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LETTERS

The Port Authority Responds

Your Sept. 11 article on the World Trade Center security command center

contained what we believe are serious inaccuracies that could have been avoided

had we been given a voice in the article ["Control Center Chaos," News]. Your

readers, and the families and friends of those who perished on Sept. 11,

deserve to know the facts:

The article states that "every third or fourth floor in the towers had 'no

re-entry' doors, locked from the stairwell side, which could be unlocked

electronically." The stairwell doors in the Twin Towers were not controlled by

electronic security locks, with one exception. All doors leading into the

stairwells from every occupied floor were unlocked. Once within the stairwells,

clear, glow-in-the-dark signs identified every third or fourth floor as a

"re-entry" floor, in full compliance with city code. The signs stated the

nearest floors above and below that were unlocked. None of these doors were

electronically controlled.

The only doors with electronic controls were the relative few that led to

high-security areas, such as mechanical equipment rooms, elevator machine rooms

and the roof, which were controlled by electronic-card access. Outside each of

these doors was a push-button intercom system connected to live operators in

the security command center.

The story also reports that a security supervisor said an automated

recording in Tower One (the North Tower) advised building occupants to stay in

their offices. There were no automated announcements used anywhere in the World

Trade Center, as such recordings are not permitted by fire codes. (The only

permitted exception was a recording used as part of the elevator intercom

system, which responded to a push of the alarm button with a message that the

call had been received and advising the car's occupants to stand by for a live

operator.) Moreover, no messages of any kind - live or otherwise - could be

heard over Tower One's public address system, which was severed by the impact

of the first plane. An announcement suggesting it was safe to return to offices

was made by a live human being in Tower Two only, and it was made before

anyone knew or had any idea that a second plane was about to hit that building.

Safety was paramount at the World Trade Center, especially following the

1993 terrorist bombing. Fire drills were mandatory and well-rehearsed, and many

safety and security upgrades were made following 1993. Although no one could

have anticipated the unthinkable tragedy that struck on Sept. 11, all those

preparations were not in vain. Combined with the heroism of hundreds of brave

building personnel and rescuers, these measures did have an impact in helping

tens of thousands escape to safety.

Alan Reiss

Editor's Note: The writer is deputy director of the Aviation Department for the

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and was formerly director of the

World Trade Department. Oceanside

Whose Merit Gets the Pay?

I'm a teacher on the front lines every day with my students. When their

grades improve and they pass a Regents exam, it's largely due to the number of

hours I have put in preparing lessons, marking papers and tutoring after

school. Why should a school superintendant receive a large bonus - a bonus

almost equal to my yearly salary - when grades go up ["Smarts Money," News,

Sept. 25]? What has that superintendant done?

Linda Silverman

Bellerose Manor

Columnist Is Biased, Too

I'm sure Jimmy Breslin was a good journalist in his Pulitzer Prize days,

but these days he's an embarrassment to your paper and to our city.

Does he honestly believe the Bush administration doesn't care about New

York because of the large black and Jewish communities ["City Set Up for

Slaughter," News, Sept. 26]? Or is it because we have very little college

football? Instead of following his outlandish theory to some thought-provoking

conclusion, he uses the same hateful, biased mind-set that he accuses George W.

Bush of using when he refers to "low IQ states." So Washington thinks that New

York isn't important, and Jimmy Breslin thinks that no other place in the

world is important. Sounds as enlightening as a college-dorm argument.

Lee Conrad

Astoria

Crossing the Line

The endorsement of Gov. George Pataki by former Borough President Claire

Shulman is a joke ["Democrat Shulman Endorses Pataki," News, Oct. 3]. His

budget experience hasn't helped get a budget on time - his lateness exceeds the

previous administration's. Andrew Cuomo was right: Pataki got pulled along

with Rudolph Giuliani. What has he really done for New York in eight years?

Shulman should remember she's a Democrat. I guess Ed Koch got to her.

Warren Shalewitz

Forest Hills

True-Blue Fans

Thanks a million to all you Mets fans out there, for your loyalty,

enthusiasm, fortitude, dignity, good humor and esprit de corps, throughout this

past season. This Diamond Club ticket taker envisions a great season in '03.

You gotta believe!

Tommy Lydon

Flushing

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