Saturday, August 6, 2011

Does Peter Schmitt think We’re ALL Islanders?

I would like to preface what you are about to read with a disclosure. Forgive me as I have never had to do this before. The story I am about to relay is not one that I can verify actually happened exactly as it was recounted to me. I have never met the person who told me this story. I cannot prove it in any way and the person did not record the conversation. Additionally, the only possible witness to the encounter is the reader’s 13-year-old child. That being said, I felt it was still something that is worth repeating for a reason of my own:

Does the Nassau Legislature believe We’re all Islanders or not?

Here is what one of my readers, an Islander fan, sent me:

“I called Peter Schmitt, Nassau County legislator, the day after the vote. I Googled his name to get the number and came across a website with his picture and a phone number starting with 795. (Yep, pretty easy. Here it is. Apparently, unknown to me at the time, this was his home number. Be that at it may, if you don't want phone calls to your home, don't put your home number on the internet!

In any event, I called, verified that it was Peter Schmitt the legislator, and I asked him how he felt about the vote and also if he felt partially responsible if the Islanders move since he was not in favor of the referendum.

Apparently that was enough to hit a nerve. His response was, (yelling mind you) "You live in Suffolk county (apparently he can read the caller ID). Your taxes aren't going up. Who the hell are you to call me? Why don't you go f**k yourself" and hung up.

Well, I called him back, I will admit, I was quite annoyed, asking him who the hell he thought he was, and that he was simply a little county legislator, quite insignificant and a perfect example of why people have no respect for those in his profession. Well, he again hung up on me, but called me back long enough to say "eat shit and die.".

Okay, obviously BOTH gentlemen were wrong and it should not have escalated to where it did.

First of all, any person who decides to go into politics should know that they will have to deal with irate voters and they should handle themselves as a professional public figure. I have seen Peter Schmitt in action. It is my personal belief, that while I cannot verify the testimony of my reader, this exchange happened.

But why? Suffice it to say it’s bad enough Mr. Schmitt may not be adept at handling unsolicited phone calls, but to then CALL BACK just to have the last word is inexcusable.

Are the Nassau Politicians so short-sighted that they do not understand that the referendum and the ability to maintain the Nassau Coliseum as well as our only major league sports team affects ALL OF LONG ISLAND.

Are residents of Suffolk County not supposed to care? This was not a vote for an additional garbage pick-up in East Meadow -- or Massapequa where Mr. Schmitt is from. This was a vote that affects every single one of us in both Nassau and Suffolk.

Was the caller supposed to be cursed at because his taxes weren’t going to go up had the vote passed? Were the voters of Suffolk county ever ASKED if we wanted to pitch in? Would that $58 a year number have been reduced to -- oh I don’t know -- $6 a year if we had been?

So now Nassau county may not have to worry about Suffolk voters calling Nassau politicians about keeping the New York Islanders. Suffolk county would be more than happy to take your problem.

Yes, by all means -- give us the business man with a vision for the future that you have strung along for ten years! Please!!! By all means, let him design and develop a world class sports and mixed use destination in my back yard. I will be HAPPY to pay an extra $58 a year to help fund it.

Many of you will say that Suffolk County is a losing proposition for the team. However, I’d like to explain to you why I don’t believe it is -- with yet another disclaimer.

First of all, Brooklyn is a wonderful borough in a renaissance period. But while they will have a new facility, it will be smaller than the one we currently have and even with mass transportation available, game time travel will be dense and difficult.

Queens does sound perfect and while Brooklyn would be 28 miles to the West of the current Islanders location, Queens would only be about 20 miles. There is no arena there yet and one could be constructed to spec and additional revenue streams could be developed with other construction. Bonus!

While both those options have huge benefits, neither one is really “Long Island” in the truest sense of the word. However, Suffolk county is. We are no longer “the sticks” and as a matter of fact, Suffolk boasts 100,000 more residents than Nassau. (Suffolk 1,493,350 to Nassau’s 1,339,532). We’re bigger too. Nassau county is only 453 square miles with 287 sq miles land and 166 water. Suffolk on the other hand is the largest county in the State of NY with 2,373 square miles with 912 sq. miles of land and 1,461 of water.

So all you people who say Suffolk is not viable -- suck it. You know what all that extra land offers? MORE POSSIBILITIES FOR GROWTH!

And here is the possibility I am thinking of -- Gerry Wolkoff’s Heartland project in Brentwood. It’s a match made in developer heaven. Wolkoff’s idea of a $4 billion Heartland project of mixed use development would certainly be a perfect setting for an entertainment arena.

I understand that the Wolkoff’s have been trying to get approvals for this property for the last ten years, but with the proximity to major highways, a railroad and an airport, I think it’s a perfect fit. Again, it is only 23 miles east of where the Islanders currently sit and those 23 miles EAST will take half the time to travel as the 19 miles WEST would take.

Nassau county has jerked Charles Wang around for years. Perhaps now is the time for Suffolk county to prove to New York State and the rest of the USA that things CAN be built on Long Island. We CAN have smart growth. We CAN have financial viability that will take us into the future.

We CAN keep the Islanders on Long Island because whether Nassau or Suffolk voters and taxpayers --



Rob McGowan said...

If I had to see the Islanders move, I would rather it be to Suffolk County. The team would still be on Long Island, still close to home and would finally be in a County that would probably appreciate them. The only problem for me is that I am a Nassau County resident who hopes to live here some day. But hey...if I had to move to Suffolk it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

I will be happy as long as, at the end of the day, the team is still called the New York Islanders. I dont see Brooklyn as a viable option, but i do believe Queens is the best destination for this team. Queens may not be a "true" Long Island location, but who cares? The Jets and Giants play in New Jersey. Queens is overly populated. While there may be a majority of Isles fans in Suffolk, Queens will bring a whole new fan base to the team. The Isles are on the verge of becoming a great team (I believe). Young kids in Queens who now have the Islanders in their backyard will start becoming Islander fans because: A. The team will be very good and B. There's no way they arent going to wind up catching a game or two when the team is playing so close. Now they are hooked on their new team. Add in the further development of Willets Point when all those chop shops are bulldozed and the whole area is redeveloped and you have a super sports and hugely desired location. While I would not mind a move to Suffolk, Queens has the potential to put the team into big market competition. I dont feel the team will ever lose the "small market" tag in Suffolk.

Anonymous said...

I was a Nassau resident, moved to Suffolk and love it. I am very happy I did, the politicians are killing that county. Not the cops, not the teachers, the politicians.

Cmon Charles Pilgrim State is an eyesore, you have the LIE, the Sagtikos and Southern State, not to mention the LIRR MAIN LINE, runs right through it!

Hey Steve Levy, what do you want to be remembered for, turning in your warchest cause of "undisclosed issues", or the man who kept the Islanders on Long Island?

Mike Z said...

Wonderful article!! I am glad to see someone finally pushing the potential Suffolk County has to offer. Deer Park, Pilgrim State, Yaphank. We have acres upon acres for development of Charles Wang's economy boosting ideas and more acreage for future development possibilities. You know after we win a cup or two in the next few years! I have lived in the heart of Suffolk and in East Suffolk, Islander fans are everywhere. On this issue we are the SILENT MAJORITY!! Allow our voices to be heard and Islanders of all kinds can prosper. Thank you Dee.

IslesPassion21 said...

I don't think that Suffolk politics are much better than Nassau but I dont know...I live in Suffolk but Ive been following Nassau due to the Isles situation...But are Suffolk politicians and different???will they just waste Wangers time???Will wang take the risk and spend more money trying to get something done on LI???I guess, time will tell...I hope Wang doesnt go dark again...Thats the worst thing he can do...

Neoheresy said...

Since I am not a US resident at all and I do not know US law at all, too... tell me please - does the law (when it comes to big investments like Wang's plans for the Islanders, involving the county being part of the investment) differ between counties, or it is in fact the same?

And since the Suffolk county would also participate in that investment, another poll (this time for Suffolk county residents) would have to be carried out?

Patrick aka sign guy said...

Good stuff Dee, always thought Suffolk would be an excellent option. Charles should give the idea some serious thinking!! We are all sick to our stomach with Nassau Politics and if they dont want us then lets move on.