Nassau Coliseum

July 26, 2011 Carlyle On The Green,  Charles Wang and Michael Picker, Sr. graced the Action Long Island Committee with their presence.

Mr. Wang is charming, witty and deadly serious.  He did not “ask” the assemblage of approximately 150 invited guests to vote “yes” on the August 1, $2.2 million special election for the $400 million bond referendum for the “New” Nassau Coliseum, he threatened them!

“There is no option…” Mr. Wang said.  Either the new Coliseum is built and the old one torn down or 1)  The old Coliseum will be torn down anyway, at a cost to the taxpayers of $10.5 million, and 2) the whole area will become blighted,  3) jobs will leave the area 4) and so will the Islanders, Wang’s favorite toy.

Do we want the Islanders to stay in Nassau County?  Well, Mr. Wang tells us the location is “perfect”.  I presume the population would also like it.  But why is the vote being held on August 1, at the taxpayer’s expense?  Most people don’t vote on August 1.  Many of them are on vacation, although in light of the dismal economy that the World is experiencing, maybe instead of vacation, they can vote to spend an extra $13.00, or $80.00, a year as promised, or as we all know more than likely two or three times the currently unknown cost will actually be.

Charles Wang threatened to pull the Islanders out of Nassau County if he does not get the “yes” vote.  If county voters are as passionate about it as he is, and say YES, he will reimburse the $2 million of the special election. If the referendum fails, then the voters foot the bill.

Am I the only one who sees a red flag waving?

Charles Wang originally proposed to invest over $4.3 billion of his own money to create “The Lighthouse Project”, a mixed-use economic zone, which would include a sports stadium for the Islanders and other professional sports,  a town center for entertainment and cultural events, a hotel, offices and convention center.

As one of Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans with a net worth estimated at around $870 million, ownership of the Islander’s Hockey Team with an eye on the NY Mets, owner of Computer Associates and numerous properties on Long Island’s North Shore…I should think Mr. Wang can build his OWN Coliseum with his OWN money and create many, many jobs for a hungry, unemployed and desperate population.  He COULD be a Hero.  OR he COULD be just another burden to the taxpayers.  Build the Coliseum for sure, but don’t ask the taxpayers to foot the bill.  Vote on it for sure, but not on August 1 at the taxpayers, many of whom will not be available or have not heard about it, expense.

The “New Coliseum” is not the Lighthouse Project, which had more merit, stood to make more money and cost the taxpayers less.  Public financing for a private, profit-making enterprise is shameful.

© 2011 Street Smarts Publishing, Inc.