Almanac

News - August 7, 2013

Five may run in fire board race

by Sandy Brundage

Five people may run in the November election for three seats on the governing board of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which serves Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto and portions of unincorporated San Mateo County.

Three incumbents on the five-member board appear to be seeking re-election: Jack Nelson, who has filed candidate papers; and Stephen Nachtsheim and Rex Ianson, who have pulled papers but not filed yet.

Mr. Nachtsheim, currently serving as board president, was elected in 2009, as was vice president Nelson. Mr. Ianson, a retired firefighter, has served on the board since 2005.

Former Menlo Park City Council candidate Carolyn Clarke is one of two non-incumbents who have taken out candidacy papers. Along with running an accounting business, she sits on the Menlo Park Housing Commission and the city's Housing Element Steering Committee.

The other non-incumbent to pull papers is Chuck Bernstein, a former council candidate and local business person who runs a for-profit educational organization. He told the Almanac he intends to run. He described it as a "watershed election for us residents who rely on fire protection" in light of pressure from the firefighters' union to increase expenditures, and with what he calculates as a $3.5 million expected increase in retirement benefit costs in seven years.

Prospective candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, to file papers. If any incumbent doesn't file by that time, the filing period will be extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.

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