Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement about the 2006 Urban Areas Security Initiatives grants announced earlier today by the Department of Homeland Security:
“The Department of Homeland Security today announced its Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grants for FY2006. The news for California is mixed.
I am pleased that the Los Angeles/Long Beach area received a substantial increase in UASI funds this year, from $69 million to $80 million – up about 13%, even while the total available UASI funds nationwide went down by 14% from last year. The Sacramento area also received an increase in UASI funds this year.
Unfortunately, other California cities did not fare so well. The cities of the Bay Area, after being forced to submit a joint application, received a decrease of about 14% -- consistent with the national cuts. The Anaheim/Santa Ana urban funding area was reduced even more. And the San Diego area inexplicably received cuts of as much as 46% of funding.
This is troubling news indeed.
I have previously expressed my concerns about this risk-based formula. Today’s announcement only confirms that it needs fixing. While I favor risk-based assessments generally, DHS’s private calculations formula largely remains a mystery, and it is also obviously producing results that border on the absurd.
This year, DHS’s illogical scoring methodology has given Omaha, Charlotte, and Louisville increases of more than 40% -- placing them above the funding levels for San Diego and even Las Vegas – both of which saw their UASI funding reduced.
Indeed, San Diego and Sacramento have been scored by DHS below the top 35 urban areas in overall risk assessment. This rating will make them ineligible for an UASI grants next year, even though both California cities received millions more in UASI funding this year than 11 other cities on DHS’s so-called “top 35” list.
It is time for DHS to revisit its risk-based formula, and make its scoring criteria transparent. Once that occurs, I am confident that California will get its due.”