GLENDALE -- Glendale Mayor Gus Gomez had what he called “the best seat
in the house” listening to President George Bush’s speech on homeland
Gomez sat in the front row in the East Room of the White House in
Washington D.C., when Bush announced substantial increases in the
Homeland Security Budget. Gomez was in the nation’s capital Tuesday
through Thursday this week, attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors’
Bush proposes spending $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2003 to enhance the
homeland security response of “America’s first responders” -- a greater
than tenfold increase in Federal resources. First responders include
police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
The focus of the fund increase will be on giving cities money to
purchase equipment, plan and train personnel to battle bioterrorism. It’s
hard to say at this time how much money will come to Glendale, Gomez
said, but the city’s expenses since Sept. 11 have been higher than
Between Sept. 11 and Dec. 31, Glendale Police spent $800,000 extra in
overtime expenses, mostly related to security at movie studios and the
airport, Gomez said. About $700,000 of that amount will be reimbursed by
those receiving the services, but the city will pay the remaining
$100,000. The Fire Department also had $100,000 in overtime-related
expenses during the same time period.
In addition to using the funds for training and equipment, the city
will also have money to conduct federal and local exercises related to
homeland defense, Gomez said. He wasn’t sure what kind of exercises these
Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge described the emphasis on
homeland security as a partnership between the federal and local
governments, Gomez said.
“We’re ready to work with the president to make sure Glendale remains
one of the safest cities in the country,” Gomez said.