Learning the lessons of good children’s coaches

Volume 17 • Issue 30 | Dec. 17 – 23, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Grow up and pay to park

To The Editor:

There are few worse disappointments than public-spirited citizens advocating for their own narrow interest. And so the nascent campaign by Downtown activists and environmentalists for more free car parking (“The art of parking in Soho,” news article, Dec. 10 -16) is disappointing news indeed.

Your reporter (who did a terrific job, by the way) quoted one resident whining that parking has always been a headache. But a Web search using Verizon’s SuperPages finds 84 parking lots and garages in the five prime Soho/Village zip codes (10011 through 10014 plus 10003). To walk a few blocks to a parking lot is a headache?

Oh, how stupid of me, the fellow meant that [ital] free [unital] parking is a headache. And so it is. So is getting a free meal. Or scoring a couple of free movie passes. Or finding a 20 on the sidewalk.

Part of being a grownup is paying for what you use and not bellyaching about it. And part of being a community leader is standing for something more than yourself. More free parking Downtown will simply bring more cars, to everyone’s detriment.

You want free parking? Move to the suburbs.

Charles Komanoff

9/11 families

To The Editor:

Re “W.T.C. name debate resurfaces” (news article, Dec. 3 – 9):

I find it hard to believe that Kevin Rampe, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., could find it so easy to dismiss the concerns of hundreds of 9/11 families on how their loved ones will be remembered. “They’re negotiating with themselves if they’re negotiating,” he said.

“They” include families of Cantor Fitzgerald. Common decency should compel you to listen to a Cantor Fitz family on 9/11, even if they do have the audacity to disagree with you.

“We put that issue to bed a long time ago,” Rampe said, meaning how the names of the perished will be listed is done. “The mayor and the governor have been very clear on that.”

Well, good for them. How many loved ones did the mayor and the governor lose on 9/11? What sacrifices did they make? And why do they want to deny so many facts of 9/11 at the memorial? Real estate values?

This is the issue: Gov. Pataki’s memorial will list the names of all who died on 9/11 randomly and most with no further identification. No visitor to the memorial will know who died at the W.T.C., in the towers or on the flights, at the Pentagon or in Pennsylvania. There will be no age and there were many children on the flights, including a class of D.C. sixth graders on a National Geographic sponsored trip. That will remain unknown. Children will be separated from parents. Spouses parted. Siblings, many of whom worked at Cantor Fitz, will be separated. Such as Lisa and Samantha Egan who shared a “flyer of the missing.” “I know my girls are together,” their father said. Not at Pataki’s memorial.

Ed Beyea and Abe Zelamanowitz were co-workers at Empire Blue Cross. Beyea was a quadriplegic and Abe his friend who did not leave his side. They died together. Beyea and Zelmanowitz could end up on opposite sides of the memorial.

Names pulled from a hat and stuck on a wall.

Here’s what those chattering nabobs negotiating with themselves want: a memorial that has meaning and honor. That respects the truth of 9/11 and actually uses the facts to express that truth.

List the names by tower, floor, employer, flight, place of attack and in the case of the first responders, by department, precinct, company and rank.

Crazy isn’t it? Of course, this is how the fliers, the first spontaneous memorials were done. Created and posted by the families themselves, they included all these facts, starkly told. Nothing was more distinct or individual. There was no hierarchy or rank

Patkai’s memorial would ignore all this, under some bizarre pretense that the truth of 9/11 can best be told by ignoring most of it.

Nowhere would the insult be greater than for the first responders, whom the Governor has offered a “shield” beside their name and nothing else, as if the way to properly honor such sacrifice is possibly open to compromise. It is a disgraceful and cowardly stance, one that has caused great and unnecessary anguish for scores of family members.

Since, what we want is in fact, what the majority of families want, and the site was where our loved ones were killed, we have no idea why they just don’t do it. That has never been explained to us. Then again, we are just talking to ourselves.

On Sept. 11, my brother, Capt. William F. Burke Jr. of Eng. 21, from the inside of Tower One and aware of the collapse of Tower Two, telephoned a friend. She begged him to be safe. He was with Ed Beyea and Abe Zelmanowitz. He replied, “I have a job to do.” These are his last known words.

Billy was equal to the job before him that day (all the men of Eng. 21 survived). Gov. Pataki and the L.M.D.C. have proven themselves to be utterly inadequate for the job of properly remembering and honoring the events and people of 9/11. It is time that that job was taken from them.

Michael Burke

Bronx, N.Y.

WWW Downtown Express

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