Friday, February 26, 2010

Scenes from the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown NYC 2010 - CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Photos property of CCRC, may not be copied or distributed without expressed written permission. Thank you.

Governor Paterson's representative George Hu and Councilmember Margaret Chin

Organization of Chinese Americans

P.J. Kim and Jean Grillo

LGBT contingent for the first time in the Lunar New Year Parade

Comedy troupe Notorious M.S.G.

The Columbus Park Music Club

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Comptroller John Liu

Senator Chuck Schumer

Senator Daniel Squadron

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Daily News reporter labels Chinatown Grassroots protesters of the 9/11 terror trials "chickens"

Shame on The Daily News for allowing their columnist Patrice O'Shaughnessy  to publish her article labeling The Civic Center Residents , the neighbors of the Moynihan Court House, and the entire Chinatown community as "chickens" for protesting against the decision to have the terror trials in Chinatown.

"A flock of feral hens and a rooster in the Bronx made the headlines last week for their hardiness, roaming the streets of Highbridge.The persevering poultry could teach a thing or two about resilience to chickens throughout the city."
CCRC: Ms. O'Shaughnessy herself should take a cue about the resilience of Chinatown residents and its businesses. By now she should be aware that its the resilience of its residents and business owners that fueled the fight that turned its local politicians around from their decisions about the 9/11 trials.  We're amazed that Ms. O'Shaughnessy is a "columnist" given her lack of research abilities and blatant ignorance. Perhaps if she removed herself from behind her keyboard and actually met someone from Chinatown she would understand the character and fierceness of its residents who stood strong during the months and years following the attacks of 9/11/01 a mere 14 blocks away.
"The chickens were clucking that the area around the courthouse and financial district would be turned into an armed camp." 

CCRC: Ms. O'Shaughnessy belittles the residents and activsts who heard the security plans straight from the Police Commissioner and, understanding what was to come, spread the news about the possible 3- year lock down condition, so reminiscent of 9/11/01 and the months after in Chinatown. Ms. O'Shaughnessy obviously doesn't live in the area surrounding ground zero, or in Chinatown, and sadly lacks the ability to empathize with those who experienced 9/11 first hand. Having lived in an "armed camp" during the months and years following 9/11 Chinatown understands exactly what that experience is like,    Only an ignorant idealogue wears blinders while name calling from behind a keyboard, now THAT is a chicken.

"The chickens' alarm was fueled by real estate bigwigs who got wind there would be inconvenience, and they might lose business."

CCRC: The alarm from the residents (lion hearted and fierce and hardly chickens) was fueled not only from the possible loss in real estate value (which anyone who owns property and pays real estate TAXES to NYC has a right to fear) , but the reality of psychological trauma from prolonged lock down conditions, and the unnatural presence of Hercules and Atlas special forces teams in their neighborhood. The legitimate alarm felt by residents and business owners in Chinatown stemmed from a first hand knowledge of what it was like to try to exist in an environment while living under extreme security measures. Ms. O'Shaughnessy's really showing her profound ignorance when she reduces 2000 barricades, sharp shooters on rooftops next to schools and churches, bag and body searches of residents, loss of car parking for three years, and the possibility of increased emergency response times as "inconvenience" to Chinatown.

"But the chickens had been incessantly fed the notion that the city would somehow become more of a target than it is already, serving as the bull's eye for Islamic jihadists from the day they leave the cradle."

CCRC: Again Ms. O'Shaughnessy hides behind the keyboard and smacks out her rhetoric safely ensconced in her bubble of ignorance because she is not living in between the Manhattan Correctional Facility ,on the already-closed Park Row , where Kalid Sheik Mohammed would be incarcerated while awaiting trial, and the Moynihan Court house where he and four other terrorist suspects would be tried. It is not her children would who lose the use of their neighborhood park, and it's not her family who be "inconvenienced" (by being patted down and having their bags and ritual offerings searched) at their weakest moment - while attending traditional Chinese funerals across the street from the Moynihan Court house in any of the three funeral parlors on Mulberry St. 

It sounds as though the only one being "fed" something is Ms. O'Shaughnessy and that something is her own special brand of ignorance, racism, and self righteousness. Had Ms. O'Shaughnessy actually met the real life people who came out in subfreezing temperatures, took vacation days to attend protest rallies, wrote letters, and lobbied politicians she might understand just how profoundly stupid she is for writing this drivel that the Daily News chose to print.

Write to the author at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

While Bridges are built between downtown communities, an eery silence from Community Board 3 leadership

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2010 (orignal posting date) (recently updated with responses by Dominic Pisciotta, CB3 chair)

Community Board 3 's leadership in Manhattan remains deaf, blind and mute during the most important
issue facing lower Manhattan and Chinatown in decades.

While bridges have been built between communities to the south and west of Chinatown during the battle to relocate the terror trials out of Lower Manhattan, Community Board 3 which includes the Daniel Patrick Moynahan U.S. Federal Courthouse and Chinatown where the terror trials would have been held, has remained strangely silent.
CB1 Representatives Marc Ameruso and John Fratta, as well as Julie Menin (Chair of CB1), crossed community boundaries to work together with residents and businesses to convince local, state and federal agencies to remove a terror trial, thereby averting financial and residential lock down of several communities.
However, the conspicuous conspiracy of silence from Community Board 3's Dominic Pisciotta and district manager Susan Stetzer was deafening. This works in Mayor Bloomberg's favor when he makes statements referring to the use of Governor's Island as a possible location for the trials as "the dumbest idea" he has heard. Yes, silence from your community board in these times can be deadly.
The silence has not gone unnoticed. Several journalists and our local residents have asked me what Community Board 3 has said in response to holding the terror trials in our neighborhood, and when I tell them, "nothing" they are surprised. While we were waiting to go on air for the HUCKABEE national news show to discuss the 9/11 trials on Friday, Communitiy Board 1 Chair Julie Menin even said "Chinatown is not even in our district - have you heard from Dominic?" Sadly, no one has.
Community Board 3 leadership needs change. Our community and indeed all of Manhattan dodged a bullet in recent weeks. In these times, "with friends like these - who needs enemies?"
Jan Lee

Since this posting Dominic Pisciotta wrote to me, included in that note was this statement which is encouraging, since before this , there was no mention to anyone in the community that CB3 had any plans to acknowledge the CB1 resolution:

"FYI, we will be presenting and most likely adopting CB 1's resolution in our Executive Committee meeting this month. This is the typical process for how community boards work together. See my other comments in the response." - Dominic Pisciotta

the following is a response in full by Dominic Pisciotta , Chair of CB3 with comments by Jan Lee 2/8/10


Since Jan Lee seems to be playing very loose with facts, I feel the need to provide some.

Fact #1: The Court where the trials themselves were to be held is located in Community Board 1 (CB 1), not CB 3. A large chunk of the “soft-security zone” is located in CB 3.

Lee :
According to CB3’s map the court where the trial would be held (Moynihan Federal Court Building) is located inside the border of CB3, not CB1 .Mr. Pisciotta acknowledges a major portion of the affected area is in CB3, yet no statements have been made from CB3 leadership.

Fact #2: Mr. Lee posted this entry two days after he and I sat across the table from each other at a presentation given by Commissioner Kelly, which is the first time I have been given any details of the security plan.

Anyone with their eye on local politics, let alone our CB#3 leader, would have known way before the NYPD detailed their security plan on January 29, 2010 that a large part of CB#3 would be under severe military lockdown if the terror trials were held in Lower Manhattan. We first raised the alarm during the first Chinatown Working Group town hall meeting last June, 2009 before representatives of most of our elected leadership and community board, that we feared the terror trials were coming to
Lower Manhattan and that elected officials in other states were raising their objections. Again at a steering committee meeting last fall of 2009, a steering committee member of Chatham Towers raised this concern a second time. When the announcement became official in mid November, our community initiated mobilization, including a town hall, extensive news stories in the Downtown Express, Tribeca Trib( ) and a steady drum beat of protest letters began to saturate local community papers in early December. The Chinese media in particular gave this subject extensive coverage. For the leader of our community board to feign ignorance of these events until the NYPD Police Commissioner made a formal, detailed presentation confirming everyone's worst fears, does not speak well for CB3 where the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Federal Courthouse, the proposed trial site, and huge residential complexes lies within its jurisdiction.

Pisciotta :
Saying that I have been silent on this issue is completely false. I discussed the issue at Community Board 3’s Executive meetings in both December and January and the General Board meetings in January (

At Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s presentation of the Security Plan, which included Q&A, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cautioned those present that “it’s not over, I don’t suggest we celebrate just yet”.Commissioner Kelly began the presentation with “This is the plan we hope we never have to use”.

Although CB3 Chairman Dominic Pisciotta did attend the meeting, he remained silent in front of the NYPD Commissioner when the floor was open for questions. It is unconscionable and a dereliction of duty that Mr. Pisciotta didn’t have a single question to ask on behalf of the CB3 community or the community board, so it is disappointing for Mr. Pisciotta to rewrite history and now claim that he spoke up.

The presentation which lasted over 30 min. outlined in extreme detail the security plan that would take effect for the Civic Center and Chinatown area should the trials proceed as planned. To describe this security plan as extreme would be an understatement. It was projected that Chinatown would be a militarized encampment for years. Representatives from the Chinatown community, ChathamTowers and Chatham Green, as well as Downtown Alliance, and Century21 department stores all made comments and questioned NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly

In the past Mr. Pisciotta was quick to write a letter to the editor of Downtown Express to publicly reprimand the highly esteemed community traffic engineer who was hired by CB3 to analyze and make recommendations regarding the proposed Chatham Square Reconstruction Chinatown ( We assume the Chair’s letter was NOT approved or vetted by a full community board vote, showing that indeed at times the Board Chair and District Manager do “go rogue” when they see it necessary to do so.

Additionally, the only conspiring Susan Stetzer and I have done on this issue is coordinating the invites to multiple meetings and task forces we have been asked to be a part of as well as our top concerns of impacts to the community that we feel need to be addressed. I brought up two of these items with Commissioner Kelly after his presentation and which Mr. Lee and others from the CCRC heard as well.

No one from CCRC is aware of any items brought forth by Dominic to Commissioner Kelly before , during or after the presentation.

Fact #3: Despite literally shockingly ZERO community residents coming to Community Board 3 with concerns over the trial, I have been concerned and have had discussions with Ms. Menin both in our December Borough Board meeting and since. In any case, we generally would not vote on an issue that is located mostly in CB 1 until after that board takes a position.


Whatever the reasons why “zero community residents” came to CB3 ( a claim which is patently false) with concerns over the trial, it remains troubling that the chair of a community board sits around and waits until someone brings to his attention the most threatening, most damaging, most severe state of “lock down” ever to be considered in any American city since 9/11/01 before he would act. Many residents and businesses were mobilizing since mid November 2009 and this had been covered in local newspapers. A CB1 board member, Marc Ameruso, read about Chatham Towers' and Chatham Green's Terror Trial Town Hall meeting in the press and drove through the neighborhood at night alerting residents to his board's next meeting, the following day.

Fact #4: Ms. Menin has done a phenomenal job taking charge on this and I give her tremendous kudos for what she has helped to move so quickly in the last two weeks. In fact, the Borough President asked to get a better handle on the details before scheduling it for a full Borough Board (all CB’s in Manhattan) vote.

Clearly all of CB1 deserves “kudos.” CB1 has distinguished itself as a community board who, after hearing testimony and being sometimes divided over this issue, came together to support the local citizens and businesspeople who live, work, and raise their families near the terror trial site which is largely in CB3. As Chair of a Community Board, a community expects a heightened sense of awareness, a desire to help, and a network from which to draw in times of crisis in the community. Mr. Pisciotta relies instead on a fellow Board Chair, rather than a tried and true network of dozens of community members and several Asian American Community Board members to which to turn to make decisions on the “emergency” nature of the matter at hand.

Fact #5: Ms. Menin and I determined that my calling an emergency Community Board 3 Executive and/or full board meeting to support the CB 1 resolution was probably not necessary. I will introduce it at our February Executive meeting and if passed, will be voted on by the full Board the next week. That’s not silence or inaction.

Though corresponding with Board 1’s Chair is the obvious route in matters concerning a “lock down” and “frozen zones” affecting and existing in both community board jurisdictions, the Chair of CB3 Mr. Pisciotta decided that an emergency meeting was “probably not necessary”. After meeting with Ray Kelly and presented with the extreme measures that were planned to be taken for security for the terror trials, and the lock-down military style methods planned to be used and endured by local CB3 citizens – Dominic Pisciotta, after consulting only with the Chair of another Community Board, felt it was NOT an emergency.
While community members work hard over safety issues, as I have done in numerous occasions, I wonder exactly what it would take for Mr. Pisciotta to call an emergency meeting of the Board if not this?Have we become so inundated with “frozen zones” and “lockdowns”, sharpshooters and metal barricades that Mr. Pisciotta felt it unnecessary to move on the opportunity to bolster support to move the trials elsewhere? Why did he rely on the opinion of one person when he has over fifty members on the Community Board to call upon?
When presented with the choice of action (calling an emergency meeting) or silence, unfortunately Mr. Pisciotta made the wrong and irresponsible decision. As of this week, Whitehouse spokesman Gibbs has stated that “NYC is not off the table”. To me, this constitutes a state of emergency for Chinatown and the Civic Centerresidential and commercial area.

Fact #6: Considering the Board’s limited resources, I would rather spend my own and the Board’s time focusing on responding to facts and details, so that we can make informed recommendations, not getting into a tit-for-tat with either the Mayor or Mr. Lee.


The comments made by the Mayor were not considered “tit for tat” by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver :

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lambasted the mayor's comments as close-minded and tactless. He, along with Congressman Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilmember Margaret Chin released a joint statement Friday in condemnation.
“We were extremely disappointed by Mayor Bloomberg’s callous dismissal yesterday of a potential alternative location for the upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the statement read. "His comments in the Downtown Express ... [demonstrate] a lack of sensitivity and understanding for the significant toll the trial may exact on the residents and small businesses of Lower Manhattan.". By JENNIFER MILLMAN

…and I don’t presume to hold the same importance to Mr. Pisciotta as the Mayor does, but it is noteworthy that, while elected officials who represent the Chinatown constituents came out in force against the Mayor’s comment, both the chair and district manager of Community Board 3 chose to remain silent. Writing letters to the editors of local papers hardly exhausts “limited resources” in fact I would argue that silence is the root cause of “limited resources”. I refer again to the letter written about the traffic engineer who was slammed by the Chair in a letter to the editor, it’s sad that his “limited resources” were spent slamming the one engineer working on the side of the community.

I would think that after Mr. Lee served on the Board’s Outreach Committee a few years ago that he would understand the process for engaging the Board by now.

Mr. Pisciotta’s correct in that I do understand the process, both from working as an advocate for transportation issues and street safety and working successfully to abolish the illegal practice of placard parking abuse in my area. I also learned from a previous chairman that when faced with a deficit of local opinions on any given subject he would reach out and interact immediately. It was another Chair and another time, when a “call to action” was motivating. Sadly there is no call to action from this Chair, only a call for silence.

However, it is clear that he was more focused on his fiefdom than including all of the neighborhoods encompassed by CB 3 and did not pay attention to or have any interest in building anymore bridges than his own.

It is interesting that Mr. Pisciotta paints me as a person building a fiefdom, yet he has no evidence to back up this claim, nor can he point to any end to my supposed means. I have no army, I have no followers, and I don’t’ aspire to be anything more than a citizen and an advocate for the neighborhood I live in and love.

In January I established an Outreach Taskforce that will be headed by Gigi Lee. It is my hope that community members will learn how to interact with the CB more and vice-versa. It was the mission of the Outreach Committee, when Mr. Lee was a member, to do this before, however, the Board did not meet that goal, so we’re trying again.

Mr. Pisciotta again is correct that the Board did not meet its goal in providing outreach to the community as evidenced by the need to for the Chinatown Working Group. CWG was formed as a direct result of CB3’s lack of outreach in the zoning issue, however the success of the outreach for transportation related issues, of which I was, along with several other well known volunteers, responsible for reaching tens of thousands of people in Chinatown through town halls, newsletters, and two video documentaries I worked on.

I invite Mr. Lee to come back to the open Executive and Full Board meetings to reacquaint himself with how to bring issues to the board and to contact me and/or the office regarding his concerns. Why he has taken the time to write this blog entry instead of picking up the phone and reaching out to me for the first time since we have met is beyond me.

Mr. Pisciotta is either mistaken or conveniently forgetting that for the first two years serving as chair he and I met on numerous occasions while I worked on, among other things, a special task force for the Chatham Square Reconstruction Project and related construction projects such as the Brooklyn Bridge rehab. affecting Chinatowntransportation.

Though Mr. Pisciotta has entrusted Gigi Lee with a task force of her own, she too has followed suit and failed to interact with the community (despite being one of the very few , if not the only Board member who lives in Chinatown) even after weekly press coverage in the Chinese press.

Mr. Pisciotta’s outreach task force with Gigi at the helm must do what local activists have been doing to gain traction in the community: go door to door and inform, educate and advocate for the community. So far both Gigi and the task force he speaks of is unknown in Chinatown.

It doesn’t seem productive or even the proper representation CCRC needs in this “bridge building” effort. I think the answer probably lays more in the fact that he is seeking to emulate Tea Party activism by fabricating an issue to get his way rather than to work with a completely sympathetic Board. He just needs to make the effort himself.

If Mr. Pisciotta regards my comments about himself and District Manager as isolated and self motivated then he should listen more to his own Board, his community, and his elected officials when they all were asking “Where was Communitiy Board 3

The suggestion that I am the sole voice who is commenting on this silence speaks to the Chair’s naiveté. No one is fabricating an issue if community Board 3 is completely absent from any and all public discourse with regard to the Terror Trials. To this day the Chair has made no public comment either way on this issue. This is not a fabrication.

In contrast to what Mr. Pisciotta thinks, I would argue that this has been tremendously productive, in that the Chair of Community Board 3 has finally spoken, and that one would assume through his newly formed task force, this platform has given this new vehicle the needed publicity it needs for its launch into Chinatown.

In light of the Chair’s recent announcement via email, “FYI, we will be presenting and most likely adopting CB 1's resolution in our Executive Committee meeting this month. This is the typical process for how community boards work together.” -  Dominic Pisciotta, it stands to reason that even with “literally shockingly ZERO community residents coming to Community Board 3 with concerns over the trial” Mr. Pisciotta can still in some way bring support to Board 1’s resolution as he says he is doing this month. 
The question remains, if he can do it this month with still zero community input as he claims,  why then could he not have called an emergency meeting of the full board two months ago with the same alleged “literally shockingly ZERO” community input and adopt the resolution in conjunction with Board 1 weeks ago?
In response to Mr. Pisciotta saying Jan Lee “just need to make an effort” I believe that contributing to a dozen news articles, a national T.V. appearance, countless volunteer hours of planning press conferences and rallies more than qualifies for “making in effort” I am disappointed that Mr. Pisciotta sees otherwise. 
I am in agreement with Mr. Pisciotta, all community boards rely on interaction from the community. One way to ensure that interaction takes place is to reach out to well established networks within the community by the Board’s leadership. A Chair need not posit an opinion, but one should at the very least rally his community, his board, and himself to respond when matters of national and international proportions face tens of thousands of residents and businesses in the district he serves.

To have relied on one person (CB1 Chair), as he said he did, is an misuse of his position. I sense that Mr. Pisciotta probably thought he was doing the right thing in asking for advice from another Board Chair, unfortunately he stopped short of reaching out to the actual community that would be under siege. If that community was in a state of panic, and rallying it’s own “troops” to the front line of the debate, then Mr. Pisciotta’s role was not to lay back but to motivate his own Board to action.

With the city Council about to hear a resolution coauthored by Councilperson Margaret Chin on February 10th at 1:pm, it is my hope that myself and Mr. Pisciotta, along with many Board members who have worked on so many Chinatown issues can indeed work together on supporting this resolution (with some modification) , along with Community Board 1’s resolution against the terror trials in NYC, so that we can ensure a safe and vibrant community in which we can continue to live. I urge Mr. Pisciotta to speak up and join the effort NOW to ensure that the trials will be moved from lower Manhattan.

–Jan Lee

Monday, February 8, 2010

City Council Resolution on Terror Trials - Wed., Feb. 10th 2010, Sign up and Speak Out!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm
Council Chambers at City Hall. Open to the public for attendance & testimony.

President Obama - NYC for the terror trial location? "I haven't ruled it out"

The Super Bowl Interview:

KATIE COURIC Have you ruled out trying confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in New York City?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have not ruled it out, but I think it's important for us to take into account the practical, logistical issues involved. I mean, if you've got a city that is saying no, and a police department that's saying no, and a mayor that's saying no, that makes it difficult.

You can call or write to the President:

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Please include your e-mail address

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What you can do to get the Terror Trials on the Community Board 3 agenda: call and write your community board

community board 3 (Chinatown and Lower East Side)
Call Community Board 3 to support the resolution to remove the 9/11 terror trials from NYC, and to voice your concerns over the terror trials. 

As of today Sunday Feb. 7 '10
President Obama said "NYC is still a consideration
for the terror trials"

"To this date, NO ONE has contacted the CB 3 Office or me with concerns, though I'm sure everyone has them, as do I" - Dominic Pisciotta, Chair CB3

Executive Committee
Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 6:30pm
Community Board 3 Office, 59 East 4th Street
Community Board 3, Full Board MeetingTuesday, February 23, 2010 - 6:30pm
PS 20 - 166 Essex Street, (E Houston & Stanton Sts)

it is very important for community members to 
show up in person and sign up to speak.

 call Community Board 3 at 212-533-5300 
or visit the website at
email the Chair:

February 16th is the last day for community members to submit March agenda items.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

TRIBECA TRIB Coverage of the press conference - "Move the terror Trials"

Residents to Feds: Make a Decision and Move the Sept. 11 Trials



Residents of Chatham Towers and Chatham Green, on the western edge of Chinatown, rally against the federal governments plan to prosecute accused terrorists linked to Sept. 11 in a courthouse next to their apartments.
Residents of Chatham Towers and Chatham Green, on the western edge of Chinatown, rally against the federal government's plan to prosecute accused terrorists linked to the Sept. 11 attacks in a courthouse near their apartments.
For almost three months, a growing coalition of Lower Manhattan residents has been pleading with the federal government to abandon its plan to hold trials for five suspected terrorists linked to the Sept. 11 attacks in a Downtown courthouse, mere feet from their apartments.

Emboldened by a recent surge of political support for their cause, the group assembled again Friday afternoon to demand an answer from federal officials planning the trials.

“The true cost of the terror trials will be on the backs of people who live and work here,” said Jeanie Chin, one of the group’s leaders. Chin is among hundreds of residents living at Chatham Towers, the apartment complex next door to the Moynihan Federal Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street. The courthouse, on the western edge of Chinatown, is the designated venue for the trials of Khalid Sheik Muhammad and other suspected Sept. 11 terrorists are to be held. 

“We are the people who did not bow to terrorism, and chose to stay here after 9/11,” Chin said during a rally held Feb. 5 next to a playground in Columbus Park, and across the street from the courthouse. “What about justice for the people who live in Lower Manhattan?”

The rally followed several days of silence from the White House and Department of Justice on what had been widely reported to be a decision to relocate the trials. Last month, responding to mounting pressure from local elected officials and community leaders—including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Charles Schumer—a Justice Department spokesman said the agency would consider alternate locations in the state for the trials. Reports that the Lower Manhattan site had been scrapped entirely were followed by comments by two top White Officials earlier this week that no such determination had been made.

“I’ve seen the [press] reports, but we’ve made no decisions on that yet,” senior White House advisor David Axelrod said Jan. 31 on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Obviously, we need to take into account the concerns of the local authorities in New York, and we will do so.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union” later that day, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also offered no assurances the trials would be moved.

"We understand their logistical concerns and their security concerns that are involved,” Gibbs said. “We have been discussing that with [officials in New York].”

The next day, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grinder told reporters at a budget briefing that the plan for Lower Manhattan was “not off the table.”
Chatham Towers resident Jeanie Chin, one of the rally's organizers, addresses reporters gathered in Columbus Park, across the street from the Moynihan Federal Courthouse.
Chatham Towers resident Jeanie Chin, one of the rally's organizers, addresses reporters gathered outside Columbus Park, across the street from the Moynihan Federal Courthouse.
Since Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled plans to prosecute the accused terrorists in Lower Manhattan in November, residents near the federal courthouse and detention center have warned that their neighborhood would be transformed into a military stronghold. Those fears were confirmed Jan. 19, as Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly laid out key elements of his department’s extensive, $200-million-a-year plan to safeguard Lower Manhattan against the threat of a terrorist attack during the trials. Police officials have devised a security plan for the terror trials that would place the apartment complexes of Chatham Towers and Chatham Green within a highly restricted “ hard zone,” bounded by Worth, Madison, Pearl and Centre Streets.

In an interview with the Trib late last month, Chin insisted that her group’s protests would not stop until federal officials declared unequivocally that trials had been moved. Friday afternoon, with pieces of paper reading “Hard Zone Prisoner” pinned to their coats and waving signs adorned with red bulls-eyes, she and other residents made the first of what they said would be many public stands against the trials’ location.

“We still don’t have an answer,” Chatham Towers resident Danny Chen said during the Feb. 5 rally. “If you were living next to it, you wouldn’t want it on the table. Until we get a definitive answer, we will continue to be here and we will continue to do this.” 

The department’s plan called for the area to be surrounded on all sides by more than 2,000 metal barriers, restricting pedestrian and vehicle access. Sharpshooters would be placed on rooftops to guard against enemy snipers, while assault and canine teams would patrol the ground and police helicopters would constantly hover overhead.

“We cannot have the terrorists’ trials here,” said City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who earlier this week co-authored a council resolution urging federal officials to reconsider the trials’ location. 

“We cannot allow our neighborhood to live through the nightmare of 9/11 and the devastation of our community,” Chin said. “We have to stand strongly and say, ‘No!’” 

Community Board 1 member Marc Ameruso, one of the first non-Chinatown residents to take up the cause of moving the trials, said he was convinced the group’s demands could only be met by its highest authority, President Barack Obama. At the press conference, Ameruso implored the President to side with the residents.

“There’s a human face to this,” Ameruso said. “Look at the people here. Look at the human face of this. Please, Mr. President, get these trials out of New York. Make a decision, already.”

Daily News Coverage of the Press conference across the street from the Court House FEb. 6 2010

Residents protest holding 9/11 terror trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York

Saturday, February 6th 2010, 4:00 AM
Protesters rail agains rholding 9/11 terror trial of alleged mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York.
Protesters rail agains rholding 9/11 terror trial of alleged mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York.
Lower Manhattan residents will feel they're "living in a war zone" - again - if the 9/11 terror trials are held there, protesters said Friday.
As debate continues over where to try alleged terror mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, neighbors of the federal courthouse urged the Obama administration to take the trial - and the potential risk and heavy security it would entail - somewhere else.
The Justice Department is looking at other options because New York officials complained strenuously about the disruption and security costs.
Some residents said having the trial here would punish those who chose not to flee New York after the 2001 attacks.
Jeanie Chin of the Civic Center Residents Coalition said the area is already coping with added security and surveillance since the attacks.
"[We] suffered the street shutdowns, lockdowns, rerouting of traffic, bomb-sniffing dogs on our corner," Chin said. "The true cost of the terror trials is going to be [placed] on the backs of the people who live and work in lower Manhattan."
After 9/11, "I never felt so scared in my life," said Toby Turkel, a 30-year resident who lives in the Chatham Towers highrise near the courthouse. "We lived through it. We breathed it. We tasted it. ... To do this just exacerbates the situation."
Marc Ameruso of Community Board 1, a Naval Reservist who volunteered at the twin towers site, questioned what's taking so long to place the trial.
"It's just amateur hour at the White House," he said. "Just make a decision. Tell us it's not going to be in New York [and] we'll all be happy."

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