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Homeland Security Doubles Anti-Terror Aid For San Diego

San Diego is getting double last year's funding in a new round of federal anti-terror grants to cities. The San Francisco Bay area and the Anaheim-Santa Ana area in Orange County are also getting a bo

WASHINGTON (AP) -- San Diego is getting double last year's funding in a new round of federal anti-terror grants to cities. The San Francisco Bay area and the Anaheim-Santa Ana area in Orange County are also getting a boost, but Sacramento and Los Angeles are losing money.

The anti-terror aid, expected to be announced Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security, goes each year to the 46 metro areas deemed most at risk.

The announcement often leads to complaints from cities that lose out in millions of dollars. Last year, DHS threatened to drop Sacramento and San Diego off the eligibility list entirely, leading to loud complaints from California officials.

This time around San Diego had cause for rejoicing as DHS planned to increase its grant from $8 million in 2006 to $16 million in 2007.

"This is proof that the Department of Homeland Security has a big, open mind for constructive feedback," said Fred Sainz, spokesman for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

An early copy of the national list of grant amounts to the 46 recipient cities was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. In addition to San Diego, four other California metro areas are included:

  • The Los Angeles/Long Beach area will get $72.6 million in 2007, compared to $80.6 million in 2006.
  • The San Francisco Bay area will get $34 million in 2007, compared to $28.3 million in 2006.
  • Anaheim/Santa Ana will get $13.8 million in 2007, compared to $12 million in 2006.
  • Sacramento will get $4.17 million in 2007, compared to $7.4 million in 2006.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was concerned about the funding decreases.
"We will continue to pressure the federal government to make sure that California's homeland security needs are met," he said in a statement.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said she was pleased San Diego and the Bay Area received increases, but disappointed by cuts to Los Angeles and Sacramento.

"One minute we have the secretary of Homeland Security saying he has a gut feeling we'll be attacked this summer, and the next minute they are announcing homeland security funding cuts to cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento - our state capital - which are potential targets for terrorist attacks," she said.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has repeatedly said cities should not compare one year's award to the next, because the program is designed to provide aid where the need is greatest in order to make the entire country safer from terrorist attacks.

In the past, that advice has been little comfort to local officials who see their grant amount plummet.

The entire program came under intense criticism last year when the two cities struck hardest by the 2001 terror attacks, New York and Washington, each saw a 40 percent cut in funding.

The Urban Area Security Initiative distributes a total of $747 million, reserving the largest share, some $410 million, for seven top tier cities considered at the greatest risk of attack: New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Jersey City, N.J., the San Francisco Bay area and Houston. The rest is divided among 39 other cities.

The program is designed to help wide-ranging metropolitan regions, meaning suburbs outside the official city limits also get a share of the funds.

The money can be spent to train, equip, and better protect police, fire, and emergency personnel.

Associated Press Writers Devlin Barrett and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.