COOPERSTOWN – If Onondaga County got a special dispensation from Governor Cuomo to open its car dealerships, why shouldn’t Otsego County?
That’s the question the Otsego County board wants answered by the time it next meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.
Acting on a suggestion by Republican Oneonta City Council member Len Carson, his county rep, Democrat Danny Lapin, today championed his constituent: “If Onondaga got a special dispensation, let’s see what they did. Maybe it could apply to us.”
ONEONTA – Citing the $117 million that car dealerships put into the local economy, Common Council member Len Carson, Fifth Ward, is asking the county Board of Representatives to restart car sales in Otsego County.
A former county board member himself, Carson told Common Council this evening he has sent a letter asking his former colleagues to petition Governor Cuomo to allow Otsego County to re-open car dealerships.
Veterans’ organizations still have a way to go in accepting women in their ranks, Beth Akulin, commander of VFW Post 1206 in Oneonta, inset at right, said during her address at Veterans Day ceremonies at the top of Neahwa Park’s Memorial Parkway at 11-11-11 this morning. While there are 1.3 million female veterans today, she said, “I have been yelled at for parking in a veterans parking place, or because I ask for a military discount, because they assumed my husband served and not me. It is important: People need to know and recognize that women have served and done the same job as men.” she said, “Veterans come in all sizes, shapes and genders. We need to thank all of them.” Top photo, the Oneonta Vets Club honor guard – from left, American Legion Post 259 Commander Terry Harkenreader, and veterans Len Carson, Wayne Gregory, Gary Walters, Bruce Von Holtz, Bernie White and Jim Williams – carry the colors to this morning’s commemoration. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
By JIM KEVLIN & LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The Republicans rained on the Democrats’ parade on Election Night, Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Republican Rick Brockway won Laurens-Otego’s District 3, 697-548, turning back a Democratic effort to take control of the county board for the first time in memory.
“Otsego County is red,” declared a jubilant Republican County Chairman Vince Casale. “It has always been red. It will always be red. People in Otsego County will always reject the extreme liberal agenda that is attempted to be forced upon them.”
County Democratic chairman Aimee Swan had this riposte: “Otsego County is purple. Otsego County voted for (Congressman Antonio) Delgado in 2018. Democrats can win here. Democrats do win here. And Democrats will win here. If Otsego was so red, we would not have a split board.”
During a victory celebration at the Oneonta Vets’ Club, Brockway said, “I’m exhausted. I’m glad it’s over. And I feel really good.” He added, “My family’s always been in politics in Laurens. I was a councilman for eight years. It’s a logical step to go to the county.”
If the margin in District 3 holds, Brockway’s victory over Democrat Caitlin Ogden assures the Republican, allied with Conservative county Rep. Meg Kennedy, Mount Vision, will continue to control county government for another two years.
However, Kennedy can ally on individual issues with the Democrats and shift the majority in that direction, as she likely will as main architect of the county manager form of government.
The county board was expected to vote Wednesday, Nov. 6, on approving a public hearing for its December meeting, after which the concept of professional management could be implemented.
The Democrats had appeared bullish about Ogden’s chances – a Laurens resident, she is a grantsman at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown – particularly following a stealth write-in campaign that knocked Brockway off the Independent line in the June 26 primary.
Brockway, a farrier and newspaper outdoors columnist, would succeed Republican Kathy Clark, a former county board chairman.
In other county races, as expected, incumbent Democrat Michele Farwell, District 2, decisively held her seat over Marcia Hoag, 636-246. And Democrat Jill Basile, District 14, beat Libertarian Wilson Wells, 199 to 48.
“This community has served my family well,” said Basile. “And now, I can serve them back.”
In the City of Oneonta, Republicans Len Carson won the Ward 5 Common Council seat, and Scott Harrington, Ward 6, doubling GOP representation in City Hall. Both are former Otsego County Representatives.
“My goal was always to get here,” said Carson. “I’m going to work hard, not just for my ward, but for the whole city.”
Both pledged to hold Town Hall meetings. “The best way to represent is to get feedback,” said Harrington. “I want to be very open.”
In other races in the Democratic city, two Democrats beat two Republicans: It was Kaytee Lipari Shue over Jerid Goss 157-22, and Mark Drnek over Josh Bailey 102-73.
“This is something I’ve always dreamed about,” said Shue. “I got to shake the mayor’s hand and we started our partnership together. 2020 will be here before I know it!”
And in the Town of Richfield, a Republican triumvirate, Nick Palevsky, Fred Eckler and Ed Bello Jr., turned back one Democrat and two other non-affiliated candidates tied to the Protect Richfield neighbors.
In Richfield Springs, while Palevsky, the former supervisor, led David Simonds, 296-291, the Republican pointed out its only five votes.
“I hope it holds,” he said, noting there are 100 absentee ballots out there. “That’s the only thing I can say right now.”
Usually, it takes a week to count the absentees and affirm the results; this year, he said, with all the changes the state Legislature made in election laws this year, it is expected to take two weeks.
Of Palevsky’s fellow Republican runningmates, incumbent Fred Eckler, with 326, was reelected, as was newcomer Ed Bello Jr., with 363.
Simonds runningmates, Democrat Jeremy Fisher (203) and incumbent Kane Seamon (284), who lost the June 26 Republican primary, both lost by sizeable margins.
Palevsky was drawn into the race for supervisor by a comprehensive plan and zoning code developed by adherents of the Protect Richfield moving to stop the five-turbine Monticello Hills Wind Farm.
Editor’s Note: Len Carson, the former county rep from Oneonta and DC Marketing president, circulated a video of Michael Shellenberger’s 2016 Ted Talk, “How Fear of Nuclear Power is Hurting the Environment,” to Citizens Voice, the local businesspeople’s group, for discussion at its Wednesday, March 13, meeting. Shellenberger was one of Time magazine’s 2008 “Heroes of the Environment,” but in 2015 helped found Environmental Progress, seeking to prevent California’s closure of its nuclear plants. This is an excerpt. To see full video, type “shellenberger” in the search line at www.allotsego.com
Clean energy has been increasing… But when you look at the percentage of global electricity from clean energy sources, it’s actually been in decline from 36 percent to 31 percent. And if you care about climate change, you’ve got to go in the opposite direction to 100 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources, as quickly as possible. Now, you might wonder, “Come on, how much could five percentage points of global electricity be?”
Well, it turns out to be quite a bit. It’s the equivalent of 60 nuclear plants the size of Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear plant, or 900 solar farms the size of Topaz, which is one of the biggest solar farms in the world, and certainly our biggest in California. A big part of this is simply that fossil fuels are increasing faster than clean energy. And that’s understandable. There’s just a lot of poor countries that are still using wood and dung and charcoal as their main source of energy, and they need modern fuels.
But there’s something else going on, which is that one of those clean energy sources in particular has actually been on the decline in absolute terms, not just relatively. And that’s nuclear. You can see its generation has declined 7 percent over the last 10 years. Now, solar and wind have been making huge strides, so you hear a lot of talk about how it doesn’t really matter, because solar and wind is going to make up the difference. But the data says something different. When you combine all the electricity from solar and wind, you see it actually barely makes up half of the decline from nuclear. Let’s take a closer look in the United States.
Len Carson of Oneonta, Common Council candidate and DC Marketing president, has asked Citizen Voices participants to view a 14-minute video of environmentalist Michael Shellenberger‘s TED Talk, “How Fear of Nuclear Power is Hurting the Environment” and be prepared to discuss it at tomorrow morning’s meeting at Oneonta Block. In his talk, Shellenberger says that despite massive investments in solar panels in the U.S., Europe and even India, and data show those efforts will be insufficient to stem greenhouse gas emissions. His conclusion: More nuclear power is the only answer.
ONEONTA – Another former Otsego county rep, Scott Harrington, is running for Common Council in November.
He will seek the Sixth Ward seat, which Council member and Deputy Mayor Russell Southard has held for two terms.
Yesterday, Len Carso announced he would run for the Ward 5 seat, which Council member Dana Levinson is vacating at the end of the year.
Five of the Council’s eight members, all of whose terms are ending this year, are not seeking re-election. Earlier today, Mayor Gary Herzig said he didn’t know why so many of the current office holders decided not to run again. Carson and Harrington are the only two Council candidates so far.
ONEONTA – Former county rep Len Carson confirmed a few minutes ago he is planning to run for Common Council this fall to represent Ward 5 in the city’s west end.
A Republican, he said he has spoken with the current Council member, Democrat Dana Levinson, who told him she isn’t planning to seek another term. All Common Council positions are up for reelection in November.
“You know me,” he said. “I’m not into the ‘D’ and the ‘R’ and the ‘C.’ We need to have a leader, the mayor, and representatives of the wards working together to do the good work that needs to be done. Party politics don’t work at the local level. We need good people.”
When you think about it, with the amount of baggage both Republican and Democratic designees for county sheriff are carrying, 2018 would be a great opportunity for a third person to run as an independent.
You may have a favorite candidate of your own, but how about someone like Len Carson, the Oneonta Republican who narrowly lost reelection to his seat on the Otsego County Board of Representatives last November despite distinguishing himself as bright, level-headed and forward-thinking during his tenure.
Just that term – “an Oneonta Republican” – speaks to his ability to reach across party lines in the Democrat-dominated city.
He’s a veteran – an able president of the Oneonta Vets’ Club – a distinguished firefighter and EMS leader, who in retirement from the Oneonta Fire Department founded DC Marketing,
the electronic billboard company.
And still a young man – in his 50s – he remains creatively involved in civic life as a future-looking member of the Oneonta Airport Commission.
As a former county rep, he knows his way around county government, and,
as former chairman of the county board’s Public
Safety Committee, the sheriff’s department.
Plus, in the turmoil in the sheriff’s department of his final year, he no doubt learned more about its inner workings than he wished.
There are positives for Carson in the negatives.
Incumbent Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., the Republican nominee, while often serving ably, has been embroiled in controversy for 18 months now, unable to resolve serious allegations surrounding his son, Ros.
Ros was accused of threatening an “incident” at Milford or Oneonta schools so he, unhindered, could commit suicide in front of a supervisor critical of him.
It might happen, but it’s conceivable the case will still be hanging out there on Nov. 6, when voters go to the polls. If so, would you want to vote for Devlin?
The Democratic designee, retired state trooper Bob Fernandez, has an albatross hanging around his neck: As county board chair, his wife, Kathy Clark, R-Otego, did significant damage to the welfare of her constituents, evident dramatically in the past few days when two top executives of the county nursing home – privatizing it was one of her signature achievements – were hauled into court on felony charges of endangering patients.
Plus, some Republicans believe that Clark led the charge against Devlin to open the way for her husband’s candidacy? With that nagging question, would you want to vote for Fernandez when you go into the polling booths Nov. 6.
The positives for Carson are also in the positives.
While defeated for reelection by a mere five votes, Carson left office squeaky clean. He was generally admired by his colleagues, and very well may have been elected county board chairman if only three voters had cast ballots the other way.
There’s plenty of time to run as an independent. The independent candidate would have to collect a mere 795 signatures. He and his no-doubt many supporters could begin circulating petitions July 10, and submit them by Aug. 14-21.
Plus, a three-way race means someone could win with perhaps as little as 35 percent of balloting; a quarter of the county’s population lives in Carson’s home city.
We have a president who’s seeking to drain what he calls “the swamp” of Washington D.C. – Godspeed! But we have a little swamp here, and – arguably – both Devlin and Fernandez are part of it.
Let’s drain our little swamp. Elect Len Carson sheriff of Otsego County on Nov. 6, 2018.
COOPERSTOWN – Today’s count of absentee ballots confirmed the Nov. 7 election results: A bipartisan “Reform Coalition” can control the Otsego County Board of Representatives after Jan. 1, if like-minded Republicans and Democrats continue to find common ground.
At the end of an afternoon-long recount, with Lynn Krogh, a partner in Casale Associates, representing the GOP, and Richard Sternberg the Democrats:
The current county board chair, Kathy Clark, maintained a narrow District 3 edge against Democratic newcomer Cathy Nardi in Otego/Laurens, 561 to 543.
In District 13, the City of Oneonta’s Wards 5 & 6, newcomer Danny Lapin, age 29, a Democrat, kept his lead against Republican incumbent Len Carson. The final tally was 252-247.
AAS in Fire Science, Corning Community College, Corning, NY
(42) National and/or NYS Certified course materials
United States Air Force: 1983-1987 ( Active) & 1990-1992 (Reserve)
Owner of Construction Technology: 1990-2000
City of Oneonta Fire Department: 1989-2015 (Call, PT, Provisional, Career)
NYS Fire Service Instructor: 2008-2015
Co-owner of DCMarketing: 2011-present
Otsego County Board Representative: 2016-present
Scout Leader with Troop 23: 1988-1992
City of Oneonta Pee Wee Football: 1996-2004
City of Oneonta Little League Baseball: 2000-2002
City of Oneonta Airport Commission: 2012-present
American Legion Oneonta Post 259: 2010-present
-Commander of Post 259: 2011-present
Otsego County American Legion Boys State Chairman-2015-present
City of Oneonta Memorial Day Parade Chairman: 2013-present
Wife, Dellene Carson
Joshua & Octavia Carson
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
To provide an egalitarian environment for its people, by being small, nimble and providing a business-friendly environment. By doing so, our communities will grow, prosper and provide the services that they need.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
Lack of Economic Development- from creating more of an opportunity for our existing businesses to attracting others. We need to strengthen our partnership with Otsego Now and our NYS Representatives by open communications focusing on a single vision.
Unfunded mandates from New York State Government
–Medicaid, NYS DMV, DOH are a few examples. The Medicaid unfunded mandates accounts for $0.90 from every $1.00 collected on the tax levy.
Lack of a County Manager or Executive
–Board Representatives are consumed with managing Department Heads rather than implementation of the Strategic Plan; which provides the vision and direction of our county. This would also provide the opportunity to improve our relationships/partnerships with municipalities within our county.
Improving existing infrastructure- county roads and bridges
Updating the Emergency Services training center
–the burn-building has not been expanded or improved upon in more than three decades
–finalize the 911 Communication system
–more towers are needed
Development of documentation scanning and record-keeping for all departments
Partner with other counties on priority issues like Broadband and upgrades for existing natural gas pipelines.
Strengthen our Agriculture environment-creating a footprint for the Farmer Markets that can be used all year. This allows our local farm businesses to increase revenue by growing product(s) year around.
Staggered terms for Representatives and extend the term to 4 years. In 2016, seven new Board Reps were elected; this does not provide continuity for Department Heads or our constituents.
During 2016, I chaired Public Safety Legal Affairs, our 911 Director pointed out a loophole with regards to wireless phone services. Those without a contract, did not pay for 911 services as those of us with land lines and wireless phone contracts did. A resolution was passed by Otsego County legislators, this item was carried to and passed both the Assembly and Senate. This passage will mean more revenue to maintain our 911 Communication system.
Working with DSS Commissioner, Eve Bouboulis, a new model for housing our homeless was adopted and will save our county taxpayers more than $100k annually. More needs to be done with this issue and we are currently studying the “Tiny Home” concept to see if this can be applied to our current and future needs of homeless.
This concept has the possibility to reduce our local-share cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide the service needed.
Currently, our local municipalities are on their own to provide healthcare insurance for their employees. This methodology is expensive and does not provide annual cost stability. Partnering with our current and future County Treasurer, I have been hosting Town Hall meetings, introducing the Otsego County Healthcare Insurance Consortium. Basically, creating a insurance company, under NYS Article 47, for all municipal employees and providing a long-term healthcare insurance financial stability. Our smaller communities will see annual savings of 15-20% and over all, the county taxpayers could realize $1M to $1.4M annual savings. We will need to stay focused and follow through on the process during 2018 to recognize a start date of January 1, 2019.
I have enjoyed working for my neighbors in the 5th and 6th Wards, City of Oneonta and Otsego County residents in my first term. I hope you agree, my thirty-four (34) years of public service as a soldier, firefighter, community member and Otsego County representative has provided me the knowledge, experience and connections to serve our county residences with the leadership it deserves.