No biggie, right?
The problem is Flora received the 3rd lowest favorability rating of the 17 potential sites by consultants hired to study the matter.
Leavenworth, which received a 92 compared to Flora's 81, was eliminated as a finalist.
Obviously, this stings more because Leavenworth is in Kansas as is Manhattan, another finalist for the facility which received a score of 91, but it would be troubling even if it didn't affect our home state.
It's troubling because a bureaucrat in Washington ignored the opinions of professionals and experts based on what are at least somewhat political calculations.
Homeland Security’s Undersecretary Jay Cohen chose Mississippi to be in the final group. A department spokeswoman, Amy Kudwa, told the AP that the agency’s internal committee reviews “did not appropriately consider the unique contributions certain consortia committed to make in their proposals.” Mississippi, for example, promised to work closely with Battelle Memorial Institute, a Homeland Security contractor that already manages some national labs elsewhere for the Homeland Security and Energy departments.
Anytime the word "contractor" is in there, it should be cause for concern. Even more troubling, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Homeland Security is from, you guessed it, Mississippi. The ranking Republican on the Senate committee charged with funding the project? You guessed it, from Mississippi.
We here at LBK would love for the project to go to either Leavenworth or Manhattan, but in the end we just want a process free of corruption (or at least as free as can be expected in Washington) and for the site that is truly the best fit to be selected.
Maybe it's too much to ask, but you would think that of all places, Homeland Security should be the last place where politics trump prudence.