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LOS ANGELES Thursday, July 2nd 2015 9:33


Using The N-Word

Clinton Galloway
WHO WE ARE-Somehow it has become acceptable to use racial slurs as long as they are directed at yourself. The fact is they are rarely directed at you but to someone else. The most glaring example of this is the use of the N-word. I need say no more because we all understand what the N-word is. The extensive use of the word in modern hip-hop and…

‘LA Is Not Designed To Work’

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is a sprawling enterprise with 32,000 employees and an annual budget of $8.6 billion. But according to Rick Cole, the City’s former Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation, “LA is not designed to work." Our City’s operations are relatively simple compared to Los Angeles County and other large cities such as New…

SCOTUS Supports the People, Okays California’s Citizen-Driven Redistricting Commission

Deirdre Fulton
NO MORE SECRET BACKROOMS RUN BY POLITICIANS-In a decision hailed as a "major victory for voters," the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission. The 5-4 decision (pdf), which saw Justice Anthony…

To Latinos Trump Is Bad News

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-This past week businessman Donald Trump announced that he will seek the 2016 Republican nomination for President. We all paid attention to his speech, not for great policy ideas but because he said that “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of…

Supreme Court Aftermath: Meet the New Haters, As Repugnant as the Old Haters

Ken Alpern
HATE POLITICS-The Supreme Court has spoken...again and again and again. And now we're encountering a group of New Haters, as repugnant as the Old Haters, as we discover who is REALLY on the side of Love, Country and Humanity versus that once-marginalized group of emotionally- and intellectually-stunted individuals who now somehow think they're not…

About Time! Neighborhood Councils, NC Alliances: More Comment Time at City Council

Erik Sanjurjo
GUEST WORDS-On Saturday, Council President Herb Wesson gave the keynote speech before the 100+ Neighborhood Council board members and stakeholders gathered for NC Budget Day in City Hall. He announced that in the next Council term he will be folding in neighborhood council related issues under his Rules & Elections Committee, partly to help…

Councilman Parks Sidewalk Repair Plan: Bypass Union Workers

Sharon McNary
CITY HALL-The city of Los Angeles has fallen so far behind on sidewalk repairs, it took a lawsuit to get officials to guarantee more than a billion dollars for repairs. It could take years before the work reaches residential areas because the city must still come up with a strategy for which sidewalks to fix first. But some neighborhoods are…

I Never Believed This Would Happen In My Lifetime

Andrew Sullivan
GUEST WORDS-As Gandhi never quite said … First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win. I remember one of the first TV debates I had on the then-strange question of civil marriage for gay couples. It was Crossfire, as I recall, and Gary Bauer’s response to my rather earnest argument after my TNR cover-story on…

Changing the Way We See Ourselves: Every American Should Adopt a Second Country

Andrés Martinez
TRADE WINDS-About 10 minutes into the soccer game, Sebastian’s cries of “here,” “behind you,” and “cross it” became cries of “aquí,” “atrás,” and “al centro.” I’d never heard so much Spanish voluntarily pour out of my ten-year-old. There is nothing like a hunger for the ball. And nothing like full immersion in a foreign language. I brought…


  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…

Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth

Golden Oldie-Johnnie Carson & Betty White-Adam and Eve

Rude. Rude. Rude … orchestra deals with rude cell caller

Whoa! More than 280 million hits. Taylor Swift hit-Bad Blood









Lies and Cover-up Only Part of LA’s Firegate Scandal

RETHINKING LA - LA’s Fire Department has been turned upside down and placed in the hot seat, not for the actions of its rank and file, but for the creative accounting habits of its leadership. Turns out that the LAFD has been reporting its response rates more favorably than appropriate, counting anything up to six minutes as five minutes. This number is important to the LAFD because the Federal guidelines for first responders call for arrival on the scene in under five minutes 90% of the time. The LAFD claimed to hit five minutes 86% of the time in 2008 but then revealed that the actual number was closer to 64% with the most recent performance dropping to 59%.

City Hall is currently engaged in the obligatory wailing and gnashing of teeth, expressing shock that a city department is not only under performing, but also covering its tracks. As the LAFD is taken to task, it’s worth noting that there are larger issues.

1) This wasn’t news because of the revelation, it was news because Mayoral Candidate Austin Beutner was able to use his role as mayoral candidate to position it in the national limelight.

Earlier in the week, on March 1, City Controller Candidate Cary Brazeman released the results of his audit of the LAFD, contradicting the performance claim for 2008 and determining that the LAFD hit five minutes 61.8% of the time. Brazeman’s audit failed to stir a response within City Hall.

Then on March 7, Beutner’s article on the  same topic appeared in the Huffington Post and Beutner claimed the bully pulpit, reframing the issue and declaring “In 2011, after the cuts and Mr. Garcetti’s promises, the LAFD arrived at a medical emergency within five minutes only 59% of the time.”

Shortly thereafter, the LA Times jumped into the fray and initiated a thorough audit, setting in motion a series of articles that complemented the work of Brazeman and Beutner, eventually prompting City Hall to respond.

The bottom line? City Hall is even worse at responding to a crisis than the LAFD, the only difference is that City Hall will ignore the alarm bell until forced to respond.

2) This news isn’t new, in fact the issue of LAFD response times has been an issue for so long that it simply faded into the background. The Brazeman audit and the Beutner article simply move it to the foreground, again confirming the anecdotal complaints of residents.

Several years ago, as the City of LA went to work implementing the Fire Facilities Bond Program, residents of the Hollywood Hills were dismissed as NIMBYs for protesting some of the proposed locations for FS 82, a regional training station that required two acres of land.

Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge settled the debate by rejecting the centrally located property favored by residents and downgrading the station to a half-acre lot next to the freeway. The howling continues to this day.

Then, as now, concerns are dismissed with explanations that are a literal insult to the intelligence of the residents.

When addressing missed calls and delayed responses, Fire Chief Cummings said “The system is working 99% of the time.” As for the March 7 system failure, “just two calls out of 1,000 were missed and no one died in either of those cases.”

As the proverbial smoke clears, it is evident that the City of LA is having a hard time determining what counts and counting what matters. The call to action goes beyond simply charting response times and speaks to the need for systemic oversight and accountability.

3) This news isn’t about the LAFD, it’s about the City of LA and its charming tradition of allowing city departments to conduct their business as if they are small fiefdoms, each with their unique accounting systems, communications systems, and management styles, insulated in silos of legal oversight that is far from consistent.

LA’s City Council has four members out of fifteen that have worn the LAPD uniform and they surely know the issues that LA experiences with 911 service, dispatch overlaps and gaps, stat reporting, and accountability. If they don’t, then we are in even bigger trouble.

Issues over the LAFD data capture simply echoes the controversy over LAPD data capture, demonstrating LA’s knack for kicking the can down the road rather than grappling with issues and resolving them systemically.

Meanwhile, LA’s City Attorney stands by with legal advice that varies from department to department, bandied about as if it were a shield, instead of a standard for performance.

Time after time, from the LADOT to the LAPD to the LAFD, the City Attorney is positioned as the party directing departmental behavior instead of the party simply offering legal advice to departmental managers.

The City of LA needs legal accountability, not simply loss prevention advice, and the people of Los Angeles have the right to expect that the City Departments are operating in the best interests of the public, not just minimalizing liability and then hiding behind the City Attorney as if he has the authority to direct city departments.

The brouhaha over the LA Fire Department’s creative accounting is simply smoke from a larger smoldering fire, one that reaches permeates City Hall.

Brazeman and Beutner have both gone on to propose some inspired solutions to this situation. The City Attorney went the other direction and apparently instructed the LAFD to circle the fire trucks, an instruction that was countermanded by Mayor Villaraigosa. [story]

Through it all, it is acutely apparent, the people of LA need an Ombudsman, somebody who will represent them by taking complaints about the delivery of city services seriously and not waiting to investigate until the issue goes national.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: You can also find him on Twitter and on Facebook.)

Tags: Stephen Box, Firegate, LAFD, LA Fire Department, Cary Brazeman, Austin Beutner, Mayor Villaraigosa, City Council, City Attorney, City Hall

Vol 10 Issue 25
Pub: Mar 27, 2012