Thursday, May 21, 2009

Starting the Movement

(Guy Kawasaki's The Art of the Start is required reading for anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur, or who wants to start something in general. I can't recommend it enough)

I said last week that advocating for the Lighthouse needs to become a movement, and I am more than willing to take a leadership role. I am not one to throw out empty words, so today will kick off what I hope will become some group brainstorming sessions aimed toward building up the movement and getting our message out there.

I want to discuss a few random bits of news first.


According to the Long Island Business News, Kate Murray is kicking off her re-election campaign with a public rally tomorrow at 1PM at Levittown Veterans Memorial Park. If you can make it, I'm sure she'd love to hear about what issues are important to us.

I Join Islanders Independent

As I tweeted earlier today, I have joined BD Gallof's Islanders Independent as a contributing writer. I will probably write 1-2 pieces a week, many about topics beyond the Lighthouse Project, and this will not in any way affect the regularity or quality of the posts on this site. I hope those of you who don't read that site regularly will give it a look.

Community Alliance Highlights This Blog

For those who have not made it over there, The Community Alliance runs a fantastic blog that details many of the issues affecting Long Island, in addition to the Lighthouse. Yesterday, they wrote a piece featuring Let There Be Light(house), in which I discuss a little bit about Kate Murray and the overall goal of the blog. I suggest you check it out, as well as some of the other posts over there.

Suozzi Kicks off Campaign, Plugs Lighthouse

Tom Suozzi, seeking his third term as County Executive, formally kicked off his campaign at a rally held at RXR Plaza in Uniondale this Tuesday. He also posted video on YouTube detailing his vision for this election season.

Suozzi is centering his re-election campaign around relief from the crushing property taxes currently faced by citizens in Nassau County. According to Newsday's Spin Cycle blog, Suozzi has an interesting idea to improve the tax burden on Long Island: approve the Lighthouse. In Suozzi's view (and mine), approving the development will bring much-needed tax revenues and hopefully preclude the need to raise property taxes in the foreseeable future.

(Blogger's Note: The Newsday reporter was a bit overzealous here, referring to the Lighthouse as "controversial" for some reason, and slamming numerous aspects of it. First of all, every action has negative consequences. I believe the positives of the Lighthouse outweigh the negatives, and this means the project should be built. Second of all, saying that a development such as this, that will spur commercial investment and keep more jobs on Long Island, will not help ancillary communities is simply not true.)

Our friend the 7th Woman also has a great piece on this.

Where is the Opponent?

Last week, I wrote about how Jay Jacobs, Chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Party, promised to name a "formidable" challenger to Kate Murray this week. It appears, now, that this promise will not be kept. In a Newsday article from yesterday, Nassau Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) still appears to be weighing whether or not to enter the race, and this suggests the Democratic Party does not yet have a nominee.

This silence will soon be broken. According to the Nassau County Democratic Party's official website, the party is holding its nominating convention Thursday, May 28, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. Expect Kate Murray's opponent to be named no later than at the convention, and I plan to be in attendance.

We Didn't Start the Fire...

...but we are starting a movement. It has become painfully clear that Kate Murray and the intransigent people running the Town of Hempstead are content to stall the Lighthouse until either Charles Wang and Scott Rechler give up or voters demand a change. We must not sit around and wait for a change; we must demand it NOW.

Today, we saw in real-time the danger in which the Lighthouse Project continuously finds itself. Chris Botta wrote a pessimistic piece on the Lighthouse (which did not contain any new information), and the comments section was immediately overrun with people declaring the Lighthouse dead and arguing over whether Queens, Brooklyn, or Suffolk County is the best relocation option for the Islanders franchise. Some people, even those who are in favor of the project, betrayed a stunning lack of knowledge in the overall process, blaming Nassau County for a process that is controlled by the Town of Hempstead. If even Islanders fans cannot be counted on for solidarity, and many who favor the project don't understand the whole story, we have a very serious problem on our hands, a problem that demands a bold solution.

Therefore, I am proposing a bold idea for you guys. Over the next few days and weeks, I want to start running group brainstorming sessions on this blog. I hope to pass many of our ideas onto the Lighthouse, but it will mostly be in terms of what we, as citizens who care, can do in order to sustain the movement and put this process forward.

I have a list of ideas that I want to discuss in the formation of a movement:
  • The need for an emotional story
  • Marketing and positioning
  • Dealing with pure hockey fans
  • Dealing with low-information voters
  • Spreading the word
  • Encouraging voter participation
  • Contributing to the process when you do not live in the Town of Hempstead or Nassau County
If you have any other ideas, please pass them along in the comments section.

We cannot sit and wish for the movement to grow. We must be the ones we've been waiting for. We must stand up, demand our voices be heard, and share our desires to move Long Island forward.

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


  1. I'm with ya Nick! It's time for ACTION!

  2. "We must be the ones we've been waiting for..."

  3. As a suggestion, you might want to consider creating some You Tube videos (I wish I has expertise in that). Some educational/promotional, some that outright savage Murray.

  4. All due respect but until you and everyone who wants the Lighthouse approved is critical of Tom Suozzi for not buying out Smg's lease or suspending the Isles rent or taxes and waiting so long to select a developer have not told the entire story.

    All Suozzi has been good for is talk, he's done nothing to put money back in Wang's pocket so this franchise can survive and in fact has gone the other way with an argument this team cannot survive without the project when it has in face survived for decades and at times thrived when they won.

    To me if you are going to be critical of the Republicans-Murray/Mondello you have to be just as critical of Suozzi because talk is cheap and said nothing about this project for years nor has he done anything to help Wang's current situation.

    The EIS says the lease will be condemned, let's see Suozzi introduce legislation immediately so Wang gets full gate, parking, concessions and his adverting for 2009-10 season and find a corporate sponsor for the Coliseum with that money going straight to Wang.

    Lot's of ways to make this franchise viable, Suozzi has done nothing financially and it's time he does.

    Thank You.

  5. You have been beating this drum constantly on this site and asking the same question over and over again. If the things you're talking about were so easy, why haven't they been done yet? In the same vein, why would you assume SMG is a passive entity that will just take the kick in the rear and run without suing?

    We have been over the economics of this numerous times - and it was in fact the Legislature that forced the County to submit to an RFP after Suozzi originally signed a deal with Wang. The County already loses $1.5 million a year on its building - so how and why should they stick taxpayers with a larger debt?

    Has Tom Suozzi been perfect? Absolutely not. Does everybody wish this had been quicker? Absolutely. However, does it make any sense at all to whine about things that happened in 2004 and 2005 when we are now in 2009 and the current issue is the Town of Hempstead's stewardship of the re-zoning application? Absolutely not.

    I held out the longest in terms of criticizing Kate Murray because I gave her every benefit of the doubt. To suggest that this is now out of some kind of blind partisanship is an insult.

  6. And let's not forget - this was Tom Suozzi's idea, so there is no doubt on where he stands here.

  7. Nick, I have written this twice on your site so please tone the constantly theme unless this is so political for one side you cannot call out both sides evenly for what they have failed to do for our team.

    Suozzi's talk has been very cheap, and he's given this owner nothing. He's very good at the party line no Lighthouse or no Islanders.

    That's non-sense and should not be accepted by anyone.

    He should be working to help offset Wang's losses on top of lobby for the Lighthouse. How many years after approving the developer did he even talk about the Islanders and this project until recently?

    I have followed this back to the early nineties when Dolan tried to buy the team from Pickett and I'm well aware of Gulotta/Certilman/Mondello
    damange, but now Suozzi deserves to be criticized because this team is a public trust for local government.

    Q: The County already loses 1.5 million a year on it's building-so how any why should they stick taxpayers with a larger debt?

    Because it's Nassau County's building and they let it fall into this state of disrepair while Wang is losing 200 million. Who do you think is financing those new ballball stadium tax payer exempt bonds?

    Q: Smg will sue?

    A: Let them. Get Wes Westley or whoever runs things now at Smg out of their cave like what happened in Pittsburgh who they offered free rent and profits to a few years ago.

    Q: Does it make sense to whine about things from 2004-2005 when we are in 2009?

    A: I think the world of Wang and his efforts but he's doing that all by himself and made it an issue. And all that blame goes on Nassau.

    I favor the Lighthouse as much as your or anyone but Nassau County put the Islander owners in this situtation, to bury one side and not the other does not tell the entire story and reflects poorly on your effort.

    I'm tired of reading Nassau is broke when it comes to the NY Islanders. Give this owner some of his money back so he can hold out longer with this lease. Let's see Suozzi comdemn it now and agree to pay for it and search for someone to put naming rights on it now that Wang made a deal with Veterans. I want Wang to get all of his gate, parking, concessions and his advertising and Suozzi can suspend his rent with money he's invested so far.

    If the only thing here acceptable here is lynching Murray and the republicans let us all know. I'm not political, for that matter Wang if I recall is Republican and Murray/Mondello deserve most of the slams taken at them.

    But guess what, so does Suozzi. No Lighthouse means no New York Islanders?

    Sounds like an easy out for Suozzi.

    Talk is cheap and Suozzi has been cheap with this franchise.

  8. I thought you ended your farce of a blog. Stop bringing your uni-bomber blog crap to other sites and make them answer your conspiracy theories. Go fucking retire already. You were an embarrassment to your peers.

    Is Wang bitching about Suozzi? No. I wonder why. Maybe you should look at that more closely than shooting from the hip in ignorance.