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Carpenter leaps into Menlo Park fire board race

Original post made on Aug 15, 2013

Peter Carpenter, no stranger to the Menlo Park fire district board of directors, decided to enter this year's election with barely 24 hours to spare before the filing deadline.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 15, 2013, 10:26 AM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hopefully the voters will appreciate what is at stake in this race. The firefighters' union already controls two of the five seats on the Fire Board and is endorsing two of the candidates in the upcoming election. If the union is able to control 3 seats on the Fire Board then they will effectively be able to control their pay, benefits and pensions. If this happens the District's long record of fiscal responsibility will be jeopardized.

I firmly believe that elected officials should represent the taxpayers and not the employees who work for their respective government agencies. These public employees have unions to protect their interests and they should not need to buy the support of elected officials. And candidates for public office should not accept support or endorsements from the public employee unions over which they are expected to provide stewardship and oversight.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Out of curiosity, does anyone know how many of the Fire District employees live in the District?


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Posted by Anne
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I don't know. But in some districts in San Mateo County they commute from out of state I have heard.


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Posted by crystal ball
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Peter, on Aug. 15, you stated that the firefighter's union is endorsing two of the candidates in the upcoming election. How can know this? The can certainly endorse zero or all five candidates. If you were making a prediction, you clarify your statement.

Also, if the contract has been in the courts for the entire time Nelson and Silano have been on the board, how can you state that the union controls two seats? Please explain which votes illustrate this control.

Finally, your campaign announcement states that you were appointed to the board unanimously, which can only mean that Nelson voted to appoint you to the seat vacated by Ohtaki. If Jack Nelson is such union lacky, how can you explain his vote to put you on the board? If Jack is actually a reasonable an collaborative person, please make this point very clear.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The union endorsement statement is a prediction - with 99% probability given that Bernstein , Ianson and I have all declined to even be interviewed by the union.

The contract has NOT been in the courts; the contract expired 5 years ago and the union is waiting until it, hopefully has 3 votes on the board before it even returns to the bargaining table. The good citizens of the district will not let that happen.

Nelson wisely voted to appoint me to Ohtaki's unexpired term because I had already served for 8+ years and the union did not have someone prepared to serve on their behalf.

Next question?


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Posted by crystal ball
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Both Silano and Kiraly had the support of the labor council and firefighters. Once elected, why didn't the union return to the bargaining table? Is there a vote you can point to where Kiraly sided with Stephen and Rex?

You have valid concerns, but the good citizens of the district should be able to base their decision on facts, like the voting record of the elected officials.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2013 at 7:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"he good citizens of the district should be able to base their decision on facts, like the voting record of the elected officials." " Is there a vote you can point to where Kiraly sided with Stephen and Rex?"

The first vote after she took office and every one thereafter. Kiraly was endorsed by the union but the union never supported her campaign and she never supported the union.


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Posted by crystal ball
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

I received an email from from the firefighters, urging me to vote for both endorsed candidates. You may have your opinion that "the union never supported her", but the email from the firefighters is a fact. The firefighters supported both candidates.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I received an email from from the firefighters, urging me to vote for both endorsed candidates."

Please post that email.


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Posted by email blast
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2013 at 11:57 am

I also received this email from: menloparkfirefighters@gmail.com on November 4, 2011.

News from Menlo Park Firefighters Association

Please remember to vote in the November 8th, 2011 Election

After careful consideration, the Menlo Park Firefighters (protecting Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto, and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County) are proud to endorse two candidates and one measure in the upcoming November 8th, 2011 Election.

Rob Silano

The November 8th Election is approaching and the Menlo Park Firefighters (protecting Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County) would like to remind you to mail in your mail ballot right away if you vote by mail, or to vote at the polls this Tuesday, November 8th. This election is critical for the Menlo Park Fire District, and we recommend voting for Rob Silano for the District Board. Rob has the right mix of experience to be a true leader on the Board. Rob is a 23-year Menlo Park resident who has been active in our community. Rob has been a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, coached a number of local sports teams and has served on the AYSO Soccer Board of Directors. The current Board has allowed the quality of our Fire District to slip. The Insurance Safety Office, which rates every fire district in the country, gave the Board a plan to improve our rating, and the board has done nothing to implement it. The District is also misspending taxpayer money. In the past ten years The Board tripled the number of administrative and support staff (from 12 to 29) while only increasing the number of on-duty firefighters by one. If elected, Rob's priorities will be to improve our safety rating and manage the Fire District's budget more efficiently. Rob spent his career in Federal Law Enforcement. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, a former City of Miami Police Officer, and a former Special Agent for the DEA. Rob has experience managing civilian and law enforcement employees on an ever-shrinking budget, while simultaneously maintaining the highest levels of service. As a Supervisory Special Agent for the DEA, Rob supervised more than 300 agents and 50 non- sworn employees, and responsibly managed multi-million dollar annual budgets. Rob is committed to improving out fire safety and conserving taxpayer money by eliminating wasteful spending. Rob will work with the Insurance Safety Office (the agency that rates every fire district in the Country) to develop a two-year plan to improve our ISO rating. This will result in improved safety and better rates for our fire insurance. Rob will also work to reduce costs and save taxpayers money by consolidating management and administrative staff with other local fire districts. Please vote for Rob Silano for the Menlo Park Fire District Board. www.robsilano2011.com/

Virginia Chang Kiraly

There are two open seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board. The Menlo Park Firefighters are also endorsing Virginia Chiang. Virginia has a BA in economics from the University of Texas. She is a former member of the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury where she worked on public employee pension reform and connecting public school fire alarms to their respective fire departments. www.virginiachangkiraly.com/

Yes on Measure F

Measure F is the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Appropriations Limit. Measure F does not increase your taxes. It maintains current spending limits and safety levels for the District and protects programs like the Water Rescue Team, Urban Search and Rescue Team and the Community Emergency Response Team.

Sincerely, Menlo Park Firefighters


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This email is a perfect example of how the union has violated the campaign reporting laws. The union fillings show zero expenditures on Kiraly's behalf and yet they clearly spent money on messages such as this - shame on them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are some of the questions that the union is asking Fire Board candidates:
"14. If elected, would you be willing to use your public stature to support union organizing?
Yes No_______

15. Would you support the use of binding arbitration to settle economic disputes between management and labor?
Yes No_______
If No, Why?
***********************
And here is their cover letter:

Candidate:

Thank you for making the decision to seek elected office this November. Attached please find the endorsement questionnaire for the San Mateo Labor Council. Completion of the questionnaire is a requirement for anyone interested in being considered for endorsement. The questionnaire is due no later than 5pm on Friday, August 23rd. The interview for your race will be held Tuesday, September 3rd from 5:30PM – 6:00PM at the CA Teachers Association Offices (333 Hatch Dr., Foster City). Please let me know if you'll be able to attend, and feel free to call with any questions. Best of luck!

Respectfully,


Julie Lind, Political Director
San Mateo County Central Labor Council
650-572-8848 office/650-572-2481 fax
650-333-4110 cell
smclcjulie@sbcglobal.net

And here is my response:
From: Peter Carpenter <peterfcarpenter@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: San Mateo Labor Council Endorsement Process
Date: August 15, 2013 11:52:08 AM PDT
To: smclcjulie@sbcglobal.net

Ms. Lind,

Thank you for your invitation but I do not wish to be interviewed or endorsed by the labor council.

Since there will (hopefully) be a new firefighter's contract negotiated with the Fire District during the forthcoming term, I can understand that it is in the labor union's interest to have Fire District Directors who you think will serve your interests. Similarly, an endorsement by a labor union for an election that will be immediately followed by labor negotiations carries with it the appearance of a conflict of interest.

If elected I will be committed to serve the interests of the citizens of the District. In a democratic society the choice of elected officials is properly the responsibility of the voters and not that of a small special interest group.



Sincerely,

Peter Carpenter


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Posted by Anne
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

It is the responsibility of the Unions to advocate for their membership. However, fire board members are to represent the public taxpayers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why Should We Care About Elections to our Fire Board?



Fellow Residents,



On November 5, we will elect 3 Directors to the 5 member Fire Board of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. The Fire Board controls District policy, much like a City Council does.



Let me say upfront that I am supporting:

∑ Incumbent Rex Ianson, who has steadfastly held a fiscally responsible line;
∑ Chuck Bernstein who has created and managed budgets for private and public organizations; and
∑ Peter Carpenter who served on the Fire Board until 2009. Carpenter felt compelled to run again this year because he feared that, unless non-union supported candidates won the election, the Board would accede to excessive union demands for salary increases, and threaten the fiscal integrity of the District.

We all value the protection that our District's firefighters provide as they are the first responders to medical emergencies (more than 60% of their calls) and to fires (less than 5% of their calls). And we pay them very well for these crucial services:

Members of the Firefighter Union in Menlo Park earned upwards of $140,000 in 2012. That average excludes management pay. It also excludes the health and pension benefits fire fighters receive. And with a workweek of 48 consecutive hours on the job and 96 consecutive hours off—firefighters can work extra jobs and live far from their stations.

The fact that there are over 300 qualified applicants for every fire fighter opening in our District, demonstrates that fire fighter retention is not a problem.

I will be writing more about the issues as the campaign unfolds, but I know that pension contributions by our District are scheduled to increase by several million dollars and if salaries increase, pension costs (which are based on salaries) will rise even more. And I know that 16 to 18% of our property taxes go to the District now.

Please let me know your thoughts on this important election, so I may be informed as the campaign proceeds.

Thanks, Lee Duboc (menlofuture@gmail.com)




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Posted by ronald wardrop
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:48 am

How can I get yard signs for you three?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:32 am

For Ronald Wardrop: email is RexPeterChuck@gmail.com


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