25 May 2011
Tuesday was another small step in the long journey to get the Islanders a new arena. The Nassau County legislature held a public hearing on the proposed $400 million referendum for a new arena and minor league baseball stadium.
The day started off with union workers, business owners and leaders, and Islanders fans gathered on the steps in front of the legislature to rally in favor of the referendum, the creation of much needed jobs and keeping the Islanders on Long Island. Isles owner Charles Wang addressed the crowd along with isles great and color commentator Butch Goring, County Executive Ed Mangano, Isles GM Garth Snow, and other community and business leaders.
Dee Karl, aka Islanders 7th women, has some great coverage from today’s rally.
The rally ended and people filed into the legislature for the hearing on the referendum. In a last minute schedule change presiding Officer Peter Schmitt announced a vote on the controversial redistricting plan. The sudden change caused controversy and had democratic legislators crying foul over how it was handled. The debate over the redistricting plan pushed the hearing for the referendum back until 1:38 pm. The legislative meeting began around 10 am.
The amount of time that it took to get to the hearing over the arena referendum forced many people to leave, including Randi Marshall of Newsday.
Once the arena portion got underway it was the usual political dog and pony show. County Executive Ed Mangano gave his presentation to legislature and then the public had its’ say. Everyone who spoke was in favor of the arena referendum and supportive of Mangano’s plan overall. The only negative comment made was by Lisa Tyson of the Long Island Progressive coalition, who felt there was still not enough information to support the arena plan.
From the language at the hearing it’s not a matter of if the public will be allowed to vote on the referendum, it seems as though all the legislators were in favor of having the vote, but when the vote will take place.
The majority of the debate over the referendum vote was the timing in which it would presented to the public to vote on. The target date is August 1, but some legislators feel it would increase voter turnout and be more cost efficient to have it on November 8, aka Election Day. Another voter offered up primary day in September as another alternative option. Either way the unions and the Mangano administration are pushing hard for that August 1 date for the vote.
The Legislator will vote (finally) on the proposal for arena referendum next Tuesday, May 31 at 1 pm.
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