We'll finally see a New Yorker in the Cabinet, as President Bush has nominated from NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik as the new Secretary of Homeland Security. Kerik, who was police commissioner during September 11, 2001, is noted as being a "sharp departure from the usual button-downed mold of Bush appointees" (NY Times), as he's a high school dropout, was a NJ jail warden, ran the NYC Correction Department, admitted that he fathered a child when stationed in Korea, and was Mayor Giuliani's bodyguard as various times. And even though he's tight with Giuliani and a bunch of other Republicans, Senators Schumer and Clinton welcomed the news, calling it a smart move to put a NYer in the department who understands NY's needs. While Gothamist has many issues with the Department of Homeland Security, we wish Bernard Kerik the best of luck and hope he keeps the collective U.S. ass out of trouble. And we totally agree with Jon Stewart, it's no good when the Homeland Security Secretary knocks on wood.
The NY Times has a profile of Kerik, and his story is definitely the stuff of a movie (his mother abandoned his family when he was 2, and he later found out that she was a prostitute, perhaps killed by her pimp). Which is probably why, when Kerik published a book, The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice, Oprah Winfrey featured him on her show. Kerik looks like he's had a lucrative career on the speech circuit; according to the Washington Speakers Bureau, Kerik was making $25,000-40,000 per speech, with topics like "My Time in Iraq," "Crisis Management," and an overview of the WTC attack.
And it was announced yesterday that NYC would get over $200 million from a homeland security program that funnels money to places with at a high risk of terror attacks. Much has been made about how funds have not been allocated according to risk levels, with more rural areas getting considerable funding relative to cities like NYC and D.C.; last year, NYC only received $50 million. D.C. is getting $77.5 million, Los Angeles $61 million, and Chicago will get $45 million. And though this boon for NYC terror funding was good news to our Senators, Albany was left off the list this year, prompting Senator Schumer to say, "Buffalo and Albany deserve more and we will fight to get them more dollars in the future."