New Islanders Arena Opposition Leader Jay Jacobs Gets Exposed by Mike Francesa

Daniel Friedman@DFriedmanNHLCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - JULY 16: Banners promoting the upcoming referendum for a new arena is seen prior to the New York Islanders Blue and White Game on July 16, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Before I say anything else, I'd like to be clear about one thing: I disagree with Mike Francesa just about 99.9999 percent of the time.

I don't like Francesa's often rude and obnoxious attitude towards callers, his tendency to keep repeating the first three words of a question just to get the other person to shut his mouth, or his know-it-all style.

That being said, when it comes to the topic of sports business and the relationship between our society, the economy, and professional sports, the man knows what he's talking about.  

He also knows how to tell a politician from a sports fan, forget an educated sports fan.

Jay Jacobs is a politician, and while I can't prove how big a sports fan he is or isn't (he does have Giants season tickets), Francesa was able to point out just how clueless Jacobs was about the world of professional sports.

Even better, Francesa was able to show just how little Jacobs knows about politics.

Jacobs, as well as his following, believes that there are ways to pay for this arena without having to charge taxpayers with the burden. He says that this is a private venture, and as such the new Coliseum should be a private investment.

All Mike had to do was mention the Lighthouse Project, and though it took some time for him to finally do just that, he found plenty of other ways to respond.

Francesa properly stated how Charles Wang has to repay the County once the arena is built and how the public will benefit from its construction, thus making it a worthwhile public investment.

He did agree with Jacobs' opinion that, as a general rule, sports facilities should be privately financed. But even the generally stubborn Francesa admitted that the current situation is different because there are time constraints and no other viable options.

Jay Jacobs reiterated that he wanted to keep the team here. Francesa told him that he's yet to present an attractive alternative for Wang to consider, and in fact, Jacobs would not and could not accomplish that feat by the time his interview was finished.

He also claimed that the public referendum was being "rigged." Larry Brooks of the New York Post said the same thing recently.

As pointed out by Francesa, and as I responded to Brooks on Twitter after he made that comment, it's actually impossible to rig a public election. How do you guarantee that your side turns up and that the other side doesn't?

This is a free election, anyone's allowed to vote and has the freedom to choose which side to take.

In perhaps his dumbest move, Jacobs tried to draw a parallel between the football Giants and the Islanders, suggesting that the Islanders charge PSL's (personal seat licenses) to season ticket holders, and then use those funds to generate the necessary funding for the new Coliseum. Francesa jumped on him almost immediately.

Jacobs, who is the lead dog for the opposition, doesn't have his facts straight.

It's the public opinion that's being "rigged" here, not the referendum. Jacobs and the Democrats are using this vote as a means to challenge the Republicans, hiding behind false motives and statistics. This isn't about Jacobs caring about Nassau County's residents and their well-being; this is about gaining political ground.

We saw the same thing with Kate Murray when she did everything in her power to shoot down the Lighthouse Project so that the arena would become a political matter, which it now has become with this August 1st vote.

Jacobs' claims that the new arena will cost more than Wang and the County are suggesting are groundless. He also failed to mention that the yearly $58 dollar cost per household assumes that "we don't sell one pretzel," as articulated by Wang later in the day. That number is a worst-case scenario, assuming that the arena doesn't generate a single dollar in revenue.

Even so, it's still irrelevant, because regardless of how much (or how little) revenue Wang gets from this new arena, he's still obligated to repay the County for this investment.  

Nassau County residents: I urge you not to get caught in this political nonsense. Not long ago, I wrote about how this vote should have nothing to do with politics, and how there's a deeper importance here.  

Yesterday, Charles Wang reinforced this idea, stating that "we need to stop thinking like Democrats and Republicans, and start thinking like Long Islanders." 

It couldn't have been said any more effectively.

This arena is crucial to the future of Nassau County, and if we want a better tomorrow, we have to invest in that tomorrow. It's not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. The project will create thousands of new jobs and generate revenue for the County.   

Don't you think that the historical stubbornness of NC residents regarding similar issues has played a role in the area's current economic situation? Maybe if we'd invested in our future then, things wouldn't have been nearly as bleak as they are now.

Wake up, Nassau County. It's your future, your call. But make that call for yourself, not for Jay Jacobs.

Comments are welcome.