WANG SETS DEADLINE…DEAL'S FOE: JAY JACOBSABLI Muscles Up…Poll: Vote's Close…Tea Anyone?

The latest major developments in the Islanders-Nassau County arena saga with just eight days before the referedum:

1. The Lighthouse Project had its arch-enemy in Kate Murray. Who is the top rival of the 2011 deal between Charles Wang and Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano? New York State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, who appears prepared to do everything in his power to see this proposal squashed. It it doesn’t fail in the Aug. 1 referendum, Jacobs will focus his efforts on NIFA and the super-majority needed in the Nassau County Legislature. If all of the Republicans on the legislature approve the deal, Mangano and Wang need thumbs-up from two Democrats. Democratic Nassau County legislator Judy Jacobs carved up the deal on Saturday in an interview with News 12.

2. The Association For A Better Long Island, directed by Desmond Ryan and featuring powerful developers such as former Wang partner Scott Rechler, are launching an ad campaign this week against the deal for a new Coliseum.

3. A Newsday poll declares that Nassau residents want the Islanders to stay, but 51% are against using tax dollars to fund the project. An additional 12% of residents are undecided.

4. Charles Wang tells Newsday that if he does not get approvals and a shovel in the ground by June of 2012, it will be “the end of the road” in his efforts to develop the Coliseum property. That’s the major headline. Otherwise, his interview reads like re-printed quotes from 2005. Not his fault, but sad just the same that it’s taken this long.

5. James Dolan, the owner of Newsday, Cablevision, Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers, is appearing in an Islanders-funded ad urging Nassau residents to vote YES.

6. The Tea Party Republicans and other opponents with clout are beginning to talk a big game about fighting the Coliseum proposal hard. Whether they can get the large turnout to vote NO a week from Monday still remains to be seen.

What should you take from these latest news items?

Jay Jacobs and the Democratic Party are not going away. Jacobs will fight this to the end and he has plenty of power. Anyone waiting for (Democratic) Governor Andrew Cuomo to step up may be waiting a while.

(By the way, we’re still waiting for Republican Nassau presiding officer Peter Schmitt to retract his criticism of the deal. We’re still waiting for Kate Murray, who hasn’t said diddly since Wang and Mangano let her take a bow two months ago at the initial press conference, to say something about the deal.)

The Dolan TV spot for his friend and partner Wang, on the heels of support here for the Islanders from four Rangers, should mercifully end the waste-of-time, misinformed complaints about perceived agendas from MSG. Okay, it probably won’t, but it should.

The poll results are a positive for the Islanders. They should serve as a wakeup call. Also, just because 51% of 620 people polled say they don’t like the deal, it doesn’t mean they will all make the effort to vote against it.

Through some fault of their own, and in some cases no fault of their own, the Islanders are in a bit of hole with eight days to go. The referendum could be a little closer than it ever should have been.

The Islanders have some plans this week – more interviews, the parking lot rally – but will they be enough to make a significant impact?

The rally may not be at the most convenient time for some, but it is a crucial moment in this campaign. There will be plenty of media coverage. Political proponents and opponents will be hovering or will send staffers to monitor the proceedings. A low turnout at the rally would cause a thud that could reverberate at the worst possible time – five days before the vote. The standard thousand or two union guys yelling “Build it Now”! just doesn’t get it done.

One more time (but not one last time): Nassau County registered voters who care about the Islanders and about finally getting a new arena – do not want to take this vote for granted.

Comments welcomed.