One In A Million... a million people live, work and play in upstate New York's Catskills region. These are their life stories... in their own words.
Series produced by Kent Garrett
Photo editing and website design by Ed Kirstein
Chuck Pinkey :
On The Right
Chuck Pinkey Transcript:
If you read the Oneonta Daily Star, you’ve probably read something by Chuck Pinkey. He writes a column called On the Right.
Here is his story in his own words:
I know I was born out in Corning, western New York. My dad and all my aunts and uncles, everyone works for the glass center out there. I went to college to become a teacher and met my wife. She was from Delaware County. We married. I went on active duty for a little while. I was in the National Guard. She was teaching, and I came out and taught. Her dad had a farm in the farm equipment business in Delaware County. It seemed like a good opportunity, and they were wonderful people; so we both went to work for them. I sold machinery, and my wife helped her mom do the books.
Q – When did you start writing then for the Daily Star?
About 14 months ago. Tom Sears, who had done it for five years, he’s a college professor, conservative fellow. So he just kind of had had a long run and decided he’d retire. When he was on vacation I would write a few guest articles for him. Then when he wanted to retire they asked me to take over, which I did.
Q – How do you like it?
I love it. Everybody likes to hear themselves think.
Q – How often do you appear?
It’s every two weeks.
Q – Every two weeks?
Yeah. I alternate with a guy named Bill Masters. He’s on the liberal side.
Q – How do you sort of generate your columns, your ideas? I mean, where does the muse come from?
Well, I watch a lot of TV. You know, I watch Fox. I watch MSNBC as long as I can stomach it, CNN. You know, it’s partly from the news, but we get a lot of suggestions on what we should write about, most of which are quite far out. Certain people have pet peeves, but you can’t take all the requests, if you know what I mean. Then quite often we write a column in reaction to a discussion. We told a joke at one of our columns here recently. At the end a friend of mine, who’s a confirmed bachelor, he thinks he’s going to find himself a woman and was asking me about it.
So in the column I said, yes, Harry, find yourself a good woman. I did 41 years ago and never looked back, but just bear in mind that—he was also talking about buying a tractor, by the way—so just bear in mind that a tractor has certain advantages over a woman. Number one, you can put a muffler on the tractor. A tractor will never say, do these tires make me look fat? [laughter] You can turn a tractor off with a key. A tractor doesn’t care how late you stay out at night. Oh, I went on and on, and it was kind of a takeoff of what you hear from Letterman, you know, the top 10.
My goodness, I got a scathing email from a professional over here in Oneonta, who, my goodness, you’d think I was the worst person in the world. It was just a little bit of fluff, if you know what I mean. It was maybe meant to tweak people a little bit, but not to get that kind of reaction. So this week I’m going to react to that reaction.
Q – I don’t know Otego politics that well, but what’s your sense of where we’re headed?
I think we’re headed to a disaster.
Q – You do?
Yes. I think New York State’s about broke. If you look at the tremendous property and school taxes that we pay, sales taxes, I could take the next 20 minutes just naming taxes, and we still run a huge deficit. It’s still not enough. Where does it end? Look at the federal government. They’re spending what, $7 million a minute, the feds? I don’t know how many billions a day. We’re spending more than we’re taking in. How could it end great? You know, they just keep kicking the ball down the road and let the next generation handle it. Eventually, you can’t spend your way to prosperity.
Q – Let me ask you this: I mean, let’s say through some magical thing you get your druthers, you become governor. I mean, what would you do for our area, for the Catskills?
Oh, that’s a great question. Probably, the first thing I would try to do is freeze all property taxes, which our governor has done already, but there’s some caveats there that, you know, things can’t change. If I was the governor, I’d freeze government spending, not a penny more than we’re spending right now. Once people got used to that, then I would institute maybe a 2% or 5% drop each year until we get down to about a 2008, 2005 level.
Q – Of property tax or—?
All taxes, all government spending. In the local area here by freezing property taxes that would help. Easing some of the regulations, environmental regulations, land use regulations, would certainly help too. For instance, if you want to sell a partial property in the watershed in Delaware County, the septic may cost $10-20,000 just to put a septic in. Well, I think that’s unnecessary. I’m sorry, there’s not the population there. It’s easier said than done. I wouldn’t have an answer, but I just know the people running the show aren’t cutting it, whatever they’re doing.
Q – Is that sort of across party lines or just in general or just everybody or what?
Well, I’m a staunch conservative, so I guess I would fall in the Republican column. But they’re all politicians. I don’t have a lot of faith in any of them.