Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

July 25, 2013

Trying to understand changing times ...

Cooperstown Crier

---- — We must say that once again we have been surprised at the most positive reaction to our recent columns featuring humorous items we have received via email. And we are heartened that readers seemed to enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them.

Of course, we would be amiss not to mention that the three columns in question masked yet another trip to Ohio and Michigan which included a week we spent at our sister’s cottage on Lake Michigan. And normally, following such a trip we would arrive home armed with all sorts of interesting tidbits that usually find their way into the column.    

However, this year, we do not have much of interest to offer as a result of our travels. In fact, we think the one piece of news that we learned while on our trip that was of interest here was the untimely death of Lynn Green, something which was known here long before we had the rather shocking experience of reading about Lynn in the paper online.

Lynn and our late husband Jerry knew each other from their days at Cooperstown Central School. And we knew Lynn even before we moved here in 1982. It seems as if he has always been a fixture of our Cooperstown experience. And while we have many fond memories of Lynn, we think we were most touched when, following Jerry’s death, he offered to take on the job of treasurer of the CCS Alumni Association. Doing so allowed the then treasurer, Terry Bliss, to take on the presidency of that organization that was left vacant when Jerry died. We were indeed grateful that the transition in that organization went so smoothly thanks to Lynn, who, we believe, continued as treasurer until his death.

We, along with so very many others in the community, will miss him greatly. To his family and friends we extend our deepest sympathy.

Of course, one of our hopes upon returning home would be to discover that all the various issues swirling around Cooperstown would have been solved in our absence. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. In fact, we think, based on reports we have heard, that the village has even more on its plate than it did when we left.

When it comes to the paid on-street parking, we must say we were not particularly surprised by the vehemence with which people have simply avoided Main Street in protest of having to pay to park. And while we expected the merchants would no doubt bear the brunt of such decisions, we were somewhat surprised by the reports of losses from the various businesses.

Such losses are, of course, most troubling. But we also believe that the village’s reputation as a welcoming destination for visitors has also taken a hit. And that is also indeed troubling. We do not like to read, in what was otherwise a very positive online review of Stagecoach Coffee posted on July 7, the following:

“Word of warning though ... parking in Cooperstown is difficult. We parked in a spot that appeared to be free (no meter in front or sign to be seen). But 15 minutes later we had a $35 ticket because we parked in a spot that was apparently a two hour PAID Parking. After further inspection we finally found a sign several cars down and not easily visible. Would have stayed for dinner but felt that after that expensive ticket Cooperstown wasn’t getting any more of our money.”

To pay $2 an hour to park seems high to begin with. But when poor signage results in a parking ticket, the cost of parking in Cooperstown becomes even more egregious. And it is certainly not the welcome we would like our visitors to have.

We have also discovered since returning home that there is a great deal of seeming unhappiness with the recent concert held at Doubleday Field. We, of course, cannot speak from first-hand experience as we missed it. Yet we find the various reports we have received about all sorts of problems to be rather unpleasant at best. And while we understand people’s concerns with underage drinking, open container law violations and urinating in public, we really feel to be even more troubling is what appears to be the selective enforcement of local, as well as, we suppose, state laws. In fact, even before the concert we asked the powers that be how it is possible that “... according to the paper’s report ... outside vendors will not be required to obtain vending permits while the chief of police has said that all laws will be enforced. We have to wonder exactly which one it will be.”

The response to this was: “How special event weekends play out has always been decided by the board. In this instance we have applied a different set of standards. It’s what the board has voted to approve and what will be followed.”

We must admit that we were unaware that such selective enforcement of local laws would be appropriate. In fact, we wrote back: “... we find it troubling that the powers that be at the village would find it appropriate to enforce laws for some people but not for others. We would not think the government would be in a position to treat people differently. Even though we realize that life is not fair, we guess we are still naive enough to think that the government should attempt to treat all its citizens fairly.” But evidently that is no longer the case in Cooperstown. And we are the poorer for it.

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