downtownexpress.com

Volume 19 • Issue 14 | August 18-24, 2006

Letters to the editor

Where’s the money?

To The Editor:
Re “Shifting dollars, debatable legacy as L.M.D.C. approaches its final days” (news article, Aug. 4 – 10):

From everything we know — and with no public process, what we know these days is pretty much restricted to what the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. decides to share with the press –L.M.D.C. had long ago capped what it would spend to bring down the Deutsche Bank. In its February 27, 2004 press release announcing the building purchase and setting out the terms of its agreement with the Deutsche Bank and its insurers, L.M.D.C. states: “The agreement caps the cost of cleaning and demolition to $45 million and the insurers would pay any costs above the agency’s cap.”

These same assurances were reiterated a year later by then president (and now chairperson) Kevin Rampe in response to questioning from Councilmember Alan Gerson at a February ‘05 City Council hearing on the demolition of 9/11contaminated buildings.

Please add those of us who’ve been working to make the 130 Liberty St demolition safe to the chorus of community voices asking for the whereabouts of the $45 million earmarked as community enhancement funds.
Kimberly Flynn
9/11 Environmental Action


No sweat

To The Editor:
While reading the article in the August 11 - 17 issue, “B.P.C. agency approves affordable housing money,” I had to both laugh and stifle some strong annoyance at Mr. Gill’s (Battery Park City Authority chairperson) quote, “that money has been generated and earned by the sweat of the brows of our staff. We’ve been generating money for the city for a long, long time and we earn it the hard way.”

I would like to point out to Mr. Gill that that money has been generated and earned by the sweat of the brows of the condominium owners, businesses, and renters in B.P.C. that pay the exorbitant ground rent for the privilege of living in B.P.C. Monthly common charges for condominiums here in B.P.C. are the highest in the entire city on a per-square-foot comparison basis I am sure.

For Mr. Gill to say that B.P.C. “earns” this money “the hard way,” is outrageous. Collecting and distributing the funds that owners, residents, and shopkeepers have paid to B.P.C.A. isn’t nearly as hard as the earning of the money itself.
His statement is both misleading and totally unfair.
 Denis Timm


Stairway’s survival

To The Editor:
My colleagues and I in the WTC Survivors’ Network were dismayed to read that David Stanke chose in his column “Preserving the stairway is a path to spiraling costs” (Talking Point, Aug. 11 – 17) to disagree with our position on the preservation of the Survivors’ Stairway by attacking and questioning the credibility of our entire organization. We can certainly accept that people have opinions contrary to what we are advocating, but it is hard, maybe impossible, to accept or respect Mr. Stanke’s disagreement in the context of such an attack, which seems gratuitous and irrelevant to the discussion. When he was not discussing our organization as if he actually knew something about us, Mr. Stanke seemed to be making the point that survival is unworthy of recognition. What Mr. Stanke fails to see is that survival is as much a part of the story of 9/11 as mass murder and destruction.

What did all those heroes among the uniformed services die for if not in an attempt to ensure survival? What were the victims trying to do if not survive?  The Survivors’ Network is not asking for a monument to survivors as much as a recognition of survival and its part in the 9/11 story. Preserving a historic artifact that played a crucial role in this aspect of the story is a powerful and moving way to acknowledge and commemorate survival of intended victims.

I am a survivor who evacuated the North Tower. As Mr. Stanke so aptly points out, I was lucky and I was afraid. The Stairway isn’t about me or any other individual survivor. It is about an important thread in the story of 9/11. Isn’t that what the rebuilding of the site is really all about? Telling the story of 9/11? Not how much retail and commercial space should be rebuilt. Or how quickly that is accomplished. Compared to the money being expended to rebuild the commercial and retail elements of the site, the costs of preservation of this artifact are indeed marginal.
 Gerry Bogacz
WTC Survivors’ Network, Steering Committee co-chairperson


Go east good paper

To The Editor:
I read your paper every week and have come to realize that you are putting out some remarkably good journalism. You are reporting on stories that affect us directly, stories that matter, and that makes a difference in our lives. I’m particularly keen on your reportage of the bike path issues, arts/theater reviews, education and public works construction issues. 

I would guess that most of your readers are on the West Side as it seems that you have many more stories that relate to the West Side. However, as I live at the far east end of Grand St., I long for more coverage of the local issues that affect us Lower East Siders. I would hope in the future you might investigate more issues involving the construction in East River Park, the growing use and conflicts with the bike paths; trends in the public housing projects, what’s happening at Henry Street Settlement and how are the old “communities” such as Hillman and Seward Park (built by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union) are evolving, the Delancey St. mess, and importantly, more reporting on the schools and after school programs would be welcome.

Sounds like a greedy laundry list, but I really love your paper and just want to see more.

Keep up the good work. You are important to us New Yorkers.
Bruce Ostler



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