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News of Otsego County

Andrew Cuomo

Column by Ted Potrikus Mayhem!

Column by Ted Potrikus

Mayhem!

Poor Kathy Hochul must feel like she’s smack-dab in the middle of the television commercial with that guy Mayhem; there she is, crawling from the wreckage amid a heap of smoldering cars and destroyed streetscape. Walking through the disaster, a little bruised, scarred, bandaged, and battered himself, is a guy in a suit, smirking and warning that maybe she should have thought twice before taking that deal that seemed too good to pass up.

Portraying Mayhem in our little scene here is our former governor, Mr. Cuomo, dusting himself off from the wreckage that brought his term to a premature end in 2021. He has to be taking stock of the situation: Governor Hochul’s well-financed campaign is in a heap of trouble after her lieutenant, Brian Benjamin, resigned last week following his arrest on a stack of federal corruption charges. She’s under fire for picking a second-in-command whose record on campaign ethics wasn’t all that great to begin with, but she chose and stood by him until the end got too bitter.

Her primary opponents immediately chastised her perceived lack of judgment — after all, people might not know who the LG is, but since two of our last three governors (Hochul and Paterson) assumed the chief executive role after their bosses had to resign, it’s an important post. Chances are her primary opponent, Tom Suozzi, thought it a great chance to gain some traction — but then word arose that he and a few dozen other members of Congress might be in a little ethics mess of their own owing to a potential failure to report stock trades. Whoops.

Calculus, chaos, Cuomo

Calculus, chaos, Cuomo

An opinion column

It was just one month before COVID shut the world down in 2020 and tempers were short in New York’s state Capitol. I don’t remember exactly why the governor and legislature were sniping back and forth, but I do recall sitting down for a mid-February meeting with one of Governor Cuomo’s top policy people.

“I know it’s chaos around here,” I said to her, sympathetically. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”

“Hey, It is chaos,” she shrugged. “That’s the way the boss likes it.”

***

Andrew Cuomo strolled to the microphone in New York City last week with characteristic swagger, carrying the binder that contained either his prepared remarks or, perhaps, a playbook filled with trick plays that end with the ultimate Hail Mary pass – a trip back to Albany as governor of New York State.

It was his second appearance on what looks like a mea culpa tour of friendly locations in New York City, and this time, he spoke with gubernatorial intonation about the need to revisit bail reform to combat the region’s rising crime rate. (This would be the same bail reform that he jammed through the state Legislature in 2019.)

Within hours, his successor, Governor Kathy Hochul, leaked a memo outlining a 10-point bail and discovery reform bill she plans to inject into state budget negotiations, the process over which her

Common Council approves CAB plan and Witzenberg as police chief, discusses county board EMS issue

Common Council approves CAB plan
and Witzenberg as police chief,
discusses county board EMS issue

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — The Common Council unanimously passed a motion to approve and adopt the Implementation Plan for Police Reform and Reinvention, which was worked on by the Community Advisory Board and the subsequent council led review committee, Tuesday, Oct.5.

Mayor Gary Herzig thanked the CABRC members who worked for six months on creating the plan to implement the CAB’s recommendations, which was a response to a directive given by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Herzig said he was impressed members of CABRC, which included mayoral candidates Len Carson, R-Fifth Ward, and Mark Drnek, D-Eighth Ward, voted unanimously on every single motion.

The motion paves the way for standing Community Police Review board, whose job will be to handle complaints about OPD.

Other business discussed included the recent County Board meeting that approved county-wide ambulance service. Council members were concerned Oneonta would pay double for a service they don’t use, as Oneonta already has its own ambulance service.

Healthcare workers must now get COVID vaccine

Healthcare workers must now get COVID vaccine

Staff Report • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

All healthcare workers in New York State will now be required to get the COVID vaccine with the first dose being received no later than Monday, Sept. 27.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this on Tuesday, Aug. 17, and it applies to hospital workers as well as long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.

There will be limited exceptions for either religious or medical reasons.

Dr. Tommy Ibrahim at Bassett Healthcare stressed in an internal email the importance of getting the vaccine to hospital staff.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns

Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns

Staff Report • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation in a televised address Tuesday, Aug. 10, effective in two weeks.

While the governor denied accusations that he was intentionally inappropriate with anyone, he said that the “politically motivated” allegations against him would plunge the state into disarray.

The three-term governor has been rocked by sexual harassment allegations which included unwanted kisses and touching.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will become the next New York State governor.

Reactions to the resignation were swift.

“While we can now turn to rebuilding our state, it does not mean the end of multiple investigations into the departing governor and his retaliatory enablers,” State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, said in a statement. ” The brave women who stepped forward to tell their stories deserve justice, along with those who lost their lives needlessly due to the governor’s irresponsible COVID nursing home directive. ”

“New Yorkers can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Andrew Cuomo will no longer be able to wield the immense power of the governor’s office to commit his corruption and abuse, but make no mistake, this resignation is simply an attempt to avoid real accountability for his numerous crimes,” NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a media release. “Thousands of lives have been destroyed by Andrew Cuomo and the legislature must continue to move forward with impeachment to ensure he can never run for office again.”

  “Gov. Cuomo finally stepping down is ultimately for the good of New York and something I am glad to see finally happening,” Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, said in a statement.  This resignation is a definitive new beginning. We deserve a better leader.”

“New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, in a statement. “Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state.”

“Gov. Cuomo’s resignation is welcome news for all New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, in a press release. “He has finally acted in the best interest of the people. His actions have been disturbing and inexcusable. I am pleased to see the governor step aside and allow government to function properly. I will continue to stand with these women and fight to hold the governor accountable. Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, I look forward to working with her in a positive and bipartisan manner.”

“I again want to thank the women who came forward for their accounts and applaud them for their bravery, because today we sent a message to everyone that conduct of this nature will never be tolerated, from anyone,” Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schohaire, said in a press release. “I wish to congratulate Kathy Hochul, the next governor of our state, and hope that we will be able to establish a productive, bipartisan relationship to do all we can for the people of New York.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, with then Hall of Fame President Tim Mead last year, will become New York’s governor in two weeks. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com).
New joy in Mudville

Editorial

New joy in Mudville

There seems to be a general feeling in this country these days that getting things done and making a difference is an impossible thing. When the United States Congress itself seems unable to get anything done, what chance do small groups or ordinary citizens have to make a difference? The odds are so stacked against that happening that most people wouldn’t even think of wasting their time trying.

But sometimes even legislative accomplishments come from the darndest places.

In 2017, Cooperstown Elementary School teacher Anne Reis was leading her fourth-grade class through a study of state government in New York. During a section on state symbols, the kids learned New York had no official state sport. They concluded there should be one and it should be baseball.

Reis inspired her young charges to dream big and take action and they got to work researching baseball’s influence in and on New York’s history, economy and culture. They wrote essays on the sport’s numerous qualifications for official designation, and they sent them all to Albany.

Cuomo must go: Local, state officials react to report Gov. sexually harassed women
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo must go:
Local, state officials
react to report
Gov. sexually harassed women

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

UPDATED: President Joe Biden joined the ever-growing chorus of politicians who have said Cuomo should resign.

“I think he should resign. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for a fact,” Biden said in response to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

The New York delegation to the U.S. Congress, including Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, also reiterated its call for Cuomo to resign or for the Assembly to begin impeachment hearings.

Here is the original post:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and actively tried to cover it up and retaliate against his accusers, according to a report from New York’s attorney general announced Tuesday, Aug. 3. Local and state politicians reacted swiftly, renewing their calls for Cuomo to resign.

The investigators concluded that the Governor engaged in “unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments.”

These new revelations caused a furious reaction among politicians, including those who represent Otsego County.

State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, said the governor “must resign immediately and face criminal charges.”

“The governor said wait for the independent investigation from the attorney general, we now have that report and it is sickening to read,” Oberacker said in a media release. “The heinous acts committed by the governor are unconscionable. He clearly violated the public trust, and moreover he treated a number of women in a disgusting, unlawful manner. I commend those who courageously stood up to this predator and praise them for their bravery.”

Sen. Oberacker: Flood costs could exceed town budgets

Flood damage in Gilbertsville on Sunday, July 18, shows the extent of the problems left behind by Saturday’s storm. (Janice Costello).

Sen. Oberacker:
Flood costs could
exceed town budgets

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The flooding that occurred in Gilbertsville, Morris and Pittsfield on Saturday, July 17, is expected to cost millions and elected officials are calling for federal and state funding to pay for some of the damages.

State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, estimated that the amount of money needed for the flood damage in Butternuts and Morris would far exceed their total respective town budgets.

“After what I’ve seen, it would be conservative (that damages) would cost at least their budgets and then some,” Oberacker said.

Loosened COVID rules allows Hall to open induction to more fans

Loosened COVID rules allows
Hall to open induction to more fans

COOPERSTOWN — Following last week’s announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that lifted significant COVID-19 restrictions, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced Monday, June 21, that tickets will not be needed for free lawn seating for the Wednesday, Sept. 8, induction ceremony.

The ceremony was rescheduled from its traditional last Sunday in July to an event at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center in the town of Middlefield.

The event will celebrate the inductions of Class of 2020 members Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker and will be broadcast live exclusively on MLB Network.

Since 1992, the event has been held on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, with estimated crowds approaching and surpassing 50,000 at five of the last six ceremonies, from 2014 to 2019. The second-largest crowd on record – an estimated 55,000 people – attended the Hall of Fame’s last induction, July 21, 2019.

Views Around New York: May 13, 2021

Views Around New York

Albany should make
jail reform a priority

From: Sochie Nnaemeka and TeAna Taylor. special to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

There’s no doubt that Albany is undergoing a transformation.

Voters across the state turned out in record numbers to elect Democratic and Working Families champions to the Legislature last year, winning super-majorities in both houses. And this April, the results were made clear: New York passed a budget that provides historic funding to our public school students, tenants, immigrants and Black and brown communities. We legalized cannabis for adults with provisions to ensure the benefits are shared by the communities directly impacted by the drug war. And we finally passed the HALT Solitary Confinement Act to restrict the use of “the box” in prisons and replace it with safe, humane alternatives. Electing progressive leaders is helping to deliver a future for New York rooted in equity and justice.

As we come down the final stretch of the legislative session, our elected leaders must resist complacency and continue to deliver long-overdue changes to our criminal justice systems that New Yorkers have been demanding.

Family members of incarcerated people, community leaders, and criminal justice advocates call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to grant emergency clemencies to older people in prison and others with compromised immune systems in response to the death of a person incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility who tested positive for COVID-19 April 3, 2020 outside the prison in Ossining, New York. Juan Mosquero was the first incarcerated person with the virus to die in a state prison.

‘Reefer Madness’ Goes Mainstream

EDITORIAL

‘Reefer Madness’

Goes Mainstream

The 1936 movie raised the alarm, and laughs.

Maybe when marijuana vendors appear at Disney World, or when the venerable theme park comes up with a Marijuana Mile theme ride, or maybe Marijuana Maelstrom.

Then, perhaps, the Village of Cooperstown – “the pinnacle” of youth baseball camps, according to Lunetta Swartout, Cooperstown Stays proprietor, (and she ought to know) – should approve pot shops, or a “recreational cannabis dispensary,” or whatever, along Main Street in Baseball’s Mecca.

Maybe then, but now the debate is more than theoretical.

Simmering, simmering for years, marijuana legalization moved to the front burner over the weekend, when Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly agreed on legislation “to legalize adult-use cannabis.” The Assembly and Senate approved the bill Tuesday, and Cuomo was expected to sign it.

HOWARTH: Accelerating Brain Drain Cuomo’s Greatest Failing

LETTER from JIM HOWARTH

Accelerating Brain Drain

Cuomo’s Greatest Failing

To the Editor:

Speculation and opinions on Andrew Cuomo’s need to resign have been frequent topics in this newspaper.

While the allegations of the Governor’s sexual abuses, as well as his COVID-19 policies, have been horrible, they are just that – allegations. Guilt and culpability need substantive proof. I believe the facts will come to light in the Attorney General’s investigation and provide direction for the Governor’s future.

One facet of the Governor’s tenure is not in doubt and does not need investigation.

His economic policies have been calamitous for the state.

Since he took office, about 1.4 million people have left the state – “voting with their feet”. The pace quickened last year.

According to estimates from the Census Bureau, 126,355 residents left New York between July 2019 and July 2020.

New York State – particularly Upstate – is headed towards a demographic of a small, wealthy elite – impervious to economic woes, a shrinking middle class, and a growing disadvantaged underclass. Many jobs and opportunities in the state have moved too – to Texas, Florida and Tennessee.

There is a template for opportunity and growth. The gaps in taxation and regulation between New York and the growing states can be narrowed. A good job in a stable economic environment is not just about money. It is an important part of keeping a society viable.

I was born in New York State, went to college here, and had my first full-time job here – in Cooperstown. I love the state’s history, its land, and even its weather – most of the time. I would like to see a state that attracted and retained people who wanted to start families and businesses. I am hopeful that voters will see an opportunity to change direction in 2022, when this governor’s term is up.

Andrew’s Cuomo’s economic policies provide a clear lesson of poor leadership and an example of a course not to take.

JIM HOWARTH
Cooperstown

NORTHRUP: Before Cuomo Resignation, Let Investigations Conclude

LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

Before Cuomo Resignation,
Let Investigations Conclude

To the Editor:

I have never voted for Andrew Cuomo and probably never will. I can’t. I’m not a year-’round resident of New York State.

The allegations of harassment against him are troubling, and, if proven, worthy of condemnation. But I am going to suggest that, rather than simply clamour for his resignation, it would be more helpful, indeed therapeutic, to allow the investigations by the state Attorney General and the state Legislature to play out.

That’s what the harassment statutes are for. Under the law, the presumption is that the accused is innocent, and that guilt must be proven, not simply alleged.

As a practical matter, if he resigned now, nothing would be proven. The only lesson learned would be that he was held accountable to the court of public opinion, not the law.

By resigning, there will be no investigation, no due process, no conclusive judgment. Not a great precedent for the law or the process.

Senator Gillibrand is calling for his resignation. I recall that she was the first of Senator Al Franken’s colleagues to condemn him for alleged harassment.

When she was rebuked for that after he resigned, she said, “He could have gone before the Ethics Committee.” True, with her prejudicial dagger sticking in his back.

In hindsight, Franken should have gone through the process, as Cuomo says he will. Daggers and all. If he comes out of it battered but unbroken, I might even vote for him. Multiple times, as my dead relatives and I do regularly in Texas.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

KAVANAGH: With Governor In Trouble, Candidates Surface For ’22
LETTER from KENNETH J. KAVANAGH

With Governor In Trouble,
Candidates Surface For ’22

To the Editor:

What an incredible piece of work Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin most certainly is.

His recent announcement of his intentions to run for governor truly takes the cake. If they can’t come up with a better candidate on either side of the aisle, we’re all in trouble.

Zeldin’s voting record underscores the pathos of his case. He has voted against the Equality Act, Paycheck Fairness, background checks and reproductive rights.

He owns one of the worst (if not THE worst environmental ratings) in the entire New York congressional delegation as per The League of Conservation Voters. He is a true darling of the NRA, which readily pumps tons of money his way.

In no uncertain terms one need not look too hard for a better gubernatorial candidate . Hopefully his is nothing less than a lost cause.

KENNETH J. KAVANAGH
Cooperstown

Baseball Camps Wait For Albany Guidance

Baseball Camps Wait

For Albany Guidance

Quarantine Rules Also Turn Off Some Families

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Health and wealth.

Those are the two concepts people in government and the tourist industry are using in discussing the news that the two youth-baseball camps, Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and All Star Village in West Oneonta, are seeking permission to open someway, somehow, in the 2021 season.

“If they can conform to the state’s requirements and do it safely, they should be allowed to open,” said Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch. Others interviewed echoed her sentiment.

Dreams Park is planning to extend its season from May to September, with fewer players, who would stay on-campus, as in the past.  (Early, it was incorrectly reported that the players would stay off-campus.)

All must present negative COVID tests on arrival. Dreams Park’s local lawyer, Gar Gozigian, is looking for state Health Department guidance and permission to proceed.

All Star Village issued a more general statement, saying it would implement all health and safety measures, and concluding, “As things change we are confident restrictions will expire and we will update.”

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