Volume 22, Number 35 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 8 - 14, 2010
Letters to the Editor
Be like Ike
To The Editor:
Re “Terror is non-partisan” (letter by Allan Tannenbaum, Jan. 1 - 7):
When I read Mr. Tannenbaum’s letter I immediately reflected upon a 1961 speech by Republican president (and 5-star general) Dwight Eisenhower. In that remarkable speech Mr. Eisenhower said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military/industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
The upcoming trial of accused mass murderer Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is an exact case in point. It seems to me that as American citizens, we must never relinquish our right and responsibility to try and convict whoever would dare attack and kill us. A vital and free nation is not under the influence or control of the military. It must always be the other way around. Therefore the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in federal court in N.Y.C. is legally and morally right on.
Even more importantly, Mr. Eisenhower continued in his speech by saying “Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
That is not the voice of a bleeding heart. Not Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa or any of the other musical artists that Mr. Tannenbaum has so magnificently photographed. That is the simple voice of reason. I hope to hear it coming from all of us far more often as we go forward.
To the Editor:
In May of 2009, you published my letter wherein I criticized the thoughtless actions of Louis Caldera, who signed off on the “flyby” that sent many of us in Lower Manhattan back to the horror of 9/11. In that letter, I also pointed out that Mr. Caldera did not hold a monopoly on stupidity — that any government official who endorses holding high visibility terrorists on trial in Lower Manhattan puts needless additional risk on New York City. Now, a president who I voted for and an attorney general who is a fellow Stuyvesantian are insisting that the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse on Worth Street be the venue for the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
It is interesting to note how so many politicians who swore after 9/11 to do everything in their power to prevent another disaster in New York jumped on the Democratic bandwagon to support having the trials in New York. If we cannot even protect our president from party crashers or prevent a prime terrorist suspect from boarding a plane with explosives, how can anyone rooted in reality be able to claim that there is no added threat to New York City as a result of the trials? We talk about the unreasonable ideology that drives the terrorists to sacrifice themselves. How less unreasonable is an ideology that drives politicians to be willing sacrifice their own citizens?
We in Chatham Green have lived for over 8 years with post 9/11 “security measures” that are not only merely cosmetic — but have had a tremendous negative impact on our lives. We know the price of the illusion of security. Mr. President, if you are listening: Do not hold the trials here in Lower Manhattan.
Board Member, Chatham Green
Stuyvesant, Class of ‘75
To The Editor:
Regarding the 9/11 terrorist trials in Lower Manhattan, there is going to be a trial, most likely a federal trial. However, the police lockdown that will occur in our surrounding residential neighborhoods as a result is not required to be physically located in Lower Manhattan. Several residents and some of our local elected officials expressed this sentiment at a recent Community Board 1 meeting citing quality of life and increased safety concerns. I have represented the reasons for this in a resolution I introduced requesting a change of venue which will be voted on in an upcoming January C.B. 1 executive meeting (UnderCover, Dec. 25 – 31, “Terror Talk”). I would implore my fellow community board members to set aside their personal ideology and fulfill what I believe is our basic duty as community board members. To me, that is to simply look out for our neighbors’ welfare and support the resolution respectfully asking President Obama to reconsider the Lower Manhattan residential and small business neighborhoods as the venue for the 9/11 terrorist trials which will drastically affect our quality of life and safety. The president, not being from New York City, may not be aware of the real impact the extreme security measures over many months will have on the people who live and work Downtown. The Community Board 1 resolution that I am sponsoring may be a symbolic baby step to convince President Obama to reconsider a safer, non-residential venue for the trials. After all, history has shown us that a strength of a great leader is that they will change their mind when presented with a new or true set of facts. I hope that President Obama has this character trait.
Year of the pigeon
To The Editor:
It’s that happy time, the beginning of a new year, when we take thought for what we have done and what we have left undone, for those of us having much giving to those with less, and so on.
Wildlife in Tribeca — neighbors concerned with the other critters in our Downtown habitat — invites you to include some thought for the birds and other animals with which we share our part of town. All these animals make contributions to our community; even if they didn’t, they are still our collective responsibility. Many of them are descendants of animals we brought here. Others have had their proper homes destroyed, but have proven their adaptability by conforming to the exigencies of human habitat.
Most especially, they can be great fun: It takes a truly numb consciousness to miss seeing the charm of a squirrel begging for a treat, or to deny a row of pigeons lined up on a fence, hoping you might give each a half-peanut or a bit of seed.
Consider giving the critter of your choice a treat. Avoid the obvious, please: White bread from your sandwich is nutritionally worse for the animals than it is for you. A bit of bird seed, or some green lentils, or some unsalted dry-roasted peanuts make nice treats, especially on cold snowy or slushy days when ordinary foraging is truly hard. Don’t overdo it; a couple cups of seed for a group of birds is a generous contribution, and the birds will love you for it, and remember you — but won’t stop the foraging which is an important thing for them to do. A handful of peanuts, or lentils is good; more than that is too much. If you have more — come again tomorrow.
If you run across those rather sad folks who seem to think their own personal interests supervene their duty to find the felicity of others — people as often as critters, so some research suggests — and in the process, render themselves respectable as human beings, it is time to pity them. What miserable, unfulfilled lives they must lead, locked in their own tiny windowless worlds.
In short, please consider how you can be neighborly in the fullest sense to all your neighbors.
And: Have a splendid 2010.
Donald Jenner is a trustee of Wildlife in Tribeca
Alphie’s writing hits home
To The Editor:
Re “Silent night and Frank won’t be calling this year” (Downtown notebook by Alphie McCourt, Dec. 25 - 31):
Alphie McCourt reminds me of what good writing really is — personal, vulnerable sometimes, rings with truth. I loved this line: “It would take me many years to realize that the ideal, or the idealized Christmas, is all too often framed in someone else’s window.”