Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh! You Mean We Have To Fight Fires, Too?

I'm not sure how widely this story has circulated about the nation, but it's pretty big in the Stalag, currently. Seems the firemen in Los Angeles Fire Department's firehouses regard the houses to be more like "Delta Houses," as envisioned in the 1978 comedy film, "National Lampoon's Animal House."

Hazings and pranks seem to be the pastime of choice during those long hours on duty between fires--at least that's what Antonio Vinaigrette, el Alcalde del Pueblo de Los Angeles, seems to be trying to convey.

After the moronic (to a man/woman) City Council voted to give fireman Tennie Pierce $2.7 million as a settlement over a silly prank, and the Alcalde vetoed the settlement, citing the apparent fact that Mr Pierce had been a willing participant in many hazings and pranks himself. A huge lawsuit will, no doubt, be upcoming. Mr Pierce is looking to cut a fat hog in the ass for his retirement, get it?

The silly prank in question was that members of the frat house, er, firehouse, spiked Pierce's spaghetti with dog food. Though it's said that the prank came from the fact that Pierce repeatedly referred to himself as the "Big Dog." Pierce claims the prank comes from racism (he's black, you see). I find it a mite unsettling that many of the individuals with whom we're required to place our trust regarding fire protection come off as, at once, irresponsible frat boys (and, presumably, girls) and terribly emotionally fragile. A little dog food never hurt anyone--according to the Democrats, the nation's elderly live on it!

Suck it up, Pierce! Be a man!

In the wake of this sordid tale, the city Fire Chief, William Bamattre, has announced his retirement. Apparently, this kind of heat isn't what he wishes to tolerate. Seems he was ordered to give no tolerance to hazers and pranksters, but was given little authority to enforce the edict.

El Alcalde follows this up with the announcement that he's appointing Assistant Chief Douglas Barry the new pro tem Fire Chief during the process of selecting a new permanent Chief.

El Alcalde, shining up his PC merit badge, further states that Chief Barry will be "a change agent who can hold the line on hazing" and who "doesn't have an ax to grind. He's not looking for a promotion. He just wants to do the job."

It's emphasized that Barry will "become the first black to lead the department when he takes over as acting chief Jan. 1."

Apparently, according to the shadowy contents of the bureaucratic mind, Barry's race somehow makes him uniquely capable of dealing with the disarray within the department.

At no time, in the knowledge of any rational individual of whom I'm aware, has anyone at City Hall suggested that the department be privatized, or that carriers of fire insurance would have a vested interest in financing firefighting agencies. The bureaucracy must be maintained, and indeed, enlarged to the greatest extent possible.

Nowhere within any of the news stories I read was there any mention of actual fire fighting nor rescue operations nor any of the other tasks we in the Stalag are told are the specialties of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One hopes the boys and girls in the red trucks can find time to take care of business, if only occasionally.

Stories leading to the above analysis can be found here, here and here. Read 'em. Some parts of them are quite funny.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

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