Thursday, May 22, 2003

Can't decide what to do with your Bush tax cut? Maybe you ought to buy your hometown cops a hazmat suit.

This is from a report by Brian Rooney on ABC News last night (it's not on the Web). You know this nonsense is going on, but here's another reminder of how absurdly skewed our priorities are:

ROONEY: When the nation goes on higher alert, the Los Angeles Police Department increases patrols at the airport, the port, and the list of 605 potential targets. But they try to do it all without spending extra money, because it’s not in the budget, and the federal government has not delivered promised help.

WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE CHIEF: We’re now, what, almost two years away from 9/11, and we’ve still received almost nothing in the way of federal government reimbursement.

ROONEY: Bratton says the added burden of training and staffing an antiterrorism squad costs tens of millions of dollars a year. It’s the same in San Francisco, where tighter security for the city’s landmarks and antiterrorism efforts have cost about $50 million, with no help from the federal government. The city of San Jose has spent $23 million.

RUDY GONZALEZ, MAYOR OF SAN JOSE: ...The whole amount we’ve gotten back is about $207,000, and we just -- it befuddles us. We just don’t understand how the process works.

ROONEY: They can’t look to the state for help, because the state of California is running a $30 billion deficit. The last time the country went on orange alert, during the Iraq war, it cost Los Angeles $4 million, all paid by a city in financial trouble....

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