As Election Day draws near and the New York Islanders move closer to permanently fleeing the Coliseum, Nassau voters should remember how County Executive Ed Mangano let the team slip through his hands. The same can’t be said for challenger Tom Suozzi.
Mangano’s Coliseum record
During Ed Mangano’s tenure, County residents saw their one time NHL dynasty Islanders ink a deal to play at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The Coliseum is the only home the Isles have ever known. That’s all over now. Thanks to ineffective leadership from the county executive’s office, the orange and blue will be gone from the Uniondale arena by the end of 2015 or even sooner. But wait. Coliseum woes don’t stop there.
Further sullying Mangano’s term in office, “more than 100” Nassau Coliseum employees have filed lawsuits alleging asbestos exposure. Then there is the Coliseum redevelopment issue. Remember when Mr. Mangano attempted to have taxpayers foot the bill to build a new rink by way of a public referendum? In the end, he eventually approved a deal funded by private money. Why didn’t he do that to begin with? Oh yeah, at the time, it wasn’t an election year.
In 2009, when Tom Suozzi was Nassau’s County Executive, he cemented a lease with Islanders owner Charles Wang that ultimately kept the team on Long Island until 2015. Without Suozzi, the Islanders probably would have left long ago. That sounds like someone who was willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.
According to a Newsday editorial published Aug. 24, 2013, “Newsday Endorses Suozzi in Nassau Primary,” “Suozzi has always promoted the idea of Nassau as a growing, changing and increasingly urban and multicultural region, and the county government as a tool to help create it.”
That includes trying to keep the Islanders from leaving the Coliseum. Can the same be said for Ed Mangano?
When it comes time for Nassau residents to vote next month, remember the Coliseum.