News


Carpenter replaces Ohtaki on fire board

Will serve only until 2011 election

Peter Carpenter, never out of public view for long, has rejoined the governing board of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. The board members voted 4-0 to appoint him to replace Peter Ohtaki, who left to take a seat on the City Council.

Mr. Carpenter previously served on the board from 2001 to 2009. His return to the fire district even as a temporary director came as a surprise to those who remember him saying he was finished with public service.

He explained that filling the position now would prevent anyone from gaining an advantage over other candidates when the district holds an election for a permanent replacement.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman commented: "From our standpoint as staff, and as the fire chief, there's no mystery as to what Director Carpenter's expectations are or what he feels strongly about. I know where we stand and what he expects from us."

Four applicants vied for the position during a round-robin interview on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Robert Solano, Virginia Chang Kiraly, Steven Kennedy and Mr. Carpenter took turns answering nine questions posed by the board, according to Chief Schapelhouman.

Like Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Kennedy previously served on the board, but his service was plagued by reports of unethical behavior. He was censured three times and stripped of his director's badge.

Chief Schapelhouman complimented everyone who applied. "It's nice to have four people who want to be board members," he said. "Sometimes there's no one."

The seat will once again be open in November 2011 when the fire board next holds an election.

Mr. Carpenter said he doesn't plan to run.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Dec 10, 2010 at 7:53 am

Go Peter ! Even though 2 or the remaing 3 candidates were very viable
it would make sense to have you be the interim director, since you just left the board. Just be careful of the Brown Act..


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

What's the deal with Mr. Kennedy's behavior? I hadn't heard about this before.


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

One would think we should have at least three members from Menlo Park. Do we? I say this because MP basically funds the district for all these small towns around us and our resources should equal our influence.


Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Thank you Peter. I know this is not what you had planned on. But by filling the interim position, you will enable all of the candidates to state their case for election without benefit of incumbency.

I think every constituent of the MPFPD owes you a debt of gratitude.


Like this comment
Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I am so glad that Peter will continue his community service as an interim director. He's an outstanding representative! Congratulations, Peter!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 10, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Truth states:"I say this because MP basically funds the district for all these small towns around us and our resources should equal our influence."

In fact Menlo Park has 1/3 of the population of the area served by the Fire District and 60% of the Board seats are held by Menlo Park residents. In contrast East Palo Alto has 35% of the population served by the Fire District and 0% of the seats held by East Palo Alto residents.

The truth is that Menlo Park is over-represented on the Fire Board as is Atherton, but the more important truth is that all five Directors serve all 95,185 residents of the Fire District without respect to where we happen to live.


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Peter Congratulations, and as always the community will be rewarded for your continued support.

your long-term support for the residents of Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Unincorporated San Mateo is admirable, and we are deeply indebted to you for doing this civic duty.

Thanks
Roy Thiele-Sardina


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 10, 2010 at 11:14 pm

How much tax revenue, Peter? [Portion deleted. Avoid personal attacks.] How much tax does Atherton and EPA kick in compared to Menlo Park? How much in building fees? [Portion deleted. Avoid personal attacks.]


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 11, 2010 at 5:18 am

The County does not breakout the Fire District's revenue by source (and the Fire District existed before the communities which it serves were incorporated.) I estimate that the revenue is proportional to total assessed values of which Menlo Park has slightly less than half and the remainder comes from the other three jurisdictions - so even on this basis Menlo is over represented on the Fire Board with 80% of the membership as of the last election. But, as I have said before, the more important truth is that all five Directors serve all 95,185 residents of the Fire District without respect to where we happen to live.

[Portion deleted. Avoid personal attacks.]


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 11, 2010 at 7:05 am

For anyone who is seriously interested, your Fire District is the most transparent local agency in California. Its web site provides you with a wealth of information:
Web Link

For example, if you go to the forms and documents page:

Web Link

you will find all of the information regarding the Fire District's current budget including planning assumptions and fiscal policies - be warned these three documents total more than 160 pages:

2010/2011 Budget in Brief
2010/2011 Revenue
2010/2011 Expenditure

If you take the time to review these documents I think that you will find that your tax dollars are being very carefully managed.


Like this comment
Posted by Prioritize
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm

What you are doing is a nobel thing for an area that does little other than make a lot of complaints about minutae.
Personally, since you appear to be fit enough to take on this task, I think your time would be more appreciated and nobel if you were to take on a task of helping the homeless, hungry and needy who are not appearin in the most posh of neighborhoods.
With you masterful eloquence and knowledge of how little things ever get done nowadays, it would be a real act of generosity if you did some lecturing and fund raising for schools and teachers and get the kids who are not blessed like most of the Almanac readers started on the learning track.
I still admire you no matter what,but wish someone with your b.g. and style would use his intellectul resources to serve in a way that is not doing any good except for a lot of puffed up ingrates.


Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 12, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Prioritize:
It's may actually be a whole lot easier to feed the hungry than to try to reinstitute ethics back into SMC county or more local politics. Peter has chosen to take on this most difficult and thankless task of all, probably with the full awareness that few will appreciate his allegiance in staying true to such an unglamorous cause.
Sustenance comes in many forms.
You and I can feed the hungry--leave him to his task


Like this comment
Posted by Prioritize
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

None of you have a clue about what he has to accomplish.
I already am feeding the hungry.
People like you are dreaming and telling people what to do without knowing there is nothing that will suffice...even from Peter.


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Dec 14, 2010 at 4:01 am

Great. Maybe Peter can give the Fire Cheif antother 10% pay raise (From Fire District website Unrepresented Employees Slaray and Contract, Under their district documents tab) to his gross $420K job per year.(from US&R Fee recover schedule Fire Chief 50% Salary cost revovery $102/hour. Which is $204/hr at 2080hr/year) What is even better is that the chief does not even contribute to his own pension(From Fire District website Unrepresented Employees Slaray and Contract, Under their district documents tab). Way to go! Another real political reformist. Then he can blame the firefighters!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 14, 2010 at 7:42 am

George - you are confusing how much the Fire District gets reimbursed when the Fire Chief gets deployed on a federal emergency with how much he gets paid. And note that the Fire Chief has specifically asked not to be deployed with the USAR team given his ongoing responsibilities as Chief.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Peter: Congrats on your selection.


Like this comment
Posted by Just Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 14, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Pter: Congrats on your selection.
Hopefully you'll be kept so busy on mundane FD affairs that you won't have time to meddle in other people's affairs.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Just Wandering:

please go wander off and don't come back until you have something of actual substance to add. Thank you.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 25, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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