As someone who spent time in politics — it should be communicated to Charles Wang and the power brokers for the arena deal — if they think they can “sit on the sidelines” in a similar way that they did with the Lighthouse, they are going to lose big on August 1. If they believe they have this vote “in the bag” they are going to be crushed on August 1. If they think it will all work itself out and don’t need to work 24 hours a day from now until August 1, they are going to be looking for a new home in 2015 for sure.
And it is not just about August 1. It has to be about more then the people vote — which ultimately has little power. The purpose of August one is really to communicate to County Legislators that WE THE PEOPLE want this deal.
I will of course be voting to support the project. But, I am very concerned that Charles Wang and the Islanders are not taking the threat of the opposition of the arena deal very seriously. And when I see articles in the paper — where “…Charles Wang could not be reached for comment…” it becomes even more concerning. As with the Lighthouse Project, I can’t help but feel that his silence is a problem. If you allow your opponent all of the space, all of the time and all of the media resources as you stay quiet, then your opponent will define the argument. And that is exactly what is happening here — again. In the vacuum of information and details as well as the lack of push back from Wang, the opponents are making all of the news, all of the noise, and they are using the argument of a tax hike as a successful weapon to beat this deal big time!
The only solace is that the opposition decided to use a Friday to make their first big public push at LIRR stations. Reports are that they handed out fliers with a ‘Vote No” and an “X” through the Islander logo. I believe that was a mistake. Friday is “Take out the Trash” day. People are thinking about weekend plans on Fridays. Monday’s are the best days in my opinion because people reconnect with the news, and it can be a great opportunity for the proponents to make a stand on Monday, and try to control the news cycle for a few days. For a change, the Islanders and their proponents need to put “boots on the ground”
As a died in the wool Democrat, I am disappointed and frustrated by Jay Jacobs most recent remarks about the coming vote, and he is obviously rallying his caucus of legislators to vote NO when it comes to the legislature should the referendum pass. Much like the Suozzi years, the party on the “outside” is voting NO. During the last administration we saw Democrats in favor of the Lighthouse Project and Republicans against it. Typical.
As such, a strategy is needed. A plan to combat the powers trying to derail this project. To me, there is nothing better then a door-to-door effort. It is better then a TV campaign, and better then just handing out leaflets. It shows someone is taking the time to come to see you and knock on your door. People like to be asked for support and assistance. Therefore, the strategy is simple.
The Islanders should run a door-to-door campaign in districts that are represented by DEMOCRATS first and foremost.
The mission should be do two things.
1) The person knocking on the door needs to have a clear message of why this plan can help the County.
2) The voter should be asked if he/she/they will be voting and if they are supporting the plan.
If they are against the plan, it has to be noted. That person should NOT be part of the Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) effort. If the voter is planning on voting, and is identified as a supporter, that is someone who you need to push hard on to get them to the polls. Calls should be made reminding them to vote on July 31.
The idea here should be to get heaviest support for the deal in areas that are represented by the Democratic legislators. Therefore, if the vote on August 1 passes, it puts pressure on the legislators to vote for the plan breaking ranks with the caucus and pushing the supermajority through as needed. Ultimately the vote August 1 is the first hurdle, but the supermajority vote is equally critical, and fundamentally trumps the people’s vote should they vote in favor of the project.
Of course all of the districts within the County should be visited. But my thought process here is that support where there are Democratic legislators are poised to try and kill the project when the time comes to approve the vote with a supermajority, they will have to give much consideration to what will hopefully be overwhelming support within their districts for the bond to pass.
If there is any assumption that the opposition is weak, or disorganized, or just a handful of noisy people, the Islanders and its fans will lose, and lose big. The moment you underestimate you opponent, you will see yourself on the losing side of any battle. We can ask Tom Suozzi about that.
I am not a fan of this project from Ed Mangano & Co.. I want to be clear about that. I think its a crappy deal for all of us as citizens and taxpayers. The part that is most frustrating is that Charles Wang & Co. would have financed the Lighthouse without spending a single public dollar and Hempstead said no — in effect saying they would rather use taxpayer funds to build a new arena. That is the ultimate shame in this entire debacle. What is more troubling is that the vote is a tough sell. Opponents are correctly challenging the proposal as tax hike. In a time where people feel taxes are already too high, and where the County has been taken over by NIFA, it is an uphill battle to convince them to pay $58 more per year in taxes for a hockey team. Sure — to us — its worth it, because we love our Islanders. But to Joe and Jane Jones who have never been to a hockey game, they could care less.
There are great many questions and doubts I have about the deal. But at the same time, there are always going to be questions, and doubts. Nonetheless — the Islanders trump all politics for me. I want to see the team succeed, and I want to see a new arena done so the discussion on these blogs can be about hockey.
I urge all of us to spread the word. If nothing else, every Islander fan must take the 5 minutes out of his or her day to go to the polls to support this proposal or we risk losing the franchise.
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: A graphic designer who loves the game....and knows that age has slowed him down — but the passion is there. Islanders fan since the 70s, Dad, Husband and Coach of the Flying Tiger's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: http://twitter.com/FilamentDesigns