Thursday, March 22, 2007

NYC mayor asks Congress: Reopen 9/11 fund


1:21 p.m. March 21, 2007

WASHINGTON – The mayor of New York City asked Congress on Wednesday to reopen the government fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks – and spare his city the prospect of losing billions of dollars in related lawsuits.

The fund closed in December 2003, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a Senate panel that federal help is needed for those sickened years after the attacks.

“The mere fact that their injuries and illnesses have been slower to emerge should not disqualify them from getting the help that they need,” Bloomberg said.

Congress created the $7 billion September 11th Victim Compensation Fund soon after the attacks, and it immediately became the subject of intense debate among victims' family members and politicians for the rules by which it distributed money.

Bloomberg appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where Democrats have pledged to do more for sick ground zero workers than the Republican-controlled Congress did in past years.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long sought more federal aid for ground zero workers, said after the hearing that she is considering, but not committed to, reopening the fund.

The New York Democrat, who is also running for president, said Congress had no answers yet on exactly how such a fund would work or how much it would cost.

“We're looking at all of this,” she said. “Our goal is to try to get help to as many people as possible.”

The original federal aid package created a $1 billion insurance fund to cover injury claims by city workers and construction workers at the World Trade Center site, which was cak"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

MIKE KILLS 'SENSITIVE' 9/11 PROBE By SUSAN EDELMAN - Regionalnews - New York Post Online Edition

MIKE KILLS 'SENSITIVE' 9/11 PROBE By SUSAN EDELMAN - Regionalnews - New York Post Online Edition:
March 18, 2007 -- Mayor Bloomberg killed a study on the city's response to the 9/11 attacks after his lawyers said they did not want a report that cited any missteps or dealt with 'environmental' or 'respirator issues,' says a former city official.

City lawyers raised fears that the proposed 'after-action report' - which the U.S. Department of Justice had offered to fund - could lead to criticism and fuel lawsuits, David Longshore, former director of special programs for the city's Office of Emergency Management, told The Post.

'The Bloomberg administration acted to sweep any potential problems under the rug,' said Longshore, who was trapped in a loading dock outside the WTC while both towers collapsed. He later developed sinusitis and throat polyps and sued the city.

Longshore, who left his city job last year, showed The Post his work notes on internal OEM discussions with city lawyers in February 2003. His notes say the Law Department 'doesn't want a critical report' and 'does not want a report that says we did anything wrong.'"