RESIDENTS AND NON-RESIDENTS ARE PITCHING INTwo tales of Aug. 1 referendum vote-rocking

If some people did not understand the wild and crazy passion of Islanders fans before, they should have a better understanding before the arena referendum hits one week from today. Islanders fans of all ages and from all locales, in the middle of the summer and with plenty of other things they could be doing, are donating their own time to rock the YES vote. There are hundreds of illustrations, as you can see by going on Facebook and Twitter. But here are a pair of different examples in which people, to coin a sports phrase, are “doing the little things.”

Robert Mallon is a vendor at Tri-County Flea Market in Levittown. In this economy, no one would blame Rob for putting all of his efforts and resources into his business. But not this Islanders fan.

Rob has made decals and T-shirts urging Nassau residents to vote YES on Aug. 1. He has signs all over his space. Rob is able to produce banners and shirts when his stand is open from Thursday to Sunday. He talks to customers and non-customers alike about the upcoming referendum. His booth has become an information kiosk for the vote. In the cause to keep the Islanders in Nassau County and develop the Colisuem property, Rob is a hero.

Then there are the former Long Islanders and life-long NYI fans trying to do their part.

Peter Figur is a successful middle-aged professional who moved out of the New York when his business transferred him. He now lives in Atlanta. Feeling like he had to do something, Peter – as many supporters outside of Nassau have done in recent weeks – has contacted every single registered voter in his Rolodex. With his permission, here is the letter Peter sent to his contacts:

“Hi:

“I need a favor.  I need for you to do two things.

“1) Vote YES for the Nassau Coliseum Arena Referendum on August 1st in Nassau County and 2) Spread the word – Forward this email to as many people that you know.

“Why am I asking you for help?  Because I care about the New York Islanders and the future of Long Island.

“I can’t vote….You can.

“As you all know the Nassau Coliseum is falling apart.  Without a new arena the Islanders will leave Long Island and quite possibly New York.  The Islanders have a long rich history and are embedded in the fabric of Long  Island.  Remember how proud we all were in the early eighties when they won four Stanley Cups.  Today, they have a very exciting and young team.  They had one of the best records in the second half of the season last year with one of the lowest payrolls in the league.  Imagine what they will be when they start investing more in the team.  Lord Stanley is on the verge of returning to where he belongs. Long Island needs to show their support and be proud again.

“But the arena is not all about hockey.  Think of all the concerts and events that have been there over the years.  Think how much better it can be.  Let’s make Nassau County a destination for Long Islanders to enjoy and to benefit from.  Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders, has been working for over a decade on this issue. He pushed the Lighthouse project for many years.  This was a multi-billion dollar project to build a new arena and develop the area around the Coliseum.  It would have brought thousands of construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs to Nassau County. With unemployment at an all-time high this would have been welcome news. The best part about the project is that Charles Wang was going to pay for it himself and it was going to cost the taxpayers ZERO dollars!  The issues were not about the cost of the project, just the zoning rights and increased traffic.  It failed due to politics and nothing else. Democrats vs Republicans. Does this sound familiar?

“Now Mr. Wang is working with Nassau County to build a new area.  It will cost the taxpayers a whopping $13.80 per year.  Any cost overruns will be paid by Charles Wang himself.  By the way, a study shows that if the Islanders leave Long Island and they have to close the Coliseum, it will COST the taxpayers $16 a year with higher taxes to make up the difference. Let’s see. Do something good for Long Island and pay $13.80 per year or don’t do anything and increase taxes $16 per year.  Seems like an easy decision. Building a new arena will keep thousands of jobs on Long Island and build a first class arena that will be able to attract large business conventions, other sporting events (e.g., NCAA final four), more concerts and also keep the Islanders on Long Island for 30 years.

“Please support the New York Islanders and make Long Island a better place. Spread the message to as many people as possible.

“Vote YES on August 1st!

“Thanks for your help.  I, as well as all Long Islanders, appreciate your help.”

Peter

Comments on this are welcomed.