Monday, May 25, 2009

Movement Week: Dealing With the Pure Hockey Fans

(Blogger's Note: It is now 3 days since Joe Mondello crassly and rudely insulted a voter at the Kate Murray rally, and he has not yet apologized)

This is the start of Movement Week, where we hope to get a discussion going to both grow and better inform our group of concerned citizens. I am very happy to see that so many people are willing to stand up and fight for the Lighthouse to become a reality. Frankly, as I Tweeted previously, those who are not willing to stand up and fight for our team and our community deserve neither a team nor a community.

These posts are meant to be group brainstorming sessions, since I don't have all the answers here. Just like the opinion pieces, this works better when we have more comments - and I look forward to hearing everyone's point of view.

First - New Additions to the Sidebar

You may have noticed some changes to the right-hand sidebar of this site. I have now included a poll, with questions that will rotate every week. We've also added Kate Murray Campaign Central, which has all resources of her re-election campaign and a calendar of upcoming public events.

Finally, we have incorporated the idea of a visual progress graph that our friend 19 Isle in NJ 22 suggested a few months ago. You can see the upcoming steps that lead from where we are now (review of DGEIS) to where we want to be (shovels in the ground).

Back to Our Regularly-Scheduled Movement...

Anyway, let's get to it...The Lighthouse Project is unlike anything that Long Island has seen since Levittown, and it will re-shape the future of Long Island for decades to come. Even though the future of the New York Islanders created the idea, the Lighthouse Project will ultimately rise or fall based on its perceived value to the community.

However, there is one major danger to the Lighthouse Project that outweighs any entrenched "suburban" mentality or small-minded politician. This danger is something that we, as supporters, must identify and attempt to turn the tide.

Pure hockey fans.

Stay with me - I know this sounds a little odd. There are people who only support the Lighthouse because they are Islanders fans and the Lighthouse will keep their beloved team from leaving. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I'd be lying if I said that keeping the Islanders where they belong wasn't what first attracted me to the Lighthouse.

However, there is an issue - many people who just want the Islanders to stay are not reliable supporters of the Lighthouse specifically. Because their main driver is hockey, these specific people will support the Lighthouse, but they would be just as happy with another option that kept the Islanders in this area. Therefore, you see them whenever Chris Botta writes a negative piece on the Lighthouse arguing whether Queens, Brooklyn, or Suffolk County is the best place to relocate the franchise. Among many people, the perception has taken root that the Lighthouse is in fact dead in the water, and they are willing to move on to anything else that will keep the Islanders in the area.

This is the biggest danger facing the movement because solidarity is the most important thing we can have right now. If the decisionmakers see the pro-Lighthouse side as easily fractured and not as numerous as it may seem at first, they will be far less receptive to our message. It puts us behind the 8 ball in a way that we do not have to be.

What Must We Do?

I have often wondered how my business training translates into the land of politics. I've worked on marketing new and old ventures, and the dictum is the same: if someone does not want to be my customer, then fine, you just move on to someone who is willing. No harm, no foul.

To me, that does not apply in the same way to politics because those people still vote, and their votes will play a large role in the eventual decision for the Lighthouse.

Therefore, what must we do?

We must make the argument connect to them.

As prior Lighthouse supporters, the pure hockey fans are opening to supporting the project in a more sustained way. We must engage these voters, educate them on the overall process, and search for ways to connect the debate to their concerns about both their hockey team and their community.

There are many ways to do this, because Long Island is in serious trouble and falling behind the rest of the region economically. We must continue to engage these voters to learn their concerns and weave their potential points of support into the overall narrative.

Question to Ponder

Here's a good starting point for the comments section - how can we work toward making a connection with the pure hockey fans who are potential Lighthouse supporters but currently just want the Islanders to stay?

Please share your thoughts in comments. Petition. Email Me. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. It's obvious that we need to pound the fact into their heads that if Charles Wang doesn't get to develop the land then Wang will be in a losing cause and he can't sustain a $20,000,000 loss for many more seasons...These people need to think about others besides themselves...I'm not saying you should feel sorry for Wang but you should have empathy for the man...

    Its still early and I havent thought up any ideas yet but I will and will be back...

  2. How to catch the pure hockey fan?

    Ask them about other sports. Would you like to see a NCAA round at the NVMC?

    Ask them about other events?
    What about the NYC car expo?
    Wouldn't that be cool out here in Uniondale?

  3. Over the past 12 months, the majority of Lighthouse news has skewed towards the "discouraging" end of the spectrum. I think a lot of passionate Islanders fans are starting to panic and are looking for quick-fix alternatives.

    The problem is that many of these people genuinely believe Queens/Brooklyn/Suffolk are viable and EASY alernatives. And why not? The little droplets of "news" we hear regarding these areas, unlike the Lighthouse, is all positive (Queens will welcome us with open arms! We already share a color scheme with the Mets!!). Of course, the reason the news is all encouraging is because there's been no substantive dialogue AT ALL up to this point (correct me if I'm wrong). But to someone relying on sound bites, these sure seem like good options to keep the Islanders on the Island.

    So here's what I think needs to happen. First, we need to get people away from promoting alternatives (I know you've been working this point already). It's creating divisiveness within the one group that should demonstrate the greatest solidarity. We share a common goal, we need to share a common strategy to achieve that goal.

    Next, I think people (myself included) need a detailed plan of attack to follow. It's all well and good to provide the number to the TOH offices or Kate Murray's email address, but I strongly believe the majority of supporters will do nothing with this. For the simple reason that many feel like they don't know what to say. Maybe I'm naive, but I think we'd benefit from an organized plan to bombard the TOH with calls of support. Literally draft a series of outlines of salient points, each related to a specific Lighthouse issue, and provide that as a blueprint for callers. Schedule specific days for supporters to call using one of these outlines. A few days later, we'll have another "bombardment" day and each person calls on another point. Literally have a document with, for example, 10 topics and associated talking points and a schedule of 10 days to call addressing one of those points. This way, we are promoting a consistent message and each supporter will be hitting the Town multiple times instead of one call saying, generically, "I support the Lighthouse". I may not be explaining myself clearly but hopefully you understand my message.

    As always, keep up the great work.


  4. Keep 'em coming, guys. This is great.

    Also, for right now I nominate MC for most insightful thing ever posted on this site - expect a lot of those ideas to come back in the coming weeks, and I look forward to even MORE insightful comments.

  5. I think the best way to go about this (and i have heard this from many Islanders fans before) is to hold a rally outside the ToH offices! People have been whispering this on the blog sites now for some time, but the only way this will become a reality is if all the Islanders and Lighthouse bloggers come together, set and advertise a date for a rally to happen. I truly believe that a lot of people will show up to one if advertised the right way. We would need 3 weeks notice from the blogs for people to mark their calenders (along with constant reminders)! What the rally can't be is a "Save The Islanders" campaign, but rather a "Build the Lighthouse" Campaign! I feel that this will go a great way towards putting added pressure on the ToH!

  6. A good way to really get the seriousness of the situation out there is to get the media involved...We need some front page stuff, and shouldnt News 12 learn about the way poiticians are trying to put a stop tro growth for Long Island???

    The public needs to know this is more than just the Isles new arena, its about ecomonics...We need to keep pressure on the news media outlets...How to do so,that Mondello comment would have been a start but was left out of Newsdays report...It would've gave real perspective of the motives behind the GOP run ToH...

  7. I think a rally outside her offices would be a good idea if we get News 12 to cover it...

  8. Put me down for a rally. It's time to show REAL support for this thing. A simple email won't cut it.

    -Big Van Vader

  9. We just need to make sure with a rally it is more then just a few people in Islander jerseys. We need people who are teachers, union leaders, construction workers to show up to put away the notion that this is a project based solely supported by Islanders fans. This is the one draw back to a rally if all that shows up is a group of Islanders fans, the politicians and Newsday can continue to state the project is supported only by about 16,000 Islander fans this is why we need a diverse showing of Islanders fans, business people, construction workers, young people and old people to show this is a united issue that does not impact the Islanders the hockey team but rather the ISLANDERS which encompasses all of us who live on Long Island. Because like the Islanders slogan was a few years ago, "We're all Islanders."

  10. Wow, great conversation here guys.

    A lot of people are talking about a rally, and I think it's basically a given that we'll have one. The issue now is timing, since we want to strike when people are thinking about it, but we don't want to blow all our energy too far away from the election. You guys will have a lot to do with it, and other people pointed out that we will need about a month's notice to make a rally the most effective. We don't want it to be like Dave Denenberg's rally, which was good but way too hastily put together - another month of planning and we could've had thousands show up.

    Jimmy is also 100% correct that it can't be about the Islanders, though on another level that may be out of our control. Eden Laikin, for example, deliberately picked out the only 3 people in Islanders gear out of a crowd of 400 in the February hearing, so in many ways the media will report what it wants to. It's our responsibility to prove, as Jimmy said, this is about Long Islanders, not (just) the Islanders.

  11. Also - and I'll mention this in the new post that will go up tonight or first thing tomorrow - a lot of what we do will hinge on whom the Democrats nominate to face Kate Murray. If their challenger is not a reasonable alternative, things will be a lot different.

    I will also talk about this in the new post, but it looks like I am not welcome at Thursday's Nassau Democratic convention, as either a member of the public or a member of the media. Good start, guys.

  12. It would be hard to do but wouldnt it be great to all attend a rally in ranger's jerseys? Perhaps as an alternative we could just have some ranger fans haha. The tide is changing on LI. If a respectable democrat is put up, they could win because I dont think there is anyone with as much money as Wang who cares if Kate Murray wins or not. Respectable candidate+$$$+islander fans+on the fence voters+some luck=???

  13. Yes....Rags fans in Rags jerseys would be great.

    Lets keep on track here. The main issue is, "How do we get people who are just thinking Lighthouse=Islanders out of that mindset?"

  14. Nick is asking how to connect Islander fans with the idea that the Lighthouse (not Queens or Suffolk) is the best, if not the ONLY solution to keeping the team on Long Island. Although the NHL draft will be held in Montreal, there will be a lot of attention on the future of the Islanders. There will be a lot of hockey people looking for a story outside of just who gets picked first. Maybe the diehard Islander fan just needs to see something covered in a broader format to get the message. If there was, for example, a successful rally held in support of the project that gave reporters and bloggers something to supplement their draft coverage with, it might get picked up by the hockey world and could go a long way in terms of momentum to rally the troops to stay focused on the prime objective. Timing is everything and in terms of getting attention/support for the Lighthouse, if you're going to organize something, you can't ignore June 26, 2009 as an important date.

    Paul in Canada

  15. If your car has a flat, you do not replace all of the surrounding parts to fix it, get real, the only jobs left after the construction will be a handful of tech jobs, burger flippers & vendors for the 2 arenas. LI is a suburb of NYC, you want a good paying job, you get an education then commute to the city, where the jobs are, that is how it is done in a metro area, you do not choke out existing residental areas in the namwe of progress!!

  16. Gary - glad to see you here since we really don't have too many pure opponents around here. If you want to play, I'm game...

    First of all, nobody is being displaced by the Lighthouse, and unless you're counting the asphalt and gravel as a residential area there is no residential area there.

    Second, it seems to me that you're looking at this only through the prism of hockey. There is not an issue of a flat tire - the cars of both Long Island and the Islanders are totaled, and in this case the Lighthouse came about as something to help fix both areas.

    Your comments betray a belief that the past is unchanging, because your characterization of commuting is how it WAS done in a metro area. Look at the office parks and convention spaces in New Jersey, Westchester, and Connecticut. Have you ever ridden Metro-North out of Grand Central during the morning rush? I have; the train is packed with reverse commuters. Comparable Long Island Rail Road trains are so empty I could lie across a six-seater and nobody would question me.

    To me, this is an issue of bringing Long Island into a future that is currently leaving it behind, while also providing a way to save the hockey team. Tom Suozzi himself said that 80-90% of Nassau County should stay the way it is, and I can't see how 150 acres of development will suddenly destroy the life every single person on Long Island seeks.

    If you want to keep a conversation going, you can email me using any of the links, or keep it going here - what are your concerns about the Lighthouse, and are there any conditions under which you'd support it?

  17. Thanks for your kind reply, the usual response is to attack & accuse! I am just a die-hard follower of the Isles that formally lived in nearby East Meadow. I was frustrated by the constant build up of AM & PM rush hour traffic that was caused by the local Parkway back-ups almost on a daily basis. Once I found out that the LH was planned I realized that my suburban dream was ending. I know you've heard it ad-nausem the complaints about traffic, but, hey it is important to the people in the surrounding communities. I wrote several letters to the TOH & Nassau voicing my opposition, only getting feedback from Kate Murray. Her response was that my voice would be put into a 'official record. By that, my decesion was clear, time to move & I did, after 31 years of living there, raising my kids, etc.
    I beleive that, as planned, the LH project will not be the end all-save all that is being preached by the Islander masses & I realize I might be in the minority as far as Isles fans go. This will solve the team from moving, but the price is way too high.If the majority of TOH, surrounding community residents feel somewhat the way I do, then I would be worried that the LH, as it stands now, without any modifications, will not be a reality. Whenever I have heard CW speak about traffic concerns, he speaks in vague generalities; his recent interview on the Boomer AM WFAN show really did not give any real examples other than 1 about people going to an Isle-Ranger game a half hour before & leaving immediatly after causung heavy traffic, the LH would have resturants there for people to hang & chill after so there would not be traffic! Imagine that! He also said that there were over 250 intersections studied, so where are the results, Chas?
    Sorry for the rant, I just wanted you to know my concerns. I just hope if it is built, it is a scaled down model with a suitable solution for traffic congestion. In a perfect world, maybe a loop & regular stop of the LIRR running along or over the Meadowbrook Pky from Carle Place to the Sunrise Hwy branch with a Hub Station. That would be a major improvement & if considered, might be a viable help, not for commuting Isles fans, but for all of Nassau. I don't know the answer, but I don't think it should be approved unless people like me (residents) get specific solutions to questions like those.

  18. 19 Isle in NJ 22May 31, 2009 at 1:58 PM

    Nick ... I've posted this on Botta's site ... but how about slot machines in the hotels? I know this goes beyond any decision making process here ... but couldn't Wang / Rechler get into the slot business if it's legalized in Uniondale? It could make it more palitable to trim down the residential portion if they had another revenue stream to tap into. It would also be a huge revenue generator for the town, county and state. With that comes less concern about infrastructure required for housing by keeping the total units at a manageable level. Then again ... gambling has it's own stigma to conquer.

    BTW ... Like how that Light House progress graphic turned out. Great touch!

  19. 19 Isles - I saw your idea, and I'm skeptical. I can't imagine the community liking gambling more than residences and fear it would open a whole new can of worms.

    Besides, it would then have to become a hearing on legalizing gambling, then a final scope, then re-zoning, then building permits - if anything it might add another step. I'd say it's a good idea that wouldn't fly in that area, but the proposed Shinnecock casino out east could give us an interesting window into people's attitudes toward gambling.

    NYI Fan - I didn't forget you. The family yanked me into about 18 hours worth of yardwork and home improvement this weekend, so I haven't had time to write. I'm writing tonight, and I will keep my promise by responding to you.