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Villaraigosa is 'Pointing a Gun at Our Heads,' Says Firefighters Union

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Photo by MargaretNapier via Flickr

Photo by MargaretNapier via Flickr
As part of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's "shared sacrifice" plan to save the city budget, cuts proposed to fire department ladder and ambulance companies, nicknamed "brownouts," would short-staff stations on a rotating basis by 87 firefighters.

According to Pat McOsker, President of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles, the last time the city made similar cuts, a mother and daughter died in a South LA fire where the nearest company was browned-out. “We couldn’t get there in time thanks to brownouts, and two people died as a result.” said McOsker.

Villaraigosa said earlier this week that the cuts do not "necessarily" put the city in the situation the union describes and that he has tough and unpopular decisions to make.

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If the cuts go through, "brownouts" will begin on August 6th, but after a public comment by McOsker at a City Council meeting this morning, Councilmember Janice Hahn said a hearing will be held at Tuesday's meeting.

"We will do whatever is necessary to help the city get through the financial crisis we're in right now. All we ask is what we're asked to do be equal with the rest of the city's workforce," McOsker said referencing a deal struck with other employee unions this week. "[The cuts] put our lives at risk, and more importantly the public's lives at risk. [Villaraigosa's] pointing a gun at our heads and shots are going to hit the public. This is dangerous."