Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, up to half a billion dollars of public money has been spent to make Seattle’s waterways, freeways, airways, buildings, sidewalks, trains, and buses more attack-resistant. Does that money mean safety, asks the Seattle Post-Intelligencer? Mic Dinsmore of the Port of Seattle says both the airport and the commercial seaport are safer, although things are far from perfect. He also wonders whether all of the planning is well-directed. Regarding the practice of making airline passengers take off shoes: “What is the value added? What is the hassle factor?” he asked. “It’s a never-ending quest to be safe, but we also have to be pragmatic. How much value is there in taking off shoes?
Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata wondered about security expenses and their effect on a badly squeezed city budget. The city auditor found that nearly $86 million was spent during a little more than three years, and $45.5 million of that came directly from the funds filled by the city’s taxpayers and ratepayers. “Well, I was concerned about this whole trend of unfunded mandates,” Licata said. “It’s in the same category as ‘No Child Left Behind.’ The federal government isn’t providing enough money to make sustaining these things possible.”