Homeland Security Funds Cover California’s $2,300 Plasma

Center for Investigative Reporting follows the money
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BERKELEY, CALIF.: Since Sept. 11, 2001, California agencies have received some $1.9 billion in anti-terror funds. Now a new report from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch pegs numerous purchases of high-tech gear that could be described as wasteful or at least very expensive.

There’s a $2,300 plasma TV that was supposed to be used for anti-terror training, instead tuning in a lot of CNN. Marin County got $100,000 for surveillance gear to protect water facilities, but $67,000 of it remained in boxes four years later. And there are night-vision tools, weapons, robots and many, many mobile command units, expensive, technology-packed vehicles in many forms.

Reporter G.W. Schultz is the author of the copious, multi-pronged report that relies on extensive public records searches and claims “scores of instances of wasteful spending, purchasing violations, error-prone accounting and shoddy oversight at agencies across the state during the years immediately following 9/11.”

The online report includes sidebars on related topics (such as the tough times of a command vehicle manufacturer) and an interactive California map, showing homeland security purchases by county.

For Los Angeles County, that's more than half a billion dollars worth. Highlights within the county include a pair of night vision spotting scopes for $21,974, nine Makita Bit Sets for $7,644 and more than $1 million in cameras for the Souther California Regional Rail Authority.

The CIR report is here. -- fromGovernment Video