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Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

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Rebuilding NYC






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"We In Lower Manhattan Are A Unified Community"



Alan Gerson, City Council Representative, District 1

"My name is Alan Gerson. I have the privilege and pleasure of serving and representing the Lower Manhattan community on the City Council. I also chair the City Counci Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Select Committee, and I might add that I'm a lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan.

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, I commend you for convening this meeting. The City Council will give its response to the LMDC proposals and blueprint in the weeks ahead. I am here primarily to join you in listening to the members of our community. I do want to set forth six basic parameters and principles on which I believe a community consensus exists.

First, we must rebuild as a democracy. It would be a travesty, if in the aftermath of an attack on our democracy, we circumvent our basic democratic procedures. I therefore call on the Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to adhere to the city's land use and environmental regulations. There is a difference between expedition and circumvention. Together we can expedite the process, while including the local elected government and maintaining the processes the elected governor has put in place as we honor the community.

Secondly, we must fully incorporate the families of the victims in the process of rebuilding. They must be an integral part of this consensus building process.

Thirdly, we must consider area residents and workers. Their health and safety must be the top priority, both in the rebuliding process and in who we help. All else must take place within that framework. The cleanup must go forward, and we can not tolerate late-night, all-night excessive noise or diesel emissions as the construction goes forward.

We must rebuild inclusively Chinatown and the Lower East Side. They are an integral part of our Lower Manhattan community.

We must develop a human services agenda. Let us not forget that we have young students who saw the towers fall down as they were evacuated. They need guidance and support services. Displaced workers need support. Our children have been suffering an excessive trauma. As part of our rebuilding agenda, let us work together to create a human services agenda.

And finally, let us recognize the diversity of Lower Manhattan as our strength. Let us put in place an infrastructure of diversity, both economic diversity -- with the World Financial Center, small business, new technology, manufacturing, and arts and culture -- and population diversity with new housing.

We in Lower Manhattan are a unified community. We're going to work with each other and speak for each other, and we look forward to working with you to achieve a unified and inclusive result."

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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