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The Los Angeles Fire Department's troubled emergency response system has gotten a lot of press, but a new fire chief will also have to deal with the fallout from costly discrimination lawsuits over the past decade, and federal and city oversight. Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks at what new leadership can do to change the culture in a predominantly white male firefighting force. Also, remembering the role California played in pressuring South Africa to free Nelson Mandela.

Image-for-WWLA.jpgOn our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, medical records are being digitized on a massive scale to bring down the costs of healthcare and, maybe, to produce better outcomes. It also means a loss of patient privacy. Warren Olney weighs the risks and the benefits of Big Data in the field of medicine.    


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Main Topic A Culture of Bias in the Los Angeles Fire Department 20 MIN, 11 SEC

Mayor Garcetti has vowed to change the culture of the LA Fire Department. It's a major consideration as he searches for the city's next fire chief.  In November a Superior Court awarded a little over a million dollars to a black firefighter, Jabari Jumaane, in compensation for the 30 years of discrimination he said he endured on the job. Over the previous year the agency paid out another million and a half dollars in bias cases, and from 2006 to 2010 LA Fire Department discrimination and harassment payouts cost taxpayers $17 million. Over the years these settlements have sparked reforms, including monitoring by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and a voter mandated independent assessor to oversee handling of misconduct complaints.

Ben Welsh, Los Angeles Times (@palewire)
Nana Gyamfi, civil rights attorney
Frank Lima, United Firefighters of Los Angeles (@limalocal112)

Reporter's Notebook A California Governor's Role in South African Justice 4 MIN, 38 SEC

In the 1980's a growing movement in the United States attempted to pressure South Africa to end apartheid through divestment, by refusing to invest or do business with firms that held assets in that country. The State of California was one of those at the movement's helm. George Skelton , columnist for the Los Angeles Times, remembers the role that California Governor George Deukmejian played in that effort.

George Skelton, Los Angeles Times (@LATimesSkelton)

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