Reform Cohocton Platform
and Essential Principles
The Constitution of the United States provides that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Reform Cohocton supports the original intent of this language. Therefore, Reform Cohocton calls on all those who love liberty and value their inherent rights to join with us in the pursuit of these goals and in the restoration of these founding principles.
Cohocton will reverse the troubling reality that Cohocton
elections have only one name on the ballot. Our mission is to recruit
capable citizens to get on the ballot and challenge career politicians
who only answer to protect special interest campaign contributors. We
aim to encourage citizens to run for office as Reform
Cohocton Independents. Republicans are encouraged to run in a
primary against those incumbents who represent only special interests.
Democrats are encouraged to endorse candidates other than Republicans. Reform
Cohocton is bipartisan and seeks support from both party
voters. Independents and new registration voters are welcome to create
needed reform in our local government.
For too long we in Cohocton have accepted this culture of corruption as the norm. No ethics legislation or commission, no matter how good, can completely rid our system of graft and corruption. But they can set a tone for the conduct of government and send a signal to the public that procedures exist for addressing ethical questions. The following are stated objectives:
town government must be accessible, accountable, responsive, proactive,
visionary, capable, and well balanced. It has not been, and it cannot
be, in its current form.
and Moral Conduct:
respect and esteem toward public officials has fallen to a shameful
Cohocton finds that a cause of this national state of
disgrace is the deterioration of personal character among government
leaders, exacerbated by the lack of public outcry against immoral
conduct by public office holders. Our party leaders and public officials
must display exemplary qualities of honesty, integrity, reliability,
moral uprightness, fidelity, prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude,
self-restraint, courage, kindness, and compassion. If they cannot be
trusted in private life, neither can they be trusted in public life.
and Responsive Government:
overarching principle for all of these policy positions is the need for
open and responsive government. Public officials are elected to
represent and act in the public interest. Similarly, appointments by
Town Boards should be made based on merit. Appointments to boards and
committees should include the wealth of experience, knowledge, and
diversity available from the precious resource of our citizenry. Through
open and responsive government we can help to restore the public’s
confidence in the electoral process and their trust in elected and
All meetings of government,
including the State Legislature and its committees, should be open to
the public and the media so that the process is transparent and the
actions of our representatives are known. All Cohocton town government
meetings need to conform to New York State’s open committee law.
Cohocton acknowledges that it is within the legal rights of
the Cohocton Town Board to choose appointed officials only from their
political supporters, but in practice this excludes individuals who
might be better qualified and might better serve the constituents of
Cohocton. Further, it is the taxpayers that suffer because of political
favoritism in town government.
The Cohocton Boards make
critical land use decisions for the Town of Cohocton. There is a
potential conflict of interest when individuals who are beholden to
political candidates and/or a political party, are in a position to
decide land use issues involving developers and others who are often
campaign contributors. There must be more diversity in town appointments
in order to ensure the best possible outcome in land use planning for
the people of Cohocton.
In addition, the Cohocton Code
of Ethics must be strengthened and applied to all appointed board
Use and Comprehensive Town Plan:
Reform Cohocton supports and has called for the development of an updated Comprehensive Master Plan or Town Plan. The last Town Plan was developed in 1970. Cohocton must develop an updated Town Plan that effectively sets guidelines for preserving the quality of life in our community, promoting economic development and a healthy tax base, and ensuring an environmentally sound future for our children. Local planning decisions have a profound effect on every aspect of our lives.
Long Term Planning:
Economic development in rural
areas spans many agencies of government, but eventually comes back to
prospering, healthy farms and ranch lands. Recreation, local business,
schools and education, health care, and energy availability are all
necessary to support a diversified and successful rural economy.
Create an economic development
policy focusing on local needs and supporting enterprises meeting these
local needs. Reform Cohocton advocates that this policy promotes locally
owned and operated enterprises, whether they are family-owned,
community-owned, worker-owned cooperative, or other locally based small
business enterprises. Reform Cohocton also
favors encouraging enterprises that engage in value-adding activities,
such as a business using locally gathered recycled materials to
manufacture products for local use.
Without farmers our nation would
soon cease to be. Providing food for people is one of the most important
and time-honored vocations. Cohocton should support locally made and
grown agricultural products. We believe that we need to support and
defend the family farm and discourage the irresponsible and destructive
corporate agribusiness that destroys the environment and our rural
Cohocton believes rural development should begin with the
local people. FAMILY FARMS are the backbone of a sustainable rural
economy. They are more likely than corporate agribusiness to follow
ecological practices that enrich the land, use labor-intensive rather
than energy-intensive farming methods, and support biodiversity. Because
of their smaller scale production methods, they are more likely to
produce food products that are healthier for consumers. Federal, state,
and local governments should provide financial assistance to small
farmers to help them compete against agribusiness.
Farm communities should seek new
ways to keep “value-added” processes and profits as close as
possible to the farm. Public policy should promote cooperative
development of local processing facilities and diversification into the
production of higher-value, specialized crops – including
Family-sized farms should be protected and strengthened through more programs such as FAIR’s Fund for Rural America, which supports value-added incentives, assistance for minority and beginning farmers, and other initiatives to empower farmers and rural communities to work towards revitalizing rural life. Even removing farm payment loopholes for large corporate agribusinesses would favor the viability of family-sized farms. Programs such as the Fund for Rural America should be given high priority and full funding.
Reforms to allow communities to
have influence in their ECONOMIC FUTURE should be implemented including
support of locally owned small businesses, which are more accessible to
community concerns; support of local production and consumption where
possible; support of consumer co-ops, credit unions, incubators,
microloan funds, local “currencies”, and other institutions that
help communities develop economic projects. Further reforms should be
instituted to allow municipalities to approve or disapprove large
economic projects case-by-case based on environmental impacts, local
ownership, community reinvestment, wage levels, and working conditions
and to allow communities to set environmental, human rights, and health
and safety standards higher than federal or state minimums.
Local government should
encourage, where appropriate, those businesses that especially benefit
the community. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES should include citizen
and community input. The type and size of the businesses that are
provided incentives (tax, loans, bonds, etc) should be the result of
local community participation.
support strong and effectively enforced ANTITRUST REGULATION to
counteract the concentration of economic power with its severe toll on
the economy. We oppose the largesse of government in the form of narrow
corporate entitlements. We should stop the giveaways and subsidies of
our vast public mineral and wind resources.
believe democratic community control over corporations should be
strengthened. Chartering a corporation is the citizens’ historic right
and civic responsibility. Only citizens have sovereign authority to
grant charters of incorporation. Many corporations and LLCs serve the
common good but too many cause injury, corrode our democracy, and poison
the earth. Therefore we urge state and local governments to redefine the
process for granting corporate charters to include standards that
benefit the community. We also urge a restoration of the historic civil
authority over the governance of existing corporate charters. And we
demand that the charters of corporations and LLCs harmful to their
workers, to the community, or to our environment be revoked. The
certificates of authority of harmful foreign and alien corporations
operating in our state should also be revoked.
is our responsibility to be prudent, productive, and efficient stewards
of God’s natural resources. In that role, we are commanded to be
fruitful and multiply, and to replenish the earth and develop it (e.g.,
to turn deserts into farms and wastelands into groves). This requires a
proper and continuing dynamic balance between development and
conservation, between use and preservation.
keeping with this requirement, we wholeheartedly support realistic
efforts to preserve the environment and reduce pollution – air, water,
and land – from irresponsible industrial and commercial development.
We believe local policies are best implemented and enforced when they
are in keeping with and backed up by responsible regional and state
guidelines that take the concerns of all residents into account.
Cohocton advocates corporate accountability reforms. Under
current law, individuals are held accountable for the personal or
environmental harm they cause, but corporations are not. To correct this
scandalous situation, we support reforms that hold corporation
executives and LLCs members directly liable for the harm resulting from
Cohocton believes real property taxes should be reasonable
and equitable. We believe the current property tax system is a
regressive method of funding our schools and local governments because
it is based on escalating property values and not on the ability to pay.
This current method allows elected officials to claim a 0% increase in
the property tax rate even though the amount of property taxes paid is
increasing, thereby furthering its regressive impact. We also believe
the recent property revaluation process, commissioned by our current
Town Board and conducted by Fitts Appraisal Company, needs to be
carefully reviewed for systematic inequities.
Reform Cohocton believes in spending the minimum necessary to effectively provide the services required by the town’s citizens and supports an open and thorough budgeting process that clearly identifies the costs and benefits of various town services. Funding of town programs should be based on identified priorities and the availability of resources.
Reform Cohocton is deeply committed to education and believes that we should:
Reform Cohocton believes that the magnitude of a town’s litigation expenses is largely determined by how effectively the town is governed and how proactively responsive it is to citizens’ concerns. Therefore, the town’s first line of legal defense should be developing well-crafted laws, procedures, and policies that take all of its residents interests into account. The primary consideration when hiring legal counsel, including the town attorney, must be whether the attorney has the knowledge, experience, and high ethical standards to effectively advocate for the interests of all of Cohocton’s taxpayers and whether they have a demonstrated record of success in litigation. Only then can we be confident that the taxpayers will not be over-burdened by litigation expenses.
Click the links below to read more specifics about our platform.