The Lighthouse was quite possibly just a foolish dream. It was never clear where some of the funds would come from; Wang never stopped claiming that he had enough funds to build it even as time went on, Wang lost more money, and the economy grew worse.
But regardless of how much of an idealistic dream it may have been for Charles Wang, it required zero public funds. To Approve it, the County did not need to spend money. Which made the plan easily supportable for anyone who was a rational human being (not Kate Murray). The opposition was just plain silly or even stupid.
The current plan is different. It requires a clear amount of public spending and not an insignificant amount. This, from a county whose finances are bad enough that a State agency now runs its finances.
How the County got here is unimportant. Suffice to say, both parties are to blame for the county getting into a situation where things got precarious, and then some last action by the current administration put things over the top. The key however is that despite what some may claim, the county's finances are in disarray, and to prevent bankruptcy the state agency known as NIFA (Nassau Interim Finance Authority) has taken over county finances.
NOTE, NIFA's control is not complete - they CANNOT raise (or lower) taxes on their own. In essence, NIFA is an oversight board, which must approve any fiscal action. Think of them like the President - they have a veto, but they can't pass laws on their own. They can block plenty of things: Union wage increases, borrowing, etc. They can't actually add anything.
More importantly, NIFA is unelected. Certain individuals on NIFA may be members of political parties - at least one is a described "conservative" who even supported Mangano's candidacy, and at least one is a democrat - but none of them are politicians. They tend to be bank executives. They do NOT feel political pressure. As such, the "uproar of the public" will have much less effect on them than legitimate politicians...rather they will do what they feel is correct.
In this current climate, Mangano (with Wang's support) has proposed this plan. It requires a ton of public spending to come from somewhere. The word currently being used to explain where is "bonds," which is a fun way of saying: "we'll figure out how to pay for it later." (Bonds involve the county essentially getting loans in exchange for payment later).
The question of course, is HOW will the county pay for it. Remember, the funds will have to be paid back eventually by someone. And the County is hardly in a great financial position to do so. Mangano himself...has not explained how he expects the money to be paid back. To quote Newsday:
But he repeatedly suggested that the plan "is intended to not cost taxpayers a single dime."
However, pressed for details about the revenue-sharing agreement — and whether those figures would be available to the public before the August vote — Mangano said, "If it can be done, it will be."
Neither Mangano nor Wang was able to provide specific dollar figures regarding what county residents should expect back in return for the $400 million bonding approval.
This is not an uncommon thing for politicians, especially recently. They announce a plan that they claim makes total fiscal sense, spin tons of good press....and never get around to fixing the holes in the plan that make the whole thing nothing more than a mirage.
Now, perhaps Mangano does have a legitimate idea about where the money will come from (do remember, he's vigorously anti-Taxes).
But overall it CANNOT be said that there are not questions about this plan that need to be answered. And NIFA will need them answered to give approval. And so should the public, in answering this referendum.
Which gets me back to the point of this post. We, Islander Fans, need to remember that there IS more than one side to this argument. Do not confront the opponents of the plan with pure vitriol and slander; do not simply accuse them of partisan bias or hypocrisy. Engage them in dialogue instead...most of these people have the big picture of the county in mind, which is a good thing to have (especially if the Isles will remain there).
This is not an easy issue to talk about, unlike the Lighthouse. There IS a legitimate debate. We have to understand that.