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Fire chief is not to blame for club's slow birth I...

March 11, 2003

Fire chief is not to blame for club's slow birth

I read with disgust the Daily Pilot article on code issues over

the approvals for Club Vegas nightclub ("Wheels still spinning on

Club Vegas," Thursday).

I can only say that it sounds as though the club owner and Bill

Perkins "would have the idiots running the asylum!"

As it did during similar code violations at the Piecemaker's

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warehouse a couple of years ago, the Daily Pilot has chosen to paint

Fire Marshal Tom MacDuff as the bad guy in this issue. Not since the

days of the Roman Empire have we chosen to kill the messenger who

bears the bad news.

MacDuff did not write the code. The fire code was written by

intelligent people with years of lifesaving experience who set out to

write a code that's designed to prevent the types of tragedies like

those in Chicago and Rhode Island. MacDuff is charged with the

weighty burden of enforcing our codes.

If your son or daughter gets home safe on any given day, be it

from the supermarket, the nail salon or a nightclub, you may owe the

experience to hard-working individuals like MacDuff. For an example

of what happens to fire marshals and inspectors who don't uphold the

codes, please stay tuned to the lawsuits that are popping up in

Chicago and Rhode Island.

Exiting requirements are at the very core of life safety issues.

They must not be overlooked, or swept under the carpet in any way,

just so a group of people can listen to some music and down a

martini. You won't read about it in the paper if 200 people get home

safe tonight, but you will if they all die a needless fiery death

because they couldn't get out of a blazing inferno.

I haven't met Perkins, but I feel as though I now know all I need

to about him. The same can be said of James Raven and Gary Monahan. I

am inclined to suggest to these people the old adage: It is better to

keep your mouth shut and avoid being suspected an idiot, than to open

it and remove all doubt.

PATRICK AYRES

Costa Mesa

No trouble balancing Catholicism, patriotism

I must admit I have been rather surprised with all the rhetoric

about the alleged schism among Catholicism, the pope and Iraq. There

are no inconsistencies here: As an Irish Catholic, I recognize the

pope as the spiritual head of the Catholic Church. He is the

religious leader for the world's Catholics.

I also recognize that President Bush is the commander in chief of

the nation's armed forces and the leader of the United States. He is

directly responsible for the safety and well being of this nations

citizens.

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