Islanders Prepare To Rally For Vote

The August 1st vote is less than two weeks away and the Islanders have begun to hit the PR road hard in order to encourage Nassau County Residents to vote in favor of building a new Nassau Coliseum and keeping the only professional sports team on the Island for the next thirty years. Several commercials have hit your TV screens as well as many YouTube videos that are urging residents to vote yes.

The first commercial that I found was this one that can be found on YouTube as well, courtesy of user LBeach141

This commercial brings to light what some voters might be missing: this vote is not just about keeping the New York Islanders in their home building; it's about keeping the only major arena on Long Island where it belongs in order for all residents to enjoy it's multiple uses; it's about keeping businesses afloat that rely on the revenue that the Nassau Coliseum brings in from all of its events; it's about creating thousands of jobs to boost the economy and give young adults the opportunity to remain on Long Island once they leave home and get out on their own.

How many people who want to vote no realize that they lose the opportunity of taking their kids to the circus? They lose the opportunity for their children to attend a kids ice show? They lose the opportunity to create fun, fond memories that almost every resident has from that building from at some point in their life. For the fans, they know what they would be losing; their favorite hockey team that has become one of the foundations of Long Island's history.

The organization is approaching the 40-year mark and is one of the last teams in the NHL to have won four Stanley Cups in a row, making them one of the last dynasty's in hockey. You cannot escape talking about the Islanders of the 80's, the Cup run in the 90's that included the famous Easter Epic, the Shawn Bates penalty shot and Eric Cairns' point to the crowd when discussing the history of Long Island.

Younger fans, like myself, do not have the 80's to look back on and remember; we only have what is right in front of us: possibly the last chance to keep the Islanders tradition going forward into the future, to keep life on the Island the way it should be with an entertainment facility practically in our backyards.

Tyler Gildin, who made a video parodying Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" with a video called "Nassau (County) State of Mind" that had over 1-million hits, even made his own video promoting the August 1st vote:

Around the time that I found these videos, I read per the New York Islanders Vote Yes site that "Nassau County's Office of Legislative Budget Review has indicated findings show the net effect to taxpayers would only be $13.80 per average household each year or 26 cents per week. Those 26 cents each week would help save existing jobs and revenue streams as well as create new jobs and revenue streams."

Dee Karl of brought up a good point, that "the trick is the revenue sharing dollars have to be put towards to the property tax fund to do that. The County Executive has the right to use the money any way he wishes. Therefore if it is not used to reduce the tax burden, that is NOT Charles Wang’s fault or problem."

This is something that might be scaring a few voters as they approach the booth, but they should also keep this in mind as well

...from an article in Newsday by Randi F. Marshall and Robert Brodsky:

"Nassau County's economy could lose $243.4 million annually if the New York Islanders leave the region after the club's lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, according to a new report from the county's economic consultants."

Maybe now residents will understand how much the loss of the New York Islanders and the Nassau Coliseum will affect their every day lives.

Local Nassau County resident Dale Iannuzzi sent me a text message last night as he was at a Motley Crue and Poison concert at the Nassau Coliseum. Clearly it was a packed house, as I even drove passed the arena around 8:30 PM as I was leaving my summer class at NCC. Here is what he had to say during the show:

"I'm at the Coliseum for the Motley Crue/Poison concert and realized it's incredible that there is such a fight over the Coliseum, people opposed seem to fail to recognize what this place can do for people with a common interest in whatever is using the Coliseum at the time."

...he continued:

"You should hear these fans, its insane in here, Crue may just tear the roof off with the pyrotechnics they're using."

You have to wonder how many people inside that building, reliving fond memories of their past and enjoying some good music, plan on voting no and bringing about the possibility of losing that luxury in just a few years.

I know for a fact that Dale wasn't exaggerating. I've been to several shows at the Nassau Coliseum. My personal favorite was a Metallica/Godsmack show a few years ago. The show sold out in just a few hours and goes down as one of the best shows that I have ever seen. Not only because of the performance of those two bands, but because there was not one person in that building that wasn't enjoying themselves in their home arena, sharing a common interest, like Dale.

One of the next acts to make their way to the Coliseum is Blue Oyster Cult, a band that derives from Long Island and has played many sold out shows here over the course of their career. On July 27th at 4:00 PM, fans will have the chance to attend a free show by Blue Oyster Cult and get to hear from Islanders owner Charles Wang, County Executive Ed Mangano, Long Island Federation of Labor President John Durso and Building and Trades Council Chief Jim Castellane as well as several Islanders from past and current years, in an effort to rally for a win on August 1st.

The New York Islanders and many events that have been held at the Nassau Coliseum have made an imprint on almost every Nassau County resident in one way or another. Some in larger ways than others. But the fact of the matter is that if residents do not get out and vote yes, they risk throwing it all away.

Considering the role that building and that team has played in my life, I wouldn't change a thing.

-Rob McGowan


On a side note, check out my interview with Islanders goalie prospect Anders Nilsson on Islanders TV!

Follow me on Twitter!