New York City Mayor Fights Terrorism With A Bicycle
When Terrorism threatens to strike, do we shudder and shake or stand tall and proud?  Mayor Bloomberg is challenging the people of New York City to become Citizens of Vigilance one more time.   He's asking them to stand tall in the face of a threatened MTA strike that would cripple the subways and busses, and force New Yorkers to come together in a time of crisis.   Is he General George Marshall, leader of the Marshall Plan that united Europe after World War II, or, just a Father of Vigilance reminding his children that "they can do anything they set their minds too--including not letting Terrorism bully them?"


Tuesday--December 10, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 454
Mayor Of New York Faces Terrorism Threat With A Bicycle

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 10 -- Terrorism can blow the legs off a society, cripple it, maim its ability to move from one place to another, and starve its children without blinking an eye.

Iraq presents documents detailing its nuclear, chemical and biological activities to the UN.

      While the United Nations is scouring through a 12,000-page document from Iraq that allegedly details its inventory of weapons and denies the presence or manufacturing of "weapons of mass destruction" in an attempt to thwart war with the United States, in New York City a group of nefarious Terrorists is preparing documents to cripple the city of 9 million citizens and "blow up" its public transportation system.
        As the five permanent nuclear armed members of the United Nations Security Council scour the Iraqi weapons disclosure document, New York City Mayor Bloomberg and his staff are massing troops with the city to prepare for a Terrorist attack by the Mass Transit Authority that is threatening to strike on December 15 and "blow up" public transportation by shutting it down to negotiate a new contract for its 34,000 transit workers.
       Terrorism, the inducement of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency within the veins and arteries of a society, has one goal--to use force to threaten the citizens to its will.   Force comes in many ways.  Often, it is the mere threat of force, and other times it is the stripping of necessities that make a society flow.

Mayor Bloomberg calls for the citizen's of NYC to respond with Vigilant kindness and neighborliness if the MTA strikes

       A Terrorist, for example, who poisons a society's water system can created as much havoc as one who climbs upon a bus with a bomb strapped to his chest.    Another who points a gun to the head of children can drive the stake of Fear deep into the heart of the society who faces either meeting the Terrorist's demands or watching the child suffer the brutality of the gun's barrel being aimed between his or her eyes.
      I listened with fascination yesterday to New York City's 108th Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, unveiling his "anti-Terrorism" strategic counter-offensive plans should the Transportation Workers Union, who keep the subways and buses flowing in and out of New York City, make good their threat to effect an illegal strike that would cut the legs off New York's ability to move people from one location to another.
      Bloomberg noted that half of the city's 1.1 million school children use public transportation, and that such a strike would attack the city's already deficit economy by costing it from $100 million to $350 million a day in lost revenues.
      On the public safety issue, a clogging of the streets by vehicles ferrying people in and out and around the city would logjam the roads, making it difficult for fire, police and emergency services personnel to respond quickly to emergencies, and, ultimately lead to endangering lives and perhaps account for the unnecessary deaths of those who need immediate attention.

Roger Touissant was a union activist before being elected as president of the transit workers

      The head Terrorist of the MTA strike is an untested leader of labor negotiations, Roger Toussaint, president of Transportation Union Local 100.   Deadline for contract negotiations is December 15, an impending "day of infamy" the city is bracing to face if the MTA decides to violate the state's Taylor's Law which prohibits workers to strike.  The MTA is under New York State authority and Mayor Bloomberg has no legal power over it.   Even without being a party at the bargaining table, Mayor Bloomberg is acting as a prudent general and Father of Vigilance, marshalling his resources in case of a "transportation attack" that would render the city virtually "legless."
      I was impressed by the way the mayor handled himself at the press conference yesterday where he systematically presented the defenses and offenses to fight the impending assault by the MTA.   It reminded me of the U.S. preparing for an attack on Iraq, or Iraq preparing for an attack by the United States.   In both cases the leaders were seeking to reduce the most casualties if a "war" erupted, and both sides were hoping for a diplomatic negotiation to avoid war--if possible.   But neither side was backing down

The United Nations meeting over weapons inspections in Iraq

      The U.S., for example, insisted that the 12,000-page document sent to the U.N. be given to the U.S. for review.  The United Nations, in charge of the investigation of Iraqi weapons, at first refused to offer America a copy.   Enraged, the U.S. used its power to seek an unedited, uncensored copy.  U.N. officials did not want to release the document to its members because the report contains classified and sensitive material that could help other nations build weapons of mass destruction since it provides intimidate details by scientists about the level of production and information necessary to manufacture such weapons.
      Finally, the U.S. prevailed and unedited copies of the report have been produced for the White House and other nuclear permanent members of the Security Council--Britain, Russia, China, France, all nations who currently have "authorized"  nuclear weapons.
      Bloomberg, looking down the guns of the MTA union threat to strike, has no power to negotiate.   All the power to do so rests with the State of New York.   He's caught in the middle, but not helpless.
      Yesterday he amassed his "generals" before the press to show New York's strength in warding off the transportation attack if it happens.   He gleamed as brightly as General Schwarzkopf did in the Gulf War, exuding a confidence of a leader ready to tackle the Beast of Transportation Terror with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.

Roger Touissant - fourth from left - involved in a transit strike in Philadelphia in June 1998

      I thought it appropriate that he led off his comments regarding the city's plan to deal with the crisis with this statement:  "I am blessed to be leading New York City during the worst budget crisis of its history.  It's an honor."
      That particular statement rang so loudly I wrote it down put it big star by it.   Bloomberg was elected in the aftermath of Nine Eleven, when the city's commercial heart had been destroyed, and its icon of financial strength throughout the world razed to dust and twisted metal.
      His election reminded me of former General George Marshall's challenge after World War II to reconstruct Europe into a viable economy, to raise its once powerful economic might out of the ashes of destruction.   The Marshall Plan was history's great tribute to America's compassion to rebuild, and served as an example that great leadership does not involve the making of war as much as it does the building of societies after the fact to prevent further ones.
      Prior to the rebuilding of Europe, the different countries had been at constant war.  Since the Marshall Plan, Europe has unified as one solid economic force and enjoyed the peace that has come with economic unity.
      Bloomberg reminded me yesterday of General Marshall.

      He was cool, confident, determined.  He, and his generals, has well-oiled plans to deal with the issues without kowtowing to the MTA strike threats, or appearing in any way weak or vulnerable to their strike threats.    There was no signal from that Fear, Intimidation or Complacency--the tools of Terrorism--had penetrated their armor.  Quite the contrary was the case.  The mayor and his staff held up the Shield of Vigilance in defiance, and treated the Terrorism threat as though it were just another bully on the streets trying to become King of the Streets.
     "I will bicycle to work," the mayor said.  When a reporter challenged him on the issue, he smiled and said, "I don't see you in the subway.   I do what I say I'm going to do.  You should know that by now."
     Bloomberg often rides the subway to work, and was quick to remind reporters that he has become one of the most successful businessmen in America by leading by example not directive.
     "I would never ask a New Yorker to do anything I wouldn't do," he said.
     In that reference he called on New Yorkers to car pool, to pick up strangers and fill their vehicles with four or more people.   Vehicles will not be allowed in or out of the city unless they are full, with at least four people during the week, and at least two on weekends if a strike occurs.
      Responding to the issue of public safety regarding giving rides to "strangers" Bloomberg laughed.  "We are New Yorkers.  We come together in crisis.   Cars will be in a gridlock, moving at three to four miles an hour.  The stranger you pick up will have thousands of people around him or her, moving an inch at a time.  I don't think New Yorkers have to worry."
      When asked if he had to use his SUV to get to work on certain occasions, Bloomberg replied, "If I do, I'll stop and pick up strangers and give them a ride."
      One of his primary concerns was the children.   "Our children will suffer.   That bothers me.  Half of them rely on public transportation.   We will do our best to get them to and from schools."
      The mayor was concerned also over the reduction of federal and state education aid.   Monies are given to the education system based on each day of school attendance.  If children cannot attend, the city's education budget loses.   "We cannot recover that money if it is lost," Bloomberg said.  "That would be tragic for our children.  They would be deprived tools for education."
      I thought of all hoopla going on around the world over Iraq and how an impending war was going to be decided over scraps of paper and reports by scientists.    Here was a Terrorist offering the world 12,000 pages on why he wasn't a Terrorist, a kind of mea culpa of sorts to the world asking for mercy.
      On the other side of the negotiating table was the United States who views Saddam Hussein as smoking gun, a mad dog who will bite anyone's hand, but who, at the moment, is putting on the appearance of one that his been injected with Thorizine and is sprawling on its back, tongue lolling, arms and legs exposed to the world.   Some say accepting the 12,000-page report is like kissing a snake.  

Father of Terrorism saying "TRUST ME"

      Back at home, bowing to the demands of an illegal strike threat isn't much different than believing the Terrorist who gives you a document isn't really a Terrorist.   Both situations endanger the children.
      The U.S. position with Iraq is similar to the one Bloomberg is taking with the Transportation Union--"no trust."   If Bloomberg were to become Complacent and think that the Transportation Union was going to back down, or that the Taylor Law's teeth were sharp enough to inject fear and fines into those who did strike, he might not have marshaled the great forces he did yesterday or presented the New Yorkers Plan he presented to face the crisis head on.
      Repeatedly, he answered tough reporter questions with the statement:  "We are New Yorkers.  We can band together and face anything.   We'll work it out as New Yorkers."
      He was truly a Leader of Vigilance.
      He was invoking the true leader's role--of charging the people to be strong in the face of crisis.   He wasn't telling the world "he" or "government" was going to be the sole responsible party for facing the crisis.  He reminded the reporters that "New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers can handle anything."

Mayor Bloomberg stepping in to the Ring of Vigilance  with the MTA's Touissant

      I felt a sense of pride in his words.   He was the businessman telling his people "they were the company."  He was also telling the reporters "I wouldn't ask a New Yorker to do anything I wouldn't do."
      He was leading by example, not by dictate.
      A Father of Vigilance is one who charges his children with the duty and responsibility to be self-governed.   A Father of Terrorism tells a child "I'm in charge.  Trust me.  Just sit back and let me do everything I want to do for you, even if you don't think that's right."
      Bloomberg rides the subway to work.   He listens to the people.   He knows that the most important person in New York City doesn't sit at the Mayor's Desk, but is the man or woman out on the sidewalks, moving the city's magic and beauty from one flower to another, the worker bees who bring the honey home.
       Bloomberg knows the people of New York City  must be given credit as Citizens of Vigilance and that they are capable of standing up to all forms of Terrorism, whether it be an attack on a World Trade Center or a threatened Transportation Union strike. 
       I like that about him.
       Even though his popularity in the polls has dipped down, that doesn't mean he doesn't have great respect as a leader.   He's dealing with issues no one likes--sacrifice.
       But, as a leader, he knows that what we give up today we get tenfold tomorrow, if we invest it wisely.

An example of one brotherly New Yorker helping another.

       Right now, Mayor Bloomberg is investing in New Yorkers ability to be Sentinels of Vigilance, to become Citizens of Vigilance, to stand up their two feet in the face of Terrorism's endless threats.
       And, it appears it is critical that New Yorkers do.   For if the subways and buses stop flowing, every New Yorker will need their two feet to get from here to there.   And, they might even need to help piggy back someone else--a willingness that Terrorist might not think New Yorkers capable of, but then New Yorkers are capable of about anything.
       If you're not sure, ask the mayor whom you can catch either on the subway or riding his bicycle to work.

Dec. 9-- When The Cows Come Home, Santa Smiles Vigilantly

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