Recall Election campaign signs for Vote No on the Recall and Keep CalFire are posted all over town. Four candidates have filed to run in the Recall Election for the Coastside Fire Protection District. The San Mateo Elections Division is testing the eSlate voting system equipment for the Special Recall Election this week. And by now you’ve received in the mail a sample ballot and a voter information pamphlet for the Coastside Fire Protection District Special Recall Election.
Now it’s almost time to vote. From March 11 to April 2, voters can vote by mail. From March 11 to April 9, voters can vote at the Elections Division in person at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo. Or, on Tuesday, April 9, voters can cast their ballots at local polls.
Your polling place location and precinct number are printed on the back of the pamphlet you should have received in the mail by now from the San Mateo County Elections Office.
Also inside this document is some helpful information, like a statement of reasons for why CalFire proponents seek to recall Coastside Fire Protection District Board of Directors Mike Alifano, Doug Mackintosh and Gary Riddell for voting against extending the CalFire contract after “refusing to listen to constituents or the recent Grand Jury report that said ‘The Grand Jury could not find any substantive issues that justified termination the CalFire contract.’” CalFire proponents also say that these three board members "abused the Brown Act, holding closed meetings under the guise of labor negotiations" and have spent move than "$100K in consulting and legal fees in an attempt to remove CalFire and bring back the 'local control' that failed us so badly in the past."
Each of the three officers being recalled respond to these statements in the pamphlet, explaining why they want to hold CalFire accountable because CalFire has failed its legal and moral obligations in a contract that they say is advantageous to CalFire, lacking in community involvement and support, resulting in high turnover and an unresponsiveness to the community, and undermining the level of fire service the Coast needs.
"Our job is to always be working on the best solution for the money, not choosing the cheapest option or contract," Alifano wrote in his statement. As an example, said Alifano, the contract calls for two full-time fire marshals. When these two fire marshals were moved to another area, those positions were not fully replaced. Instead, there are now two part-time fire marshals, one of which is retired, even though taxpayers are paying for two full-timers. Alifano, Riddell and Mackintosh say that CalFire makes decisions "without Board consent that will cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars and will negatively impact services levels specified in the contract."
When voting, Coastside residents will place their votes with either a yes or no to remove three members from the Coastside Fire Protection District Board of Directors seat. For every yes, voters will then need to vote for a director to succeed each recallee.
To help inform your vote, Patch asked all four candidates and three recallees the same three questions:
1. How much more or less will a standalone Coastside department cost the community?
2. How is the level of service of CalFire better or worse than the level of service of a standalone Coastside department?
3. Why Vote Yes or No on the Recall?
Click on the names of the candidates and officers being recalled to read their responses.
Officers to be recalled:
Directors to succeed:
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