I know this has been a long time coming, and it's my fault for that. A commenter named NYI Fan posted his objections to the Lighthouse on a thread last month, and I need to follow through on my promise to respond. You can read the full comments on that thread; I will respond point-by-point here.
FIRST - For Those With Draft on the Brain
I posted a Mock Draft over at Islanders Independent for anybody who would rather talk hockey at the moment.
Now, Allow Me to Retort...
If your car has a flat, you do not replace all of the surrounding parts to fix it, get real, the only jobs left after the construction will be a handful of tech jobs, burger flippers & vendors for the 2 arenas. - NYI FanWell, I'm in technology, so I don't know what to think about being grouped with "burger flippers" and "arena vendors," but let's look at this as written.
As I said within the comment itself, I believe Long Island's problems go far beyond a "flat tire," and in fact I believe Long Island and its only major sports franchise are both dealing with totaled cars. Out-of-control taxes, the skyrocketing cost of living, and the diaspora of natives, both young and old, have created a serious problem that calls for a bold and serious solution, such as the Lighthouse.
As for the jobs at the site - let's get real here. No project in human history has ever been forced to account for the exact jobs it will create on the site, and the Lighthouse will provide a wide range of opportunities. Service-sector jobs in retail and hospitality will provide jobs for lower-middle class Long Islanders who are hurting just as badly as the rest of us. The construction jobs will not last past construction, but let's not forget that construction is scheduled to last for 10 years, with possible future build-out of a mass transit/infrastructure solution. Incubators on the site for sports techology (and, it's my hope, other industries) could give birth to hundreds of new companies and thousands of new jobs, right here on Long Island.
LI is a suburb of NYC, you want a good paying job, you get an education then commute to the city, where the jobs are, that is how it is done in a metro area, you do not choke out existing residental areas in the namwe of progress!! - NYI FanThat was true a generation ago; it's not true now. As I mentioned in last week's Special Comment, the suburban ideal is changing, and Long Island has now been left lagging behind the rest of the region. I've ridden packed Metro-North and New Jersey Transit trains filled with reverse commuters because, in today's metro areas, jobs are available both in the city and outlying suburbs. Communities that embraced this are reaping the job and tax benefits that we on Long Island are squandering.
As for the rest of that point, please consult the Special Comment. I do not believe preserving some artificial idea of suburbia should be used as an automatic veto to stop any change of Long Island from where it currently is.
I was frustrated by the constant build up of AM & PM rush hour traffic that was caused by the local Parkway back-ups almost on a daily basis. - NYI FanWe're all frustrated by this, and I believe it comes from a lack of cohesive planning and an over-reliance on the suburban sprawl model. I went to school a block from the proposed Lighthouse site for 7 years (Kellenberg Memorial HS, grades 6-12), so I've been on those roads at rush hour and you don't need to sell me that there are problems. However, I don't believe traffic will improve if we ignore it. A project like the Lighthouse is a necessary vehicle for analyzing and refining a regional transportation plan, since frankly I don't think such a plan currently exists.
I believe that, as planned, the LH project will not be the end all-save all that is being preached by the Islander masses & I realize I might be in the minority as far as Isles fans go. - NYI FanI hope nobody is saying that, because I and everyone else reading this site don't believe the Lighthouse will be a cure-all. Approving it will not solve all Long Island's problems overnight, and I hope nobody is living under that illusion.
In the same vein, however, the fact that the Lighthouse will not solve every problem is not an argument against doing it. In fact, I think the simple fact that a bold project such as the Lighthouse will not solve Long Island's problems may be the strongest argument in favor of doing something. We are in a crisis, and we cannot afford to fall back on the same behaviors that got us into this situation. Ultimately, I hope it creates a new Can-Do Mentality and serves as a catalyst for more good decisions.
Whenever I have heard Charles Wang speak about traffic concerns, he speaks in vague generalities; his recent interview on [The Boomer Esiason Show] really did not give any real examples... - NYI FanI don't think that was the proper forum to discuss a detailed analysis of hundreds of intersections. The Lighthouse group posted the DGEIS online for anybody to read it; and public comments are coming up if you believe certain issues haven't been properly addressed.
I just hope if it is built, it is a scaled down model with a suitable solution for traffic congestion. - NYI FanWe can agree on at least part of this. I've said many times that the final project won't look exactly like the renderings, because nobody goes into a negotiation asking for the bare minimum he/she could live with.
As for the traffic congestion, the whole point of the DGEIS and public comments are to address concerns such as this. There will be some sort of mass transit for the site, and I think it was smart to de-couple that from the project at large. Once the project is approved there will be 10 years to get the transportation right before it is at full occupancy, and it removes the illusion that the Lighthouse could only succeed with that particular plan.
Personally, I think Long Island stands at a crossroads. We can decide to shed the image of Can't-Do NIMBYism and get something done, or we can continue to seek excuses on why we can't. Talking to opponents is a great place to start, because I don't think anybody out there wants Long Island to fail. Moreso, nobody wants the Lighthouse to be approved and then become a net negative to the community at large. I've come to the conclusion that the current suburban model is unsustainable, and there need to be amendments to that ideal while keeping the overall concept. As I said before, this is suburbia, but in the 21st Century we need to decide precisely how we will be suburbia.
Thank you, NYI Fan, for being honest and sharing your concerns here. You clearly thought about this for a long time and made a decision that works for you. I may try to convert you, but I have to respect that.
The Lighthouse will rise or fall based on its perceived benefit to the community, and we must all decide whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. NYI Fan and I have come to different conclusions after looking at the same set of facts, and there is nothing wrong with that. If we are going to pull together for the sake of Long Island's future, we can't let this whole debate devolve into petty name-calling and accusations. All Lighthouse opponents are not reactionary dinosaurs any more than all Lighthouse supporters are on the take from Charles Wang and Tom Suozzi.
Hopefully the public comments will address any of the serious issues that still remain on the project. In the meantime, anybody who needs more information should consult the DGEIS as posted on the Lighthouse site, email me, or talk to somebody from the Lighthouse. Get informed and make an educated argument for our home's future.
If any more Lighthouse opponents are lurking out there, let's hear from you and keep this debate on an honest, factual level.