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Opinion by John Helfrich
Freeport Gangs - Just a Figment ...
Feb 22, 2003
Fidel Castro Knows Glackenites Are Wrong 
July 18, 2002
Thank You Ms. Cieslik
June 8, 2002

Will The Real Dr. Cattano Please Stand Up
May 15, 2002
School Board Is Just Insensitive
May 6, 2002
"Has Anybody Seen Our Cat?"
July 21, 2001
I Will Continue To Pray Until You Let God Into Your Soul
July 2, 2001
The Rise And Fall Of The Glacken Reich ē Part I
June 16, 2001
Chickens Coming Home To Roost?
March 16, 2001
Organized Crime In Freeport?
June 28, 2000
School Board To Freeport: Go To Hell
May 30, 2000
Jackboots and Journalistic Terrorism
May 12, 2000

As A Catholic Layman
November 26, 1999
School Board Coverage
October 30, 1999

February 22, 2003

Freeport Gangs
Just a Figment of My Imagination?

Opinion by John Helfrich

Tuesday night, February 11th, I must have had a hallucination ... I thought I heard five gunshots across the street from my house. My first instinct was to blame it on a car backfire.

But wait, a car doesn't backfire with that consistency. So, I did what I was trained to do. I hit the floor.

When I got up, there were some people across the street appearing to be all shook up. Immediately, I called 911.

What's going on here? All of Freeport's public officials say we don't have gang violence in Freeport.

The School Board says so. How could it have been gunfire? Strangely, the people who were shot at seemed to think so. The police said one was shot through the face, but how could that be? We don't have gang problems in Freeport.

The young man probably got catsup from a hot dog splattered on him.

The ambulance hauled him off. He is in critical condition -- from catsup?

We don't have gangs in Freeport.

Freeport's Police Chief Woodward, no -- he won't live in Freeport, claims the gangs in Freeport are no different than those in Great Neck ... Right. And here must be the logic. If Great Neck has no gang violence, then Freeport must have no gang violence. Maybe someone should explain that to the boy who was just shot in the face in front of his friends.

The police asked me questions. I really felt foolish. I'm not a gang expert, but this sure looked like a gang initiation or gang related violence to me.

Everybody tells me we have no gangs in Freeport. In fact, one member of the School Board seems to think all our troubles revolve around lazy parents.

Maybe the noise I heard outside my window was just a delinquent parent's car with a bad exhaust system. How could it be gunshots? There are no gangs in Freeport. Just ask anybody.

It's a comfort to know that there might not have been a shooting and I was just hallucinating, although the police and the victimís friends seemed to think so. Unfortunately for the victim, he isn't talking. We don't know what he thinks, because he is in critical condition.

OK. That's it. I'm going right to the top. Where's the phone book. I'm calling Freeport's top Glackenite himself, Mayor Glacken. I'm going to asking him if there are gangs in Freeport. Let me see. "G" - "GL" - "GLACKEN." What do you know? No "GLACKEN" in the Freeport phone book.

Now, what does that tell you?

July 18, 2002
Fidel Castro Knows Glackenites Are Wrong
Opinion by John Helfrich

CRACK! BINK! Those are the wonderful sounds of children playing baseball. They occur all over the United States and the world and could be heard much more in Freeport, NY, if it were not for Mayor William F. Glacken, who has closed some of our public park facilities, even though they are supported by public taxes.

Although we have over 8,000 children registered in the Freeport Schools and another thousand or so attending the Baldwin and Roosevelt districts, Mayor Glacken has sought to exclude them from some of our publicly owned parks. Ooops, I said publicly owned. I am sorry to say, they no longer appear to be owned by the public, having been locked down by Freeportís Mayor, with the blessing of the rest of his Glackenite board and the Commissioner of Parks, Town Councilwoman and Republican leader, Angie Cullen.

Shortly after being elected, Mayor Glacken closed the Northwest playground, promising residents an improved baseball field for their children. "Give me a chance," he said. Well, he got his chance. Without any warning, he erected a 7-foot high fence around the baseball field, padlocked it and planted trees so nobody could play soccer on the outskirts of the outfield.

For the past 21 years I have lived across the street from the Northwest Playground, renamed Glacken Park. I have always loved the sound of children and their parents playing catch. During the afternoon and evening there was always the sound and excitement of Little League. To someone who loves children, this is a delightful sound.

Mayor Glacken changed this. Now, our children and their parents are locked off the field. This public ball field is being used almost exclusively by the Freeport Little League, a private organization. The Glackenites even spent thousands on a new score board, advertising the Little League. If there is not a game in progress, all of Freeportís children, including the Little Leaguers, cannot use the baseball field in Glacken Park. So much for the Norman Rockwell vision of Americaís pastime.

The Glackenites, not satisfied with closing the baseball field in the Northwest, went after the fields in the Northeast. The Latino softball league was next to feel the razorís edge of the Glackenite axe.

To their credit, the Latino community didnít take this sitting down, picketing village hall and showing up en masse at a village board meeting. Of course, Mayor Glacken was in the ranks of the missing at that board meeting, instead, leaving his deaf eared deputy, Glackenite Renaire Frierson, to field questions and dismiss arguments.

The Hispanic community comprises over a third of Freeportís population and a half of the school districtís student population. Baseball and soccer are prime to them, being not only games, but social events.

It is common knowledge to everyone except the Glackenites, that if children are excluded from wholesome recreation, they find other outlets. While everyone in the world knows of the overwhelming gang problems in Freeport, the Glackenites removed recreational facilities from the kids. Is it any surprise that Freeportís youth has increasingly turned to drugs, alcohol and gangs, with the requisite assassinations and drive by shootings. Thank you very much Mayor Glacken. And thank you Angelina Cullen.

Occasionally, I see children risking injury to scale the seven-foot high fence surrounding the baseball field in Glacken Park. My complaints to the Mayor have fallen on deaf ears.

What is a parent to do? Tell their children that itís OK to break the law and play in the park? Mayor Glacken says that anyone may get a permit to use the park. What about the parent who finds a few moments to play ball with his/her children? Why do they need a permit to play ball with their own children in a Freeport park? How much in advance must the parent notify the politicians that he/she wants to play ball with their children? Are our local politicians against good parenting or is it just that Glackenites want everyone to join the Freeport Republican Club.

It is depressing living across the street from a silent baseball field. The summers fly by and every year I see children all around trying to play ball in traffic or just milling around with no outlet for their energies.

At the same time Mayor Glacken decided to call Freeport the "Home of Champions," he closed half of Freeportís parks to those who could benefit the most from their use. Why doesnít Mayor Glacken know that if we are to have champions, they must hone their skills?

Mayor Glacken and the Glackenites have turned park usage into a political tool, disregarding those, who he knows will never vote for him.

Even Fidel Castro encourages baseball for all, but not the Glackenites.

June 8, 2002

Thank You Ms. Cieslik

Opinion by John Helfrich

As a columnist at FreeportNYNews.com, one of the great pleasures I have is reading comments from others in this uncensored news media. Between the sharp reporting, letters to the editor and banter board, I get a feeling about what people really think in this village. Thank you Ms. Cieslik. Thank you for not being afraid to express your views as a parent and as an involved resident. Thank you for taking on the school board.

Dr. Cattano, I suggest to you that Ms. Cieslik, in her letter, "Mr. Cattano, you donít have a clue," only wanted to make you aware, first hand, of the problems facing our students. It is very disturbing, that every time you are brought to task for what you say, you claim you are a rookie on the school board. If you follow team sports, you know that rookies never dictate team policies.

When Ms. Cieslik says you donít have a clue, you seem to agree with her by stating you have only a year on the board. Are you a rookie or a veteran who contributes to the team? Dr. Cattano, I donít get it. One minute you've only been on the board a year and the next minute you have all the answers. Then when push comes to shove, you retreat back to your lack of tenure. Now Doctor, which is it? Do you know what is going on, or donít you?

You spoke to me at the PTA Council Candidates Night and again stated that the parents were not preparing the students for school. I asked what specific things other parents in other districts were doing that we didn't know about. You turned and walked away. I have a difficult time understanding your behavior. Thank you for sharing.

Dr. Cattano, I don't remember seeing you at school board meetings before you ran for the school board. If you had been there, you might have seen Ms. Cieslik and other concerned parents fighting for their children and all the students in the district. It appears that you now have taken your place among the arrogant, dictatorial, and divisive board members of the past and the present.

Where were you when I stood up five years ago and pointed out that the school district was hiring an unqualified person over the qualified people serving in our food services? Where were you when the Flashings was closed down? Where were you when Dr. Ciaglia stated that Newsday slanted the news because they had something against Freeport? Interestingly, that same month the school board had abolished the school newspaper. Where were you Doctor? Where are you now?

You are proving that it is not difficult to become a politician and learn how to speak out of both sides of your mouth at the same time. You make statements and then undermine your own position by claiming you don't know the district because you are a rookie. Which is it? It would be nice if you could make up your mind.

Dr. Cattano, you introduced yourself to me as a psychologist. I ask you, in you professional opinion, is your vacillation between being the ultimate authority to claiming you don't know what you are speaking about because you have barely a year on the board -- rational? Maybe you need a check up from the neck up.

Ms. Cieslik, in her letter, was only trying to enlighten you. You might consider that she has more experience regarding the parents and the children of this district then you will ever have. As you were so quick to remind everybody when you were running for the board, your daughter attends private school, for religious reasons. The past board president, Dante Grover, removed his child from the district for religious reasons. Almost ten percent of the district sends their children to private (parochial) school. Do you really think there is this amount of religious education going on in Roslyn and Jericho?

Both my children attended the Freeport School district. My son moved from Freeport, not because he had religious reasons, but that the Freeport School system reeked of corruption and irresponsibility. My grandchildren were not getting a quality education. He never hid his children behind religion.

You said about Ms. Cieslik's comments, "I am somewhat dismayed and truly saddened by your vitriolic comments and apparent hysteria regarding what is happening in Freeport schools... I am sorry that I cannot instantly gratify you by making everything right." But, isn't that why you ran for School Board? A very wise man once said, "If you're not part of the solution, then you must be part of the problem." To attack the very person who is trying to help you is really a sign of paranoia.

How dare you blame the parents for the school board's and administration's lack of accountability?

Once again, thank you Ms. Cieslik for voicing your opinion and taking your intelligence and experience into the mix.

Dr. Cattano, if Ms. Cieslikís remarks are your definition of hysteria, then we all need more hysteria. We need more parents, grandparents and residents to speak out and demand a quality education for all our children.

May 15, 2002

Will The Real Dr. Cattano Please Stand Up

Opinion by John Helfrich

In the May 2, 2002 issue of the Freeport Leader, school board member Dr. Joe Cattano commented that Freeport resident Bruce Lloyd had taken his words "out of context." In fact, Dr. Cattano backed off his original statement blaming the community for the poor academic achievement of our students, saying, "It is clear that I am assigning a degree of responsibility for poor achievement to the entire school system, including the School Board, as they are an important component of the aforementioned Ďcommunity as a whole.' "

Based on that comment, in both my FreeportNYNews column and a letter to the Leader, I commended him for his openness in addressing the problems we formerly had with the School Board during the "Renken era." I expected him to realize that what had happened in the past discouraged parents from participating. I was hoping that he could use that information, being that he was new on the job, to turn help things around.

Now, I read in his column of May 14, 2002 in FreeportNYNews that he is again backing off and going back to blaming the families in Freeport, by stating, "the failure on the part of families and the communities as a whole to mentally and emotionally prepare our students to be students!"

Dr. Cattano, how are we to prepare our students for the Freeport School District: By taking them out of religious education; By teaching them that power is better than goodness; That if you lie big enough, people will have to believe you; To teach our children that all the spiritual guidance does not apply once they enter the school; That only by deception and going to school to become a professional liar that they will achieve life's goals?

Every time I see a Dr. in front of a person's name, who isn't involved in medicine, I shudder. The only Doctorate that I have experienced in the Freeport School District has been the prevalent Doctor of "Blaming Someone Else." I am really sad to see that Dr. Cattano has now fully subscribed to the doctrine of the "Renken era.." I had higher expectations of him.

Are the Freeport parents the only parents on Long Island who do not prepare their children for school? Do parents in other communities have a secret formula that the Freeport parents can't grasp? I think not. Since my son moved from Freeport to Bellmore, did he suddenly become more enlightened as to preparing my grandchildren for school, or is the school board simply addressing the needs of its students and parents?

Dr. Cattano, every time you're quoted or held to your words, you change your stance. I've heard double talk from the School Board in the past but they have never been so bold as to contradict themselves in print. Will the real Dr. Cattano please stand up?

School Board Is Just Insensitive
May 6, 2002

I have read with interest the letters board member, Dr. Joe Cattano, has written to FreeportNYNews.com and the Leader. They were thought provoking. I have to agree with him on some issues. Children do learn from what they see and hear more so than what they get out of books. In retrospect, over the last eight to ten years, years which I prefer to call the Renken era, the Freeport School Board has become insensitive to the needs of the children, as well as the community.

Dr. Cattano, your candor comes as a fresh breeze to a decaying system, but there are some points of which I would like to remind you.

During the Renken era, public scrutiny of the board was discouraged. Many of us that tried to get our opinions across were thwarted by ever changing rules and plain arrogance. Many, such as myself, found it a waste of time to attend board meetings.

The school board and administration have made outrageous decisions in spite of public warnings. I remember a meeting at the New Visions school, when the entire community spoke against the removal of the long time high school principal, Mike Campbell. The board ignored the parents and proceeded anyway.

Another case in point was the hiring of Dr. Northover as High School Principal. It was plain that Dr. Northover was dismissed from the troubled Roosevelt School District and yet, in spite of all the great talent out there, and in opposition to the community, she was hired as High School Principal. Needless to say, even when it was clear that she was destroying the high school, the Renken board refused to acknowledge its mistake.

In her wake, we lost some of our top teachers in the high school. As the liaison to the Freeport High School Key Club, I witnessed the damage first hand. Dr. Northover would have been a great warden in a reform school, but she was not the person for our high school.

Dr. Cattano, you mention the spiritual values in our homes. I don't think any parent teaches their child deception, dishonesty or arrogance. Yet, over the past few years the school board has been using these tactics with us and our children.

The Flashings is a prime example. The Renken board closed down the school newspaper and then made an aborted effort to reopen it much later, under severe censorship. In Ira Shildkraut, we lost one of the best faculty newspaper advisors in the country. Complaints came in, not only from this community, but from alumni all over the country, yet the Renken board did nothing. How can we expect our children to learn the importance of a free press in a democratic society, when the school board ignores it?

When I brought up the fact that Newsday reported that our school district was not rated well, I was told that Newsday was biased against Freeport and not to pay attention to the statistics. I was too overwhelmed by this attitude to reply. How can the board think that we are all that stupid?

My children received excellent educations in the Freeport School District. That was in the eighties. Since then, the Freeport School District has steadily deteriorated. Recently, my son left Freeport and moved to Bellmore because of our educational mess. My grandson, who has a speech problem, is now getting help he needs, five days a week, compared to the one hour a week that he received here. My granddaughter has more opportunities than she ever had before. Since they began attending the Bellmore school district, the change in both the children had been remarkable, even though it has been less than a year since they moved.

I attend the board meetings in Bellmore, for my grandchildren. There is not the arrogance and deception that we experience in Freeport. The board works with the community, like Freeport did before the Renken era. The board members make good decisions and don't sacrifice the children to political chicanery.

Dr. Cattano, as I said, I welcome your candor, but the school board has to again become part of the community and not above the community. Hopefully, you will work with us to supply a quality education to our children again. You owe it to them.

"Has Anybody Seen Our Cat?"
July 21, 2001

Most of us are probably aware that it is illegal to post signs on telephone poles in Freeport. There are good reasons for it. If you go to other communities, their poles are covered with staples and tacks from years of signage. Besides being an eyesore, it is also a hazard to linemen, who have to climb those poles. But .... Two things stand out in Mr. Keeneís case of the missing cat. First, this was an emergency plea for help for a lost loved one. When someone loses a loved one, be it a child, a mentally ill or incompetent adult or a loved pet, it constitutes a humanitarian exception.

Second, after witnessing our utility poles being used as business billboards, I was told, after I complained to the police, that there was nothing the police could do unless an officer actually witnessed the person putting up the sign. This must come under the Freeport Police Department "Duh, we can't do nuttin" policy. Maybe if the police chief, along with the rest of the police department still had to live here -- Yes, Freeport has [had] a residency law -- this would be different.

Regarding the other annoyances Mr. Keene has pointed out, these evidently come under the same policy. Enforcement apparently only begins if an annoyance is in front of 152 N. Long Beach Ave. [the Mayor's residence - ed.], for example.

Bernie Smith, president of the Northeast Civic Association, complained about what people have been complaining about for years, drug dealing and gangs in northeast Freeport. Smith is concerned that the drug dealing is going to spread to other neighborhoods. Well, I donít live in northeast Freeport. Almost every night, I witness the use and sales of drugs outside my home. People block handicapped spaces at Elks Plaza. The same policy reigns supreme, "Duh, we can't do nuttin."

Mr. Madiganís apology aside, where did this code enforcement officer get off issuing a phone call? Is that SOP? Who trains these folks? With Mayor Glacken illegally diverting funds and public property to his private pet organization; with the village government seeking to increase revenue by attempting to demolish our children's swimming pools; with the encouragement that our village administration gives to gang membership by closing off avenues of recreation, is a simple plea for help, posted on a telephone pole, the most important thing our village enforcers can do?


I Will Continue To Pray Until You Let God Into Your Soul
July 2, 2001

Good evening Mayor Glacken, Board of Trustees and Consigliore Edwards. There has been a lot of subterfuge and lies since you took office, Mr. Glacken. The first when I approached you about Glacken Park. You had promised it would be open for our children. Just give you a chance. Unfortunately, I believed you and you locked our children out of our own, public, tax supported, park.

When I brought this up at another meeting, your Deputy Mayor, Frierson, looked me right in the eye and lied that the fields in the neighboring villages have been all locked up, also. Upon traveling the different parks, I found this to be a horrendous lie. Ms. Frierson has declined my offer to visit these other sites and show me they were closed. That is because she is a LIAR. In fact, the whole project was a subterfuge against our children, so that you could spend taxpayer's money on a private organization, the Little League, to curry favor with the parents. I really approve of Little League, but I resent them being used by you as political fodder. The Little League is not the entire population of children in Freeport. They fall about 6,500 short of the children we have enrolled in Freeport schools, not to mention those Freeporters who are enrolled in Roosevelt and Baldwin school districts.

I stopped coming to the village meetings because they had become a cheap imitation of the Jerry Springer show and it is obvious that you were not fulfilling your oath of office to represent the people of this village or the American Constitution.

When you were running for re-election you stated, at the Steams Park Civic Association Meeting, that the fields were open for children only. After the meeting I asked you why you weren't allowing our children to play in the ball fields, since you had proclaimed that the fields were for children. You never answered. I asked you continually and you had your trained Judge, Cacciatore, threaten me with legal action if I didn't stop. Is that what our Republican officials are about? Threatening those who question them?

Now, out of the blue, you are again attacking our children. This time with the support of the Board of Trustees. Now there's an oxymoron. The first I heard of this was from The Leader, Wednesday afternoon, June 20th. I don't recall seeing any notices in the Leader prior to that or in your propaganda letter, that there was an intent to close the pools. You proclaimed, at the last Village Meeting, that everyone in the areas had been consulted. You stated, "I know the neighborhood has been notified extensively and we had feedback and it is generally very positive." I beg to differ with you. That is a bald faced lie! I have been to these neighborhoods on June 21, 22, and 23. These people had no idea. Then they were incensed.

To be honest, I did have two people that agreed with you, Louise Simpson and her friend across the street. I don't recall her name. I don't think that qualifies as "generally very positive." Previously, when Mayor Storm tried to remove the pool at MLK, Ms. Simpson was outspoken in keeping the pool open for the children. It is amazing the about face Ms. Simpson has made since you put her on your payroll.

Mayor and Board, I have here 328 signatures of people, not only in the pool areas, but from all over Freeport. They are incensed at what you and your board are doing to our children. What I want to know is what have our children done to you, that you hate them so much? Why have you singled out our children for this punishment? Is it because they can't vote? Or, is there a more sinister motive? How can you say that our children, our most important assets, are not worth the $500,00 dollars that, you claim, it takes to fix the pools, when you give over a quarter of a million dollars a year, of our hard earned tax money, to your brother-in-law, Harrison Edwards? I don't remember seeing a legal notice for bids to repair the pools. Is the $500,000 another lie you've perpetrated on this community?

I moved here 22 years ago for the ethnic diversity and the many recreational opportunities available for my children. Now, my son is leaving because the Freeport Republican Club has become the same as John Gotti's Bergen Hunt & Fish Club, just a bunch of street punks hiding under the umbrella of legitimacy. I can't fault my son. I'll really be sorry to see my grandchildren leave, but that is what you mobsters are doing to this village.

Any attempt we have made to get the truth from you has been met with lies or silence. I don't know about anyone else in here, but I have removed my insurance business from the White and Re' Agency, because Trustee White can not be trusted to watch out for our most valuable possession, our children. How can we trust him to watch out for our property?

After this meeting, I will go to your house at 152 North Long Beach Avenue and start a prayer vigil. I hope others will join me in praying for your salvation, as I truly believe you are doing Satin's work. I will continue to pray until you let God into your soul and stop punishing our children. The other trustees may also expect my prayers for their salvation. Thank you.

The Rise And Fall Of The Glacken Reich ē Part I
June 16, 2001

Well, it finally had to happen. As any student of history will realize, a despot first takes over the government and the children and the media. Those who have read, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, will have to agree that our mayor, Herr Glacken, has successfully accomplished those objectives in classic fashion.

Let's look at his record. Herr Glacken is a party member who connived his way to be candidate, while pretending to serve the people. Herr Hitler did the same. While Herr Hitler had the Reichstag burned and blamed it on the communists, Herr Glacken and his party ran up millions of dollars in deficits and blamed it on the incumbent mayor, who was in office only a short time.

With Herr Glacken's minions of party members screaming the party propaganda, the truth was buried, just like Herr Hitler's minions buried truths.

Herr Hitler selected the thugs from the bottom of society to be in his Gestapo and SS. Herr Glacken has the same sort of thugs at public meetings to intimidate those who disagree with him or speak the truth.

Herr Hitler made it clear that he hated Jews. When Herr Glacken lost the endorsement of a local minister, he went after the minister and his minions, deriding his good works and attacking those who supported him. Another man of the cloth refused to do Herr Glackenís bidding. Herr Glacken and his thugs went after him, threatening his family and his church.

Herr Hitler grabbed control of a certain group of children and gave them privilege as Hitler Youth. Herr Glacken has done the same to the Little League, by excluding over 6,000 children in Freeport in favor of Glacken Youth.

Herr Hitler had Herr Goebbels, a great liar as his mouthpiece, who espoused that if you lied big enough, people would believe you. Herr Glacken has Frau Freirson to do his bidding and so far, she has proven to be equal to the task.

Herr Hitler had his closest confident, Hermann Goering. Herr Glacken hired his brother-in-law, Herr Edwards to be his closest counsel at a huge salary. There is a strange parallel between Herr Goering and Herr Edwards, as they both have explosive tempers and scream to intimidate, but can be charming in an instant.

Now, the final changes. Herr Hitler took over all communications in his country. Herr Glacken and his party have pressured the local press in Freeport by seeing that only the official news is printed in the villageís official paper.

Herr Glacken has taken over the Freeport website. He changed it from the village website to his own personal propaganda machine. He has done this by charging outlandish fees to the many village organizations, (so they can't afford the website) while Herr Glacken and all those in his Party have free access. This is no longer the Village website, but the Freeport Republican machine website.

Just as Herr Hitler boasted of how much he improved Germany with public works to hide his intentions, so does Herr Glacken boast of his public works, especially the refurbishing of the former public ball fields for the use of his Glacken Youth.

Just as Herr Hitler slowly brought his country to ruin, Herr Glacken is bringing Freeport to its ruin.

Will we someday have to raise our arms at Village Hall and shout, "Heil Glacken," instead of the Pledge of Allegiance? Will the Republican Eagle be holding a wreath and some sort of swastika or a picture of a grinning Glacken in its talons?

This reporter will try to be here to write Part II of this ongoing saga.

That is, if Herr Glacken doesn't send his SS thugs after me, too.

Chickens Coming Home To Roost?
March 16, 2001

There have been some school shootings. Is anyone really surprised? In a society where we have decried moral and ethical values in favor of individual legal rights, it appears we have invited this on ourselves. All you have to do is look around. Our politicians do incredibly unethical things, from the President's dancing on legal points to our village officials bullying people at public meetings, stretching the laws and ignoring morality and ethics. It seems that no matter who is elected, the behavior is the same.

While drawing a swastika is considered offensive, it is perfectly acceptable to present a dung covered painting of the Virgin Mary as art. It depends on how much bully power you have behind you. When a president pardons a drug trafficker, what does that say to our children? When Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman asserted his spirituality, it was treated as a political mistake and he was castigated. Political hacks feign horror at the accuser when their party idol is exposed, rather than question the validity of their leader. Anyone can get free from any crime if they have the right legal representation or political pull.

What does this all say to our children? Do we pretend that they have no eyes, ears or minds? Do we think they will forget? No! They learn from watching and listening to us! While it is illegal to send pornography through the mails, it is encouraged openly on the air waves. Just try to watch the WWF. There you will not only see overweight men beating on women, but also performing sexually suggestive acts upon them. For this we take our children to the matches and encourage them to participate in cheering on these perverts.

When a kid wants to play a little pick up ball and can't because the public parks are closed to him, what does that say? Where will this kid go for companionship? Gangs?

When the politicians concede it is all right to mislead or ignore the needs of their constituency, what does it say to our youth? When campaigns are fueled by mud slinging instead of issues, what does that say of our leaders? What lessons are we teaching?

We can send our children to religious instruction and make them go to religious services, but that all goes down the drain when we support immoral or unethical behavior. If we show no respect, how do we expect our children to? If a politician stands up for his beliefs and what is correct, he/she is shunned as a kook or "old fashioned." Yet, we think that we can separate our kids from reality and they will grow up to have good judgment.

In each school shooting, the shooter has gone through mental separation and taunting from his fellow students. In each case, the shooter has lashed out in the only way he knew how, with violence. Are we too busy or self absorbed to realize our children are living beings, subject to learning from the experiences of society? Are we too absorbed in being "politically correct" to realize that we are not teaching our children the right values?

Am I really surprised at all the recent violence in our schools? No, sadly, not at all. Having had a nephew murdered in this village by someone politically connected and watching the cover-up, I am not surprised at all with the result of what we have taught our children. As a wise man once said, "It's a case of the chickens coming home to roost."


Organized Crime In Freeport?
Opinion by John Helfrich, June 28, 2000

Over the past few years we have watched as a very organized group of white collar thugs have taken over our political system and used it to intimidate the citizens of this community.

Speaking at public meetings has always been a freedom in this country, but no longer in Freeport. If one disagrees with Mayor Glacken, a group of mob goons is there to intimidate or threaten. If that isn't enough, a threat by one of the goons follows after the meeting or, if you have really hit a spot, a threatening phone call is placed to you, late at night by a high ranking individual in this organization. This is not to be tolerated in a free society. Wake up! Are these politicians or mobsters posing as politicians? Politicians are supposed to serve the community, not intimidate it.

How did we get millions of dollars in debt under the same mob boss? Why must we pay a $30 fee to have a simple garage sale? Is this another extortion racket?

At our summer festival, which mob goons have taken over (under the guise of the Freeport government), merchants along Woodcleft Avenue were faced with a $300.00 extortion fee. This was supposedly a fee to put a table outside their place of business. The threat is that if they don't pay, the space will be sold to another vendor. This is extortion, plain and simple! 

For those of you who haven't noticed it yet, your local mobsters raised your taxes by almost eleven percent last year! Could this be to cover the $125 per hour Counselieri that the mob feels necessary to protect their schemes? What are they up to that demands such a lawyer? John Gotti would be right at home here in Freeport.

Most blatant of all, why did a Freeport mob boss cover up the homicide of one of our citizens a few years back? Was it because one of the family was involved in the murder? Is there organized crime in Freeport? You be the judge.


School Board To Freeport:
Go To Hell
Opinion by John Helfrich, May 30, 2000

It seems since the budget and bond issue have passed, the Freeport School Board has decided to ignore the public and continue their chicanery. At the May 24th open meeting, the agenda was ill prepared and public comment in an open forum had been banned. Again, with his characteristic snide smirk, Al Renken announced that public comment would be suspended in favor of a controlled "Round Table" discussion, where public comment could be regulated.

It turned out that most of the board "Round Tabled" with their supporters and ignored those who had issues. With Assistant Superintendent Ciaglia's continual castigation of Newsday, the closing of the Freeport High School Newspaper and the political censorship of articles in The Leader, the Freeport School board now announces it is no longer accountable to it's constituency. It seems that this school board has studied and is applying "Mein Kampf" to their everyday functions.

What did we expect anyway from the likes of Dante Grover, Al Renken, John Muscara, Joyce Lisi and Ronald Ellerbe? With a record of one scandal after another, this school board has now openly shown their disdain for the people of Freeport, the Constitution of the United States and the democratic process, which they have sworn to uphold, and reaffirm during the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each meeting. Truth, integrity and accountability are now only obsolete words in this school district. It's time to vote with your feet because these mobsters are firmly imbedded!


Jackboots and Journalistic Terrorism

To the Leader:
Re: Pat Lewis' letter in the May 11th edition of the Leader.

In her rush to get her letter published, Pat Lewis has obviously forgotten that quotation marks are used to quote people verbatim. I wish to set the record straight. What I said at the budget meeting, and I crafted it from my letter to FreeportNYNews.com, is that "As a Roman Catholic, I am appalled that Mr. Dante Grover is hiding behind my religion" to keep his children out of the school system that he presides over. In no way did I attack Mr. Grover's religion. Since we share a common religion, I went on to tell him that good values are taught at home and in his dealings with the community first if he wants his children to learn. Hopefully, someone will buy Mrs. Pat Lewis a tape recorder, so she will be more accurate next time. Oh, and by the way Mrs. Lewis, our School Board members are not quite "volunteers." They run for office and are voted in to serve the people. Therefore, they are "Politicians." Volunteers are the Firemen in this village and the people who join service organizations to better this village. To suggest that politicians are volunteers is ludicrous. 

In further reading the Leader I was surprised to see that Mr. Lilker's ad on page 20 was responded to by a full page FREE ad from School Board President Dante Grover. In speaking with your Mr. Paul Larsen, I learned that political ads were subject to review and immediate free rebuttal from the Freeport politicians. I wasn't surprised, since former Mayor Thomson had threatened to remove the legal notices from the Leader and give them to the Tribune if they didn't play ball. That policy seems to have been reinforced over the years by our Freeport politicians to where our press is under duress and no longer free to publish unfettered. Add to that Assistant Superintendent Dr. Anthony Ciaglia's castigation of Newsday's journalistic integrity at the budget meeting and the fact that our School Board supports the closing of the Freeport High School newspaper, Flashings, there is a terrible odor of jackboots and journalistic terrorism. Some of my relatives escaped from that terrorism in Germany and their story is the same as we are witnessing right here in Freeport.

John Helfrich
Freeport NY, May 12, 2000


As A Catholic Layman

To the Editor:

It has been School Board President Dante Grover's contention that he is sending his children to a parochial school because of religious reasons. Mr. Grover should be honest and state the real truth about why he doesn't want his children to attend the Freeport School district over which he presides.

Under Past President Al Renken and now Dante Grover, our standards of education have plummeted in the last decade. Actually, if Mr. Grover was honest, he would simply admit that he won't put his children in this school system because he is using it as a political football.

To use religion as a ploy is the most unchristian thing Dante Grover can do. Like Mr. Grover, I am also a practicing Catholic. My children went through the Freeport School System years ago, before Mr. Renken and Mr. Grover decided to milk the school system for political gain. Mr. Grover should realize that if he wants his children to be good Catholics, he must show the way by example. The subterfuge he employs does not bode well for the Christian education of his children. No matter what they may be taught in parochial schools, his example will have a greater bearing on them. I don't know how he expects his children to grow up to be good Christians if he is not promoting Christianity in his daily dealings with the community.

I feel very sorry that he is using our children for his own political gain, while claiming Catholicism is his overriding excuse to keep his children out of the school system he oversees. I can only hope this community will offer up their prayers for their welfare and Mr. Grover sees the light and stops using our school district as his political stepping stone, while forcing a substandard education on our children.

John Helfrich
Freeport NY, November 26, 1999



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