California newspapers are reporting today on a letter that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has written to Michael Chertoff, complaining about the UASI grant allocations and the potential cutoff of funds in FY 2007 to San Diego and Sacramento:
While I have long advocated for allocating homeland security funding based on risk, I am very concerned that state and local governments were not consulted as to the specific UASI formula changes or asked to verify the data used this year. I do not believe that the results of the current formula accurately or fairly reflect risk, as populous, high-risk cities such as Sacramento and San Diego are now only eligible to receive sustaining funds, and are at risk of losing UASI funding entirely in Fiscal Year 2007.
Schwarzenegger then explains in the letter why he thinks the two cities are high-risk.
This letter is a bit of a balancing act for the California governor, since the LA region and the SF Bay Area region are likely to be among the top 5-6 recipients of UASI grant funds this year. I think he has a point when in comes to San Diego, given its population, location on the border, and strategic port and military assets. (Although perhaps it’s the case that military assets were netted out of DHS’s risk assessment, given the fact that it’s DOD’s responsibility to protect them…that would also explain Hampton Roads’ exclusion from the list). But the decision by DHS to leave Sacramento off the list was likely a correct one.
And even if Schwarzenegger is correct about San Diego on the merits, I think that Sec. Chertoff should politely ignore this letter, and the dozens of others like it that he’s probably receiving right now. If modifications are made to this list, they should be because of a careful reevaluation of the risk assessment formula – not political pressure.