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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Where There’s Smoke | 08-26-2016
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You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Aug 26, 2016

bettyarensonWho doesn’t cherish firefighters? It doesn’t matter whether they are from your city, other cities, counties, wherever – we love our firefighters.

Unfortunately, when politics and bureaucrats intersect and mingle, the team gets besmirched by the stench emitted from the malfeasant operators.

Specifically, this time it’s the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles had – and might still have – about 6,800 buildings that lack inspections for periods of time covering months to multiple years. These buildings include hospitals, schools and apartment houses. One of them might even be the high-rise, high-occupancy building you or your loved ones work in.

The inspections are to enforce code mandates such as properly working doors, alarms and sprinkler systems, in addition to other equipment intended to save lives.

Of note is that the 6,800 number does not include “thousands of smaller apartment buildings (that have) never been inspected, in violation of state law.”

The Los Angeles Times reports (Aug. 25) that it knew of the shortages and backlog in 2015.

Until sometime next month, John Vidovich will hold the title of L.A. City’s fire marshal, which he has been for about two years. Previously, Vidovich had been the Fire Department’s chief of staff, along with being a deputy chief.

Vidovich was put in place to clean up the backlog. Sadly, it was learned from “several senior inspectors” that in order to accomplish the right look, he ordered the cutting of corners for the inspections.

Violations would be overlooked, all at great peril to the public.

L.A. Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas backed Vidovich’s claim that “nearly all of the overdue inspections had been cleared.” However, multiple inspectors told The Times otherwise, with one Capt. Dave Riles saying, “That’s all fraudulent.”

The United Firefighters of Los Angeles City represents inspectors and firefighters. The displeased union approved a “no confidence” resolution on Vidovich.

Here’s how Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the bureaucrats are resolving the “safety” problem.

Garcetti, knowing there would be pressure to do something about Vidovich, became part of the process to move Vidovich over to the mayor’s office next month “in an advisory position focused on new construction where he will ‘compliment’ … the office’s efforts to improve public safety.”

Vidovich will be at home there until he retires in May 2017. His “total compensation” was about $236,000 for the last fiscal year.

As for the union, the “powerful” union, it did not support Garcetti in his 2013 run for mayor. While it buoyed Garcetti’s then-opponent, the union is pleased with the pending personnel move. With that, it remains “comfortable” supporting Garcetti for his next mayoral quest.

 

 

Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety.

 

 

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