Keep CalFire Wins Coastside Fire Recall Election

Yes on the Recall leads by a wide margin with Karen Anderson, JB Cockrell and Harvey Rarback ready to take their seats on the Coastside Fire Protection District Board.


Half Moon Bay voters on Tuesday cast their ballots in a heated special election to determine the fate of fire board directors Doug Mackintosh, Gary Riddell and Mike Alifano, who have pushed the district to end its contract with CalFire and create a local fire department.

Coastside residents Karen Anderson, JB Cockrell, Lee McKusick, and Harvey Rarback entered the race as challengers to the recalled directors, and by a 63 percent majority they were elected to the Coastside Fire Protection Board. 

“I feel exhausted but pleased that the citizens of the Coastside Fire Protection District are the big winners,” said JB Cockrell. “The issues are good governance and government with fiscal responsibility, and I take the advice of the San Mateo County Grand Jury seriously. Our citizens are in good hands with the new board. Safety and emergency service levels will continue to be our No. 1 priority. CalFire has provided us superior service at responsible cost, and I look forward to continuing that relationship."

Incumbents Alifano, Mackintosh and Riddell, who gathered at Cameron's Tuesday night waiting for election results to come in, knew they were defeated as soon as the absentee ballot tallies were in.

"Absentee sets the trend and the results in the precinct polls is not in our favor," said Alifano Tuesday. "Too bad. I still feel that we fought a hard battle but it's all about messaging and the 'save millions' really kicked our rears."

At the end of the night Alifano went to the San Benito House bar — where the Keep CalFire supporters were congregated — to congratulate his opposers and to offer his support "to get things fixed and bridge the gap between both sides," he said.

Cockrell and Rarback were not there, but Anderson offered Alifano a beer and he accepted.

"We had a pleasant talk about the future of the fire service on the Coastside, and I expressed my confidence with the new CalFire Chief Scott Jalbert," said Alifano. "I'm hopeful we can make things better but it wil take some work and trust building."

Rarback says that the recall process was "painful but unfortunately necessary" and he's glad it's over.

"I hope we can all now work together for the good of the Coast," he said. "I am  profoundly grateful to the Coastside voters for keeping CalFire as our fire and emergency services provider. I intend to help negotiate a new contract with CalFire before June 30.  I pledge to earn your support by listening to the public and making sure that we continue to have the best affordable fire and emergency services."

With 21 total precincts reporting results, approximately 14,323 residents of Half Moon Bay, Miramar, Moss Beach, Montara, Princeton-by-the-Sea and El Granada were eligible to vote in Tuesday's election, county Elections Manager David Tom said. About 39 percent of registered voters — 5,610 Coastsiders — cast a ballot. All three incumbents were voted out of office by a margin of about 64-36.

Here are the results:

Precinct Ballots Cast 1,574  11.0% Early Voting Ballots Cast 29 0.2% Vote By Mail Ballots Cast 4,007 28.0% Total Ballots Cast 5,610 39.2% 21 of 21 Precincts Reporting (100%) Votes Votes Shall Fire Board Member be Recalled?




Mike Alifano



Gary Riddell



Douglas Mackintosh




21 of 21 Precincts Reporting (100%)

Director to Succeed




Karen Anderson if Alifano is recalled



J.B. Cockrell if Mackintosh is recalled



Lee McKusick if Riddell is recalled



Harvey Rarback if Riddell is recalled



How do you feel about the results? Are you surprised or reassured?

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S.T. Morrish April 11, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Next recall, the city council members who UNANIMOUSLY endorsed NO. (all of them)


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