Homeland Security grants free money — so spend it
Homeland Security money may turn out to be one of the nation's greatest boondoggles. In any case, it's a convenient vehicle for Congress to dole out money to the smallest of burgs while much of the nation's entryways go virtually unattended.
It's free money. It's a political present from Washington! Thus, nobody should care how local agencies spend the money.
In keeping with that philosophy, Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker wants the Legislature to exempt state and local agencies from abiding by the bid law when spending the money.
His honesty is refreshing: It takes too long to spend the money when government must take bids. He said about half the $100 million coming to the state is still in the bank because of the bid process.
What he suggests could eventually take away competitive pricing and drive up costs and waste.
A better suggestion is to return the unspent money to Congress. Applying the $50 million toward making sure ocean cargo coming into the country doesn't contain a dirty bomb and that cargo carried on passenger airplanes is inspected makes more sense if the money really is for homeland security.