Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · The Man Who Fell to Earth
. . . .

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - September 5th, 2011
The Man Who Fell to Earth
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
The man, Pasquale Buzzelli, called me because he heard I wrote books. He
needed help getting his story down on paper. His name was the same as
mine—Buzzelli. Unusual, even as Italian surnames go. Coincidence, the
man said and we agreed to meet in New York City where I would listen to
what happened to him on September 11, 2001.
It was a usual weekday morning in his RiverVale, New Jersey, home, he told
me as we stood at an inner platform, looking down at the hole that was the
World Trade Center. On one side a new building was going up. On another
a bulldozer still moved dirt. Only the day before one more body had been
Shower. Shave. Got ready for work, Pasquale told me.
Thirty-two, married, with a first child on the way in two months, Pasquale
had no reason to fear going to work that day. It was just that he felt
tired. If he stayed home instead of heading into New York, to his job as
an engineer with the New York Port Authority, up on the 64th floor, North
Tower, of the World Trade Center, he could help his wife, Louise, paint
the baby’s room.
A clear, sunny morning. He sat at his kitchen window looking out at his
yard until he was almost late. By the time he finally finished his coffee
and set the cup in the sink, he had to hurry.

He got into Hoboken at 8:22. Less than 20 minutes, by the PATH Train, and
he was in the city, entering the northeast corner of the tower, into an
elevator that took him to the 44th floor and a second elevator to the
Usual morning. He ran into Bill, a man he saw daily, always waiting for
the same elevator at same time. They exchanged their usual morning
‘hello,’ pushed the elevator button and started up. His mind was already
on jobs waiting, people he had to talk to.
Nothing different on this day like any other day. Until the elevator gave
a violent shake and began to drop, then right itself before continuing to
the 64th floor.
At their floor, the elevator doors stuck. He and Bill pried the doors
open and stepped into a corridor filling with smoke.
“A plane,” someone yelled. “Hit the south tower.”
Poor pilot. Must have gotten disoriented. Somebody will take care of it.
Terrible accident, everyone said.
The cubicles and halls continued to fill with smoke.
Pasquale took a phone call from the worried wife of one of his coworkers.
“Have you seen my husband? Don’t you usually meet for coffee?”
He’d been late, he explained. No time for coffee that morning. He’d call
back if he heard anything.
A phone call from Louise, his wife. She was distraught. “No, no accident.
It’s an attack. Get out of there, Pasquale. Please . . . hurry.”
Two planes. They watched a blurry television in a conference room. No
Sirens clanged everywhere. Siren boxes flashed with strobing red lights.
The smoke was unbearable.

They didn’t know what to do. One man started down the stairwell then
called back to the people on the 64th floor. “It’s slow going,” he said.
“A lot of burn victims. They’re opening a lane to get burn victims down
faster. And a lane for the firemen on their way up.”
The building shook. Smoke trickled in through the closed hallway doors.
Everyone held wet cloths over their mouths.
The Port Authority people started down the 64 flights of stairs because
they had no alternative.
At the 49th floor, the group ran into firemen sitting on the stairs,
exhausted from the climb up in full gear. Hollow-eyed, they looked at
Pasquale as he led his group passed. “Be easy going down from here,” one
of them said.
In the 30s—the group passed more firemen.
Another rescue worker plodded passed them. “It’s all fine ahead. A clear
run. Just keep going.”
22nd floor. Not far to go.
They were moving down faster when the stairs gave a huge, groaning shiver
and began to shake violently underfoot. There were monstrous tremors
around them. Floors. Walls. The building was a terrible, shaking
machine. Pasquale clung to the railing though it tried to shake him loose.
Over their heads, a loud and growing pounding came as heavy objects
dropped directly above them—a mountain of rock grinding downward.
The noise grew. The air filled with dust. Loud crashing -- the stairs
pulled away from the wall and the world began to end.
Pasquale awoke to a perfect, blue sky above him and the shock of pain in
his right leg. He’d been unconscious—he had no idea how long. He lay atop
an unimaginable pile of debris. If he moved, concrete and steel shifted
beneath him, pieces skittered off over a terrible edge, down a long way,
then echoed back.
Around him, there were only a few standing walls. Tall spikes of twisted
metal poked up from the debris.
And fires—everywhere.
Pasqual screamed for help. The fallen building groaned and settled around
him. After a while there was silence, punctuated only by the intermittent
creak of shifting metal.

He cried for help again and again, for what seemed like hours, praying
that after living through the collapse of the building he wasn’t going to
die in one of the fires. Finally there was a voice, a rescue worker on a
bullhorn, calling out the name of one of his own lost men.
Firemen came from everywhere when they learned there was a survivor. A
rescue team was climbing up toward Pasquale when one of the standing walls
threatened to fall and the rescue workers had to scatter.
When it was safe again, the men climbed the pile of debris and handed
Pasquale, with a broken ankle and unable to walk, down in a sling—man to
man—until he was at street level, handed out and into one of the many
waiting ambulances.
Pasquale remembers the streets of New York that night as being oddly
quiet, the hospital almost empty, medical personnel waiting to help people
who didn’t come.
The book was never finished. The drama a book needs to sustain it was all
at the beginning. The rest has been years of survivor’s guilt, and pain,
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, therapy, and a holding desperately on to
family and everything real. Pasquale Buzzelli’s story became the quiet
account of one more family coming to terms with a new America.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli reviews books for the Express.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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