Do Municipal Bloggers Just Bog Down The Net?

Monday, May 29, 2006 |

In Sunday's Los Angeles Daily News, columnist and editorial writer Mariel Garza wrote...

"You know a trend is over when the government shows up. So once the LAPD's flacks hit the blogosphere, it became startling clear that the blogging revolution is officially passe." (full article...)

Though our Fire Department blog was not specifically mentioned, and our friends at the LAPD are more than capable of standing up for themselves, Ms. Garza asks us to consider the future of what she describes as "bureaucrat blogs" from local municipal agencies.

The question of course, and her comments, are not new.

The public debut of the LAFD News & Information blog in 2004 brought similar comments of blogging having 'jumped the shark' - yet remained hopeful of our ability to move forward and grow in both the spirit and technology of blogging.

..and so we ask of you, our readers and therefore stakeholders: Is there value in what our LAFD blog and other municipal blogs are offering today, and more importantly where you sense we're headed?

With that in mind, we ask you to read Mariel's thought-provoking missive, and then to let us know in the comments section below exactly how this Fire Department blog is doing.

While you might wish to directly address Daily News Readers, or Mariel Garza herself, that's not the purpose of our posting

NOTE: We will post comments of any viewpoint that are polite and on-topic regarding the LAFD blog and municipal blogs in general.

Comments that are impolite, seek to belittle other commentors (rather than their viewpoint), speak about Ms. Garza as a person rather than directly to the issue, or in our sole opinion appear to be comment spam or ad-hominem attacks will not be published. For that, there is Usenet.

..and so again, the question: Is there value in what our LAFD blog and other municipal blogs are offering today, and more importantly where you sense we're headed?

Do we get it? If so, how? If not, why?

Please click here or on the 'comments' link below to publicly share your thoughts.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Larry Lorance said...

I doubt very seriously the citizens of Los Angeles will complain about the $4.95 a month fee ( charge to host the LAPD’s AD FREE blog.

Perhaps Ms. Garza is upset the public can not get their news directly from the LAPD without reading it in the Daily News.

David Barrett said...

The LAFD Blog delivers an important service: information to the citizens of Los Angeles (and surrounding communities). In days past, newspapers would maintain a fire and police log - but as newspapers in general are suffering a serious decline in readership as individuals move online, the value of a Blog only increases.

The previous comment referenced sixapart - and their software might be a bit more "community" and LAFD friendly than the MS software, but regardless, the key is to communicate. The LAFD Blog does that well.

Of particular note, the LAFD Blog has evolved - the range of information has grown - and the use of public domain or shareware plug-ins and related software shows the creative thinking behind the team in the PSO's office.

As you continue to grow the communications system, it might be useful to those who follow the blog to know some additional facts regarding major incidents (posted on the blog specifically), including council district, first-in company, and station district. Keep up the good (great, actually) work.

writing_here said...

I don't even live in California, yet I have y'all on my RSS list. I think I found y'all through the "blogs of note" on I wish my local FD and PD had blogs. The city where I used to live now has a mayoral blog that I check now and then. The city where I live now doesn't have such a thing, though I think it might help the mayor's popularity if she did blog.

Anonymous said...

I love the LAFD blog. It keeps the inquiring public "in the loop" about the services they pay for. Would really like to see a computer aided dispatch report similar to the one you can see at Ventura County Fire Department's website. Its very interesting to see what is going on throughout the county in real time. Other that that, keep up the good work!

Seattle LAFD Fan said...

I'd like to echo the previous posts. You can not overestimate the value of this blog.

I too would also like to see a real time CAD and/or a more detailed dispatch report like those at It'd be nice to see what "Six companies etc" responded.

Keep up the great work.

Karyn Newbill said...

I will just reiterate the above posts and say that online is my primary information source. I buy a paper when I want to do the crossword. The LAFD blogspot is one I check every morning along with the news and email, and yes, it would be very cool to see live dispatch like the one ventura county has.

Terrific job here guys and gals, keep it up!

Z said...

This blog is great! Don't you DARE get rid of it. Yes, the only improvement I can think of is to add that recording they do on the PIO phone line with the previous day's major incidents, etc..

Monrovia1 said...

The LAFD blog is a highly usefull and informative tool, It helps get the word out to those who live and do not live in the City of Los Angeles about the happenings within the LAFD, This blog is great way to reach out to all those in the community

JS said...

I wish Ms. Garza would go and find something more captivating to report on. It goes without saying that we live in an age of information, and with myriad news sources bombarding us with spin from every angle, it's refreshing to have a source of news focused on responsibly disseminating information. The LAFD Blog is a good example of this.

As a taxpaying citizen of Los Angeles, I feel that this is a worthwhile use of taxpayer resources. Please continue to blaze your trail.

FireFleitz said...

The LAFD Blog is most definitly a very informative site. So much so that I have pitched the idea of our Dept. having an official blog, using yours as the Grandfather of Municiple Fire Department Blogs.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


Thank you for your kind words. We regularly visit your Roanoke Firefighters site, and remain confident in your agency and its on and off the fireground endeavors.



Thank you for taking the time to comment. We'll leave this thread open for a few more days, and warmly welcome comments that will let us know what we're doing right, and more importantly what we need to work on.

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Anonymous said...

I think Ms. Garza could make better use of her time and influence by writing about L.A.'s many problems, such as homelessness and illegal immigration.

I enjoyed the TV show, "The Bravest." It showed videotape of real fire departmet emergencies. The one emergency I remember from the show was a man who climbed on top of his van and coudn't get down.

This blog is similar to that tv show, except that this blog is about dramatic emergencies.

I think it would be interesting to hear about the more typical emergencies that a fire department deals with from one hour to the next.

Jerry Cohen said...

I am a native of Glendale but I have been living and working as a firefighter in Austin, Texas since 1999. I visit your site regularly to "keep in touch" with what's going on in LA. The news websites provide general info regarding fire news, but you guys offer info specific to the fire service. There isn't a comparable venue like yours for up to date LA fire incidents. Keep up the great work.

N6BRR said...

I just learned of your very informative website and find it a valuable tool in keeping up with what is happening in my former hometown. Thanks for the great job!

Former firefighter from LA

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