Putting out Fires at the Fire Department

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The former president of LA's Fire Commission has told the Los Angeles Times, "The public just doesn't understand what goes on" in the fire department. Chief William Bamattre was hired 11 years ago to get racism, sexism and homophobia under control, but the accusations continued. Bamattre was replaced today—temporarily--by Mayor Villaraigosa. Assistant Chief Douglas Barry is an African American with 31 years of service.  The job change comes just days after the Mayor vetoed a $2.7 million settlement the City Council made with black firefighter Tenny Pierce, who claimed racist colleagues caused him to eat dog food.  City Controller Laura Chick had called for Bamattre to leave after her office audited the Fire Department.  Will a minority veteran succeed where Caucasian predecessors have failed?




Warren Olney


Karen Radziner