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Political Grandstanding

Last Friday, Senator Jeff Bingaman and Albuquerque’s Mayor Martin Chavez held a press conference (subscription):

If Albuquerque police want to keep extra DWI patrols on the streets, test DNA and buy new equipment, the department may have to find some other way to pay for it than relying on federal money.

While standing next to 15 city police officers, K-9s, SWAT tanks and a bomb detecting robot, Mayor Martin Chavez and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., held a news conference Friday attacking President Bush’s proposed budget cuts.

Now, I can’t help but wonder how they held that press conference knowing this information (subscription):

Since the city started issuing red-light camera citations to motorists last May, it has raised $438,000.

Now, city officials are scratching their heads over what to do with the money. Initially, they thought both programs would only pay for themselves.

How can someone with a half million dollar windfall cry about federal budget cuts with a straight face? Of course, the bigger question is should the federal government be paying for local policing in the first place? What we’re talking about is someone from New Jersey paying for Albuquerque’s policing needs. How is that right? Think about that question the next time you read about city spending on projects like the Tricentennial Towers.