California receiving more and more DHS funding

Published 10 May 2011

Each year the state of California has received increasing amounts of DHS grant money to combat terrorism; last year California received $268 million dollars from the agency, roughly 16 percent of the $1.7 billion that DHS awarded nationally; San Francisco alone has received $200 million; not all Californians are pleased with the large amount of funding that the state receives from DHS; Robert Reich, President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor and a professor of public policy at U.C. Berkeley, believes that the large grants are symptomatic of wasteful government spending

Each year the state of California has received increasing amounts of DHS grant money to combat terrorism.

Last year California received $268 million dollars from the agency, roughly 16 percent of the $1.7 billion that DHS awarded nationally.

Grant money has gone towards everything from nuclear, chemical, or biological attack response training for emergency officials to sophisticated equipment and police vehicles.

According to Matthew Bettenhausen, the former top security official in California under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, since DHS was founded California has received an ever increasing amount of funding.

Each year we always improved in terms of the percentage we got,” Bettenhausen said.

Following the 9/11 attacks, California has received a total of nearly $1.8 billion in federal funding to combat terrorism.

San Francisco alone has received $200 million. The money has helped the city purchase respirators, surveillance cameras, satellite phones, and thermal imaging cameras.

In addition, the city, which is the Bay Area’s counter-terrorism headquarters, has received an estimated $7 million in grants to establish a Bay Area Regional Information Crime Center. The facility serves as clearinghouse for all terrorist tips in the Bay Area.

Not all Californians are pleased with the large amount of funding that the state receives from DHS.

Robert Reich, President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor and a professor of public policy at U.C. Berkeley, believes that the large grants are symptomatic of wasteful government spending.

It makes no sense. For every dollar a terrorist spends seeking to create havoc in America, we spend at least $1,000 trying to prevent it,” Reich said. “If the goal of the terrorists is to slowly bankrupt America, they have hit on a pretty good strategy.”

After 9/11 emergency government funding was devoted primarily to combating terrorism, however after Hurricane Katrina DHS began allocating more of its funds to emergency preparedness in the event of natural disasters or other catastrophic events.

Currently roughly 20 percent of DHS grants awarded to states is dedicated to preparing local law enforcement officials to respond to earthquakes, floods, hurricanes as well as chemical, biological, or nuclear attacks.

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