The cell phone and tattoo crowd I talked about last month? Well they all showed up the other night at Dodger Stadium. No kiddin’! It was a Friday night game, which I would rather have avoided, but my wife insisted we go because there’s a fireworks show immediately followin’ the game. And, unknown to my wife and I, the fireworks show came with blarin’ rap music from the gigantic stadium speakers, so those willin’ to endure the light show could tap their feet to the unintelligible lyrics. I’ll come back to this.
So, there we were, enjoyin’ the Dodgers gettin’ pummeled by their competition when I noticed the massive crowd dressed up and actin’ exactly like the folks I watched in Las Vegas a month earlier. I actually recognized a few of them and quickly came to the conclusion that this crowd of cell phone and tattoo misfits must have been herded onto tour buses and dropped off at the game. By the way, the next stops for these folks include Montana, Texas, Nevada and Colorado, but not necessarily in that order!
Between the constant flow of people makin’ their way to the various food vendors and the insatiable need to take “selfies”, I’d guess there were only 10 people in the entire stadium that were watchin’ the game. And in case you’ve never heard of a “selfie,” it’s takin’ a picture of yourself, or your significant other, while holdin’ up your phone at arm’s length. It’s actually a touchin’ moment.
So, then came the 7th innin’ stretch. My friend turned to me and asked, “So, what’s the 7th innin’ stretch?” I immediately flashed back to when I was seated in front of Chief Don Anthony, tryin’ to explain why I had hired a bikini clad dancin’ girl to visit the fire station. I couldn’t find the words then either. And with the 7th innin’ “stretch” completed and another check mark in the “lost column” for the Dodgers, the fireworks show began.
As I eluded to earlier, someone must have thought it was a good idea to blast rap music throughout the stadium in synchronization with the fireworks. I thought not, but a young couple in front of us liked it and whipped out their cell phone and started takin’ “selfies.” Obviously they had never seen themselves together, so this was an opportunity they couldn’t pass by. Then they started to embrace and before long they were practically prone on the seats. As this side show progressed I leaned forward and suggested they might be more comfortable if they got a motel room. I got the “evil-eye” but they left, so I’m guessin’ they liked my idea.
LARFPA General Membership Meeting and BBQ
More than 300 people attended the annual Los Angeles Retired Fire and Police Association meeting and BBQ at the Grace E. Simons Lodge in Elysian Park on June 4, 2014. It was the largest turn out of members and their spouses in many years.
Director Kenneth Buzzell updated the members regarding the LARFPA lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles. Then we had a short presentation by Pension Commissioner George Aliano regarding his re-election, thanking our membership for their support.
The main speaker was Dept of Pensions General Manager Raymond P. Ciranna. Mr. Ciranna started off with some quick facts: LAFPP provides service to more than 25,780 members, 13,224 active and 12,432 retirees and beneficiaries. Assets are over $18 billion and we are on track to make double-digit returns in 2013-2014 – approximately 13% (although we are still not fully funded). The presentation was very well received by the membership, who gave Mr. Ciranna a very loud and rousing applause.
After the meeting everyone went out to the picnic area to start the BBQ festivities. In addition to the catered lunch, there were representatives from both the Fire and Police Credit Unions, both the Fire and Police Relief Associations and the Pension Dept. All the representatives were very helpful with members’ questions and they also gave small gifts of appreciation to those in attendance.
We all should realize as fire and police retirees that our pension and benefits are ours because we earned them. We also need to realize that our benefits are continually being attacked and we could lose them! LARFPA members need to always stand together to protect what we earned together as aggressively as we protected each other while we were active members.
Support your Los Angeles Retired Fire Police Association, attend the General Membership meetings, be informed and if you have a retired fire or police friend – recruit them. Only in numbers will we be strong. We need to look out for each other.
By Art Placentia, LARFPA Director