Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wang danged if he does, danged if he doodles

(I have no idea what that headline means, but it was fun to write)
It's not surprising that 57 percent of Nassau County, New York voters rejected a proposal to publicly finance a new hockey arena and baseball stadium.
What's surprising is that 43 percent were in favor of sinking 400 million dollars in public money into a project that would have guaranteed the long-term future of the New York Islanders.
Either way, it's a blow for Islanders owner Charles Wang and a boost for hockey fans in Quebec City, where municipal and provincial government officials have already committed themselves to building a new arena at taxpayers expense, without going through a referendum or any other form of the pesky democratic process.
As an added bonus, Wang says he'll honor the Islanders' existing lease, which doesn't expire until 2015, giving Quebec plenty of time to build the arena required for a credible franchise pitch to the NHL.
The timing also provides a four year window for shoring up Montreal's crumbling infrastructure - not that Quebec City or the NHL care whether Montreal is falling apart, but Montrealers pay provincial taxes, too, and if we're going to get hosed for part of the cost of a new arena in Quebec City, it would be nice to have a functional bridge we can safely cross to get there.

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