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

June 13, 2013

Comments and questions and updates, oh my ...

Cooperstown Crier

---- — We must say that we tend to think the number of issues floating around recently is somewhat overwhelming. In fact, there are times when we feel we are having trouble keeping track of them all. And so, we thought we might attempt to sort some of them out.

We were most pleased to have gotten a positive report from a friend who, unfortunately, had a brief overnight stay at Bassett recently. She had been in the hospital earlier this year and wanted us to know that the care this time was very good and a seeming improvement from the first visit. We were delighted to hear this, trusting that we will receive more such reports in the future.

However, we must say that we were not particularly happy to read an opinion piece titled “Americans pay too much for health care” and written by Froma Harrop, which appeared in the June 6 edition of The Daily Star. Of course, her thoughts on the high cost of health care were not new to us. But we must say that we found her closing to be somewhat chilling when she wrote: “When it comes to Medicare, meanwhile, the question should move away from, ‘How do we sustain it?’ It should be, “What, exactly, are we sustaining?” We find the mere fact that she would pose such a question to be troubling. And the fact that it seems she does not know what the answer is, in our opinion, truly alarming.

As expected we received a response to our suggestion in last week’s column that the Eagle Street Block Party might not be a real block party. Our roving Eagle Street reporter, based on her thinking, gave us the following statement:

“The purpose of the Block Party on Eagle Street is to have an open and welcoming party for everyone on the street. And while there has been thought given to blocking off the street for the party, it has never been done. However, organizers do reserve the right, with the proper village permit, to do so.”

Now we must admit that we have no idea if there are rules covering protocol for block parties, but we think we shall continue to think that, as far as we know, Cooperstown has two such events, one on Upper Pioneer Street and one on Eagle Street. And given how well both events are received by the residents of these two blocks, we are always amazed that Cooperstown does not sport more such festivities.

Needless to say, response to the new on street paid parking in the village of Cooperstown has been a topic of conversation. There has already been a fairly negative letter to The Daily Star on the topic. We have received numerous telephone calls telling us how many empty spaces there are on Main Street at any given time. The total for one afternoon was 47 empty spaces on Main Street between Chestnut and River streets. Of course, once the season is full swing we suspect that will change.

However, we do think the current village board should be credited for having done something no other village board has ever done, namely go a long way to solving the parking problem. As we have long suspected, the parking problem is actually a supply and demand problem. When the demand was high, the supply was low. But now that the village has seemingly successfully diminished demand, the supply is high. And hence there is parking available. Of course, at this point it is difficult to assess what effect overall the decrease in demand for parking might mean.

However, even though the demand for parking on Main Street seems to have dropped, one’s ability to access Main Street without parking there has not due to the trolley system. For example, a visiting family can still park all day for the amazingly low cost of two dollars. The driver simply has to drop the family off, on Main Street, then park in one of the three trolley lots, purchase a daily pass and take the trolley to Main Street.

Locals can also use the trolley system to access Main Street without paying to park. After all, season passes are $35 for a family; $20 for an adult; $15 for a senior citizen and $10 for students younger than 18 years old. And since the trolleys provide an enjoyable trip around town, the cost can be attributed to entertainment and not parking for those opposed to paid parking. And for us, this would be a real deal as we suspect the Lavendar Landrover would ride for free.

And finally, we thought the article in the paper regarding planning for the upcoming July concert at Doubleday Field seemed to be somewhat alarmist. In fact, one email we received assessed the situation by saying: “I think the Shakedown Street market thing might be a pain ... but I’m pretty sure they’re just going to keep to themselves. I guess it’s good to let the town know that they’re prepared … but it might have been better not to make them seem like the Manson Family Market in the process.”

And while we suppose problems could arise with this concert, as they could with any concert, we feel the real problem with all concerts in Doubleday Field is not who is performing, but rather the venue itself. We have long thought it to be inappropriate to hold such events given the fact that Doubleday Field backs up to residential streets. Using a baseball field that is normally only used for daytime games, as a venue for a large, expansive, and undoubtedly noisy, night time event is, as far as we are concerned, beyond the pale. Whatever benefits may be realized are more than offset by the confusion, and downright distress, it causes any number of residents of the village, who, we might add, pay the greatest percentage of property taxes to the village.

However, in discussing this with a neighbor, it was pointed out to us that the real problem with such concerts is actually more fundamental, namely why is the village of Cooperstown in the music business in the first place? And while this is an aspect we had not considered before, it does seem somehow that being in the music industry might be beyond the usual expectations of the government. Perhaps the village would be better served to do what they need to do, not what they want to do. After all, it was Thomas Jefferson who pointed out “... that most bad government results from too much government.”

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