Nassau County Is Decadent and Depraved

 

Written under duress (and disappointment) by B.D. Gallof

 

I’ve been following things in regard to the arena for a long time now. I never asked for it, nor do I derive any satisfaction from the writing of it. I’ve just striven for truth within a giant murk of all sorts of intentions, public relations, politics, subterfuge and beliefs. I don’t take a whole lot of pride on being right on certain elements that I called out early on. I, like you, want this solved and done with. I, like you, want to concentrate on the hockey on the ice. Unfortunately this has not been the case for us both.

This has been a long winding road filled with all sorts of blockades, people and issues. It is not worth even delving into the particulars. I think all our psyches are scarred with all that has gone on. But it might be the toughest one to swallow for fans and the owner when the Coliseum Referendum failed in Nassau County.

Evidently expectation was that the Islanders fans would carry this through, along with the Republican machine and unions behind it. It did not. Not even close.

For one thing, the Republican machine is splintered, the Conservative base has lost faith in Mangano. The other is that union vote was very static. Not enough came out to make a difference. Above all, and not lost on Charles Wang, is that there just wasn’t enough committed fans to come out and vote to make it happen within the County that they are depending on and wanting to stay in. That, my friends, like it or not, spoke volumes.

This last one is key, and though I have heard much argument by many hopeful/idealistic fans that this is not the case, let me assure you… it is a problem.

There was nobody more angry, more upset, and by that, finally, more resolute from August 1st than one Charles Wang. Referendum proponents waiting for the tally at the Coliseum that evening were stunned at the early numbers. The rest of the evening just had to be a pile-on of reality thereafter.

Despite a lot of fan, blogger, hockey peanut gallery conjecture, added on with some business proponents hype on their own area’s self-interest, I am here to tell you that neither Suffolk, Brooklyn or even Queens right now are tangible realities UNLESS something comes along with it…

…an ironclad guarantee and assurance by someone with power.

Charles Wang, as of August 1st, is done chasing. He is done putting forth an effort. He has chosen to stand pat until 2015, time on his side.

For all the fans talk, Charles has really said absolutely nothing. His people have been absolutely silent. You can here a pin drop, if only everyone else would shut up about their own ideas on what is feasible.

The fact that everyone else is doing all the talking should provide some clarity. The nervous filling of the space because silence is terribly uncomfortable after August 1st should ring alarm bells. No fan seems to be able to handle any bit of silence, so everyone is chattering and providing their information on what is possible.

Perhaps one needs to sit in silence, and contemplate, like Charles did that August 1st, where that anger was sharp and real. Where that reality hit with a lopsided vote where the over 55 ran the table on Nassau County’s future. Where he was taken in again pining hope on someone political who failed miserably even in getting his own party behind it.

No, sorry folks, not going to tell you a tall tale of how Queens is throwing out a red carpet (when has the Chamber of Commerce meant anything politically?), or how Brooklyn is possible even though the place is not setup for hockey, or how Suffolk has so many places, yet not enough interest nor the Isles time to get a thing done.

Charles does not care what others say anymore. This is what you don’t want to hear. Not what I wanted to hear. He is only interested in now a sure thing. It means the promise of not a Chamber of Commerce or some political flack but by the Borough President and Mayor now.

9/9/2011 is now your new date. This is the deadline for a RFP to Queens. When Charles does not supply one, this should silence the unyielding hopeful chatter and imagination of many. I hope to be wrong here. I hope that someone plies in with something strong. But the only way Charles Wang puts forth a RFP to Queens is if it is set-in-stone to happen. That he has the heavyweights, not the lightweights, behind it.

I get everyone wants them to stay. Hell, so do I. But wishing it doesn’t make it reality. And the stream of stuff that has hit the blogs, twitterverse, and boards is pure nonsense.

The more likely scenario is that Nassau County is now dead, barring a miracle served to Charles on a silver platter. Queens can only come through if some political heavyweight can smooth out the scene and provide guarantees. The reality is that when 9/9 comes, and there is the continued silence or empty words with an ad or repeating a wish, that is more likely that Charles Wang will stand pat to the final end game. 2015.

When that time comes, Phoenix will have already been relocated. Dust will have settled. He can then let all proponents and prospective owners fight it out with either a set place and development rights, or buy the team at the highest price possible.

A lot will have happened in 4 years. Quebec will have an arena. Paul Allen, in Seattle, might be looking for a team. There will be finally lots of options for a man who has been stuck between a rock and a hard place…sometimes placed there by his own business and whims, no argument here. But nevertheless, this is the reality that materialized fully the evening of August 1st, I am sorry to say

A message has rung like a clarion bell thanks to the large number that voted no that said to the Isles owner, team and fans: “…We can do without your kind in Nassau County”.

Charles was listening.

Were you?

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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.

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  1. Vukota says:

    While I agree with most of your article, I do disagree that its not that the isles aren’t wanted here, its just not on the tax payers dime. Too me that is a big difference. You can’t blame Wang he has been getting fucked in the ass for the last 10 years by the piece of shit politicians Enough is enough already

  2. OJ says:

    What is your opinion on the NHL’s stance of giving a buyer who can keep the team local priority?

  3. Scott says:

    This referendum had a severe uphill battle once the Democrats decided to actively oppose. Most people thought turnout would be about 10 percent but they got almost double since they robocalled everyone over 55. Despite the fact that this plan was proposed by a Republican, there was no Republican support and Managano has no constituency. All Tea Party types voted no, so it was Islander fans and some Unions against everybody including seniors so we were doomed. Add in the political climate in Washington and this could not have been timed worse.

    I think everyone knows the situation is precarious right now and no one expects Charles Wang to get involved in another political mess. The Queens situation does seem to make the most sense right now but obviously, the right people need to get behind it or nothing will get done. At least we know Queens politicians won’t be scared away by big buildings. No one is being naive but there is nothing wrong with keeping some hope. There is a 20 million dollar cable deal in NY that is unlikely to be seen elsewhere.

    I just hope this gets resolved one way or another soon. It’s not fair to continue to torture Islander fans with this cloud for any longer. Either get a solution or let us begin the grieving process.

  4. HockeyRanter says:

    I don’t know what will happen, but would Wang have bothered saying anything about keeping the Islanders on Long Island if that wasn’t his true intention? He’s lost money on this team and I don’t think he wants to walk away from it. He has a lot of pride and won’t want this to be what he’s remembered by.

    • OJ says:

      A cynic would say he still has tickets to sell for 4 years.

      • BDGallof says:

        A cynic and also I say the same. Tickets must be sold/

        I think he’d love to work out staying, but clearly that hasn’t happened and he will not spend a dime more on it. Intent and knowing what is likely needing to be done are two different things.

        People seem to forget that he is a cold-hearted businessman as well. Furthermore, all deals he was involved in involved development rights. With no assurance, no development rights, why bother? Who sits there and takes loss after loss?

        • HockeyRanter says:

          Maybe it’s time for Isles fans to find those heavy hitters in Queens and start expressing their desire for the team to relocate there. I’ll try coming up with some political players.

  5. Scott says:

    Obviously Wang has no interest in taking loss after loss but I think this is about more than money for Wang since he has enough to last him several lifetimes. He has taken a bath on this team for a long time and if it was just about money he would have been out a long time ago.

    I think he would like his legacy to be that he got something built and kept the team local. I agree if there are no options, he has no choice but we thought it might be over when the lighthouse died so who knows. However, betting against Nassau politics is always an easy bet.

    In listening to the Democrats who opposed this I think they still thought Wang was bluffing and would not leave so unfortunately, the threats will have to become real for something to happen. Unfortunately, for all Islander fans is the threat is now real.

  6. Isles27 says:

    Gallof seniors have been taking a beating over this no vote on all the Isles blogs but it wasn’t only them that caused this to be voted down. The young and old, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, black and white you name it there was universal rejection of this plan. Great Neck voted 75% no, was that all seniors? This only passed in Bethpage which means both rich and poor towns and villages voted this down. It wasn’t only seniors. Jay Jacobs and the Dems hooked up with the Tea Party and got this thing defeated I wish they would start working now to get the school budgets defeated because all those people who voted this down because they were worried about their taxes going up should check their school taxes compared to their Nassau County taxes. Speaking of Jacobs, the leader of the Democratic party in NYS, when he was on WFAN he said that the LHP was NOT viable and a scaled down version can be done so there seems to be common ground between the Dems and the TOH Republicans on that issue. Wang will never get anything done in Nassau if he continues to go all in with one party on a plan he needs to sit down with both sides and hammer something out it’s obvious neither party will allow the other to be successful and claim victory on this issue. 3 major league arenas in NYC seems like a bit much. 2 questions Gallof what happened to that plan to put a roof on the Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows would that be possible and a few months ago there was a rumor that there was someone interested in buying the Isles, I think it might have been someone from the area, and Wang said that the Isles were not for sale do you know anything about that?

    • Isles27 says:

      “I’m really starting to think it needs to be a non-partisan board that is apolitical and whose decisions are binding in order to make it work” This was posted by Lighthouse Giglia on another board on Aug 17 almost two weeks after I made the above post. You finally figured out that Wang going all in with one political party isn’t going to work? What you need is a bipartisan board (with input from NIFA) and let BOTH parties take credit. Sorry Giglia no such animal as non-partisan and apolitical EVERYONE has their biases.

  7. Vlad Brooklyn says:

    BD, I have a lot of respect for your opinions and find it very knowledgeable. But have to disagree with you on this one. I think to stay put is a huge mistake. It is time for Wang to start exploring ALL other options loudly and publicly. It’s time to stop the “Doormat” nonsense. If he wants Isles to be called as professional organization staying put will not going to cut it. Everyone is angry. Don’t be shy to show it (in a respectable way), show the rest of the idiots that you serious. DO something about it. Give some hope to everyone who care.

  8. Steve says:

    Heavyweights… Well why doesn’t Wang team up with Sterling Equities, the Mets parent company, and another entity who was able to get from RFQ to RFQ stage. That would be strong enough, I belive.

  9. Al Cimaglia says:

    There are three things for certain…

    1. A NHL team has little chance at profitability without an adequate arena.

    2.Owning an NHL team requires extremely deep pockets.

    3.You need a mega rich owner who won’t get tired of taking losses.

    Unfortunately the Isles only have a check mark on #2.

    Lastly…

    Not that it makes you feel any better but my take is that bond bill would have failed in Chicago too…

    • Isles27 says:

      Al with the economic climate we have in the country right now I really don’t know of anywhere in the country this would have passed. The way it turned out the timing of this vote couldn’t have come at a worse time (it’s easy to say now) but who knew we were going to have all these economic problems around the date of the vote. Owners make money with lots of home playoff dates so winning is also part of the equation in order to be in the black.

  10. RobJ74 says:

    3 times a charm, right???Wang has learned some hard and expensive lessons from all of this…I hope he takes from what he knows now and like Isles27 said brings both parties together to make this happen…

  11. realsturat says:

    I thought it was all doom and gloom after the vote, which honestly I NEVER thought had a snowballs chance in hell of passing. There were too many “Wang should just pay for it himself” people out there. My cousin called Wang an asshole for wanting public money after he was supposed to pay for it himself. I explained that he tried to and that the town prevented it. She said “Ohhhhh”. Without really understanding.

    With Brooklyn, Queens and Suffolk all expressing interest. That is three places for the team to land in the area BEFORE crossing a bridge or using a tunnel.

    But even if he were to want to sell, wouldn’t a team that is doing well put pressure on local politicians AND make the team more attractive in a sale. I thought Tavares would walk too, but then remembered he is RFA and the Isles will still have the right to match. , and I think they will.

    You say August 1 is the date. I think it is the entire 2011-2012 season. If the team can get to the next level and have a good showing, that can be the determining factor of what this team looks like come 2015.

    • Pat says:

      The best thing that could happen to the Islanders right now would be to get goood and get really good fast. This is probably the most important season in this franchises history. Make the playoffs and sit back and let the fighting begin. Wang will have more offers than he would know what to do with and most would be local. Queens, Brooklyn, Suffolk and even Nassau.

    • Jethro09 says:

      There are so many assholes out there who keep saying “he should pay for it himself”. My brother said the exact same thing. These are the misinformed idiots who don’t understand that Wang and the Isles are TENANTS of Nassau County. They don’t own the land the Coliseum sits on, they don’t own the Coliseum and they don’t own the development rights to the area encompassing and surrounding the Coliseum. None of these fools can grasp that Tenants don’t build their landlords buildings to rent from them.

  12. SCLI says:

    I believe if Charles Wang sits back and remains silent until 2015 he will be doing a terrible injustice to the die hard NY Islander fans who live and breath Islander hockey. Who are the ones who continue to by tickets and attend games. Also he will be committing business suicide. If he refrains from making any statements on a new arena for even the next couple of years. I really think you may as well cancel the final two seasons leading to the end of the Isle lease. NO ONE will attend a game if Wang remains silent. Either Wang makes a deal with Queens or Suffolk or he should be prepared to lose more money then he has ever dreamed of. Time to find a dance partner outside of Nassau and do it quickly. Or put the team up for sale. Dont purposely drag this along for Four more years. NO ONE deserves that kind of cruelty. I can understand if Wang has had enough but dont take it out on the fans. We have had enough also.

    • Bob E says:

      i wouldnt worry about fans being upset if he silent. The teams actions can speak volumes to fans.

      Let me know how isles fans feel if our Core starts to put up some wins.

      Forget overspending to get free agent. Win games Make playoffs. UFA will want to come next year. And Wang has plenty of Ammo to sign them.

  13. Double Chili says:

    Here’s a heavy hitter to contact. I sent my first email already. Let’s try a little Andy Dusfrene-strategy.

    http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.bd08ee7c7c1ffec87c4b36d501c789a0/index.jsp?doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fmail%2Fhtml%2Fmayor.html

  14. Bob E says:

    BD can you cant say no isles fans represented. they majority of those votes for referandum was all ISLES FANS for most part. How many of those votes could have been Union workers? cup of thousand.

    Seems you bummed, as am I. But reality is Wang is just a beaten Man, He is a victim of Corrupt Nassau county politics that has not changed for 30 years.

    I hope Nassau brass realize what is at stake her, b/c there are going to be alot of angry homeowners wondering why their taxes going up since they were so smart to say no.

    Lighthouse could have been scaled down enough to please Wang, kate Murray and co didnt have to insult the man.

    COuld you imagine if the vote was on the Lighthouse. I bet you that would have passed.

  15. Jethro09 says:

    Unfortunately, I agree with the tenor of this piece. I think the most damaging part of the referrendum is that it demonstrated that a vast majority of Nassau Residents don’t give a shit about the Islanders and could care less if they leave, especially if its going to take raising their property taxes even one cent to keep them in Nassau. The vote did speak volumes. In a vote specifically held on August 1 to ensure low turnout and rig the election for the best possible result for the outcome, the referrendum still got voted down big-time by the baby boomers and other misinformed and self-interested residents of the County.

    However, I do think that another venue outside Nassau County will step up with a proposal that will interest Wang enough to listen, and ultimately get Wang enough financial assurances to keep his team on geographical Long Island. I hate the idea of it, but Suffolk County could probably use a hub or destination themselves, preferably no further west than the Pilgrim State site. Willets Point IS going to be redeveloped. Having the Isles as an anchor tenant for a major arena could only make any redevelopment of that area more viable and lucrative.

    I just don’t see Wang moving the team off Long Island. He may sell it to someone who will, but he won’t do it himself. Hopefully, something with Suffolk or Queens gets worked out before Wang starts looking to sell. But above all else, I don’t want them to stay in Nassau County. I don’t want them to stay in a place where there not wanted.

    • Isles27 says:

      I have news for you this same plan would have been shot down by the people in Suffolk, no doubt in my mind.