Oh, it's New York City's best friend, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, writing a NY Times op-ed piece to tell us "New York, You're Still No. 1." Well, that's the headline the Times copy crew designated for the article, which is Chertoff's way fo explaining why NYC got shafted in funding allocation for the Urban Areas Security Initiative. We outline his points:
- NY still gets the most funding; in fact, its $124 million for this year is 50% more than Los Angeles, which gets the second most money
- Congress gave the DHS $125 million less for grants (underlying suggestion: Congress needs the ass-kicking you're giving me)
- NYC still gets 18% of all UAS funds this year; in past year, NYC got 19%
- DHS wants less prepared cities to have new equipment, as heightened national security helps NYC
- The Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge were not classifed as national monuments or icons, because they were classified into categories that would give the city a "higher complete risk grade" in the proposal
- The DHS tried not to be political about things!
Okay, many of these points are fair, but we do think that when the city pays about $10.9 billion more in federal taxes than we get back from federal spending, our agencies needs more resources. And Gothamist thinks it's totally fair for our politicians and newspapers to make a big deal about the cut in funding, as getting 40% less than last year (yes, yes, other cities are getting less) is news. If anything, Chertoff's duty as the Secretary of Homeland Security is to really convince the President of how important the funding is, and then have the President push his Republican-led Congress to help out Homeland Security initiatives more.
And Mayor Bloomberg says that the city will continue what it's been doing to fight terror: "We're going to do what we think is right, and if the burden falls solely on the taxpayers of New York City, that's not good. But in the end, our No. 1 priority is to provide security, and I would argue that the level of expertise in the city, in all of the different first-responder agencies, is as good as anyplace you'll find in the world."