The New York Times

Fiscal Worries Fueled Defeat of Arena Plan
The New York Times

Like voters everywhere, the people of Nassau County had watched helplessly as Congress and the White House played poker over the nation’s debt limit, with a potential fiscal and economic catastrophe hanging in the balance.

Then, on Monday, they were given an opportunity to lash out, close to home, over something more comprehensible but not entirely dissimilar: the suggestion that their debt-ridden, overtaxed county should borrow and tax hundreds of millions of dollars more for a new arena for the once-proud New York Islanders hockey team.

By a wide margin, they said no. [57% vs 43%]

The spectacular defeat for the Islanders’ owner, Charles B. Wang, and his allies in county government was caused by an unlikely but broad coalition: Tea Party members and Democratic leaders, elderly residents already worried about the fate of Social Security and Medicare, parents of young children and powerful real estate developers.

In interviews on Tuesday across a dense slice of suburbia stretching from the 40-year-old coliseum in Uniondale to the county government complex in Mineola, voters still rattled by the federal showdown over the debt limit said they opposed the plan for a new arena. They explained that they were less concerned about the future of a faded hockey franchise than about paying their monthly bills.