Friday, February 10, 2006

Fool of the Week

This week's Fool of the Week honor goes to Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles.

Yesterday, in a speech outlining an example of a thwarted terriorist plot, President Bush spoke of the threats to the city of Los Angeles and the Library Tower. The Library Tower is the tallest building west of the Mississippi. It is a logical target for those who would fly planes into buildings and kill people in this country.

The Mayor of Los Angeles seized this moment in the spotlight and declared his outrage that he was not briefed of this foiled attack before President Bush gave the speech. He called a news conference to voice his concerns for later in the afternoon.

One problem - the office of Homeland Security in California has records of such briefings to the mayor's office and explained the mayor's office had indeed been briefed. Later, the mayor had to backtrack and admit his mistake. The foiled plot occurred in 2002, by the way. This mayor was sworn into office in Los Angeles in May, 2005.

The true shame is that the mayor had a good message to deliver during his press conference. He didn't use it to bash the President or his staff. After voicing disappointment that he was not briefed as fully as he would have liked, as it was already out of the bag that he was briefed by then, he brought up some very legitimate points of funding shortages in large metropolitan areas for Homeland Security expenditures.

Congress insists on distributing monies made available to Homeland Security throughout the nation with even very small populations given generous amounts of funding. While I want everyone to be safe, I don't think it is practical for rural areas in the middle of the country to be over-funded at the expense of larger metropolitan areas. Also, if there is no real need for some funding in a community, the money winds up in some politician's pocket.

For instance, the Chief of Police for the city of Houston, Chief Harold Hurrt was in Washington, D.C. yesterday along with other Chiefs, testifying to the need for more funding to the local office of Homeland Security. Houston has many points of interest that are potential targets of terrorism, whether it is our ship channels, our Port of Houston, NASA, The Galleria, or the skyscrappers downtown, and we are the home to a former President and his wife. We were identified as a target of flights grounded during the morning of September 11, 2001 and our security needs have escalated since. It is just a fact of life. Houston is the nation's 4th largest city.

So, while the Mayor of Los Angeles had some very valid points concerning inequities in Homeland Security funding distribution, the message was lost because of his petty, unprofessional grab for the spotlight. Partisan politics have to get out of the way of protecting this country's people.

" The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong". - Mohandas Gandhi


AC said...

...because of his petty, unprofessional grab for the spotlight...

That sums it up, doesn't it.

I agree totally with your statements about the funding distribution. I live in a very rural community where you stand out if you are from another COUNTY and the arrest and court records are in the weekly newspaper. The county receives beaucoup funds to safeguard its water supply. Believe me, no one could get into the facility (you should see it) without being seen by 40-11 neighbors and all their dogs. And folks around here take homeland security pretty personally, if you get my drift. I feel pretty safe.

Now we ARE up-or-down wind (depending) of a nuclear plant. I would give our county's money to them gladly to get more security there.

srp said...

Of course the naval ship yards and base are here in Norfolk as well as an airbase. AC is right, most of the rural folks routinely carry shotguns and would make quick work of any terrorist.

Jessica said...

Wow he certainly fugged up didn't he? What a fool.

poopie said...

My local rag headlined the "cut" in funding. Go figure.