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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

Mitchel Ideas Emerge

Friday, 16 March 2012 00:00
The 67-acre Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, one of Nassau’s lower-profile recreational sites, may soon be home to privately financed facilities which could draw crowds and generate tax revenue.

Two developers responded recently to the county’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for new construction on comparatively small parts of the Complex and the Mangano administration is reviewing both of them this month.  The county executive will choose one, and then ask the county Legislature to review, and then approve, the favored proposal. 


NY Mets’ 50 Years

Friday, 09 March 2012 00:00

The New York Mets were born in 1962, which means that, if they were a person rather than a baseball team, they would be fretting in 2012 about being old enough to join the AARP.

Alas, the Mets as an institution have bigger problems today than turning 50 as media accounts of the team’s financial problems continue to make headlines.


County Game Changer

Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano did not have the authority to terminate the county Assessment Review Commission’s (ARC) nine commissioners “in the absence of cause, prior to the expiration of their fixed statutory terms,” according to a unanimous decision rendered last week by the state’s highest court.

Yet only three of the nine now-former ARC commissioners remained as petitioners in the lawsuit against County Executive Mangano by the time the Court of Appeals ruled in the petitioners’ favor on the issue of wrongful termination, the decision indicates. The Court of Appeals agreed with Nassau County, however, when saying the petitioners had to pay their own legal bills, even though the petitioners wanted the county’s taxpayers to pay their attorneys’ fees, too. The ARC, an independent agency, is responsible for reviewing all applications for correction of assessment filed in Nassau County.


Uniondale Upgrade

Friday, 24 February 2012 00:00

The county-owned Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale is a 67-acre site used extensively by high school and college athletes. Yet few others, outside of their fans, have reason to visit this venue, which is located west of the Nassau Coliseum.

The Mangano administration wants the complex to become a ‘destination location’ and, with that goal in mind, is seeking a private-sector developer to build, and operate, an indoor facility at the complex, which could host “youth recreation, amateur sports, exhibitions and public events.”


Turf War Looms

Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00

A  primary election between Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn) could materialize this year, according to a story published last week in the Daily News.

One of the reasons for this potential showdown is that New York’s Congressional delegation must drop to 27 from the current 29 U.S. House Members. The U.S. House of Representatives consists of 435 Members, and the state-by-state seat allocation is made every decade after the U.S. Census report is released. The 2010 Census found that other parts of the country saw greater population growth than New York over the previous 10 years.

The Democrat-controlled state Assembly and the GOP-majority state Senate are charged with drawing the new Congressional District (CD) lines and conventional wisdom holds that one upstate CD and one downstate CD will be eliminated. The incumbents in those two CDs can either retire or seek re-election in a new CD that may have little in common with their old one.


Islanders’ Plan?

Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00

The New York Islanders will participate on Tuesday, Oct. 2 in the first-ever National Hockey League (NHL) game to be played at either Barclays Center or in Brooklyn. But it may not be the last.

“We love the idea of the Islanders playing a game here,” said Bob Sanna, executive vice president of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), and head of construction for Barclays Center. When our conversation about the upcoming Islanders-New Jersey Devils preseason game turned to Barclays Centers’ extraordinary access to mass transit, Sanna added, “Getting here is no more complicated than going to Madison Square Garden on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to see a Knicks game.”

Every LIRR train line, with the exception of the Port Washington branch, can deliver passengers directly to the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal station and Barclays Center is a short walk from there. Port Washington branch customers must first travel to Penn Station, and then take a 20-minute subway ride, to reach the venue.


CBS’s Island Buy

Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00

CBS Television Stations’ bid to acquire Melville-based WLNY-TV moved forward last week as the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) initial public comment period on the proposed transaction concluded with no one objecting to the deal.

First announced publicly in December 2011, CBS Television Stations has signed a definitive agreement to purchase for $55 million an independent television station founded by its seller, Michael Pascucci’s WLNY Holdings Inc., in the 1980s. Having derived its call letters from We Love New York, WLNY-TV is Channel 10 if you are a cable subscriber. Channel 55 is where you’ll locate WLNY-TV if your household has either a satellite provider or relies on over-the-air service.


Subway Stalemate

Friday, 27 January 2012 00:00

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) raised fares, cut service and imposed a new payroll tax on downstate New Yorkers between 2009 and 2011.

During those same three years, however, the tens of thousands of MTA New York City Transit workers represented by Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 each received a cumulative salary increase of 11 percent. The same arbitrator-approved contract which gave TWU-represented workers these pay hikes also reduced their health care premium contributions, thereby requiring the MTA to pay higher transit worker benefits, too.


Reviving the Hub

Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00

New York City’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza, one of Manhattan’s iconic buildings, was constructed during the Great Depression and opened in 1933.

I offer this history lesson in anticipation of the complaints that will be aimed at the Mangano administration as it revives this year its efforts to redevelop Nassau’s Hub, 77 county-owned acres upon which the faded Nassau Coliseum, and little else, sits. My point: extraordinary assets have been built during bleak economic times.

The voters made it clear in August 2011 that a new Coliseum, if one is to be built, will have to be privately financed. The referendum’s outcome—57 percent of the voters said they did not want county taxpayer monies used to build a new Nassau Coliseum—was a major setback for County Executive Ed Mangano and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, especially since the Islanders’ lease at the Coliseum expires in 2015. But there is still time to revitalize Nassau’s Hub, a centrally located, underutilized parcel, and a couple of governmental actions occurred in 2011 to move the development process along.


Pushing NY’s Luck

Friday, 13 January 2012 00:00

Governor Cuomo wants the nation’s largest convention center to be built near Aqueduct Racetrack, and announced last week during his ‘State of the State’ address that the Genting Organization, a Malaysian-based company, would provide the financing.

The pronouncement was inexplicably taken seriously in Albany even though the proposal is better-suited as source material for Really!?! With Seth [Meyers] & Amy [Poehler]. The segment used to air on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update sketch. The Aqueduct location is so terrible that even conventioneers unfamiliar with New York City would quickly realize they’d been scammed. Situated in South Ozone Park, Queens, the thoroughbred racing facility‘s adjoining acreage is endowed with a New Jersey Meadowlands-like charm. Indeed, East Rutherford, NJ, the official address of the godforsaken Meadowlands, also houses Xanadu, another epic, government-encouraged land use blunder.


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Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: