On June 28, 2012, San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer Mark Church notified us that he has approved our recall petitions for Michael Alifano, Douglas Mackintosh and Gary Riddell. We have 120 days to collect signatures, but we intend to collect them as quickly as possible to Keep CAL FIRE.
Today we published the Notices of Intent in the Half Moon Bay Review for all 3 recall targets.
We also filed our recall petitions with County Elections for approval. County Elections now has up to 10 days to approve the petitions, or let us know what we need to correct on the petitions so we can file them again. This process repeats itself until the petitions are approved by County Elections.
- Riddell admits he’s long since made up his mind about getting rid of CAL FIRE.
- Mackintosh says “I am currently carefully evaluating the cost, feasibility and advisability of making that change.”
- Alifano says “No decisions have been made. We’re simply trying to compare what we have.”
At least someone – Riddell – is telling the truth about what’s going on. Mackintosh tells us he’s still evaluating costs nearly 2 months after he voted to terminate the CAL FIRE contract on April 25, 2012. Alifano says “No decisions have been made” despite the fact that he, Mackintosh, and Riddell voted to terminate the CAL FIRE contract on April 25, 2012.
alifano – answer
“I only want what’s best for the Coastside. I was born and raised in HMB and plan on living here with my parents, wife and 2 kids for the rest of our lives. I serve on several local non-profit boards and committees and donate much of my time and income to support our Coastside.
Current board directors McShane, Burke and Mackintosh appointed me to the Coastside Fire Protection District board in 2010. I then ran unopposed for the 2011-2015 term. I came to this board without any baggage, campaign donations or promises. My moral and ethical obligation is to provide the very best Fire Service within our district’s budget. If that means we stop contracting our Fire Service with CalFire and opt to be a Standalone agency or possibly contract with another agency then that’s our responsibility as a Fire District. Our job is to always be working on the best solution for the money, not choosing the cheapest option or contract. The previous Fire Board chose CalFire to cure our labor and management conflict, not because that’s all we could afford. My hope is to always increase the level of service no matter what solution we choose.”
mackintosh – answer
riddell – answer
As part of the recall process, the person being recalled may ‘answer’ the recall with up to 200 words, and the answer gets printed on the recall petitions. We now have answers from Directors Riddell and Mackintosh.
“I have been a resident and business owner on the Coastside for over 30 years. I have raised six children and now have three grandchildren along with in-laws living in this community. To suggest I would in any way jeopardize their safety is appalling. I have served on this Board off and on for many years and have seen the best and the worst. For the last four years I have worked with CalFire to improve their level of service. During that time I have spoken with dozens of chief fire officers both inside and outside the CalFire organization and with directors of Districts who contract with or are considering contracting with CalFire. I have listened carefully to the words, actions and reactions of our local CalFire officials. I am currently carefully evaluating the cost, feasibility and advisability of making that change. My final decision will be based on my experience, information gathered and on the premises that in order to move forward the change must be sustainable without additional taxes, that our communities’ exposure to long term liability be reduced, that the level of service be improved and that our lives, property, children and grandchildren not be at risk.”
“My goal is to provide you the best possible services regardless of who provides them, Cal Fire is not doing that. Cal Fire failed to meet its legal obligations in our contract and the California Fire Code and its moral obligations as a fire service provider. How does the largest fire service provider in the State sign a contract, then not provide those services specified in that contract. The District didn’t fail in our obligation to pay for those services, Cal Fire failed in its responsibility to provide those services, year after year. At what point does this Board have a duty to act? Should we wait like previous Boards until we have multiple lawsuits? Isn’t it better to be proactive instead of reactive? Doesn’t our obligation as Board members responsible for the lives and property in our community demand we be proactive? Further, community needs are subservient to the needs of the State and this will never change. Cal Fire just made a decision without Board consent that will cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars and will negatively impact services levels specified in the contract. And the answer for some is recall the individuals who hold Cal Fire accountable.”
Mike Alifano is quoted in the June 6, 2012 HMB Review as saying “No decisions have been made. We’re simply trying to compare what we have.” Unfortunately this statement is simply not true, as on April 25, 2012 Mike Alifano, Douglas Mackintosh, and Gary Riddell decided to vote against extending the CAL FIRE contract. Alifano, Mackintosh, and Riddell continue to say one thing while doing another, and hope the public won’t notice. When Alifano makes statements such as “No decisions have been made” after he voted against extending the CAL FIRE contract, it shows he either has no idea what he’s talking about, he has no idea of the consequences of his actions, or he hopes that no one is paying attention. This vote was extremely significant, and its significance cannot be overstated.
- This vote told Coastside residents that the Board intends to get rid of CAL FIRE.
- This vote told the 37 CAL FIRE Firefighters serving the Coastside that they better start looking for a job elsewhere.
- This vote told CAL FIRE that they need to start planning to re-deploy the 37 Firefighters on the Coast to other locations. That process will start months ahead of the June 30, 2013 end of the CAL FIRE contract.
- This vote told other firefightering organizations that the Board negotiates very poorly, as we’re now in a position where we’ll have to pay someone else to fight fires for us and we’ve just laid all our cards on the table.
- This vote told everyone that even if somehow we decide to continue with CAL FIRE service after July 1, 2013, this Board will continue to be a poor partner in public safety.
This vote has started to quickly galvanize public opinion against Alifano, Mackintosh, Riddell. I have attended at least the last 4 successive Board meetings, and listened to dozens of members of the public address the Board. Nearly all these speakers are upset at the Board’s direction, and many were downright distraught. Many literally begged the Board to reconsider the actions.
In all these recent meetings, listening to several hours of discussions, I have heard only two members of the public speak in favor of the Board’s actions. One of those speakers went on to insult other members of the public during his speech, calling them ‘retarded’ during his public comments. The other member of the public who spoke in favor of the Board’s direction admitted that he was a former neighbor of Gary Riddell’s. It seems that there may be only 5 Coastside residents in favor of the Board’s direction – these two members of the public, and the Alifano, Mackintosh, and Riddell.
We realize that initiating three recalls is a drastic measure. No one wants to do this. No one is happy about this. We are acting because we are compelled to save our relationship with CAL FIRE, the best firefighting agency the Coastside has ever seen. I, personally, am getting involved because I couldn’t live with myself if I stood by and did nothing, and watched Alifano, Mackintosh, and Riddell destroy our fire service.
we’re just getting started.
Recalls are a complex process. This link lists all the steps involved in a recall in California.
This link shows a useful flowchart of the recall process to easily visualize what happens at each step. We’ve just completed step 1 of many.
On Tuesday, June 5, Directors Alifano, Riddell, and Mackintosh were served with “Notices of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition”. On Wednesday, June 6, these three Notices were filed with the County Elections office.
The grounds for the each of the three recalls are as follows:
Prior to CAL FIRE’s arrival, fire departments on the Coastside were an expensive mess, resulting in over $1.2M in lawsuit settlements and legal fees as well as high turnover and poor morale. Coastside taxpayers are currently enjoying savings estimated at over $1M per year with CAL FIRE, compared to trying to staff and run a department themselves. You have committed to spend over $100k in consulting and legal fees in an attempt to remove CAL FIRE and bring back the ‘local control’ that failed us so badly in the past. Many feel you refuse to listen to constituents or the recent Grand Jury report that said “The Grand Jury could not find any substantive issues that justified terminating the CAL FIRE contract.” On April 25, 2012, even after the Grand Jury report, you voted against extending CAL FIRE’s contract past June 30, 2012, even though you had no other options at the time.
The list of proponents is the same for each of the 3 recalls:
Carlysle Ann Young