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Massapequa has positive outlook

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
By mid-day many of the voters who went to the polls at Massapequa High School were from all walks of life and diverse in their opinions. But the one thing they all had in common was that they voted in the affirmative to build a new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue.


Tom Waddell and his wife Alison, who are expecting their second child in September, headed to the polls with their young son Alexander. They plan to raise their family in Nassau County and hope the Islanders remain on Long Island for years to come so they can raise their children Islanders fans.

Tom Waddell and his wife Alison bring their son Alexander with them to the polls at Massapequa High School on August 1, 2011.
“We’re out here today being Islanders fans and being in support of Nassau County,” Tom Waddell said. “This is a good idea to come out and vote yes for the project and to move forward. I think it’s a good thing for Long Island and Nassau County, but also to keep the Islanders at home. It’s a beautiful day. I think people should come out and vote.”

While the first half of the day was sunny and warm, it started to rain and hail after 4 p.m., halting East Bound trains on the Long Island Rail Road. It is yet to be determined how the inclement weather will affect the remainder of the day at the polls.

Prior to the rain, the Waddell’s weren’t the only family who came to the polls together.

Kathy Voigt said she brings her nine-year-old daughter Marianne with her every time she votes because even though her daughter isn’t quite old enough to have her voice heard, Kathy feels it’s important to teach her daughter about the process.

“I came out to vote today because I think it’s important that people take a stand one way or the other,” Voigt said. “They (the community) should have some influence in what is going on. I chose to vote yes for the job factor. There is a lot of unemployment (in Nassau County). The project will bring revenue to the area and we’d like to keep the Islanders here.”

On August 1, 2011, Heather and Cole Schlesinger voted yes to bring jobs to Nassau County residents.
Heather Schlesinger, 54 and a mother of four sons, went to the polls with her 22-year-old son Cole. They both were voting to support those in the community who have gone without jobs for too long.

“I know a lot of people who don’t have kids in school anymore and I’m one of them,” Heather Schlesinger said. “I think it’s very important to support the community. I’ve lived here since I was five (years of age) and I think we need to bring revenue (to Nassau County).”

Schlesinger continued, “It’s important that we do this. It will add a lot of jobs. We shouldn’t just think about the taxes going up. You have to think about all the opportunities that are being created.”

This project is going to create more jobs, create some economic stimulation. It seems like the government is broken and everyone just wants it to stay status quo and keep raising the taxes, but giving us nothing in return. It’s time to do something. - Joseph Arceri
Joseph Arceri, a Massapequa resident, was one of the few who went to the polls alone, but wanted to make sure his voice was heard. Generally not a hockey fan, he believes the Coliseum holds a vital importance to the Nassau Community.

“It’s a sad case of affairs for Nassau County, with the highest tax rate in the country, to have a Coliseum that’s so old and pathetic,” Arceri said. “The building should be state-of-the-art. It should be something that we’re proud of.”

Arceri continued, “This project is going to create more jobs, create some economic stimulation. It seems like the government is broken and everyone just wants it to stay status quo and keep raising the taxes, but giving us nothing in return. It’s time to do something.”

Peter Cardone, a Rangers fan, voted yes to keep the Islanders-Rangers rivalry alive on August 1, 2011.
Even Rangers fans, like Massapequa resident Peter Cardone, showed up to vote yes.

“I’m a Rangers fan, but I do root for the Islanders,” Cardone said. “I’ve been to many games there (at Nassau Coliseum). Overall, I think it’s just going to be good for the whole atmosphere because if we lose a team on Long Island, the city is really going to be the only place we have to see a game. And of course, you always have to have a rivalry. Jets-Giants, Islanders-Rangers. You have to have it just for the spark.”

Whatever their reasoning, hockey fans, non-hockey fans, Islanders fans or not, Nassau came out to vote Monday. Now they just wait for the final count and hope that enough of their neighbors, friends and family showed up to keep the Islanders on Long Island as well as bring 4,500 jobs and millions of dollars of tax relief to Nassau County.
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