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Lessons from Brazil - UPDATED

Brazil is the soccer Mecca of the world, and homeland for Pele. They produce some of the most skillful, exciting players in the game today, and in many ways have defined how football is played. As such one may think Brazilians would want a football stadium on every corner, they would sacrifice life’s necessities to give their children, who play football barefoot on any unused space they find, cutting edge stadiums everywhere. But … “Brazil's social stresses are clear, say the protesters. Schools, hospitals – and bus services – are suffering as public funds are lavished on the preparations for next year's soccer World Cup …”

In the United States, Elmont in particular, citizens know political attacks on public schools, public transportation, small businesses and gerrymandering have caused significant economic, social and citizenship stresses on homeowners, business owners and students alike.

 Like the Brazilians, Elmont residents are feeling the squeeze of frivolity cloaked as jobs and political excess over substance.

Richard Debrosse of the Elmont Youth Soccer Club, an ardent proponent of the soccer stadium in Elmont say “… the stadium is privately funded… [therefore] it’s a no brainer”, but wait;

  • The land is state owned - taxpayer owned, and is essentially being “donated” to a private conglomerate from Saudi Arabia and Ireland by Albany politicians who either gerrymandered their way into office or is paving the road to Washington;
  • The infra-structure work on roads, highways, security, etc. required to accommodate the soccer project is funded with public dollars – your tax dollars.
  • The long term social, economic and citizenship costs are placed squarely on the shoulders of middle class home owners while foreign billionaires rake profits out of the already overburdened local economy in exchange for seasonal jobs selling hot dogs, directing traffic, and an occasional token high profile position to some “lucky” politically connected resident.
  • Then there are taxpayer funded tax abatements (eight to ten years of little or no tax to the private owners with the possibility of renewal) and other publically funded incentives from the State, Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead.

When critically considered, $400 million dollars is to these investors nothing more than the mad money carried in the secret compartment of a woman’s pocketbook in the event her date goes bad. The $400,000,000 is inconsequential when compared to the tax payer funded incentives already on the table (i.e. an almost 35 acre parcel of public land transfer to private, foreign billionaires). But wait there is more. Martins and Skelos, 2 senators who are part of the national Republican movement to gerrymander the Republican party into unaccountable perpetual political power say – “How about that massive political basketball thing I do for you every year – you like, no? Lots of food, music and hoopin-it-up!

seNators please! “You rip up our school grounds and use district staff to put on a show (political rally), then go to Albany and cap school funds needed to repair the damage and pay the staff. In addition you withdraw or threaten to withdraw the $100,000 grant Craig Johnson promised and Martins failed to deliver to the public library. seNators please! Most Elmont residents are not blinded because they are hoopin-it-up in sun.

petitionsLike the residents of Brazil, hundreds of Elmont residents are protesting the building of a soccer stadium for all the reasons the “Salad Protesters” in Brazil are resisting the expenditure of their public funds for the 2014 World Cup. Elmont residents are in favor of housing for young professionals, reopening of the five platform LIRR station at Belmont Park, independent redistricting, term limits for all politicians, sustainable economic development and jobs that do not require government subsidy like welfare to make ends meet.

This year Elmont Memorial High School graduated 99 percent of its’ students; 46 percent has advanced regents diplomas and 96 percent of them are off to college or trade schools.  Seasonal minimum wage jobs at a stadium do not reflect the aspirations of EMHS graduates and the parents who already pay a higher percentage of their real income in taxes and fees than residents who live less that 10 miles east and north of them.

To that end residents have signed hundreds of letters for Governor Cuomo and other elected and appointed state officials expressing their opposition to a proposed soccer stadium at the Belmont Park Property on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont.

UPDATE

Mr. Madera, you raise an important point about the $100,000 grant though your characterization is inconsistent with the facts as we at Elmont Online know them.

Early 2009 the library after designing, estimating and writing a grant for the Early Childhood Learning Room and a Young Adult Gaming Room filed for a grant with then State Senator Craig Johnson.  The Library subsequently received a letter confirming that the Library would receive the grant, and appropriate paper work was filed with DASNY and confirmation was noted in a communiqué on September 14, 2009.  Read More

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 July 2013 12:28 )  

Comments

 
0 # Tom Madera 2013-07-18 07:47
As reported in The LI Herald, the $100K grant that has reportedly been withdrawn from the Elmont Public Library is being re-directed to the Elmont School District. This critical FACT was apparently overlooked in your "Lessons From Brazil" editorial.
This oversight is curious given EOL's recent passionate support for the School District's budget and its emphasis on the value of quality education for the community's children. To re-direct the money from the Library, which has plenty of our tax dollars already set aside in its reserve fund, to the School District shows a common sense approach in these times of fiscal limitations which should be commended.
In responsible "journalism" it is important that the FACTS do not get drowned out in the ambient noise of political bias.
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0 # Editor 2013-07-18 12:40
FACTS are important. The article you reference is indeed void of many important FACTS. Our respective biases notwithstanding .
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+2 # royrambarran 2013-07-16 22:09
This minor league soccer stadium is a terrible idea. Sorry, but soccer won't make money there and the experts agree this plan makes no sense. We can do much better.
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