Friday, February 09, 2007

Homeland Security: Protecting Cheese Statues

You may recall last year that there was a hue and cry over the reduction in Homeland Security funding for cities like New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, while pony farms in Kentucky got more money than they actually asked for, or some such silliness. Turns out, an huge windfall went to the suburbs.

Now, in fairness, this year at least Michael Chertoff has initiated one good new program that will pilot in New York, a test program to see if, indeed, a dirty bomb can be smuggled in through New York area ports. Of course, this is included in a budget proposal that cuts all homeland security funding by 22%, New York's by a third.

Maybe we need to move to Chesire, Massachussetts? Cheshire requested $175,000 to replace an old fire truck...
The response last month was stunning: a $665,962 homeland security grant.

The award was nearly 26 times the annual budget of the volunteer fire department in the town of 3,500.
Cheshire was not the only Massachussetts town to make out like a bandit: Fall River gets $621,000, Concord gets $414,000, Littleton gets $207,000, and Sudbury gets $101,970. Granted, Concord is the second home of the American Revolution after Lexington, home to the famous battle on the North Bridge, and home to Walden Pond, Thoreau, Emerson, and Alcott, but to get $200,000 less than Cheshire? What does Cheshire have?
[Cheshire] does have the Cheshire Cheese Monument, a sizable concrete sculpture of a cheese press commemorating a 1,450-pound cheese hunk given by town elders to Thomas Jefferson in 1801. But its value as a terrorist target is not readily apparent.
Oh. Naturally. A two-hundred year old block of cheddar concrete! What was I thinking?

Cheshire received a 380% increase above what it was asking (and probably a much higher increase over past funding). New York gets slashed by a third.

Oh...the kicker?

They can't buy a firetruck with the funding!

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