News of Otsego County


Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County

Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County

By TED POTRIKUS • Special to

After he lost the primary in June to Democratic Socialist India Walton, four-term incumbent Democrat Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown looked like a goner, relegated to the same political “oops” that befell Congressman Joe Crowley when he lost his can’t-lose primary to the completely unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand endorsed Ms. Walton right away, as did the city’s state legislators and a bevy of heavyweight union leaders; Mayor Brown launched a longshot write-in campaign for the November election and hit the trail hard all summer and fall. As Election Day approached, some of the state’s leading left-flank lawmakers — including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez — flew to Buffalo for India Walton rallies. They saw the chance for a Western New York outpost to carry the
hard liberal messages stemming from AOC’s Queens home base.

Governor Kathy Hochul — a proud lifelong Buffalonian — stayed out, and by doing so, spoke volumes. AOC got the message and warned Democrats seeking office in 2022 that if they didn’t support the party’s candidate in the Buffalo mayoral race, they’d have trouble getting the party’s backing for their own contests in the year ahead.

Republicans, Democrats Plan Caucuses This Week

Republicans, Democrats

Plan Caucuses This Week

3 Seats Up In March Village Elections

COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown Republicans and Democrats have scheduled caucuses this week to nominate candidates for three openings in the village’s Tuesday, March 18, elections: a two-year mayoral term and two three-year terms for trustee.

The Democratic caucus was planned at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Village Hall, 22 Main St. The Republican caucus is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Casale Group office, 25 Chestnut St.

The incumbents are seeking nominations for another term:  Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and Trustees Joe Membrino and MacGuire Benton.  All are Democrats.

Delgado to Dems: Get To The Polls


With Midterms Arriving,

Delgado Tells Rally: Vote

Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, urges Democrats at a pre-election rally Saturday afternoon at Roots Brewing Co. in Oneonta to get out and vote in Tuesday’s mid-terms, when local and county races are being decided.  The polls will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Seated at the front table are the two Democratic Cooperstown village trustees, Richard Sternberg and Mac Benton  Among those standing behind them are, from left, Common Council candidate Mark Davies, Ward 2; county board candidates Clark Oliver (District 14) and Jill Basile (District 11), Oneonta Town Board candidate Kathleen O’Donnell; seated at right, Mark Drnek, Ward 8 Common Council candidate, and standing next to Drnek is attorney Claudette Newman of Gilbertsville, the sole Otsego County resident running for state Supreme Court judge. (James Cummings/


NYS Comptroller Urges Dems: ‘Remain Laser Focused’


‘Remain Laser Focused,’

DiNapoli Tells Democrats

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who keynoted last evening’s county Democratic annual dinner, urged the party faithful to focus “laser-focused” on the presidential election in November 2020.  “My fear it that we will make the mistake again of looking for perfection,” he said, “and in the end it will hurt us … Reach outside your comfort zone of your support base and don’t just talk to people who agree with you.”   Above, DiNapoli chats with, from left, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig; Caitlin Ogden, who is running for county board in the Otego-Laurens district, and former Oneonta Mayor Kim Muller during the social hour at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom.  “Our county us poor: 25 percent of children in Otsego County live below the poverty line,” Herzig said in his welcome. “…We must remain focused on the concerns of the people we serve, because too many times those who elect us cannot meet their own basic needs.”  County Democratic Chairman Aimee Swan, inset, said local Democrats are on the march: “We are energized. Many of our meetings are standing room only. We are seeing record-breaking attendance.  Local Democrat turnout has doubled since we turned Faso out.”  Congressman John Faso lost the 19th District seat to Democrat Antonio Delgado last November.  (Ian Austin/

Mebust Leading New Committee Of Village Dems

Mebust Leading

New Committee

Of Village Dems


COOPERSTOWN – Lynne Mebust was elected chair of the newly formed Democratic Village Committee during its first meeting on Monday, Jan. 14.
Village Trustee Jeanne Dewey was elected treasurer and Liz Callahan secretary.
Also on the committee are Eugene Berman, and county committee members Melinda Harden, MacGuire Benton, and

Delgado Thanks Volunteers, Supporters In Oneonta

At Oneonta Victory Event,

Delgado Thanks Supporters

Just back from his Washington D.C. initiation, Congressman-elect Antonio Delgado, D-19, thanks volunteers at a victory gathering this afternoon at his Oneonta field office on Dietz Street.  Delgado thanked all the volunteers and supporters who, he said, knocked on more than 200,000 doors on the days leading up to the Nov. 6 midterms to encourage people to get out and vote. Following his speech, people lined up the thank the Delgado and get their pictures taken with him. Above, Oneonta’s NAACP President Lee Fisher and wife Joanne congratulate Delgado on his victory over Congressman John Faso. (Ian Austin/

KUZMINSKI: If We Can’t Agree On Basis Of Truth, Nation In Trouble

Column by Adrian Kuzminski for October 19, 2018

If We Can’t Agree On Basis
Of Truth, Nation In Trouble

Adrian Kuzminski

In any war, as the saying goes, truth is the first casualty. That’s become the case, unfortunately, in the war of the sexes as well. It’s turned into a war because the abiding injustice women have suffered from men
resists resolution through institutions mostly created and
sustained by men.
What counts as evidence, or sincerity, or credibility may have more to do than we’d like to admit with male rather than female dispositions.
Part of the problem is the hidden nature of sexual abuse. The evidence of such assault is intensely private and intimate, with objective evidence for or against allegations perhaps harder to find than in other areas.
Christine Blasey Ford and Brett
Kavanaugh, on the face of it, cannot both be telling the truth. She alleged he attacked her when they were teenagers, and he denied it. The U.S. Senate was faced with sorting this out, and the senators failed to do so.

The tragedy of the Kavanaugh-Ford controversy is the substitution by
our leaders (and by many of us) of subjective truth for objective truth,
of belief for fact.
Objective truth is factual experience that can be witnessed, recorded,
publicly acknowledged, and shared
by as many people as care to seek it out.
Subjective truth is a
personally held belief about something, a private opinion, conviction, or interpretation that can be asserted as if
it were true, but which
remains unproven, and is not necessarily true.
There are many reasons why anyone might believe one or the other of them, and many of us have little hesitation in taking sides. But, in the absence of confirming evidence about the alleged sexual assault, these
reasons are largely subjective.
They reflect beliefs people hold about what happened, or didn’t happen, not knowledge whether anything actually happened, or not.

That’s why an investigation into allegations against Brett Kavanaugh (as with anyone) was of the utmost importance. A factual determination, according to the rules of evidence, means establishing objective, publicly ascertainable facts about the event in question.

Now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford at last month’s U.S. Senate confirmation hearings.

It also means that, in the interest of due process and the principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” allegations must have reasonable plausibility to deserve investigation. It’s true that Senate confirmation hearings are not legal proceedings, but a factual basis for allegations remains essential.

The Republicans initially dismissed Ford’s allegation as implausible, and only reluctantly admitted her testimony under great pressure, and even more reluctantly agreed to a limited FBI investigation. They are paying a heavy price for their political and cultural blindness about gender
issues for dismissing what appeared to be a credible woman making plausible allegations.
The Democrats rightly insisted upon a factual investigation as the only way to settle the matter, initially gaining the upper hand in the debate.
But many Democrats have continued to insist that the word of an accuser is sufficient to disqualify people from office, or worse. That too is a dismissal of factual
evidence as a standard of truth.
Was the FBI investigation thorough? It’s doubtful that it was. Deborah Ramirez, another alleged victim, claims the FBI didn’t even follow through on witnesses she named for them.
Culturally, we are losing the ability to decide factual issues. I’m reminded of an exchange between a scientific geologist and a fundamentalist Christian reported in the early days of the evolution debate.
The scientist points to the ancient fossils he’s uncovered as proof that the earth could not have been created just a few thousand years ago by God. The fundamentalist replies that God created the fossils with the illusion of great age in order to test the faith of people like the scientist. That’s how belief can be used to trump fact.

This kind of impasse, sadly, is nothing new. But it’s getting worse. In an age of fake news, cultural relativism, media propaganda, and a flood of unsubstantiated opinion on the Internet, we have reached a point where the assertion of a belief is no longer confirmed or disconfirmed by an appeal to objective evidence.
Absent such a check, there is no mechanism to settle our differences, nothing to stop the escalation of conflict and violence.
Without the ability to test beliefs by facts, we have no common standard for deciding the issues which divide us. The abandonment of the standard of public evidence, imperfect as it has been, is more than shocking.
It puts into peril our political system, and indeed the very fabric of our society. Under these
circumstances, anything goes.
We are in trouble.

Adrian Kuzminski, author, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor, and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.

KUZMINSKI: Can GOP, Democrats Compromise?

Column by Adrian Kuzminski on June 29, 2018

Can GOP, Democrats Compromise?

Adrian Kuzminski

About a year ago, a deal was suggested between President Trump and establishment Democrats whereby Trump would support a path to citizenship for at least some illegal aliens while Democrats would support something like The Wall on the southern border.
The deal came very close, after Democrats met with Trump, but fell apart. It’s now back in the news again.
Is such a compromise possible, or even desirable? A Wall is anathema to Democrats. Closing off the southern border with some kind of impenetrable human barrier seems to them a crime against humanity.
Thousands of refugees from Central America in particular are fleeing the violence not only of drug lords, but also – this isn’t so well reported – of authoritarian regimes suppressing dissent, especially in San Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
A case could be made that the American support for these governments has contributed to the violence, and that the U.S. owes it to these people to take them in – but the Democrats aren’t making that argument.
The idealism of some Democrats has reached the point where, in their minds, national borders are an anachronism that should no longer exist. Since all peoples are equal, what could possibly justify any kind of barrier to admission to the United States?
Isn’t everyone really a citizen of the world? Isn’t the United States – as the exceptional society defined by the Constitution, not by ethnicity – the representative of the future, and thereby the natural home of all refugees?
Some Republicans, on the other hand, are alarmed by the loss of national identity and traditional values. They fear cultural dissolution not only from unrestricted immigration, but from the related forces of globalization and secularization.

This week’s controversial Time magazine cover juxtaposes a photo taken last week at the border in McAllen, Texas, with a photo of President Trump.

The certitudes of family, religion, custom, ethics, patriotism – even the rule of law – seem to be eroding away in favor of a disorienting cosmopolitan culture without clear values, where money rules, and traditional roles and behaviors are replaced by consumerism and egotism.
Walls don’t seem very promising. Think of the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, the Berlin Wall, or the current Israeli West Bank Wall. Border; security only seems to work when there is normal traffic, not a press of desperate refugees or insurgents.
On the other hand, there is arguably no national sovereignty if there is little or no border control at all. That’s long been the case on our southern border, where a blind eye has been turned to illegal immigrants because they provided cheap labor for jobs no one else would do. The result has been an illegal American underclass, estimated at around 11 million people.
In a deal, Trump would get his Wall, or some version of it, which would probably be more effective, if not foolproof, than what we have now. In return for this, the Democrats would get no less than a reasonable path to citizenship for ALL illegal aliens currently in the country, not just the Dreamers. Immigrants would be offered a dignified formal process for citizenship, with families kept together, in place of the police state tactics we have seen.
Some kind of standard of what it means to be an American would be established. Not everyone (criminals, etc.) would qualify, but most presumably would. Think of Ellis Island. The promise of an America for all would be restored, and the underworld of illegal immigration would be drastically reduced, if not eliminated.
Compromise takes courage and vision, now in short supply. The challenge is to figure out a definition of America that lies between the relentless march of a global cosmopolitanism that undermines traditional values, and a desperate reaction to it that doubles down on chauvinism, racism, and religious dogmatism.
The middle ground between these extremes is where a real compromise can be found. It would be the reinvention of a viable American center, something long overdue.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.

Collier, Backers Watch Returns At Upstate Grill


Collier, Backers Watch

Returns At Upstate Grill

Intently, Congressional candidate Erin Collier and her campaign manager, Paul Feingold, watch returns at an Election Night Watch Party she is hosting at this hour at Cooperstown’s Upstate Bar & Grille.  So far, only Schoharie of the 11 counties in the 19th District has reported all precincts, and has gone to Antonio Delgado. (Parker Fish/
Congress Hopeful Flynn Pays Visit

Congress Hopeful Flynn

Hosted At Meet, Greet

Brian Flynn, now living in Hunter, Greene County, discusses his position on various political issues with Margaret McGown of Cooperstown at a meet and greet hosted this evening at The Shack in Hartwick Seminary by Leslie Berliant, the recent county board candidate. Flynn is one of six Democratic candidates running for the 19th New York Congressional District challenging incumbent John Faso, R-Kinderhook. Flynn discussed what needs to change in Washington D.C., and how he would address the concerns of the voters in the 19th district.  Tuesday night, he will attend another meet and greet in Oneonta. (Parker Fish/
Democrats Elect New Chair

Before Electing New Chair,

Democrats Debate Finances

The Democratic County Committee meets this evening at Cooperstown Village Hall to elect former Oneonta mayor Kim Muller as its chair.   But first, committee members closed the doors to the public and debated finances for an hour and a half – a discussion still underway at this hour – although Muller’s elevation was still on the agenda.  Democratic Vice Chairman Dennis Laughlin presided; also at the front table is Hank Nicols, secretary.  (Parker Fish/
Otsego Democrats Gather At Foothills Dinner

Otsego County Democrats

Gather For Foothills Dinner

Above, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, along side Rich Abbate, Otsego County Democratic Chairman, addresses the democrats gathered at the annual Henry Nichols Democratic Dinner held at Foothills on Saturday evening. Local representatives were able to network and meet upcoming candidates while enjoying a prime rib dinner from Mel’s at 22 in Cooperstown. At left, guest of honor Jeff Katz, Mayor of Cooperstown, was the recognized for his work and leadership as an Otsego County Democrat. He is seated next to guest speaker Sabrina Ty, the president and CEO of the New York State Environmental Corporation. (Ian Austin/

Democrats Gather At Foothills Performing Arts Center

Bagnall-Graham, Teachout,

Magee Feted By Democrats

Introduced by Democratic County Chair Richard Abbate, left, state Senate candidate Jermaine Bagnall-Graham of Sherburne said he was "truly honored to share this moment with all these great Democrats." The annual Henry Nicols County Democratic Dinner at Foothills in Oneonta includes candidates Zephyr Teachout, for Congress, and Assemblyman Bill Magee, who is up for reelection. Also attending were Mayors Gary Herzig of Oneonta and Jeff Katz of Cooperstown, with state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli as the keynote speaker. (Ian Austin/
Introduced by Democratic County Chair Richard Abbate, left, state Senate candidate Jermaine Bagnall-Graham of Sherburne said he was “truly honored to share this moment with all these great Democrats.” The annual Henry Nicols County Democratic Dinner at Foothills in Oneonta includes candidates Zephyr Teachout, for Congress, and Assemblyman Bill Magee, who is up for reelection. Also attending were Mayors Gary Herzig of Oneonta and Jeff Katz of Cooperstown, with state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli as the keynote speaker.  Oneonta’s First Lady Connie Herzig is in the foreground.   (Ian Austin/






Kathy Hochul, Governor Cuomo's runningmate for lieutenant governor, is in Otsego County this evening for the annual Jedediah Peck Dinner at the Country Inn & Suites  in Hartwick Seminary.  Here, county Chairman Richard Abbate introduces the candidate to former Oneonta Mayor John Nader, at left is Kim Muller, Nader's predecessor.  Congressional candiidate Sean Eldridge was also in attendance, and state Controller Tom DiNapoli was due to deliver the keynote.  The guest of honor was Bill Streck, retired Bassett Healthcare president/CEO and a prominent local Democrat.  (Jim Kevlin/
Kathy Hochul, Governor Cuomo’s runningmate for lieutenant governor, is in Otsego County this evening for the county Democratic Party’s annual Jedediah Peck Dinner at the Country Inn & Suites in Hartwick Seminary. Here she shakes hands with former Oneonta Mayor Kim Muller as county Chairman Richard Abbate introduces her to Muller’s successor, former Oneonta Mayor John Nader.  (Jim Kevlin/
Congressional candidate Sean Eldridge is briefed on local issues by county Rep. Beth Rosenthal, Roseboom.  Counterclockwise from left are Rosenthal's husband Craig Levy, Barbara Monroe of Milford and Bennett Sandler of Fly Creek.
Congressional candidate Sean Eldridge is briefed on local issues by county Rep. Beth Rosenthal, Roseboom. Counterclockwise from left are Rosenthal’s husband Craig Levy, Barbara Monroe of Milford and Bennett Sandler of Fly Creek.

HARTWICK SEMINARY – County Democratic Chair Richard Abbate told the county committee when it met last Tuesday that he would have a “surprise guest” at the party’s annual Jedediah Peck Dinner this evening at the Country Inn & Suites.

State Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida, left, congratulates Bill Streck, guest of honor at this evening's Jedediah Peck dinner,   Between them is Streck's wife Karen.
State Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida, left, congratulates Bill Streck, guest of honor at this evening’s Jedediah Peck dinner, Between them is Streck’s wife Karen.

It was Kathy Hochul, the former congressman from the Buffalo area and former Erie County clerk, who is on the ticket with Governor Cuomo for the lieutenant governor slot.

State Controller Tom DiNapoli, who would keynote the evening, was among the other VIPs. The guest of honor was recently retired Bassett President/CEO Bill Streck, in attendance with wife Karen.

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