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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/25/09

Act to keep the 'Islanders' team from leaving

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Message Mary MacElveen
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While I do not normally write of sports teams, in this case governments both at the Nassau County level and the Town of Hempstead should come a decision faster in order to keep the Islanders playing on Long Island.  They are after all, our team as we dream of another dynasty when this same team won four Stanley Cups in a row.  I was a witness to history when they did so and at that moment in time, everyone became an Islander fan.  I even had my picture taken while touching that Stanley Cup.  It will forever live on in my memories.


As I was reading Newsday’s coverage of Charles Wang’s plan to renovate not only the Nassau Coliseum and to build complex surrounding it, this has the potential of a localized stimulus package to an area that sorely needs it.  Believe me since I grew up in the Village of Hempstead and have lived in Uniondale.


The main word that both bodies of government should zero in on are jobs.  It is simply a no-brainer as Newsday reported this complex will provide, “75,000 construction and related jobs during building over 10 years; 19,000 permanent jobs” Think of all the jobs that can be sustained outside of this complex. This is exactly what our economy demands in order to grow and succeed and not foot-dragging by politicians.


With the economy in a tailspin our president, Barack Obama is fighting to reverse its downward spiral; instead of foot-dragging, local politicians should be acting as boldly as he. These are not normal times to be debating such projects as Newsday reported that the county has “120 days to approve it.” Long Islanders have heard of this plan for quite sometime and to delay any decision making process does not make sense.


When one hears this language coming from the county, if it does not approve of this complex, "the team can leave." Obviously, they are not fans and more importantly to allow such a team as the Islanders to leave Long Island when we need revenue, their statement of letting them leave simply is not an option.  Also it shows little respect for Islander fans who have remained faithful to them in both good times and in bad.  To these politicians, Islander fans are your constituents and you should be mindful of that in your next election bid.


I fully agree with Charles Wang as he stated, "I want this thing to proceed. We can talk and talk, but we've got to get off our butts. Let's get it done." To those in elected office, the time has come for you to actually get off your butts and to approve this plan for the Light House project. 


Besides being a die-hard Islander fan, I am a huge fan of infrastructure and communities where folks do not have to rely on their automobiles to get around.  These high-density communities are the wave of the future to help sever our ties with foreign oil.  Even on the video embedded within Newsday’s piece, Charles Wang even states, one can park their car and walk around in order to take advantage of what is available to them.  If that doesn’t sound like a new way of thinking and doing, I do not know what else is.


With housing on Long Island becoming harder to find, the bright spot in this planned complex is where it will consist of, "2,300 residential units: 460 units (20 percent) would be affordable; 115 units (5 percent) rentals, half for seniors and half for students" Is something to truly herald since many are fleeing Long Island.  My daughter who is a rabid Islander fan and who knows their stats down pat, I can see her living in this community.  Seriously, I can!


With many of our schools falling short budget-wise, the Uniondale school district will make out like a bandit as one reads it will receive an influx of “$25 million dollars” President Barack Obama has spoken of our ailing schools and what we need to do in order to bring our students into the 21st century and that school district will better prepare its students with those funds.  The superintendent of the Uniondale school district should apply pressure on these elected bodies along with school board members.


With Americans and Long Islanders to be specific being gun shy when it comes to any dollars being spent, Wang and his partner have already spent millions to get this project rolling.  These are private funds and not public.  But the tax revenue will become public funds to help sustain this community and its outer communities.


So, my challenge to the elected officials in both Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead, the time has come for you to shoot the puck through the goal so the Islanders can stay and thousands put back to work.  It is truly stimulative and that is exactly the medicine the doctor ordered for an ailing economy. 


On a lighter note, but equally important: To Mr. Wang, can you please, please bring back Ted Nolan as the Islander coach?  Just look at the teams performance this year.  Not a pretty picture.  We Islander fans do crave another visit from Lord Stanley.


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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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