New York State annually reserves the third Tuesday of May for voters to cast their ballots on local school district budgets and board of education seats. It’s an important opportunity for the community to participate in
shaping local education policy, and we urge all eligible voters to take a few minutes and do so on May 17.
We urge readers to visit the website of their local school district — each has a good description and analysis of the budgets up for the May 17 vote along with the details of when and where the vote will take place.
In addition, we urge voters to support school budgets as proposed in each of the county’s local school districts. These aren’t spendthrift plans — in each case, district leaders navigate the rough seas of local demands and state mandates with an eye toward minimizing the school taxes property owners must pay. The programs these budgets support are essential to every student’s education — academic, athletic, artistic, vocational — each is a vital part of the comprehensive tool boxes that today’s world demands. The teachers and staff whom these budgets support are essential, too, of course — called out correctly as among the heroes of the pandemic and beyond, and deserving of our unified support.
The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area held a candidates’ debate for the two open seats on the Cooperstown Central School District Board of Education last week. There are three candidates running, Alicia Chase, Peter Iorizzo, and Cody Moore. Maureen Murray, Co-president of the LWV of the Cooperstown Area, moderated the event. The school board elections are non-partisan; candidates do not run as members of a party.
On Election Day, May 17, voters will also vote on the 2022-2023 district budget.
The election will be held at the Cooperstown High School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Any citizen, 18 years of age or older who has been a resident of the district for 30 days preceding the election is qualified to vote. Absentee ballots are available at the district office. Contact Wendy Lansing at 607-547-5364.
According to unofficial results available at press time, Mark Drnek (D) is the new mayor of Oneonta, defeating Republican challenger Len Carson.
“I want to thank Len Carson for running a respectful and issue-oriented campaign, and I look forward to working with him in the realization of our many shared goals for the future of our City,” Drnek said in a statement.
All politics is local, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said in the 1980s.
So it’s a mystery that we call it an “off-year” election when local races fill our ballot, and an even greater mystery that biennial apathy replaces voter interest. We are voting to fill the offices that affect the fundamentals of our county, towns, and villages, choosing the people to whom we’ll entrust our local tax dollars as they weigh the merits of differing projects and priorities.
Granted, these local issues might not be as headline-grabbing as global warming or foreign policy. But they’re often the things we complain about when we’re talking with our friends and neighbors about the state of affairs on our streets. These races are all about local direction, development, public safety, road repair. We’re voting for people who build local relationships with state and federal officials who, in turn, exert certain measures of control over available resources.
Tuesday, March 16, is Election Day in the Village of Cooperstown, and I encourage all residents to come out to the fire hall on Chestnut Street between noon and 9 p.m. to vote for Cynthia Falk and Hanna Joy Bergene for village trustee.
Cindy has served the village for several years as trustee and deputy mayor and is seeking re-election. Her service, experience and record of success have been exemplary, and her willingness to continue to serve deserves our strong support.
Hanna Joy is a newcomer representing a generation vital to the future of our village. Her commitment to the community combined with her business and marketing experience make her uniquely qualified to add her voice to the village leadership.
The Cooperstown Democratic Committee is proud to have nominated both Cindy and Hanna Joy for election as village trustee. Please take the time to come out on Tuesday and support them both.
Early voting in Otsego County began Saturday morning at the county’s Meadows Office Building, Town of Middlefield, and a steady stream of voters lined up out the door and down the sidewalk to the parking lot. Above, Christine Chen, Oneonta, signs in with Polling Inspectors Diane Ehmann, Worcester, and Sue Straub, Fly Creek. Morning drizzle did not deter voters from showing up, as seen at right by the line of masked, socially distanced voters wait to for their turn. This week, polls will be open at The Meadows 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; noon-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday and Sunday. On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, polls will be open around the county 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
According to a newly released report from the Empire Center for Public Policy, “New York’s Uneven Economic Recovery: A Tale of Two States,” those of us who live in Upstate New York escaped the real estate/housing bubble that led to the economic crash in 2008. Why? Because our economy was so bad that we didn’t experience a bubble like the rest of the country. How’s that for good news?
Since the economic downturn, the Governor has claimed he has grown the state’s economy back to recovery. Have you experienced a recovery? Here’s how he’s been able to make that claim.
According to the governor, “We created 1,000,000 jobs (since 2011). New York State today has more private-sector jobs than it has had in the history of the state. Period. Unemployment went from 8.5 to 4.2 percent, and the recovery was statewide. In the old days you would see New York City doing very well, and Upstate would be struggling. Look how even the recovery is all across the State.”
The data don’t support that claim. In fact, to the contrary, it shows a sharp and growing economic divide between Upstate and downstate. According to the “Report,”, “By any standard, Upstate New York’s economic recovery has been among the weakest of any region in the country”. Only West Virginia, Wyoming and Arkansas, coal and minerals-dependent economies, have fared poorer. According to the Report, New York’s annual rate of real GDP growth has been lower than the rate for ALL states in six of his first seven years in office.
New York City, followed by Long Island and the lower Hudson valley, suburbs for the City, has enjoyed the highest rate of job growth in the state. At the same time, Upstate has gained private-sector jobs at about one-third of the national rate.
Of the State’s 62 counties,
23 of them, all but one
Upstate, have yet to recover to their pre-crash private employment levels. Knowing this, the Governor banned fracking in an attempt to court the “green community” and stopped the pipelines that could have brought much-needed natural gas and jobs to our region.
Did the unemployment rate in Upstate really drop or was it made to look that way – remember the old “shell” game? Based upon information in the Report, total private-sector employment Upstate grew by 6.3 percent since 2010. That is about one-third the U.S. rate of growth (17.8 percent) and even worse than that for downstate (21.2 percent). The Southern Tier counties ranged from having a loss of jobs to zero-5 percent growth. Guess where we fell in the ranking?
According to the Report, the 48 up-state counties saw a drop in employment “by a combined total of 87,500 from August 2010 to August 2018. Yes, the unemployment rate Upstate fell, but only because the labor force in those counties decreased by 210,000 people” – a result of fewer people looking for work because they had either given up, left the state or both. Mike Zagata, DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and former environmental executive with Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport
THE GATHERING PLACE – 2 p.m. Learn the story of the American Presidential Election of 1800 and how it changed the United States with Dr. Richard Sternberg, Village of Cooperstown Trustee. Woodside Hall, 1 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, Karen Cadwalader @ (607)547-0600.
BUDGET VOTE – 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Cast your ballot on the proposed school budget for the 2017-18 school year, choose the new board members, and cast your ballot on the bus lease program. Cooperstown High School rooms 304 & 305. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org/budget/
CLIMATE CHANGE LECTURE – 7 p.m. “US Energy Transition: The Plight of Fossil Fuels and the Rise of Renewables.” A talk by Village Trustee Lou Alstadt on the urgent need to confront climate change by adopting a national carbon tax and dividend policy. Templeton Hall, 63 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. Info, Adrian Kuzminski, moderator, Sustainable Otsego, email@example.com