Monday, October 10, 2005

How Congress protects national security buys votes.

WASHINGTON — The feds gave New York City less than 40 cents per resident in Homeland Security firefighting grants — while one tiny volunteer department upstate got more than $130 [per resident], a Post analysis shows.

It's the latest example of feds shafting the city at the greatest risk of a terror attack in favor of small communities with influential politicians...

James Carafano, an analyst specializing in homeland security, said, "Fire grants are particularly wrongheaded because most of the fire money goes to little, tiny fire departments in the middle of nowhere. That little fire department can't help New Orleans, it can't help New York, it can't even help the next town over.

"Every congressman brags every time they bring a little grant [home]. And then they turn around and complain that FEMA can't do its job," said Carafano...
[my emphasis]
Upstate did particularly well over the last three years. The village of Philmont, between Albany and Poughkeepsie, population 1,480, got $32,500 ... The volunteer fire department in Barneveld, population 329, got $43,000.

The FDNY got less than $3 million — only 3 percent of the $98 million in fire grants awarded to the state — even though the Big Apple accounts for 43 percent of the state's population. That comes out to a measly 36 cents per New Yorker.

Barneveld, near Utica, got $131 per person, 345 times as much as what each New Yorker got...

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is not particularly upset about the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Asked about the big grants to small towns, she replied, "That's not very much for buying a new engine truck or upgrading hazardous-materials suits. I think it makes sense." ...

Bill Cowan, who administers the program for the U.S. Fire Agency, called it "one of the better-crafted grant programs I've ever come across."
One wonders about all the worse ones.
"Look, you'll take what you can get," said FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon. "But sometimes our needs far exceed the limits that were set on this program."

Small-town fire chiefs say the program helps relieve their tight budgets.
"For us, it's great," said Jack DeLisio, volunteer fire chief in the town of Egypt, near Rochester, which won $44,000...
[NY Post]
Your tax money in action. Now, if only we can get Congress running a nationalized health care program, we can all move to Utica and all our health and security problems will be over!