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Firefighter group reports election spending

Original post made on Nov 3, 2009

The Menlo Park firefighters' political action group that endorsed three candidates for three open seats on the local fire board spent $18,316 in support of those candidates in the period ending Oct. 17, according to documents filed Monday afternoon, Nov. 2.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 11:46 AM

Comments (21)

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Posted by Rob SIlano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Ms. Batti, once again you forgot me as you did when I submitted my letter to the editor last Tuesday and my e-mail to you last Friday. I also spent under the $1,000.00 limit and thank you Mr. Carpenter for your kind words of endorsement. Anyone who would like to read a copy of the letter to the Almanac can go to the www.smartvoter.org/silano and pull it up. or review below: Thanks all, Rob
______________________________________________________________________
Dear Editor,

As a candidate that The Almanac chose not to endorse, I wish to address some errors in your endorsement article, as well as defects in your analysis underlying your endorsement. Your article begins by telling the voters that the "race for three seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board has boiled down to a contest between union-backed candidates and three others who might not favor granting firefighters an 11 percent pay increase over the next three years."
As I have made clear on more than one occasion, I do not favor an 11 percent pay raise. If you review the debate hosted by the League of Women Voters at www.smartvoter.org, you will see that I suggested a possible starting point for the negotiations tied to the consumer price index of roughly 2% per year.
Your article goes on to state that in your view, "what the district needs now are board members who will take a much harder look at the rising costs of employee compensation, including retirement, and are willing to find ways to save in other areas, like adopting a two-tier retirement system and sharing some staff with nearby fire departments." If so, then I am the perfect candidate for the district. Retirement changes, including a two -tier system, and other innovative cost-cutting measures including possible consolidation have been the touchstone of my campaign. Moreover, I am the only candidate who has already saved the district over two million dollars by alerting the district to the need to respond to an Environmental Impact Report for proposed development in the district which would place a financial burden on the fire district. It would appear by your own definition; that I am exactly the candidate the district needs.
Our district has needlessly spent almost another two million dollars on attorney's fees to continue a stalemate between the board and the firefighters union. Our district cannot afford to waste these precious resources over an unwillingness to communicate. It is time to reach a just and economically sustainable resolution. I pledge, as an outsider to this process, to find a workable, fair solution.
It would appear that I fit every criteria for an endorsement from The Almanac except for the fact that I also have the endorsement of the Menlo Park Firefighters Association. It is a shame that The Alamanc views the Menlo Park Firefighters Association endorsement as a reason to withhold its own endorsement of me as a candidate. Let us hope the voters in the district are more open to the one candidate who will value common sense and common ground over such divisiveness.

Sincerely,

Rob Silano
Candidate for Menlo Park Fire Protection Board

________________________________________________________________________


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Posted by Renee Batti
news editor of The Almanac
on Nov 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Rob, I reread my article after reading your post, and changed the last paragraph to try to make it more clear. Thanks.


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Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Thanks


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm

$18,000 prior to 17 Oct plus ?? in the 17 days since then plus the fair market value of all the firefighters' time. This union will set an all time expenditure record for any Fire District election by at least a factor of 5 if not ten.

And for what purpose?

In my opinion all they have done is corrupted the electoral process. Sure the union is entitled to an opinion, but I don't think they should be allowed to try to buy the election.

As the Fair Political Practices Committee report states:

"Despite the public's demand to reduce the influence of special interest money in elections, the opposite has occurred, thanks, in part, to an orgy of spending by so-called "independent expenditures," also known as IEs. The emergence of "independent expenditures" has thwarted the will of the people, dramatically undermined California's campaign finance laws and doubtlessly influenced the outcome of numerous statewide and legislative elections."


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I have nothing but respect for members of the fire service. I am not a supporter of unions in general. Those two statements having been made, one more, directed to whomever the electorate chooses to serve on the District Fire Board--11%!!! In this economy?, or even a more healthy one... Absolutely not!!! If they can afford to donate enough money to their union so as to enable it to spend the kind of money it has on this election, they can't convince me they need an 11% raise.


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Posted by Bored Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm

People, people..The 11% raise represents the the entire Salary/Compensation pakcage, vacations, sick leave etc, not just salaries. This is why there is so much unneccessary drama, because
their is so much inncorrect information floating around. Everyone ASSUMES it is salary only, how many residents have bothered to ask or to seek a line item break down, of the ENTIRE package, how did they arrive at number and what does that number include !! No wonder everyone has branded the union as greedy in these times, because in these times, everyone does not do their home work and ask the right
questions, they just ASSUME that the 11% is gospel and someone else
has validated that number..It is amazing what information laziness
can cause !! The union wants candidates who will listen, be fair and not be obligated to their every whim !! They are not as unreasonable as they are projected to be !! It is amazing what "Mutual Harmony"
can do for mutual results !


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Bored Resident is factually incorrect and has not done his/her homework.

While the District is precluded by law from releasing details of an on-going negotiation, the union has made the mistake of including their salary demands in the PERB charge which they filed against the District. That charge is a publicly available record. They asked for 6% salary increase to take them to be the third highest paid firefighters among the 13 very highly paid departments in their comparison group and THEN another 5% salary increase for the first year of their contract. By my calculation 6+5 = 11%


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Well I guess Carpenters claim that

"It is estimated that the union spent well over $50,000 on this election not including the in-kind cost of hours of union members efforts"

has proven to be a viable as the rest of the rubbish he has posted regarding this election.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Intersted states:
Well I guess Carpenters claim that

"It is estimated that the union spent well over $50,000 on this election not including the in-kind cost of hours of union members efforts"

has proven to be a viable as the rest of the rubbish he has posted regarding this election.

*****

The facts are that the union spent $18,000 PRIOR to 17 Oct PLUS their very heavy expenditures in the 17 days since then plus the fair market value of all the firefighters' time. I think the final total will come very close to and may exceed $50,00.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm

How very typical of your tactics MR Carpenter...Read your own post.

"It is estimated that the union spent well over $50,000 on this election not including the in-kind cost of hours of union members efforts"

"The union spent $18,000 PRIOR to 17 Oct PLUS their very heavy expenditures in the 17 days since then plus the fair market value of all the firefighters' time. I think the final total will come very close to and may exceed $50,00.

In your first post you claim the union is estimated to have spent
50k PLUS the cost of in-kind hours, and then you state the 50k INCLUDES the cost of in-kind hours. No wonder the district is in financial turmoil [PORTION DELETED]


Well at least we take take some comfort that no matter who wins this election your sorry excuse for an elected official will not be on the district board.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I am confident that when ALL the reports are in the final union expenditures NOT including the fair market value of the firefighters' time will come very close to and may exceed $50,000.

It would be constructive if other posters brought some factual information to the table regarding what the union has spent in the last 17 days so that there would be no need to make these estimates.

Interested posters who contribute nothing to these discussions should perhaps vent their frustrations elsewhere.


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Posted by Gunshow
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:25 pm

The union actually spent $0 [PORTION DELETED]. The numbers reported are firefighter association funds.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Wrong - the report was NOT filed by the Association but by the Firefighters Legislative Action Group or FLAG.

If the Association spent any funds then they would be required to file a report as the Association.

Facts are just such difficult things for some people to get their minds around.


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Posted by Gunshow
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Where do you think the money from FLAG comes from?

Answer: Not IAFF 2400

Ah snap!

Facts are just such difficult things for some people to get their minds around.


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Posted by Vanilla Gorrilla
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

By the way,

How much are people allowed to spend on a fire board election?

You can't even remodel a bathroom for $18,000.

Bloomberg spent $35,000 per hour in New York to the tune of $100,000,000.00 on his election.

I bet you could have spent a lot more than the firefighters did with your 7 or 8 figure bank accounts.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

But the legal entity which filed the 18 day late report was the FLAG.

And the FLAG has a different Treasurer than the Association - looks like an interesting shell game is they are in fact the same entity.

Why all the obfuscation?

Why not post the Oct 18- Nov.3 expenditures NOW?

What is the union hiding?


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Posted by Gunshow
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Hey Mr. Carpenter,

I wont post anymore and let you have the last word on every single fire district related topic. Until this post you where maintaining a clean sweep. So please don't wait too long.


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Posted by Gunshow
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:05 pm

[Post deleted; disrespectful comments violate terms of use]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Gunshow - the rules are clear - "Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."




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Posted by Gunshow
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Apparently you are the moderator in this forum and would make it a conflict of interest for you to post or decide what is disrespectful. Have you read any of your posts or is the other Peter Carpenter posting again? I have found several of your posts to be very disrespectful but none of yours are ever removed.

Does the Almanac pay you to edit the posts here?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Gunshow ( a disguised firefighter) - I am not the moderator nor do I have the ability to edit or remove other people's posts.

You and you colleagues simply need to learn to respect the rules of the Town Square - and the election laws.

*********************

Now can we please go back to the subject of this thread -
"Firefighter group submits election spending report"

Why all the obfuscation by the union/FLAG/Association?

Why not post the Oct 18- Nov.3 expenditures NOW?

What is the union hiding?

Why has it spent so much money on this election?

What does it expect in return?

What are the implications if your candidates are not elected?


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