I apologize for being MIA the last few days. I was celebrating my beloved BU Terriers making the Frozen Four, and I've spent the last 2 days making arrangements to guarantee I can be down there to watch the games.
Due to recent developments, I have once again delayed Part III of our SEQR series. We will have something discussing the "So What?" of the environmental review process tomorrow. Without further ado, let's go right to our recent news:
After the feel-good testimony of many veterans this past Thursday, the truth became a bit more clear. Newsday has run an article in which some veterans criticize the agreement that will, apparently, remove the "Veterans Memorial" part of the name.
The comments section predictably filled up with phony outrage and half-baked logic. Seriously, everyone, spare me. The veterans group was offered a deal in which, in exchange for relinquishing the "Veterans Memorial" part of the Nassau Coliseum name, they received:
- $1 million over 20 years for upkeep of the Eisenhower Park Veterans Memorial
- Re-naming the street leading to the new Coliseum Veterans Memorial Way
- Free office and conference space in the Lighthouse for veterans groups
This is yet another example of a media that seems more concerned with stirring the pot than reporting the facts. I wish we would see more pieces goinng over project specifics, discussing the planned benefits, or hearing from supporters in the community that are not "just" Islanders fans. This is yet another attempt to throw up a smokescreen and distract from the real issues that we face and the Lighthouse seeks to address.
Also, we cannot forget the Lighthouse's role in this. I may think this is a non-issue, but many people who have spoken at the public meetings have made a very big deal about keeping the "Veterans Memorial" in the arena name. Did the Lighthouse need to pick this fight? Should they have given their opponents ammunition to demagogue this issue? There are many creative ways this could be solved, such as keeping the arena name as Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and having a sponsor pay for naming rights to the rink, therefore it could be "Company X Rink at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum." Just a thought.
(Blogger's Note: This name change would require a vote from the Nassau County Legislature)
The Media Criticizes Itself
As if that wasn't crazy enough - a post on Newsday's Final Score blog really takes the cake.
First of all, I think it is very important to understand the true financial health of the New York Islanders as a hockey team. Jim Baumbach is 100% correct to point out that if the team is truly in such dire straits they should open the books and let everybody see. Forbes reported that the Islanders lost about $9 million last year, and if Mr. Wang's statements are so radically different we should know the full story.
However, Mr. Baumbach then made a serious statement:
The new arena is a mere fraction of the project. Seriously, if you reach your opinion of whether this project is good for Long Island based solely on saving the Islanders, you're doing yourself, your neighbor and your home community a disservice. - Jim Baumbach
This is incredibly insulting to anybody who has taken the time to learn about this project. Once again, Lighthouse supporters are stereotyped as merely "Islanders fans" when it is simply not true. Those Islanders fans I speak with were attracted to the Lighthouse because it keeps our team here, but when you talk to them they discuss issues such as jobs, tax revenue, children leaving, and creating a destination for our Island. As I say all the time, I myself was attracted to the Lighthouse because it kept my beloved Islanders where they belong, but I became an advocate because of the non-hockey benefits this project brings.
The Lonely Goatherd
Meanwhile, Kate Murray was in the news today discussing the important issue of...goats. She is discussing the five dwarf goats the Norman J. Ley Nature Preserve in Merrick has recruited to "mow" the grass.
I wish the Supervisor was as willing to discuss the Lighthouse as she is matters like these and those tourism advertisements for the Town of Hempstead. As I posited in Occam's Lighthouse, this could simply be the most public and high-profile issue the Supervisor has discussed in her political career, and she would rather stick to safe subjects like, well...lawn-mowing goats.
I hope we, as voters, can open up a dialogue with the Town of Hempstead and make them understand that this is the biggest issue we have faced in a generation, and it deserves their honest attention and genuine statements. A government cannot avoid discussing any issue more controversial than cute animals.
On some level, it seems like all groups involved in the Lighthouse process have abdicated some form of their responsibility. At this point, it seems that we have two layers of government politicizing the Lighthouse in the hope of electoral wins in November, media coverage that seems far more concerned with stirring the pot than reporting the facts, and a development group that needs to do a better job of both informing the public and motivating the public to get more informed on the Lighthouse.
Also, I have to ask again about Lighthouse opponents. I have not heard any cogent arguments, only demagoguery and smokescreens about Charles Wang supposedly not caring about hockey or the capital offense of taking "Veterans Memorial" off the arena name. It is now clear that opponents of the Lighthouse do not have a solid intellectual footing, and they will attempt to throw up smokescreens like phony outrage on behalf of our brave veterans or the ridiculous assertion that a renovated arena is not as good rather than making cogent, reasoned arguments. We must be prepared for this.
I have said this many times, and I will say it again. This underscores the urgent need for all citizens to get informed on this project. Do independent research (or suggest independent research I can do if you don't have time), don't put blind faith in your elected leaders to know what they're doing, and don't get all your news or information from just one source. This is far too important a project to let it be decided by misinformation and innuendo.
Please share your thoughts in comments. Petition. Email Me.