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Columnist
Bob Cardinale, Jr.

Bob Cardinale, Jr. is a member of the Zoning Board
and a geologist.

Mayor Glacken Should Get His Facts Straight
March 8, 2002

If Mayor Glacken is going to speak on the topic of the Freeport School District, he should try getting his facts straight first.

In the A Message from the Mayor section of the February 2002 edition of the Freeport Report, Mayor Glacken again demonstrated his lack of knowledge with respect to the Freeport School District. Citing the Freeport schools as, a school district that is a role model in delivering excellent education, he is apparently unaware that despite a school budget that will exceed $100 million dollars for the first time, Freeport Schools consistently rank among the lowest on Long Island.

A recent article in Newsday reported the educational performance of Freeport Schools among the third lowest out of forty-four Nassau County School Districts. Clearly, this is nothing short of disgraceful and indicative of an outright failure of the School District to provide quality education. Anyone with any common sense would surely recognize that this does not constitute a role model for excellent education.

Parents of all races and cultures are deeply concerned with the quality of education, safety and welfare of their children and more and more have chosen to send them to private or parochial schools or have purchased Freeport homes in the Baldwin School District. Notable among them are three of Mayor Glackenís Trustees, White, Mauersberger, and the Deputy Mayor, Ms. Frierson, who lives in the Baldwin school district. Even Freeportís new Superintendent of Schools, Eric Eversley, purchased a home in the Baldwin school district. Who could believe there were no acceptable homes available in the Freeport school district?

The Mayorís self-serving, irresponsible statement only ignores an already monumental problem within the Freeport Public Schools and misleads the taxpaying residents of Freeport and everybody else.

If you are a parent whose children attend the Freeport Public Schools or just a taxpaying resident concerned about the quality of education of Freeportís children, I strongly urge you to get involved. Donít rely on the Board of Educationís public relations firm to tell you only what they want you to know or the Mayorís Freeport Report, which has become nothing more than self-serving, bias propaganda and a significant waste of tax payers dollars.

Both the Village and the School District have steadfastly refused to video tape their own public meetings. You can attend regular School and Village Board meetings and see and hear for yourself what really goes on. Remember, itís your tax dollars and your community. Discover the reason that Freeport has some of the lowest performing schools on the Island and why Freeportís homes sell for hundreds of thousands less than those just three quarters of a mile away in Merrick.

Mayor Glacken, itís time you opened up your eyes and got your facts straight.

A Movie Theater! What Movie Theater?
December 21, 2001

A little over four years ago I was fresh with enthusiasm. I had worked hard to get the "Glacken Team" elected and was looking forward to leadership that would finally bring about Freeportís long overdue revitalization. At last, I thought, Freeport had an open-minded, well-intended and honorable administration with an ear to the needs of the community and awareness of its unique assets and diversification.

Based on that assumption, I immediately sought to take advantage of a longtime working relationship I had with a respected and experienced architect, who had expertise in the development of small neighborhood movie theaters. I was familiar with his successful theaters in nearby communities, such as the one on Bedford Avenue in Bellmore and their many positive attributes. After finally convincing him to consider Freeport for a theater location, I promptly arranged for us to have a meeting with the newly elected Mayor Glacken. I enthusiastically offered my help, assuming that the Mayor would welcome my input.

The meeting was held shortly thereafter with the Mayor, the architect and me. It was a relatively long meeting, as these meetings go, and the architect proceeded to describe his concept of the theater he had in mind. I recalled that the cardinal rule in business is "location, location, location" and I was not surprised by his emphasis on location. He suggested the Atlantic Avenue area as a viable option he would consider.

The Mayor had a much different plan in mind. He placed his emphasis on locating a theater in the old Woolworth building or thereabouts, in the rundown, downtown Main Street area. Both the Mayor and the architect presented what seemed to be valid points, although the Mayorís plan seemed reasonable only if the downtown area was to experience the significant revitalization, as promised by the "Glacken Team" in their campaign to be elected.

Several more meetings and discussions were held. For reasons that were never explained, I was deliberately excluded from all other discussions. Information about what transpired during those meetings painted a grim picture of any reasonable prospect of getting a successful neighborhood theater in Freeport. Confronted by an unreasonable and uncompromising attitude on the part of the Mayor and other village parties, a golden opportunity had been lost.

Four and a half years of the "Glacken Team" have since past. The downtown area, with the exception of a few new lampposts, is no more conducive or desirable to a movie theater or any other upscale retailer or restaurant, for that matter. Freeportís downtown remains downtrodden and Freeport still remains theater less.

Mayor Glacken has failed to recognize the value of a movie theater in town and not acted in the best interest of the residents of Freeport. We still have to travel to neighboring communities to see a movie and perhaps get a bite to eat afterward. Where are we going for entertainment other than a village board meeting? Not Freeport, thatís for sure.

Rather than act in the best interest of Freeport, Glacken failed to recognize or even consider the good judgment and experience of others more knowledgeable than he in determining a location for a theater.

Why would a small, neighborhood theater located on Atlantic Avenue have been so terrible? All one needs do is ride down Atlantic Avenue. The vacant stores, closed restaurants and empty warehouses are hard to miss. A small, cozy neighborhood theater would have improved the area and would have attracted residents from other communities to visit and patronize Freeport.

Next time, the "Glacken Team" should think twice before squandering such an opportunity and act in the best interest of the residents of Freeport.

 

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