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February 26, 2010

Letters to the Editor: February 25, 2010

We will relight the church

This year during Lent, February 17 _ April 3, residents of Cooperstown may wonder why the facade and steeple of the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street is not being lit. It is intentional.

As Christians, we believe that God expects us to be conscientious stewards of the earth. Unfortunately, we are not living up to God’s expectations.

The burning of fossil fuel to produce electricity is contributing to ever increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide _ a greenhouse gas. The result is changing weather patterns and climatic conditions. Glaciers are rapidly retreating; ice caps are melting, and semitropical plants and animals are steadily advancing into more northern latitudes. We are concerned that rapid environmental change will adversely affect societies around the world, especially those that are poor and thus less capable of adapting toáthis change.

As a reminder that we must all act responsibly when it comes to energy conservation and use, the church decided to extinguish its outside lighting during Lent. Furthermore, some of our members are observing Lent by participating in a ``carbon fast.’’ On Easter we will relight the church and steeple to celebrate our faith in God’s providence and grace and proclaim our renewed commitment to tend this garden _ our earth _ until Christ comes again.

Diane Kenworthy


We will support Katz

In the upcoming election, we will be supporting Jeff Katz for mayor of Cooperstown. Over the past five years, Jeff has a proven track record of service on behalf of the village and its residents. During this time he has worked diligently to balance the needs of the village residents with those of businesses and organizations within the community. This task will only become more difficult in the next several years as the village struggles to solve the ongoing problems of parking and infrastructure repair and tries to move toward a more modern and sustainable future as outlined in the Notre Dame study.

Improved traffic flow and parking (especially in downtown and along the southern entrance to the village), more green spaces, and improved access to the downtown area for pedestrians and bicyclists will improve the ``live-ability’’ of our village for us, and will improve the experience of visitors who come here throughout the year.

Jeff’s experience, personal qualities, and character make him uniquely qualified to provide Cooperstown with excellent leadership and vision as we work to solve these problems and move into the future.

Jeanne and John Dewey


Parking is a problem and a resource

Candidates for political office usually express a predictable ideological viewpoint. I was therefore surprised by Alton Dunn’s analysis of the parking issue printed in last week’s paper. Mr. Dunn states that ``parking is a problem, not a resource.’’

In fact, it is both. The act of finding a space and then squeezing your car into it may be a problem during the summer in Cooperstown, but ``parking’’ is also shorthand for the physical space required to store your vehicle. Understood this way, parking is a land resource.

The scarcity of this resource in the downtown area is exactly why finding a space to park in the summer is a problem. Economists would describe the parking problem as demand for space exceeding supply.

Whether or not parking spaces are owned publicly or privately, the principles of economics still apply. In a free market, when demand for a commodity, in this case parking space, exceeds supply, its price is expected to increase to its market clearing level, which is the price where supply and demand find equilibrium. If prices shoot too high, demand will fall short of the quantity supplied. Thus, when the trustees put a price on parking in the Doubleday lot two summers ago, they soon found that it was too high during June, i.e., too many empty spaces or not enough demand, so they dropped the price last year to encourage more usage.

However, if one rejects using a pricing mechanism to balance supply and demand for parking spaces, the only option is to limit demand by rationing. (Since the village rejected the parking garage idea years ago, increasing the supply of parking is not an option). And rationing is, in fact, the means by which the village still allocates its parking spaces on Main Street. The first-come, firstserved policy, which the village employs, is a widely used method of enforcing rationing.

First-come, first-served is reasonably ``fair.’’ It works especially well for early birds, such as downtown employees and some tourists, but unfortunately, it does not work so well for people who require parking at irregular times throughout the day. To help these folks, the village enforces a two-hour parking limit on Main Street. Essentially, the village has sliced up its quota of all-day parking spaces into smaller pieces of two hours each. Still, finding a space during the day remains unpredictable. The bottom line is that the village only has two contrasting ideological options for determining who gets to use its scarce public parking spaces.

The first is to give them away for free but ration their use by ``wise’’ government- imposed rules, and the second is to allow free-market forces to handle the job. It is ironic that the Republican candidates seem to prefer the first option, while the Democratic candidates seem to put more faith in a free-market solution. Go figure. Maybe Carol Waller can explain it.

Richard Blabey


Friedman for village justice

This is a letter of support for Leslie Friedman, who is running for Village Justice of Cooperstown. We have known Leslie since before our move to Cooperstown, when she so graciously took the time to discuss with us our potential move to Cooperstown.

Her love of Cooperstown was very evident, and her passion for this town factored greatly in our decision to move here. We became immediate friends. She is the type of person one would want in a friend _ loyal, giving, and sincere. In addition, she is intelligent, educated, and extremely well-read. She can be found every morning with the New York Times in hand, keeping up on news and current events.

Leslie is currently the acting Village Justice of Cooperstown. On this basis alone, she is an outstanding candidate for Village Justice, as she knows and understands the demands of the position. She has developed an excellent relationship with the members of the court and has earned their respect.

A good judge, one that would be good for this town, is one that is impartial _ one that hears both sides of a story and makes decisions based on facts and within the bounds of the law. Leslie has purposely chosen to be nonpartisan. She is a registered independent because she likes to look at all sides and choose a candidate based on the best candidate and not just because of a party affiliation.

She carries this attitude into the courtroom and is a fair Justice. Furthermore, Leslie has a J.D. from New York University Law School, one of the top law schools in this country.

She has been practicing law for over 20 years, and as a result, is well versed in the law.

She has shown, through her tenure as acting Village Justice, to be adept at making astute decisions. For these reasons, Leslie Friedman has shown us to be a good citizen, a talented judge, and should be allowed to continue to serveCooperstown as the Village Justice.

We will be voting for her on March 16th, and we urge you to do the same.

Betsy and Stratton Danes


Cast your ballots for Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz has already proved his devotion to the interests of our village, and promoted them with tact and energy. He has worked on a nonpartisan basis with everyone in the village government. Over the past few weeks he has spent many hours visiting residents in their homes in every part of Cooperstown, to hear their concerns and to discuss our future.

Jeff has fully demonstrated the experience, the ability, and the will to make an excellent Mayor for all of us.

But one aspect of Jeff’s candidacy needs to be stressed.

The Mayor of Cooperstown is on duty twenty-four-hours-aday and seven-days-a-week. At any moment a problem may arise requiring the Mayor’s immediate attention. Jeff not only lives in the village, as any candidate must, but he conducts his business from his home here.

Like Mayor Waller he has already proved that he can and does give village business top priority whenever it is needed.

He will always be here and available to serve us. My wife Eleanore joins me in hoping that our fellow Cooperstonians will join us in going to the polls on Election Day, and casting your ballots for Jeff Katz as Mayor of Cooperstown, and for the team of candidates he leads.

Hugh MacDougall