Ron Rosenbaum

At Last, Somebody in Power takes on...

…”Freedom Tower”, that ill-conceived stupidly hubristic, terrorist target practice structure that is supposed to replace the World Trade Center, but which will in fact be painting a target on the backs of hapless middle class office workers and lower middle class service personnel forced to offer themselves up every day as targets.

I’ve been writing columns denouncing the blind foolishness of building this incessantly re-designed security nightmare for more than a year now in The New York Observer, and I’ve been joined by a couple more city colunmists including Kurt Andersen in New York Magazine. But this idiot project, The Emporer’s New Monument, is kept alive by the unwillingness of people to speak out and say “stop the madness”.

Would you wnat your child or spouse to work in Terrorist Target Number One, to endure daily strip-search, iris-scan level security as a price for huddling in an office equipped with untested bio-hazard filtration devices, waiting for the next attack?

But won’t forgoing “Freedom Tower” “let the terrorists win”? No: Acting with needless,heedless, painful stupidity for some bogus “symbolic” triumph that will tie up reoursces that could be used to protect the rest of the citizenry in a smart way, lets the terrorists win.

In its cheap “patriotic” gesture (it’s supposed to be 1776 feet tall! Won’t that make Osama hang his head in shame!) it is, in fact a entirely misconceived notion of what is an appropriate response to the WTC attacks, a blustery bone-headed knee jerk way of playing into the terrorists’ hands that is being pushed by a combination of glory seeking poltiicians, vain architects and greedy real estate developers.

But at last a public official has had the courage to speak out.

He’s Anthohy Coscia, the head of the New York/New Jersey Port Authority (when I was growing up we always used to call it the” Port of Authority”). The glory seeking politicos and vain architects and greedy real estate developers were counting on him to move his employees in as tenants of Dimwit Tower. (Because not a lot of corporations are stupid enough to want to put themelves in what will be the most dangerous building in the world, nor would it be easy to get insurance if they did, so the main projected tenants so far will be civil servants of one level of governmen or other).

So of course the Port Authority was supposed to offer up its hapless employees as a willing sacrifice. Either move or lose your jobs. If you want to know one source of my passion about this, it’s that my father used to work in the Empire State Building. So I have a natural sympathy for office workers like him subject to the whims of foolish bosses).

But just yesterday (9/18) Mr. Coscia finally said it: he’s not going to let his employees be used by the greedy glory seekers. ‘Twice these people [Port Authority employees who were hq-ed in the WTC] were the subjeject of… attack, and I am not going to ask them to move into that building. I’ll resign, but I won’t ask them to move into that building,” he told The Record of Hackensack, N.J. according to The New York Post

Tell Diogenes to call off the search: at last we’ve found an honest man!

There was some backing and filling afterward about it not being about “security” but about “the emotinal weight” of living in a place where your predecessors and co-werkers were murdered.

But now the cat’s out of the bag. Someone with more authority than mere columnists is telling the truth about this tragic fiasco in the making.

Maybe once again, because of Mr. Coscia’s courage, we can start calling it “the Port of Authority”