I am so going to get killed, but I had to write this at work as fast as possible. Excuse the typos and grammatical errors as I hide in my office!
A few things have been bothering me as I’ve read the articles that grace the front page of our local paper. I am of the notion that they are being written in a distinctively negative light, when (according to the unwritten law of the unbiased press corps) perhaps that is my own personal opinion because I do not like the vehicle itself. Whether Newsday is being fair and unbiased in their reporting or not, as a reader I had some questions.
The first was why either side would be looking for language regarding the sale of the Islanders. Of course this made me nervous as visions of Jim Balsille driving a giant Blackberry up to the coliseum made me shudder. But in speaking with Mr. Michael Picker I found out that “ There is no option out of the lease for the team. But Charles doesn’t have to be the owner forever. “ The lease would transfer with the sale of the team. Charles Wang only has to remain the owner for the first two years after it is built." After all he’ll be 67 in August almost 70 then. Any new owner would have to be able to pay the price for it and be approved by the NHL (see Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers, etc.) and would be taking on the balance of the arena lease and its conditions.
For those who have said there are still Long Island residents that do not know anything about the August 1st Referendum vote and asked me where the high visibility campaign is – it’s coming. Even I was wondering why I hadn’t heard more about it on the radio or TV. (This is IMPORTANT people!)
There is a media campaign under way with radio and print ads (see today’s Newsday) and other promotional media – some of which you can even pick up at the Coliseum. There is also a flyer you can use to educate any of your friends that may not know the facts about what Long Island will lose. A campaign committee had to be created in order to legally be able to promote the vote. The newly created Campaign committee will have to disclose their finances to a state board on Friday, which will be pretty easy.
The County itself should be putting forth information from a non-partisan group explaining that the estimated income from the new arena to the county should be no less than $19 Million a year while the debt service will be $25.6 million per year. Therefore the shortfall actually will be more towards $13.80 a year per taxpaying property owner, or .26 a week and not the $58 per year (which is still pretty low) that has been repeatedly reported. You have more change than that $.26 under your couch pillows. Go look.
Over 2000 people drew a paycheck last year from the Nassau Coliseum. Without a new arena, where will those people work? Where will the tax revenue the County and Town of Hempstead will lose come from? Easy; the same taxpayers who are going to vote on this referendum on August 1st.
They can either have much higher taxes, more layoffs and less services from the cash strapped county, or they can pay .26 a week for a new Coliseum with job opportunities, entertainment and yes – The New York Islanders for the next few decades ; no matter WHO owns them down the road.
The answer should be easy. The answer should be YES!