Few Fires to Fight

Increasingly, the Los Angeles Fire Department doesn't fight fire. As Hillel Aron reported last week, it helps poor people with emergency medical treatment — when such services could be supplied at far less cost by other workers (“The Red-and-White Taxi Service,” Aug. 9).

Readers praised Aron's reporting. “You nailed it,” Michael S. Williams writes. “This is no secret within the fire service and local government. There are huge changes on the way for the fire service and needless to say, the unions are most upset about it but, interestingly, are not doing much to protect themselves to prevent it. In fact, they are making it worse for themselves.

Rouxdsla writes, “The 47 percent have learned how to work the system. … As the number of freeloaders grows, it will only get worse. It is unsustainable.”

Chris Mancil adds, “Really great job, Hillel. I know an article this deep and sensitive can be hard to pull off, but you did it objectively and extremely well. The firefighters still look like great guys, but the situation is terribly expensive, political and sub-optimal. Well done, and thank you.”

No-Fault Zone

As Gracie Zheng reported last week, there's an active fault line along Franklin and Yucca — which complicates plans for the 500-unit apartment complex now under construction there (“Was Fault Hushed Up?“). Matt Taylor responds:

Writer Grace Zheng conflates legitimate concern about seismic activity at the site of the proposed Millennium Hollywood project with classic anti-development L.A. NIMBYism and a colorful tale of political backroom dealing. The argument that development can't proceed because a fault that last ruptured 11,000 years ago might someday rain chunks of concrete on the city below might hold water. But by that logic — if this fault is as dangerous as project opponents claim — most of Hollywood should be razed.

“Moreover, what is the real complaint here? The issue is that neighbors don't like the idea of 'two New York towers' going up in their sightlines, and that the officials approving these projects are in the pockets of wealthy developers. This is business as usual in Los Angeles. If density is your issue — get over it. L.A. is growing, and Hollywood, with its multiple transit connections and urban configuration, is one of the city's most well-suited areas to absorb growth. If council corruption is your issue, perhaps you should focus on exposing backroom dealing and reforming the political culture that rewards unethical behavior.

“But halting development on trumped-up pretenses of earthquake safety is no answer. New housing in dense central areas is badly needed in Los Angeles. Blocking ambitious projects for fear that it might all come crashing down sets a bad precedent.”


Our Aug. 16 Dessert Issue misspelled the name of the dessert from Maison Giraud depicted on the cover. It's a vacherin. We regret the error.

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