Yesterday, Charles Wang and Tom Suozzi presented an update on the Lighthouse Project to the Nassau County Planning Commission. This is just a progress checkpoint, since the Planning Commission plays a role in the final approval - namely, the approval of sub-divisions (in other words, apartments will be in X location, convention center in Y location) on the Lighthouse site.
I was not in attendance because I was in Boston on a business trip. However, after reading the coverage, I can give you a few key observations:
Turnout Was Too Light
I have often cautioned against giving up the fight because Charles Wang and Kate Murray shook hands a week ago. Sadly, it seems that many people did not get the message, as pro-Lighthouse voters did not turn out in significant numbers for this meeting.
Progress Made on Process and Timeline
The meetings with the Town of Hempstead appear to have borne fruit for the Lighthouse. Both Charles Wang and Tom Suozzi discussed the "timeline" and the "process" that they worked out in meetings over the past week. This will go a long way toward approval as quickly as it can come.
For its part, the Planning Commission vowed to expedite its part of the approval process.
Strong Public Support
Only one voter, who accused Tom Suozzi and his "cronies" of conducting a land grab (How can he put a "land grab" on land he owns?), spoke out against the Lighthouse at this meeting. The previous inclinations of strong public support seem to be true.
However, that does not mean we can dismiss those who are anti-Lighthouse. We saw last week in Garden City that many people are not in favor of this, and while Greg Logan of Newsday derided the voter who spoke yesterday as a "heckler," there can be no doubt that many other voters like him exist.
Politicians Heavily Support the Lighthouse
Many politicians, including Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), made strong statements of support for the Lighthouse, as they have throughout the process. While they could have gone much faster at the start of the process, Nassau County's support can't be questioned.
A representative from Governor David Paterson's office was also present. Mr. Paterson recently came out strongly in favor of the Lighthouse.
To see more in-depth coverage from people who attended, check out the write-up (with video!) from BD Gallof at my other home in the blogosphere, Islanders Independent. Also, Greg Logan from Newsday attended and wrote not one, but two excellent pieces.
Until the shovels are in the ground, our work is not over. This is not the time to let up; it is the time to apply positive pressure for more progress in light of the recent good news.
I will be home tomorrow, and I will return to regular blogging schedule at that time.
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