Dem Criticizes Pataki, Bloomberg on Freedom Tower

A state Democratic leader blasted Gov. George Pataki (search) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for "a total lack of leadership" in planning the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (search) said the Republican leaders have not coordinated the project well, citing recent security concerns expressed by the New York City Police Department about the tower's design that will cause a delay in construction.

The tower is expected to be built on the former World Trade Center site as a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and to help improve the Lower Manhattan (search) economy.

The reassessment forced architects to rethink elements of the structure, which could delay the 1,776-foot tower's scheduled 2009 opening by up to a year.

"All the speeches that were made that 'We'll show the terrorists' ... just went by the wayside as they failed," Silver said. "All we got were patriotic speeches ... they have both collectively failed."

Pataki said Monday the police concerns should be addressed before the project goes forward. Officers have declined to talk specifically about their concerns, citing security reasons.

"Safety has to be a priority," Pataki said.

The governor's spokesman, Lynn Rasic, added: "It's sad that naysaying opportunists have forgotten that we need to work together to rebuild lower Manhattan."

Bloomberg said at a news conference Monday that the area's redevelopment is already under way, and safety concerns need to be addressed.

"In 1993, there was a bombing at the World Trade Center, and we did not learn our lesson, and we paid for that with close to 3,000 lives," Bloomberg said.

"This is a building, particularly the Freedom Tower, that is built to be a symbol, and symbols are great if you are encouraged by the cause, and they are potentially a target by people that hate the cause," he said.