Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kate Murray Slits Long Island's Throat

(Blogger's Note: I'd like to publish a quick correction, because I feel silly.  The quote I paraphrased and attributed to Mark Twain in a comment yesterday is actually from muckraker Upton Sinclair, famous for his expose "The Jungle" on the Chicago meat-packing industry.  The full quote: "It is difficult to make a man understand something when his job depends on his not understanding it."  How sadly fitting for this situation...) 

The Lighthouse Project was introduced at a seminal moment in Long Island's history, a point when we found ourselves at a crossroads.  We gave birth to the modern suburban concept after a long-forgotten Hempstead Town Board approved what was, at the time, a radical idea: Levittown, a collection of pre-fabricated homes, parks, and shops that provided an individual piece of the American dream to thousands of returning World War II GI's and other people wearied by the cities, which, after decades of ascension, were beginning a slow, painful decline.  Levittown led to a movement that carried Long Island and the suburbs to previously unheard-of heights.

In recent decades, the classic suburban way of life began to show cracks, and the world began to change again.  Young people began fleeing high taxes and a higher overall cost of living, the cities began to rise, and main employers such as Grumman began re-locating or shuttering entirely.  It was clear that, at this defining moment, we needed to decide how Long Island was going to be suburbia in the 21st Century.  Advocates for a new way forward suddenly discovered their rallying point: the Lighthouse Project, borne out of New York Islanders owner Charles Wang's vision once then-Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi told him there was no public money to replace aging Nassau Coliseum and the owner would need to come up with something creative to raise the money to replace or renovate the arena.  Residents rallied to the project in record numbers, outnumbering opponents 2:1 in every poll and up to 9:1 at all the public hearings.  While we knew negotiations would be necessary, residents were genuinely attracted to this vision, this new Island dream we could call our own.

Yesterday, Kate Murray threw on the brakes and spit in all of our faces.

Let's get one thing out of the way: The Lighthouse Project did not die yesterday.  Reports of the Lighthouse Project's recent death have been greatly exaggerated (see, THAT was Mark Twain), because in all honesty the vision as first proposed has been dead since last October.  It was clear that the Town of Hempstead, which controls zoning over the Nassau County-owned land and for the Lighthouse Project, which was approved by a 16-2 vote of the Nassau legislature in 2006, had serious reservations about the size and scope, as evidenced by repeated comments about "preserving the suburban way of life".  

Before going dark, even Charles Wang acknowledged the likelihood of a scale-down, repeatedly begging the Town of Hempstead to "just tell me what I can build."

We all expected the Town to reduce the project.

None of us expected this.

Welcome to The Shire

Newsday had a rather innocuous headline introducing the issue: "More Modest Future For Coliseum Site."  I prefer my headline, because it's the truth.  Kate Murray has slit our throats.

The Town of Hempstead's alternative plan, which cuts the project by over 60% and other pieces, like residential, up to 75%, has transformed our Island dream into a hobbitt village.  Goodbye to The Lighthouse, hello to The Shire.

Make no mistake about it: What Kate Murray unveiled yesterday is a brainless, gutless, visionless insult to anybody who dared to break the cycle of defeatism and dream that we on Long Island could become more than we are.

I've wondered at times whether Kate Murray thinks we're stupid, and I think this latest option proves it.  The project claims to be mixed-use, yet it doesn't follow even the most basic economic principles.  First of all, the Town is completely misrepresenting the square footage, including the 2 million square feet of parking in their claim of 5 million square feet of new construction.

The traffic plan also intrigued me, because opponents reflexively yell "TRAFFIC!" in an attempt to kill any infant project while it's still in the cradle, and these ideas would be closely scrutinized.  Imagine my shock when I watched the video on Newsday.com and saw the exact same offramp renovation that was roundly panned for over half an hour at the re-zoning hearing last September!  Councilman Darcy was especially interested in planned multi-way traffic lights, claiming they were not workable because "someone could run the lights" (I kid you not).  It's amazing that they could just slide this in and have nobody question it...

Kate Murray, in her introductory press conference, made a statement so shocking and so galling that I have to question her fitness to hold elected office.  Murray admitted that she never considered whether the plan would be economically viable for any developer to actually do it, and developers questioned by Newsday have already panned the zone and claimed they would not bid on the project again should another RFP be released with the current terms.  I understand that Kate Murray has to think about what she believes is the best project for the Town, but to avoid basic fact is both stupid and dangerously naive.  If the project is not economically viable to build, no developer will bid, and the project will never exist.  If the project doesn't exist, it will by definition do absolutely nothing to benefit the community.  For Kate Murray to stand there and say she wasted $200,000 of my and your tax dollars on a plan when she has absolutely no clue whether or not its viable is naive at best and negligent at worst.  As I've said, behavior like this has to make me seriously question her fitness for office.

I can't believe this needs to be said again.  People are in business to make money.  Since it's been proven an arena cannot be profitable if built as a stand-alone, and the government will not provide any funds (usual amount is about 65%, according to Andrew Zimbalist), developing the land to raise money for a new arena is the only solution.  In addition, as mentioned, the Lighthouse was designed as an integrated whole, so changing pieces in non-uniform ways could throw the whole thing off kilter.  As I've said, the shopping was meant to support the 2300 residential units planned.  That's not a mall; that's supporting people who live there.  Gutting the residential units down to only 500 without corresponding cuts to the retail will do MORE to exacerbate the problem of vacancies in commercial space.  The Lighthouse intended to grow the market, and this action will do nothing but shrink it.

Instant reaction from Long Island residents has been highly negative, with only people who opposed the original development (remember, they were outnumbered 2:1 by supporters) hailing this move.  Lighthouse supporters are now beginning to fracture, breaking down into recriminations from activists and sects of Islanders fans who are fed up and simply want a hockey solution.  What a mess.

Kate Murray is not the marauder going after wholly innocent Charles Wang, don't get me wrong.  Mr. Wang needed to more clearly explain the economic reasoning behind the project and try to do more than simply ask Islanders fans to join the community activists in support.  The fracturing of supporters shows the base of support could have been very fragile, and that some people, after all these years, still don't understand why this came to be.  That's a terrible tragedy and a missed opportunity.

Thanks, Kate Murray!

You read the headline right.  In the vein of her self-serving commercials, I have to reach out and thank Kate Murray, because she has taught me so much.

Thank you Kate Murray, for making it clear that new ideas and new investment are not welcome in the Town of Hempstead, and that anyone who wants to quit the ostrich impression and take their head out of the sand needs to shut up and fall in line.

Thank you Kate Murray, for making it clear that young professionals have no place on Long Island.

Thank you Kate Murray, for continuing to tell half-truths and misrepresent your heroic attempts to "jump-start" a project you've been hiding from since 2003.

Thank you Kate Murray, for doing your best to ensure Long Island continues to be on the wrong side of history, and for continuing to believe that denying a problem exists means there is no problem.

Thank you Kate Murray, for proving that all those things people said about you having no vision were accurate.

Thank you Kate Murray, for treating a group that wanted to invest billions of dollars in the Town of Hempstead as an inconvenience. (Blogger's Note: I'm not saying Charles Wang should get whatever he wants, but I'm definitely saying that the Town should've been more amenable to proposals that could kick-start the local economy).

Most of all, thank you Kate Murray, for proposing an alternative so clearly ridiculous that Long Island may be faced with a much worse alternative.

Moving Forward

Developers and economists, save Martin Cantor of Dowling College, who famously stated last year that buildings should not be built in 2020 due to the bad economy of 2009, have roundly panned Hempstead's new proposal, even though Kate Murray continues to defend it and insist there will be no negotiation.  

This ridiculous "plan" has also fractured the Republican party, pitting County Executive Ed Mangano against Murray and the Town of Hempstead.  Mangano released a joint statement with the Lighthouse Development Group panning the project as not viable, either for the owner of the site (Nassau County) or the group still bound by a Designated Developer Agreement (The Lighthouse).  Kate Murray has made it clear that she believes there should be no negotiation from here, so the County Executive is ostensibly going in a different direction...

As sources stated to Islanders Point Blank (and as I heard in Ed Mangano's office last week), Nassau County is attempting to pivot toward a casino at the Coliseum site in partnership with Charles Wang and the recently-recognized Shinnecock Nation.  As was the case with the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the Shinnecock Nation would be expected to provide the money to replace Nassau Coliseum in exchange for receiving development rights to a casino and entertainment complex on the property.  Some believe this is an attractive option because the land would be granted to the Shinnecock Nation as a federal "land-in trust."  This would be approved by the state and not subject to the zoning regulations of the Town of Hempstead, nor would it be susceptible to local lawsuits.

However, let's not get ready for the roulette tables just yet...The project has been roundly panned by the public, and the Shinnecocks have repeatedly stated they will not go where they are not wanted.  Residents who opposed the Lighthouse or expressed serious reservations due to resource usage, traffic, and other issues can't be expected to turn around and support a casino, which has all of these problems and then some.

Let's also remember that neither Mangano nor the Shinnecocks actually have a casino plan.  The Shinnecocks received federal recognition last month after over 30 years of effort, and Ed Mangano's office seems to only have some rough revenue projections based on loose requirements.  It's not like this plan could go through tomorrow, or possibly even within the year.

In addition, you have to consider both the additional revenue a casino would bring in and the additional costs to the community through crime, public safety, etc (expect much much more on this later in the week).  Let's also not forget the other potential casinos planned for the area.  The NY State Assembly is controlled by Democrat Sheldon Silver of Manhattan, and two potential "racinos" are proposed at the Aqueduct site and the Belmont site.  Would Silver and the assembly approve a project at the Coliseum that prevented either of those from happening?  Would Sheldon Silver voluntarily pick the pocket of the New York City Democratic apparatus that is his base of power?  I highly doubt it.

We also have to consider that this could be a ploy.  Kate Murray may have said that the proposed disgrace new zone is not negotiable, but she could quickly change her tune when she sees what could alternatively be done with the site.  At this point, it's a long shot, but the casino is by far the greater of two evils, and Kate may try to come back to the table as a result.

We've reached a point where we all want a resolution, but this news has seemingly put us farther away from that.  Expect this to get a lot uglier before it gets better.

One thing's for sure: the chances that we will get anything close to a visionary project are growing slimmer by the day.  In the end, we may be left with nothing more than the cheap cash grab of a casino....or a vacant parking lot and the distant memory of the New York Islanders and what could've been.

Thanks, Kate Murray.



  1. Hi Nick, thanks for your insight. I think there is a fair chance that LDG and Mangano jointly issued a statement denouncing Murray LH scale back so that Wang could slap Murray's face more. The reason why I think this is that I think it's unlikely that Wang would go for a casino in a partnership with Shinnecocks + a new arena with Al D'amato being in the background. According to Point Blank, it was Mangano who proposed a casino plan in conjunction with Shinnecocks. No confirmation that Wang ever agreed to do so. Also as both Murray and Mangano is in the Republican party, LH scale back may be a chance for Mangano to push his casino plan, which according to some will be littered with litigation for years to come.

  2. Great piece Nick, you nailed it.

  3. Steve: I'll have so much more on the casino later this week. I could've doubled the length of this post writing everything about that, and none of us want that. I don't have any information on that front, just speculating that as an alternative Mangano could offer Wang a partnership in a casino and a new arena in exchange for supporting it.

    Personally, I think the casino is a non-starter and a potential ploy. If Kate sees how much worse things could get for her, she might be willing to come back to the table and negotiate. I've said many times that the easiest thing for all sides to do is make a deal, it's just not clear if they realize it.

  4. Unquestionably a ploy in my mind. I don't think there's any seriousness to the casino proposal whatsoever; at least on the NVMC site.

    Unless Murray & the TOH have another trick up their sleeve, I think Wang/Mangano & company have put her in a box.

    It's been clear from the get-go that Murray's raison d'etre has been to unconditionally serve the NIMBYs of Garden City and the surrounding areas. They both make the same (nonsensical) arguments about overreaching growth, the "loss of suburbia" and all the other nonsense.

    For her to fight all of that and then stand back as a casino of all things goes up in her backyard would essentially devalue every word she said and every promise she kept to those constituents. I don't think there's any question that the backlash against a casino would be five times greater than the reaction to the LHP.

    So how does she prevent that from happening? By passing the Lighthouse as was proposed. Or at least as close to what was proposed as possible. (perhaps it's already taken place) If Wang/Mangano truly have some kind of gentlemen's agreement with the Tribe in place, they knows they can reject it and circumvent the town's involvement.

    What made me so optimistic was Mangano's clear alliance with Wang. My thought was that party politics would eventually prevail and the GOP leadership would stand united against CBW but it seems the opposite has happened and now Kate's looking down the barrel of a cannon by herself. This was a pretty surprising development to me.

    I could be wrong but I'm as optimistic as I've ever been that a deal will get done for the original LH, simply because I don't think Murray has a choice, if she has any future political aspirations. Of course if she doesn't and essentially goes the nuclear option just to tell Wang off, then that'd be a problem. I would think plenty of parties would sue to ensure a casino doesn't go up in their backyard (namely Hofstra)

    Let's hope Kate sees the light and we come to some kind of agreement with the LHP where all of the politicians can manufacture the positive PR that they all want and we can get back to watching hockey.


  5. One thing that should be noted as I believe that Nick pointed out in his blog.... If a deal is made between Nassau County and the Shinnecock Nation to sell/transfer the land over to the Shinnecocks, then that land exclusively belongs to them. It will be subject to NO LAWSUITS (NO ONE CAN SUE). Local zonings do not apply in this case and the Shinnecocks can do whatever they want in agreement with the State and the County. I believe Federal Law mandates this. Federal law allows any land owned by a Federally approved Indian Nation that the LAND belongs to THEM. It's as if the land is seperate from the United States of America. In other words HOFSTRA can not sue. No one can sue and the Town of Hempstead can twist in the wind. The TOH, the County, the State, and the Federal Government has NO jurisdication over that land once the land belongs to an Indian Nation once agreements are made.

  6. This is un-friggin-believable!!!Nick, you're feelings and mine run parallel...You are saying the same tings Ive been thinking and saying since this farce of a proposal was released by Murray.

    WTF are we to do as Long Islander's???As you mentioned, the polls showed that 2 out of 3 Long Islanders's want the LHP as it was originally proposed. I believe Wanger should be using his fan base right now as activists to make Long Island a better place and to see this vision through but if CW isnt going to get us together maybe people like you, Nick, can get us riled up and form an activist group for the betterment of Long Island and to ensure our future isn't periled, any longer, by the selfish few who are given way too much power...I believe, you, Nick, are a smart, young man, with a passion for your ideals and you could be a good politician...Wanger seems to be throwing his hands up in the air but that doesn't mean we, the people need to take this laying down...If you and the rest of the bloggers can get something going I would be there front and center, I give you my word...Botta has a large following, you should get with him and BD Gallof...Lets make it into the main stream news even to Newsday misrepresent us, but at least we cant be ignored...Lets get er done!!!!

  7. The real problem with Kate Murray's "plan" is, as with almost everything else she does (or doesn't do): it is too little (emphasis on "little"), too late.

    Had this "vision" appeared before her, say, a decade ago, residents from Elmont to Wantagh would have chomped at the bit to put shovel to dirt. It is, after all, quintessential suburbia, with a touch of swank and a dab of smart.

    As for the lament of the Lighthouse supporters, 2 to 1 means nothing on the blogs, in the print media, or at rallies. There's only one place such numbers count -- that's at the polls. In that respect, as Pogo once said, "We have seen the enemy, and he is us."

    So there you have it. Another $255,049 of TOH taxpayer money (paid to consultants Frederick P. Clarke) down the tubes. [Money that, come to think of it, could have been spent on elaborate, four-page, full-color Murraygrams.] Progress cheated under guise of "protecting the suburban character." A meaningful, if not monumental project, a shot at renewal for America's first suburb, thwarted again. The future of Nassau County, nay, all of Long Island, delayed, if not denied in its entirety.

    Yes, you still can fool most of the people all of the time. In thinking, on our part, that words alone will, in the end, speak louder than actions, we continue to fool only ourselves!

  8. I do not believe this is a 'ploy'. No evidence for that at all, just blind optimism. Manganous wants a casino and it's revenues. If it works and it helps him balance budgets and help hold down taxes he'll be hailed as a hero. If not, he won't win reelection anyway. The LH project is dead. Please face that fact. Murray is not interested, she know has her cover if the Isles leave. And she'ld still win reelection. CW probably knows the casino thing is a longshot, but he has nothing to lose by quietly going along with Manganous. If it works, a new arena and some other unspecified compensation I'm sure. If not, next up the Wilpons and a partnership to build a new arena on mets owned land (Shea stadium) and some partnership in the willits point development which btw becomes more valuable with another 42+ nights taken care of. Time to get over the LH. Done. Dead. Fini.

  9. When I first read you wanted to apologize I thought it was to Mondello, Mangano & D'Amato. They did more for Islander hockey than anybody.

  10. kate and hudes must go

  11. To Anon (8:24am) regarding the transfer of land to the Shinnecocks and lack of jurisdiction:

    Once the land is transfered, yes, the Shinnecock Nation has total control over the land and doesn't have to seek approvals from anyone. However, I'm pretty sure that the process of transferring the land over to them WILL require federal (and maybe state?) approvals in the form of Senate and Assembly votes. So, while they can't tell the Shinnecocks what to do once they have the land, the respective governments must vote on actually handing the land over to them in the first place. That's where the politics lie.

  12. Nick,

    Your passion is felt through your words in this piece. Your voice comes through loud and clear.

    I would also like to thank Kate Murray for making it crystal clear that my children will not be welcome to work and live on Long Island as they grow older and graduate from college.

    I hope they enjoy working in Manhattan and long commutes otherwise I'll have to travel out of state to see my future grandchildren. Or maybe I'll just flee this deserted Island like everyone else is being forced to.

    Sick to my stomach. What a disgrace.

    I absolutely do not want a casino, but Kate Murray has basically given us two preferences:
    Do I prefer no casino and no Islanders?
    Do I prefer casino and the Islanders?
    I'll take Option #2. It keeps my beloved team here and sticks it to the ToH.

  13. SOS Blair is nuts and completely wrong. No way the original LH proposal gets done. No way.

    Just end this charade and move NYI to Queens as LI pols are the worst and get nothing done timely, completely, partially or otherwise.

  14. Nick,

    There are no words. We knew this was coming but there are no words.

    Kate Murray has put steel reinforcement into the cement that says that NOTHING of vision can be done on Long Island.

    The casino (which I do not want) is not a done deal. I have a feelig that the red tape that will block that may push the Shinnecocks to pick another location for their casino.

    Come 2015, the Islanders will move. In 2010, young professionals are still leaving the island.

    The future is dark indeed..... Thanks Kate


  15. IslesPassion21:

    I also want to do something so badly I cant stand it. Im so tired of doing nothing.

    We cant expect people to come up with great ideas on what to do, though- as Nick said a year ago: We have to be the ones we have been waiting for.

    If you want to throw some ideas back and forth, Id like that. You might think Im crazy for suggesting it, but Im just looking for people who feel the way I do about this. You can write to me over at thenhlarena (I mod the Isles page) or on AOL.

  16. How about a Recall Murray campaign?

  17. The last lines of Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes" come to mind:

    "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

  18. A tad vitriolic towards Kate Murray, but I can understand. This is an excellent piece on several fronts--from the promotion of a plan that no one believes is economically viable to your insights on how the State Legislature would approach this. Well done!

    Unfortunately, this is very much our state of modern politics and talking points. The Murray plan is a mini suburban version of health care reform--addressing a problem and need by doing something even more stupid, then declaring victory.

    If something is to be done on this project without a casino--the challnge has to come from within the TOH GOP. It seems to me that Mangano could orchesrate this if he wished, but is he too wed to the casino to do so? Does our former Senator hold too may cards to let that happen? Is there any Republican on the current Town Board who can stand up and say I respect Kate, but this plan is unworkable and I want something more?

    I can't say that Kate Murray has slit Long Island's throat, but she may have downed a bottle of sleeping pills. Either way, it is a disappointing form leadership.

  19. Sounds like a plan, metalchick, obviously we share the same passion for the Isles and frustration towards the ToH and its politics. I sent you an email on AOL. If anyone else wants to try and be proactive, instead of taking this BS laying down, you can email me here or of rjcuillo@gmail.com

  20. does anyone really believe that little town supervisor kate murray is going to face off against d'amato and his cronies (mangano etc.) and their casino plan? if you believe the casino idea is simply a ploy to force kate to choose a LH plan closer to wang's, how do you explain d'amato's strong efforts for the casino? they really do want the casino, and they are offering a kate a lifeboat in which she can go down looking like she fought the good fight. of course she'll be on board. the real mystery in this continues to be wang. his proclivity for under-the-radar maneuvering that has driven his career is the x-factor, and i must admit, this intrigue really has taken on a noir-like mood that reminds me of some of my favorite films. i'm beginning to think that when this thing finally ends, i may actually miss it.

  21. Nick ... I have a lot to say about this whole situation ... but I'll try to keep it brief.

    First of all ... I was totally wrong about Kate Murray ... I truely believed her opposition to the project last year was mostly a fabrication to give the appearance of being an objective "judge" if you will during the zoning hearings. I really believed that she had some valid concerns, that she wanted to play up so that they would be resolved, once she finally got around to telling Charles Wang what he could build. This after him pleading with her for over 2 years. He was willing to make some adjustments to pre-address her concerns before the zoning presentations ... She was invited to the Lighthouse education / information seminars, but she never showed up because "In her role as 'judge' she couldn't because of conflict of interest" ... Well ... she obviously went overboard with conflict of interest when she used a campaign contributer from out of the county to design "HER" vision for the site.

    That disgusts me ... and if I was a resident of the TOH (fan of Isles or not) ... and I found out she spent $200K of town money for that, after the developer spent millions, and asked for her input ...I'd be thoroughly pissed off, and be calling for her resignation and / or impeachment.

    You are 1000000% correct to question her ability to hold office. She stepped wayyyyy out of bounds to her authority. There is a reason the county has a RFP process ... The only thing that I question ... Is that the County back in the day (I think in 2002)... as the land owner should of gotten the rezoning changed ahead of the RFP process ... This way ANY developer would have a template in which to work within.

    Finanacially viable or not ... That is the first thing the county should of worked out with the town. Wang begged and begged for some input ... and got nothing.

    Now on the suburban vision thing. Kate talks and talks and talks about the Levittown legacy, and how this suburban vision should be preserved. I wonder how the rural residents of Nassau County felt about Levittown over 60 years ago to see their way of life impacted over the broad landscape of Nassau County back in the day? I'm not sure ... but I'm pretty sure that other than the people selling their land for development, that there was some pushback. Such is the push for progress.

    The LHP by scale of geographic footprint, and overall population is a much smaller leap to urbanism than what the residents in Nassau experienced by the wave of suburban sprall.

    I'll leave it at that ... Great work Nick... Sometimes I wished I live in Nassau so I could be a part of the solution ... but seeing how blind the politicians are on both sides ... I think it would be like hitting your head on a stone wall and expecting results.

  22. islespassion21- Ill check my aol tonight tomorrow (cant check it at work) :)

    I know the next TOH meeting is Aug 3rd at 1030 AM. Thats my birthday- but I am definitely going to that meeting. Thats one thing, at least.

    Ill bring up some of the very points you brought up, 19 Isle in NJ 22- especially regarding the scam excuse of "conflict of interest" we all heard. The REAL conflict of interest here is that her actions are conflicting with her job as a supposed representative of the people! I will also tell Santino how I remember him standing a year ago when reps were asked to stand if they were in support of the project. I want to ask him how he feels about his conflict- because he was jerking the people he represents around either then or now.

    It is so infuriating... but I am going to show up like the professional woman I am, and be as clear as possible. I am in my 30s, not my 50s and 60s like most of the TOH board members. When all the people refusing to change with the times are sitting in rocking chairs, who are the ones who are going to be stuck with the mess their lack of foresight has caused?

  23. Metal chick.

    I wanna help too.

    But...I live right outside of Raleigh.

    So, I can't show up to meetings and the like, but, I'm willing to help!


  24. Hi Nick, what do you think are the chances that Shinnecocks will land a casino in the Belmont Race Track in Elmont?

  25. if anyone missed this:


  26. Nick:

    According to this link http://libn.com/blog/2010/07/16/lights-out/

    Directors of the Long Island Regional Planning Council were denied access to the press conference where this sham plan was announced.

    This link also says Murray has been invited to the next Long Island Regional Planning Council meeting. It seems that they have the meetings the first Tuesday of the month. However, that is the same day (and I believe time) as the next planned TOH board meeting.

    I have already taken off work that day (my birthday) but I am not sure what is going to happen meeting-wise. If you could provide any details about this, it would be truly appreciated.

  27. Interesting artciles Day1 and Metal Chick ...

    I think the author of the Examiner piece spent to much time criticizing the press (although he was spot on in most of his accusations). He should of used that space doing a time line of events to summarize where this issue has been.

    Being a sports business publication he should of used more financials that outlined the expenses to date for Wang / Rechler, and question why Kate and the town thought it was within their juristiction to spend over $200K for an alternate vision, when they are "The Lead Agency" ... not "The Developer."

    I see how the media operates everyday ... so I understand the author's frustration with the presses trouble of extracting facts from politicians. They'd rather gleen favor from a politician (and their paid staff) if they share a politician's idiology.

    The Examiner piece kinda let the story get in the way of the facts ... so only those of us that have been following this story for years can fill in the blanks and get a good idea.

    Sorry. I'm not a journalist myself, and don't want to criticize a well thought out story ... just saying.

    On the LIBN piece, it was short and to the point ... and again .. echos how I feel about how Kate Murray's handled her end of the PR battle. She's a town supervisor ... not the head of the CIA ... She's accountable to her constituents ... and must answer to them directly. Having a "Credentialed Press" only event is her hiding behind her office.

    I think she should face the music during the next town meeting as The Metal Chick has pointed out ... I don't know what the rules are in Hempstead ... but in my town ... even if there isn't an issue on the docket ... If enough residents show up we can force an issue on the docket over riding the Town Committee's objections. Kinda old school ... but it gives a voice to the public.

    I was thinking over the last day about how many sports teams today are now indirectly connected to a casino project (The Penguins and Wings) came to mind. I'm not sure a casino is right for Uniondale ... but if something could be worked out to favor all parties ... I wouldn't be objectionable (not that I have a say).

    I think Charles has to seriously put things into overdrive and have a solid solution by the town meeting in September (before camp) ... Then if there is none ... start talking Queens.

    Seriously ... This has gone on long enough. I have been following this arena saga since the late 90s when "SavetheIslanders.com" was a website. Friggen ridiculous!!! Now I'm getting back to something more fun. Creating my Ronnie James Dio tribute CD.

  28. Hi 19 Isle in NJ 22


    "We very much want a second team here,'' Garber said. "I continue to have discussions with the Wilpon family of the New York Mets about seeing whether we could convince them that soccer would be better in Queens than hockey. We have work to do with the city to get their support for building a stadium.

    "I think if we’re able to really make a lot of noise here, get lots of people to come out, have this team resonate throughout the tri-state area, it will be that much easier to convince everybody we need to convince about that second team.''

    Sounds like the Isles are talking to Mets at this point as well as Don Garber is "trying to convince" Wilpons that soccer is better than hockey.

  29. The Wilpon MLS in Queens talks have been going on forever and they recently have picked up steam. Honestly - I think the Wilpons and Wang are working together here. I am a Queens based Islanders fan who is very familiar with the on goings with potential MLS team. I really think the Wilpons are using Wang to get a better deal with MLS and Wang is using the Wilpons and Queens as a bargaining chip for a better deal in Nassau?

    If Charles Wang has been saying a new state of the are arena is not going to get him his money back in Nassau - why would he just settle for JUST AN ARENA in QUeens and team up with the Wilpons - how would he get his money back. As for Willets Point - the request to build is in - not sure if Wang put in a bid but Willets Point is going to take forever to get going with all the political hoopla going on. Some businesses are refusing to leave etc. That is another 4-5 years of hard work and money for Wang.

    Although a stadium would most likely be in the parking lot of Citi Field but that would just be the stadium.

    Given all Wang has said about needing more than just an arena and knowing that the Willets Point bids are in and how long it takes - the puzzle just doesnt fit to me.

    No - Honestly - I have been negative until now - I really think its going to work out and the Isles will stay in nassau and the Wilpons will get a good deal for a soccer stadium and work with the new owners of the Cosmos name to bring them back. The Isles will lift cups and all will be good!

    Have faith - all this is is a political chess match with big egos in stake!

  30. Well this is new - that last comment wasn't from me, for the record. Welcome Nick the Second.

  31. Steve - I think Belmont is outside the requirements, because a Shinnecock casino has to be within 75 miles of their reservation. I think Belmont is right at the outer bound of acceptability there, but don't quote me on that. I tried to measure on Google Maps, and while it seems within range I don't know. Remember, until their tribal recognition is settled (and that lawsuit will at very least delay it), a Shinnecock casino is completely off the table.

    19 Isles - I agree, my friend. Charles Wang's actions clearly suggest he doesn't want to leave Nassau County, but at this point Kate Murray's actions show he isn't welcome in Nassau County. Mangano has a casino "proposal," which is the strongest "I'm Out of Ideas" signal a politician can send, in my opinion. Like you, I'm still enraged at the thought that Kate Murray has been hiding from this project since 2003 (I wish I could say more on this....) and now she does an about-face and wastes time and taxpayer money to smack Wang in the head and tell him he can't build. As Happy Gilmore would say, that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY...or 7 years ago. I truly believe she's unfit for office because of her conduct here...she treated 2 men trying to invest $3.75 billion in the Town as an inconvenience, constantly misled the public, and hid from ever making a decision through both misleading quotes and obstruction. Think about it - she did just enough that Lighthouse supporters wouldn't throw her out of office last year, and she's hoping everyone's forgotten by the time she's up in 2011. Now after all that, she says no, for the reasons we all suspected she'd say no years earlier. What a disgrace.

    Merrick - I acknowledge the vitriol, though I think personally I might have been too easy on her. She deserves every cross word she's going to get out of this.

    The 2 pieces were very interesting, and it's just a sad reality. Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows that I've constantly raged at the fact that the mainstream media has totally abdicated the responsibility to question Kate Murray. Perfect example: I had a thoughtful, 20-minute conversation with a certain Newsday reporter last week that resulted in a 2-line quote about Islanders fans in the paper. I understand his angle, since he's a sports guy, but nobody has come out and said that Kate Murray spit in all our faces here.

    This, however, means one thing...If nobody else is going to watchdog Kate Murray as she attempts to destroy Long Island's future, it falls to us. I'll have something on this in a few days.

    Quick idea, throwing it out there: it's a big risk because we don't know how it would end up for us, but, as a previous commenter suggested (sorry I forgot which one), what about putting this to a referendum? If we get a strong push to put the Lighthouse as proposed to a referendum, it sort of boxes Kate in. She'd never allow it, but how could she not allow it? It's a Hail Mary, but at this point it's all we have. Thoughts?

  32. Few more things...

    Blair (and this is also somewhat to Anon): As I acknowledge in the piece, the Lighthouse as proposed has been dead ever since we knew for a fact the Town wanted to reduce it....I and others have sent signals to the Town that they'd better signal a willingness to work with the developer, and they clearly didn't do it. The project as proposed will never exist, and these actions make me wonder if anything will ever be built. The project doesn't seem economically viable, the County is going to lose potential revenue on it, the Islanders are in jeopardy, and many community groups are splintering about the project - one even suggested they should throw the Islanders out to make the project profitable. Funny that people accuse Charles Wang of using the community, but how would supporting Charles Wang and the Islanders for years and then doing that be anything other than using them?

    The Community Alliance is right...and it goes to the previous point. Kate did just enough to not really piss people off, and the Lighthouse, while something people clearly want, didn't seem like a voting issue.

    19 Isles is dead on with one other point, and I think I made the point too subtly in the piece. There was a time when Levittown was a radical idea! It took a Town Board with much more guts than the current one seems to have to see past the farmlands to what Long Island could become. What a shame we don't have that kind of leadership now.

  33. I have said all along Murray is in over her head, she could never manage a fortune 500 company let alone the TOH. She is a clueless elected official. Nick I am not sure Wang has the funding for the project why would she not approve 70% of the project and then tell charles, go get some financing now? Also why would she say this is non-negotitable? Really displays her ability to have no business sense at all. Why slam the door shut like that?? That is what I find so absolutely revolting about her actions. She wasted tax payer money and salms the door shut in the process. I was always under the impression an agreement as to the scope of the project would be reached. By slamming the door shut it eliminates that option. I do not believe the Casino hanging over her head will make her come back to the bargaining table.

  34. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/sports/soccer/17mls.html

    Thanks Nick - ill call myself Nick the second - haha - anyhow - this is an original link from back in the day about WILPON and MLS - I have a lot of information about this venture - if your interested - let me know where I can email it to you.

  35. 19 isles - i think maybe mr. weiner used that much space in "criticizing the press" in order to emphasize strongly in no uncertain terms how the media has missed and/or avoided real coverage of the issue. i respect his willingness to scold his "journalistic" colleagues on that failure and I also like his writing, though i do think this particular piece was kind of all over the place. mr. weiner is the only journalist or media person i know of reporting substantively on this story, but I wish he did so more often. he may have overloaded this piece with information and kind of scattered its focus, and not to put words in your mouth, but maybe that explains part of the problem you had with it.
    meanwhile, his point about the absence of real journalistic coverage of this debacle could not be more right on. this is something that has driven me crazy from the outset, and I know Nick feels the same way.
    as for mr. weiner speculating that d'amato's push for the casino plan could be kate's "worst nightmare," i can't say i agree. this might make sense if you assume that a public stand kate may take in opposition to the casino is genuine. i am cynical enough to believe that such a posture would be purely theatrical and that she would actually be fully on board. letting her appear to go down fighting in opposition to the deal on behalf of her "constituents" and for "the public good" will be the reward she gets from her real constituents for being a good soldier.

  36. Hi Nick the second, thanks for your insight regarding the Wilpons and MLS. I think there is a fair chance that the discussions between MLS and Wilpons have picked up steam because the MLS has become more or less desparate as there has been a rumor that the Mets hired a real estate firm to assess the feasibility of an Islanders arena in Queens.


    Jones Lang LaSalle, the project management company for the upcoming $775-850 million renovation of Madison Square Garden, has begun work on a feasibility study for an Islanders arena at Willets Point -- the property surrounding Citi Field, the second-year home of the Mets.

    "This is beyond the preliminary stage," said the source. "You don't bring in a big hitter like JLL unless you're serious. This tells me the Islanders and Mets have made progress in a partnership to take the hockey team to Queens. If Charles Wang and Nassau can't cut a deal, this will be a great option."

    This may explain why Garber has been saying he's trying to convince the Wilpons to choose soccer over hockey in a recent interview with NYPost.

  37. Newsday has a nice piece..You can see it on the mobile site for free...

  38. Talk about frustrating- the last few days all Ive seen are idiots proclaiming that Kovalchuks rejected contract is a direct decendant from DiPietros contract. Nevermind that Ricks contract doesnt circumvent anything!

    I need to not let idiots bother me so much... but there are so many of them. So many. :(

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. MC, I wouldn't give Wang that much credit...I wish he was trying to circumvent the rules cuz that would at least show savy. The reason DP's contract is the worst ever is because he never proved himself..he never earned it

  41. Sorry but the point is that Ricks contract has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with cap circumvention.

    Youre not going to get me to agree with you... Ricks contract isnt even the worst the Islanders have given out let alone the worst ever.

    On another more topical note, the LI Herald has been doing some good work lately: http://www.liherald.com/detail/26641.html

  42. You're taking me too literally...The DP contract is, imho, one of the worst contracts ever....If what you're telling me is you feel Wang was not trying to circumvent the contract regulations then we're in agreement...

    Regarding the LI Herald, I hope people are reading that...

  43. with all due respect, i think the LIherald piece is little more than a well after the fact superficial summary of simple basics already known by anyone paying attention even a little bit. the fact that a elementary column like this even initiated reaction by us affirms how absent real coverage has been all along and how the press, media, whatever the hell you want to call them, have collectively surrendered their responsibility on the whole thing.

    the piece ends with an effort at an editorial slant, suggesting there should be a compromise to resolve the matter. compromise. wow. HELLO???!!! are you kidding me? this is a press outlet “covering” a story LIKE THIS in its own backyard? they must have had their most dogged reporters dig pretty deep and their editors must have had some pretty intense meetings to come up with something like that.

    i have no idea who owns or runs that publication, but never mind journalism school or media management courses, just watching a few episodes of ’superman’ to see how lois lane did her job might be a good idea.

  44. Here is a question? Why all the silence all of a sudden - no comments from either side since this plan was presented - are we to believe they are working on something behind the scenes or are they both on seperate ends of Long Island not even thinking of each other?

    Its just unfair to the fans not to tell us what is going on.

    Born and raised in Queens - live in Brooklyn now but the Islanders belong in Nassau!

  45. 19 Isle in NJ 22July 25, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    I think what the LI Herald's article outlines in a short column is that bare facts of the latest and greatest from the TOH. Focusing on the lack of vision, and the economically challenged version put forth by the town. I don't think the intention of the article was to regurgitate the whole horror show known as the Lighthouse Project's progress.

    It was a this is where "we" are now summary.

    day1 - I agree that Mr. Weiner was attempting to criticize his fellow journalists' coverage of the Lighthouse Project. I just personally felt I was getting lost in that aspect of the article instead of focusing on the economic facts which are critical to making the LHP a success and pull Nassau Cty. from the gravity of the economic / talent drain it has been experiencing.

    ... and Yes ... I agree day1 ... His lack of focus in the article, scattering his facts was what made me lose focus when reading it. Still a very good informative article ... I just had to pick through the fat to get to the meat of it.

  46. About Evan Weiner's article, he never mentions that the casino idea has been met with resistance from the TOH residents. Also, he fails to mention Al D'amato's role in crippling the Islanders financially and his conflict with Charles Wang. If D'Amato really told Weiner the Islanders arena situation will end favorably with his casino wet dream, I would have think he (D'amato) was dreaming. Why would in Wang's right mind take D'Amato's offer if he knows that casino is being met with a lot of resistance? In adidtion, Wang is currently enjoying from the sub-lease terms that came from ripping Al D'amato's crown jewel, namely the SMG lease that gave Islanders no money from non Islanders events in the Coliseum. D'Amato is more than likely trying to screw the Islanders with his casino plan.

  47. 'Scott Rechler has quietly sold back to Charles Wang the Marriott hotel at the heart of the stalled Nassau Coliseum redevelopment project, records show.'

    anyone have a good idea what this means?
    rechler pulling out?

  48. 'Scott Rechler has quietly sold back to Charles Wang the Marriott hotel at the heart of the stalled Nassau Coliseum redevelopment project, records show.'

    anyone have a good idea what this means?
    rechler pulling out?

  49. There's a meeting regarding the Nassau Hub at the Marriott scheduled for August 11 at 6 pm. Does anyone know anything about this?

  50. Link regarding the meeting I referenced in my previous post. Come on, Nick. Time to rally the troops. If nothing else, the meeting should be informative:


  51. How long would it take to build a mass transportation such as railroad around the Coliseum?

  52. http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/citi-field-arena-for-isles-just-talk-says-wilpon-1.2180960

    August 5, 2010 By KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN kimberley.martin@newsday.com

    EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Mets owner Fred Wilpon hasn't ruled out the possibility of an Islanders arena next door to Citi Field, but that decision rests with team owner Charles Wang - not him.

    "That's just talk," Wilpon said Thursday when asked about the likelihood that the Islanders will move to Queens.

    In May, Wilpon's son Jeff, the Mets' chief operating officer, told Newsday he had spoken...

    Can anybody show the full article? I think that Wilpon is acknowledging that he is still talking with Wang. Also as the islanders' lease with Nassau County is over on 2015, Wilpon may have hinted at that notion.