Monday, October 12, 2009

Remember the Perspective

UNIONDALE, NY - AUGUST 04:  Fans rally for sup...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

This week has largely been spent speculating about the next steps between the Lighthouse and the Town of Hempstead. Nobody within the Lighthouse, as I mentioned, would even confirm or deny that a meeting took place, and my friend BD Gallof spoke to sources who claim that Charles Wang and Kate Murray had a meeting this past Wednesday, one-on-one, and each side agreed to meet again in the future.

All sides have started to wonder where the Town and the Lighthouse stand on the issue, and many media outlets are giving voice to citizens on both sides of this debate. However, I believe some people are losing perspective, and I think it's a good time to bring that perspective back.

The Court of Public Opinion

I was deeply disappointed while watching Long Island Talks on News 12 a ew weeks ago, where the major topic of conversation was the Lighthouse Project. A pro-Lighthouse speaker was repeatedly challenged by the host, who did not seem to grasp some facts related to the project, while a citizen who stood against the project spoke against everything from the height of the buildings to....the 5-acre park (currently called Celebration Plaza) currently included in the plans. Let's forget for a second any discussion of how far we've fallen when a park is now a target of NIMBYism and stick with the main point here. At the end of the show, there were people, including myself, still waiting on the call-in queue, so the host decided to read out those people's names and their position on the project. Once that was over, the host closed with this gem:

"As you can tell, just like everywhere else when talking about this project, it's split about 50-50."

I nearly split my evening cup of tea across the room in utter disbelief of what I'd just heard. The callers were evenly split for that particular show, but the host failed to mention a key point:

The previous week, in advance of the re-zoning hearing, News 12 (aka, the network at which this host works) conducted an online poll on the Lighthouse. 71% of respondents were in favor.

Tracking the Support

I realize that the News 12 poll is not scientific, so let's get that out of the way before we continue our discussion. Instead, let's look at what we know from all the hearings:
Opponents, and their enablers in the commentariat, have continuously tried to dismiss the large levels of support. First we were naive, then we were paid dupes, then we were ringers from outside the Town of Hempstead....and yet, the support remains. This is the main thing to remember: The Lighthouse Project is more widely-supported than any large-scale building project in recent memory.

Don't get me wrong; this doesn't mean that the project should be rammed through without any mind toward environmental issues or anything else, but this should not be discounted, either. The majority of residents clearly want a deal done, and I think all sides would be better served by trying to answer the bell rather than returning to the tit-for-tat discussions that have taken place as recently as last week.

Bottom Line

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 26:  A fan who identifie...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

At the end of the day, we need to remember that the main issue is not the continued political game of chess between the Lighthouse, the Town of Hempstead, and Nassau County. The main issue is that the Lighthouse Project is the most widely-supported project in Long Island history, and ultimate political power (in theory) rests with the people. We need to be the ones who stand up and assert ourselves into this debate, and we must also share our views at the voting booth next month.

Question to Ponder

I'm hoping to do a little group brainstorming here, so I hope everyone who comments will (in addition to sharing whatever is on your mind) think about this question:

How can we, the people, best ensure that we are always at the center of the debate?

Please share your thoughts in comments. Petition. Email Me. Follow me on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

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10 comments:

  1. Alex (islanders1fan)October 12, 2009 at 11:58 PM

    To answer your question Nick... we need to rally, and keep reminding the politicians that THEY WORK FOR US! In a perfect government (and i understand that there is no such thing) once the people have overwhelmingly spoken in favor of something, it is the politicians duty to make sure it happens!

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  2. Nick...great work as usual. But, too little too late. With a one sided election around the corner, possibly even a republican win in the Nassau legislature, Isles fans childish overreaction to 4 games into a new season, and the absence of Lighthouse marketing at yesterdays game speaking volumes, I would say that the ship has sailed and we are now helpless to await the final inevitable outcome. Sad for the team and it's fans, sad for Long Island, and sad for the young people who will continue to be driven away from a dying 'suburb'. Hope I'm just a pessimist, but unfortunately what I see is a negative reality staring me in the face.

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  3. Alex (islanders1fan)October 13, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    anonymous! ... as long as someone is still willing to fight for what they believe is right... then it's never too late! Too many people believe in this just to let to go!

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  4. Anon - let's be honest with each other, since I don't write this site to BS you guys and you guys don't come here so I can BS you. We have not had a good few weeks, and anybody who has been paying attention has reason to be concerned. However, I also agree with Alex. Until there is a final decision, in either direction, we can't afford to let up.

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  5. Just remember what I said a few months ago about The Dip - things are never as good or as bad as they seem, and this could be a temporary bump in the road for all we know.

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  6. I actually think the last week and a half when things have been very quiet may be a good thing. I sincerely hope that there are productive meetings going on behind the scenes. The rhetoric had gotten too heated. This "quiet period" could allow the principals to take a step back, get some perspective, and do the real work that needs to be done. I hope that the next thing we hear is that a deal has been made.

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  7. Nick (and others), I hope you are correct. The problem I see is the lack of clear 'end-game'. It seems like there is no middle that either side is comfortable with. Charles can't do the 'compromise' that the Toen requires, the Town has no motivation or will to do the 'compromise' that Charles requires, and there is no neutral high profile mediator available. So, let's hope I am wrong. I so much want to be very very incorrect here! I will vote this issue and keep my voice alive, but....

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  8. http://www.longislandpress.com/2009/10/14/press-exclusive-plugged-is-pulled-on-lighthouse/

    What the hell is this?!?!

    Nick, tell me this isn't true!


    -Big Van Vader

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  9. I wish we could get a huge rally going on a weekend but I know its not practical because the politicians aren't working...:rolleyes:

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