News

Menlo fire chief gets threats, complaints about PG&E ads

 

Harold Schapelhouman, the chief of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, said that when he agreed to appear in advertisements for Pacific Gas & Electric Company this past summer, he never imagined it would lead to threats of physical violence and a spate of nasty phone calls and emails.

Nor, says the chief, did he imagine that his face would show up — much bigger than life-size — in full-page newspaper ads around the Bay Area, including some areas devastated by the North Bay fires.

He began working with PG&E on the print and television ads in August, he says, well before fires broke out in several North Bay counties early in October.

While the cause of the fires has not yet been determined, some have blamed faulty PG&E equipment. On Feb. 3, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that more than 100 lawsuits have been filed against PG&E by individuals blaming it for the fires. Sonoma County has also announced plans to sue the utility, the newspaper reported.

"It's been an interesting couple of months," said Chief Schapelhouman recently. He started receiving calls and emails in December, he said, and was still receiving them. On Feb. 8, he received an anonymous phone message from a man who threatened a beating because of his appearance in the ads. "He said you'd better be looking over your shoulder, because I'm coming for you," the chief said.

Chief Schapelhouman said he was asked last year by Frank Fraone, a retired fire district division chief and now a PG&E senior public safety specialist, if he'd be willing to participate in an ad campaign for the agency. The chief said he'd seen ads for PG&E done by fire departments in Auburn and Salinas.

The chief said he agreed "only if we could highlight the training facility" the district has operated on PG&E land near the Dumbarton Bridge for 28 years.

The appearance of ads in the counties that had not yet recovered from the fires was not something Chief Schapelhouman said he anticipated.

"You don't always control something when it's out there," Mr. Schapelhouman said of the ad campaign, which also included television spots. "I didn't realize how big this ... would be," he said, adding it was "much more grandiose than I had ever anticipated."

In a statement posted on the district's website, Mr. Schapelhouman said: "As far as (PG&E's) corporate practices and liability related to the recent fires, those are areas of concern and something I am closely watching. We would ask that they immediately stop using our agency and relationship for promotion if these claims were substantiated."

If he ever did this again, he said, he would put boundaries around the placement and scale of the advertising.

"For those who would accuse me of not being empathetic to those who lost their lives, were injured or lost their homes and property, sadly I'm extremely familiar with many major tragedies and horrific events with major loss of life and injuries. It never gets easier," Mr. Schapelhouman told the Almanac.

Chief Schapelhouman said the ads are "factual." In the print ad he said, in part, "We rely on PG&E every day when we have an incident to be there as quickly as possible to help us de-energize power lines or to secure gas and utilities ... PG&E is a partner with the fire service. We rely on them and they rely on us."

The ad also talks about the training facility. "It's inherent to this job that there is risk. So, we try and meet those risks with training. With knowledge. With capability. PG&E is our partner in that training," the chief said.

The television ad shows Menlo Park firefighters getting ready to respond to a call and then cuts to the chief talking about how important PG&E is as a partner to the fire district. Later it shows firefighters and PG&E crews working together.

A link to the ad on YouTube no longer functions.

Chief Schapelhouman says he was not paid by PG&E, and that he has no immediate plans to retire, so he hasn't thought about going to work for the utility.

"My bill at home didn't go down," he said.

In fact, Mr. Schapelhouman said, his status as a star in a PG&E ad also hasn't done any good in trying to get PG&E out to turn on the utilities at the new Oak Grove fire station in Menlo Park.

On-duty fire district personnel participated in the filming, and would have left if they received a call, he said. The chief was on his lunch break, and a battalion chief participated on his day off.

Nobody had to do it," Mr. Schapelhouman said.

When asked why PG&E was running the advertising campaign, spokesman Ari Vanrenen said the ads "help communicate how we work together and train with first responders to benefit our customers, their families and the communities we serve."

He said the advertising is paid for by shareholders, not the utility's customers.

Fire board President Chuck Bernstein said the ad was not approved by the board, but that "the board has designated the chief as its primary spokesman in all matters."

"The first I knew of it was when I saw it on television," he said.

Mr. Bernstein said he thinks the ad "makes our district look very professional and competent, in large part due to the chief's appearance."

The chief said a few of the approximately 18 calls and emails he has received were positive.

"I don't feel like I was used," he said.

---

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Comments

21 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 26, 2018 at 9:38 am

Did the chief or the district get paid by PG&E for his participation in the ads?


60 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 26, 2018 at 9:45 am

Gotta think before becoming a mouthpiece for a morally questionable corporation


57 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 26, 2018 at 10:14 am

So PG&E is a for profit utility and fire agencies, including MP Fire, have participated in ads for the company.

On one side, it's good that fire departments have good working relationships with utility companies.

However, MP Fire was using its resources even though they were technically on duty. It cost the district some money to carryout the various scenes for the commercial. Additionally, for all the interviews and on-air spots the fire chief has done throughout his career, he should have had a better sense on possible outcomes -- to film/interview him and not expect that shot to be used. I don't buy it.

While MP Fire may recover, it has given them a black eye.


12 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Whatever - why didn't you read the article?


44 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm

John The Baptist is a registered user.

Does Schapelhouman ever turn down an chance get his face on TV?

I suppose it makes sense that Schapelhouman has become the go to for folks who want to associate themselves with first responders. After all, Schapelhouman leads the highest paid public employees in all the land of California.

Interesting though that Schapelhouman now claims he has no immediate plans to retire. Last year he was given a 6% raise. According to Schapelhouman, he felt the raise was required so that the Deputy Chief would want his job. That was then:

"Though he didn’t comment on his future with the district, Schapelhouman said he sought the recent pay increase to make the position more desirable for the next fire chief.

“What I didn’t want to have happen is that the deputy (chiefs are) making more than the fire chief, so now the fire chief’s position no longer becomes desirable for the deputy chief,” Schapelhouman said -- Web Link

It seems that the Deputy Fire Chief is not going to be Chief anytime soon. I guess it will require giving him a 6% raise in order to keep him.

Good thing for the Chief that folks in the Menlo Park Fire Protection District have more money than they know what to do with. In fact most only make a third of Schapelhouman's barely attractive salary so obviously a raise is in order.


47 people like this
Posted by Blues Feldman
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

PG&E as an investor-owned utility continues to place its top priority on profit, not the safety of the condition of plant and equipment. They have a monopoly on power delivery. Their customers are captive.

They have a single source of revenue — ratepayers. The PG&E spokesperson is disingenuous when he says, “the advertising is paid for by shareholders not the utilities customers.” How exactly do shareholders pay for advertising? They don’t. Ratepayers do. And PG&E is spending millions on advertising that could be spend improving plant and equipment. The advertising has only one purpose: to improve the company’s image which the execs believe will drive stock price, which will in turn drive their compensation.

Unfortunately the Chief aided and abetted this company who has been derelict in protecting the public from its neglect in maintaining safe plant and equipment.


8 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 7:07 pm

It's one thing to question the Chief's decision to make an ad with PG&E --- though personally I believe the Chief explained how it happened. He also expressed regret. Furthermore, he explained in this interview, and in the ad, why local fire departments MUST work with PG&E in both fire preparedness and response.

The vehemence of the citizen criticism is out of line, and the person who called Schapelhouman and threatened him ("He said you'd better be looking over your shoulder, because I'm coming for you."), should be identified. Real tough to threaten violence to a man in a wheelchair.


8 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

neighbor:

only cowards threaten people anonymously over the phone. Cowards don't attack anyone directly because they're cowards.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 26, 2018 at 7:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hundreds of thousands people saw these ads and less than 20 have complained. And all of the "citizens" complaining here have done so anonymously.

Much ado about nothing.


8 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

What does Menlo Park pay Schaupenhauer and the firemen? Is there also overtime pay? Are they also paid by Atherton, Facebook, EPA? What was paid out to the department for 2017?

Any public official, not a pure politician (I know, I know, an oxymoron)should need to get permission from someone or city council to be in an ad, representing the town.

Trying to be an informed citizen.


11 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Beth -- You can easily find out what the firefighters are paid (salary and overtime), as well as what the budget for the fire department is or was for any year. It is public information.....very easily obtained. You say you are "Trying to be an informed citizen" -- you aren't trying very hard.


2 people like this
Posted by not a city issue
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2018 at 10:36 pm

@Beth, you misunderstand. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District has nothing to do with the City of Menlo Park.

Schapelhouman is not representing the city. Mid-Peninsula Fire Protection District would be a better name.


55 people like this
Posted by Atherton resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 27, 2018 at 8:24 am

What a poor decision by MP Chief. Our tax payer dollars and time should NEVER be spent on companies that work for profit. The ads and commercials were not appropriate on many levels and MP should be focusing on the citizens NOT the camera. I have also been informed that a former MP Chief is in the Ad as a PG&E employee. Just flat out wrong and unethical. Time for this Chief to go!


45 people like this
Posted by Rich C
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 27, 2018 at 12:56 pm

This entire debacle is the direct result of Schapelhouman's insane narcissism and the board who lives vicariously through him.

Time to go!


27 people like this
Posted by Fire him and replace the board
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm

PGE blew up San Bruno, burnt down Santa Rosa.

Nice folk to make an ad with...


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

In case you folks haven't noticed there are other Fire Chiefs that made adds with PG&E. Sorry. There is no "there" there.


23 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter - unfortunately it is not a requirement for a Forum poster to have either read the article, looked at the referenced video/ads or be aware of what other fire agencies have done in this same regard.

Web Link

Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Roy D
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:17 am

The issue of regulatory capture raises its head here. PG&E is notorious for doing this. PG&E got quite chummy with the PUC and that agency compromised its ability to regulate PG&E. This all came out during the San Bruno lawsuits.

The fire department has some regulatory authority as well, particularly as it approves plans for buildings including, presumably, PG&E facilities. Would the Fire Marshal now think twice before rejecting PG&E plans for one of their substations?

What would you think of another government official having its agency used for a PG&E advertisement? CHP? CalFire? OES? Or, even the PUC itself?

The commercial was likely entered into to showcase the capabilities of the fire department. Positive PR. It was unnecessary and compromised the fire department's integrity.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Roy - Take the time to watch this video and count how many different public safety agencies are involved in this collaborative effort with PG&E:

Web Link


21 people like this
Posted by Who is Driving the Bus?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 28, 2018 at 10:55 am

Who is Driving the Bus? is a registered user.

It is clear why PGE wanted to burnish their reputation given recent fire events. What is less clear is why the District would contribute time and resources to the effort. The District's image and reputation obviously has value. PGE is a profit making corporation, shouldn't they have paid to rent District equipment shown in the video? What role did former District employees, now working for PGE, play in this production?
I am surprised to learn the District Board did not know of the video production in advance. Perhaps a little deliberation by the Board on this matter would have yielded a better outcome. Who is driving the bus?


17 people like this
Posted by PR Man
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 28, 2018 at 11:03 am

The Fire Board as a Public Communications Committee - but it has NEVER MET. Last year's chair never called a meeting nor has this year's chair. In the meantime, the full Fire Board serves in this capacity. Their Policy and Procedures manual gets reviewed later this year and perhaps guidelines for Public Communications will get addressed at that time.


18 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Does it matter that there have been other agencies acting as a shill for PG&E? It certainly does not. That is the kind of excuse I expect from a child, not adults that are responsible for an agency that has multi-million dollar budgets and "protects" tens of thousands of people.

It was a mistake for the MP Fire Department to take part in advertising for PG&E, saying that he did not expect the ad to be broadcast so much or to play a prominent role is naive and I am sure our chief is smarter than that, at least I hope so. This is yet another black eye for a department and board that has struggled with bad press for the last year or more. Over paying personnel with egregious OT pay, trying to kick people out of their home, spending many millions on property that they won't need for a decade or more( then using it for employee housing), alienating the Atherton City council, and the list go on.

Time for meaningful change.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"acting as a shill for PG&E?"

Your premise is flawed.

Public emergency responders work hand-in-hand with utility providers - to not do so would place the public at risk.


18 people like this
Posted by Blues Feldman
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:02 pm

One contributor states, “Take the time to watch this video and count how many different public safety agencies are involved in this collaborative effort with PG&E.”

Now consider all the referenced videos. Who do they benefit? (Hint: who’s paying for them?). How exactly do these videos benefit any of the public safety agencies participating? I don’t see how.

It’s PG&E’s job to work with safety agencies. There’s nothing special or exceptional about what they are doing. In this person’s view, they are wasting millions of dollars that could be spent on safety and spending it on useless advertising.

I have to say I love the argument that it’s all good because other fire chiefs are doing it too. I wish my parents accepted that logic when I was in high school!


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Just how many of you have cancelled your PG&E service?


16 people like this
Posted by Blues Feldman
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Rhetorical question: How many of you have cancelled your PG&E service?

Rhetorical answer: This is like asking how many of us have cancelled your MPFPD service. We have no choice for power delivery. The only difference is that those of us living in Atherton subsidize others in the MPFPD, which is not the case with PG&E.

Most of us have left PG&E as a power generation provider and have been glad to do so.


27 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

John The Baptist is a registered user.

"Just how many of you have cancelled your PG&E service?" -- Peter Carpenter

Once again, Peter Carpenter proves he is the most arrogant elected representative in the Bay Area.

"Public emergency responders work hand-in-hand with utility providers - to not do so would place the public at risk." -- Peter Carpenter

Nothing about Schapelhouman's exercise in raising his profile did anything to reduce any risk to the public. The guy loves seeing his face on TV. Fine. Go for it. Considering how much he is paid he must not have better things to do. But don't pretend any of Schapelhouman's vanity projects contribute anything to public safety.

For you poor S.O.B.'s in Atherton, get a load of Carpenter's hypocrisy when it comes to Public Records Act requests: -- Web Link

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 4:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

John The Baptist [portion removed] - a real expert on the PRA.


24 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 28, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Thanks Peter we can alwasy count on you to mislead and misrepresent. You might not be aware of the definition of a shill.

"a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty."

What the chief did was to act as a shill for PG&E, plain and simple. There was no benefit to the residents of the MPFPD and he is participating in a PR campaign by a company that has demonstrated time and again that they put profits before the public or public safety. Is that the kind of company you want the Menlo Park Fired Department associated with? I am guessing so. You already have a bad PR mess with all of your (Peter Carpenter and the MPFPD board) missteps in the past couple of years (see above post for examples) I guess you are just following the past track record.

Now please contine the obfuscation of the discussion at hand, we can hardly wait to hear what you have next. As for getting off PG&E I would cancel my account in a minute if there were a way to do it, but they have seen to the fact that it is not possible.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - you are one data point.

98.5% of the District residents surveyed were "satisfied with level of service provided" by thr Fire District.

78% of the voters approved a $10 million increase in the Fire District's expenditure limit.

I welcome a few dissident voices - that is what makes democracy interesting/


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 28, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Brian:

When will you be running for the fire district board? You certainly have plenty of ideas about how it should be run. How about putting them into action?


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Running for public office requires you to use your real name, prove that you reside in the jurisdiction and file a Form 700.

A little bit different than the standards for posting on this Forum.


31 people like this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Peter this article is not about you. Why do you always feel the need need to push yourself into the spotlight. Since you are no longer president of the fire board perhaps a vacation away from your computer and fire dept issues would be beneficial to you and us


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I welcome a few dissident voices - that is what makes democracy interesting/


19 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jenson - you are right, it is NOT about me.

It is about questions that other posters have posed and which I have attempted in good faith to answer.

As you may be aware I am the only elected public official who is willing to regularly post on this Forum and to thereby expose himself to personal attacks.

You are probably not aware that the Forum moderators have a special rule that anyone who wants can attack me without censure because I am an elected official - no wonder why other elected officials never post on this Forum.

In this thread Brain and Ullom have attempted to make it about me. My response is simple:

I welcome a few dissident voices - that is what makes democracy interesting.


20 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:11 pm

I don't think that anyone would argue that fire departments need to work cooperatively with utility companies. I'm glad MP Fire and other fire agencies have good working relationships with PG&E, SDG&E, and others.

I think what was concerning was the dollars MP Fire spent on a commercial, etc. for a publicly traded company without any reimbursement or compensation. I was also distressed that the fire chief seemed unaware of the potential repercussions from this commercial especially given the countless number of times he has appeared on camera or given interviews.

This discussion has very little to do with the day to day delivery of service MP Fire provides. They provide exceptional service. My sense is that there are more people dissatisfied with the fire chief's decision than have commented here.

Also, one of the weblink videos that Mr. Carpenter referred to was made 5 years ago because one of the PG&E representatives is now the current South San Francisco Fire Chief.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I think what was concerning was the dollars MP Fire spent on a commercial"

ZERO dollars.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Chief's comments:

'Specific to concerns regarding the use of funds and personnel for this PSA, the filming was done with on-duty units and personnel, not using off-duty personnel who would need to be paid on overtime. The crews were all in service and emergency response was not affected.

The coordinating Battalion Chief attended on his day off and I was interviewed during my lunch hour. No one was “forced” to be there and I’m sure most of our personnel would tell you they enjoy working with PG&E line staff and that we have a strong working relationship with them.

In regards to the utility being held accountable and their potential culpability in recent fire disasters if rumors of their guilt are substantiated, I don’t deal with their corporate leadership, but I’m sure that they will need to answer many difficult questions and perhaps serious legal challenges, if those rumors are true.

Regarding the PSA, I believe my comments were in line with the incredibly supportive and critically important field relationship with we have with the men and women who work for PG&E and with whom we regularly interact with in the field during emergencies under adverse circumstances. In all cases I have found PG&E field personnel to be highly competent, professional and essential to resolving emergency situations associated with gas and electrical emergencies."

As far as their corporate practices and liability related to the recent fires, those are areas of concern and something I am closely watching. We would ask that they immediately stop using our agency and relationship for promotion if these claims were substantiated.


17 people like this
Posted by c hief pal
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 1, 2018 at 8:45 am

Even as a friend, I would tell him it was bad judgement.

But wow! The sheer arrogance on display above! Pretty crazy.


19 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 1, 2018 at 8:55 am

Peter,

You seem to want everything to revolve around you. Unfortunately you have very few people agreeing with you. You keep espousing old numbers that really are not relevent:

"98.5% of the District residents surveyed were "satisfied with level of service provided" by thr Fire District."

Has the question "do you think the MPFPD services costs too much for the services they provide?" ever been asked? How about "Do you think that over time pay in excess of $50,000 should be paid to any Fire Department personnel in a year?" or "should the Fire District spend millions of tax dollars to buy property that won't be needed for more than a decade and they use it as rent free housing for the Fire Department?" What about "Should the town of Atherton pay more than $& million a year beyond the services the MPFPD provide?"

Those are questions I would like to see the responses to. Will we see those questions on a survey anytime soon? Maybe not from the MPFPD but hopefully from Atherton and Menlo Park. As long as you are writing the questions you pretty much can skew them the way you want the answers to be.

Brian (My real name)


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 1, 2018 at 9:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Much of the overtime was EARNED while deployed on wildland fires and natural disasters - and all of that overtime was fully reimbursed by the State and Federal government. I suppose that Brian would expect those firefighters to work on these disasters for free.

The "town of Atherton' does not pay a single penny for fire services - as a public agency it receives those services for free. The residents of Atherton pay far more to the Federal, State and County governments and to the school districts than those same residents receive in services from those entities. Perhaps Brian can provide the exact "overpayments" to each of these entities since the Town cannot and won't even ask.

Buying property for a future fire station in the exact location that is needed when it comes on to the market for the first time in 40 years (and will probably not come back on the market for another 20 years) is a wise decision. I suppose Brian would kick the can down the road and pay twuce as much and use eminent domain when it was essential to acquire the property later.


13 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2018 at 11:31 am

John The Baptist is a registered user.

[Post removed; you are welcome to comment and respond to another poster, but please, keep it civil and respectful.]


19 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2018 at 11:59 am

John The Baptist is a registered user.

Sure. I'll try again.

"The "town of Atherton' does not pay a single penny for fire services - as a public agency it receives those services for free." -- Peter Carpenter.


The snippy response is better suited to the schoolyard debates being held during recess. Everybody who read Brian's post knows that he was talking about the people and taxpayers of Atherton. I suspect that folks in Atherton do not need such as Peter Carpenter to tell them how progressive systems of taxation affect them or which ones they should care about.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 1, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The residents of Atherton pay far more to the Federal, State and County governments and to the school districts than those same residents receive in services from those entities.

Perhaps Brian or John can provide the exact amount of the "overpayments" that have been made to each of these entities since the Town does not know and won't even ask.


26 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm

John The Baptist is a registered user.

"...since the Town does not know and won't even ask." -- Peter Carpenter

Towns are nothing more than legal constructs. As such, towns are incapable of knowing and or asking.

Oh wait. I see. Peter Carpenter is referring to the elected representatives and or staff of Atherton.

What does the taxation rate by Federal, State, and County have to do with the amount Athertoanians pay for Fire Service?

Do folks in Atherton where the average income is less than 110 K per year know the most of the Fire Department makes more than they do? Do they know that the Chief gets paid more than the average dual income household makes? Got that Atherton? The Chief of the Fire Department you are subsidizing is paid more than the median household income in ATHERTON?

Now you know why Peter Carpenter needs your money to subsidize the way he runs his fiefdom.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There are more than 200 Fire Chiefs in California who get paid more than the MPFPD Chief is paid:

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Wrong attitude
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 1, 2018 at 2:53 pm

So? You have correctly pointed out that the municipal compensation racket ("other community police officer/fire chief/fill in the blank gets paid more than I/we do, give me/us a raise") creates a never-ending cycle of ratcheting that will wind up and is bankrupting California. Why is the chief under you exempt from this logic?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 1, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For comparison, there are only 7 Town Mangers in California who are paid more than the Atherton Town Manager:

Web Link


30 people like this
Posted by Dr.D
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2018 at 2:04 pm

To Peter Carpenter and many others who are not aware due to their lack of knowledge. The Menlo Park Fire Chief is a man who has high qualifications as someone who takes others ideas and uses them for his own gains. An example is the FEMA Task Force 3 emergency response team for assisting in any major disaster nationwide. The members are made up of highly trained firefighters, doctors, building construction and other areas to assist in different disasters. Through the years this pompous fire chief loves to take full credit for the team and has in the past denied sharing the success with the other members from the other Fire Departments within San Mateo and Santa Clara County. This caused almost the complete shutting down of this team because the other Fire Chiefs were sick and tired of [disrespectful portion of the comment removed] taking all the credit. The Feds had to have a serious discussion with him and tell him to get along. This is also the same Chief who attempted to try and take over the City of Palo Alto’s fire station on Stanford Linear Accelerator over 15 years ago which would have caused the layoffs of 9 firefighters from Palo Alto. He did not care, only that he could take over this station to get the Federal contract . All about money with no regard to those being layed off. Fortunately the Palo Alto Firefighters with the support from the City and our Senator were able to get Menlo Park to back off. They , the Menlo Fire Chief was directed by the Federal Department of Energy to back off.
This is the type of arrogance this man has and the type of leadership that is.
[Portion removed; your assertion is not based in fact.]
A poor Department. To bad.
I know because I lived in Palo Alto for over 30 minutes but moved to Sunnyvale where common sense exists.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 3, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Fire District has provided services to SLAC for years.

Chief was one of the founders of the entire Nation wide Urban Search and Rescue concept.

I have never been asked to leave the Fire Board and, in fact, was twice appointed to fill vacancies left buy others in addition to being elected three times.


20 people like this
Posted by Dr.D
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2018 at 9:28 pm

Right Peter righhhttt.....enjoy your dream world and attempting to cover for truths that can be researched and found to be true AND accurate. The SLAC contract over 15 years ago that was not open for negotiations was attempted by Harold to be renegotiated and taken away from Palo Alto Fire Dept and given to Menlo Park Fire District. We’re you part of this potential illegal take over? All this information is available through the news and through the Palo Alto Firefighters Union who helped in stopping this .
Harold might have been one of the people who helped start FEMA Task Force 3 HOWEVER Peter, he was not the only one BUT the only one who always wanted to take all the credit. That is unprofessional, immoral and disrespectful.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Fire District has provided services to SLAC for years and without any conflict with PA Fire. Note that SLAC is in San Mateo County and is contiguous to MPFPD.

Chief Schapelhouman was one of the founders of the entire Nation wide Urban Search and Rescue concept - and then he teamed up with other local fire agencies and other essential organizations to create CA TF3.

I have never been asked to leave the Fire Board and, in fact, was twice appointed to fill vacancies left by others in addition to being elected three times with more votes each time than any other candidate.


6 people like this
Posted by Gal
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 4, 2018 at 11:25 am

So many with legit concerns and questions. One flack attempting to bamboozle.

Stunning if one can stomach reading the whole thread.

Chieffy made a bad decision. Move on; the schill will never admit it.


16 people like this
Posted by Dr.D
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm

This is my final comment because only I believe in the truth, not misleading or false truths.
The City of Palo Alto up until about the last 3 years I believe has ALWAYS had the fire protection responsibility for SLAC for over 30 years. This is because SLAC is on Stanford University property and Palo Alto Fire Department is responsible for ALL emergencies from fires, hazardous materials incidents, rescues ems, and any and all other emergency calls for Stanford since 1974 I believe. The United States Department of Energy which oversees SLAC WANTED Palo Alto to provide ALL the fire protection and ems to SLAC and that included having a fire station on the SLAC site that was staffed 24 hours each day. Just like any other fire station.
Unfortunately, the bean counters in Washington DC decided after reviewing the multi-annual contract for Fire Protection that it was not worth continuing with this type of protection due to the minimal call volume annually. So the Department of Energy decided to now contract out this protection on a pay by call system rather then have a fully staffed fire station on SLACS Site.
This is very good for the tax payer in cost savings BUT a complete disaster if their ever is a major electrical fire or radioactive incident on site because both high amounts of electricity and radioactive materials are tested their. A real bummer for the Menlo Park Neighborhoods across the street.
When Palo Alto was their I was on a tour of this facility and learned quite a bit about how the Palo Alto Firefighters were specially trained in dealing with the high electrical energy accidents and radiological accidents. Having a staffed fire station on site allowed a rapid on site response to quickly get to the emergency and handle the problem. Nowtheir will always be a delay no matter where the fire engine is coming from.
The difference between Menlo Park and Palo Alto Fire was that the Palo Alto Fire Chiefs were always not tooting their own horns but praised their personnel quietly and professionally.
That’s it and I apologize if anyyyy one feels offended but none of this time would have been needed if Harold would have just been a team player with the other Fire Chiefs in both San Mateo and Santa Clara County.
Peter, it is what it is. Only true facts.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2018 at 7:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"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."

It is sad that a Forum intended for discourse is mis-used for repeated attacks on a public servant -and particularly attacks which have no basis in reality.


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

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