2009 Bulletins | January through June
6/29/09 — Excalibur… Myths and fairy tales are enduring because they tell us things about human nature that stand the test of time. The sad spectacle of how some of the most powerful and wealthy men in the country haven’t been able to impose their will on Ground Zero, year after year, is reminiscent of the legend of the “Sword in the Stone.” That was the sword that Merlin the Magician buried in a rock, only to be removed by the rightful heir to the throne.
The reason it was such an effective way of finding the true successor was because all of the powerful men in the land felt entitled to it and took their turns trying to remove it, but it wouldn’t budge. So when a young man succeeded they found it hard to believe, but they couldn’t deny the future King Arthur’s authority, and that led to a Golden Age of chivalry.
The rightful heir to Twin Towers I is Twin Towers II. But in this case, the nobles think they can just camouflage the sword in the stone and build around it, instead of asking themselves if their lack of success in extracting it isn’t proof that their efforts are illegitimate.
Anyone who doubts the magic that would sweep our country and the world at the sight of those iconic tridents rising above Ground Zero has no imagination. Anyone who doesn’t doubt it, but doesn’t care has no heart. Anyone who thinks that the current plan could produce anything close to the inspiration of new Twin Towers has no sense.
But his solution, which would allow for a patchwork World Trade Center financed by cannibalizing the city’s other Port Authority obligations, is no solution at all. We believe that all the delay will be looked back on as a blessing in disguise, because, far from being incalculable, the cost of the delay is nothing compared with the exorbitant cost to our national honor of building the wrong project.
Just last week, in an interview on NY1, the man who personifies New York City, former Mayor Ed Koch, reiterated his belief that the Twin Towers should have been rebuilt on their footprints. In the “Twin Towers II” plan, shifting the position of the new Towers, while maintaining the precise offset of the originals would restore the skyline. At the same time, the lower buildings would act as a buffer, protecting the Towers from the sort of exposure that only twenty stories of concrete in the base of the “Freedom Tower” can overcome.
It is hard to believe that anyone truly thinks that the official plan rises to the level of “a bigger and better World Trade Center” — or that our enemies would read defiance in the motley development that would replace two of the boldest icons the world has ever seen. A lot of mistakes have been made, but politicians are our fellow citizens, not our adversaries, and we therefore assume those mistakes were honest mistakes.
Speaker Silver concluded with the words of Gov. Rockefeller: “America is not just a power, it is a promise. It is not enough for our country to be extraordinary in might. It must be exemplary in meaning.” Now more than ever, we can’t afford to raise mere buildings at Ground Zero when shining, new Twin Towers would raise our spirits and our confidence in the future as they rise.
The rebirth of the Twin Towers would encourage us and bring us together as no mere real estate development ever could. And it would show villains everywhere that they will never gain a permanent advantage over us — because Americans are united in the ways that matter and will rise above our blunders and wrong choices.
6/24/09 — Desperados… Officials are in desperation mode. The logic behind what they are blindly trying to do is unsustainable. The only strategy those with megabucks and zero ideas have is to keep the public in the dark about the option to adopt a far more appropriate, feasible, rewarding, and popular plan. How do they think that can succeed? That’s like banishing Cinderella to the cellar so her stepsisters can try to jam their feet into the glass slipper. It won’t work.
Even at this point, the economy of new Twin Towers eclipses what the official plan (whatever that is) can offer and pays for the transition. The fact that anyone is considering scrapping the two towers of any distinction in the current plan, while going full-steam ahead with the funereal windowless wonder shows how out of touch officials are.
People are starting to wake up to the fact that it is still in our power to build a World Trade Center worthy of the price this country paid on 9/11. The momentum is all on the side of reason and respect.
6/20/09 — How Tweet It Is… The Twin Towers Alliance is Twittering. From now on, we will post a notice on Twitter when there is a new bulletin. The timing for using the Twitter platform is ideal, because there is so much going on now that needs to be disseminated. For that reason, our future press releases will be distributed through PR Newswire.
The political tectonic shifts that are taking place have put the future of the site front and center. As Mayor Bloomberg, Sheldon Silver, and Larry Silverstein square off against the Port Authority and the two Governors, it is becoming clear how ill-conceived the current project is. But it always has been, so why they are so surprised now is a mystery.
Meanwhile, Ljubica Djemant, a supporter in Yugoslavia, sent a message to info@WTC2011.com yesterday that reminds us how this looks from a distance:
People for whom English is a second language have a unique perspective on the meaning of the words they use. It would be hard to find a more perfect word to describe the current project than “derision.” This message is a reminder of how useless the constant references to the “iconic” towers that are planned really are — as if icons can be manufactured — as if we don’t have eyes in our heads.
An act of war destroyed two of the world’s most famous icons and murdered thousands of innocent people. The only self-respecting response is to replace them — better than ever — and heal our world. Otherwise, the proposed so-called icons will become permanent eyesores and nothing can ever change that.
6/17/09 — The Politics of Getting it Right…The Joint Statement of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is ample proof that the deadlock at Ground Zero is profound. If politicians with all the power of Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Silver couldn’t make headway, that is a sure barometer of how broken the project is. They would never have gone out on a limb and set deadllines unless they were confident of getting results. The Summit could have been convened without any ultimatums if they had doubts. Thier promise to “continue to work with all the parties to fulfill our collective obligation to rebuild the site” only holds the keys to success if those concerned decide to finally work with all parties — even the lowly citizens and taxpayers — and when they finally recognize that they do have a collective obligation to rebuild — not completely reimagine — the site.
The Port Authority is being responsible in cautiously committing public funds to the project. If the opinion we linked to below, challenging the legality of the Port Authority’s investment in the Silverstein Towers, is well-founded, then there may well be a legal challenge even to PA investment in Tower 4. But there are a number of pragmatic ways to finance the Twin Towers II World Trade Center. It is completely inappropriate to limit the future of such a defining national effort to what New York and New Jersey can afford. This is a matter for all Americans. New Twin Towers would win the public’s vote of confidence and support in a very big way, while there never has been and never will be any support for the current project. Twin Towers II is the responsible and prudent course of action — and it raises people’s spirits as nothing else could. In other words, it’s a winner. As the political season heats up, that will stand out.
6/16/09 — Our Hero… It would be hard to imagine events taking a better turn than they have since Mayor Bloomberg decided to settle the matter. The deadlines that keep coming and going are eloquent proof of the breakdown at the site. Larry Silverstein insists that “failure is not an option” — but one would have to be delusional not to see how likely that option is. To make things even more interesting, an attorney, in a well-reasoned op-ed, called into question the legality of the Port Authority investment of public money in private buildings. If they reach an agreement to go ahead with the three Silverstein towers a challenge is likely that could even extend to Tower 4 — the one that is not in dispute.
But the real game changer is that official misconduct is no longer a matter of past dereliction of duty. Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Paterson, Gov. Corzine, and Sheldon Silver all took an oath to faithfully discharge their duties to the best of their abilities. The requests to make a presentation have been substantial and respectful. It defies reason to refuse to even consider an option that offers such an elegant solution to the myriad problems that exist at the site. We are quite sure they will find that they are overstepping their legitimate authority. If they can refute the Twin Towers II claims that the plan would save billions of dollars and years of effort, now is the time to present their case against it. But no case is possible, because the assertions are true. To ignore them, particularly in the face of the stalled negotiations isn’t just ludicrous — it’s malfeasance.
A call to the Mayor’s office today revealed the surprising information that our 5/29/09 letter is still being considered. We will follow up at the end of the week. What is certain is that if they refuse to even consider the tremendous possibilities presented by Twin Towers II, they are going to be in a very uncomfortable position come September 12th, when we let the cat out of the bag. Because we are going to spend the summer preparing a stunning multimedia presentation that will make what they are attempting to force down the public’s throat completely indefensible. We are absolutely certain of that.
6/7/09 — What Are They Afraid Of…?We have a number of initiatives ready to roll, once the WTC Summiteers release their decision on June 11th. We are relieved that we held off on publishing the material we will take down to Washington — now it will have maximum effectiveness.
6/4/09 — The Stimulus America Deserves…There are a number of really great YouTube videos dedicated to rebuilding the Twin Towers. We haven’t been methodical about finding and watching them, but hope to gather the best of them soon onto the Twin Towers Alliance YouTube channel. Until we do, we want to recommend one that perfectly captures the spirit of what this struggle is all about. It is very moving and very encouraging that there are individuals out there who care so much and are using their heads and their hearts to help. There are a number that a very well done, so we don’t want to single out any others, and risk overlooking some that are just as good. But this one is in a class of its own.
6/3/09 — One Big, Happy Family… The future of the World Trade Center is looking brighter than at any time since 9/11/2001. That is because the official plan has now failed in every respect – and everybody knows it. Mr. Silverstein needs public money to build his towers; the Port Authority is willing to give him public money, but not nearly as much as he needs; the PA wants to put retail “stumps” in place of the only two towers that have any character; the so-called transit “hub” is now going to cost between $3 and $5 billion – as much as one Twin Tower and almost as much as both of them; and the depressing 9/11 Memorial is back to costing over a billion dollars – as well as requiring another billion-dollar private endowment to produce the $50 million-plus needed annually to operate it – but it still leaves 9/11 families and the public cold.
So, now that officials have demonstrated how not to rebuild the Trade Center, it is time for them to look at a plan that has impressed everyone who has looked into it – including some of the most eminent skyscraper authorities in the world. They don’t have the luxury of using public funds to evade the public’s will. We do not believe they can get away with imposing a news blackout on the intensive meetings leading up to the next summit, scheduled for June 11th, or that the media will fail to recognize the impropriety of the scheme.
Even though New York and New Jersey are well-known for being run more like banana republics than US states, we think that our system is going to back us up on what is going on with the Gracie Mansion Summit. We’ve asked the Mayor to honor the public’s role in arriving at a solution by inviting Ken Gardner to make a presentation to the decision makers and by opening up the secret talks to public scrutiny. And we’ve asked Attorney General Cuomo to uphold the right of the people to monitor the negotiations. Now, if the media will ask the obvious questions, this should quickly start to resolve itself in favor of the American people.
We get asked all the time, WHY are they doing what they are doing? Who knows? Who cares? Let’s just move on. As long as people think they have to cover their tracks, it’s human nature to resist making the correction, no matter how obvious. But there is a solution that everyone can feel good about — and we want everyone to be part of the celebration of our country.
6/2/09 — 0 World Trade Center… Devoted Twin Towers advocate Joe Wright sent us a copy of a letter he sent to the New York Times last week in response to an editorial. It’s a shame that more people won’t get a chance to read what he wrote, but at least we can share it with TTA supporters:
Twin Towers supporters have different viewpoints on the footprints and the memorial, but what Joe has to say is well worth being discussed.
What distinguishes the Twin Towers II memorial is that it is uplifting, not morose. And both memorials, particularly the North Memorial, act as buffers that protect the Towers, making the stunning lobbies possible. If the new Tower One were rebuilt on the footprint of the original, it would have the same problem as the “Freedom Tower” — the lobby would have to be reinforced and windowless. In every sense, Twin Towers II is an elegant solution.
5/25/09 — No News Is Bad News… Following the brief summit meeting last week at Gracie Mansion, Mayor Bloomberg said: “We have a duty to make Lower Manhattan whole again, we understand that and we want to honor it.” If that is true, then the most direct way to do that is to give Twin Towers II a chance to prove that it can resolve every one of the current problems at the site.
If the politicians really want to honor their duty to make Lower Manhattan whole again, paying attention to the most recent comment on the TTA petition today would take all the complications out of their calculations:
A news blackout is being imposed in the weeks leading up to the next summit meeting on June 11th. Given the byzantine politics at Ground Zero, that is clearly suitable for officials’ purposes — but not for giving people a chance to evaluate their methods and motives. The Twin Towers Alliance sent an op-ed to a New York paper today asking them to stand up for the public’s right to know what is being discussed and specifically how the merits of Twin Towers II are being addressed. We hope they will publish it — otherwise we will keep sending it on.
In September 2005, when the Wall Street Journal printed Debra Burlingame’s op-ed “Take Back the Memorial” it led to tens of thousands of signatures on their petition and Gov. Pataki had no choice but to cancel the International Freedom Center. We aren’t asking for support, just an honest chance to make the case.
Just three weeks ago the New York Daily News wrote in an editorial: “Come clean on Ground Zero: Port Authority must end secret talks with builder.”
We hope that they and the other editors will demand the same transparency now that there is finally a chance to get this mess sorted out. But we won’t wait to see. We will start by calling the Attorney General’s office Tuesday morning. We think that the bankruptcy of the current plan changes things substantially and that the solvency represented by Twin Towers II requires official attention.
5/20/09 — The Eleventh Hour… On the eve of Mayor Bloomberg’s May 21st WTC Summit, with two of the four towers about to be scrapped, The Twin Towers Alliance sent a proposal to Mr. Ward and Mr. Silverstein. The citizens of NY and NJ should not have to pay to rebuild a site that is the emotional property of every American. Hundreds of billions of dollars are flying out of the public’s hands to bail out mismanaged banks and corporations – but a real World Trade Center is something we would all dearly love to pay for. It would be great to have something to show for our money for a change and it would only be a temporary bailout.
If NY and NJ were to sell the American people the air rights over Ground Zero and a public corporation is formed that we can all buy into, it would surely attract much more private investment than would be required. But until the venture is fully funded, Washington could front Mr. Silverstein what he needs to move full speed ahead with the Twin Towers, which could still be topped off by the 10th anniversary of the attacks. NY and NJ would get the money they so badly need, the Port Authority could build the below ground portion of the transit hub, and then go on to build a great Moynihan Station, the 9/11 Families would get the Twin Towers II memorial they prefer, and we, the people, would finally get our Twin Towers back – and they would be OUR towers.
It is time to give the people of the United States a chance to contribute to building a World Trade Center that is worthy of our country. Instead of asking us to accept the weakest elements of a bad plan, give us something to celebrate.
The following bulletins are text only, not code, and are therefore missing some formatting:
4/25/09 — 1+1=2… Except in New York, where it equals whatever the politicians and their cronies want it to equal. The reams of propaganda that the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties have been broadcasting to the world about how inept Americans are only make sense in the absence of information about the Twin Towers II option. Instead of withholding such a critical part of the equation, the responsible media role would be to ask officials to justify why they think what they are doing is better than an enormously popular, far more cost-effective and time-efficient alternative. They would ask to see the model and plans for themselves and then they would ask the Port Authority what kind of due diligence they have done to refute the assertions that a successful transition is still possible.
4/16/09 — Standing for Something… A comment from the Fall for Anything school was posted on our YouTube video. The comment — and a response — are worth repeating here:
Comment- Why build them back so more people get hired and them nob eds blow it up again more families hurt more people dead so whats the point building it back?
4/15/09 — Help Wanted… There is nothing wrong with the World Trade Center that some real leadership couldn’t set straight. The trouble is, that would require admitting the mistakes that led to this pitiful situation and no one is willing to do that. The New York Observer and The New York Times reported today on the breakdown at the WTC site. With Silverstein running out of money and the prospect for office space demand dimmed, the Port Authority wants to hold off on Towers 2 and 3 until 2022 and 2030 and concentrate on getting the memorial and transit hub operational. A post on the curbed.com blog put the matter in scathing perspective, but what is being overlooked is that the problem that blighted the site is the memorial.
The buildings aren’t bad buildings — the Rogers and Foster towers would fit well in Midtown — but in the vicinity of the vacuous, depressing memorial, the office space will never be desirable — not in 20 years or 40 years. It has nothing to do with the downturn — nobody wanted the space in the upswing. The entire site is fundamentally undermined by the banality and morbidity of a memorial nobody wants — not the public and not 9/11 families. But that didn’t stop the banks that received bailouts, as well as AIG, from “honoring” their memorial pledges.
4/15/09 — Reality Check… Those who oppose new Twin Towers will always have the money and influence to counter our efforts, if we fight the battle on their terms. But we don’t intend to. The recent hardball behind David Shuster’s move to the 3-5 PM slot on MSNBC was tacky and clumsy. Ed Schultz took over just weeks after making a peculiar rambling comment following a Ground Zero segment, wherein he praised Michael Bloomberg as everything short of the Messiah.
David Shuster did the nation a great service by engaging Christopher Ward and George Pataki, when the strategy all along has been to pretend we don’t exist. That was a tremendous achievement that shows their vulnerability to having the facts presented to the public. Before he lost his show, David got them on the record making material “misstatements.” He also gave three very fine 9/11 family members an opportunity to ask the President on national television to take charge of what is happening at Ground Zero — because it makes no sense – and got a poll posted that corroborated all the past indications that the great majority of Americans want the Twin Towers to rise again.
– Do most Americans think that the Twin Towers should be rebuilt? YES.
4/11/09 — Twin Twin Towers… We at the Twin Towers Alliance are completely committed to seeing the Twin Towers rise at the World Trade Center. Since Margaret Donovan and Richard Hughes accompanied Ken Gardner to Christopher Ward’s office in September 2008, the powers-that-be have chosen to put the official project on steroids, but we believe that strategy will act as a boomerang because it can’t be defended, just enforced. The trouble for them is that it is being enforced with public money — that’s the only kind the Port Authority has — and it is being enforced against the public’s best interests… our nation’s spiritual and material best interests. We will continue to challenge their right to dismiss the will of the American people.
4/1/09 — No Joke… The Congressional schedulers told us that the week leading up to their Spring recess was too full to make time for us — so we are waiting to hear back on when we can take our petition to Washington. Whenever it is that we get to make our presentation, we think that we are on such solid Constitutional ground that it is going to startle a lot of people.
3/22/09 — Swan Song… Now that it is being widely reported that Larry Silverstein has about a billion dollars left to build 7 or 8 billion dollars worth of towers — and that he really thinks the public is going to bail him out — we can’t be the only ones who hear the Fat Lady warming up.
3/11/09 — Snake-Free Zone… It’s been three years next Tuesday since we launched the Twin Towers Alliance. The reason we chose St. Patrick’s Day for the official start was because of the legend that St. Patrick chased all the snakes from Ireland. We figured that he would be the perfect patron for the work ahead.
3/7/09 — Gaining Ground… It is taking a little longer than we expected to get in position, but we believe that what we have planned will be worth the wait. For those of you who keep checking back, thank you for your support.
2/26/09 — The Endgame… For those who are following the changes on our Home page, we want to explain that the direction our course is taking has been shifting rapidly — therefore, the press release we have expected to issue keeps shifting as well. At this point, it appears that our current plan will take us through the weekend and then we will be ready to roll.
2/14/09 — Country First… This matter is finally coming to a head. Efforts to try to pretend this is about design differences and taste in architecture are not going to work. This always has been and always will be about whether America has moral authority. As Ken Gardner has said, the reason he put his life on hold for more than five years, devoted his own resources, and jeopardized his professional standing was because: “I had to know whether or not the America I grew up believing in really exists.” And that is what everyone needs to know.
But if the bomb that blew up in February of ‘93 had succeeded in bringing down Tower One, what would have been built in its place? Only by destroying both Towers was a total redesign of the site possible. Are those who really think it would be a shame “to erase the erasure” of the Twin Towers willing to concede that their position rests on Bin Laden’s succeeding in his aim? No doubt they would find the question offensive, but their agenda tells the tale. Their actions are ratifying his desire to remove the Towers from our sight.
Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward did us a big favor when he said that the Twin Towers were just “real estate structures” and not on a par with national monuments. For the American dream — the one that is competing with Bin Laden’s dream — to have meaning we have to value who we are. Whether one liked the Twin Towers’ design or not (and most Americans surely did) we cannot allow them to permanently disappear if we take pride in our heritage. They are an important part of our identity and there is no way we will ever really heal without them. Anything but new Twin Towers would leave an ugly scar.
This is about the honor of America and not about designs. That is why the dishonesty of the selection process was impossible for many of us to swallow — and we’re not about to start now. We owe David Shuster a tremendous debt of gratitude for provoking George Pataki into speaking out on something he has so assiduously avoided discussing except in the most canned way. Now he is on the record as having overruled the results of the most high-profile competition in memory. The fairy tale about the “democratic” process was shown up for what it was — an imperial exercise by George Pataki and Michael Bloomberg, who dismissed the design the public — and even his own Lower Manhattan Development Corporation — had selected because they thought it was “just terrible.” But, of course, they know best.
In other words, the millions who took part were irrelevant and their input was a waste of time. And that’s not news? Of course, a contest that wouldn’t allow new Twin Towers to even be considered because they would clearly win was never to be taken seriously to begin with. But it was still shocking that not one report appeared after Pataki shot himself in the foot. Those who support what is being done at Ground Zero are seriously misinformed, but there is no shame in that because many of them are the victims of a powerful disinformation campaign. We think that is about to change.
2/5/09 — WAKE UP, AMERICA… We are very confident about the direction this battle has taken. For the time being, see our press releases on the Home page for updates. The most recent comment on the petition from Beverly Squires, an area resident, put what is at stake in focus:
I can’t believe I found this site! This was my fierce belief on that terrible day — that they should be put right back up! Not only do they belong there, they’d be two extended middle fingers to those who thought they could bring America down with the Towers. Every other design I’ve seen has been a hideous atrocity. I worked in Lower Manhattan as they were going up, friends and family members worked there and/or were first responders. New York deserves to have its Twin Towers BACK!
The opponents of new Twin Towers have used disinformation, misinformation, and worst of all, NON-information to enforce their agenda. The most defining tragedy in our lives has been hijacked by an arrogant, self-serving few. The term “un-American” gets used much too much, but it couldn’t be truer here. Patrick Henry said: “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
1/26/09 — True Blue … David Shuster is trying to bring the light of reason to Ground Zero with an ongoing look at our options on his MSNBC 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 6PM slot. The first segment with Nicole Gelinas was a knock-out. If the Port Authority keeps plowing ahead until it is “too late” to consider the Twin Towers II plan, that strategy may well backfire, because it can’t be defended. We will soon post a few of the direct questions we think they should be asked in the interests of clarity. The time is past for vague generalities. There is too much at stake.
1/21/09 — Yes, We Can… Fedex notified us that a package of material we sent to the Obamas’ hotel last week was delivered today to the White House. We are encouraged by the signs that the political landscape is changing – perhaps radically. During the campaign and since the election, the President has declared that the significance of his victory is that the people are taking their government back from the powerful few. Where has the will of the people been violated with more scorn and less accountability than at Ground Zero?
1/19/09 — It’s Time to Rebuild America… “…starting with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.” That was the most recent comment on our petition and we think that spirit is in the air. The restorative effect of new Twin Towers is so right and what is being inflicted on our country at Ground Zero is so wrong that it is hard to fathom how some people just don’t get it. We are grateful to those of you who continue to have faith that this story is going to have a happy ending. If there was ever a time to maximize your involvement, this is it.
If you do nothing else, please send an email to at least ten people and ask them to tell at least ten others to look into what is at stake, because it goes so far beyond two buildings. The President-elect tells us that change can’t happen unless ordinary Americans get involved. And that is so true here. Because ordinary Americans are extraordinary.
The only hope those in charge ever had of forcing their bogus World Trade Center on the public was to keep people from talking about it or questioning what they were doing. That is why it is so damning that none of the post-9/11 documentaries even mentioned the popular support for the Towers. That is downright creepy. Maybe it was the result of powerful individuals telling those with cameras and pens to keep the will of the people out of focus because, after all, they knew better – or maybe it was just the poison of groupthink. But there is no hope of effective self-government without information we can trust. Whose country is it?
1/19/09 — For the Record II… We want those who keep coming back to this page hoping for more information to understand that it is not in the best interests of the campaign to go into the details of our efforts. The same is true for those of you who write asking to know more. But what we can say is that our fight goes on day in and day out, that we are reaching out very energetically, that we have gotten some very encouraging feedback, that we feel a real shift in what is developing, and have a very strong sense that this effort will succeed. That is why we are so concerned that rumours not be credited. They do not help this cause and they could really hurt it.
1/9/09 — For the Record… Various reports have been attributed to Ken Gardner, but they are unauthorized and could be damaging. He therefore had the following advisory posted on the WTC2011 Home page: AUTHORIZED REPORTS ON THE TWIN TOWERS II PLAN WILL ONLY BE RELEASED THROUGH THE WTC2011 WEBSITE. ANY INFORMATION THAT APPEARS ON WIKIPEDIA OR VARIOUS WEB FORUMS IS UNAUTHORIZED AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON.
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