To The Editor: Re “Spitzer’s missteps are not confined to a
stairway” (Talking Point by David Stanke, April 27 –
Just because David Stanke is not
interested in how the names are listed at the 9/11
memorial at the World Trade Center does not mean
Mayor Bloomberg “has resolved the issue” with the
latest foolish governmental edict that yet again
ignores all that the people have made clear they
expect at the memorial. And what, by history,
Listing the names the same, by name alone, does
not make them all “equal” — it makes them all the
same. It might treat all equally but none equitably;
it cheats all of the meaning of their deaths and why
they need to be commemorated in the first place.
Extreme fanatical Islam hates individualism; it
is part of the reason they attacked America. So, in
response, we commemorate 9/11 by rejecting all of
the distinctions that pay tribute to the individuals
murdered on 9/11. Brilliant.
“Less is more,” the mayor said, regarding the
memorial, “especially when you are trying to
encourage people to think.” Not evidently, however,
when you are trying to encourage them to contribute
to building a 9/11 memorial at the W.T.C. site that
does not acknowledge 9/11. The fundraising campaign
for the memorial includes all that the memorial
Michael Burke Brother of F.D.N.Y. Capt. William F. Burke,
Jr., Eng. Co. 21, who was killed Sept. 11, 2001.
To The Editor: I am writing in response to Dave Stanke’s April
27 column, as well as to comments he has made
previously about the World Trade Center. I
completely agree with his characterization of the
failure of leadership at the W.T.C. under Pataki and
the lack of improvement so far under Spitzer. I
disagree with Dave’s positive assessment of
Bloomberg has taken the lead
on memorial fundraising, which has included time
away from his duties at City Hall to raise funds
elsewhere (most infamously after the tragic fire
that wiped out an entire family in the Bronx).
I find it ironic that the very same issue of
Downtown Express included an editorial praising
Bloomberg’s “congestion pricing” (April 27 – May 3,
“Congestion pricing: A breath of fresh air”) even as
he continues to push through an environmentally
irresponsible plan at the W.T.C., one that calls for
the reopening of the street grid to vehicular
traffic and a memorial that would require an obscene
amount of energy just to pump the water through the
Dave complains of the objections “special
interests” make, but what he actually seems opposed
to are those interests of special concern to 9/11
families; after all, the cultural plans he so
ardently champions are also a special interest. I
know that Dave, like many of us, has legitimate
grievances with the families and the callousness
they have often displayed in their actions toward
the Downtown community, but that does not mean that
all of their arguments are wrong.
This memorial robs the victims of the one thing
that hasn’t already been stolen from them: their
individual identities as human beings. Visitors will
be unable to distinguish from this list whether a
name given is that of a 27-year-old office worker
from Jersey City, a 68-year-old military officer
from Virginia or a 10-year-old embarking on a class
I know Dave cares passionately for this
community, but I believe that we deserve better than
the plans he champions. Perhaps more than anything,
we deserve a much better leader than Michael
The World Trade Center Memorial is being built to remember and honor the 2, 979 people who died in two terrorist attacks on our country. Unlike most memorials, it is being built on sacred ground, where the attacks actually occurred. Additionally, the memorial site is the final resting place of 1,151 human beings whose families received no bodily remains for a proper burial. Mayor Bloomberg’s memorial plan strips those who died of their essential human qualities and renders each individual nothing more than a place marker in a statistic.
We have launched this site because your voice is not being heard. For 500 million dollars--federal tax dollars, private donations and consumer-supported corporate donations--we deserve a memorial that is historically meaningful. We deserve a memorial that does not strip victims of all identity. A memorial in name only is no memorial at all
Hundreds of bones unearthed at Ground Zero since October extend the echo
During that same period, Mayor Bloomberg, by fiat, chose the memorial plan that
lists only the names of the dead, reducing the 9/11 victims to mere letters and
stripping them of any human condition connected to their memory.
Insisting that he will not tell us what to think, the mayor hurls his
elective office behind an iron-fisted effort to tell us what not to think.
Fear that some victims may evoke greater pity than others leads the mayor to
impose grief of a lowest common denominator. No one will be equipped with the
context that might enable them to learn from history and mourn any genuinely
distinct individual among 2,979 slaughtered innocents. Those whose skin and
bones were blasted over 16 acres are to be rendered indistinguishable.
Military and municipal employees are stripped of rank. The flight attendant who
fought to warn the world is left anonymous. That one in four New York dead
worked for one firm is withheld. Three 11-year-olds must eternally cry for
attention, hidden among thousands of adults. The despair of the Hanson family,
which lost a son and daughter-in-law who died along with their 2-year-old
toddler, is paved over. No artifacts, no mention of Sept. 11, 2001. No American
flag. No history. Just a visitor center that bisects and obstructs the view
millions will journey to see. And in its shadow, two pools in a city park.
The majority of 9/11 families and municipal unions, with members of the
memorial's board, long ago identified decorous means to display name, rank,
affiliation and age, in honor of the victims and as history dictates.
Americans did not fear the truth on 9/11. Bloomberg must give it to them now,
rather than insisting that the names be scattered like debris.
Gov. Spitzer recently retreated from his remarks on the need for a "public
discussion" on how the names should be listed. The governor must realize
what is at stake, and do what is best for the American people. It's not too late
for Bloomberg to do the same.
Gardner lost his brother Harvey Joseph Gardner 3rd on 9/11. Roy lost her
brother, FDNY Capt. Billy Burke. Gardner and Roy are the organizers of
February 21, 2007 Spitzer Makes Switch Official:
He Supports Freedom Tower
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced yesterday that he supported going ahead with
construction of the Freedom Tower at ground zero, making official his change of
mind about a project that he once called a white elephant.
Mr. Spitzer's remarks - made with no great enthusiasm - came at a news
conference downtown with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. Jon S.
Corzine of New Jersey. Despite the setting for his remarks, Mr. Spitzer said he
"would not be in the business of having a press conference every time a brick is
added to the foundation or a column goes up."
That was an apparent swipe at the public relations approach to ground zero under
his predecessor, Gov. George E. Pataki. Rebuilding has moved only in fits and
starts during the last several years, with most visible activity until recently
accompanied by news conferences and photo opportunities.
David M. Catalfamo, a spokesman for Mr. Pataki, responded later: "I'm not sure
if it was one too many or one too few press conferences. What I do know is that
today's announcement is a reaffirmation of the vision advanced by Governor
Pataki and a sign that the progress at the site will continue unabated."
The $3 billion Freedom Tower, the tallest and most symbolic of the five towers
in the plan, has been widely criticized for its size, expense and design, as
well as its failure to interest nongovernment tenants. Mr.
Spitzer was critical of it during his campaign for governor, and when he took
office he put the 1,776-foot building under review.
Last week, however, city, state, and Port Authority officials indicated that Mr.
Spitzer had changed his mind, encouraged by the improving real estate market and
apparent interest by some private investors in buying the Freedom Tower.
Yesterday, Mr. Spitzer said that while he had felt obligated to criticize
aspects of the project he disliked, it was time to move on.
"This should not be interpreted to mean that this is the project I would have
designed at its initiation," he added. "But where we are today, this is clearly
the best and the wisest alternative."
Like Mr. Spitzer, Mr. Corzine and Mr. Bloomberg appeared more relieved than
elated, a sign of how tumultuous the rebuilding effort has been since the Sept.
"Maybe we would have done it differently if you could roll it all the way back
to another day, but we live in the world we live in," Mr. Corzine said.
All three men deflected criticism of the tower's current design, saying it
struck a necessary balance between security and aesthetics.
"I've said to Ray Kelly, our police chief, 'Would you let your kids work in this
building?' " Mr. Bloomberg said; the Police Department had insisted on plan
revisions to make the tower safer. "That's the standard that we have to build
to. And he's looked me in the eye more than once and said, 'Yes.' "
After Mr. Bloomberg left for another event, Mr. Spitzer took more
questions and seemed to wade into the controversy over the arrangement of the
names of the dead at the 9/11 memorial. While the mayor, as chairman of the
memorial foundation, contends that the matter has been settled, some families of
the victims are not satisfied.
Mr. Spitzer said there was still room for discussion. "It is something that we
will try to work through at the right time and the right place and get to a
resolution that satisfies everybody," he said.
TIN-EARED MIKE AGAIN IS GRATING
ON HIS CITY
By STEVE DUNLEAVY
March 10, 2007 -- THERE are many things I don't understand. Some of
them, per haps with the assistance of a sturdy bar rail, I may start to
But should I live a thousand sober years, I'll never comprehend what
compelled Mayor Mike Bloomberg to go to Miami while eight children lay
dead from a Bronx fire.
His explanation: "I was down in Florida with the mayor of Florida [sic].
He is a great mayor on renewable-energy buildings, ecologically sound
buildings. In mass transit they've done some innovative things."
Please tell me you're kidding, Mike.
I'm reluctant to join a conga line of Bloomberg bashers. With the
exception of treating cops and firefighters like indentured servants, he
has put the city financially in pretty good shape.
But the Miami escape? Unbelievable. Could you imagine an Ed Koch or a
Rudy Giuliani getting on a plane when the city is crying?
"I had a responsibility," said the mayor. No truer words were ever
spoken. Only one thing, Mike. That responsibility was in The Bronx.
I know the rest of the city needs the mayor's attention. I know the city
has to plan for the future. I even know (because the mayor said so)
Hizzoner was also raising money for the World Trade Center memorial and
met with 9/11 families down in Florida.
But I also know that Mayor Mike's song of the South is so far out of
tune it makes fingers scraping on a blackboard sound like a symphony.
Bloomberg's a different kind of guy. I recall after being sworn in, he
didn't attend the first five funerals of 9/11 firefighters. Disgraceful,
but it was early and he had a lot to learn.
But five years has not attuned the mayor's tin ear to the cries of his