I have pointed to the fact that before Martin O'Malley as governor privatized the Port of Baltimore to High Star Investment firm-----a Wall Street group that is global and has no vision for the port other than to maximize profits. Johns Hopkins is attached to High Star Investments which is why O'Malley handed Port of Baltimore to them. High Star is heavily held by Ivy League endowment funds. When infrastructure is public the people have a voice in development----when it is private the people have no idea of development which is the case with Baltimore. Between the quasi- nature of Wall Street's Baltimore Development and the private standing of Johns Hopkins----Baltimore City public policy has been captured from the citizens by Baltimore City pols working exclusively for Johns Hopkins. The State of Maryland was bringing in close to a billion dollars in taxes from the Port of Baltimore----today we lease the port for a few hundred thousand and the High Star Investment firm gets the rest in profit plus all of the growth.
WE KNOW THIS WAS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE CITIZENS OF MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE SO THESE DEALS NEED TO BE VOIDED.
'Coastal access is one arena in which the weight of precedent stands squarely on the commoners’ side. The “public trust” doctrine, which goes back to Roman times, declares that waterways are inherently public, and cannot be sold even if the sovereign wants to. The first U.S. court to articulate the public trust was the New Jersey Supreme Court, in a case involving oyster beds. “[W]here the tide ebbs and flows, the ports, the bays, the coasts of the sea, including both the water and the land under the water…are common to all the people,” the N.J. court said in the 19th-century case of Arnold v Mundy. Each person, it added, “has a right to use them according to his pleasure.”
Grab your swimsuits, folks.
The U.S. Supreme Court embraced the doctrine in 1892 in Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois, which involved the attempt of the Illinois legislature to transfer shoreline along Lake Michigan to that corporation. Public trust lands are “held in trust for public uses,” the Court said; and these uses are “always paramount.” The railroad didn’t get the land. In another case, the Supreme Court embraced the “ebb and flow” rule, which defines the area of public access to that defined by high and low tides'.
Below you see who is determining if it is in the interest of the US to hand private ownership to global corporations and look-----the committee is nothing but global corporations and a US Treasury that works for global corporations. This is what you get when you elect Clinton neo-liberals as Democrats. They work for global corporations and Wall Street---not for the American people.
CITIZENS IN CITIES LIKE BALTIMORE CAN AND WILL ENFORCE FEDERAL LAW TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS TO PUBLIC PROPERTY ESPECIALLY AS REGARDS PUBLIC UTILITIES AND PORTS.
Foreign Ownership of U.S. Infrastructure
Authors: Eben Kaplan, and Lee Hudson Teslik
Updated: February 13, 2007
This publication is now archived.
- What new measures are under review in Congress?
- What are the business community’s objections to the bill?
- What concerns are there over foreign companies owning U.S. infrastructure?
- What has changed since the Dubai Ports World controversy?
- What are the benefits of foreign investment for the United States?
- What is “critical infrastructure?”
- What foreign entities are most invested in the United States? What do they own?
- How are foreign investments reviewed?
- Is the CFIUS review process sufficient to protect national security?
- Has foreign investment aroused security concerns in the past?
Share355What new measures are under review in Congress?A bill pending approval in the House Financial Services Committee aims to set up a panel to oversee the operations of CFIUS. The panel would span twelve separate government agencies and be headed by the Treasury Department. According to February 7 testimony by Clay Lowery, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for international affairs, two primary qualms with the bill come from the Bush administration. These are: 1) its requirement that only the two senior-most officials at CFIUS can certify the completion of a review; and 2) a requirement mandating a secondary 45-day investigation of any review involving businesses owned by a foreign government.
What are the business community’s objections to the bill?Some business groups have shared the basic concern that an overly stringent review process could scare off incoming foreign investment. A January 2007 study by the National Foundation for American Policy, a think tank promoting free market research, concluded that CFIUS’s increased restrictions following Dubai Ports threaten to dampen incoming foreign investment. But Barney Frank (D-MA), the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, has insisted that the pending legislation is sensitive to these concerns. “We will treat you and your money very nicely—that is the message of this legislation,” Frank said at a recent committee hearing, addressing foreign investors.
What concerns are there over foreign companies owning U.S. infrastructure?The fears over foreign entities owning critical infrastructure generally stem from the belief that foreign companies do not have as vested an interest in security as U.S. firms. Traditionally, U.S. officials have taken measures to keep sensitive military technology and the production of defense-related goods under the control of American companies. But since 9/11, there has been an increasing concern that foreign ownership of certain U.S. infrastructure could make the United States more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
The most pressing concerns arise when a state-owned foreign company will have a hands-on role in operations. "The issue is less about ownership and more about management," says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of CFR's Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies. While Holtz-Eakin acknowledges that there are legitimate security concerns, it is his view that foreign companies, state-owned or private, should be free to earn money from critical U.S. infrastructure provided they do not have direct operational control. Todd Malan, chief executive officer of the Organization for International Investment, echoes this view, explaining that "ownership [of infrastructure] is a small part of a given vulnerability."
What has changed since the Dubai Ports World controversy?The formerly low-profile CFIUS has assumed a tougher posture toward foreign firms seeking to invest in U.S. critical infrastructure. According to a January 2007 report (PDF) by the National Foundation for American Policy, CFIUS’s workload is now far bulkier than it was a year ago: The committee reviewed 73 percent more filings in 2006 than it did in 2005, and had seven second-stage investigations in 2006, as compared to two in 2005. This jump has calmed some nerves, but has also prompted concerns that the agency’s newfound vigilance will scare off foreign investment. Business groups have objected to the restrictions that have been placed on some high-profile companies from ally countries. When the French company Alcatel recently purchased Lucent Technologies, for instance, CFIUS approved the purchase but imposed significant provisions allowing for the deal to be ripped apart retroactively should the U.S. government see fit. A joint venture by the German company Siemens and the Finnish company Nokia to combine their mobile and landline telecom networks has come under similar scrutiny, further bristling business leaders.
What are the benefits of foreign investment for the United States?David Marchick, who co-authored a July 2006 CFR Special Report on foreign investment and national security, says that "attracting foreign investment is in itself a national security imperative of the United States because foreign investment is critical to the vitality and strength of our economy." With the U.S. trade deficit in excess of $725 billion in 2005, a steady influx of money from foreign investors is a necessity. As part of a process known as "in-sourcing," foreign companies employ some 5.3 million American workers in the United States. On average, these workers earn 34 percent more than workers at similar U.S.-owned businesses. Furthermore, foreign companies operating within the United States produce more than 21 percent of all U.S. exports, Malan says.
Welcoming foreign investment is also a fundamental tenet of U.S. trade policy. The aim is to open investment opportunities for U.S. companies abroad while at the same time creating a more stable international system and provide equal opportunities within U.S. borders. "It has been a deep belief of the United States that by taking leadership in economic openness...nations would be knit together," says Holtz-Eakin.
What is “critical infrastructure?”Much of the legislation seeking to implement controls on foreign investment focuses on foreign firms which own “critical infrastructure” within the United States. The Patriot Act defines critical infrastructure as systems and assets so vital to the United States that any breakdown in them "would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health, or safety.” The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets (PDF), submitted by President Bush in 2003, outlines eleven sectors of critical infrastructure: agriculture and food, water, public health, emergency services, defense industrial bases, telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking and finance, chemical industry and hazardous materials, and postal services and shipping. The "key assets" identified in the report are: national monuments and icons, nuclear power plants, dams, government facilities, and commercial key assets.
What foreign entities are most invested in the United States? What do they own?The country with the most holdings in the United States is the United Kingdom, followed by Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. At the end of 2004, the sum of all foreign assets in the United States had an estimated market value of $2.7 trillion, though only 2 percent of these holdings are owned by state-run companies. Foreign companies' holdings are most concentrated in the manufacturing sector, but they also extend into several of the eleven "critical" areas identified by the Bush administration. In the energy sector, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, and Venezuela's state-owned Citgo all have holdings within U.S. borders. Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson are major telecommunications providers; French-owned Sodexho U.S.A. is the largest food service company in the United States, and even serves meals on Marine Corps bases; and the largest private security firm operating in the United States, Securitas, is based in Sweden.
Middle Eastern entities (excluding Israel) bore the brunt of the ire surrounding the Dubai Ports World purchase. These entities account for about 0.5 percent of foreign investment in theUnited States. However, these companies have some high-profile holdings, including New York's Plaza and Essex House hotels, the Caribou Coffee Co., and the aircraft manufacturer Cirrus Industries, Inc.
How are foreign investments reviewed?CFIUS is made up of twelve members, each from a different government agency. The Secretary of the Treasury chairs the committees, but other members include representatives from the departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the National Security Council.
When the Treasury Department receives notice that a foreign company wishes to purchase a U.S. company or property, it puts in motion a thirty-day review during which each member of CFIUS considers the effects of the purchase on its own jurisdiction. The reviewers have at their disposal the full resources of the U.S. intelligence community. Any concerns raised during the review trigger a 45-day investigation, at the end of which CFIUS makes a recommendation and the president has fifteen days to make a final decision.
CFIUS was originally established in 1975 to monitor the impact of foreign investment. In 1988, Congress passed the Exon-Florio provision of the Defense Production Act, giving the president the authority to block foreign acquisitions on the grounds of national security. The president then delegated the review process to CFIUS. In 1992, the "Byrd" amendment required a thorough investigation of any purchase in which the acquirer is owned or operated by a foreign government. In the case of the Dubai Ports World, which is state-owned, CFIUS failed to conduct an investigation until after Congress raised objections.
Is the CFIUS review process sufficient to protect national security?Experts disagree. A September 2005 report (PDF) from the Government Accountability Office found that the review board tends to over-prioritize the U.S. open investment policy and noted that some CFIUS members found the process "not sufficiently flexible to protect critical infrastructure." But Malan says CFIUS "starts from the standpoint that its priority is national security, but it inherently recognizes the need for economic openness." Marchik agrees. "The [CFIUS] process works very well now. It's a very rigorous process," he says. In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on March 1, he described a series of "network security agreements" that have been negotiated to mitigate the security risk of foreign acquisitions. These include provisions that certain sensitive positions may only be held by U.S. citizens, and measures subjecting U.S.-based facilities to inspection by government agencies on as little as thirty-minutes' notice.
U.S. lawmakers have criticized what they say is the secretive way the government probes foreign takeovers of U.S. assets on the grounds of national security. Some have called for public hearings on such proposed transactions before a final decision is made. "The biggest problem," says Holtz-Eakin, "is the absence of transparency in the process."
Has foreign investment aroused security concerns in the past?Yes. Ever since the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, the United States has relied on at least some level of foreign investment. Over the years, there were several instances where this threatened national security. In 1915, when a German diplomat accidentally left his briefcase on a train platform, U.S. officials discovered that German investments in the United States were helping to build up the German war-fighting capacity. When the United States entered the First World War, President Wilson seized these assets. In 1927, Congress cited security concerns when it banned foreign ownership of radio broadcasting capabilities.
More recently, concerns raised by U.S. officials blocked the attempted 1987 acquisition of Fairchild Semiconductor Corp., a high-technology manufacturing company, by Japan's Fujitsu, Ltd. In 2005, congressional uproar prevented the Chinese company CNOOC from purchasing the U.S. energy firm Unocal.
Baltimore development along the port waterfront has corporations building their campuses right to water's edge. Baltimore City Hall and Maryland Assembly protect that private ownership by saying we have 'public access' to that property along the waterfront which is why they build public walkways with benches for you and I to sit. When all of this Inner Harbor and Harbor East development started you saw an ability of boaters in the harbor to tie off their boats and come ashore anywhere along the walls of the Inner Harbor----that was the 'public access'. The last several years has seen signs all along this wall saying----DO NOT TIE OFF. THOSE LANDING RIGHTS ARE NOT GONE---THEY ARE JUST TELLING US THEY ARE. Now, if you believe the public will be strolling along these corporate grounds for long----I have swampland in Florida to sell as they used all kinds of Federal, state, and local funds to build what will become just what they are ----corporate real estate.
With UnderArmour global campus taking from West Baltimore to Raven/Orioles Stadium with the casino inbetween-----and Canton connecting to Inner Harbor and Fells Point-----and now Dundalk in the south filled with the Amazon global campus----the entire coast along the port is privately owned and development is right to waters edge.
The citizens of Baltimore do not even has wet beach rights and forget dry beach rights.
THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE IS ALIVE
AND KICKING IN NEW JERSEY TIDALWATERS:
NEPTUNE CITY v. AVON-BY-THE-SEAA
CASE OF HAPPY ATAVISM?
LEONARD R. JAFFEE*
By early summer of 1972,
legal and equitable tidalwater resource title had, practically, been
squeezed from the citizenry.
On July 24, 1973, however, the Supreme Court of New Jersey
reinstated the rule of Arnold, in a seashore recreation right action
brought by the Borough of Neptune City and two of its private
residents, challenging the Borough of Avon-By-The Sea's seashoreaccess
fee discrimination against non-Avonites. This case, Neptune
City v. Avon-By-The-Sea, holds that the public trust doctrine prohibits
the state and its subdivisions from discriminating among New
Jersey citizens in foreshore access regulations.
Neptune City recognizes and assures a citizen recreation right respecting
foreshore. The decision apparently also secures citizen
access to foreshore at points of intersection with dedicated public
ways.' Moreover, Neptune City suggests: (a) that the public may
have rights of wetbeach access over private drybeach, as well as usufructuary
rights respecting wetbeach allocated to private possession;
(b) that no person or branch of state government can abridge citizen
navigation, fishery, recreation, access and water purity interests;'
and (c) that New Jersey citizens have standing to challenge private
and state-government threats to such tidalwater interests.'
This comment will develop these points with respect to three questions:
(1) citizen rights and standing to assert public tidalwater rights
as against government regulation or private claims, (2) the impact of
Neptune City on present tidalwater resource allocation, and (3) the
need for legislative organization of (a) tidalwater resource use and of
(b) citizen access to judicial and administrative forums for tidalwater
resource allocation regulation.
More recently, in Caminiti, the Washington Supreme Court dealt with the application of the
public trust doctrine to public lands. Preliminarily, the court discussed the origin and
background of the doctrine, as well as its application to private property, saying that while
the state could convey private interests in tidelands and shorelands, it could never “sell or
otherwise abdicate state sovereignty” over them.According to the court, “The state can no
more convey or give away this jus publicum interest than it can `abdicate its police powers in
the administration of government and the preservation of the peace.'” In adopting this
position the Court adopted a role as reviewer of state conveyances to assure they are
consistent with public trust obligations.
Of course a corporate Maryland stands with the right of the state to take no action to defend the rights of Public Trust Doctrine----THAT'S THE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY FOR YOU. Baltimore City pols are the ones introducing the privatization bills handing the port to a Wall Street investment firm that will supposedly manage our public asset in the interests of the public. THIS IS A JOKE AS WE KNOW. The Public Trust Doctrine is a FEDERAL law as well and just because Maryland may ignore this Federal law it does not mean Baltimore City does. So, we will fight to return Port of Baltimore to control of the state and/or the City of Baltimore.
MD Public Trust Doctrine: What Does It Mean?
May 22, 2014
According to the Public Trust Doctrine, the state of Maryland holds the navigable waterways within its boundaries, and the submerged lands beneath those waterways, in trust for the people of the state. In theory, this means that Maryland has a legal responsibility to ensure that members of the public can access state waters for activities like boating and fishing. As a practical matter, however, the Public Trust Doctrine is largely undefined in Maryland law, and it remains to be seen whether the Doctrine has the potential to serve as an effective legal tool for citizens to use in challenging state actions that impact the use and enjoyment of state waters. A recent decision from the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County suggests that the Doctrine may have significant limitations as a legal tool.
The case In the Matter of Department of Natural Resources, et al. v. George Tunis, et al., involved the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s (“DNR”) decision to approve a waterman’s application for an 18.7 acre oyster aquaculture lease in Chincoteague Bay. A group of adjacent land owners challenged the lease, arguing, among other things, that it violated the Public Trust Doctrine because it would block or severely limit the access of commercial fishing vessels and other boats to the leased area.
The case was first heard by an Administrative Law Judge who agreed with the citizen group that the proposed aquaculture lease had to be denied because it violated the Public Trust Doctrine. DNR and the lease applicant subsequently appealed the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling in state court. On April 29, 2014, Circuit Court Judge Mulford issued an opinion rejecting the argument that the proposed lease violated the Public Trust Doctrine and upholding DNR’s decision to issue the lease.
Judge Mulford began his analysis of the Public Trust issue by confirming that the Doctrine is a common law principle that “has long been recognized in Maryland.” The Judge then proceeded to explain his view that the Doctrine does not add any additional criteria that DNR must consider when making aquaculture leasing decisions.
Judge Mulford reasoned that, as a common law principle, the Public Trust Doctrine is subject to modification by both state legislative acts and appellate court decisions. The Judge then examined the section of the State Code pertaining to aquaculture, and he found that the legislature had “knowingly incorporated the Public Trust Doctrine” into certain provisions but not others. For example, the legislature specified that, when pre-approving waters for aquaculture leasing, DNR has to consider potential conflicts posed by navigation, recreation and commercial fishing. In contrast, the legislature did not include any language requiring DNR to consider those factors in reviewing aquaculture lease applications. Accordingly, Judge Mulford concluded that the Legislature intended to create a streamlined approach to aquaculture leasing that does not require DNR to consider any Public Trust Doctrine elements so long as the other statutory and regulatory requirements for leasing are met.
The citizen group opposed to the aquaculture lease is likely to appeal this case to the Maryland Appellate Court, so the Circuit Court’s decision may not be the final word on this issue. For the time being, however, the decision has implications for the viability of the Public Trust Doctrine as a legal tool in Maryland. While it is clear that the Doctrine does apply, it is unclear whether courts will be willing to find that the Doctrine imposes any substantive criteria that the state must consider when making decisions that affect state waters. Judge Mulford’s decision suggests that, where, as with aquaculture leasing, an existing statute specifies criteria to guide state decision-making, citizens may face an uphill battle in convincing a court that the Public Trust Doctrine requires something more from the state.
Now, because Ivy League Universities and Wall Street want to make International Economic Zones of coastal US cities they needed first to privatize these ports as O'Malley did-----they announced the intent to expand the port to that of a global cargo container ship port, and with that designation came all kinds of Homeland Security needs the City of Baltimore and its port never needed before. This expansion may create a few jobs most of which are being outsources-----ask the Baltimore Longshoremen------but now we have security blimps with surveillance that makes the Hubble Telescope look myopic. We have all of that Federal, state, and local funding going into security and surveillance, and as this article shows----IT IS SIMPLY USING THIS TO SELL PRODUCTS AND TO MAKE BALTIMORE LOOK LIKE MANHATTAN IN ITS MILITARIZED SECURITY APPARATUS.
'Bob Maloney, director of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management in Baltimore, said his city spent $10 million in UASI money to build compatible regional communications with enough redundancy to work even if part of the system is knocked out. But with Baltimore on the list of cities that could be cut from the program and with Maryland facing a projected 2012 budget shortfall of $1.4 billion, Maloney doesn't know where he will find the $850,000 he needs each year just to maintain the system. "It's disastrous," he said'.
What was a billion dollars in revenue coming to the state and city from a public port is now a huge sucking machine for all Federal, state, and local funds at the same time they use this Homeland Security designation to circumvent our Public Trust Doctrine. The city and state are making no money from this privatization deal------there are no real jobs as always from these deals-----and we do not want a global cargo ship port that kills the Chesapeake Bay with pollution and invasive species.
ALL OF THIS IS WHY WE ARE RETURNING THE PORT OF BALTIMORE TO PUBLIC HANDS AND DOWN-SIZING THE GLOBAL FUNCTION OF THE PORT OF BALTIMORE.
"Everything has a shelf life. People retire, equipment fades," Filler said. "Investing in these capabilities and then to turn it basically off is to guarantee you're going to lose the capability over time. The reason the feds invested in these in the first place is that they knew state and local governments couldn't do it and needed it."
WHO OWNS A SECURITY/SURVEILLANCE CORPORATION? JOHNS HOPKINS.....WONDER WHO RECEIVED ALL THESE FUNDS?
Homeland Security Grants To Cities Soon To Suffer More Deep Cuts
Posted: 12/29/2011 12:54 pm EST Updated: 12/29/2011 1:28 pm EST
When a lone deranged gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others in a supermarket parking lot last January, Tucson police monitored the chaotic scene with a real-time aircraft-to-land video link.
And when a devastating tornado destroyed Joplin, Mo., in May, a mobile command vehicle based in Kansas City rushed there to help coordinate the response.
In every case, federal grant money intended to help urban areas plan, equip and train for a terrorist attack was used to respond to the non-terrorist emergency. Now, a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, deep cuts in funding for the Department of Homeland Security's Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) threaten to leave those cities and dozens of other smaller population centers without the money to maintain programs into which the federal government has already sunk millions of tax dollars.
It's already happened in Tucson. In October, the city shut down the reverse 911 notification system paid for with UASI funds. Police have advised residents to check for alerts on Twitter -- even though most don't use the social networking site.
Advocates for continued funding warn of a not-too-distant future filled with mothballed, broken and outdated equipment; unemployed and expensively trained intelligence analysts; and fewer training exercises for first responders. A recent report by the UASI managers group argued that the federal government has "an equity stake" in improved local and state radio communications, information sharing, hazardous material response and regional planning and that it is not in the interests of taxpayers to see them "wither and eventually evaporate over time."
"Whether it's a bridge collapse or a skyscraper coming down, a natural or man-made disaster, tornado or terrorist -- it's the same kind of response," said Bill Anderson, a Minneapolis emergency manager who heads the National UASI Association. "It's crazy that DHS would bring people to this level of preparedness and then cut them off and walk away."
But others are pleased that Congress has cut spending that they say has spiraled out of control.
"UASI funding should be directed to those urban areas at greatest risk, not spread far and wide to satisfy each mayor, governor or congressman's inherent desire to have the maximum amount of homeland security funding," said Daniel Kaniewski, deputy director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University and a former official in President George W. Bush's White House. "The budget reality in Washington requires that scarce federal resources be allocated according to risk profiles, not wish lists."
Until recently, Congress has granted the wishes of emergency managers from Bridgeport, Conn., to Oxnard, Calif. Since 2003, the UASI program has handed out $6.5 billion -- most of it initially to 10 "Tier I" metro areas considered at the greatest risk of terrorist attack: New York, Washington, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Chicago, Houston, the San Francisco Bay area, Jersey City/Newark, Philadelphia, Boston and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Once the gravy train left the station, though, lawmakers and officials in 54 smaller, second-tier cities clamored for and received money to buy new equipment, conduct training and create regional information-sharing organizations known as fusion centers. Suddenly, places like Bakersfield, Calif.; Salt Lake City; Toledo; Memphis and El Paso, Texas -- hardly obvious al Qaida targets -- were getting millions.
"Everybody and his brother got a shiny new command vehicle, a communications van, patrol vessels, fire and police boats," said Eric Holdeman, former emergency manager for Seattle and the surrounding King County. "It's going to be very hard to sustain a lot of these."
Especially now. In the 2011 budget, Congress cut 33 "Tier II' cities from the program, including Providence, R.I.; Omaha, Neb.; and Sacramento. Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Albany were zeroed out in New York state, leaving only New York City in UASI.
More cuts are expected in 2012. Under the recently passed spending bill for DHS, state and local grants will be reduced by about $1 billion. The remaining $959 million in homeland security grants will be divvied up among at least nine different programs covering everything from port security to emergency medical response.
The legislation specifies that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano allocate no less than $100 million for "areas at the highest threat of terrorist attack." Joshua Filler, a former DHS official who helped create UASI, recently wrote that while it was "reasonable" to assume that money would go to urban areas, Napolitano has discretion to distribute it "according to threat, vulnerability and consequence."
Napolitano isn't expected to announce a decision until late February. But many observers expect DHS will shrink the program back to the original 10 metro areas. That would leave Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Miami and Seattle among those left out in the cold, with smaller metro areas already feeling the sting of budget cuts in areas such as bioterrorism preparedness.
Democrats have railed against reduced funding. Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo has said the cuts pose "the potential of creating gaping holes in regions making significant contributions to our national security." Neo-liberals----not Democrats.
Anderson and other UASI managers have asked Napolitano to allot $600 million for urban area grants, including $60 million for "sustainment and preservation of the capabilities developed over the past decade" in cities no longer eligible for funding in 2012.
But the Government Accountability Office and critics in Congress question the value of UASI grants. They say there has been little research into their effectiveness and even less oversight. Many point to millions in "unspent" grants sitting in city coffers, despite the fact that cities are given three years to spend grant money for services or equipment that has yet to be delivered.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, whose Long Island district lost more than 150 constituents on 9/11, has said it is time to stop spending money on low-risk regions of the country and instead concentrate increasingly scarce resources on big cities that remain the main targets of terrorists. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee, also defended the cuts, arguing that "more government and more spending does not necessarily equal more security."
"It never made sense for these grants to turn into permanent subsidies," said Benjamin Friedman, a research fellow in homeland security studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. "If states and localities think they need more emergency response capability or port security or whatever, then they ought to pay for it themselves. They have a better sense of what the relative priorities are."
NOT JUST NEW YORK OR WASHINGTON
Supporters of continued funding point out that Osama bin Laden had been urging his followers to target smaller cities when he died and that recent terrorism suspects grew up or lived in American suburbs. They insist it is naive to think state and local governments walloped by the recession can fill the gap left by a cutoff of federal funds.
Before 9/11, counterterrorism was almost exclusively a federal issue. Today, in part due to federal homeland security grant programs like UASI, every state and 22 major urban areas have fusion centers, where analysts from local, state and federal agencies sift through and interpret threat data. Several big-city police departments, most controversially in New York, have set up their own intelligence divisions. The infusion of federal money also has contributed to an unwelcome militarization of police departments, which have bought Army-style armored personnel vehicles to use for crowd control and drug sweeps.
Despite some questionable purchases, Filler, the former DHS official, pointed out that UASI funds have played a small but critical role in securing cities against man-made and natural disasters by giving them "certain exotic capabilities they could not otherwise afford." New York's bomb squad used a UASI-funded remote-controlled robot to handle a car bomb in Times Square. Minneapolis has blasted federally funded sirens to warn of impending tornadoes. Miami purchased a fireboat to handle emergencies on cruise ships in its port.
By far the biggest chunk of UASI funds, $1.2 billion, has gone toward interoperable communications that allow first responders from different jurisdictions to talk to each other during emergencies. The 9/11 Commission report cited construction of wireless networks as a top priority, and major cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have deployed systems with help from the federal government. But smaller cities are still playing catch-up and worry funding cuts will reverse the progress they've made.
New Orleans was one of the first UASI cities to upgrade after
a lack of interoperable communications during 2005's Hurricane Katrina hobbled rescue efforts already struggling with the wholesale destruction of electrical networks and cell towers. Since then, new national standards for public safety communications have been introduced, but the city was cut from UASI in 2011 and doesn't have the $36 million it needs to upgrade its equipment, said New Orleans' UASI project manager, Robert Williams.
Bob Maloney, director of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management in Baltimore, said his city spent $10 million in UASI money to build compatible regional communications with enough redundancy to work even if part of the system is knocked out. But with Baltimore on the list of cities that could be cut from the program and with Maryland facing a projected 2012 budget shortfall of $1.4 billion, Maloney doesn't know where he will find the $850,000 he needs each year just to maintain the system. "It's disastrous," he said.
"Everything has a shelf life. People retire, equipment fades," Filler said. "Investing in these capabilities and then to turn it basically off is to guarantee you're going to lose the capability over time. The reason the feds invested in these in the first place is that they knew state and local governments couldn't do it and needed it."
To Holdeman, who blogs about disaster management, the drawdown in homeland security funding a decade after 9/11 parallels the tale of the federal government's Cold War civil defense program. All the fallout shelters stocked with food and water "just kind of wasted away," he said, as the threat of nuclear annihilation waned. "The U.S. mentality is not one of sustainment," Holdeman said. "We don't have the persistence to maintain a long-term effort."
Tim Johnstone runs the central California fusion center, a multi-agency operation that covers 34 counties from the Oregon border to Bakersfield. It not only collects and synthesizes information but trains intelligence analysts and police who handle community outreach to religious and ethnic minorities. One-quarter of the center's $2.4 million operating budget comes from UASI, but that will run out in 2013 because Sacramento was dropped from the program in 2011. Unless he can find an extra $850,000, Johnstone will have to lay off analysts and cancel training.
"It is time we reprioritize and stop buying gas masks, mobile command vehicles and fire trucks, and focus on prevention, education and information sharing in a sustainable model," Johnstone said. "These cuts will take us backwards [to] a time that is as dangerous threat-wise as prior to 9/11."
Friedman, the Cato researcher, isn't worried. "The odds of a terrorist attack in most parts of the country, even in most urban areas, are so low that I don't think [UASI is] a particularly good investment," he said.
That attitude is taking over, Holdeman warned.
"Advocacy for homeland security will continue to dwindle -- until the next attack," he recently wrote. "20 years from now emergency managers will tell their children and grandchildren about the heyday of homeland security funding from 2003-2010. At Christmas they will relate how the money flowed in great streams, nay rivers of funding. There were trucks, mobile command posts, bomb robots, chemical detectors and all sorts of suits. It was a wonderful time of toys for boys."
You mean Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay has been home to global industrial fishing and crabbing and that is what has decimated our bay along with making Port of Baltimore a global port. Seems like we need Public Trust Doctrine to protect this bay from global ships and businesses.
Martin O'Malley placed himself at the head of a Chesapeake Bay Foundation just so no real environmental activism would come from Maryland's major environmental commission.
Greenpeace, Chesapeake Bay Residents Say Factory Fishing is Killing the Bay
Chesapeake Bay residents, fishermen, scientists, Greenpeace activists and other environmentalists held a peaceful flotilla today to show support for limiting the fishing of menhaden, a keystone species of prey fish in the Atlantic. A 20-foot-long banner with the message “Omega: Factory Fishing is Overkill” floated on the surface of the water alongside sailboats, canoes, kayaks and other watercraft in front of Omega Protein’s fish processing facility. The demonstration pointed to Omega Protein’s industrial fishing fleet as the leading culprit in the decimation of the Atlantic menhaden population.
RVP20050723001-23JUL2005-REEDVILLE, VA, USA: Activists from the environmental group, Greenpeace, deploy a banner, "Factory Fishing is Overkill", July 23, 2005, in front of the Omega Protein's fish processing facility on Cockrell's Creek in Reedville, Virginia. Omega's harvest of Menhaden has made Reedville the third largest fishing port in America by tonnage of fish landed. Omega grinds Menhaden into fishmeal for poultry and pig feed. Menhaden are an important species to preserve the health of the Chesapeake Bay's ecosystem. The species is a plankton-eating filter feeder. Sport fisherman are also concerned, Menhaden is bait for both blues and stripers. Cockrell's Creek is a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. About one hundred activists and locals participated in today's protest. rv © 2005 Robert Visser/Greenpeace.
"Without a healthy menhaden stock, there will be no jobs," said John Hocevar, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. "The choice is ours: a healthy Bay supporting locally-based, owner-operated fisheries or a Chesapeake where the only surviving fishery is run by a factory fishing operation based in Houston, driven by the need to maximize shareholder value."
Among the participants in the flotilla were Dr. H. Bruce Franklin, author of the Discover magazine article, "The Most Important Fish in the Sea"; Jim Price, president of the Chesapeake Bay Ecological Foundation, a fifth-generation fisherman who has been active in fisheries management issues and research for more than 25 years; David Nobles, Virginia State Vice-President of the Coastal Conservation Association; and Brad Heavner, executive director of MaryPIRG.
"As the most important fish on the Atlantic coast, menhaden are essential to the diet of our most valuable food fish and crucial for cleaning our bays and estuaries," said Dr. Franklin. "This vital species is now collapsing because tens of millions are ground up every year and turned into chicken feed and pet food. The industrial reduction fishery of menhaden should be stopped, at least for five years if not permanently."
At its upcoming August meeting, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will be considering proposals to limit menhaden fishing. Reedville is the main battleground for this debate, where Omega Protein runs one of the largest fisheries in the country. The company is a prime example of destructive factory fishing and corporate influence on the regulatory process.
As part of its worldwide campaign for healthy oceans and sustainable fisheries, Greenpeace is calling for an immediate moratorium on the menhaden industrial purse seine reduction fishery throughout the Atlantic coast.