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Chatsworth Train Crash Victims 'were not Objects to be Used in a Pamphlet or as Bargaining Tools'

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Photo by ~db~ via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by ~db~ via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
In a direct and to-the-point opinion in the Daily News yesterday, Councilman Greig Smith further shamed the firefighters' union for a mailer sent out last week depicting the Chatsworth metrolink crash, which left 25 dead and 135 injured, juxtaposed with information about budget cuts to the LAFD. Smith, who represents Chatsworth and is the incoming chairman for the city's Public Safety Committee, lambasted union president Pat McOsker in his writing:
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The president of the firefighter's union, Pat McOsker has sent thousands of graphic campaign-style mailers produced by a professional political consultant that use actual crash-scene photos showing blood-soaked sheets covering deceased victims. These victims were not objects to be used in a pamphlet or as bargaining tools. They were our neighbors and friends, and the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of people in our community, including a Los Angeles police officer.

It is extremely distasteful that Mr. McOsker would use these kinds of tactics with such blatant disregard for the feelings of the families of the victims, who still have fresh wounds from this tragic event. This is particularly insensitive on the eve of the anniversary of the disaster, as the entire community prepares for the one-year memorial.

I know many of the firefighters and public safety officers who responded to this disaster remain deeply affected, and are saddened that this tragedy is being exploited in a sleazy and misleading campaign. My office has received an outpouring of phone calls from firefighters from across the city letting us know that they were humiliated by these shameful tactics and that they denounced Mr. McOsker for exploiting human tragedy.

This shows clearly how out of touch Mr. McOsker is with the rank-and-file firefighters that he is supposed to represent.

Both Smith and Mayor Villaraigosa have said they've offered coming to the table to work out solutions to the budget deficit, something every department has to take part in under the "shared sacrifice." McOsker says "we firefighters will do whatever it takes to get Los Angeles through this economic downturn. All that we ask in return is that our sacrifices be shared equally with other city workers." And that "shared equally" part is where they disagree--both sides see equal on different terms.

Currently non-emergency overtime has been cut on a rotating basis throughout the city.