FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2004
STATEMENT BY MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT
"I am very pleased and gratified that the Commission strongly and unanimously endorsed the ideas I presented to them both last year and this year that Homeland Security funding must be risk-based and avoid the pork barrel spending approach that has prevailed until now. It is nothing short of scandalous that New York City and New York State still rank almost at the very bottom of anti-terrorism funding, and I urge Congress to immediately take steps to allocate money where the greatest risks lie. I have instructed my staff to work with Senators McCain and Lieberman, who will be introducing legislation to enact the Commission's recommendations.
"City personnel spent literally thousands of hours working with the staff of the Commission, supplying tens of thousands of documents to them, and arranging for them to interview almost one hundred fifty Police Officers and Fire Department personnel, as well as personnel from the City's Office of Emergency Management. I testified twice before the Commission and subsequently met for almost two hours with the Commission staff. I am gratified that based on the information the City submitted to the Commission the Commission's final report reflects substantial modifications of its original findings on the City's 9/11 response, and favorably reports on the improvements the City has made in its preparedness.
"I am also pleased that the final report acknowledges the magnificent performance on 9/11 of the City's Firefighters and Police Officers, who showed unparalleled courage and determination in responding to an unimaginable disaster. While the report describes certain mistakes made on 9/11, it also makes very clear that almost every civilian below the impact areas of the towers who could be saved was saved, many due to the heroic efforts of our uniformed forces.
"As the report properly recognizes, the City has made tremendous strides since 9/11 in upgrading its emergency response operations and communications systems. As the report notes, the Fire Department's radios and communications have been vastly improved. In addition, interoperable communications have been created between the Police and Fire Departments, emergency command and control procedures have been enhanced, and protocols have been established to increase coordination between the departments. In addition, provisions have been made to ensure that 9-1-1 operators can relay to callers current information from the scene as needed.
"We appreciate the Commission's comments on the City's incident management system. The system we have put together takes into account the complexities and size of New York City and correctly employs the core competencies of the Police and Fire Departments. It makes each department responsible for the areas they have expertise in, assures coordination of operations - as in fact occurred on 9/11 - and acknowledges that in our post-9/11 world, where concerns over terrorism may need to be addressed. The present system complies with the national standards issued by the Department of Homeland Security this past March. We will, of course, review the Commission's comments and continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure not only technical compliance with national standards, but the greatest level of protection to those who live, work and visit this great City.
"This is a day that has long been anticipated by many. Especially for those who live and work in New York, the Commission's report will bring back memories of our saddest day. My heart once again goes out to all those families who lost loved ones on 9/11. My hope is that the Commission's work will guide our country as to what it needs to do so that no families in the future will need to go through what they have gone through"
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958