Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Two Cents: The Nassau Coliseum Referendum

We are starting a new feature on the Random Musings blog: My Two Cents. This feature will be a series of blog posts that will serve as quick reactions to topical sports news. The blog posts will be quick bursts of thought of under 500 words, meant to give you my opinion quickly instead of waiting for the next Sports With The StatMan show. Sometimes, it will be a reaction to a sports column or a reaction to something that happens on or off the field. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to leave a comment after this post to let me know what you think.

The Story: The Nassau Coliseum Referendum

On August 1st, voters in Nassau County went to the polls to determine if the County can borrow up to $400 million, $350 million of which would be dedicated to a new arena right next to the current Nassau Coliseum. If the vote passes, the Nassau County legislature approves the vote with a supermajority, and if the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) approves the deal, the new arena would keep the Islanders in Nassau County for the next 30 years.

According to the Nassau County Board of Elections website tonight, the referendum was voted down by a 57%-43% margin.

My Two Cents:
In a word: disgraceful. If this was a hockey game, the Nassau County politicians would be up by so many goals on Charles Wang and the Islanders, that sumo wrestler Wang thought of signing would be tending goal. Wang was the convenient pawn in the political game between the likes of Kate Murray, Ed Mangano, and Jay Jacobs. He was played by both sides when the Lighthouse Project and this current option was shot down, though this one was shot down a little more democratically.  Either way, the Islanders, the citizens of Nassau County, and the progress of the County all lost.

If Wang tries to make things work in Nassau County ever again, he deserves to get played again. Now is the time to make a deal to keep the team in the New York area and leave Nassau County behind. Nassau County used to be progressive. The county used to be a beacon for suburban life. Now, it is woefully behind the times, as its aging population will eventually turn the county into a 453-square mile nursing home.

So, my advice to Wang: peddle the Islanders to Queens, Brooklyn, or Suffolk County and get the best deal you can. You have lost enough money. Nassau County has given you too many gray hairs. You can still keep them in the area, but take them out of Nassau County. Nassau County does not deserve a major-league franchise. The politics have sent the Islanders to the brink in Nassau and the voters just pushed them over the edge. But, that does not mean the Isles are destined for Quebec City, Kansas City, or Hamilton.

Queens has the infrastructure, there is an arena being built for the Nets in Brooklyn, and Suffolk County is now home to many Islander supporters who used to live in Nassau County before they were fed up.  Any one of these choices are better than Nassau County. The county never sprung for improvements of their building. The county never installed a rail line. The county never really loved you back, so why bother trying to stay in a place that clearly does not want you?


Wills said...

It's quite troublesome that the referendum was voted down. Like you said, it's clear that Nassau County no longer wants the Islanders. It's like Charles Wang and the organization being someone clinging on to an old flame that just can't take a hint. It's time to move onto bigger and better places such as Queens. Build a venue in the Flushing Meadows area next to Citi Field where it's much closer to the city, mass transit, and certainly more fans. It's a shame they have to leave their legacy in Nassau County behind, but such is the case.

gstatman said...

I am surprised by the optimism by everyone where people feel a deal will get done to keep the team in Nassau County. Quite frankly, at this point, I don't care.

Most Islander fans should feel used by Nassau County and there are three other options where the Islanders could move and stay in the region, keeping the franchise, name, and identity intact.

Queens would be my choice because of the infrastructure (road and rail) and the possible creation of a real "complex" along with Citi Field and the USTA Tennis Center. Willets Point should be a yearlong destination point, maybe the Queens version of the Lighthouse Project.

But, I'm biased. I live in Jersey.

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