2009 Bulletins | July through December
12/31/09 — Countdown to a Happy New Year… Happy New Year’s Eve to all the Twin Towers’ supporters! We think we have a lot to look forward to in the year ahead and we will explain why over the weekend. We will post a recap of what we’ve gained and where we are headed in 2010.
Meanwhile, the recent comments have been particularly powerful, but the one that was left today by John Winkler | All Other Americans is a real high note to end a challenging year:
Best wishes to all for a year of peace and prosperity!
12/5/09 — Government Accountability 101… There will be a link on the Home page before the end of the weekend to our report on the December 3rd Liberty Bonds hearing. In addition to our own statements, Louis Epstein of the World Trade Center Restoration Movement (a modern-day John Brown if ever there was one) spoke with his accustomed fervor and clarity. Devoted supporter Tal Barzilai also made, as usual, some very perceptive remarks.
In the emails prior to the proceedings, we were assured by the gentleman at the Empire State Development Corp. who led the hearing, that “if there is ‘substantive negative testimony’ presented at the Hearing regarding the project, the Directors of the LDC will be given a summary of the testimony as well as copies of any written materials presented by the Public at the Hearing, and then weigh all of the testimony and vote again on the project.” We have already requested the minutes of the original Board meeting and will be looking into when the second vote will take place.
The transcript of the hearing is packed with “substantive negative testimony” — and transcripts of our statements will be going to Congress on Monday, prior to their vote to extend the Liberty Bond program. We have been in touch with a number of key legislative aides and are confident that we have their attention. We support the extension as much as any other New Yorker, but the time for rubber-stamping a failed project is over.
12/4/09 — A Slip of the HEART… President Obama kicked off his “Main Street Tour” today with a visit to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. The following text is taken from the sixth paragraph of the President’s speech that was released by the White House and appeared on the New York Times’ website:
Coming from another official, the statement could be seen as a mere slip of the tongue, but telling none the less. But when it comes from as gifted a politican as Barack Obama — which even his detractors will admit that he is — then it is a profoundly reliable reading of the national pulse. He was channeling the whole country when he made the natural linkage between the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers. We think it is the beginning of a sea change at Ground Zero.
The reference he made to the extraordinary pride the workers take in the project is particularly timely. When we appeared at the Liberty Bonds hearing last night in Lower Manhattan, one thing we pointedly included in our remarks is that the workers who are now engaged in raising the so-called Freedom Tower will whistle while they work when it comes time to tear down the steel to make way for the Twin Towers — there’s no doubt about it.
Of course all who are involved with rebuilding the World Trade Center are proud to be helping our nation recover. But anyone who really thinks that the builders who offered after 9/11 to work without pay for the privilege of putting the Twin Towers back in the skyline would actually choose the current project over “Twin Towers II” is seriously out of touch.
If the press were doing its job, this would be over before New Year’s. But we believe that the trend is in favor of this cause no matter what. We expect that the President and other key officials will find the book of comments we are preparing to send to Washington compelling. It will include transcripts of our remarks at the hearing, which are irrefuable calls to correct course. All in all, today’s slip of the heart by the man at the wheel is a very good sign…
11/29/09 — We, the undersigned… Our petition is a vehicle for people who share a goal. We are occasionally obliged to remove a comment, if it is not in support of the petition. It has only been necessary a few times, and in that case we have contacted the individuals to respectfully expalin that the Twin Towers Alliance is not a bulletin board. It isn’t that we are intolerant, but there are plenty of appropriate places to express opposing points of view and the TTA petition is not one of them.
The following comment that was left on the petition presents a different sort of problem. It agrees that the skyline should be restored, which is the central premise of the petition, but it goes on to advocate hollow buildings, which would never inspire our people or dishearten our enemies: “I believe that a possible solution to bring back the appearance of the NY skyline to the way it was before the Twin Towers were destroyed, would be to build a set of memorial structures the exact same dimensions/location as the original towers once stood. They would be 2 steel shells that would resemble the Twin Towers from a distance. The hollow cage like structures could have long external vertical steel beams with interior horizontal support beams. These structures could also be illuminated.”
We really appreciate the spirit behind the suggestion and it gives us the opportunity to address the idea that the skyline is not being restored for structural reasons. In fact, nothing could be more feasible, more economical, or more respectful than fully occupied Twin Towers, at least as tall as those destroyed by our enemies. Furthermore, they could be protected and would attract people to vist, work, or live in them who would have no interest at all in visiting, working in, or inhabiting the mongrel development that is planned. There is ONLY ONE REASON why the Twin Towers are not standing now and it is merely political. The situation is completely perception-based and could change overnight, when it becomes widely known that the current project is being built on a foundation of lies.
11/16/09 — Just the Facts… The Twin Towers Alliance wishes to publicly accept the resignation of Team Twin Towers President Randy Warner from our non-profit corporation People United To Rebuild The Twin Towers. Randy was invited to join the Board of Directors as a gesture of recognition for his efforts in the years immediately following 9/11. But a substantial difference of opinion regarding rebuilding policy led us over a year ago to ask to have our names removed from the TTT website and for his resignation from our Board.
For reasons that were never clear, our names remained on the TTT site until the end of August, but Warner’s resignation never materialized. And then last week, a shockingly libelous public resignation was gratuitously delivered through a TTT Excelsior, requiring this notice.
We trust that the level of professionalism and commitment we have exhibited year after year speaks for itself. Our only concern has been to see the Twin Towers rebuilt. Out of respect for a mission that means so much to so many, we are not going to get sidetracked in an unseemly quarrel. While we hope that the TTT site will remain online for the historical perspective it offers, we want it to be clear that we are in no way associated with that organization.
11/6/09 — It’s Just A Matter of Time… The Internet’s proliferation of information often obscures real knowledge. A good example of that is a poll and thread that have been posted on Skyscrapercity.com since the summer of 2006, but that we only discovered today!
The poll asks respondents to choose between “Twin Towers II” and the “Freedom Tower,” with “Twin Towers II” preferred by a margin of 2:1. The results are notable because skyscrapercity.com is for the most part enemy territory, where “Twin Towers II” supporters regularly get put down by opinionated “forumers”.
So, a poll that is definitely not tilted in our favor confirms what all the other polls have shown: Most people think that the natural and desirable response to 9/11 is to rebuild the Towers.
That’s no surprise. We think that there is a convergence coming that will repudiate the current failed and increasingly indefensible course and lead to a national insistence on putting the Twin Towers back where they belong. Our reasons will be posted over the weekend.
Now that the Yankees are champions for the first time since 2000, maybe New Yorkers’ luck is starting to turn. One thing is for sure — the tickertape parade today would pale in comparison to the celebration that would take place if people got the chance to welcome the Twin Towers back. Anyone who doubts that is in serious denial.
Skyscraping isn’t about how a building looks as much as how it makes you feel. If it makes your heart soar, it is a true skyscraper – otherwise, it’s just a tall building.
10/19/09 — Facebook Facts… There are a couple of “Twin Towers Alliance” Facebook pages that have been started by supporters. While they are not officially connected to the Twin Towers Alliance, anything that makes people more aware of the campaign to rebuild the Twin Towers is worthy of support. The reason we stress that it is not official is because we can’t monitor and vouch for what is said.
Supporters recently brought to our attention some really wild rumors that have been circulating on Facebook. We don’t have time to educate ourselves on what is happening there, but Ken Gardner, Richard Hughes and I leave it up to those who know how committed we are to this struggle to treat rumors the way you would the bizarre headlines at the grocery store checkout — and send us an email at email@example.com if you really have doubts about what is true or not. But please don’t barrage us with questions about obvious fabrications or for the “latest” news. What we can share is posted on the TTA site.
The battle for the Twin Towers is intense — it always has been and it always will be until it’s over. And it will always look unlikely until the moment when it suddenly appears inevitable. That is what we believe and what keeps fueling our efforts. If one thing seems not to work, it is on to the next, until something does — because something will — and nothing along the way is a waste because it is all cumulative.
There is no way we are going to get off the track just to manage speculation. We understand that people who care deeply about seeing the Towers rise again get frustrated by the apparent lack of progress and information. That can’t be helped. One thing that supporters can be sure of is that “Twin Towers II” and the TTA are fully engaged behind the scenes in a variety of initiatives, but the situation is delicate, credibility is key, disclosure is counter-productive, and our focus is on the prize – not on building a movement or catering to supporters.
So, as we said below, more power to those who stop being spectators and get “in the arena.” Steven Eiselen and William Justice are good examples and there are plenty of others. Anyone who makes a constructive effort to advance the cause of rebuilding the Twin Towers at Ground Zero is a friend, whether they are aligned with the TTA or not. But those who try to build themselves up by tearing others down will probably regret it. We have seen over and over again that those with self-serving motives just don’t make it. The Twin Towers seem to have a natural selection process that rejects those who try to use this mission to promote themselves. So we don’t waste our time worrying about them.
For the record, once again, The Twin Towers Alliance is not only as committed as ever to seeing the Twin Towers rise at Ground Zero, but we think it is more likely than ever that they actually will, because the political situation is getting more rancid all the time. Ken Gardner’s statement of September 17th never said that the “Twin Towers II” plan won’t work at the WTC, but that the transition plan no longer will — and that is true.
The transition, which we discussed with the Executive Director of the Port Authority in his office a year ago, promised to save billions of dollars that now would probably be eaten up in deconstruction costs. After all, if officials weren’t willing to build them when there was nothing there, it’s not likely they will consider it with concrete and steel in place.
But there is no way, after years of sacrifice and hard work, that Ken Gardner would drop it. “Twin Towers II” is not a collection of AutoCad drawings. It is an incredibly thorough reengineering of the World Trade Center that could be put into construction in a matter of months and result in a spectacular world-class development. Ken is not going to spin his wheels trying to build on land over which he has no control, but is exploring the clear interest there is in building in New Jersey.
That in no way diminishes the effort we are making to reclaim Ground Zero for the American people. If demolition is required, that is a matter for the people to decide. We at the Twin Towers Alliance are committed to pressing all the buttons, and exploring every possible lead, until one of them works and people across the country get the information they need to make Ground Zero a national treasure, instead of a national disgrace.
10/13/09 — WTC2011… The WTC2011 site is showing up as a “Page Not Found” while the server is being moved — but it will be back online soon.
10/12/09 — More Light… We are posting this email from a supporter, followed by our comprehensive reply, because we think that his concerns are shared by many.
Dear Twin Towers Alliance,
I am a sixteen year old boy from Ohio who would like nothing more than to see new Twin Towers rise from Ground Zero. I have been following this effort since 9/11 of last year. I have seen everything that has transpired over the past year and it is disappointing. It’s kind of a weird siituation because Ground Zero has progress but at the same time it doesn’t. I look on their website and they have made a lot of progress over the past year with the memorial and some with the “Freedom Tower” or the libel of “One World Trade Center”. I know what Ken Gardner recently said about the feasability of Twin Towers II at Ground Zero and that it is pretty much impossible to make the transititon. Is this true? Is there really no hope for new Twin Towers at Ground Zero? I watched the video you recently posted and it almost made me cry because I know that THAT is what we need to see happening at Ground Zero. New Twin Towers would be the ultimate band-aid of the tragedy of 9/11. Everytime someone from New York goes past the site they probably think “why hasn’t anything been done?”, and I feel the same way. I will support Twin Towers where ever they are built, but it’s at Ground Zero where they truely belong and where it truely matters. I just want to know the possibility of it happening at this time. What I dont understand is how is it too late if the model of Twin Towers II basically calls for the Twin Towers to be on the east side of the site and there is like nothing on the east side! All the progression is on the west side, where the memorial is. I would be happy with their memorial. The thing that is important is the TOWERS! You know, the buildings that make up America’s skyline! I still believe that it’s not too late to rebuild the towers, but I know nothing about what is going on behind the scenes. So if you could just fill me in and tell me what is happening or what the chances are of new Twin Towers I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks for listening,
10/11/09 — Not Our Style… A video of NBC and NY1 reports on the 2005 Trump Press Conference were sent to Ken Gardner this week and makes for very interesting watching. While it perpetuates the fiction that Donald Trump commissioned the project or had a stake in it, Mr. Trump is in great form and obviously believes it is a much better plan than what was on the table at the time — and from what we’ve heard him say on TV since then, his opinion hasn’t really changed. But it would be folly for any businessman who needs the cooperation of the NYC government to cross Michael Bloomberg.
It is particularly revealing because it records Gov. Pataki saying that “More than ten million people looked at the various competing site plans, and this is what’s selected.” But in February of this year, when David Shuster pointed out tto him that both the public and even the LMDC preferred the twin towers of the “THINK” design, he said that he and Mayor Bloomberg thought that design “was just terrible.” So drawing a connection between the process and the plan was clearly bogus, as we’ve known all along, but this was the first time we’d come across Pataki himself revealing the fakery that was the basis of all that followed.
More than any other official, the mess we’re in today is George Pataki’s doing, but Michael Bloomberg is running right behind him. There is a clip where he declares that “…we are not going to rebuild the two World Trade Center towers…” but the question that should have been asked then, and definitely should be asked now is: “Why — do you have something better to offer?” Most people don’t think so. Mayor Bloomberg likes to suggest that le had very little to do with the current plan, but his fingerprints are all over it.
President Obama has just endorsed the Mayor’s opponent, and, while we steer clear of partisan politics, it is safe to say that if Michael Bloomberg is defeated in November, in spite of outspending Mr. Thomspon 15:1, it will likely be the beginning of a whole new day for the World Trade Center.
9/24/09 — In the Arena… One hundred years ago next spring, President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech at the Sorbonne entitled “Citizenship in a Republic“. Our society today is very different from his, but anyone who takes the time to get to the heart of his address will be better equipped to make a proud contribution to our world.
The temptation to be a critic instead of an actor is perennial, but in a society that is trending toward talking more and doing less — watching more and moving less — the Internet is presenting the “rebuilding community” with a unique challenge: to talk or to act. Long-time rebuilding advocate Steven Eiselen, who has been devoted to seeing the Twins reclaim their piece of the sky since he was fourteen, recently started a Facebook page aimed at attracting one million supporters to the monumental effort.
That is a perfect example of harnessing the idealism of youth and the power of the Internet, but the challenge is finding the ways to convert passive spectators into active participants. Once on board, supporters can either spend their time talking about the Twin Towers or finding new ways to reach out to the millions of others who don’t know that there is a vibrant movement to rebuild the Towers — or even why it matters. That means there is a huge opportunity to make a real difference.
The most energetic and hopeful segment of the population is the youth culture. That is why Ken Gardner agreed last spring to let Katapult Enterprises promote the idea of new Twin Towers in ways that never developed — but the prospect is still incredibly promising. Just as people were enrolled in the dream of bringing change to Washington last year, there are millions of young Americans and friends around the world who can still make rebuilding the Twin Towers the most defining and redemptive goal of a generation. More power to them…
9/23/09 — A Sense of Proportion… We have received alarmed emails from those who claim to speak for the “rebuilding community” telling us that the idea of building the Twin Towers in New Jersey is “unacceptable.” We hope that the follow-up to the press conference will reassure supporters that we are as committed as ever to the Twin Towers at Ground Zero. But what we think is unacceptable is how easily hot air substitutes for a meaningful contribution to an incredibly difficult effort.
It is one thing to share opinions online, but if that doesn’t translate into action, what’s the point? The press conference proved once again that we need to find a way around the media’s captivity by the-powers-that-be. The old saying to “put your money where your mouth is” is a tried and true measure of commitment. It is amazing how few of those who were laying down the law to us or criticizing Ken Gardner’s statement have ever contributed a dime to this effort.
The good wishes of those who are on a fixed income with little or no discretionary income to distribute are much appreciated, but the second-guessing of those who find fault, while offering nothing constructive, is a waste of time. We have spent years covering the costs of this campaign. For every dollar that comes in we have matched it with ten. We have only sent five or six fund-raising emails since the TTA was founded, but we see the same people contributing over and over again. What was remarkable about the recent outreach was that, for the first time, a significant number of the contributions, perhaps 80%, were $100 or $200!
9/8/09 — On Second Thought… We decided it would be a waste of time to continue with our plan for September 9th, with so much attention focused on the President’s Adddress to Congress the same evening. So we are rescheduling the event for Thursday, September 17th, at 6PM. Details will follow…
9/4/09 —Onward and Upward… Twin Towers II and The Twin Towers Alliance will hold a media-only Press Conference and Reception next Wednesday night, September 9th. Details will be published on Tuesday. The long stretch since our last post is because there is so much going into it behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, we are compiling images of complexes around the world that are designated as CENTERS. If any of you would like to contribute images, please send asap to firstname.lastname@example.org – the higher the resolution the better, but send everything you have and let us sort it out.
We thank those of you who have contributed what you could – and sometimes more – not just last week, but in past appeals, to our common goal. We have personally invested our lives, livelihoods, and savings into what we believe really matters — and think that next week will be a watershed for this effort.
We also want to say “thank you” for the many expressions of support that come in to The Twin Towers Alliance, as does Ken Gardner for the many messages that have been sent to WTC2011.com and TwinTowersII.com. We are simply no longer able to respond to them one-by-one, but everything is read and truly appreciated.
Best wishes for a wonderful Labor Day weekend.
8/9/09 — Many Thanks… We apologize to those of you who faithfully check this page for news. There is so much going on right now that is momentous and takes precedence. The new site and the new links on the Home page are just a hint of what’s developing, but we think that the trend is very encouraging.
We want to thank Fard Muhammad for squeezing the new Twin Towers II site into his busy schedule — it is a very fine platform for what will be unfolding there. It will be completed as soon as possible. We also thank Shamis McGillin for his preliminary work on the site and for managing the Twin Towers II MySpace page — he is a very impressive young man.
We thank William Justice for the fabulous video collage he made by splicing together the videos on YouTube. And we thank Tony Grayson and Ali Al-Roubaie for pulling together dozens of YouTube videos into one Twin Towers playlist.
There is no way we can see them all at this point, when every day is a scramble, but one day we will and then we will make sure that everyone gets the credit and recognition they deserve for so many amazingly moving contributions to our common mission.
What really stands out is that the politicians and the media are obviously trying to keep from dignifying Twin Towers II with their attention. They are pathetically deluded because that is not in their power. The motivation that has driven Ken Gardner to put his life on hold for seven years is what dignifies it. The support and encouragment of 9/11 families is what dignifies it. The popularity of the project with the general public is what dignifies it. The passion that goes into the comments on the petition is what dignifies it.
And the depth of devotion in the hearts of so many of the young people who have created these videos, and written letters-to-the-editor, and essays, is what dignifies it and makes this effort such an honor to be a part of.
7/12/09 — An Inside Job… We can’t say often enough that this is not an us-against-them issue. Americans have one enemy above all and its fearless leader is hiding in a cave. While our politicians have not served the people’s best interests, we give them credit for thinking that they are. So we have to assume that the basis of the problem is that they don’t see what the rest of us see. And that could be because they are on the inside looking out, while most of us are on the outside looking in.
The fireworks last weekend were a literal illustration of that. Those who watched from the west side of Manhattan only saw the show, while those of us who watched from the other boroughs and New Jersey saw the glorious display against the backdrop of the most fabulous city in the world. The problem at the World Trade Center is Manhattan-centric. Manhattan is indeed the Big Apple and there are wonderful, talented, extraordinary people here, but there are also probably more inflated egos per square inch than anywhere else in the world. Which is fine — except when we’re talking about Ground Zero.
A new comment on the TTA petition said that “building and rebuilding of America is a continuing process showing the envious world our pride and determination.” But, we shouldn’t miss the fact that America has millions of friends around the world who are rooting for this country — and they need the inspiration of new Twin Towers as much as the American people do.
There is a great line at the end of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where Jimmy Stewart is trying to get his fellow Senators to see what he is fighting for: “Just get up off the ground, that’s all I ask. Get up there with that lady that’s up on top of this Capitol dome – that lady that stands for Liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes, if you really want to see something…”
We owe it to our fellow citizens — and our foreign friends — to do a better job of helping our leaders really see what the rest of us see. When they understand that this is not a struggle for two buildings, but a bipartisan battle for the future direction of the country, we are confident that they will join us.
Because it would be beyond belief that, having the power to bring more joy to the nation and even the world than by any other single act, politicians, our fellow Americans, would deliberately deprive the people of that happiness. Why would they choose that? For what?
7/11/09 — Through the Looking Glass… The spectacle at Ground Zero gets more bizarre with every passing day — stranger than fiction is putting it mildly. Mr. Silverstein, a man who put $124 million into a $3.2 billion purchase (how is that for a sweetheart deal?), keeps harping on his rights at Ground Zero, as if it were his private cash cow. Just because he gambled and lost, the Port Authority — a/k/a the public — is not on the hook for his “injuries.” We have rights, too, and it would be hard to exaggerate how badly they have been violated.
Now we read that the Port Authority, a public agency with a mission to serve the public good, has made Mr. Silverstein an offer to put another 1.2 billion public dollars into a project that was a bust in the boom, with the stipulation that if he assumes some of the exposure it would “help insulate the public against unmanageable risk.” So a building that has not attracted the commitment of a single tenant will suddenly become a responsible investment of public money, if Mr. Silverstein shares the risk — even though the overall risk is no less risky?
A project that has proven over the years to be a flop, a dud, a loser is seen as the proper place for public funds because… Has anyone heard one reason given as to why the public is being forced to pay for this delusional ivory tower non-sense that the American people and the international business community have rejected all along? It is insane to pretend that we have no choice and that it is too late to exert ourselves and get it right.
There is only one way to make the future World Trade Center a world-class property and then they can forget all about the risk, because the public acclaim would ensure its monumental success: New Twin Towers beside a noble memorial — one that has the decency to recognize the unspeakable bravery and sacrifice of 9/11 by noting the ranks of those who put duty first.
At one time, the Twin Towers Alliance and Twin Towers II were promoting the default option of building the Twin Towers beside the official memorial because, in the eyes of the world, restoring the skyline would be the greatest memorial of all. But Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward insisted on MSNBC in January of this year that it is all one project — and he was right. It has become clear that there is nothing about the current plan that makes sense or can withstand comparison to its Twin Towers II counterpart — in significance or feasibility — and it is time for Mr. Ward to be held accountable for putting a plan that had nothing going for it but political cronyism on steroids. The people would never warm up to a World Trade Center with an asterisk after its name and anyone who thinks they would in time is delusional.
It might be different if they actually had something exciting and spectacular to offer in place of the vision most people prefer. But they clearly do not. It’s not the Twin Towers Alliance that says so — it’s the private markets and the public square that have given the current project two thumbs down. The money that has been wasted since Mr. Ward was introduced to a far more suitable, popular, economical, feasible, and rewarding plan is a crime. But the savings of making the transition to Twin Towers II can still pay for it and leave us way ahead of where we are currently headed. So we think it is time for the Red Queen to decree: “Off with his head!” And while she’s at it, she shouldn’t forget about Larry…
7/4/09 — A Case of Mistaken Identitiy… Watching the Macy’s Fireworks from the George Washington Bridge on such a gorgeous night, with the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building and all the lights of the most spectacular skyline in the world at their most dazzling, was bittersweet — because it was impossible not to see what was missing.
How can anyone call himself or herself a New Yorker and be willing to accept a generic World Trade Center — one that would disfigure an incomparable city and incomparable country — in place of two of the most celebrated icons the world has ever seen? This is not a question of taste — it is a matter of spirit, character, and national honor. We deserve better and the world deserves better. It’s not too late to build a World Trade Center worthy of the price Americans have been paying for 233 years for the privilege of being Americans.
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