A year and a half after the bruising Fire Board recall, we’re operating under an unprecedented seven-year contract with Cal Fire, and the issue has faded into the background as public attention shifted to two bridges, the Harbor Board and now the City Council election.
But protecting the Cal Fire partnership is still critical to our community’s safety and financial stability, and the upcoming election for the open Board seat is therefore important. Fortunately, there’s one outstanding candidate for the position. Bruce Mackimmie.
Back in 2006, Bruce – then board president of the old Point Montara district – was one of the first and strongest voices for bringing in Cal Fire for our public safety services. As a retired firefighter, Bruce was an unlikely Cal Fire advocate because it meant closing down the department he had so proudly served, but he recognized early that the old standalone model no longer made economic sense. Bruce portrays delivering Cal Fire as a team effort – six directors on two boards voted for the change – but it was Bruce who was the public face of the cause, speaking out and writing Matters of Opinion to explain the issues to the voters.
Bruce’s stance was profoundly courageous – at that time, the Cal Fire idea wasn’t especially popular with the public, and it was absolutely despised by most of the firefighters he had served with. Bruce absorbed tremendous personal abuse and lost a lot of friends, but he never flinched and never lost his cool. He remained the calm, reasoned voice of the Cal Fire controversy, and voted twice for the first contract. (He also directed the complex merger between the two fire districts and persuaded the Board to vote for something extraordinary – a tax cut!)
Time has proven Bruce’s judgement correct, and the Coastside has endorsed it in the most emphatic possible way. When the Cal Fire contract was trashed by three errant directors, the voters recalled them in a landslide and elected a unanimously pro-Cal Fire board.
Because Bruce helped craft the Coastside’s relationship with Cal Fire, he is by far the most qualified candidate to protect it against those who still oppose it and hope to subvert it. Bruce has stood strong to make the best choices for the community even against intense opposition, and he has displayed the unfailing poise and dignity to represent us appropriately. His eagerness to serve again is something we should welcome and support – and vote for.
As to Bruce’s opponents… Mike Clardy opposed Cal Fire and worked against the recall. He is supported by recalled former director Mike Alifano. Enough said.
Bill Kehoe has been a confrontational critic of the current Board, the one we just elected last year in the recall. Most of us think this Board is doing a terrific job and celebrate the new spirit of amity even amidst disagreement. Kehoe’s bellicose approach is one of the things we voted against.
The choice is clear. The candidate who is endorsed by current directors Gary Burke and JB Cockrell… the candidate who paved the way for Cal Fire… the candidate who has repeatedly shown his courage, his class and his commitment to the Coastside… is the one who belongs in this seat.