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Fire Safety

June 05, 1993

"L.A. Buildings Plagued by Fire Safety Violations" (May 24) demonstrates the failure of the city to protect low-income tenants from fire and safety code violations. No doubt, we could spend months finger-pointing as to who should be held responsible but that will not bring back the 12 lives lost in the Burlington Street fire.

Your article clearly shows that lack of follow-up inspections is a glaring deficiency in the city's code enforcement system for both the Fire and the Building and Safety departments. The reason cited for the lack of follow-up inspection was budget cuts. Knowing that cities were facing budget cuts that would affect code enforcement, Assemblyman Terry Friedman (D-Brentwood) this year introduced AB 1844, which would allow the city's Fire Department and Building and Safety Department to charge inspection fees. The imposition of inspection fees could supply greatly needed funds for both initial and follow-up inspections. Surprisingly, the City Council's Intergovernmental Relations Committee took an opposing position to AB 1844. At a time when the council is considering eliminating 113 building inspectors and cutting the Fire Department's budget, the council should be supporting any bill which would assist in retaining inspectors, not opposing it.

RODERICK T. FIELD

Legal Aid Foundation

of Los Angeles

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