RonKayeLA reports that Friday morning United Firefighters Los Angeles City union leader Pat McOsker will lead a “massive outpooring” of firefighters to the City Council meeting. T.V. cameras are likely to follow.
It's budget talk time and McOsker is calling Fire Chief Millage Peaks's re-orginization plan for L.A. Fire Department a disaster. L.A. would save $200 million in three years.
Peaks is behaving very out of character for someone of power in L.A.: rationally defending his plan against the powers that be – and taking full responsibility for his ideas:
But the battle lines are oddly drawn.
As Ron Kaye puts it:
the discussion isn't about eliminating the structural deficit and the details of Peaks' plan to protect the public. It's simply about who has the power to get what they want for themselves.
And what gives you power? Money to finance a campaign. The unions have this – and use it.
The police union backs the fire department union — the re-orginization calls for 300 fire fighter jobs to be lost through attrition over the next three years. Unions are never happy about that.
It's easy to scare residents and tell them they are in danger. Unions are using the frightening words “life and death.” Pacific Palisades residents are particilarly up in arms about the poposed loss of one of their two fire departments.
In the face of fear, will rational discussions have a chance?
Kaye further points out:
What Peaks is proposing, based on a sophisticated computer analysis of an enormous amount of data, is to permanently restructure the Fire Department based on actual workloads instead of continuing the system of “rolling brownouts” that closed 22 stations and shut down six ambulance teams every day in a confusing rotation that achieved only temporary savings.
The re-orginization of the Fire Department is the largest and one of the only lasting structural changes in the entire 2011-2012 budget proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. L.A. faces at least a $350 million deficit.