Letters to the Editor

They all died together

To The Editor:

Re “Denying my brother’s identity at the memorial,” (Talking Point by Mike Burke, June 26 – July 2):

Soon after the 9/11 tragedy that took my only brother, Kenneth Zelman, I was at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation offices early one morning for a vote. The topic? Whether there should be two 9/11 memorials — one for uniformed people, and the other for non-uniformed people. There was much tension, because it gave the impression of one group being more important than the other.

The L.M.D.C. voted against endorsing the idea. I was hoping that seven years later there would be few issues separating those who lost loved ones on 9/11.

Michael Burke’s article is about the need for recognition of rank for his brother as a firefighter on the W.T.C. Memorial. Will descriptions be just for the firefighters? Like the vote for separate memorials, one thing can lead to another and naming conventions is the start. Inscriptions along with title headings create a hierarchical list. Does my brother who was on the 99th floor of the North Tower working as a consultant for Oracle get labeled as a victim? He was no more a victim than the firefighters were.

The way I have always seen it is that there were two environments on 9/11, one below the impact zones, and one above the impacts zones. Most of the world after 9/11 would hear from those below the impacts, those able to communicate and tell the stories of the tragic events. The thousands who perished were trapped above the impacts and would never be heard. I have always thought of those trapped above the impact zones as the most heroic people on the planet. After the jets collided with the towers, these people had only themselves to count on. I also have the utmost respect for those fallen firefighters. Their courage was immeasurable.

It would be unfair to start playing semantics with labels by calling one group this and the other group that. Everyone who perished in the Trade Center should be honored equally at the W.T.C. Memorial. They died together on 9/11.

Barry Zelman

Deutsche’s keeper

To The Editor:

Ms. Shapiro’s expert report on the Deutsche Bank fire (news article, June 26 – July 2 “Deutsche investigation finds many more to blame” ) and resulting disciplinary action should once again remind us of the folly in over-relying on technology’s ability to protect us from disasters. All the information that computers, BlackBerries, and iPods provide lack one central component: humanity.

It brings to mind the biblical quote “…we are our brother’s keeper.” Unless all of us, and that includes political leadership, civil servants, business people, and John Q. Public, feel an obligation to one’s neighbors, co-workers, and work responsibility, such tragedies and worse will reoccur. All the rules, regulations, and laws will not protect us: only our diligent, caring selves can.

 John Brindisi

Express love

To The Editor:

This is a fan letter to say that I simply love the excellent choice of topics that you cover, how you write about them, and your veiled humor (UnderCover: “Phone Dustup,” June 12 – 18). 

So, thank you!

Christina Sun

Phone silliness

To The Editor:

Re “Phone dustup” (UnderCover, June 12 – 18):

I just read about a Gerson-Horowitz incident which apparently happened two weeks ago. My own experience with Mr. Horowitz about a week ago at a St. Joseph’s Church concert is that he’s got a nasty temper and has very little respect for women of whatever age. 

I have previously noted that Mr. Horowitz, perhaps because he is a psychologist, has an enormous need for attention. I shall therefore assume that Mr. Horowitz gave the story to you to boost himself for throwing a cell phone.

The whole article just indicates how silly things can get, how unruly Mr. Horowitz acted toward Sophie Gerson and how in need of publicity the Gleason campaign seems to be. So here’s a huzzah for Alan Gerson for his defense of his mother! And a Bronx cheer for the other guy.

Sylvia Rackow

Council race

To The Editor:

Your recent story on the Downtown Independent Democrats endorsement meeting, while highly entertaining reading for political junkies, focused on an endorsement that is likely to have very little impact on the outcome of the First District City Council race (news article, June 5 – 11, “Gerson loses Downtown club’s endorsement vote”).  Aside from the fact that incumbent Alan Gerson has received the endorsement of most of the other major political clubs, the D.I.D. vote was split down the middle, with Pete Gleason receiving slightly more than half of the votes. The overwhelming majority of those club members who voted for Gerson will continue to strongly support Gerson for re-election, including the undersigned, regardless of the D.I.D. vote.

There is also the broader issue of whether these club endorsements have any meaningful impact on the outcome of a political contest. I am very much a skeptic. I don’t know anyone in my neighborhood, Battery Park City, who decides which candidate to vote for based on whether some political club has endorsed him or her.

Pete Gleason seems to have the least applicable experience of any of the candidates for this Council seat. While his service in the Police and Fire departments is commendable, it is not adequate preparation for the Council, and Gleason seems to have very little experience in terms of service with community-based groups. When it comes to the real work of a councilmember — drafting legislation to benefit the district; obtaining funds for community amenities; working with government agencies to increase park space, open libraries, and deal with neighborhood nuisances; and providing individual assistance to constituents — Gerson has a solid record of accomplishment while Gleason is a blank slate.

Finally, it is disturbing that Gleason has a history of “dirty tricks.” For example, when Gleason expected that his opponent in the current Council race would be Julie Menin, he misappropriated certain Web site domain names containing Menin’s name by registering them himself, thereby preventing her from using them for her campaign Web site. Menin filed a complaint and an arbitration panel forced Gleason to return those domain names to Menin, the rightful owner. Incredibly, Gleason tried to blame Menin by arguing she should have foreseen it, but the panel characterized this blame-the-victim argument as “disingenuous.” 

Bill LoveOn Stonewall’s 40th, the Pride’s stronger than ever