"The momentum has now officially shifted. The Lighthouse is going to get approved, at least enough of it to make the developers happy. I’ll tell you why. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be so many politicians and operatives here ... Everybody here today wants to be on the right side of history."
Chris Botta tweeted the last line of that quote from a (anonymous, of course) politician today, before he expanded on the notion in a later blog post, which included the rest of the quote above. But among the flow of tweets (damn, I hate that word) streaming from the Gov. David Paterson Lighthouse love-in today, that was the one that instantly stuck out.
Politics is a nasty little game that requires, at minimum, an internal moral bargain to use unseemly means to reach idealistic ends. So for those Long Island residents who have supported the Lighthouse Project all along, it comes with the recognition that -- should it be successful -- at some point a lot of politicians will appear out of the woodwork to be seen doing the "in" thing, to be "on the right side of history." Later, many will leverage the Lighthouse project's success for personal gain without ever having risked anything, much less contributed anything, to get it done.
That's the side effect of the imperfect way humans get giant, complex things accomplished.
Steering away from politics and focusing on the team (the point of this site, after all): Does the gravitational pull around the governor's very public support for the project -- including expediting things -- mean the Islanders will get their new home?Has the momentum indeed shifted? Does Kate Murray's very public turn mean she'll do whatever is necessary to see it through, or is she just wrapping up her re-election bid and protecting which "side of history" she's on?
As always, it's too soon to tell. But the gathering of heavy-hitters now publicly supporting the effort means there are a lot of political players who are suddenly much more likely to throw that heavy weight around to push it across the finish line. When the inevitable new obstacles and grandstanding opportunities arise, the developers and the Islanders now have more "leaders" to turn to who might make the right calls and twist the right arms in the interest of landing on the right side of history.
It's not pretty, but that's how it's done. I've long thought the odds favored this project happening -- and have said so in every forum where I've been asked by NHL fans just looking in -- but I also thought it would take heartache and things breaking just right to get there. That process is still playing out, a long way from the finish line, and I'm not declaring victory. But as with the Tavares landing in June, things are finally, slowly, looking up.
Occasional reminder for new visitors: Lighthouse Hockey is not affiliated with the Lighthouse Development Group's Lighthouse at Long Island redevelopment project for the Nassau Coliseum property, commonly referred to as the "Lighthouse Project." Lighthouses are just a cool icon for Long Island (and make a fine shoulder patch, I might add), so it fit when I had to pick an SBN blog name that did not include the team's actual moniker. I do like the idea of playing close-quarters street hockey in the top of a lighthouse, though -- but alas, I've never done so.