The Moral High Ground

Statue of Liberty

Photo: The Twin Towers Alliance

The Port Authority’s Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni is quoted in the first piece saying, “You realize that this project is far greater than the sum of its parts. It is perhaps the most important construction project we’ve ever done. It is a moral imperative that we get it right.” It is a mystery how he squares all the irregularities that have gone into the project with such exalted rhetoric.

The Record

Kelly: Spire reaching new heights above Ground Zero

Crain’s New York Business

The Port inks $875M deal for WTC observatory

New York Post

Sandy caused $185M in damage to WTC site

Commercial Observer

Downtown Rising: Once Down, Leasing Up Again in Lower Manhattan Offices

Crain’s New York Business

Extell moves closer to building city’s tallest spire


National Guard Chief Visits World Trade Center Tribute Site…

Investor’s Business Daily (AP)

Former MSG Chief to Head WTC Observation Project

2013-03-18T23:56:42+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Vol. 2, No. 11 —|

Sandbagging the People

Sandbags at WTC

Photo: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

There was only one news item last week and we deferred commenting to make it the focus of this week’s issue instead. The announcement at the end of February that FEMA had redrawn the flood zone maps for Lower Manhattan has tremendous implications for the World Trade Center. But two weeks later, there has been very little discussion of what this news could mean for all of us. Since the public is the project’s de facto guarantor, that is disturbing.

The term “sandbagging” generally refers to the process of thwarting something that would otherwise naturally take place. It comes from the way sandbags thwart the action of flood waters. But in the case of the World Trade Center the real sandbagging takes place behind closed doors where, instead of keeping water out, the Port Authority Commissioners keep the public out.  MORE

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

New World Trade Center Rises From The Ashes

The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) report on the so-called progress at Ground Zero is remarkable when compared to the usual media hype. And the first sentence couldn’t be plainer: “The day the Twin Towers fell, then New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani declared that they would rise again.” It goes on to remind us that America’s Mayor promised us: “We will rebuild… We’re going to come out of this stronger than before — politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again.”

That’s what most of us wanted and expected, but not what we got. There was only one way to make the skyline whole again. Regardless of the parsing that came after the fact, it is clear that Mayor Giuliani was pledging to Americans and the world that they would see triumphant new Twin Towers rise — not some generic Trade Center. MORE

Related Reading: RFERL | “My Twin Towers

Crain’s New York Business

Column: Don’t let Sandy become the WTC

The tagline of this piece says it all: “In moving to protect the city from the next superstorm, city officials could cue a power struggle that would likely result in long delays and massive headaches.”

This is what editorial comment is supposed to do — connect the present to the past in a way that could make a difference for the future. To assign the enormous folly behind the WTC expense and delay to a power struggle makes it particularly offensive. The commentary is well worth reading — as is the “outerborough rant” that appears in the comments and below. It is vintage New York:

“We cannot allow the NYC cabal of developers, unions, shyster attorneys, compliant donation hungry politicians, and their minions to hijack, inflate, and ultimately, hurt the recovery efforts. As mentioned, we have seen how the reputations of all New Yorkers have suffered because of the piggy, schnorrer-like behavior of the cabal post-WTC. All the goodwill, care, and affection shown to us by our fellow Americans after that cataclysmic event have dissipated because of these disgusting human vultures. They should rot on the streets of Staten Island, Queens, and Long Island.”

The problem is, we do allow it. Why isn’t everyone as mad as that guy? Why aren’t the editorial pages full of outrage over what happened and is still happening at the WTC? The only way to put power-mongers in their place is to refuse to let them get away with the swindle at Ground Zero. Only by identifying the malefactors and analyzing the true cost to our pocketbooks and our spirits will others be put on notice.

2013-03-11T23:32:24+00:00 March 11th, 2013|Vol. 2, No. 10 —|

The World’s Dream

On Sunday’s “60 Minutes” Lesley Stahl interviewed “China’s Real Estate Mogul” who, along with her husband, has tremendous clout in Chinese construction. The full interview was long and fascinating. The reason for making the excerpt above the focus of this week’s journal is because it highlights a fundamental corruption in the way “The American Dream” is perceived.

Early in the interview, Lesley Stahl made a jarring comment that equated the American Dream with material prosperity alone. When Zheng Xin points out that China has produced more self-made billionaires than any other country in the world, Stahl pipes up that it sounds like the American Dream. The url even reads: “…china-new-home-to-the-american-dream”. But towards the end of the interview, Ms. Xin demonstrated her idealistic side.

She compared China’s “efficient” state capitalism to the U.S. brand, where we “need to go through Congress, Senate, and debate.” And she concludes: “… I have to say, for a Chinese living in China… if you ask one thing everyone craves for is what? It’s not food. It’s not homes. Everyone crave for democracy. I know there’s a lot of negativities in the U.S. about the political system, but don’t forget, you know, 8,000 miles away, people in China are looking at it, longing for it.”

Ms. Stahl seemed quite startled — and as the segment’s producer points out, the testimonial was not in response to a question. She didn’t need to make such a courageous and provocative remark. It just “bubbled out.” Because the real American Dream, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be, is the World’s Dream.

The reason that is so relevant to our WTC focus, is that we started this site a year ago today for one reason: We believe that the failure of democracy at the WTC — the place where we were attacked for being Americans — is pervasive and needs to be thoroughly examined and addressed. Because the only way to be worthy of the blessings of self-determination and self-government is to be true to those ideals and defend them when they are attacked. And that goes double when the place they are attacked is Ground Zero.

Huffington Post

WTC Site in Flood Zone

2013-03-04T23:19:46+00:00 March 4th, 2013|Vol. 2, No. 9 —|