SAN FRANCISCO — More than half a dozen Bay Area mayors met with Gov. Gray Davis on Thursday to discuss anti-terrorism coordination between state and local officials to keep the public informed about potential threats.
Davis said an alert system similar to the one in place during the power crisis would be set up and used to alert citizens of potential danger.
State Special Security Adviser George Vinson, named to that post last week by Davis, will be among those reviewing intelligence coming in from federal agencies and helping to determine what stage of alert, if any, would be issued, Davis said.
“We discussed a range of measures that were taken from our concerns over bioterrorism to heavy trucks to airports to food safety to the safety of the water,” Davis said. “I think (the alerts are) a good idea. It puts us all on the same page.”
Davis again defended his decision to put National Guard and California Highway Patrol officers on four California bridges last week. He said the security measures would remain indefinitely.
“I have no reservations as to what I did,” he said. “I would do it again.”
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who arranged the meeting, said he and the other mayors also backed Davis’ decision to heighten security and alert the public and let them make their own decisions.
“It was clear that they would make the same judgment you would have attempted to make and have attempted to make, and that is to err on the side of public safety and security,” Brown said.
Davis met with the mayors and other key security officials at Treasure Island before crossing the Bay Bridge and thanking and saluting personnel stationed on the Golden Gate Bridge. He shook hands with bridge workers there who thanked him for tightening security on the bridge where they spend most of their day.
Davis said it is costing $400,000 to $1 million per day to maintain the security measures.
“That is a lot of money, but in a $100 billion budget $300 or $400 million more is obviously a cost that we can bear,” Davis said.
Richmond Mayor Rosemary Corbin proposed the alert idea, and Davis said he would work to establish the state criteria to define the various stages that would then likely be adopted at the local level.
“We’re all dealing with a moving target, and we don’t know if tomorrow we will no longer be talking about a health threat or a blown up building,” Corbin said. “But when you get what the FBI tells you is a credible bit of information and you don’t pass it on, the idea that if something happens and you didn’t share that information is too awful.”