Skip to comments.Nassau County, Long Island Voters Reject Proposal to Fix Coliseum (Islanders Owner 'Heartbroken")
Posted on 08/02/2011 8:45:41 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
UNIONDALE, N.Y. Nassau County voters, who pay among the highest local taxes in the nation, handily defeated a contentious proposal on Monday to spend $400 million to overhaul the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the outdated home of the New York Islanders hockey club.
With 82 percent of the ballots counted late Monday, the vote was about 57 percent to 43 percent against borrowing the money through a general obligation bond to pay for the plan, which also called for construction of a minor-league baseball park and convention space. The results marked an enormous defeat for Charles E. Wang, the owner of the Islanders, who had sought a new or refurbished arena for nearly a decade.
I have to tell you Im disappointed, and to put it very bluntly, Im heartbroken, Mr. Wang said. He said he would not discuss his next move.
Mr. Wang could sell or move the National Hockey League team, which began play in 1972, the year the Nassau Coliseum opened. Mr. Wang, who has owned the Islanders since 2001, had said construction would begin next June. The Islanders lease with the Coliseum expires in 2015. He said after the defeat, We will honor our lease.
Edward P. Mangano, the Nassau County executive, who supported the plan, said: Tonight is not an ending but a beginning. We will find a new path that brings people together a path that solves the problems and blockades for the redevelopment of this property.
On Monday evening, voters at the poll at California School in Uniondale, about a mile from the arena, fell into two camps: those who thought the project would benefit Long Island in the long run, and those who did not think the project was worth paying additional taxes.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Free lunches going to get harder and harder to find.
Don’t worry, I am sure Bob McDonnell and either the Norfolk or Virginia Beach mayor would love to go behind the voters’ backs buy you a new stadium here in Virginia that nobody will attend. All you have to do is launder them a few thousand dollars.
Long Islanders pay some of the heaviest property taxes in the nation. In fact, that was the main reason I had to leave.
When I discuss the situation with liberals I know, I always mention that, and they always seem a little shocked. They never think of the situation in those terms, that people actually have to sell their house, pick up, and leave the area totally because they have no other choice.
It’s very hard to find a house there with taxes less than 9K a year.
the place is a dump and tough to get too (little to nill mass transit)...what is happening recently though is groups (Jonas Bros/Katie Perry, etc) are finding it too expensive to play at Madison Square Garden in NYC (primarily because of the union, ha-ha) so they play in Jersey at the Izod arena then in Long Island at the coliseum and skip the garden...
i understand why the voted nixed the improvements but they could screw themselves if they are too short sighted...
We did the same here in Pittsburgh when funding for PNC Park and Heinz Field was on the ballot. Lost 60-40 in close to town, and went down by 4:1 and 5:1 in some of the outlying counties.
Did not matter. The politicians went and built them anyway.
We voted yesterday afternoon...there was quite a bit of activity for a single issue vote....I knew that this meant defeat...happily.
The owner of a business such as a professional team should provide the forum from the proceeds...........this will allow salaries to come down into the realm of reality. There is no earthly reason the taxpayers should provide multimillionaires with these forums......
I don’t know for certain, but I suspect NYC is looting a lot of Long Island’s taxes to support their million$/day habit of
payouts to welfare/lazy cases to keep their voting base paid off.
I bet LI could handily put out some cash if they spent the load they extort from taxpayers wisely.
I lived 3/4 of a mile away when the Coliseum was built, and we used to go inside the unfinished structure after the workers quit for the day.
My local sports arena is now Fenway Park, built in 1911, which will still be hosting Red Sox games after I’m gone.
The MOST amazing thing about these taxpayer-funded sports arenas is how they become “obsolete” or “outdated” before they’re even paid for. Not to mention the costs of demolition, and then sticking the taxpayers with a NEW new arena.
Good for the Nassau County voters! Maybe they will start wising up about all their other bad choices.
Translation: We put it in front of the voters and they made the "wrong" decision, so we will just ignore the will of the voters and go about it in a round about process that allows us to raise taxes and pay for it without needing voter approval.
“I would love to see the time when sports teams have to pay for their own stadiums rather than sticking the taxpayers with the bill. Maybe this recession will finally reduce the number of cities willing to stick their citizens with the bill so that the pro teams will no longer be able to play one city off against another.”
The Islanders owner put a FULLY PRIVATELY FUNDED approach on the table four years ago called the Lighthouse Project. The local politicians (Republican Kate Murray of the Town of Hempstead) refused to allow the project to go forward.
They insisted on a smaller approach that wouldn’t have been profitable to build - (these are NY Repubs remember!). The county decided to go with a bond issue that would have been FULLY PAID by the revenue streams in a REVENUE-STREAM SHARING arrangement. That was what the bond vote was about last night.
It is not fair to talk about the Islanders owner building with his own money when that was what he offered to do the first time!
The Islanders have been tenants for 40 years to a COUNTY-owned facility. That owner put very little back into the building over the 40 years and the building is in dis-repair.
Or do you believe a renter should pay for putting up a new house and then renting it from the owner? The owner needs to put some money in too!
I live in Connecticut now, and still get annoyed at all of the Whalers nostalgia that people have. I'm afraid that if the Islanders do move to Hartford I'll have to dump my loyalty. Especially if they re-brand them as the Whalers.
RE: I dont know for certain, but I suspect NYC is looting a lot of Long Islands taxes to support their million$/day habit of payouts to welfare/lazy cases to keep their voting base paid off.
Not many people know this — but there has been a lot of talk of Long Island (both Nassau and Suffolk )actually SECEDING from the state of New York to form another state in the Union.
There have been study groups form for this purpose for a few years now.
see here :
The last time one part of a state seceded from the rest, West Virginia separated from Virginia because it didn’t want to fight the Civil War. Now the debate over the secession of Long Island from New York revolves around an equally monumental event: the payroll tax recently levied to bail out the MTA (with an exemption for school districts, at the insistence of two Long Island state senators). What, that’s not good enough for you? Well, it’s broader than that. Long Island pays more to the state than it gets back. Still not convinced? Then let Suffolk County legislator Dan Losquadro frame the issue:
“I truly believe that the actions that have been taken by those in Albany on the part of Long Islanders are tyrannical,” he said in a statement. “I think we are at the point of revolt, we have gone past that ... Long Island needs to stand up and take whatever actions ... necessary to throw off those shackles of the tyrants up in New York State.”
At least one other legislator quoted by Newsday worried that all this secession talk could make Long Island’s politicians look like “whackos.” But an admittedly unscientific poll accompanying the story shows readers are 69.4 percent in favor of secession, though that could be the result of Losquadro voting all day.
More disappointingly, 88.4 percent would name the new state “Long Island.” Boring. Let us know in the comments if you can think of something better.
(MY COMMENT FOR THE HECK OF IT, If we can have the state of Rhode Island, why not the state of Long Island? The only problem I have with this is if you look at the map, Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn actually form ONE LONG ISLAND and the former two NYC burroaghs don’t plan to secede)
Oh they will never go back to such a politically incorrect name like Whalers, if anything get ready for the Hartford Sea Shepherds
Two new liberal senators... no thanks.
Your comment brought a friendly grin to my face. I quickly checked on what might be a burgeoning controversy even there. All hockey mad of course. As you will know it was 1995 when the franchise of the Nordiques went to Colorado. Colorado then won the Stanley Cup.
Not to bring politics into it, but sport often seems like ALL politics. The Mayor of Quebec City said they would go ahead and build a sport worthy arena and be darned to all (or whatever it is in French). A Mr Bettman of the NHL, told them to the effect, that anyone who builds and arena and expects the NHL to grace them with a franchise might be unlucky.
Meantime our new Conservative government is playing footsie. Wondering about the massive vote potential if they ante up some cash- or the rest of Canada howling blue murder at more pork for Quebec.
Still, back to the subject at hand. We could be seeing the end of an era. Lavish outlays of public monies for sport franchises. Who knows? Does Nassau herald the turning of the worm? LOL
Because it was not economically feasible to build a new arena solely for the team. The Lighthouse Project was a multi-use approach that would have subsidized the cost of the arena construction with other revenue streams.
There are not a lot of places on Long Island that make sense to build on. A few places over the border in Suffolk County maybe, and the Willets Point area near the new Mets stadium are still possibilities, but this location (next to Hofstra University and the old Rossevelt Field - where Lindbergh took off on his trans-Atlantic flight) is the most central for the team.
And by the way, the owner has spent MANY MILLIONS just on the impact studies over the years.
What really aggravates me are all the taxes and special fees you pay when you travel to another city which are earmarked for sports venues and other improvements in that city. In Phoenix and Kansas City, for instance, the special fees and taxes on rental cars and hotels are often more than the daily fee for renting the car. People who live there probably thought it would be great to have all this stuff that other people pay for. In tight money times it will further contribute to the decreae in tourist business. Don’t know how small businesses can afford to have their employees travel any more. Our AC went out in Houston and we were going to go for a hotel until we could get it replaced. I was totally shocked by the amount of special fees we were charged. Simply cannot afford to do it any more.
Do you remember the quarterhorse track?
Are the Devils moving to Brooklyn next year...maybe the Rangers will let the Islanders move to Brooklyn?
No, but I remember Roosevelt Raceway - I’ve been to see the trotters.
I’m not a sports person, so what I remember Nassau Col. for mostly is the exhibitions. We always went to the dog and cat shows.
An Isles move to a new venue near CitiField makes sense transit-wise. Nanny Bloomberg has a woody for developing Flushing, after all. OTOH, there ain’t no public money available, so it might be au revoir Isles.
I can't see the Rangers allowing that to happen.
Done. Right here in Columbus. Twice.
The Islanders paid the territorial indemnity fee to the Rangers in 1972, the Rangers don’t have any say on that anymore. Most Ranger fans were very supportive of this vote because they know how much the rivalry means locally, far more than with the Devils.
No way Hartford gets another shot. And certainly not before Hamilton and Quebec City.
The NHL can afford to rebuild the stadium.
The get more than enough income from the TV-Networks who get their share from the advertisers during NHL games.
Maybe the NHL has to lower player-salary expectations. Maybe the NHL and team owners have to lower their “take-home” revenue expectations. Maybe the NHL has to bargain for more revenue from the TV networks.
However, in terms of borrowing on the open market to rebuild the stadium, the NHL DOES have the revenue stream to pay for bonds for that effort themselves.
Of course what crony-capitalist enterprise would not prefer to get the taxpayers to pay for it instead?? And to that end they extort the funds they need from the taxpayers with political threats to move a team.
Not a single tax-payer sponsored sports stadium has produced the financial returns or revenue to the locality where it is sited in amounts that it was projected for it when the project was “sold” to the taxpayers.
What we need is an urban pact that quits paying the ransom on the threats to take a team away, until every sports stadium in service is 100% the result of the private enterprise of the profitable sports leagues.
Try reading the previous posts. The Islanders put a FULLY FUNDED PRIVATE APPROACH on the table and the local politicians rejected it. This was Plan B.
In the mid-60’s I remember going to Yonkers raceway on a Saturday night..50,000+ people in the place..
Yonkers is in Westchester County, Roosevelt Raceway was here. I believe The Hambletonian used to be raced at Roosevelt. I went there in the early 70’s once.
The Hambletonian used to we run at the DuQoin Fair grounds..It moved to the Meadowlands...It MUST be run on a one mile oval..
Corrupt politicians won’t let them. The Islanders owner tried but couldn’t get past the city government. Lemieux in Pittsburgh tried with the same result (fortunately Pittsburgh voters realized an arena is important to a city that wants to attract events).
Although I loath the Islanders team, I’m sorry for their fans. Hopefully they won’t move far. I understand Queens is already making overtures to the team.
You're not very familiar with the NHL's finances.
This is not the NFL.
Don’t know if they can veto it.
“You’re not very familiar with the NHL’s finances. This is not the NFL.”
It doesn’t matter. The NHL league and the NHL teams are “private enterprises”.
If they cannot afford, on their own, a capital plan in their business model, then they are not an economically viable enterprise to begin with.
That is their own responsibility, not the responsibility of government; not the responsibility of tax-payers.
Money earned through economically viable private enterprises should not be sucked out of the income from those enterprises - legally stolen with taxes by government, to make viable that which is not.
The money NOT spent on this fools errand is better spent WHERE EVER it lands by the free choice of individuals and businesses.
Show me where in my post I supported any use of taxpayer money to support the Islanders, the coliseum or the league.
“Show me where in my post I supported any use of taxpayer money to support the Islanders, the coliseum or the league.”
I never said nor claimed in any way that you did say those things.
I did however reiterate the many reasons that your belief that I lacked an understanding of the economic status of the NHL was irrelevant to the central question. It - the financial status of the NHL - does not matter.