we didn't need it anyway

posted by catherine / January 10, 2005 /

fabulous. i can't even get over irony of the fact that most of the major players in the US government right now would rather drink a rat milkshake than consider giving DC statehood, but they've got no problem with the city spending $17.3 million out of its own pocket to fund the inauguration:

The District expects the whole thing to cost it $17.3 million dollars. Mayor Anthony Williams would like a federal appropriation to help with the costs, but his spokeswoman, Sharon Gang, says they've been told that won't happen.

Instead, the mayor wants to use 5.4 million from the Emergency Planning and Security Cost Fund. That's been dipped into before to cover costs for things like Ronald Reagan's funeral and World Bank protests.

But that leaves nearly $12 million unfunded. So the mayor suggests using regional homeland security grant money. He's sent a letter to Secretary Tom Ridge, asking if that's an appropriate use of the funds.

brilliant, mayor williams! instead of getting a federal appropriation to cover the costs, we're going to take money out of a fund that should be protecting us from terrorists. D.C., a town that's about 95% blue, that is probably one of the highest-risk targets for terrorism, that has no congressional representation, is going to spend a good chunk of its Don't Kill Us, Please money on paying for the activities and alcohol of a bunch of republicans.

i am so totally spending january 20th on the roof of our apartment with a bottle of tanqueray, throwing spitballs and incoherent, slurred insults at anybody who passes by in cowboy boots.

UPDATE: from the moonie times: "The Washington Post reported the money is for construction and security costs and the Bush administration is balking at reimbursing the money to the District of Columbia as it and other administrations did previously."

and more from the post:

D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.

Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.

... A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor's stance. He called the Bush administration's position "simply not acceptable."

"It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.

... The $17.3 million the city expects to spend on this inauguration marks a sharp increase from the $8 million it incurred for Bush's first.

According to Williams's letter, the District anticipates spending $8.8 million in overtime pay for about 2,000 D.C. police officers; $2.7 million to pay 1,000-plus officers being sent by other jurisdictions across the country; $3 million to construct reviewing stands; and $2.5 million to place public works, health, transportation, fire, emergency management and business services on emergency footing.

Congressional aides said the District sought unsuccessfully last year to boost the annual security reimbursement fund from $15 million to $25 million to pay for inauguration expenses. In contrast, New York City and Boston-area lawmakers were able to obtain $50 million from Congress for each of those two jurisdictions to cover local security costs for the national political conventions.


Well... they probably won't be buying any booze with that money. Jersey barriers and police overtime pay is more like it.

Still! I agree. The only opposing case I can think of is that the inauguration probably brings some business to DC, and therefore tax revenue... but c'mon, this ain't the Olympics.

Posted by: tom on January 10, 2005 03:47 PM

true, the tourism revenue we could potentially make would be good. but not if the hotel workers strike!

Posted by: catherine on January 10, 2005 03:50 PM

I'd totally join you on your roof but I don't have a residency permit for your HIGH SECURITY zone. Neither do the homeless guys, so I guess they'll be cleared out for a few days.

Posted by: susan on January 10, 2005 04:12 PM

maybe i can form a cabal with the homeless dudes to take over the convention center.

Posted by: catherine on January 10, 2005 04:51 PM

I'll happily join in spitballing and homeless guy cabal forming. Black-Cat Bill should definitely lead that charge.

Posted by: Michael on January 11, 2005 09:10 AM

Wait. I just let this all sink in. Now this is my outrage of the day. We're supposed to spend our homeland security funds on the president's party? I have a better idea, if this isn't a federal event worthy of being footed by federal funds, then HOLD IT IN CRAWFORD. He likes it better there anyway.

I'm going to write to my congressperson! Oh wait...

Posted by: susan on January 11, 2005 12:05 PM

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