Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Politicians and the Lord's Own Hockey

Charles Wang owns the New York Islanders.

He also owns a good bit of the land surrounding the Nassau Coliseum and would like to build things on it: office space, residential units, shopping, and a nice new building for the Islanders to play some hockey.  His idea was to build a suburban destination for people, since that part of Hempstead is a hunk of nothing next to the highway.

Nassau County's then-executive, Tom Suozzi, liked the idea.  The fans loved it.  Of course Wang was behind it, as a way to generate revenue not tied to his hockey team, which (let's face it) currently sucks like an Oreck.  Kate Murray, mayor of Hempstead, however, hemmed and hawed and stalled.  One thing after another with this whole project: they insisted on all sorts of detailed reports, then refused to read them on the grounds that they were too complicated and the residents deserved a simple plan; they demanded environmental impact statements and then dragged their feet on vetting them; they ignored the many construction jobs, the larger tax ratables of new residents (and Hempstead sorely needs them) and new businesses (ditto).

This has been dragging on for longer than this lead-in; but all of a sudden check out this guy, senior councilman Anthony Santino:
Too much is at stake for the town to take a wait and see approach. Supervisor Murray and I intend to be proactive in the creation of a reasonable zoning plan that ensures that the Lighthouse gets built so that it spurs reasonable growth and development, expands the tax base, provides for construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities, and creates a new home for the New York Islanders.

(stick-tap to Chris Botta at Isles Point Blank)
If so very much is at stake, why has Hempstead taken a wait-and-NEVER-see approach for lo these three or more years?  Proactive?  You had a plan on the table with all the legwork done.  You're the ones who wanted it scaled back and back until there was essentially nothing but a retrofitted Nassau Coliseum.  NOW all of a sudden you want the tax base and construction jobs and long-term residents?  OH, and by the way, at the end of the sentence, yeah, why not let the Islanders stay?  Y'know, so the guy who OWNS THE TEAM might actually build all this crap for us on his own dime - which was what he WANTED TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I hate lying crapweasel politicians.  (Yes, probably a redundancy, but I am really irked right now.)  And Botta's got this clown pegged, right down to his red bulbous Pinocchio nose:
Essentially what Santino is doing is paving the way for Hempstead’s inevitable slashing of the project in June by two-thirds. The timing of Santino’s letter, after the recent double-dip of news of the Shinnecock Casino followed by the Islanders playing ball with the Mets, is not coincidental.
I really want my guys to stay put, but if they do go to Willets Point or something, Hempstead's only got Mayor Murray to blame.

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