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Freeport Village News
April 2002

Backroom Shenanigans In Vil Hall April 26, 2002
Freeport To Give Day Workers Municipal Lot
Secretive Mayor Keeps Public In Dark
April 22, 2002
Glackenites Refuse To Release Appointments To Anyone ... Almost April 9, 2002 (Posted April 10th)

Freeportís Cancer Causing Diesel Generators Are Dead
April 4, 2002 (Posted April 5, 2002)

April 26, 2002 

Backroom Shenanigans In Vil Hall

By Stewart Lilker

The Monday, April 22, 2002, Freeport Village Board meeting was the usual, with the Glackenite Board blasting through the agenda in record time. As usual, everything of substance went on behind closed doors in executive session. While NYS law is specific regarding what should be going on in executive sessions, the Glackenites just ignore it, continuing to do whatever they want, not impeded by any laws or any oversight.

Mr. Lou Leggio showed up at yet another Freeport Village Board meeting, expecting to see some resolution regarding a piece of property he purchased years ago.

For about four years, Leggio has been attempting to have the property rezoned from marine industrial to residential so that he could sell the lots, which can be a relatively simple process in other communities. The property is located on Hudson Avenue, on the site of the former Trudy Bís catering house, which had gone bankrupt. Leggio is looking to improve the property by dividing it into building lots for waterfront homes.

On Monday night, Leggio thought that he would finally see some resolution to his nightmare that has dragged on for years and is threatening to wipe out his life savings. He was told that the property was finally going to be rezoned.

When the Board meeting was adjourned, Leggio got the attention of Deputy Village Attorney Howard Colton and asked him what was going on with his property. Leggio said to Colton, "I thought this was going to be on tonightís agenda." Colton explained that they (the Mayor and Board) were going to discuss the zoning in the back room after the meeting.

NYS law requires this type of rezoning to be discussed in public.

After the meeting, your reporter asked Colton why the Board would be discussing zoning in executive session, a session which occurs out of the public eye in the back room. Colton paused for a moment and then said, "There is possible litigation and it also involves real-estate."

The NYS Commissioner of Open Government, Mr. Robert Freeman, has pointed out that, "... it has been determined that the mere possibility, threat or fear of litigation would be insufficient to conduct an executive session."

NYS Open Meetings Law permits a public body to enter into executive session to discuss "proposed, pending or current litigation." Nowhere in the law is the "threat or fear" of litigation justified as entry into executive session.

The court found in Weatherwax v. Town of Stony Point, that the fear of potential litigation does not justify conducting of public business in an executive session. The court said, "To accept this argument would be to accept the view that any public body could bar the public from its meetings simply by expressing the fear that litigation may result from actions taken therein." The court concluded, "Such a view would be contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the exception." (the law -ed.).

After Coltonís remarks, your reporter asked, "What kind of reason is that? Everything involves possible litigation." Colton just turned away.

Leggio told FreeportNYNews, "I donít understand this. I was told to get the right lawyer and I got the right lawyer. I gave him five thousand dollars and he didnít do anything. When that didnít work out I got another right lawyer. Now, I have ten thousand dollars invested in lawyers. This has been dragging on for years and if it drags on much longer, I will loose the property. The stress the village has put me through has caused me serious health problems. If nothing happens soon, I will loose my life savings. This is not right."

April 22, 2002

Freeport To Give Day Workers Municipal Lot
Secretive Mayor Keeps Public In Dark


By Stewart Lilker

On Monday, April 15, 2001, long time Freeporter and Glacken supporter, Georgia Prunty, told Mayor Glacken and the Board, "I want to personally thank all you guys for everything you have done. You have rescued this village. I love you." Then, she explained why this was the first Village Board meeting she had ever attended. "The reason Iím here, and I would rather not be here, is the proposed illegal alien hiring site.

Photographed from Sunrise Hwy. on April 19, 2001, the Freeport municipal lot proposed for the day worker shape up site. The open dumpster, shopping cart and trash have been ignored by the village for some time.

For years, Dunkin Donuts on Sunrise Highway in Freeport has been the mustering site for the Latino day workers from the south shore of Nassau County. Recently, both the day workers and the contractors that hire them have been the objects of police harassment by the Village.

Recently, the Village has been negotiating with the Work Place Project, a organization which represents the day workers, and Catholic Charities to come up with a permanent hiring site away from the Dunkin Donut - Long Island Rail Road area, the shape up site currently used by the day workers.

Two weeks ago, a deal was hammered out between the Work Place Project, Catholic Charities and the Village. Subject to further negotiations, the Village will give the workers the municipal parking lot on Bennington Avenue, located down the block from the present shape up site on Sunrise Highway. A trailer will be placed in the lot for the use of the day workers. Catholic Charities is to administer the site.

Prunty said, "I have spoke to hundreds of people over the past few years. The consensus is we would like much stronger police presence. The people would like to see somebody there to deter this illegal activity that goes on disgracefully day after day with no end in sight. Now, we see the Catholic Church and the illegal alien advocates want a site where they can go. This is absurd. The Catholic Church should read their bible."

Prunty continued, "I am against this. What is the position of the village?"

Unknown to Prunty, the Glackenites had already committed the Bennington Avenue municipal lot to the day workers.


Looking east down Bennington Ave. from the area of the present shape up location towards Glacken's proposed location.

When Glacken did not respond and the Glackenites just sat there, mute, Ms. Prunty continued. "The way I feel and the way my friends that are still left in the village feel, not one square foot of Freeport Village property and not one dime of taxpayer money should go to further breaking the laws of the United States of America. These are not Freeportís day laborers, they are illegal aliens and to give this legitimacy is a disgrace."

Glacken still had no comment. Prunty took her seat.

On Friday, April 19th, your reporter asked one of the local business owners on Bennington Avenue, who is adjacent to the proposed new home of the day laborers, if he approved of the new site. He said, "Why didnít anybody tell me about this? Iím absolutely opposed. I donít want them down here. Theyíre illegal and they donít pay taxes."

April 9, 2002 (Posted April 10th)

Glackenites Refuse To Release Appointments To Anyone ... Almost

By Stewart Lilker

Freeportís Mayor, William F. Glacken, buzzed through the annual village organization night in record time. Organization night, which is held on the first Monday in April, was postponed by Glacken until this week, with the excuse that it was "Easter weekend." The real story was that Glacken gave himself an extended weekend and canceled the meeting.

Glacken, who for years has promised to fix the acoustics in village hall, intentionally mumbled his way through the eveningís appointments, speaking so quickly that most of them were unintelligible.


As (left to right) the Village Clerk, Anna Knoeller, the Village Auditor, Tom Preston, and the Village Assessor, Bernadine Quinton, are given the Oath of Office by Mayor Glacken, the de facto mayor, the Mayor's brother in law, mob/village attorney, Harrison J. Edwards, remains seated and does not take the Oath.  

At the conclusion of the meeting, Jim Golding, the reporter for the Leader, the "Official" newspaper of the village, asked for the list of appointments, explaining that he couldnít understand most of them. The villageís PR person, Pat Murphy, told him, "I will fax the list to you tomorrow," saying that there were mistakes and she couldnít release it at that time. Golding explaind that he had to write the story that evening. Murphy said that she would fax the list to the Leader, "tomorrow."

Today, Tuesday, April 9th at 3:30 p.m., your reporter, who is also a resident, went to the Village Clerkís office and asked for a copy of the list. Deputy Clerk, Carol Thomas, said, "Itís not ready yet. It is not in a form that is ready for the public. She [Village Clerk, Anna Knoeller] is still working on it." Your reporter asked Thomas, "Nobody can get it?" Thomas replied, "Thatís right, nobody, not yet." Your reporter asked Thomas if she could ask Knoeller if she would release the list of appointments. Thomas said that Knoeller was behind closed doors and couldnít be disturbed.

Your reporter next went to Glackenís secretary, Julie OíToole and explained to her that he couldnít understand most of what Glacken had said, asking her for a copy of the list of appointments. OíToole said she had a copy of the list, but she had to get permission from the Mayor to release it. OíToole explained that she wasnít sure if the list was completed. When your reporter pointed out that Glacken read the list last night, OíToole said she would fax the list if she could, stating again, "I have to get permission, first. If I can, I will."

Next, your reporter saw the Mayorís Chief of Staff, Ray Straub, explaining to him that he couldnít understand what the Mayor had said and would like a copy of the list of appointments by the end of the day. Straub said, "I donít know who you would get that from."

At 4:15, your reporter called the main office of the Leader, and spoke to the editor in chief, Paul Laursen. I asked Laursen if the Leader had received a copy of the list of appointments made by the Mayor the night before, explaining that I couldnít understand most of what the Mayor said. Laursen said, "I got it. You can read about the appointments in the paper."

I asked Laursen what time he received the fax. He said, "I think it was around 12 oíclock." I told Laursen, "That's funny, they told me they weren't releasing the appointments to anybody."

Laursen chuckled.

April 4, 2002 (Posted April 5, 2002)

Freeportís Cancer Causing Diesel Generators Are Dead

By Stewart Lilker

For over two years, the residents of Merrick, Freeportís sister community, have been actively fighting to shut down the village of Freeportís


New York's Gov. George Pataki (left) is welcomed to Freeport by Mayor Glacken (3d from left), as LIPA czar Richie Kessel (2nd from left) and Supt. of Electric, Hub Bianco (far left) look on.

ancient, cancer causing diesel generators. These generators, built in the late sixties from two converted two cycle Fiat ship engines, have been spewing cancer causing pollutants into the atmosphere, to be picked up by the local prevailing winds blowing into Merrick, for the past thirty years. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, knowing that the plant was exceeding the permissible EPA emission limits, was paralyzed by politics and refused to order a stack test or the shut down of the plant. With Freeportís Mayor, William F. Glacken, repeatedly claiming that, "diesel fumes donít cause cancer," the Merrick residents had finally had enough and the stage was set.

Joe Kralovich, President of the Old Lindenmere Civic Association of Merrick, has been tirelessly leading the fight, along with the members of his civic association. This past summer, Kralovich and his civic association organized a march from Merrick to Freeportís Power Plant No. 2 (PPN2). Their mantra was "Clean It Up Or Shut It Down." Hundreds of people from Merrick were joined by Freeportís Vincent Greco and a handful of people from Freeport. Mayor Glacken had imposed a news blackout regarding the situation at PPN2. Many local politicians marched with and in support of Kralovichís civic association, including NYS Senator Chuck Fuschillo, the former Mayor of Glen Cove and now County Executive, Tom Suozzi, and Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, whose district is the home of PPN2.

After the demonstration, Freeportís Mayor Glacken remained intractable, still claiming that diesel emissions werenít a health risk. Senator Fuschillo was working in the background, trying to work out a deal with the Mayor, the DEC, and LIPA. All the while, meetings were still going on in Merrick with Kralovich and his association.

The frustration was beginning to show and many of the mothers of the Old Lindenmere Civic Association vowed that they wouldnít go through another summer with toxic diesel fumes blowing through their neighborhoods, causing them to barricade themselves and their children in their homes with their windows locked shut and their air conditioners going full blast. Finally, at a recent meeting, these middle class moms of Merrick agreed not to take it any more. If they had to, they would chain themselves, with their baby carriages, to the fence at Freeportís PPN2 the first time Glacken ordered the plant started. The word got out. Senator Fuschillo was advised of the situation and Glacken must have decided that civil disobedience by a bunch of middle class mothers was the last thing he needed after the Glackenite swimming pool debacle. Glacken made a deal to shut down PPN2.

Today at 11 a.m., Governor George Pataki came to Freeport to make the announcement. The plant would be shut down. The dignitaries showed up in force.

PPN2 on Emergency Standby While Freeport Continues To Negotiate

Before the show began, FreeportNYNews (FNYN) asked Freeportís highly regarded Superintendent of Electric, Hub Bianco, if PPN2 would run. Bianco told FNYN, "If there is an Island wide or State wide emergency, if they say fire it up, thatís what we will do."

FNYN asked Bianco how many times Freeport Electric would have to run the plant to keep it operational. Bianco said, "You have to do about a four or five hour test twice a year." Bianco further explained, "Once we have the new plant, I turn in my permits and then we submit a decommissioning plan to the DEC."

FNYN asked Bianco, "Whey do you plan to begin building the new one?" Bianco replied, "We have to finish up a couple of things. Hopefully by the nineteenth or the end of this month, we should have a deal. We should start the environmental assessment and everything should click right through."

Due to the controversy regarding the bidding process, on which FNYN will report next week, your reporter asked, "Are you still negotiating prices with them?" Bianco answered, "We are still negotiation terms. The prices are pretty well set. There are some ownership issues. There is some shared equipment. We donít want two ammonia storage facilities."

The Show Begins

Governor Pataki, who wants to be known as the "ecology" Governor, was the first one to address the gathering. He said, "So many of the community groups deserve the credit. I have to mention Joe Kralovich. Joe, congratulations to you for doing this. The community pushed. The community was right and government has responded. Behind us you see two very old diesels. They donít have the proper controls. They are going to be eliminated. They are going to be put out to pasture. We are going to be replacing them with state of the art, clean gas generating facilities. This is going to result in reducing the sulfur dioxide emissions by 99%. It is going to reduce the nitrous oxide emissions by 94%. We have to make sure that we get rid of the old polluting plants. Freeport is doing that today.

Pataki continued, "This is a beautiful sunny day. No more soot, no more noise, no more fumes. The diesel burners are going to be long gone. I canít wait to come back, sometime this summer and not listen to these and not see these. The South Shore is getting cleaner and getting healthier."

NYS Senator, Chuck Fuschillo, took over as master of ceremonies. It wasnít clear why Freeportís Mayor Glacken wasnít in charge of the festivities in his own backyard. Fuschillo thanked the Governor for his help. Fuschillo said, "This is just another chapter in the Pataki success book on how to run government. There is no greater friend to the environment than Governor Pataki." Fuschillo then congratulated long time Freeport resident Vincent Greco for his work in seeing that PPN2 was shut down.

Fuschillo next introduced Freeportís Mayor Glacken to the gathering. Glacken thanked everybody "who worked so hard to ensure Freeport Electric continues in its fine tradition that started over one hundred years ago." Glacken gave special thanks to Gov. Pataki, thanking him for his "continued support for energy innovation and initiative in Freeport."

Glacken continued, "The agreement between LIPA and the Village is an important step toward our long range goal to supply power to the Village and the region for the next decade and beyond. The Village stands ready to construct environmentally sound electricity generation."

Senator Fuschillo had the audience laughing as he introduced LIPA czar and Pataki appointment, Richie Kessel. Making light of Kessel's perennial weight problem he said, "I called this next guest this morning at nine oíclock and I heard this noise in the background and he said it was a treadmill, so I guess he turns it on when people call. I picked him up, just to make sure he would be here on time and this deal would be finalized. Without his leadership, we wouldnít be here today."

Kessel, not to be outdone, told Fuschillo, "The Governor wanted to know if I had a lounge chair on my treadmill. Chuck, I want to thank you. I found out what you do best, driving. You are an excellent driver."

Kessel then got serious. "I want to thank the Governor. The Governor asked me about a year ago to get involved in trying to work out a solution that was creating major problems for the communities on the south shore of Nassau County."

Kessel continued, "This is a tough issue for Freeport and we have had to work very hard to get this deal in place. This is a very complex issue. The deal that we are announcing today is a very simple one. PP&L [Pennsylvania Power and Light] and LIPA came to an agreement late last night. LIPA has entered into an agreement with the village of Freeport. We will purchase 10 MGW from one of the units that will be owned by the village and we will purchase for the next seven years, forty four MGW from the other PP&L unit. Because it is going to take about a year to get these plants up and running, we are entering into an agreement, that I will sign today, with the village of Freeport that will provide make up power. Instead of turning on these generators, LIPA will supply that power to Freeport. That will be an interim agreement and that will mean we can keep these plants off, absent a system emergency, which hopefully we wonít ever have."

Fuschillo then introduced Joe Kralovich, who like Erin Brockovich, refused to give up the fight. Kralovich thanked Fuschillo for his help and said, "During this campaign we have had to ask so much from people. Theyíve had to discuss their private struggles with all different things that could possibly be environmental causes of their health problems. Itís been a very emotional issue and a difficult issue. I want to thank everyone who has helped us in this campaign. If we work hard, this is what can happen."

After the meeting Vincent Greco, the Freeporter who has been fighting for years to shut PPN2, told FNYN, "They [Freeport Electric] have the substation. They built it so we wouldnít have to build anymore power plants. This substation allows Freeport to import as much power as it needs. The proof that it works is that they havenít been running PPN2." Greco continued, "They donít need a new power plant, but if one has to be built, it should be done properly."

As your reporter left, he walked over to Merrickís Kathy Kralovich and asked her what she thought. She spoke for all the mothers of Merrick when, with a smile, she said, "This summer my windows will be open."

 

 

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