Feds pouring money into California Homeland Security
May 9, 2011
Amid the slashing of state and school budgets, the federal government is pouring Homeland Security dollars into California at record rates. [SFGate]
In 2010, California received $268 million worth of security spending, about 16 percent of the nearly $1.7 billion awarded nationally, said SFGate.
Federal monies, nearly $1.8 billion since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, have gone to agencies such as the California Highway Patrol to purchase items such as a fleet of command vehicles, a pair of boots and a helicopter.
Following Sept. 11, emergency dollars were almost entirely directed to anti-terror efforts. But after Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast four years later, the emphasis changed to potential hazards – natural and man-made, SFGate said.
These days, an estimated 20 percent of the spending statewide goes to training local law enforcement in dealing with a biological, chemical or nuclear attack, as well as an earthquake.
“It makes no sense,” Robert Reich, a UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S. labor secretary under Bill Clinton, said to SFGate of the levels of anti-terror spending.
“For every dollar a terrorist spends seeking to create havoc in America, we spend at least $1,000 trying to prevent it,” Reich added. “If the goal of the terrorists is to slowly bankrupt America, they have hit on a pretty good strategy.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation has privately notified California officials that they will receive at least $213 million – and possibly hundreds of millions more – of the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funding that Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down, SFGate added. Scott feared Florida taxpayers would have had to subsidize the proposed rail service.
California collected $624 million in stimulus dollars last year as a result of a similar decision by the newly elected Republican governors of Ohio and Wisconsin, as well other states, to turn down federal high-speed rail money.
California still needs nearly $15 billion to build all of the planned bullet line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.