Denver has received about $600,000 in federal homeland security funding since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, vastly less than the $9 million officials say the city needs, the Denver Post reports.
Other big cities are equally underfunded. Mayors nationwide complain their communities get only 10 percent of the federal money spent on preparedness and prevention, even though they’re the most likely targets for terrorists.
“The Bush administration has a pitiful case of the slows,” said Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, the outspoken homeland security task force chairman for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Cities’ lack of security funding is expected to top the agenda of the nation’s big city mayors when some 200 gather in Denver on June 5 for the conference’s annual meeting.
By then, Denverites will have picked their next mayor – either John Hickenlooper and Don Mares, each of whom portrays himself as a political outsider and criticizes the city’s bevy of Washington lobbyists. When it comes to snagging money for public defense, though, both tout their relationships with Colorado’s congressional delegates and vow to twist some arms back East.
Last week was a tough one for cities trying to squeeze more money from the Bush administration. In an attempt to lure congressional support for the President’s tax cut, the White House proposed $20 billion in its economic stimulus bill for so-called “state-local government set-asides.” Congressional Democrats wanted $4 billion of that for the nation’s biggest cities, largely to prepare for and prevent a terrorist attack. But Republicans nixed the $4 billion in favor of giving all $20 billion to states.