The people have spoken. At least some of them.
For the moment at least Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s plan to build a new Nassau Coliseum and a minor league baseball park has gone down in flames. County residents voted 57 percent to 43 percent against the proposal that would have raised property taxes that are already the highest in the nation.
Mangano’s opponents say he wasted money to hold the ballot at a time when the county is teetering on the brink of financial collapse.
“Ed Mangano and the Republicans need to right their wrongs. If they had worked in a bipartisan manner and listened to reason, Nassau County taxpayers would not be on the hook today for $2 million,” said Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs.
Critics also took issue with his decision to hold the referendum on a Monday in the first week of August when many families are on vacation and the turnout was guaranteed to be poor.
At this point Mangano’s foes, including the Nassau County Democratic Party, appear to contradict themselves. Since the turnout was even lower than either side expected, only 154,549 people voted, it cannot be said that the referendum shows how county residents feel about the plan to rebuild the coliseum.
But all of that is history. Like most county residents we are waiting to see “Plan B.” Mangano has invited interested parties to submit privately-financed proposals to rebuild the 77-acre site as a sports and entertainment center.
We believe rebuilding the coliseum is critical to the future of Nassau County. We would also hate to see the Islanders relocate to Queens or Brooklyn. Spending has to be brought under control and taxes reduced but for the county not to have a plan to grow would be a major mistake.
In particular we are annoyed at the columnists and editorial writers who have been taking shots at the union role in all of this. If rebuilding the coliseum will create hundreds of union construction jobs, how is that not a good thing?
Like everyone else union workers have suffered from the economic troubles in Nassau County. Many of these laborers have been unemployed for months.
Certainly the Democratic Party does not want to be associated with the right-wing union bashers even while it revels in Mangano’s defeat.
For the sake of the future of Nassau County we hope both parties can set aside their differences and work together to find a way to rebuild the coliseum. The real Plan B will depend on their cooperation.
A Blank Slate Media Editorial