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Opinion

After Barclays sale, what happens to the Coliseum?

NYCB Live Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum

NYCB Live Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum Credit: ALL Island Aerial/Kevin P. Coughlin

Daily Point

Another spectacle at the Coliseum

The sale of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center to a Taiwanese businessman will not change anything at Nassau Coliseum and the Nassau Hub. For now. 

Friday’s sale doesn’t include the Coliseum, which will still be controlled by Onexim Sports and Entertainment, sources told The Point. And for now, Onexim’s Long Island efforts will still be led by Brett Yormark, who’s long been the public face of the Coliseum, and Onexim’s attempts to redevelop the Hub.

“He is going to continue to oversee that part of the business for the foreseeable future,” one source said.

But it’s clear that Yormark isn’t likely to remain at Onexim’s helm in the long term. In a letter Yormark sent to colleagues obtained by The Point, he indicated that he would leave the company after overseeing the transition. And a news release on the deal said Yormark would be announcing “his next career move” in the “coming weeks.”

It’s unclear who’s going to lead Onexim, and in particular, who’s going to manage the Coliseum and the Hub’s redevelopment for Onexim, after Yormark departs.

But Nassau County officials told The Point they met with Yormark earlier this week, were aware of the coming sale, and have been told that they’ll be connected with other Onexim executives who will oversee the management of the Coliseum in the future. 

One county official noted that Yormark’s “personal touch” was especially important during key negotiations and over the last several years of Coliseum management. 

“Will there be changes? Yes, but we’ve got a very deep team. Will we miss him? Yes. But will we continue? Absolutely,” the county official said.

County officials also noted that a clause in the Coliseum lease requires that any change in control of the Coliseum be approved by the county legislature if it occurs within five years of the newly amended lease’s adoption, which happened last year. That means that if Onexim wants to transfer the lease or sell its holdings over the next four years, the legislature would have to approve the change. 

As for the Hub, RXR Realty, which is Onexim’s partner on the Hub’s development, will still take the lead, sources said.

“This doesn’t change a thing,” one RXR source told The Point Friday, adding that the development would continue to proceed on schedule.

Meanwhile, New York Islanders fans can be assured that plans to have the team play half its home games at the Coliseum remain unchanged by the Barclays sale.

But, as one county official added: “Of course, the county would welcome even more games at the Coliseum.”

Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

A movement grows in Brooklyn

Activists with Brooklyn Indivisible groups have made something of a mecca out of Chuck Schumer’s Park Slope abode, regularly showing up to urge a sturdy spine from the Senate minority leader on multiple issues since Donald Trump’s election. 

They’re now also taking advantage of the fact that another top Democrat has a Brooklyn address: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

Members of Indivisible Nation BK and Empire State Indivisible marched from Jeffries’ office to Schumer’s building Thursday evening, to demand “bold leadership” from the two Democrats. 

This appears to be the first of the groups’ actions to explicitly link Schumer and Jeffries -- as the activists seek more support for a federal Green New Deal and impeachment of Trump, among other issues. 

Jeffries, for example, has not co-sponsored Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution, while other NY colleagues like Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Jerry Nadler, and Tom Suozzi have signed on. And in July he voted to table a Trump impeachment measure. 

“Mr. Jeffries supports, and is participating in, the House Judiciary Committee investigation, which includes an assessment as to whether the President committed High Crimes & Misdemeanors,” Jeffries spokesman Michael Hardaway wrote in a statement. 

Schumer, too, has supported Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s more cautious approach on impeachment, and has not cosponsored the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate. 

Both he and Jeffries have met with Indivisible Brooklynites, and Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro applauded ralliers for “elevating the climate crisis to the national dialogue.” Roefaro said Schumer supports the Green New Deal’s goals, and if Democrats won the Senate “he would make passing an ambitious climate bill a top priority.”

For three years, Democratic leaders and the protesters have performed a wary dance of nudging and listening in this fashion, a dance that’s likely to continue.

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Pulled down

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Final Point

Gas pains

The proposed natural gas pipeline under New York Harbor might have been blocked temporarily, but the campaign for and against it continues.

To recap: In May, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation rejected the application by Williams Transco to build the nearly $1 billion pipeline because of potential water quality violations, but dismissed it without prejudice, allowing the company to address the DEC’s concerns and resubmit the application.

In June, New Jersey officials issued a similar rejection while also allowing Williams to re-submit.

With those decisions looming, supporters and opponents have staged rallies in New York City and on Long Island to press their case. National Grid, which says it needs the additional supply and has declared a moratorium on new residential and commercial hookups, also has started a three-week radio ad campaign to let the pipeline move forward. 

In the meantime, the National Resources Defense Council, which has opposed the pipeline, hired Anzalone Liszt Grove Research to poll 500 likely 2020 general election voters in New York to gauge attitudes toward the pipeline.

By a nearly 5-to-1 margin (71 percent to 15 percent), respondents said New York State should prioritize the expansion of renewable energy over an expansion of the use of fossil fuels.

Those polled were evenly split on whether they had heard anything about the Williams pipeline. When given basic facts about the pipeline — its length, its route and the fact it would transport “fracked gas” — 47 percent said they opposed it while 33 percent supported it.

Then the respondents were asked to read short, reductionist statements supporting and opposing the pipeline. The statement in support said it would make America more energy independent and less reliant on foreign sources of energy, lower the cost of energy bills, save New York families money and create good-paying jobs. The statement in opposition said the pipeline would pollute the air and water, harm marine life and make us more reliant on the fossil fuels that drive climate change.

Given that information, opposition rose to 54 percent while support stayed relatively flat at 34 percent.

And, to ratchet up the pressure further, the poll asked whether respondents would view Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo more or less favorably if he approved the pipeline. The verdict: 45 percent less favorably, 22 percent more favorably, with one-third saying it would make no difference in their view of Cuomo.

All of this action came after the DEC’s public comment period closed on July 13, an end which also marked a beginning: Time to play politics.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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