Originally, per sources, the October 3rd home opener puck drop was supposed to be Kate Murray. She was invited over the summer in a move to lock them into approving the Lighthouse and then everyone could all celebrate…Fa La La La La. Charles Wang confirmed this to me at Thursday’s hearing when I spoke to him. She was indeed invited to drop the puck in the home opener. But, instead, as I reported weeks ago, it would be Tom Suozzi instead.
Nick Giglia was also there, and wondered aloud if anyone would be able to contain the boos had Kate Murray actually shown up. Charles Wang shook his head.”No, let them boo!” he declared.
I was very concerned at the rhetoric coming from Tom Suozzi and the Lighthouse Project on Thursday. It was almost like they were making sure that this lasted all the way through elections. The Nassau County legislature has 4 seats that are very close, and if the Democrats were to lose it…per several sources…Suozzi would be essentially be dead in the water as the Republican and Democrats have been getting more polarized since the last elections.
These were not words on Thursday that were looking for any solution. They were looking for a fight, which led to my blog about the brawl movie, Every Which Way You Can But Loose…complete with a beer swilling orangutan.
Friday, I heard from sources in the Town of Hempstead who were concerned that it was getting ugly. That it might lead to a tit-for-tat event that would assure that the Lighthouse Project does not happen. Instead, I heard later that Kate Murray actually called Charles Wang. It was to put a meeting together bringing in the top principals so that they could “amend” the project, which was not a new issue. Amend was a softer word to lowering the size and scope of the project. It was clear at the hearing the Town Board had issues due to the size and scope. The Lighthouse principals were even told weeks before that hearing about perhaps adjusting the size and scope and were told resoundingly no by Michael Picker and Charles Wang. So the hearing and this public battle-fest was completely avoidable had the other side agreed to come to the table.
Instead, yesterday, Wang has spun that phone call, calling it an outrage that she leaked the information to Newsday of what was said during that call. That’s called looking for any reason to spin it into a negative. That’s called have zero interest in negotiation or coming to any agreement and looking to keep things unbalanced.
At last nights home opener, before the mock outrage hit the feeders, there were a couple of signs here and there. But, to my complete horror, I watched black suited Islanders staff come out with dozens and dozens of Lighthouse-themed signs and hand them out to the crowd. Nobody ever said that it was signs made by Patrick, the sign-guy, who he and his family put must have been hours of effort into a myriad of signs that the Isles staff came out from downstairs to give out.
At the time, nobody said a thing, but passed around signs to fans in seats. Despite the fact, it was innocuous, it still told me very clearly what would be in today’s news and how this was going to be played out. I had to wonder if it all is…a great big lie? Are we in the middle of a PR stunt to continue the discord and fans are the ones who are going to lose out. Like upstairs, where the media be given an impromptu press conference with Charles Wang. Meanwhile only 3 blog boxers sat in the Blog Box, while years before it used to be a full house.
[NOTE: Per Lighthouse Project, that might have been Patrick, the sign-guy's signs which he was going to distribute outside that he did with his daughter, but because of the rain that was handed out by staff instead during the game. Patrick affirmed to Nick Giglia at LetThereBeLighthouse that indeed the signs were his that he and his family made for the game. What a job and amazing work on he and his family's part. However, despite using the signage as a foil to the emotion and issues surrounding the Lighthousef for this blog, the tone, message and question is still apropos.)
So the question needs to be asked, signs or not:
Does Charles Wang and the Lighthouse Project even want a solution? Is this an all or nothing end game designed to show him as the good guy, when it is voted no because he refused to come to the table when the ToH asked? Whether the ToH did or not when Wang wanted them to is irrelevant. That is past. But, now, as they spout how any changes would delay things (not true entirely true*), and look to fight on every fart and fizzle, who really is to blame here now?
[*NOTE: Lighthouse stipulates that sections of the SEQR would likely need to be rewritten, even if those are saying that it would not necessarily be the case. Due to sections likely would be adjusted due to any possible changes to those plans might lead to delay...even up to a year or more perhaps]
Facts are, the Lighthouse Project and Charles Wang do not seem to want a solution if you look between the lines. They want to smash this into the ToH and make them vote on it. They seem to want to show them that the Lighthouse is willing to let it all be snuffed out if the ToH is willing to be the bad guys to do it.
This is, as described to me from several sources, a very Trumpesque scenario that could have very well happened. Now it has. It’s all or nothing, putting all the pressure onto the Town of Hempstead, using any olive branches against them. They are forcing the Town of Hempstead’s hand here. Something that might damage their own reputations irreparably. However, they are willing to take the Isles fans hopes and dreams along with it, to make them do it. And for that, I take umbrage.
Fans have been asked to do a lot. They showed up. Spoke out. Petitioned. Called. Wrote. Read. Anguished. Many blogs have become cheer leading sections for the Lighthouse PR staff. But it is time to call this for what it is….unfair use. Unfair use of fans to an endgame that simply does not care one whit about the Isles fan. This is about power, control, oodles of cash, politics and all the worst things that came along with it.
For had fans been the priority, Wang would have answered that call and looked to work something out at that meeting without the PR mock outrage. People looking to come to an actual solution look for any way and any route to do it. Not play political tennis, notching every move back as a return shot.
UPDATE: HockeyIndependent has learned that there still will be a meeting, despite the public words by Charles Wang. However, it will also now involve Tom Suozzi as well.
In my last blog, I drew concern that Tom Suozzi has taken the place of Mike Milbury and Al D’Amato. Another man for Wang to faithfully follow off the cliff. For Tom Suozzi has far bigger priorities here, and if it is he and his staff that are attempting to prolong the agony so that they can cause the Republican machine to shuffle off cash to protect Murray instead of giving money to the 4 who are neck and neck with the Democrat incumbents of the Legislature.
I was all set today to write about the game, and then put a blog tomorrow about how the Town of Hempstead “amending” session actually needs to provide clear vision and negotiating, not to attempt to make Charles negotiate against himself with no direction from the ToH. That is something sources told me that Charles Wang WOULD NOT do.
But, it seems it doesn’t matter. Is a solution a big lie? The manufacturing and spin of dissent, outrage, anger…all things that never have created an answer or solution since the dawn of time, is dictating that fans lose no matter who the bad guy or gals are.
Fans need to stop drinking the koolaid and stop following the some of the blogs that seem to have one side of the story, and start demanding for the Lighthouse Project and Town of Hempstead sit down and find a solution. Stop being played. For the play is starting to take very serious and disastrous turns.
[NOTE: The Lighthouse wondered to me that perhaps those blogs are really what they feel, and not PR kool aid. However, I am not the only one complaining. We have received emails of concern from blogs far bigger than me and this site. Furthermore, as someone in the blogosphere just cited to me: "when those bloggers are given preferential treatment and in the Press Box, it makes it all more the questionable situation". For further implication, check out Botta's blog implication in his latest on his website.
Botta per his blog on 10/3:
"MINUS: The sinking feeling that the NYI Blog Box is an abject failure because other bloggers just stand around post-game like they’re pals with players, coaches and management - getting in the way of people working and disgracing the entire enterprise. Please relinquish your press credentials to others more worthy."
Sorr, it ain't just me folks...]
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.