Homeland Security Funding & Apologies
In the middle of a Homeland Security funding fiasco, NYS Comptroller Hevesi apologized profusely and continuously this week for inappropriate words he ad-libbed at the Queens College graduation suggesting that Senator Chuck Schumer would like to shoot the president (Hevesi above with Publisher Mike Schenkler during a visit to the Queens Tribune.)Tribune Photo by Ira Cohen
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Ohio: Eleven Bulletproof Vests for Dogs $7,348
South Dakota: Paging System for the State Agricultural Fair $29,995
Texas: A Custom Trailer for the October Mushroom Festival $30,000
Indiana: Truck for A County Employee to Commute to Work $30,000
Maryland: Eight Large Screen Plasma Television Monitors $160,000
Maryland: A Digital Camera System Used for Mug Shots $500,000
The above sampling of how other states have spent part of their Federal Homeland Security funds in the past makes the recent cut in New York’s Homeland Security funding and wild statements justifying it, by Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, more gross, more absurd and more clearly a part of a political agenda. Chertoff and those who counsel, control or supervise him have put at risk our homeland – New York City.
The above absurd examples of how Federal Homeland Security Funds have been expended in the past, provided by the office of Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner, places in proper perspective the outrageous statements about New York’s use of funds, made by Chertoff.
Yes the funds are to protect the nation but to cut New York by 40 percent while many smaller cities receive increases is tantamount to as egregious an act as any administration is capable of – short of treason. The decision can still be reviewed and reversed by the White House and we expect every Republican in the metropolitan area to demand that the President act. This is not and cannot be ignored. Not now, not in November.
New York City will receive $82 million less for the current fiscal year, a total of $124 million in homeland security funding, a 40 percent cut compared to last year under a threat-based Urban Areas Security Initiative program.
Republicans and Democrats have come forward with condemnation of the action.
“This drastic cut to keep New York secure from the horror of another deadly attack is an absolute outrage. I am amazed that after we in Congress have successfully fought to boost funding for terror grants to American cities, the Bush Administration has chosen to reduce the ability of the city that experienced the single most horrific act of terror on American soil to protect itself. This is the 21st century equivalent of President Bush telling New York City to ‘Drop Dead,’” said Queens Congressman Joe Crowley, whose cousin, a firefighter, died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg challenged the political motivation of the funding suggesting that the process was skewed by close upcoming elections to the House of Representative or the Senate.
In defending the cuts, Chertoff stated that New York has not a single national monument or icon that needs special security.
Ground Zero, the United Nations, The Statue of Liberty, and the New York Stock Exchange – duh!
We call upon the President to right this outrage. We call upon Republican elected officials to demand the president act immediately. We call upon those New York Republican officials denouncing this outrage to put their party affiliation on the line.
Should the Republican administration allow Chertoff to remain in office and his political vendetta on the New York metropolitan area to stand, Republicans must repudiate their party. No, this is not a partisan statement by this writer; this is only a small part of the response that must be shown by us should the current administration continue this war on New York.
HEVESI FAUX PAX
Now I’ve written those words above in anger. I’m angry as all of you should be. When I write, at times I am concerned I perhaps occasionally cross some acceptable lines. Time between draft and print allow for second thoughts. Editors allow for thirds.
Such is not the case in speech. When true, good New Yorkers have the opportunity to comment verbally on the outrage, I understand how they could go too far.
My friend Alan Hevesi did.
Speaking at the graduation at his and my alma mater, Queens College, the New York State comptroller and former Queens Assemblyman and Forest Hills resident let his true feelings get the best of him. This skilled politician in describing the next Speaker, Senator Schumer said,“The man who, uh, uh, how do I phrase this diplomatically ... will put a bullet between the President’s eyes, if he could get away with it.”
Hevesi has been apologizing ever since.
Alan, I forgive you.
I believe your friends, neighbors and most New Yorkers understand the sentiment. I believe all of us who are less than perfect have put our foot in our mouths as badly. Only, as I remember from your Queens College basketball days, you have a damn big foot.
Some of us, no matter how inappropriate your words were, are not unhappy that you spoke them. Sure they were wrong, but they conveyed the anger that New Yorkers feel towards the Homeland Security cuts, Chertoff and the Bush administration.
You’ve apologized enough. Now get back on the bandwagon and demand the President do justice to the only city in our nation that has been the target of international terrorism. Party politics aside, New York is the financial capital of the world, the cultural capital of our nation and deserves the full protection of our federal government.
On behalf of the people of the greatest city in the world, we can understand how an occasional verbal slip in anger can happen.
Alan, you’ve apologized; we forgive you. Now the administration needs to apologize.
JOHN LIU & FREE SPEECH
Our friend and subject of last week’s column stopped by to chat about our differences concerning censorship.
Firstly, we always admire those who face criticism head-on and calmly. John was more than an old friend, he convinced us he wanted to hear our thoughts and was in basic agreement with our “freedon of speech” position.
John asserted that his advocacy position against “hate speech” was non-governemntal since the City Council does not monitor or control it. He however, believes the community must demand that those who profit by the business of hate speech need to do more than lend lip service when they go too far.
John has demanded voluntary contributions.
While we will not relive our differences here, John clearly disavowed any connection with an attempt to censor anyone.
In spite of our occassional criticism of him, we’re impressed he impresses us.
Thanx for stopping by. Next time bring the bagels -- make mine whole wheat.