CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / LOS ANGELES

Contract talks between city negotiators and the firefighters union are heating up, and not in a good way.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ripped into the firefighters union Thursday, calling its leaders "irresponsible" for posting warning signs in neighborhoods where firetrucks and ambulances are temporarily out of service as a cost-cutting measure. Fifteen firetrucks and six ambulances are being pulled out of service daily on a rotating basis citywide, but all fire stations remain open.

But United Firefighters of Los Angeles City posted a "brownout closure map" on the union's website, annoying the mayor even more. Union officials have been locked in negotiations with the city since before the labor contract expired June 30, and talks continued Thursday with no success.

-- Phil Willon

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