Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Roundup - Editorials, Kate Murray's Helpline, and an Interesting Meeting

This will be a much shorter post than I'm used to, but I'm sure you guys are very tired of listening to my droning this week. This is probably a blessing in disguise, so let's get to it...

A "Shovel-Ready" Idea

Newsday has finally pulled the curtain away and revealed for its readership what a sham this stimulus plan really is. Today's editorial lays out clearly and concisely why the Town of Hempstead's offer to use stimulus money for the new Coliseum was a disingenuous ploy. President Obama would never allow the money to be spent in such a way, and Tom Suozzi has no more power to seek stimulus funds than does Kate Murray. It is an empty offer with no mechanism to back it up.

Newsday was a little late to this party, but better late than never. I'm concerned about tactics like this because they have such an influence on low-information voters who can't see the (huge) difference between stimulus funds for infrastructure (which has an economic multiplier effect) and for a sports arena (money pit). This last line is golden:

Murray's flier says the Coliseum is a "shovel ready" project. The only thing shovel ready right now is what the [Republicans] in Hempstead just dropped in this mailing. - Newsday Editorial

This is an important step in the right direction, but I hope that Newsday and the media at large can begin to devote more resources to investigative reporting. We deserve to know what's really going on, from all sides.

Crashy Crashy

While it is now up again, Kate Murray's propaganda site, Islanders Fans First, was down for a few hours last night due to excessive bandwidth usage. Very interesting...

Calling Baton Rouge Hempstead Town

I had to wait until I calmed down to a degree where I would not raise my voice, but today I finally called Kate Murray's Helpline [(516) 489-6000 for those who would like to do the same] to share my frustration and displeasure over the Supervisor's latest actions. I spoke to a very nice woman who appreciated the consideration, since many people have been jamming their lines with angry phone calls.

In a call that lasted 15 minutes, I shared the frustration and anger felt by myself and others who support the Lighthouse over the Supervisor's latest behavior. I heard the usual defenses, though by the end she seemed to swing around to my side when I kept saying (with citations) that the President and his Budget Office would never approve such a move since it would be politically calamitous. I also made it very clear (something that appeared to be news to the Town of Hempstead) that the repeated offers to decouple the Coliseum are seen by outside observers as a statement against the Lighthouse as a whole. I left her with one last quote, that I think applies to all of us: Though we will if we need to, nobody wants to take up pitchforks and storm the castle. We want leadership, and we want to know that this important project is getting a fair hearing at the Town level. If something needs to change, or if we are wasting our time, show the courtesy of telling us, don't make insulting web sites or demean voters' intelligence.

If anybody does call the Supervisor's help line, call armed with the facts. Do not blindly yell and scream, because it would give them too much opportunity to dismiss you. They responded to me because I understood the facts while still making my strong displeasure (I used words and phrases like "insulted," "[Kate Murray] must think we're stupid," "deliberate diversionary tactic," and others) known.

We must seek to hold our leaders accountable, while at the same time keeping the debate above board. We cannot give them an excuse to demonize or dismiss us.

An Interesting Meeting

I've said before that the Republican Party is not in lockstep opposition to the Lighthouse Project. In fact, high-level contacts have confirmed that the Party does not have an official position on the Lighthouse. That's what makes this even more interesting...

Tomorrow, April 4, from 12-4 PM, Republicans in the New York State Assembly are sponsoring a high-level roundtable discussion on sports and economic development to be held at Nassau Coliseum. The Lighthouse was described as the "800-pound gorilla in the room" by the official who invited me, so expect it to come up early and often. Michael Picker, President of the Lighthouse Development Group, is expected to be in attendance along with representatives from the worlds of sports and organized labor. The following politicians are confirmed to be in attendance:
  • Assemb. Bob Barra (R - Lynbrook) - a former Islanders employee turned politician who has come out forcefully in favor of the jobs and economic development the Lighthouse will provide
  • Assemb. Rob Walker (R - Hicksville)
  • Assemb. Tom Alfano (R - Franklin Square)
  • Assemb. Tom McKevitt (R - East Meadow)
  • Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R - Massapequa)

We may even learn more about the true stance of the Republican Party on the Lighthouse Project. They should be in favor of it, especially since the principles like private development and economic growth ostensibly fit right into Republican orthodoxy. However, you never know until there is an announcement.

Sadly, this event is not open to the public, but we have you covered:

I have prior commitments tomorrow, so I will not be able to attend. My friend Ken, who has been active in supporting the Lighthouse right alongside me, may be pinch-hitting for me and writing it up on this blog. If not, BD Gallof from Islanders Independent, Dee, the 7th Woman, and Doug at Isles Official's Outlook should be there covering the event. This should be an interesting one.

Please share your thoughts in comments. Petition. Email Me.


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