March 24, 2009
We have been on top of the Lighthouse Project issues ad nauseum. Later this week, on Thursday, March 26, at 7pm at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, the Lighthouse Development Group will host a Community Outreach Education session.
This meeting will be open to the public and allow for questions about the project to be asked directly to Lighthouse staff and consultants.
Charles Wang and Scott Rechler will be available to discuss the project. Tom Suozzi and other government leaders will be on-hand. Our suggestion is to get there early, especially to get a good spot, or to sign up to speak.
Speaking of local government...
The Rabbit Hole
In talking to those inside Long Island politics this weekend, there is even more evidence that the issue between Kate Murray's Town of Hempstead and the Lighthouse Project is far bigger. It might be a tug of war between Nassau County Democrats and Republicans.
What many have been reluctant to mention through all of this on hockey team owned newspapers, team sites, blogs, message boards, and other avenues is the role of Nassau County Republican party head Joseph Mondello is in all of this.
While Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi, Democrat, has leaped onto the Lighthouse project vision publicly, the Republican party, much like Kate Murray, has been noticeably silent.
The only Republican voice has been Bob Barra, who was a former employee of the Isles. It is only on this tiny, minuscule level that any mention has really been made on the record.
Off the record, several have admitted backing the project. For it captures all the Republican tenants of business and capital that they are for in a general sense. But on the record...
One source said it best: "I called the Nassau GOP asking for their official position on the Lighthouse. They brushed me off but the woman I spoke to let slip 'I don't think we have one'."
And there you have it.
In the world of Long Island politics, which is all about "what can you do for me," the project might be sinking into the political quagmire of what LI Republicans are getting as part of the deal. Even stranger...
Seven of the nine Republican Legislators in Nassau County voted for the Lighthouse in 2006.
Source: "Kate Murray is known as (Joseph) Mondello's creature. You can be sure that that the reason she's not at meetings or publicly supporting the project is because she's been asked not to."
Meanwhile, concern has been made by several that this project is well-past the Town of Hempstead's abilities. Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony Santino was pressed on this very same issue. He denied it, citing the Roosevelt Raceway handling. Others have differed on opinion.
Source: "They made a mess out of many a project, including the Archstone condos in Westbury (evacuation due to mold)."
Others have cited that the ToH is currently under investigation for racketeering while under Murray's watch due to a lawsuit filed. It has been insinuated that the Town of Hempstead is rife with all sorts of conflicts of interest, nepotism and such.
Another source agreed: "The Lighthouse Project is stuck in the worst sort of politics: Long Island politics."
As Tom Suozzi presses even further on the Lighthouse Project, like on the WFAN, Murray's response has been mind-numbing.
Kate Murray: "The judge in a criminal trial having lunch with the prosecutor and not inviting the defense attorney."
Huh? So, now it is a trial? This statement of hers speaks volumes on the mechanics beneath the surface here. It is a battle. But not really of ideology. It is one of "what is in it for me" rather than "what is in it for us."
What needs to happen is pressure on the Nassau GOP, especially their own town meetings to ask them pointblank where they stand on it. Inviting Murray and the constant catcalling on her specifically is a giant lark.
It is far more than this. It is the entire Long Island political apparatus that is gumming the channels and has the Lighthouse Project voices even wondering about Queens again.
So, they can all call for Kate. But what it is really time for is the Nassau County Republican GOP to answer the call instead.