Three hours and two additional reads later, I’m even more mystified by the comments of my Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray today on the Newsday site. Read Jim Baumbach’s Q & bad A with Murray here.
I was in such a rush to get the word out on Baumbach’s article that I included just my brief take. Now that the Islanders’ morning skate is over, some follow-up thoughts…
1. From reading the article, you get the sense Supervisor Murray has no clue of any of the Lighthouse Project steps before it landed in her hands. She comes off like Donovan McNabb, unaware NFL games can end in ties.
With her showboating offer to work on the Coliseum now, does the Town Supervisor remember that Charles Wang and Scott Rechler won the rights to the project because Nassau County wanted their vision for a Smart Growth, mixed-use development? It was the County – even more than the developers themselves – who insisted that the simple refurbishing of the Coliseum was not what the region needed.
2. According to a source, the current estimate to “fix” the Coliseum and make it a major league arena is $400 million. After all the time and money Wang and Rechler have already put into this project, it’s tough to view Murray’s offer as anything except an insult.
3. The Town of Hempstead Supervisor says “We don’t even have the draft of the environmental impact statement yet.” Just a thought, but that may be because the developers can’t draft it until all of the scoping is completed by the various agencies and, you know, the Town of Hempstead.
4. Murray has this wonderful nugget to Baumbach: “As long as four years ago I had offered specifically to the developers to re-develop the Coliseum as a stand-alone project separate and apart from the Lighthouse Project itself.”
Really? Four years ago? Wang and Rechler were chosen as the developers by Nassau County (over three other groups, including one led by Fred Wilpon) less than two years ago. Scary stuff.
5. About those jabs at Gary Bettman, or as Kate Murray calls him, “that NHL guy.” Look, it’s one thing for a hockey blogger and hockey fans to gang up on the league commissioner. Even Bettman knows the drill.
But for the Town Supervisor of Hempstead to go out of her way to elbow the man who runs the league, that’s just not smart politics. Look up how much the Islanders annually fill the Town coffers, Supervisor. Look up how many residents have jobs at night because of the little hockey games here.
Bettman has a lot of say about where NHL franchises play. For all the hockey issues Islanders fans have with the league office, Bettman has been guiding the Islanders owner on the arena development issue since Wang purchased the franchise in April, 2000. With Kate Murray’s statements – not just about “that NHL guy” but more importantly her lack of any vision (or, it seems, understanding) for the project – ringing in his head, Bettman will continue to be a guiding force.
ETC: Freddy Meyer (hernia surgery) is off the IR and will be partnered with Chris Campoli tonight. Expect Bruno Gervais and Thomas Pock to sit this one out.
Scott Gordon on Kyle Okposo: “Hopefully for the weekend.”
In a good bit of hustle, Dan Martin of the Post got hold of Rick DiPietro at Iceworks yesterday. It was announced on November 1 that the goalie had surgery on Halloween and would be out 4-6 weeks. DiPietro has yet to resume skating. Looks like it could be closer to six weeks, if not more.