Regarding "Lease deal not done" [News, July 17], thank you for a clear picture of how the Aug. 1 referendum would authorize new debt and higher taxes for the homeowners of Nassau County. Stripping away the glitz: This comes down to politicians wanting to give away taxpayers' money for a profit-making business. The answer is clear: Vote no.
If the spirits of Adam Smith and Ayn Rand are conscious, deals like this have them spinning in their graves. Instead of a free market with many independent people competing for customers' bucks, this is a prepackaged, half-baked venture being presented to the voters (instead of to a prudent banker or stock issuer). Instead of an entrepreneur risking his own investment, this one would put the taxpayers at risk.
Nassau County, like the rest of the country, needs new ventures and new jobs. But this deal has the worst aspects of socialism and capitalism. There are many better uses for taxpayer money that would produce jobs and make the future brighter for all the county's residents.
In the 1980s the New York Jets left Queens for the Meadowlands. Everyone knows that story. What most people have forgotten is the absolute scramble by New York City officials in 2004 to get a new stadium built to bring the Jets back to New York. They failed.
What we have in Nassau County is a chance to learn from their mistakes. To succeed we have to realize that the Islanders will not play at the current Coliseum after 2015, and once they leave they are gone forever.
Several weeks ago, a group of Nassau County mayors, including myself, attended a meeting at the office of County Executive Edward Mangano. We were given a presentation by Mangano as well as a preview of public education materials on the proposed arena.
The numbers presented to the group made sense, and it was clear that he had a firm grip on the subject as he fielded our questions. He pointed out that this project is focused and scaled to succeed and avoids the overreach that has stalled prior attempts at development of the area.
In recent years Nassau, and indeed all of Long Island, has developed some bad habits. First, we study everything to death, and second, we don't accomplish very much. This is a forward-looking plan, one that should be supported by the public.
In these tough economic times, we need something to feel good about, something to look forward to and something to enhance Nassau County as we head into the future. This can be the first step.
Douglas G. Watson, Bayville
Editor's note: The writer is the mayor of the Village of Bayville.
No wonder some are in a hurry to hold the Aug. 1 vote allowing Nassau County to bond up to $400 million to support developer Charles Wang's new arena. Taxpayers will not know the real cost until weeks afterward, when the fine print of the lease becomes public.
How sad that taxpayers are continually asked to pay for new stadiums. Public dollars are being used as corporate welfare to subsidize a private-sector business. The only real beneficiaries of these expenditures are team owners and their players, who earn far more than the average fan.
Given the county's fiscal crisis, there are other services more worthy of investment. Professional sports are not an essential service and should not qualify for government subsidy.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
Would Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano go out and purchase a huge piece of equipment and not know all the details about it? I think not.
With so many of us trying to stay employed, this tax increase is the last thing the working people of Nassau County need. Hasn't Mangano heard we are still in a blistering recession?
On top of this misguided proposal, having an election in August that will cost the taxpayers $2.2 million is wasteful, when there are wage freezes and layoffs in the county government. Why can't the county wait until Election Day in November when everyone is aware of this referendum? What is the rush?
Edie Cunningham, Malverne