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
Mayor Of New York Faces Terrorism Threat With A Bicycle
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
documents detailing its nuclear, chemical and biological activities to
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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.
When The Cows Come Home, Santa Smiles Vigilantly
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