This is from a new free daily paper called amNewYork that apparently doesn't have a Web site yet:
Feds Snub Lady Liberty
DC won't pay for extra security to reopen symbol of America
The world's symbol of freedom -- the Statue of Liberty -- remains closed more than two years after the Sept. 11 attacks. Tourists can still visit the grounds and buy souvenirs, but they can forget about climbing the 354 steps to the torch.
That's because the National Park Service, Lady Liberty's caretaker, said $5 million worth of additional security is needed to protect the terrorist's dream target. Until then, visitors can only mill about the base.
"We've always thought about how to reopen the Statue of Liberty," said National Parks Service spokesman Brian Feeney. "We stil have security issues."
But, the feds aren't paying....
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the nonprofit that oversaw its 1986 restoration, launched a "Reopen Lady Liberty Campaign" in late September.
The campaign wants to raise the $5 million through private donations. Already the Folger Coffee Company pledged up to $1 million -- including $1 for every special Folger's seal returned by customers....
The 58-acre island in New York Harbor was closed to the public after Sept. 11. It partially reopened in Dec. 2001, after metal detectors were installed to screen passengers before boarding the ferry -- an hourlong process.
"At the present time, there is no access to the interior of the Statue of Liberty Monument. The monument and the museum at its base remain closed temporarily as a security measure," the Parks Department has said on its Web site for almost two years....
Five million bucks. That's less than two cents per American citizen. Do you think if we asked the American people and put it to them that way, they'd be willing to pony up for one of our most important national symbols? Think they might just wonder why it hasn't been done yet?
But it wouldn't surprise me if the Bushies are hoping to open the doors to coincide with the Republican convention next year. Maybe Jogger George will be the first guy to get to the top, doing wind sprints up the 354 steps to show how fit he is for a second term. (Cheney will presumably have business to attend to elsewhere.)
Hey, and maybe, prior to that stunt, the GOP will seize on the issue by introducing a bill in Congress to reopen the statue -- but with union job protections removed for workers there (for "security reasons"). Then, if Democrats balk, suddenly the inaccessibility of the statue will be their fault. It's a cheap trick, but it worked before.