The thing about being Zuma Dogg, and being out on the streets all of the time, is that you overhear all types of interesting and sometimes very compelling discussions. Especially when you are downtown near City Hall.
After my KABC "in-studio" radio appearance this morning, I headed downtown to the City Hall area because I had some investigating to do on the computers at the Federal building, and stopped at the coffee shop, first.
Turns out, the head of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Worker's Union was having a discussion with the head of LAFD's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) department.
The part of the discussion I heard, was that EMS is concerned for their own safety when sending paramedic workers into "harms way" when they have to do an "extraction" or enter a location under what are becoming more and more dangerous of circumstances.
A recent situation was described where S.W.A.T. had to be sent in to surround the EMS vehicle and workers. It was described as "lucky" that nothing happened, but he added, "I don't like to rely on 'luck'." The concern being these workers are sitting in "tin vehicles."
So the EMS head threw the idea out there of having EMS workers ALSO trained as S.W.A.T. officers.
The guy from the union didn't think his group would go for something like that, because LAFD is not there to secure the scene. That is for LAPD to handle. And they are usually there on the scene, first, to do that. LAFD is not supposed to start their mission until the location is secure and that is not their job.
I'm not saying it was a bad idea to pitch. The guy from EMS representing his people is just trying to think "outside the box" as he put it. And what Zuma Dogg got out of the conversation is that it is becoming increasingly a public safety hazard for the entire public, if it is becoming an increasing hazard for the EMS/LAFD.
More money is needed for vehicles and personel, but of course the concern that it is not available was immediatley brought to attention. AND, when the current Fire Chief was asked to go to Vilalraigosa for more resources, the Chief let it be known that he told the mayor he wouldn't be asking for anything, and that basically was scared to ask the mayor, for fear of being fired. And the Chief was told, "No mayor is going to fire the Fire Chief for asking about "public safety" issues." But, like everyone else in the city, somehow Villaraigosa has every department head scared silent.
So with no money available and a mayor who doesn't give a shit about public safety issues relating to the LAFD, because there is no money in it for the mayor, the discussion moved to a $200 million bond to be put on the ballot.
This would require either (approximately) 700,000 signatures to be gathered; the mayor could ask for it to be placed on the ballot (he won't, for previously stated reason of "no money for him"); or City Council can ask for it.
Zuma Dogg says Council is going to have to ask for it, and unfortunatley, this will be the one ballot measure that is actually needed.
Concern of timing was also discussed. Basically, you don't want to place this type of bond on the ballot during a lightly attended election, because the conservative backers will be able to get out the "no" vote. So look for it on the June 2010 ballot.
Afterwards, I asked what I could do to help shed light on this situation of dangerous conditions for paramedic workers. He told me to just keep talking about the waste of money with these special event fees that should be going to provide real services like these public safety LAFD issues.
More to come...