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Rebuilding NYC - Testimonies From The 2003 Public Hearings
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Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

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Rebuilding NYC






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Do The Land Swap Deal


Sally Regenhard, Skyscraper Safety Campaign

I am here because I want to acknowledge the fact that the majority of these people died needlessly. I want to thank the architects, I want to thank their concern for safety. I have founded the Skyscraper Safety Campaign in my son's memory, in the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died needlessly, and I must tell you, I am not concerned about how tall the buildings are. I am concerned about how safe the buildings are.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the elected officials of this city have to make a decision, the most important decision that you can make. After a suitable memorial that honors the lives and the deaths of those people, the most important decision you can make is about safety, and I am asking the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the elected officials, especially Governor Pataki and especially the Port Authority, to make a commitment that all new rebuilding of the World Trade Center will be under New York City building and fire codes.

The former World Trade Center was built with total immunity from federal state or city fire and building codes. We cannot allow this to happen again. We cannot allow any entity to be above the law. You must rebuild the World Trade Center within the law. That is what the people of this city deserve. They deserve safety, quality, security and New York City code compliance.

I'd like to finish by saying, if the Port Authority is unwilling or unable to rebuild the World Trade Center according to New York City building and fire codes within the legal jurisdiction, I call on them to get out of Ground Zero. Do the land swap deal, take over the airports. Give Ground Zero back to the people it belongs to, the people of the city of New York.

Laura Weinberg, Skyscraper Safety Campaign

I am speaking on behalf of my late husband Richard. Since contributing to Listening To The City, I learned where and how my husband died that day - on his way to his office in the Port Authority. And he died because of an incomplete evacuation of an unsound building that was under attack. The best memorial to my husband, who was a practical man, will be a safe place for occupants of a new structure on the site. The buildings that weathered one attack succumbed to a second. Let's not construct a monument to hubris, as someone said earlier. Let's recognize that in the second attempt it was in fact destroyed and that we can expect a third attack - if not now, in the next generation.

Rich was a student of history and international affairs and would ask that the memorial recognize that context historically. Be honest about what occurred without mincing words and protect and respect life. He was not vain, given to elaborate or costly monuments. He would want visitors to the memorial first to be safe. Second, for visitors to be welcomed with an easy path through the site. Third, for them to be able to appreciate the full historical context without equivocation. Fourth, he would not have shunned views of the bathtub, whose construction he witnessed and which fascinated him. Nor would he want the site to disrupt the path of mass transit. As he was very proud of his association with his employer, I would suggest that, except where families ask not to have the affiliation be stated, that there be opportunity for police, fire and Port Authority and other employers to have their deceased grouped together.

But most important, in his name, I ask the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to engineer the new structures to the highest building codes nationally, not to what is considered feasible. Take the time to insure the safety and security of downtown and the evacuation possibilities for the new structures. Massive buildings that can not be evacuated are folly. And I would ask that you make the place one for contemplation and for the safety of those involved.

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