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Menlo fire chief picks apart Atherton's idea of splitting from district

Original post made on Feb 25, 2020

Menlo Park Fire Protection District board members joined about 20 residents on Feb. 18 at the district's Station 3 in Atherton to hear Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman explain why Atherton's exit from the district would be a bad idea

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 4:23 PM

Comments (8)

9 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2020 at 5:21 pm

Do those favoring dropping the district understand that it's not just putting out fires but the majority of the calls are for paramedics. What would the response time difference be?

6 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 25, 2020 at 6:01 pm

Maybe the Fire district should hear what the town and the people are saying and recognize that they have been one of the highest paid, least utilized fire districts in the state. The budgets have been large due to high salaries, retirement packages, real estate purchases, equipment and lots of specialized training. Perhaps a reality check is what the District needs to get the spending under control.

9 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 25, 2020 at 7:33 pm


Do you have a link to back up your claims? Among the highest paid? Probably. Least utilized? I doubt it.

Also, I'm happy to have the district get plenty of specialized training. I think you will be too if that training is ever required to save your butt. Among the the things a fire department trains for are things that might happen. Then they hope those things don't happen. But if they do, don't you want a fire service ready and trained to deal with those things instead of having to stand around scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do? While your life is ebbing away as they figure it out? I'll take them ready and trained to jump right in and save my life or my family's lives. Maybe you're different and don't really care.

I think most of us living in the district are happy with our fire district and the surveys of resident certainly indicate we're happy with the district and what it does. The only people I hear squawking are the Town Council of Atherton who don't know how to live within a budget, insisted on building a Taj Majal of a town center without knowing how to pay for it and who are now trying to take money from everyone else to fund their financial misfeasance.

9 people like this
Posted by Turn Atherton to Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 26, 2020 at 9:37 am

I think we should just turn Atherton into "West Menlo Park", sort of like the nicer "West Austin" area in Austin, TX. They're practically the same area and intersect one another. And additionally, Palo Alto could be called "Menlo Park South".

13 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 10:23 am

As I've posted before on other articles, I just don't see lots of residents clamoring for this separation; this seems to be driven by the senior Town leaders. And it seems that these leaders are really deflecting other issues the Town is facing. In the end, it will still be the residents who are footing the bill for services through their taxes.

If Atherton is actually able to separate, the Town would have to have built fire stations and either buy or pay to hire staff and apparatus -- those are BIG ticket items.

Seems to me this is a case of the grass is greener....until you actually get there and realize that it's not.

5 people like this
Posted by John Davis
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm

How fun it will be when some Atherton residents realize they’ll be getting a new fire station beside their home. NIMBYs will show up and sink the whole idea.

3 people like this
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:47 pm

So let's pay our fair share, Atherton, and not line the pockets of MPFD.
YES MP firefighters are highly paid and (disagree with Chief)"there is a limited supply of applicants." REALLY. Totally overstated.
I've said previously, having the best FD in the US is a nice bragging point, but I think we can have the best FD in the US with less expensive resources.

3 people like this
Posted by Steve Taffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 26, 2020 at 2:58 pm

A data point that might help inform the discussion is not just the cost per resident to protect Atherton but a cost that reflect the price or real estate and rebuilding the homes in Atherton, "America's Richest Town" according to today's story in the Almanac.

In the tonier areas of Santa Barbara, millionaires are purchasing the services of private firefighting services as they don't don't like that the fire department will prioritize the greatest good for the greatest number in a disaster. They want their prized property protected before that of the peasantry.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from him who has been entrusted with much, even more will be demanded." Um, guess Luke had that one wrong.

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