While wasteful Homeland Security programs such as the multicolor
terrorism warning system have done nothing to keep the country safe
from terrorists, that dysfunctional federal bureaucracy has been an ATM
machine for San Francisco law enforcement.
During 2003, San
Francisco police drew down $3.3 million in Homeland Security money to
pay overtime to officers monitoring Iraq war protests -- the most
for any California agency aside from the state highway patrol. Then-Mayor Willie Brown said the protection was designed to prevent
terrorists from using the distraction of protesters as cover to, say,
blow up the Golden Gate Bridge. Nationwide, the color-alert system has
been a boon for regional agencies hoping to use fear to justify
spending on things such as new weight rooms in the local police
station or armored assault vehicles for small towns no terrorist would dream of even flying over.
Gascon uses his hard-assed attitude on the task force assembled to
evaluate the color-code system, might this cornucopia of funds disappear?