Volume 22, Number 54 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 21 - 27, 2010
From our archives
In May 2004, the 9/11 commission, a group of 10 federal, bipartisan officials, including Bob Kerrey, former Nebraska senator and president of the New School, almost unanimously agreed that New York should take priority over the rest of the country when it came to receiving counter-terrorism funds.
“Kerrey and most of the other commissioners said it was essential that the city get more anti-terror funds from Washington since most of the witnesses said New York remained the most likely target,” wrote Rogers.
“God help Congress and the administration if for a third time the city is attacked, and more people die, and we’re left again with hearings,” said commissioner Kerrey.
Six years later, the Obama administration cut anti-terrorism funding for transit and port protection by roughly 25 percent each. Ironically, Omaha, Nebraska is set to receive more counter-terrorism funding.
Tom Ridge, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “said the Bush administration was trying to increase the funding for the city,” Rogers wrote while present at the 9/11 commission, which was appointed by former President George W. Bush and a select group of Democrats who studied the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“Mayor Bloomberg said that New York ranked 49th out of 50 states in per capita Homeland Security funds and blamed the problem on Congress calling it ‘pork barrel politics at its worst,’” reported Rogers.
Today, the mayor remains frustrated with New York City’s place on the priority list in terms of receiving anti-terrorism money. “The real issue is this city is a target and we don’t get our fair share ... if you start counting the risks,” said Bloomberg on Monday, according to the Washington Post.
Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, agrees with Bloomberg in his criticism of the DHS. “Any money that has not been used is because it’s being held up in their bureaucracy … Do you really think Mayor Bloomberg would be holding $275 million in the bank?,” he said on FOXNews.com.
Families and widows of deceased loved ones that attended the emotional meeting six years ago heard discussion of failed communication between the New York Police Department and New York Fire Department, outraging some in particular.
“Sally Regenhard, whose son was a firefighter killed on 9/11, held up ‘lies’ and ‘fiction’ signs during the hearings. She said she was outraged that the officials weren’t more willing to acknowledge communication breakdowns. ‘It was the greatest failure and for them to say everything was hunky dory was outrageous,’ Regenhard said,” wrote Rogers.
Those present at the 9/11 commission viewed graphic footage of the plane crash, bringing some to tears.
“Ann Marie Mauro, whose brother died in the attack, said she had never heard the sounds of the plans hitting the buildings until watching Tuesday’s video. ‘It just went though my body,’ she said,” wrote Rogers.
“‘The whole thing of the rescuers – the Fire Dept. got me,’ Wolf said in the hallway at New School University, site of the hearing. ‘The fact that they went in so selflessly,’” Rogers reported.
— Compiled by Michael Mandelkern