Monday, May 25, 2009
Posted by Nick at Monday, May 25, 2009
(Blogger's Note: It is now 3 days since Joe Mondello crassly and rudely insulted a voter at the Kate Murray rally, and he has not yet apologized)
This is the start of Movement Week, where we hope to get a discussion going to both grow and better inform our group of concerned citizens. I am very happy to see that so many people are willing to stand up and fight for the Lighthouse to become a reality. Frankly, as I Tweeted previously, those who are not willing to stand up and fight for our team and our community deserve neither a team nor a community.
These posts are meant to be group brainstorming sessions, since I don't have all the answers here. Just like the opinion pieces, this works better when we have more comments - and I look forward to hearing everyone's point of view.
First - New Additions to the Sidebar
You may have noticed some changes to the right-hand sidebar of this site. I have now included a poll, with questions that will rotate every week. We've also added Kate Murray Campaign Central, which has all resources of her re-election campaign and a calendar of upcoming public events.
Finally, we have incorporated the idea of a visual progress graph that our friend 19 Isle in NJ 22 suggested a few months ago. You can see the upcoming steps that lead from where we are now (review of DGEIS) to where we want to be (shovels in the ground).
Back to Our Regularly-Scheduled Movement...
Anyway, let's get to it...The Lighthouse Project is unlike anything that Long Island has seen since Levittown, and it will re-shape the future of Long Island for decades to come. Even though the future of the New York Islanders created the idea, the Lighthouse Project will ultimately rise or fall based on its perceived value to the community.
However, there is one major danger to the Lighthouse Project that outweighs any entrenched "suburban" mentality or small-minded politician. This danger is something that we, as supporters, must identify and attempt to turn the tide.
Pure hockey fans.
Stay with me - I know this sounds a little odd. There are people who only support the Lighthouse because they are Islanders fans and the Lighthouse will keep their beloved team from leaving. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I'd be lying if I said that keeping the Islanders where they belong wasn't what first attracted me to the Lighthouse.
However, there is an issue - many people who just want the Islanders to stay are not reliable supporters of the Lighthouse specifically. Because their main driver is hockey, these specific people will support the Lighthouse, but they would be just as happy with another option that kept the Islanders in this area. Therefore, you see them whenever Chris Botta writes a negative piece on the Lighthouse arguing whether Queens, Brooklyn, or Suffolk County is the best place to relocate the franchise. Among many people, the perception has taken root that the Lighthouse is in fact dead in the water, and they are willing to move on to anything else that will keep the Islanders in the area.
This is the biggest danger facing the movement because solidarity is the most important thing we can have right now. If the decisionmakers see the pro-Lighthouse side as easily fractured and not as numerous as it may seem at first, they will be far less receptive to our message. It puts us behind the 8 ball in a way that we do not have to be.
What Must We Do?
I have often wondered how my business training translates into the land of politics. I've worked on marketing new and old ventures, and the dictum is the same: if someone does not want to be my customer, then fine, you just move on to someone who is willing. No harm, no foul.
To me, that does not apply in the same way to politics because those people still vote, and their votes will play a large role in the eventual decision for the Lighthouse.
Therefore, what must we do?
We must make the argument connect to them.
As prior Lighthouse supporters, the pure hockey fans are opening to supporting the project in a more sustained way. We must engage these voters, educate them on the overall process, and search for ways to connect the debate to their concerns about both their hockey team and their community.
There are many ways to do this, because Long Island is in serious trouble and falling behind the rest of the region economically. We must continue to engage these voters to learn their concerns and weave their potential points of support into the overall narrative.
Question to Ponder
Here's a good starting point for the comments section - how can we work toward making a connection with the pure hockey fans who are potential Lighthouse supporters but currently just want the Islanders to stay?