State Supreme Court Judge Kevin Dowd laid down the political challenge to opponents of Cooperstown’s on-street paid-parking program, but it turns out that Dowd’s challenge has gone unanswered.
In his December verdict in favor of the village, Dowd ruled against Savor New York and its owner Brenda Berstler’s contention that paid parking has caused a dire economic impact on local businesses. “This, if it even does exist, is not a legal issue, but a political one whereby if you do not like the law you can organize and elect people who agree with you,” he wrote.
It remains to be seen if Cooperstown Republicans will find someone to challenge Mayor Jeff Katz in the March 18 village election, but one thing became clear at the GOP’s Jan. 23 caucus: this election won’t be a proxy fight about paid parking.
Despite sometimes vocal opposition to Katz and paid parking, no has successfully organized to repeal the law. At the caucus, the GOP did nominate a place-holder candidate, Otsego County GOP chairman Vince Casale, to run against Katz. The group now has until Feb. 3 to find an actual candidate to run for mayor.
But even if the GOP does find a candidate, and even if that candidate campaigns against paid parking, he or she won’t be able to make more than a symbolic argument against the law.
Not one word was spoken at the caucus about the village’s on-street paid-parking law, but a clear message was spoken nonetheless. By cross-nominating trustee Lou Allstadt and by failing to nominate a candidate to run against Deputy Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, the GOP has signaled that anger against paid parking has not led to people organizing and taking Dowd’s advice about an elective remedy.