Thursday, November 24, 2016

TWF 269: Freeport Internet Sensation CJ Stryker Celebrates 50 Episodes Of "The StrykeZone!"

Hello Freeporters, and Happy Thanksgiving!

This is one I couldn't pass up an opportunity to talk about.  Freeport High School graduate and all-around awesome guy CJ Stryker has, in my humble opinion, been an outspoken (sometimes way outspoken) leader of Long Island's LGBTQ community since as far back as our days in college together.  On November 6th, 2013 he asked me to be a guest on his internet talk-show "The StrykeZone," where I talked about The Weekly Freeporter and hyper-local journalism's impact on people's lives.  While we have very different 'flavors' in our content, his show's accomplished quite a lot in it's history.

Well, now CJ has filmed fifty episodes!  With the end of this season he's planning to take a break and re-evaluate his situation, but I want to congratulate him.  My video message is at the 13:00 mark, but I'll say it again - Congrats!  I know how hard it is to exist in a world of social media, and CJ claims the title "Prince of Social Media" with a purpose!



The StrykeZone - 50th Episode from CJ Stryker on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

TWF 268: The Weekly Freeporter at Adelphi University!

Hello, friends,

Here's the full video of my appearance at Adelphi University for the History Department-sponsored event "Decisions 2016:  Why Your Vote Matters In all Races."  I was introduced by the amazing Dr.  Cristina Zaccarini, and filmed by Scott Diamond.

I want to thank Jamie Diamond, Marcus Henriques, and Freeport's own Anthony J.  Miller for joining me and speaking alongside of me.  We might be able to bring footage from them, too!


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.