Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 10, 2006

Alaskan editorial on homeland security waste

Filed under: State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on March 10, 2006

The Anchorage Daily News wins an award for candor with their sarcastic editorial yesterday on Alaska’s bounty of homeland security grant funds:

Dear Lower 48 taxpayer,

We in Alaska are writing to say thanks for sending us such a big share of the nation’s Homeland Security money. You send us so much, we have to get really creative figuring out ways to spend it.

Did you hear about what happened in Dillingham? It’s a tiny town by your standards, only about 2,400 people. It’s a couple hundred miles from the nearest real road, and you can only get there by plane or boat.

Dillingham’s police chief used federal Homeland Security funds to install some 80 spy cameras around the community. He said it can get pretty rowdy down on the town’s docks during commercial-fishing season. Plus, he has to deal with the usual assortment of drunks, vandals, petty thieves and other miscreants.

So he tapped that vein of Homeland Security money and — presto! His town has twice as many security cameras as the port here in Anchorage, a city of 270,000. Dillingham has one spy cam for every 30 residents! No way they pay for that kind of awesome coverage on their piddly little city budget.

And later in the editorial:

Meanwhile, we understand there’s change afoot in how the feds hand out Homeland Security money. They’re actually going to take into account the likelihood that a place may be attacked. Imagine that! Instead of getting $13 million a year, we might get as little as $2 million.

We’re not complaining. Honest, we’re not. Seriously. If we have to do without cool security playthings because you guys need the money more than we do, well, that’s a price we’re willing to pay to help the nation.

Anyway, we’ve still got our guy Ted in the Senate. He grabs us a billion or so a year from the federal treasury. He doesn’t need the Homeland Security funds to keep his homeland swimming in federal gravy. We’re not sure why you guys let him get away with it, but we’re sure glad you do.

Gratefully,

Your fellow Americans on the Last Frontier

The expenditures described in this editorial are disgusting examples of waste. This is why the Department’s continued efforts to allocate funds on the basis of risk are spot on, and deserving of greater public and congressional support.

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