state Senate to the House, where it received a mere two hours of debate — would also cut, from 100 to around 20, the number of ballot drop boxes that were popular in the metro Atlanta area where, not coincidentally, the state’s largest Black voting-age population resides. And infamously, the law made it illegal to give people waiting in long lines — which voters in high-minority areas tend to face — food or even water.

That’s just one state. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University counted as of mid-May nearly 400 bills with restrictive voting provisions around the country.

These laws aren’t happening in a vacuum, but in the echo chamber in which Trump’s lie of a stolen election and his fiction of massive voter fraud keeps getting repeated by Republican lawmakers as if it is true in order to justify such anti-democratic schemes. … So they’re passing these laws in statehouses, and using the filibuster in Congress to block federal legislation to protect voting rights.

There are still laws that apply here, and it’s encouraging that Attorney General Merrick Garland announced at the same time as the Georgia lawsuit that the Justice Department will fully use the Voting Rights Act and other statutes to push back on voter suppression and intimidation wherever they find it. In the absence of a new commitment in Congress to this most fundamental right in a democracy — the right of the people to choose their leaders — the battle is never ending, to this nation’s shame.


Safety versus justice is a false choice

From The Albany Times-Union:
Some people deal with criticism by showing why it’s unfair. Then there are those, like Saratoga Springs Assistant Police Chief John Catone, who seem to go out of their way to prove their critics’ case.

Catone, joined by Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton, went on a tear that sounded so many wrong notes when it comes to complaints of systemic racism in the criminal justice system that it was hard to keep track. … (Catone) delivered a rant filled with racist dog whistles, punctuated by what came off as a threat to summon the collective forces of the city’s historically white power establishment to put an end to what he called “a narrative of lies and misinformation.”

Let’s start with the most important thing of all: It is not the job of those in law enforcement to shut down speech they don’t like. That threat alone should be enough for Catone to turn in his badge and gun and retire early. And for sitting by his side, nodding in apparent agreement, Dalton should resign, and drop her bid for mayor.

We are in no way defending any violence that has taken place in Saratoga Springs, including a brawl Saturday night on Caroline Street and some alleged recent muggings in Congress Park. We in no way support demonstrators carrying bats, as one organizer acknowledged some did in the past.

We do support people’s right to demonstrate, to express their views that there are racial problems in their police department, and to petition their government for redress of their grievances. If that discomfits some in a community that thrives on tourism and its image as a charming, gentrified, historic American city, well, that’s the First Amendment for you.

Catone doesn’t seem to see it that way. He railed about how critics of his department were “trying to push a narrative from a national stage” — a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement — and talked of “gangs from Albany” — read: young men of color — coming up to Saratoga Springs to sell drugs and cause trouble. In wrapping all this into one speech, he conflated drug gangs and Black Lives Matter activists, an outrageous rhetorical slander whether he intended it or not. …

For good measure, he blamed criminal justice reforms passed by the state Legislature, which included ending a system in which low-income people unable to make bail were jailed without trial while those of means could readily buy their freedom.

So it’s police against “them,” and everyone has to pick sides? This is Assistant Chief Catone and Commissioner Dalton’s idea of a unified community?

What they present is the false choice that so many misguided or opportunistic politicians and demagogues offer: that it’s either law, order, and unquestioning support of police, or chaos.

A truly strong society — whether it’s a small city or the richly diverse nation it’s a part of — must be both safe and just. For all.

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.

Tops, Price Chopper Set For Merger

Tops, Price Chopper Set For Merger

Can Both Cooperstown Supermarkets Survive?

By Jim Kevlin • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Price Chopper patron
Pete Gambino exits the Cooperstown store.

It looks like the Cooperstown area, which hosts both a Price Chopper and a Tops Friendly Market, will be an oddity with the merger of the two supermarket companies that was announced Monday, Feb. 9.

The two companies have “a footprint that’s almost perfectly contiguous,” with minimal overlap, Price Chopper/Market 32 President/CEO Scott Grimmett told the Albany Times Union.

With Price Chopper at Chestnut and Walnut in the village, and Tops 3.8 miles away in Cooperstown Commons, that wouldn’t be the case in Baseball Town, particularly since the corporate merger appears to end all competition in Otsego County north of Greater Oneonta, where the Price Chopper in Emmons competes with Hannaford, Aldi’s, BJ’s and Walmart.

“Right now, there are no plans to close any stores,” said Jonathan Pierce of Pierce Communications, Albany, which is handling press queries.

The only other supermarket in Northern Otsego is in Richfield Springs, also a Price Chopper.

Pierce said the merger is being examined by the Federal Trade Commission to assess its impact on the competitive picture.

Glimmer Of Hope? Total Number Of New Deaths Drops From 630 To 594 Saturday-Sunday

Glimmer Of Hope?

Total Number Of New Deaths Drops

From 630 To 594 Saturday-Sunday

Governor Cuomo briefed the public Sunday: for the first time, New York State deaths had dropped overnight.

ALBANY —  The number of COVID-19 related deaths rose by nearly 600 people overnight, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, going from 3,565 to 4,159. But Cuomo said the number of deaths at one time has dropped for the first time over the past few days, the Albany Times Union is reporting this morning.

“What is the significance of that? It’s too early to tell,” Cuomo said. “Hopefully it’s a beginning of a shift in the data.”

There were 594 new deaths across the state overnight Sunday, compared to 630 new deaths the previous day. It’s not the lowest number of new deaths the state has seen over the past week, but it is the first time there has been a drop.

The total number of new hospitalizations also decreased overnight — with 74 percent of those hospitalized due to COVID-19 discharged. Whereas on previous days over the past week, the number of hospitalizations increased by at least 1,000 each day, Sunday’s increase was just 574.

CLICK FOR TIMES UNION’S FULL STORY

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