Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | The mayor’s recent opinion piece about firefighters raises may be correct, but the spin is so fast, and loose with the facts, it made me dizzy. Mayor Sanders, it’s time to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Mayor Sanders has publicly stated the fire department is grossly understaffed when comparing it to national standards. But he carefully points out it’s fully staffed for the city at 0.69 firefighters per 1000 residents, an embarrassing and unsafe ratio. In the recent past he’s acknowledged the fire department needs 300 more firefighters and 22 more fire stations. He says firefighters only work 10 days a month, but neglects to say those are 24-hour work days, not eight hours like yours and mine. While it’s true some of those hours may be sleeping, I suspect they’d rather be in their own beds, than answering calls for help at three in the morning. He says more than a third of firefighters make more than $100,000 a year but fails to mention the mandatory overtime and the consequences if you refuse to work. He tells us about the 2000 candidates for 50 positions, but nothing about 20,000 applications for a similar number of openings in the Los Angeles area.

He’s right about our City Council too, if they want to give the firefighter a modest raise that’s fine. Just show us where the monies are coming from, no smoke, no mirrors. I voted for Sanders because I want him to succeed and clean up the mess at City Hall. No wonder so many politicians and their media handlers have problems with integrity, they’re so busy spinning facts, they’ve lost sight of the truth.

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