It's terrible to think that the death of firefighter Brent A. Lovrein is poised to become the bearer of a very sad legacy. Unfortunately, through absolutely no fault of his own, that's where we are as 2009 slides to an ungraceful, quivering halt.
Think back almost a year ago to a fight to stop another DWP rate increase. In the middle of a heroic stand by the public in council chambers against the tyranny of more taxation without representation, Brent Lovrein was accidentally killed when a smoking DWP utility box exploded as he was cutting it open. City Council members and then-DWP GM David Nahai instantly took advantage of Lovrein's untimely death, and wielded it in the fight. They jumped all over the man's corpse, suddenly claiming that the large rate hike being fought over was really needed to repair the infrastructure that killed Lovrein. As everyone with a soul gasped at the shocking shamelessness of the people they elected, their representatives then executed the coup de grace by shoving the vote through the gaping wound.
So how has this rate hike improved DWP infrastructure today? Water main breaks occur almost daily across the City, and there's been no discernable increase in the upkeep or replacement of DWP's decrepit infrastructure. Lovrein's death wasn't for nothing, then.
As for the individuals who shamefully used this incident to raise our DWP bills to the point that they are approaching the size of mortgage payments? Nahai the Undertaker is gone - replaced by his predecessor, Ross Perot, and a fat consultants' contract on the taxpayer's dime, while six of the councilpersons involved are thankfully up for re election in 2011 - that's six who were responsible for doing this to us, and to Brent Lovrein and his family (Paul Krekorian being the exception.)
Let's vote their sadistic asses out of office as fast as possible. Then maybe they can try to pay their own bloated DWP bills with a normal person's income for a change.
The final report on Lovrein's death was recently published on NIOSH indicating that more training is needed for firefighters in unique situations such as Lovrein faced that day.