NYC to Bush: Drop Dead!
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly lambasted the Bush administration's plan to cut terrorism funding to New York and Washington by more than 40 percent this morning in a hearing before Long Island Congressman Peter King's House Committee on Homeland Security. King, himself a conservative Republican, has been furious with the administration over department's plan to reduce New York City's antiterrorist funds to $124.4 million in 2006, down from $207.5 million a year ago. "It was indefensible, it was disgraceful, and it raises very real questions about the competency of this department," he said in the hearing.
The process of applying for antiterror funding "should not be a contest to see who could write the best term paper for their college class," argued Bloomberg. The administration, however, has called New York's antiterror program "ineffective", and has argued that the city doesn't have any national monuments or icons worth protecting.
In the same hearing, New York congresswoman Nita Lowey pointed out that while New York was responding to warnings of a planned cyanide attack on its subways, Columbus, Ohio was buying bulletproof vests for its police dogs.
It's worth remembering that on 9/11 itself, the administration was severely lacking in its ability to so much as communicate with New York and Washington. The President on Air Force One had no telephone contact with D.C. for much of the day; the military was not informed of the hijackings until it was too late to act; and neither the airlines nor the FAA told New York city officials about the attacks in progress until the planes hit the buildings, even though they had blow-by-blow accounts from flight attendants 10 minutes after the hijackings beganearly enough to begin getting people out of the second World Trade Center Tower. There's little indication matters have improved much since then.
In the wake of 9/11, Bush fought to prevent an investigation of the attacks, and tried his best to keep information from a congressional inquiry under wraps. Having used the attacks as justification for the war in Iraq, the president now seems ready to dump New York and move on to places where Republicans must attend to their electoral base. Here, (via CBS), are a few of the places that will be getting more antiterrorism money under the administration's plan:
- Jacksonville, Fla. 2005 funds: $6.8 million. 2006 funds: $9.2 million. Increase: 26%. Major landmark: Alltel Stadium, home of Jacksonville Jaguars.
- St. Louis; 2005 funds: $7 million. 2006 funds: $9.2 million. Increase: 23.6%. Major landmark: Gateway Arch.
- Louisville, Ky.; 2005 funds: $5 million. 2006 funds: $8.5 million. Increase: 41.2%. Major landmark: Churchill Downs race track.
- Omaha 2005 funds: $5.1 million. 2006 funds: $8.3 million. Increase: 38.2%. Major landmark: Offutt Air Force Base.