Gloucester, Mass., famed for its seaport and art colony, has joined the queue of U.S. cities seeking federal money by claiming it is a high-risk terrorism target. Carolyn Kirk, mayor of the city of 32,000, is seeking some of the $832.5 million in Homeland Security funds set aside to protect America’s most vulnerable and important urban centers. Kirk’s case relies mainly on the potential danger posed by two liquefied natural gas terminals miles out in the Atlantic, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The town’s plea is a sign of how America has changed since Sept. 11, 2001. Then, the threat of fresh terrorist attacks seemed urgent. Now, the nation is climbing fitfully out of a deep recession, and states and cities are struggling. Terrorism has become a source not only of worry but also, potentially, of budgetary relief. Strapped local and state governments must compete for $4 billion in grants to prepare for terrorism and other disasters, a bonanza that increasingly drives urban priorities. “Every mayor, every city council, every sheriff is trying to play the homeland security card these days,” said Stephen Flynn, president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington-based think tank that studies domestic defense.