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Local School Boards Host Pep Rally For Minor League Soccer Team … Community Underwhelmed!

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ELMONT NY - In what might be described as a pep rally, administrators and board members from the Elmont, Floral Park and Sewanhaka School districts, hosted a “forum” for the New York Cosmos at Sewanhaka High School’s auditorium on Tulip Avenue in Floral Park.  Laura Feroni, President of the Floral Park School District Board of Education, corrected the record by noting, "The Floral Park-Bellerose Board of Education has not endorsed the Cosmos Project ... we [the board] agreed to co-host the forum to get information out to the public."  Elmont School Board President, Michael Jaime, however, has publicly proclaimed his support for the New York Cosmos plan. 

Keen observers were puzzled by the choice of host venue for the “informational forum,” questioning why this meeting was held at Sewanhaka High School, and not somewhere closer to Belmont Park.  One attendee asked, “Why [are we meeting] so far away from the proposed stadium site?”  A gentleman who lives on Locustwood Avenue  said, “…there are venues closer … that would have permitted more of the residents who would live in the shadow, noise and other fallout from the proposed soccer stadium to attend.

tee shirt distributionRally attendees were greeted by Republican employees of the recently arrested Senator Skelos and his protégé, Senator Jack Martins.  The employees were collecting the names of attendees, and distributing green Cosmos tee shirts with catchy hash tags emblazoned on them.

The community has asked Empire State Development to reopen the Request for Proposal (RFP).  In light of Skelos’ arrest, in part for RFP corruption, and the close relationship between Martins, Skelos and the Cosmos (see images above), the community is now demanding (click here) that the United States Attorney investigate the relationships for wrongdoing.

The rally started around 7:20PM.  Michael Jaime and Laura Feroni (both Presidents of their respective boards of education), greeted the audience and moderated the meeting.  The well-orchestrated hour long presentation began with glitzy 2 minutes 12 seconds video of the proposed stadium.

q and aThe rest of the meeting centered on “three men at a table” George Ingram, who answered no questions; a representative from the development company that would design and build the proposed stadium; and Eric Stover, COO of The New York Cosmos. The representative from the developer’s office and Stover answered handwritten questions read aloud by Jaime and Feroni.  What follows is a representative sample of the most important questions, and (SOON TO BE AVAILABLE) an enhanced audio copy of the entire question and answer period recorded three rows from the front of the auditorium.

Q:  The record shows you (the Cosmos) have made political contributions to State Senator Jack Martins.  What is the total money contributed to State Senator Jack Martins?
A: No

Q :  Will you (the Cosmos) be filing for any Town/County Industrial Development Agency tax abatement programs as a part of this stadium proposal?
A:  We haven't crossed that bridge yet

Q:  Do you (the Cosmos) support allowing housing for young professionals to be built at the Belmont site?
A:  The RFP specifically prohibits housing and casinos

Q:  What financial investment into the Belmont LIRR station will you (the Cosmos) be making?
A:  Unclear

Q:  Your attendance record at Hofstra stadium has been poor.  How do you expect to fill a 25,000 seat stadium with such a poor track record?
A:  Build it and they will come

Town employeesAfter the hour long Q&A many in the audience were underwhelmed by the Cosmos' presentation, some even appeared frustrated.  Aside from the supporters of the plan, mostly employees, appointees, consultants and their families many who have ties to the Republican establishment, most in attendance left with more questions than they came in with.more intresting fellas

Many attendees asked:  Why was the sound system in this meeting so poorly configured?  The venue hosts the Sewanhaka District Wide Music Festival, without the audio problems that were evident at this meeting.

Other unanswered questions included, “What is the plan, if any, for pest control during construction of the proposed stadium?” and, “What is the anticipated tax impact to residents, schools, and libraries?”

On the question of financing, the New York Cosmos evaded the question on Industrial Development Agency money (our taxpayer dollars), noting that they have not come to that bridge as yet.

On the ever important subject of number and quality of jobs, it was noted that the flyer distributed by the Elmont Union Free School District on behalf of Senators Skelos and Martins and the New York Cosmos, was WRONG.  The flyer stated that "over 3000" jobs would be created by construction of the proposed New York Cosmos Stadium.  Now, however, that number has significantly DEREASED from over 3000 jobs to 2000 jobs.  The Cosmos are estimating 2000 jobs will be created, as follows: Approximately 800 direct jobs (including seasonal jobs), and the remaining 1200 employment opportunities would be “indirect jobs,” these are jobs that people currently hold, and most probably will continue employment with, whether the proposed stadium is built or not.  Indirect jobs, for example, are increases in UPS/FedEx deliveries, and additional delivery and catering services, etc.

With so many unanswered questions, a major political player facing corruption charges, and a community that overwhelmingly voted against this proposal, isn’t it time to reopen the RFP?  Give our community a chance to build something sustainable FOR our community. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 May 2015 17:49 )  

Comments

 
+4 # Alan Smithee 2015-08-18 18:33
How come you don't talk about Michaelle Solages taking campaign funds from Engel Burman, who have a competing bid on the property?

http://votesmart.org/candidate/campaign-finance/143116/michaelle-solages
Report to administrator
 
 
0 # Aubrey Phillips 2015-05-15 07:31
An alternate view:
www.liherald.com/stories/Cosmos-respond-to-residents-questions,67106?page=1&content_source=
Report to administrator
 

Comments are now closed for this entry

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Today, we are talking to people about sustainable economic development, because we think it's important to show support for key issues that affect our community - like places in the Elmont for young professionals to live, shop and be entertained; like keeping families closer together and rebuilding the economic and social pillars of the community.

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Latest Comments

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