PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Professor of Education, Hartwick College (17 Years); High School Social Studies Teacher (8 Years)
Environmental Board – 2013-present
Chair of the Environmental Board – 2015-present
Sustainability Task Force Chairperson – 2010-2015
County-wide Composting Project 2014-present
County Energy Task Force, Co-Chair Environment Sub-Committee – 2019-present
City Comprehensive Planning Committee – 2017-2019
Board Member, Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE) – 2017-present.
Board Member, Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) – 2009-2013
Oneonta Soccer Club Coach 2007-2011
FAMILY: Married to Diana Portalatin for 29 years; son, Kai (22); daughter, Marly (20)
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
Elected officials need to represent the people and make decisions that are in the best interest of the people and enhance their quality of life.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING CITY OF ONEONTA:
Oneonta faces challenges in the years ahead:
With an aging infrastructure, updates and improvements need to take place.
Family housing is disappearing in the city, we need to explore strategies to increase middle-income and family housing to attract more families to Oneonta.
In order to attract businesses to Oneonta, we need to develop and implement a strategic plan for business development.
Given the realities of climate change, we need to vigilantly protect the environmental health of our community and reduce our carbon footprint.
I look for opportunities to collaborate with people, which often requires moving beyond differences and working to find common ground. I start from a position of respect for all people in all of my interactions. I enjoy the challenge of solving problems through developing creative or logical solutions. I have always been guided by the simple idea that we have a responsibility to do what is best for people and best for the environment; because the people in our lives and the places we live are most valuable.
I’m running for Common Council because I am deeply committed to serving the community, addressing our challenges, and working to secure a high quality of life for all community members without sacrificing our environmental health now and into the future.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 24 years experience in the local business community. Manager of Peter Clark Student Rentals 1995-2010, Owner of various rental properties 2010-present. College music instructor 1994-1995.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Steering Committee, Oneonta Comprehensive Plan re-write 2017-2019. I have been deeply involved with the Oneonta small business community as part of my day-to-day professional life since 1995.
FAMILY: Peter Clark, father, Angela Clark, mother. My father is one of the most successful businessmen in the history of Oneonta. Some people seem to think that should count against me in this race. That’s just silly.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: I don’t care whether we have small government or big government, but we definitely should have COMPETENT government. That means we listen to our citizens. That means we don’t put a huge income-restricted housing project in a neighborhood that is overwhelmingly against it. That means we recognize that the local small business community is struggling, and we address the needs this struggle brings to light. That means we embrace our local student population as full-fledged citizens of our community, citizens to be respected. They are, after all, half of the citizenry. That means we promote new job opportunities intelligently, because we recognize that there is terrible income inequality even in our small community, and that such inequality is thoroughly unacceptable. And that means we have leaders who understand the workings of our local economy, leaders that understand what grows the economy and what hinders it.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING CITY OF ONEONTA: Over 60 small businesses have closed since the DRI initiative was announced three years ago. We have, in that time, spent between 1.5 and 2 million dollars on consultants (mostly from outside Oneonta). We have shameful income inequality. According to the information I can get from the local school system, fully half of the families in this area are food insecure. And the city government needs leaders, like myself, who understand the needs of local business and the local economy.
MY QUALITIES:I understand the local economy very, very well, because I have been studying it for the past 25 years. Studying the economy is part of my job. Other than that, patience is a virtue. Impatience is also a virtue.
STATEMENT: Oneonta is in a period of rapid flux. The small businesses that weave our community together are certainly on thin ice. Many of the leaders currently in City Hall want to score cheap political points by creating a false sense that it’s “us” (the year-round residents) versus “them” (our college students). That kind of rhetoric is completely unproductive. We need leaders who understand business, understand higher education, understand housing, and how housing availability is effected by the local economy. If we keep waiting around for the DRI money to materialize and for the rail yards to be developed, we will all grow old waiting while the Oneonta that we know and love disappears beneath our feet.