Volume 21, Number 1 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | May 16 - 22, 2008

Under Cover

No snub, no foul
City Councilmember Alan Gerson says he didn’t feel snubbed last week when the Port Authority and the L.M.D.C. didn’t show up to his hearing.

Gerson, chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, was supposed to hold a hard-hitting hearing last Friday on progress at the World Trade Center site, but the topic of the hearing switched at the last minute to an update on the W.T.C. memorial museum instead.

Gerson changed the focus of the hearing because the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port, who were slated to testify about the W.T.C. site, backed out at the last minute.

The agencies cited the recent appointment of Chris Ward as executive director of the Port Authority as their reason for delaying testimony, Gerson said. They promised to come to another hearing soon.

“That’s reasonable, I think, [as long as] it’s a short postponement,” Gerson said. He has been trying to get a hearing for at least a month. He hopes to schedule the W.T.C. hearing for the beginning of June and have a date by the end of the week.

Even though the L.M.D.C. and the Port appear regularly at Community Board 1 meetings, Gerson doesn’t take their absence from his hearing as a slight. Community board meetings are not quite the same as formal City Council meetings, he said.

The Port Authority most recently attended C.B. 1’s April W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee meeting. The L.M.D.C. recently started sending representatives to every W.T.C. Committee meeting, but it has been several months since the top officials appeared.

The agencies weren’t the only ones to skip Gerson’s hearing — hardly anyone showed up, aside from the memorial museum staff and the community members and activists who testified.

The next hearing will likely attract more of a crowd, as Gerson plans to address site security issues and the long-delayed performing arts center.

Bunker denial
Civic Center residents were understandably alarmed after reading in the New York Post May 4 that the N.Y.P.D. is planning a high-tech bunker on Park Row to coordinate the city’s crime-fighting and response to terrorism.

Placing a terrorism coordination center right in the middle of a known terrorist target seemed like a bad idea, they said. To make matters worse, The Post reported the N.Y.P.D. planned to put the bunker in what is currently an eight-story parking garage — which further infuriated residents who are tired of seeing cars with police placards clogging the streets.

But, according to a city official, little in the Post story is true.

“The N.Y.P.D. is renovating an existing two-to-three-story building, [part of] which was an old cafeteria,” the city official told UnderCover.

Current N.Y.P.D. staff will move into the renovated offices, doing the same jobs they did before, but in a slightly larger space. The building will not morph into the 24/7 command hub with wall-to-wall computers depicted in the Post story, the city official said.

Ed sticks by Hill
Although the call by Democratic Party bigs for Hillary Clinton to throw in the towel in the presidential primary race is mounting, Ed Koch, one of her biggest boosters, isn’t among them. He also denied that Clinton is working the race angle — last week, she made waves by saying she’s the pick of less-educated white voters — in a desperate attempt to keep her White House bid alive. “I haven’t called for Hillary to drop out,” Koch asserted last Friday. “I do not believe she’s playing the race card.” However, Hizzoner added, “Has she said anything that’s not true? It can be said that Obama will get 90 percent of the black vote. I don’t rule out anything that’s true. … There’s no question she’s the vast underdog,” Koch admitted. “It’s a decision she has to make. I would not ever call on anyone to drop out, and in her case — putting her own money where her mouth is to the tune of $11 million — it’s her decision.” Koch said Clinton’s having to pour so much of her own moulah into her campaign doesn’t indicate a failing bid, but rather is “a sign of intensity.” Former prominent Hillary backer George McGovern has said she should pack it in, while Senator Dianne Feinstein has asked to know exactly what Clinton’s plan is. “McGovern is like a hand from the grave,” Koch scoffed, saying he felt the former ’72 presidential candidate “destroyed the Democratic Party.”





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