Fire recall vote set for April
Sunday, December 23, 2012
There is now a date to determine whether three members of the Coastside Fire Protection District board will be recalled: April 9, 2013.
As far as San Mateo County Elections Deputy David Tom can remember, it will be the first recall election in the county in recent memory.
President Doug Mackintosh, Director Mike Alifano and Director Gary Riddell are all facing recall.
Critics say they lack transparency as they seek to terminate a contract with current fire protection services provider, Cal Fire, and to pursue a more expensive, independent department. They counter that they only want what’s best for district taxpayers and that Cal Fire hasn’t delivered on promises.
Elections office protocol required governing board members — including those facing recall — to select a date between 88 and 125 days after announcing that the election would take place. During a special meeting on the evening of Dec. 12, Director Gary Burke proposed that the election happen as soon as possible, on March 12.
“To delay it, to me, doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of the voters,” said Burke.
Alifano requested the date be pushed back into April.
“I think that the feeling was that the recall message has been out there unchallenged for the last four months,” said Mackintosh on Thursday. “We need time to respond, to educate people on the reasons why what we’re doing is best for the coast.”
As with most decisions of late, the vote was 3- 2. The majority, made entirely of members facing recall, voted to have the election take place at the polls rather than through the mail. That will be $55,000 more expensive than the mail -in ballot option. Regardless, Tom said that vote-by-mail is an option for all elections. Voters have the option to return the ballots by mail or drop them off at the elections office or at the polls.
Anyone who is in the Coastside Fire Protection District is eligible to vote.