Saturday, September 17, 2016

TWF 267: I'm speaking at Adelphi University about The Weekly Freeporter and more!

Hello, Freeport!

I hope you're ready for an announcement that's left me, honestly, stunned!  Well, you've read the headline already so chances are you know!  On October 6th I'm speaking at Adelphi University about my experiences in hyper-local journalism and politics (it's a non-partisan event!).  That's right!  You've heard me correctly!  It's an awe-inspiring event, so let me give you the details.

The Details

What:  "Decisions 2016:  Why your vote matters at all levels"
When:  Thursday October 6th, 2016, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where:  Adelphi University, Blodgett Hall room 201
Who:  Well...

The History Department, in particular Dr.  Cristina Zaccarini, has been helping us organize this and is far and away an incredible person to work with.  She's written three books on China and, well, her faculty website profile will do more to tell you about her than I ever could.

Our headline speaker is Jamie Diamond, a close friend of mine and a fellow alumni.  She was heavily active in the Buffalo For Bernie movement (now called Liberty Union Progressives), where she helped organize events in support of Bernie Sanders' run for office.  I wrote about some of the things she was up to over on The Daily Kos.

We're hoping to add a number of current students to our list, including, hopefully, campus Democrats and Republicans.  We might even get a former candidate or two to join us!

As for me?  I'll be talking about what I've experienced with The Weekly Freeporter.  I'm probably going to re-enable some old articles for viewing, especially the Hurricane Sandy stuff, but that's a time consuming prospect (you've gotta remember, I've written over 250 articles, here, and I have to comb through them myself after work some day).  Since we're all (mostly) Freeport people here, right?  The list of interesting topics includes...

 - How The Weekly Freeporter got started.
 - Garbage for Gold
 - Hurricane Sandy


So if you want to hear my honest thoughts about those fun times, what it was like to cover them, and why it's so essential that you know your local politicians and be engaged with the county and state levels of politics, come on through!  See you in about half a month!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TWF 266: Freeport Gerrymandered

Greetings,

Today I went to vote.

Carmen Pinyero is taking on Earlene Hooper, and if the words "Garbage to gold" mean anything to you, you know why that's an important election.  If not, here's why:  Hooper once tried to sell Freeport on building an incinerator.  Why, yes, there is a picture of Hooper and former Mayor Andrew Hardwick in a promotional video for this Simpsons-seque scheme floating around.  I just re-enabled that article on this site!

Anyhow, we're here to discuss something I found out when I went to my polling place - Freeport as a community is split between the 18th New York State Assembly district and the 21st.  What's this mean?  It means that if you live south of an imaginary line, you're in a different district - with a different representative.  And guess what?  You can't vote in the other election.

Hooper's 18th district looks something like this, image courtesy of New York State libraries.


Image result for NYS assembly 18th district

How is Freeport Gerrymandered?


I've written about Gerrymandering before for The Hill, in particular criticizing Florida.  I know I say "guess what" a lot, but guess what?  The 18th district is severely gerrymandered, as you can no doubt tell by the fact that the district looks more like a horse-shoe than it does a sensible geographic region.

Gerrymandering, for those of you who don't know, is (in a nutshell) when the lines of a particular representative district are drawn in such a way that the representatives get to choose their electorate, and not the other way around.  Oh, it might not be a deliberate case of a particular representative choosing a particular thing, but political parties (both Republican and Democrat) are notorious for creating "safe seats."  Given that people at one polling place informed me that they'd had to turn away over a dozen people who wanted to vote, but weren't eligible to vote down the block from their house because they were in a different district, well...

Let's just say that there's something very un-just happening in our town.  In this case, it's the fact that northern Freeport is in one district, southern Freeport is in another, and therefore the village as a whole does not get to have one representative.  Instead, our northern representative also represents Roosevelt, Lynbrook, parts of Hempstead and other communities that, while lovely, might not have our best interests at heart.  South Freeport is connected to Merrick as well as other south-shore communities; also totally fine places to live, but not necessarily putting Freeport first.

If you need a hint:  When Earlene Hooper was proposing the incinerator, she wasn't planning on building it in her district.

That's all; make of it what you will.


For more information about gerrymandering, watch CGPGrey's awesome videos about "Voting in the Animal Kingdom."


TWF 266: Freeport Gerrymandered

Greetings,

Today I went to vote.

Carmen Pinyero is taking on Earlene Hooper, and if the words "Garbage to gold" mean anything to you, you know why that's an important election.  If not, here's why:  Hooper once tried to sell Freeport on building an incinerator.  Why, yes, there is a picture of Hooper and former Mayor Andrew Hardwick in a promotional video for this Simpsons-seque scheme floating around.  I just re-enabled that article on this site!

Anyhow, we're here to discuss something I found out when I went to my polling place - Freeport as a community is split between the 18th New York State Assembly district and the 21st.  What's this mean?  It means that if you live south of an imaginary line, you're in a different district - with a different representative.  And guess what?  You can't vote in the other election.

Hooper's 18th district looks something like this, image courtesy of New York State libraries.


Image result for NYS assembly 18th district

How is Freeport Gerrymandered?


I've written about Gerrymandering before for The Hill, in particular criticizing Florida.  I know I say "guess what" a lot, but guess what?  The 18th district is severely gerrymandered, as you can no doubt tell by the fact that the district looks more like a horse-shoe than it does a sensible geographic region.

Gerrymandering, for those of you who don't know, is (in a nutshell) when the lines of a particular representative district are drawn in such a way that the representatives get to choose their electorate, and not the other way around.  Oh, it might not be a deliberate case of a particular representative choosing a particular thing, but political parties (both Republican and Democrat) are notorious for creating "safe seats."  Given that people at one polling place informed me that they'd had to turn away over a dozen people who wanted to vote, but weren't eligible to vote down the block from their house because they were in a different district, well...

Let's just say that there's something very un-just happening in our town.  In this case, it's the fact that northern Freeport is in one district, southern Freeport is in another, and therefore the village as a whole does not get to have one representative.  Instead, our northern representative also represents Roosevelt, Lynbrook, parts of Hempstead and other communities that, while lovely, might not have our best interests at heart.  South Freeport is connected to Merrick as well as other south-shore communities; also totally fine places to live, but not necessarily putting Freeport first.

If you need a hint:  When Earlene Hooper was proposing the incinerator, she wasn't planning on building it in her district.

That's all; make of it what you will.


For more information about gerrymandering, watch CGPGrey's awesome videos about "Voting in the Animal Kingdom."


Saturday, September 3, 2016

TWF 265: Preparing For Hurricane Hermine

To all,

Hello!  It's been a while!  I'm posting this mainly because of a sense of nostalgia, but also because our community is once again facing a very serious hurricane threat and I felt obliged to do my share in pointing it out.  Without further ado:

Hermine.


As ABC News points out, it's a major "post-tropical Cyclone" (or something specific), but is expected by NJ.com to strengthen back into a Hurricane.  The below image, courtesy of Channel 7's Accuweather, is a depiction of the Tropical Storm warning for our area heading into Labor Day Weekend.

I'm no meteorologist, but from what I have read over the course of preparing for this storm, it is roughly comparable to what we experienced with Hurricane Irene:  Approximately four foot storm surges, serious rain and significant winds.  In short:  This is no joke.  Take this seriously, make sure your yards are clear of debris and make sure you have at least a flashlight and some batteries.

I believe we've been through this situation enough in recent years that we know how to handle it, but in the unlikely event this becomes a severe situation, don't panic.  Damage can be repaired, homes can be rebuilt, but our common heritage as Freeporters will never be broken.

On future updates and old posts.

I'm afraid I'm not coming back to do the blogging thing, as I'm unable to call Freeport my home any longer, however I may use this blog from time-to-time to alert people to emergency situations effecting our region or other significant news regarding our community.

Additionally, I may make some of this site's prior reporting available again on a limited basis, depending on what I feel is significantly important to Freeport's history.  In particular, I'm mainly considering making my live-blogging of Hurricane Sandy available, and working with my old co-conspirator Jason Bass to make sure his amazing video of that era is out there.

Finally, I want to offer a belated condolence to the family and friends of Shawn Oliver, who I remember from Freeport High School.  Farewell.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

TWF 264: The Weekly Freeporter's Retirement!

Greetings,

After five years and two days, I have decided to retire The Weekly Freeporter from publication.  I know this may come as a surprise to my readers, and I believe an accounting for this decision is due to you, but it's a decision I've weighed for some time, and one I've had driven home in the last six months.


The Weekly Freeporter Retires

In November I wrote a review of a shall-remain-nameless Italian restaurant, as that article had to be taken down.  I had expected that my distaste in its food and service would be met with a great deal of vitriol to match; I'm no stranger to insults on my facebook wall.  I did not expect to receive more than one insult-laden phone call to my home, however.  Undue attacks were hurled at those I love.  I won't get into the personal details of what these calls meant, but it left an impression.

I know I've lost friends over Freeport politics, before.  I know I've had people call my integrity into question, claiming I was a shill for the campaign against Andrew Hardwick.  If I was, I would most certainly be sitting pretty at Village Hall instead of looking for a complete career overhaul.  But phone calls to my home over one article?  Well, just the other night I got a public dressing-down over another, this time from someone I considered a friend.

It's not worth it, anymore.

This has been a difficult decision to make, and I have a lot of mixed up feelings over it.  I've always cherished my readership, probably more than it's worth cherishing it.  Maybe I'd hoped that someone would speak up and acknowledge that TWF has existed for five years, yet nobody did.  I suppose that's selfish, but that's about as honest as I'm going to get.

Before I finish this article, I would like to encourage you all to vote on the school budget as well as to vote for school board Trustee on the Tuesday, May 19th.

With that said, I am officially retired.  I will keep this article, all previous articles, and my facebook pages up for at least a few more days before I decide whether to take them down.  Thank you for everything!  It was quite the ride.

Friday, August 29, 2014

TWF 250: A Fond Farewell to Gerson Sobel

Hello, Freeport,

As many of you know, I've been a lifeguard at the Freeport Recreation Center since the age of 16.  I'm about to turn 30, so you do the math!  During my many years, I've come across a lot of interesting patrons.  One of them, however, stood out beyond the others:  Gerson Sobel, a man who reached the astounding age of 104 before, earlier this year, passing away.

Gerson wasn't always the easiest patron for us lifeguards; he had a habit of swimming however he wanted to, sometimes against traffic!  However, he was always a kind-hearted individual.  I never got to know him too well, but I knew he was incredibly generous.  More to the point, I knew he was an exceedingly strong soul.  He swam competitively in the US Masters Swimming program well past the age of 100.  In 2005, at the age of 95, he swam a 50 yard freestyle in 1:01.  He was inducted into his team's hall-of-fame in 2012.  He was a competitor, and he competed mostly against himself - my favorite kind of competition, in fact!

I don't want to sit here and say I knew the man so well, and that I could sing all of his praises.  I certainly didn't, and I certainly can't.  However, as much as I knew he could not live forever, he was a staple of the rec center for a long time.  It felt like he'd always be there.  When I heard of his passing, it made me pause to reflect.  It made me consider just how much of an impact someone like him had on the world.

And it made me consider just how benevolent impact it was!

Farewell, Gerse.


Jesse Pohlman is the editor of The Weekly Freeporter, now celebrating it's 250th article!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TWF 249: The Ice Bucket Challenge Hits Freeport!

Hello, Freeport,

So, you've probably heard of this Ice Bucket Challenge thing, by now.  In case you haven't, click the link!  It's the latest internet fad to sweep both Freeport and the rest of the nation, and it's kind of a good thing!  I was challenged ("Nominated") by two people; my college friend, Dave Fuller, and FHS Graduate and former swim team member Darin Frank.  Thanks, guys!  To see who I nominate, either watch my video or read the rest of this article!

Basically, the challenge is to fill a bucket with ice and water, then somehow dump it on your head.  You can have help; you can have others dump it on you; you can lay down in a bath tub; you can even lay underneath a flat-bed truck!  The how-and-where is your call!  The purpose of this self-flagellation is to raise awareness and/or money for charity; the "challenge" is to either douse yourself, or donate to your preferred cause to get out of it - a 21st century weregild, if you will.  I'm poor for reasons I'll get into briefly, however, so here's my after-lifeguarding bath!



The most popular "brand" of Ice Bucket Challenge benefits the ALS Association, and they claim to have raised over $20,000,000 from donors like you!  Twenty million bucks, friends.  That's a lot!  And it's true that ALS has taken a toll on Freeport.  As I mentioned in my video, and I hope I have everyone's names and/or facts right, Freeporters Jack Lundergan, Michael Byrne, and Lou DiGiacomo all suffer from ALS!  It is, indeed, a worthy cause for our community to contribute to.

However, the Ice Bucket Challenge existed before the world-at-large settled on making donations out to ALS.  According to multiple sources, it's been used to raise money for cancer research and "general charity," which I presume includes charities focused on liver disease.  My father, who you can see in the video, is awaiting a liver transplant.  I miss a lot of work as a result, so I haven't got any money around to donate - hence the bath!  But for those of you who can spare some change, I'd like to encourage you to come out.

As to my nominees:  First of all, I nominated Andrew Hardwick, the former Mayor of Freeport.  Second of all, I nominated Robert Kennedy, the current Mayor of Freeport.  During the chaos of filming, I forgot who my third nominee was.  I deftly nominated Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, who is infamous for forgetting "the third thing," however I remember who my nominee would have been, now.  Thus, my unofficial fourth nominee is my former partner-in-crime here at The Weekly Freeporter, Jay C.  Bass!

Enjoy, gentlemen!



Notice the label:  It used to be a bucket of ice-melt!