AS far as I'm con cerned, the Depart ment of Homeland Security has declared war on New York City. When it announced yesterday that it had slashed New York City's homeland-security funding by more than 40 percent, or some $83 million, the DHS displayed an incredible and indefensible lack of understanding of the terror threat that New York City faces. It is absolutely unacceptable, and I am going to fight this decision tooth and nail.
Make no mistake, this funding is crucial to New York. It goes for terrorism prevention and response measures throughout our city, including equipment, training, planning and exercises.
For example, the funding could be used for anti-terror intelligence and threat assessment; training for first responders and counter-terror specialists; communications equipment for emergency managers; additional bioterror detection and mitigation systems; mobile command and control posts; or simulation exercises. These are just a few examples of homeland-security outlays New York City might now have to cut back on.
The DHS tries to justify the cut by saying there were funding reductions across the board. True, the overall budget was lowered by 20 percent. But why cut New York City's funding by twice that level? And why give big hikes to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, while drastically funding for the two major cities previously hit by terror attacks - New York and Washington, D.C.?
Then there's the contention that New York City somehow lost out on funding because it supposedly did not do well on a written grant application. This is absurd on its face. I strongly doubt it's true; even if it were, why punish New Yorkers for a poorly written application? This is the real world, where peoples' lives are at stake - not eighth grade. Nor should New York be subject to the whims of nameless, mindless bureaucrats.
My intent is not to frighten anyone; much progress has been made since 9/11. And we should be very thankful that we have the greatest police force in the world.
Commissioner Ray Kelly has done a terrific job establishing a counter-terrorism operation second to none, and the brave men and women of the NYPD work day in and day out to keep us safe. But there is still much to be done, which is why we need these federal homeland-security dollars.
New York City has long been the symbol of American freedom and strength around the world, and rightfully so. But with that recognition comes the reality that America's enemies, terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, will stop at nothing in their attempts to strike us. It is the reality that we face each and every day, one that was made clear to us on 9/11.
New York City has not forgotten that lesson - but yesterday's announcement makes me wonder if Homeland Security officials have.
Homeland Security funding is supposed to be distributed based upon risk - and we all know that no city faces greater risk than New York. We've done more than any other city in the country to defend ourselves and our nation; that should be rewarded, not punished. We're at the top of every terrorist hit list, and we need this funding to ensure our city is not attacked again.
The DHS clearly needs a wake-up call.