Mayor, Fire Chief Make Pitch for New Radio Gear

The Fire Department's communication system is old, overburdened and a nightmare to maintain, Fire Chief Donald O. Manning said Monday in calling for support of a multimillion-dollar Los Angeles ballot measure to finance a replacement.

Manning was joined by Mayor Tom Bradley in a demonstration of state-of-the-art radio equipment at the fire-damaged First Interstate Bank building downtown, where radio problems hampered firefighters during the disastrous May 4-5 high-rise blaze.

The current radio system, purchased in the 1950s to handle about 30,000 calls a year now must accommodate more than 260,000 calls yearly, Manning said.

Monday's demonstration was staged to call attention to Proposition N--the Fire Safety and Paramedics Bond Ordinance--which provides for an assessment levied against all property in the city to pay for up to $67 million in bonds. It needs a two-thirds vote to pass.

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