Good Operating Condition’


Remember the good old days in 2019, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo thought all license plates on cars over 10 years old needed to be replaced? Then, the administration backtracked and said well, maybe we need a “mechanism” to see if said plates are still in “good operating condition.” And millions of us would have had to spend even more quality time at the DMV office, to get our plates checked out. To see whether these plates, WITH NO MOVING PARTS, were operating properly.

Finally, bowing to public and legislative discontent as this money grab was exposed for what it was, the plan was scrapped. I thought of it again this past week, in the backdrop of the vast bureaucracy New York state has for so many things. You see, in that way of time and families, our youngest was taking over the Subaru. Registering it out of state.

And I thought – quite naively, I now realize – OK, I’ll call our friendly insurance agent, have her take the Subaru off our policy, and we’ll be good to go. And here, progress came to a screeching halt.

Below, the writer’s license plates from a 2013 Subaru, on their circuitous way to being surrendered. Check out in particular their “good operating condition”. Photo/ Douglas Cunningham

Below, the writer’s license plates from a 2013 Subaru, on their circuitous way to being surrendered. Check out in particular their “good operating condition”. Photo/ Douglas Cunningham

You see, you can’t simply decide this kind of thing by yourself. As our agent recounted, “In order to remove the vehicle from the policy, we will need the NYS license plates surrender receipt from the DMV. You have to surrender the NYS plates and they will give you the receipt, which you will then send to me. If you need help navigating how to do this via email or DMV drop box, please call and I can tell you how to do it.”

This entailed removing the plates, the stickers, any frames or fasteners, completing the PD-7 Plate Surrender Application, mailing the plates to the state DMV or using a drop box at a county DMV office, THEN getting the receipt, and then giving the receipt to our agent.

And only then would the car be removed from the policy. Should you encounter this issue, be forewarned this is a process. With rules, a lot of them. And forms. Everything in NYS has a form, right?

And the thought comes to me: These are only the regulations for surrendering your license plates and taking a car off your insurance. Friends, you realize, right, that we have more regulations in this state right now about surrendering plates than we do about the legalized pot business, approved only this year by the Legislature and Cuomo? We are careening into a new business that will be somewhat akin to the liquor business, with none of the bureaucracy, with the rules still in flux, with the towns and villages still deciding whether to even allow a pot dispensary (as will have to happen this year across Putnam County).

At various times in my media life, I’ve taken part in projects where we ran full speed with an idea that seemed good, but perhaps wasn’t fully planned out. No one “game-planned” it. And almost universally, either these efforts were disastrous, or disaster was narrowly averted. I hope this works out, this legal pot thing. But I’m not optimistic. Open invitation: Early in the morning and on weekends, I take a fair number of renewals, people who are signing up for another year of the Courier or the PCNR. The phone rings, I’m here, might as well handle it, right? One of the questions I usually ask is this: Is there anything you’d like us to change about the paper? Of course, I might agree, I might disagree. But you should know that I’m interested in what you think. And if I don’t happen to pick up, know that you are free to email ( or call (845-265-2468) at another time. With a tip, a request, even a gripe. We’ll see what we can do.

Until next week.

Douglas Cunningham is editor of the Putnam County Courier and the Putnam County News and Recorder, in Cold Spring. Reach him at 845- 265-2468 (usually in the office at least part of Saturday and Sunday) or by email at

This column is my opinion. You are free to disagree.

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