Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TWF 290: Holiday/Christmas Tree Lighting, Saturday, December 1, 2018, 5:00 PM at the Sunrise Highway Triangle!

Hello, Freeport!

This is the first of (probably) many short, but helpful articles telling you what Holiday events are going on.  Because a lot of my life is a combination of, "I'll post it when I find out about it," and, "Sometimes I have stuff going on that keeps me from getting posts done, sometimes - like today - these posts will come out with short notice.  On the upside, if you don't know what to do with your kids this weekend, have no fear!

Just like the above image says, the Village of Freeport is hosting a Holiday/Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 1st, 2018, on Sunrise Highway at the Triangle between Church and Main Street.  While these directions are...Vague, let's say?  I still think I was able to locate it on Google Maps.  I might have the wrong location, though, so don't be afraid to double-check me!

For more information, call the Recreation Center at 516-377-2314

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

TWF 289: Polls Open Until 9:00 PM, Election Day 2018!

Hello Freeport, and the rest of the world!

This is your yearly reminder that, in fact, you have a say over your government!  In fact, it's a right!  YOUR right!  That you should USE!  (Yes, today I am abusing capslock, a bit)  I realize I'm getting this out a bit late (I was voter number 274 at my polling place, for what it's worth!), but busy days are busy.  And you're probably busy, too!

So, here's some helpful information to answer most of your likely questions!

Here's a guide to help you figure out how to vote!

 - "What if I'm not sure that I'm registered to vote, or where I'd even go to do it!"  Don't feel bad, you're not alone.  Nassau County's Board of Elections Website has you covered, just check in here to see your registration status and polling place!

Now, it is too late to register in New York State (we don't have what's called "Same Day Registration," and in fact have some pretty terrible registration laws...), but even if you haven't voted in an election or two, New York isn't too bad about keeping you registered, so don't be afraid to take a minute and check!

 - "What if I can't get there?!"  Especially with bad weather like we have today, it can seem really difficult to get to the polls, especially after a long day at work.  My suggestion is to look to Facebook first, and see if any of your friends are offering rides.  If that fails, look to apps like Uber and Lyft - if they are operating in your area, they may be giving free rides to polling places.  If all else fails, though, get on a waterproof coat and hoof it!

 - "I'm not sure who is running!"  As we've discussed previously in this publication, Freeport is something of a Gerrymandered community, so it's understandable that you might not be sure who is running in which part of town.  You might be planning to vote for a candidate that, it turns out, isn't on your ballot because you're in the wrong district for that position!  Nassau County's BOE maintains a list of candidates, but it's honestly quite confusing unless you're used to reading spreadsheets.

My advice in this situation is to - yes - take a minute to scroll through the spread sheet and match up the various districts you live within to the candidates thereof.  Also, while it's not always fair to match up the behaviors of a party-in-general with those of an individual candidate, for the big-name races you can probably expect that their lower-ticket party-members will probably support that candidate's agenda.  In Freeport, specifically, there are State Legislature races of significant interest given Earlene Hooper's defeat in the primaries, so don't think that there's nothing of local importance on the ballot.  This is just as much for your state-level government as it is your federal representation!  (Pst.  This also includes redistricting in 2020, so maybe we can un-Gerrymander things a bit)

 - "What if I'm afraid to get there late?"  The law, as I understand it from having seen many an election in my not-quite-youth-anymore, is that once you are on line to vote, you can NOT be denied the right to vote.  As long as you are in line by 9:00 PM, you can't be forced off of the line.  You have your right to vote, so don't be afraid if you get out of work at 8:30 and get at the polling place by 8:50.

 - "What if something goes wrong when I vote?"  The most common problem I've seen reported by Freeporters so far is that there have been some concerns with people not being on the voter rolls.  This is a potentially serious problem, but there are many other possibilities such as voter intimidation (either directly or through posters left deliberately-close to a polling place with hate speech, etc), or other ballot spoilage issues.

If this happens to you, BE CALM.  First of all, in case there's some kind of administrative problem, ask for an Affidavit/Provisional ballot.  That way, they can get your vote down with a sort of, 'we'll check into this problem and if it clears, count it' promise.  Contact the Voter Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE, and listen to some advice the ACLU has providedDon't let this go, don't wait, make the call and get the process working in your favor.

 - "Am I just voting on candidates?" - That depends on your district, but ALWAYS, as a rule of future Election practice, check the back of your ballot for any ballot initiatives that might be relevant to your district, town, or county.  Many states, for example, have public referendums on whether or not Marijuana should be legal recreationally.  These are ballot initiatives, and they would be on the back.

Happy voting!!  Remember:  You're a citizen of a Representative Republic.  It's not necessarily ideal, but if you want to keep it, vote.  Otherwise, you may lose even that.

Jesse Pohlman is the writer/editor of The Weekly Freeporter, a non-partisan enterprise, and does not endorse any candidates as a rule.  If, however, you'd like to read his thoughts on the over-arching theme of and verdict for the 2018 election, you may do so at this link.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TWF 288: Absentee Ballots In New York State! (How to vote if you can't be in town!)

Hello, Freeporters (and everyone else!)

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th, and if you're registered, you all need to vote  It's the most fundamental right we have as Americans, people have died for it, and you know all the reasons to do it.  After all, you read The Weekly Freeporter, and surely other things, and are therefore pretty well informed, right?

“But, Jesse, what if I can't? What if I have to be out of town?  What if I'm scheduled for surgery?"

Well, there's actually an answer to that, and – as I found out while researching for a friend – it's not at all too late (as of 10/30/2018!) to put a plan into place! See, while New York State has a myriad of problems, it's actually pretty good about absentee ballots, provided you are already a registered voter.

According to the New York State Absentee Voting website, the procedure for getting an Absentee Ballot (which you can send in to be counted if you aren't in town!) are as follows:

  • First, you must fill out an application. (You can get a printable .PDF format version at the above website which will detail all the specifics)
  • Second, assuming you live in Nassau County, you must take it to the Nassau County Board of Elections 240 Old Country Road, #5 Mineola NY, 11501. (If you live in Suffolk County, that information can be accessed at their website by clicking this link. ) If you don't have an application printed out, you can get an application at the Board.
  • Third, and this is key: You MUST bring the application in-person up until the day before the election. It is already too late to MAIL the application in. Bring as many forms of identification as you feel you may need (preferably 2).

Assuming all goes well, once your application is approved you will get an absentee ballot that you can fill out and mail in. At least, that seems to be the case; the websites in question are a little less clear about what to do with an absentee ballot, but that's where you, dear reader, demonstrate your intelligence by being very clear in asking questions. Remember, the people working for the county are here to help you exercise your right to vote. As long as your are polite to them, they'll be happy to help!

If you go this route, please leave a comment or write a message with how the procedure went!

Jesse Pohlman is the writer of the not-so-weekly-these-days The Weekly Freeporter. He also writes various novels, available on Amazon's Kindle.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

TWF 287: Noting Lee Zeldin's Deceptive Campaign Mailers Upon Second Offense.

Greetings, Freeporters,

Reminder: The Weekly Freeporter does not endorse candidates for Freeport-related races.

LeeZeldin is an incumbent Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York's First District in the lower seat of our national legislature. This makes him a man with extraordinary power and, with it, an extraordinary responsibility: To be honest to the people of the country, in keeping with his Oath to defend and preserve the Constitution.

He has, now twice, failed at keeping his Oath, and we cannot overlook this' mistake'.

Why 'Mistakes About The Date' Matter

As reported by David M. Schwartz at Newsday, Lee Zeldin recently sent out a mailer to many of his constituents which sought to inform them on what day they could vote. This could happily be considered “Voter Outreach,” expect that Zeldin actually sent out the wrong date. But, this is just a mistake, and mistakes happen, right? Well, as Newsday noted and Adam Peck from Think Progress confirms in excruciatingly sharp detail, this isn't the first time Zeldin has done this.

Doing this once might be considered a mistake; misprints happen, typos slip through editors, and sometimes people just write the wrong day. Okay. Fine. Once. But, once you've made that particular screw-up, you sure as hell don't make it again, because you don't get to play the, “We were careless and we're sorry” card, again, okay?  You did it in 2016 and got caught and shamed for it; you're doing it again in 2018?

Lee Zeldin must be doing this deliberately.

I won't go too deep into national politics, but Georgia Secretary of State & Republican Candidate for Governor is suppressing over 53,000 voter registrations, most of whom are Black – among other things he's doing. North Dakota's Republican-led legislature is disenfranchising Native Americans en-masse.  In Arkansas, PBS reports a Democratic candidate for Secretary of State was left off of the ballot in one county.   Let's just say this fits a trend, and if you really want to discuss or defend that trend, then you've got a lot of questions to answer, and let's go back to the local focus that The Weekly Freeporter aims to provide.

The truth is, Lee Zeldin can try to claim a mistake was made all he'd like; he can even offer to pay any FEC fines or even send out correction letters. (Yes, he should be forced to spend campaign funds to send a mailer to every single resident in his district to apologize for the mistake and make a correction) What he's done by sending out the wrong date was to deliberately mis-inform some voters who won't get or see that any correction. They'll go on thinking the election is the wrong date. They might even show up to vote and get told they missed it, and given the three-or-so week window since then, they might not even be sure where they first heard the wrong date, from.

This hypothetical Citizen, this patriot who had their vote stolen, might have wanted to vote for Zeldin! She might have just wanted to vote for Cuomo for governor. That's the imaginary person's decision; the point is that this person could even come across this very article when looking for an explanation, and might say, “Why did this guy get away with this?”
Why SHOULD this guy get away with it?
 - Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

So To Sum It Up...

Listen, I'm not trying to be specifically political, here. I'm not arguing any stance other than, “It should be noted that Lee Zeldin has, twice now, misinformed voters as to the date of the election; it is not credible to simply assume this was the result of a genuine error, given that they were called out for it publicly the first time.” I'm also arguing that Zeldin should be required by FEC law to provide a correction for a second mistake – and, given that he almost certainly isn't, we need a change to election laws to fix this.

Thank you for reading!

Jesse Pohlman is a freelance writer who spent nearly thirty years of his life living in Freeport.  He also writes sci-fi and fantasy novels, mostly available on the Amazon Kindle.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

TWF 286: Does The Earlene Hooper Saga Continue With Write-In Campaign?


I hope you're all having a fantastic Thursday, and that you're keeping those suffering from Hurricane Michael in your minds as that storm rolls through the south, reminding us all of how Hurricane Sandy hit us.

Earlene Hooper is a name synonymous with "Freeport Legends," if for no other reason that she has been involved with myriad contentious issues with Village residents.  I've already chronicled this history multiple times (I encourage you to give it a read), but the two greatest conflicts she had with Freeporters in general remain, A; her adamant refusal to allow the Freeport Armory to be transferred to the Village Of Freeport, and, B; her extraordinarily surprising attempt, in collaboration with then-Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick, to convince Freeport to house a garbage incinerator.

I know I recycle this image a lot, but they made a whole frikkin' video about this thing.
I've spoken before, both on this very blog and even in-person at an event hosted by Adelphi University (I had the true honor of sharing a stage with Anthony J Miller, of the Freeport School District Board of Education!  Squeee!) about how New York State hasn't come close to escaping the gerrymandering that so many states embrace to limit voter turnout.  Freeport is, for those who don't know, split across multiple districts (on many levels of government...), meaning our full voice doesn't get to vote for any one leader, but rather many chunks of our populace are lumped in with those from many other communities also sometimes split into parts, all to create safety for incumbent politicians.  That's what makes Taylor Raynor's victory against Mrs. Hooper so impressive; while Freeporters might have been natural allies, she had to contend with many other small constituencies to win.

Is Hooper Running A Write-In Campaign?

Today I want to let everyone know that Earlene Hooper's time in politics is not necessarily over, for better or worse, because after her defeat in the democratic Primary for New York State Legislative District 18 at the hands of Taylor Raynor, rumors (from who I will happily concede is a credible source) are flying on Facebook trying to claim that she is planning on running a write-in campaign.  However, I'm going to assess what truth I can find in this concern.

First of all, Google is my friend; I searched for news articles having to do with Hooper running a write-in campaign and...Came up empty.  I next searched for any sort of website tied to Hooper running a re-election campaign.  I...Also came up empty!  I searched Facebook and Twitter, the top-two word-of-mouth machines necessary for such a campaign for active accounts and...Still, nothing.  Ballotpedia didn't chart anything about a write-in, either.  The only thing I found still up-and-running was her official NYS Assembly page, and that didn't look updated at all.

Now, maybe there is information that I'm yet to be aware of; or, maybe there was an effort, since-abandoned.  After all, I am not on any e-mail list Hooper may have accumulated over the years, and since I cannot find any active accounts (I mean, not even an official Twitter account? Or am I missing it?) for her, I can't be sure if I'm simply blocked or otherwise excluded from viewing it.

The Conclusion...

Let's be honest:  Write-in campaigns are long shots, anyway, often undertaken for farcical reasonsand made complicated by spelling errors and general electioneering trickery.  Lisa Murkowski, a U.S. Senator representing Alaska, is the most famous example of one working.  However, it took a massive political effort to effectively communicate with and mobilize volunteers to recruit voters who would be prepared to successfully cast a write-in vote.

The complete absence of any visible, easily-accessible social media presence, as well as a thorough lack of a serious campaign website for social media efforts to guide volunteers and donations towards, indicates that even if Mrs. Hooper were to decide at the last minute to try for a write-in campaign, she simply won't have the resources in place to succeed.

With that said, as always, The Weekly Freeporter as a publication does not endorse candidates, and we urge you to vote for who you think will best support your community.  Thanks for reading!

Jesse Pohlman is a long-time Freeport resident who sometimes just likes to share what he's thinking about it.  He's also a science-fiction and fantasy writer you can check out on Amazon!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

TWF 285: LI Cares Provides Veterans' Resources And More!

Greetings, Freeporters!

First off, I just want to thank the many of you who took it upon yourselves to share the last topic I covered, the potential bias-attack which happened in Freeport. The story got picked up by the Long Island Herald's Nadya Nataly, to boot, but we're still looking out for who was responsible.  (Oh, and Earlene Hooper lost her primary, too!  But we won't go into that...)

On a much more positive note, today I'm covering something simple, cut up and dry: Military Appreciation Tuesdays sponsored by (if I'm reading this document right) LI Cares! Except maybe it's not that cut and dry, so I'll talk about why!

I didn't want to make this article into more than it already was:  Promoting and signal-boosting a flier letting Veterans know that on Tuesdays, Veterans are being offered a five days' supply of food from LI Cares and the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Their location is at the Nassau Service Center, 21E Sunrise Highway, and that's what the flier says!

Except that I went to LI Cares' website and was hit with the stunning realization that, honestly, there's a lot here that doesn't get talked about very much, at least not with regards to the digital walled gardens on the internet. It's more than just a place that offers food; it offers full-fledged nutritional advice, as well as opportunities for people to volunteer (Maybe you need a PIG Project, Freeport student?) and to help raise funds for. There's a lot one could pick up on as a way to help out, or receive help, as necessary. If you're doing well, consider donating!

Anyway, take care and best wishes!

Jesse Pohlman is an author from Freeport, New York and he occasionally likes to talk about positive things in his old home-town.  Do YOU have a charitable event you'd like to see promoted?  Are you putting on a public service type of activity?  Let us know!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

TWF 284: A Call For Help w/a Bias Crime in Freeport!

Greetings, Freeporters,

I hope you had a refreshing holiday, but unfortunately I have to tell a terrible tale, today. Just before Labor Day Weekend, a very good family was the victim of a subtle vandalism that verges, in my humble opinion, into the "Bias" or “Hate Crime” territory – and it happened right here, in Freeport. The silver lining to this situation is that you – yes, you! - may be able to help fix the problem.

Celia and Patricia (last names redacted) who live on Miller Avenue (not too far from my old home, actually!), are fond of flying their rainbow flag next to their American one. For those who don't know, the rainbow flag is a symbol of the LGBTQ+ rights movement – shorthand for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer, and others. On August 29th, early in the morning, a strange man who none of them knew walked up onto their porch and snatched their rainbow flag down and tossed it into the bushes.  The below still image was taken from a video re-posted at the bottom of this article:

Take a moment to think that even in 2018 there is clear and deliberate discrimination taking place in our own community. Freeport Police have already been contacted by the family as well as their neighbors, but if you're wondering what we can do to help, here it is – we can signal-boost the story and, hopefully, one of you dear readers will know who is responsible. For, you see, Celia shared a picture – and even some video- of the deed being done with me (and the rest of Facebook). I asked her if it would be alright for me to write an article to draw attention to the incident using her pictures, and she agreed.

The good news here, besides the fact that this family isn't backing down, is that if you can recognize who did it, it would be greatly appreciated for you to call the Freeport Police and inform them of your tip. The WORST case scenario, if you recognize the person, is that you mis-identify them; there would be no harm done in the long run, because they would be cleared. Afterwards, you can reach out and we can all meet up and talk about it, but the key thing is to help detectives at FPD make progress.

(Editorial Note:  I will include video once we can ensure the source file's security is appropriate for the victims)