01/05/07

COUNTY PRAISES DECISION TO REINSTATE REGION TO SECURITY-GRANT LIST

SAN DIEGO – Chairman of the Board and Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn today welcomed news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that the San Diego region has been reinstated on its list of high-risk areas eligible for security grants.

“We are pleased with the change in heart from federal authorities that opens the way for needed resources to protect our region,” Chairman Horn said. “We have a third of the Pacific Fleet home-ported in our backyard along with the largest number of military personnel in the nation. Combine that with San Diego being the seventh largest city in America and a border that is not secure, there is clear and present danger that merits federal support.”

When funding for San Diego was placed at risk last year, the County Board of Supervisors moved quickly to persuade Department of Homeland Security officials that funding for the region is prudent and necessary. Chairman Horn and Supervisor Ron Roberts met with the local delegation in Washington, DC and federal officials to express their concern.

Forty urban areas, including San Diego make up Tier II risk areas and are eligible for about $336 million. The amount of grant money San Diego will receive will not be determined until the summer.

Last year, the County of San Diego used Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding to purchase personal protective equipment for various county departments. In addition, a significant portion of last year’s UASI funding ($2.7) helped fund the Regional Command Control and Communications for which the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is heavily involved.

“The County’s Emergency Operations Center is now state-of-the-art,” said Chairman Horn. “We’ve done our part to get the most out of federal grants in the past and will continue to do so in the future.”

This week, a federal report ranked the San Diego region in the top six for its ability to have local agencies communicate with each other during a disaster.

Regions eligible for UASI funding are chosen based on a risk analysis including population, economic impacts should an attack occur, critical assets within the urban region, and the presence of military installations.

“A number of people worked hard to restore San Diego to the security-grant list,” said Chairman Horn, “including U.S. Senators Feinstein and Boxer, our local congressional delegation, Governor Schwarzenegger and Mayor Sanders. I’m grateful federal officials not only heard all of our voices; they listened and agreed with us.”