Transit Officials Bristle

At Chertoff's Airline Priority

NEW YORK -- Mass-transit officials were fuming on Friday after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that cities will have to pay to protect trains and buses because airplanes are a higher priority.

The federal government is temporarily funding the extra $2 million a week New York is spending to move police officers into the transit system, which carries 7 million riders on weekdays, in the wake of the London terrorist attacks. But in the long term, cities will be largely on their own when it comes to securing trains and buses, Chertoff said Thursday, explaining that airplanes are a higher priority because an airliner used as a bomb can kill 3,000 people while the toll from a subway bomb is more likely to be 30.

Washington's Metro system has an average daily ridership of 700,000 on the subways and 500,000 on buses serving the District and its suburbs.

"Fully half of the peak period users of the Metro system are federal employees," Metro Board Chairman T. Dana Kauffman said. "Is he saying to his own people, 'Good luck'?"

In San Francisco, Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman Linton Johnson said officials were "completely stunned" by Chertoff's comments. BART carries 310,000 passengers a day, nearly twice as many as the San Francisco Bay area's three major airports combined, Johnson said.

* SAN FRANCISCO -- Muslim imam Mohammad Adil Khan and his son, Mohammad Hassan Adil, who were arrested amid a terrorism probe focused on the Northern California farming town of Lodi, agreed to be deported to Pakistan on immigration violations. Other charges were dropped.

* NEW ORLEANS -- Anita Anthony, a housekeeper at the Hampton Inn in Covington, La., found a crumpled plastic grocery bag. Inside was a money bag containing $5,000 in cash. Police and innkeepers reunited the money with its owners, James and Brett Potesta of Gulf Breeze, Fla., after identifying their bank withdrawal before they evacuated as Hurricane Dennis approached. Anthony and her supervisor each received a $200 reward and a restaurant dinner.

* EL PASO -- A sport-utility vehicle speeding toward a border crossing plowed into a Mexican family, killing two little girls and seriously injuring their mother and two sisters. Rafael Perez Jr., 19, of El Paso was jailed on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, El Paso police said.

* MIAMI -- Law enforcement agents arrested 10 people for illegally selling prescription painkillers and other controlled drugs online and said they had filled more than $10 million in orders since late 2003.

* ATLANTA The United Way voted to withhold more than a quarter of its planned $945,000 in funding for the Atlanta Boy Scouts after an audit revealed that nearly 5,000 boys, most of them minorities, were falsely registered in an inner-city program.

* PITTSBURGH -- T-ball coach Mark R. Downs, 27, of Dunbar, Pa., allegedly paid one of his players $25 to bean a mentally disabled 8-year-old teammate with a baseball so that Downs would not have to put the boy in the game, police said.

-- From News Services