Opinion - Saratoga Springs Politics

The below blog posts are written by John Kaufmann.
These opinions do not reflect the views of Saratoga TODAY newspaper.

Monday, 11 September 2023 09:21

Mayor Kim Lays A Heavy Hand On 9/11 Commemoration

By John Kaufmann | Saratoga Springs Politics
Mayor Kim Lays A Heavy Hand On 9/11 Commemoration

I received the following press release from Mary Beth Delarm. I previously covered her appearance before the Saratoga Springs City Council when she thoughtfully expressed her disappointment with the way Council meetings were being conducted.

Link to Ms. Delarm’s commentary to the Council.

Ms. Delarm was a Red Cross volunteer on 9/11 at the Twin Towers following the collapse of the buildings.

As she explains below, she served on the committee organizing this year’s 9/11 memorial event in the city assisting in planning the program which is set for tomorrow (this is being written on September 10, 2023). Apparently, Mayor Kim did not forget her remarks to the Council, however. The Mayor participated in a live meeting via zoom of the 9/11 committee and stripped her of her role on the committee and from participating in the program where she was scheduled to speak.

“Cruel politics overshadows 9/11responders

After misleading Red Cross volunteer Mary Beth Delarm who donated countless weeks tending to other responders following the World Trade Center 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero, Saratoga Mayor Kim kicks her from the 911 commemorative ceremony, dissing her 911 response role as mediocre.

Kim’s latest power move came after requesting Delarm donate two weeks to helping Saratoga plan the remembrance program, gather speakers and to speak about her own 911 experience. Delarm said “ The mayor blindsided me at a final 9/11 recorded 911 committee zoom meeting saying “no one wants to hear another responder’s story as Red Cross volunteers weren’t really official /important responders”.  Delarm said “He didn’t just stun me. His words shocked everyone, particularly the core of every volunteer responder on earth.” “You couldn’t hear a pin drop, except for my sobbing hearing such hurtful remarks.” She tried to reply, but Kim firmly said “his decision is final!”

Evidently Kim was retaliating, Delarm said. The mayor pointed to an August 15 City Council meeting public comment where she requested  “ during the city’s  9/11ceremony, the city should focus on responders and respect for those who are lost, not politicians”. Mary Beth also requested “the city get back to business and focus on respect for fellow citizens concerns, rather than free-for-all disruptions that have been occupying government efficiency for almost a year.“ (reflecting similar concerns June 20).

Delarm and other community responders reeling from the mayor’s comments, encouraged her to respond to Kim at the last City Council meeting September 7.  But during open public comment, as Delarm walked to the mic, Kim prevented her from speaking, yet allowed another uncontrollable outburst from BLM activists.

Delarm’s response she planned on submitting to Mayor Kim follows:

“Mayor Kim, please tell the Public and myself,

1) What has my past public comments on decorum in City events and meetings to do with me as a World Trade Center responder sharing my personal Ground Zero experience on a day to honor responders and remember those who have died?

2) “Why did you invite me to help organize and speak at a 911 event you don’t believe respects and honors ALL in our all inclusive city?

“That I’m  ‘just another responder’s story and some responders are not as important as others’ is heartless and immoral. Your disrespectful behavior is precisely what our City Hall leaders should not be displaying.”

“You’re implying ‘Red Cross as UN-important responders with the same old story’ is just wrong. Red Cross continues disaster response in unsafe areas across half the nation right now as the main organized charitable volunteer group without pay. All responders reach into our hearts because we want to help others. Our common bond is kindness qualified with heartfelt support to others from around the world. No matter belief, gender or faith, we insure respect for all!”

“No responder is mediocre. We all bring a willingness to serve. Red Cross and thousands of other responders sacrificed time away from family on 911. No matter our title or capacity: WE all shared different emotional experiences which got us through to the next dawn. We all breathed the same toxic air, suffered massive health repercussions and we all have the 911 cough if even blessed to still be alive. Whether they wore a helmet or not, one could not sustain work without Red Cross volunteers day and night caring for everyone as they left cindered piles covered in debris.”

“On 911, the most important thing is to commemorate each and every responder who proudly served in NYC, and keep your petty politics out of it. And especially not forget the courageous who rushed to help in an unsafe environment where people jumped from skyscrapers, because that was their best out.”

“It is attitudes like yours that fail to recognize and appreciate all responders and veterans, forgotten except one day a year, that causes many to commit suicide. 9/11 Responders and those who helped unofficially as volunteers are still dying every day as a result of their fearlessness. Forgetting us and those aging out of the 911 era cheats people and their families who may not be here next year to memorialize the experience. It turns an emotional event many are proud to have served to betrayal and disrespect. The exact things which caused 911.”

“You may try to rob or censor my freedom of speech (as you indicated in your follow-up email), but you will not steal my memories. DESPITE your dishonor and hurt to all who risked their lives, my mission to represent the many people and their families who struggled alongside me in the ashes of 911 will never wane.

“I encourage you & your Commissioners to put aside your negative politics and biases and demonstrate a new generation of kindness, respect & humility to everyone, as all responders did during 911.”

Mary Beth Delarm 

Sept 7, 2023 (City Council Planned speech)

Since 911 Mary Beth continues to represent the Red Cross in volunteer response to disasters locally and nationally with mass relief efforts feeding, sheltering, mobil ERV emergency needs, disaster assessment, pet sheltering and services to Armed Forces. She is currently on call down for hurricane Lee as it barrels up the coast if the response need arises.

Mary Beth also volunteers in many other capacities donating her time and resources to charities such as veterans organizations, pet shelters, Saratoga friends bookshop and as a health patient advocate for seniors and vulnerable. While wearing any hat serving another, Mary Beth says the most important thing is respect.

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