|The mayor is sad.|
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti bemoaned the lack of diversity in new Fire Department recruits after celebrating a reported rise in local tourism at an event at the California Science Center.
By Michael Finnegan, Ben Welsh and Robert J. Lopez
January 6, 2014, 8:13 p.m.
The first new Los Angeles Fire Department recruit class in five years is nearly all male and mostly white despite repeated promises by the agency to diversify its ranks, according to figures released Monday evening by Mayor Eric Garcetti`s office.
The class of 70 firefighters, which is scheduled to begin training Monday, has just one woman and is 60% white. Twenty-three percent of the recruits are Latino, 11% are Asian American and 6% are African American, according to the figures.
Earlier Monday, Garcetti said that he had not seen the complete breakdown for the class but was not satisfied with the racial and ethnic balance based on preliminary information he received from the department.
His office obtained complete figures and released them Monday evening after requests from The Times.
“Mayor Garcetti thinks these numbers are unacceptable and wants the Fire Department to reflect the city it serves,” spokesman Yusef Robb said Monday evening. Los Angeles is 29% white, 49% Latino, 11% Asian and 10% black, according to the Census Bureau.
Robb said the mayor`s office is committed to working with the department to improve recruiting and ensure future classes include more women and minorities.
Robb noted that recruiting for the class starting next week took place before Garcetti took office. Another class of trainees could begin later this year.
Fire Department spokesmen could not be reached Monday evening for comment.
For years, the LAFD has struggled with racial discrimination and sexual harassment, allegations that have cost taxpayers nearly $20 million since 2005, city records show.
In November, a Superior Court jury awarded $1.1 million to a black firefighter who said he had endured three decades of discrimination. The verdict followed payouts totaling $1.5 million in other bias cases for the budget year that ended in June.
Suing the fire department on some sort of discrimination grounds, as in the famous case of veteran black fireman Tennie “Big Dog” Pierce, who was given $1.5 million by taxpayers for a firehouse prank involving dog food appearing surreptitiously in his spaghetti, is known as AARP: African-American Retirement Planning.
The department, which has 3,200 sworn personnel, has diversified its ranks over the last two decades, city officials say, noting that the last four fire chiefs have been African American.
But the agency is still 50% white, 31% Latino, 12% black and 7% Asian.<
Those darn white fire nuts keep studying how to put out fires.
And despite past scandals involving firefighter attitudes toward female recruits, the ratio of women in the uniformed ranks remains at just under 3% — the same as in 1995.
So the huge city of Los Angeles is hiring firemen at the rate of 14 per year — in other words, as the number of fires decline, it just doesn`t need new firemen. So, this ought to be a non-issue.
Still, we get these ritual denunciations by white male authority figures of working class white males for the sin of burning the midnight oil studying how to save people from fires.
That`s what important white people do these days: denounce white men. It`s a very weird kabuki rite, but nobody seems to notice there`s anything odd about it anymore.