THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT CHARLIE: Both Sides Of The Lighthouse Project And Town Play The Most Dangerous Game
Sources who have either dealt with Charles Wang personally or within business give a warning when following the latest goings-on between him and the Town of Hempstead. Two called me after reading my blogs citing that the Town of Hempstead is looking for the Lighthouse to negotiate size and scope.
They both said the following: “Charles Wang is not the kind of businessman who negotiates first”. Charles, per one, is a disciple of the Trump School of Business. Negotiation is a sign of weakness.
“If ToH wants to compromise then they are going to have to put up an offer first, Charles will not. But if they offer something, he will listen and consider”
The Lighthouse position seems to confirm this. The ToH had all summer to let the LH know what they wanted. Now is the time to let us know yes or no (yeah, it even rhymes).
Unfortunately, this staredown is simply not helpful. Proponents of the Lighthouse cite that any change to the size and scope would need completely new studies. However, in talking to a few experts, that is simply not true. It would not require new studies persay, and also might depend on what exactly gets changed.
The key words are what is still economically viable upon any reduction if they even get past this frozen positioning. Interestingly enough those numbers are an eye opener, and will be shared once we see what exactly happens between both sides.
The fact is, once we hit into next weekend, there will be a ton of positioning on both sides to offset what will be building fans pressure. You will see likely meetings with perennial trying to get a team, Jim Basillie and others to show and mount pressure on the ToH to blink first. The ToH might try to offer public compromises to get fan support and place pressure back on the “all of nothing” flawed philosophy of the Lighthouse group.
What neither admits is that the fulcrum…the poor fans in between this standoff are left suffering and in a confused haze to what is going on. As blogs list who supports the Lighthouse, like that has somehow changed since late March’s show of force at the Marriot seems rather pointless. As is bloggers who want to add themselves to the political fray. The only solutions here are communication between both sides, and the need for someone, anyone with a political heft to stand between both dug-in sides and say: “get it done”, allowing neither side to lose face.
Islander fan angst seems to mean little to either side at the top, as this standoff is likely to continue to and through the November elections.
Unfortunately, we are warned by those close to Charlie: “After October 3rd it gets dangerous. That is when Charles can get impulsive.”
Impulsive? Rick DiPietro given a 15 year deal impulsive? Fire Neil Smith after 45 days and hire the backup goalie impulsive? Make a “committee” impulsive?
Facts are there is an unpredictable element to leaving Charles date to pass without any type of conciliation.
Who To Blame in All This Gets Clearer . . .
Politically, a huge curtain was drawn away as finally after months and months, and investigative reporter from Newsday did an excellent piece on how things got this way. As cited earlier this year in blogs, the spector of Joseph Mondello weighs heavily to the partisan politics that are now rife between the two parties. But what Randi Marshall, a 12 year employee of Newsday who’s expertise is economy, housing and urban policy, also raises is the poltergeist of one Alphonse D’Amato who smashed through the horrendous contract for SMG and then convinced Charles Wang to buy the tean.
The D’amato and Mondello connection seems to be the last piece that lied unrevealed. Some conspiracy rumor fans yelled about it, but nothing was ever offered to any writers or press with a shred of proof or moderus operandi till Newsday’s piece seemed to be able to make it clear.
D’Amato stands as the Lighthouse’s Fredo. A coward who turned on a dime when Charles Wang did not do the same type of behavior that shamed D’Amato’s political career….hire his brother. Before that, the Project had been negotiated with republican bosses to remain non-political. Once D’Amato was denied nepotism, all seemed to go south.
When Suozzi ran for County Exec, Mondello and “Fredo” turned, having their subpar candidate, Peterson, use the LH as a bashing point. Once that was long lost, the Lighthouse remained a political point as Fredo faded, and Mondello rose only to fall out of the NY State leadership position. So if there is blame to why this is now still on the table, if not in a limbo post-hearing in 2009 instead of gone through years ago in 2005, it is because of Joseph Mondello and Al D’Amato of the Long Island Republican machine.
So that is how we got here, by being doublecrossed by an ethically challenged political hound and his fellow current leaders of the LI GOP who still has not apologized to insulting fans at Kate Murray’s re-election kickoff rally.
Now two sides sit staring dumbly, giving fans either panic or some form of goofy re-elective optomistic vibes as fans sit further beaten by Long Island’s worst form of politics.
What Needs To Happen
Someone needs to be the bigger man or woman here. Someone needs to step up and get off their entrenched position. Nassau County has been extremely quiet throughout the latest issues. So has the State. Who will come in and be a hero? Or will both sides suddenly start talking instead of supplying talking point?. Will Isles fan angst still pervade many good writers and bloggers works? When will common sense prevail and people stand up to the whims of the worst type of politics on LI? These politics are the politics of failure. Self-interest and favor games, while a team and fanbase are left in the lurch.
If Wang walks away in October to Brooklyn or Queens, which per many sources are both viable and potential destinations. But does Charles Wang really want to walk from a legacy with the Lighthouse Project, letting the political system win? Will the muddy waters of Computer Associates by his only LI legacy? Is that the proper solution? Is that really helping LI Islanders fans who were used to help pave some way.
Queens meantime requires a complete process to be started. Brooklyn might also need a new environmental review. So these are not easy-outs, nor perfect solutions.
So we stand here at a crossroads hoping that some commonsense and logic prevails instead of the political games and stubbornness that will only lead to more delay, drama and further ups & downs of an emotional rollercoaster for Islander fans. Someone please put down the political, team or blog pom poms and stand up instead of playing sides. It is time for reason, thoughtful measure and smarts.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.