By Nina Mandell
New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. sharply criticized the White House's lack of outreach to local politicians as he announced a public hearing about holding the terror trials in Manhattan.
In a press conference outside of the federal courthouse on Monday, Vallone said he hoped the hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, would give concerned citizens a chance to voice opposition to — or support of — holding the trials in Lower Manhattan.
“I hope President Obama makes a decision tomorrow so we don’t have to have these hearings,” said Vallone, who supports trying the suspects in a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay.
Vallone was joined at the press conference by council members Margaret Chin and Vincent Gentile, who also want to try the suspects out of downtown Manhattan.
Chin, who joined activists last week in a protest against the trials, pointed out the court’s proximity to residences, playgrounds and major streets.
“We’re still trying to rebuild from 9/11,” she said. “We can’t suffer through years of checkpoints.”
On a pre-recorded interview that aired before the Super Bowl, President Obama said he hadn’t ruled out holding the terror trials in Lower Manhattan, but acknowledged he’s heard the deep concerns of residents.