Friday, August 25, 2017

TWF 278: Hurricane Harvey in Texas

Greetings friends,

It's been a while since I've posted here, but I wanted to reflect for a moment on Hurricane Sandy in light of Hurricane Harvey approaching Texas, today.  Back in 2012, The Weekly Freeporter was active in posting on Facebook and this site.  Since then, I've always taken an ear towards reporting severe weather.  Well, Harvey is a Category 4 storm.  That's no joke - it's stronger than Sandy was, although it lacks the Nor-Easter pushing back against it.

I would hope that all of Long Island united to lend some help to our friends in Texas.  We've been where they're about to be (and they, too, have suffered this in the past; look up the Galveston Hurricane), and we want to make sure support is given.  With that said, these eight congressmen shouldn't be asking for help for their areas, seeing as they voted against Sandy.  But, that's not on their constituents.

Here are some last-minute tips for those of you still in this disaster's path.


 - First off, get out if you're asked to get out; take your pets with you if you have to.
 - If you still have time and you can't get out, one idea is to run your tap-water now and fill up bathtubs, buckets, and the rest so you have clean drinking water.
 - Get your important documents together at home so you're prepared for the coming insurance trouble. Stay the heck inside; don't go out and get caught in a gale.
 - Charge your electronic devices - cell phones are not necessarily reliable communication for the first couple of days, if the power goes out to the tower, but you'll want to be able to check your network and once it's back up you'll want an emergency portable device if you wind up in an emergency shelter.
 - Get a "go bag" together if you have no other options.

Don't, above all else, sit around waiting. It's you versus nature at this point. Don't let nature win.

Monday, March 20, 2017

TWF 277: Village Mayoral and Board Elections on 3/21/2017 - Tomorrow!

Greetings, Freeport!

As you are no doubt aware, an election is brewing in Freeport, tomorrow, and boy is it a doozy!  Here's your usual The Weekly Freeporter does not endorse candidates within Freeport, and generally ever reminder.  I might make recommendations on other platforms or for outside-of-the-Village, but I don't do politics in Freeport.  My past reporting on both the Hardwick and Kennedy administrations may speak for themselves.

With that said, let's go in order of Rows:  Kennedy is in Row C, so he'll be last, and I believe Mr.  Hardwick has Row B, so we're gonna start with the only one on the list who hasn't been Mayor already, Stephen Drummond!

It's only fair I note that I'm not going to go into depth about the candidates for Trustee.  In many cases, either you know them (as with Mrs.  Pinyero, Mr.  Grossman, and Mr.  Ellerbe), or you don't (as with Mr.  Vargas and others).  While we've certainly seen times when "team" members don't vote with the Mayor they came to office with, in general they are likely to follow most of the same political lines as the mayor they're following.

Also, let's be real:  We all know there's a lot of vitriol in some of these candidacies.

Village of Freeport Mayoral Candidates, 3/21/2017

Row A:  Stephen Drummond.

Mr.  Drummond is certainly the wild-card in this race.  A former U.S. Marine who served as the Village Judge for Andrew Hardwick if I remember correctly, Drummond has clearly decided to strike out on his own.  He made an awesome campaign video that's worth checking out, but as far as policy I see, for starters, a lot of the "law and order" campaign one might expect from a former judge.

He has a plan to improve Freeport you can read at your leisure.  As a Recreation Center person, I like the sound of his plan to revitalize and improve the Recreation Center...But at the same time, if one of Freeport's major woes has been it's pocket book, he'd have to get a helluvalotta funding to do it.  Yet it appears controversy stirs over the number of religious figures he's asked to join him, which came up as far back as when Annette Dennis ran for Trustee.  After all, the argument went then as now - If you don't pay taxes, how do you get control over taxpayer money?

If this were a two-candidate race, I'd say Mr.  Drummond's odds could be very strong.  As it stands, I can't back that viewpoint because there's so much baggage here that it's just hard to imagine people avoiding polarization.


Row B:  Andrew Hardwick

Former Mayor Hardwick was defeated by one of his "Team Hardwick" deputies, Robert Kennedy, in the last Mayoral elections.  Has it been so long, Andrew?  While I always appreciated how direct he was with me during his tenure, he has since gone on to run for offices across Long Island, and I always expressed concern that he did not have a grasp on how public relations worked.

He is nigh-legendary for threatening to cancel the Freeport Nautical Mile Festival and for the "Garbage To Gold" scandal, and what I would have hoped to have heard from Mr.  Hardwick - and seen, through his supporters' actions and outreach - would have been a maturity in his approach.  He was, fairly or not, seen as combative and unwilling to listen; as it stands, there's been far too little outreach for me to understand if this is a serious bid to return to power, or a spiteful grasp at fame.

The hunter who chases two rabbits at the same time often loses sight of them both; I find myself asking what Andrew Hardwick wants to do.  I think his voters will, as well, because my experience in covering small-scale elections tells me to expect him to finish last or close to it.


Row C:  Robert Kennedy

Mayor Kennedy made a move the other day, one that impressed one decades-long resident in both its timing and its function:  That huge plot of land on Sunrise Highway next to the ancient but beautiful bank has been sold, or is being sold, or...Progress, am I right?  When Stop-And-Shop folded, Target came in.  The Nautical Mile Festival works about as well as it ever could; it's still far too reduced in relation to its legacy, but that's what people seem to want.

Is Mr.  Kennedy's tenure perfect?  I'd love to see him build a rock-climbing wall at the Rec, among other massive improvements in funding it would benefit from.  (I'd go into detail, but it'd be a conflict of interest.)  But it's certainly fair to say he is favored, mathematically, to win this race.  He faces divided opposition and presides over a time when factors far beyond him have led Freeport to feel like there's a time of recovery, while Mayor Hardwick's first term started with a national economic crisis and ended with a massive storm.

Perhaps fate was a bit unfair to Mr.  Hardwick, in retrospect, but one has to help oneself and Mr.  Kennedy sure took advantage of his opportunities.  I expect that - regardless of what you think about him or his opponents - Mr.  Kennedy will remain in the Mayor's office.


On Predictions...

Fact is, these predictions of mine:  A Kennedy 1st, Drummond 2nd, Hardwick 3rd outcome, are the predictions of an amateur who only hears what he hears and listens to what he listens to.  I have no horse in this race (I'm no longer in Freeport!), and I am simply reporting this because lately TWF has had a bit of a role to play in bringing up important events - and, I still have family and friends in the Port, and I'm not too far away or unwilling to help the community.

I could be wrong.  I very well might be!  In fact, this article will, as a matter of the Uncertainty Principle, shift the way the world turns.  If my article somehow helps drive voter turnout up, then that's a good thing.

Good luck to all candidates, but voters?  This is on you.  It always is.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

TWF 276: Upcoming Nor'Easter, Dedicating Bishop Frank Otha White Park at 3/13/2017 Board Meeting!

Greetings, Freeport!

I hope you're all bracing for the snow storm expected on Monday Night/Tuesday!  According to Accuweather, it's a Nor'Easter - no fun over the summer, really no fun over the winter - which, I am told, this still is!  They're talking 1-2 feet, give or take, complete with cold temperatures and lots of wind.  With that in mind, time for a "common repost" from this site (which, in fact, might get its own article in the immediate future)...

Refresher On Severe Weather Tips

Freeport, we've survived a lot worse than this storm guy (Sandy, anyone?).  However, this isn't a push-over, either.  Just yesterday we received a few inches of snow, plus a great deal of rain.  Make no mistake - This effects our water run-off technologies, in the form of storm drains.  If you're familiar with the Dunkin Donuts on Atlantic Avenue (My local favorite), you know how it is an unfortunate victim of this problem:  Heavy rain will clog up its drainage system.  Heavy rain plus cold temperatures could freeze it, along with other drains around town and even around Long Island.

In short:  Flooding is most definitely possible in any snowstorm.

More importantly, there will be a lot of snow, possibly in the 1-2 foot area.  Cars don't like this.  People can barely walk through it, with a lot of effort.  With that in mind, I want to refresh some of our infamous winter weather tips.  If you have a tip to put forward, let us know!  (Editorial note:  I have no idea what's up with this formatting.)

Try to stock up on anything you need before the snow gets heavy.  It goes without saying that if you can't drive safely, if you can't move well, then you are at risk of getting injured while walking around, or crashing your car if you risk driving.  I know it's kind of an old motif, but get your "bread and milk" now.
 - Keep your pets and beloved animals inside!!!  They won't be able to move through two feet of snow any better than you will, and if the temperature is cold out, they can get sick or even freeze to death.  Have some compassion.  If you can, put out a large styrofoam box/cooler/something, stuffed with a spare blanket or two, for local stray cats/animals to take shelter in; in these days, compassion is a must.  If you've got some spare pet food, put that out - staying warm burns calories.
 - Help your neighbors clear the snow from their sidewalks if you can.  If possible - and I mean unless you absolutely cannot - clear out a 3-feet circle around your nearby fire hydrants.  (via TJ Johnson.)  Make sure to dress warmly, wear sturdy and stable boots, and take your time shoveling!
 - If the power goes out, be careful with candles!  Nobody needs a fire!
 - Keep a cell phone handy; a battery-powered radio is a good idea, too.  If you need to report a non-life-threatening emergency, call the Nassau County line at 1-888-684-4274.  For medical emergencies ONLY, use 911.
 - Get your car off the road!  Park your cars in your driveway, if you can. (Via FFD member Robert Volpe).
 - Try to have cash available!  In the event that there is no electricity to run credit cards or operate ATMs, you'll want to have money around if you need to pay for anything.

 - Once the storm is over, call your friends to say hello and make sure they're alright!


Dedication Of Northeast Park to Bishop Frank Otha White

 - Hat Tip to Anthony J.  Miller!

I'll be honest - until today, I had never heard of the good Bishop.  Many of our parks in Freeport, such as John J.  Randall, are dedicated to various Freeport big-wigs, but none may have had the same sort of impact as Bishop White.  He passed on January 20th, 2017, after many years of service at the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC), serving mainly as a financial adviser to the church if I'm understanding the memoriam correctly.

Northeast Park is most definitely a legend among those familiar with the Recreation Department, and it's nestled right near the Meadowbrook.  Go check it out some time!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

TWF 275: Green Party Meeting at Freeport Memorial Library, Mon 2/27, 7:30 PM

Greetings, Freeport!

Just a quick event update for you all:  The Green Party of Nassau County will be meeting at the Freeport Memorial Library at 7:30 for it's regularly-scheduled membership meeting.  According to the applicable brief, upcoming elections and other activities are up for discussion.  If you're interested, kindly check them out!  The reason I post this is that you don't usually hear about these kind of meetings, and they especially don't often happen in Freeport!

For other parties, check out the Nassau County Democratic Party website and Facebook Page, as well as the Nassau County Republicans.  (If you're wondering; why, yes, I think both have crappy webpages and need to get a better online presence)

This is not an endorsement of the Green Party or any other party or candidate.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

TWF 274: Peter King and Lee Zeldin Afraid To Face Long Islanders

Greetings,

It should come as no surprise to you that this article will have a political slant.  In fact, it represents a very clear dis-endorsement the likes of which The Weekly Freeporter doesn't usually, you know, do. You'll notice I haven't even said a word about the upcoming Kennedy-Drummond-Hardwick race!  (P.S. The vote is on March 21, 2017, from 6AM-9PM; it's a month away, that's why I haven't written on it, yet)  I also no longer live in Freeport, as I have referred to several times in the past.  That is why I walked away from weekly publication of this venue and why I have only posted occasionally, mainly when something had a Long Island/State/National context.

You may either accept this political bend and read on, or shrug your shoulders and look away.  It will require a very direct call to action from you; you may read that call however you wish, and act however you feel is best.  One way or another, however, The Weekly Freeporter is indeed "The Media," and I have indeed been deemed an "Enemy Of The People" by the President of the United States of America; maybe I take that as some sort of sea change in American politics.  So, Here we go:

Republican Congressman Peter King represents the second Congressional District of New York.  This includes areas so close to Freeport as Levittown and Massapequa.  They're not quite our neighbors but we know them quite well, especially Massapequa's football team.  He's had very kind words to say about General Michael Flynn, who had to resign after lying to the Vice President about illegal ties with Russia; to the best of my knowledge he has not said whether the "Media" is the "enemy of the people."  Why, it's as if he's suddenly vanished!

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin represents the First Congressional District of New York.  It's further away, including large swaths of Suffolk County according to Ballotpedia.  His opinion on our handling of Russia was that Putin was taking advantage of Obama, yet he's quiet about Trump's Putinophilia.  To the best of my knowledge he has not said whether the "Media" is the "enemy of the people."

As reported today by the website Long Island Press, both men are cowards.

Peter King and Lee Zeldin


I'm sorry; I should be a bit more clear.  Both men plan to hide on the other side of a telephone when they do "town halls" because, I guess, they are just too afraid to look at their constituents.  From Louie Gohmert (who votes against background checks on gun sales, but too scared he'll be shot by an angry constituent) to "Little" Marco Rubio, Republicans have been avoiding town halls almost as if they'd have to actually suffer the consequences of their voting records.

All I'm asking is that if you have some time to kill, and that you're one of his constituents out in Suffolk, you...Well I was going to suggest you opt in to his phone call, but apparently it already happened.  Huh!  Quaint.  As for Peter King, Long Island Press' article doesn't mention when he'll have one - nor, for the record, when some of the Democratic representatives we have will be seen in public again, either.  (I must admit:  I attended a rally hosted by Kathleen Rice and Tom Suozzi.  They're engaged.  Very engaged.)

Here's the bottom line:

Both men, Peter King and Lee Zeldin, are unfit to represent Long Island.

I encourage anyone interested to explore how they might run against these two, because they are unwilling to face their constituents and thus unworthy of representing us to our nation.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

TWF 273: Winter Storm Niko, 2/9/2017 - Schools closed, BE SAFE

Friends,

Not much time to post (a longgg day, thanks in part to LIRR delays), but a few basic updates as we prepare for the first "real" storm of the year.

Freeport, most Long Island, and (yes) NYC schools are all closed in preparation for this event.  Check your district's webpage for specific information!

The Village's website contains instructions on how to ride this one out.  Among them, clear out any fire hydrants you might have and try if at all possible NOT to park on the streets so the plows can do their jobs.  Wear proper clothing, only drive if necessary, all of the good stuff.  Only call 911 for serious emergencies.

We've seen this kind of thing before, New Yorkers.  We'll see it through.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TWF 272: An Open Letter Defending The Washington Post's Credentials, Removed By Donald Trump.

CC: Mr. President-Elect Donald Trump, my fellow Americans

Editorial Note: For the purpose of context - I was under the impression that the Washington Post Credentials Story was a new one. Much of the original article lacks more than maybe one time-sensitive context (the word "nominee" is used), and the fault is mine for the conveyed sense of urgency this article has. I clearly either missed or forgot I even encountered the article at the time of its publication. Then again, with the way Trump treated CNN, this article should not be seen as anything more than out of alignment with time-and-space. The underlying alarm-bells are still very real.
Ordinarily, I don't focus this space on anything besides local, county, or at most state-wide news. With very few exceptions, perhaps none that I can name without searching in depth, I have never taken on a national issue with this publication because I avoid infusing national politics into this venue, entirely. I've chosen it only because at this moment it is the most powerful one I have, and while it's certainly not powerful I'm certainly not staying out of this one. This is an open letter directly to the American People, with a special asterisk for our soon-to-be commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, the President-Elect who in a few days will assume control over a uni-polar Congress with a (probably unconstitutionally stolen from his predecessor) Supreme Court pick, to top it off.
I'm writing this letter because according to a news article by The Washington Post, their press credentials have been pulled by Donald Trump's team due to whatever allegations he wanted to conjure up against them. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/trump-revokes-post-press-credentials-calling-the-paper-dishonest-and-phony/2016/06/13/f9a61a72-31aa-11e6-95c0-2a6873031302_story.html?utm_term=.07e9e5bfabe6) I have no love for the Washington Post after the way they treated Bernie Sanders, and I will never forget the sixteen-hour, sixteen-article blitz they threw down on him as his momentum started to build. They are frequently inaccurate, or at least vague about their points.
Nevertheless, this is a bridge too far.
The First Amendment is first for a reason. It's the written-into-the-DNA core of any Enlightenment-descendant democracy. You might not agree with what a publication puts out, but it isn't for any President to determine who is or isn't "real news" based on the fact that they don't always give him glowing, prestigious headlines.
Forget that Brietbart News, a sort of Daily Stormer-Lite has access to the President; they in fact took the question that should have gone to CNN at Trump's press release. Instead, imagine if Trump simply bans CNN, next. If he bans NBC. If he bans anyone who reports anything he considers unflattering - in particular if it's the truth. When "I dislike this information," and even, "I consider these reports ill-informed and inaccurate, but thanks for asking" leads to, "I will simply remove them from access entirely," the entire nation suffers. How many years did Donald Trump hound Barack Obama over his birth certificate, a rumor most certainly and undoubtedly spawned by racism.
Who will he replace them with? Infowars? I assume Steve Bannon would at least convince Jones to get an new name. After all: Now, the "info" would flow freely and honestly, without PC veils and dishonesty, straight from the President to the psycho himself! There'd be no "InfoWar" whatsoever, just the truths that Alex Jones invents...So long as they stayed favorable to Trump.
Imagine an America where the President appoints and removes news agencies' ability to get first-hand information from his administration at will. Without warning, no negotiation necessary, Trump has removed access from a newspaper which has existed since 1877, one whose print circulation hovers just under 500,000 and whose online reach is limitless in large part because of its sort-of-still-new owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' (I'm sorry, "Nash Holdings LLC's") incredible power. Perhaps Trump is simply striking out at Bezos for some reason; perhaps he views Bezos as a wealthy, well-equipped potential rival in anticipation of a struggle to put his agenda on America's table.
That is not an excuse to pull their press credentials without even warning them or offering advice to reform their practices.
I'm sure someone will find some case where a President's administration has limited a particular publication. Perhaps President Obama at one point constrained Fox News, which published far less accurate and honest, to say nothing of politically-neutral content. Perhaps they are right. That does not suddenly justify Trump's decision. It simply means others were wrong, too.
Perhaps, Mr. President-Elect, you will look at my invocation of the First Amendment and say something like, "Well, Congress isn't passing any such law, the President is just acting the way he has a right to with the media." You might be right. That does not make this the right decision, and it certainly doesn't mean that a standing threat to either publish flattering material or face the revocation of access is an acceptable approach for any administration to have in a Democracy.
Far and away, before he has even taken office Donald Trump has taken aim at a much-maligned, but often honest-intentioned institution. That institution is derided as "mainstream media," but if you stop and think about it part of the reason they are "mainstream" is because they fulfill basic tenets of journalism on a basic, if not sufficiently advanced level. I have no real love for the Washington Post. I prefer The Economist. I am absolutely concerned that Jeff Bezos may abuse the publication for political gain. Is that any different than Donald Trump and the time that The National Enquirer allegedly bought a story of Trump having an affair for $150,000? Or the fact that Trump's best Neo-Nazi (I'm sorry, "Alt-Right") publisher friend Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart news, is suddenly going to be a chief strategist with undissolvable ties to his old press room?
Or does this maybe all have to do with the time that The Washington Post exposed links between Trump and The Enquirer? An occurrence which was - I admit - commented on at times by others such as Vanity Fair and Bloomberg?
I think you and I, dear reader, have both hit a point of exhaustion. I hope that I have convinced you to at least reconsider the pulling of The Washington Post's credentials. I hope you will reconsider your approach to the media, in general. I think the rest of America will agree it's time for them to do the same.

My warmest regards,
--Jesse Pohlman