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article imageDe Blasio tries to squash new 9/11 investigation, City Hall fraud Special

By Ralph Lopez     Oct 1, 2014 in World
For the second time in five years, petitioners working with 9/11 families have gathered over twice the 45,000 signatures needed to place an initiative requiring a new 9/11-related investigation on the New York City ballot.
For the second time in five years, the city government of New York, first under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and now under Mayor Bill de Blasio, is fighting the initiative tooth and nail.
The proposed investigation seeks only find out how to prevent other buildings in the future from falling as a single building, Building Seven, did, on 9/11. Building Seven is the third high-rise, a 47-story tower, which fell symmetrically at the speed of a free-falling object.
Despite distancing itself from the larger so-called 9/11 Truth Movement, the case is being closely watched, as a careful investigation which finds fatal flaws in the official conclusions by the bodies which investigated Building Seven (WTC7,) might open the door to further questions about the rest of that day.
Footage of WTC7 Collapse
In 2009, New York Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner struck down the ballot initiative, which had been challenged by Bloomberg, on grounds that its scope was too broad, and that a full investigation of 9/11 was beyond the city's purview. The ballot measure was sponsored by the organization The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now, (NYC CAN,) which is governed by an executive committee whose members include 9/11 family members Bill Doyle, Donna Marsh O'Connor, Jean Canavan, Bob McIlvaine, and 9/11 survivor William Rodriguez.
William Rodriguez  9/11 Survivor
William Rodriguez, 9/11 Survivor
Rodriguez was commended by President George W. Bush for his heroism, after he saved numerous people, including police and firefighters, from the North Tower after it was hit. Doyle, O'Connor, Canavan, and McIlvaine all lost children in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The committee represents other family members who are shy of publicity, due to vitriol often directed at those who question the official version of events on 9/11.
McIlvaine and other 9/11 Families on Previous Ad Appeal, for Cable Ad Which Ran in NYC
The current initiative, renamed the High-Rise Safety Initiative, is narrowly tailored to investigate only the collapse of World Trade Center Building Seven (WTC7,) the third building which disappeared from the skyline on 9/11. WTC7 was never hit by a plane, and never damaged by jet fuel. Proponents of the High-Rise Building Safety Initiative (HRSI) contend that the unprecedented collapse was never properly investigated, which leaves occupants of other high-rise buildings in New York and anywhere else at risk in the event of a fire. According to the group's website the key provisions of the petition are:
· Requires the NYC Department of Buildings to investigate the causes of high-rise building collapses that occurred on, or any time after, September 11, 2001, excluding the collapse of WTC 1 and 2.
· Requires the Department of Buildings to prepare and make public a report detailing the results of each investigation.
The petition also includes a funding mechanism of a .9 percent surcharge on construction permits issued by the Department of Buildings, to be lifted if the fund reaches $3 million. The investigating body would have subpoena powers.
The petitioners note that all of the steel evidence from WTC7, which might have been studied and used to reconstruct the cause of the collapse with a high degree of certainty, was instead hastily scooped up and sent to foundries in China and India, where it was melted. The editor of Fire Engineering Magazine, Bill Manning, called the official government investigation of WTC7 a “half-baked farce.”
The High Rise Safety Initiative at its website says:
"The “Building Performance Study” conducted by FEMA in the first year after 9/11 and the investigation later conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology were...based almost entirely on “paper- and computer-generated hypotheticals"...NIST refused to release modeling data on the grounds that its release “might jeopardize public safety,”"
In response to the New York City courts disqualifying the Safety Initiative from the ballot in 2009, pro-bono (volunteer) attorneys stepped forward to design a ballot initiative which could withstand any expected legal challenge from the city administration. The result was the present High-Rise Ballot Initiative, which specifically excludes any other questions pertaining to 9/11, and limits the city investigation to how and why WTC7 collapsed. More importantly, say the organizers, the petition is about safety. How does one identify buildings now at risk of collapsing as WTC7 did, in the event of fire or other damage? How to better design high-rise buildings in the future?
"This one's about safety," said Susan Serpa, Vice President of the Board of the Citizens 9/11 Commission Campaign in Massachusetts. "Whenever there's a fire alarm in your high-rise office building or apartment, how do you know what happened to Building 7 is not going to happen to you? Explosions were heard, and the building fell flat in around ten seconds."
However, the Initiative is now calling foul as, after it has again submitted over twice the required signatures, the de Blasio administration is tossing out large numbers of voters' signatures as "unregistered." A spot audit of the signatures thrown out, performed by HRSI volunteers, has shown that half the signers thrown out by the city are indeed registered.
On Tuesday, September 30, High Rise Safety Initiative filed suit against the de Blasio administration and the City of New York, in order to compel the city to honor its petition process. After the New York City Clerk certified only 7,343 out of 33,366 signatures submitted in the last round of required signature submissions, leaving the initiative 7,657 shy of the 15,000-threshold, volunteers found 43 percent of a sample of 663 signatures which were invalidated to be properly registered.
At this rate of error, given that over 25,000 signatures were disqualified, a little over one-quarter of the unaudited signatures being registered would easily put the Initiative over the signature threshold. Normally, petition drives gather about twice the number of signatures required, plus a margin of error, to account for half that typically are not registered voters. The finding that 43% of the disqualified signatures were from properly registered voters, attorneys for the Initiative said, "reeks of fraud" on the part of the de Blasio administration. De Blasio has taken an aggressive stance against the petition, claiming it is "insensitive" to families.
The de Blasio administration has also challenged the ballot's legality, but no decision has yet been rendered. Because the group has reduced the scope of the proposed investigation, it feels confident that the decision must go in its favor. The City itself suggested that a narrower mandate would eliminate many of its objections.
During the hearings in the 2009 effort, New York Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner asked the City’s lawyer, Stephen Kitzinger, if a narrower petition could succeed, a petition limited to asking “why the buildings collapsed..."
Kitzinger replied, “Why Seven World Trade Center collapsed? You might be able to draft a petition that works.”
Time is pressing, as October 3 is the deadline for items to be finalized for the November 4th ballot. HRSI will argue to New York Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten this week that its sampling of the number of signatures thrown out by the City Clerk clearly shows that the City has shown a strong bias against the petition, and has disenfranchised thousands of New York City voters, just the same as if their ballots were not counted.
The petitioners met all hurdles, say the organizers, including the raising of at least $230,000, mostly from small donations, from persons wishing a more thorough investigation of part or all of the day's events.
An HRSI press release on the lawsuit states:
"the numbers already speak for themselves. As we will argue this week, there is surely enough evidence to conclude that the City did not review the petition objectively and in good faith, and its determination should therefore be annulled."
9/11 Skeptics Banners Questioning World Trade Center Building Seven Collapse
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