by Rick Orlov
The Los Angeles Fire Department is often treated like the stepchild of public safety agencies.
It is among the first to get cut – witness the modified staffing plan – and among the last to see services restored.
Firefighters pose for calendars to raise money and there always has been a “we can take it” attitude when it comes to undergoing cuts while continuing service levels.
It has even been ignored when it came to seeking its own level of private support. For instance, the Los Angeles Police Department has had its own foundation for years that raised millions for computers, vests and other equipment.
That is all changing, however, thanks to the efforts of Ron Rogers, the public relations consultant with close ties to Fire Chief Millage Peaks.
Rogers and a group of friends – Metropolitan Theatres owner Bruce Corwin, former LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Bostic, attorney George Mihlsten and others – recently created the Los Angeles Fire Foundation.
“Our initial goal is $1 million to buy some computers and fire goggles,” Rogers said. “These are things the city can’t afford any longer.”
Peaks said he appreciated the effort.
“Right now, managing during these tough economic times is really challenging,” Peaks said. “The foundation will assist us in making purchases that we have needed to delay.”
Councilman Tom LaBonge, the biggest LAFD booster on the City Council, said he was glad to see the new foundation.
“We have it for the police, for libraries and for parks,” LaBonge said. “The firefighters have a lot of needs that this foundation can help out with.”
Information on fundraising efforts will be coming out in the next several weeks.