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Fire district candidates say race hinges on micromanagement versus progress

Original post made on Sep 4, 2020

The race for a seat on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board is heating up, with incumbents Virginia Chang Kiraly and Rob Silano facing a challenge by longtime former board member Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard, the resident representative of the district's finance and strategic planning committees.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

Comments (7)

6 people like this
Posted by Maria Amundson
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 4, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Maria Amundson is a registered user.

Peter and Sean have my vote. So many important Fire District issues seem to be stalled. For the Board to not have even agreed on the 2020 objectives yet is telling. Also, in terms of disaster preparedness, we need a Board that will more fully engage local neighborhood volunteers, which both Peter and Sean have been doing for years.


4 people like this
Posted by Annetta McCarty
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Annetta McCarty is a registered user.

My husband and I are voting for Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard, without question! We can't think of two finer, more qualified gentlemen for the job. We'd be hard-pressed to find, and fortunate to have, men of their caliber serve our community as Directors on the Fire Board. Vote for Peter and Sean!


4 people like this
Posted by microbarny
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 4, 2020 at 3:42 pm

microbarny is a registered user.

I have worked with Peter Carpenter for 15 years and Sean Ballard for nearly 10 years as an organizer of the citizen emergency response group Atherton Disaster And Preparedness Team (ADAPT) and as a board member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)/Community Crisis Management (CCM) Executive Boards.

Peter is well-known, very experienced in both public safety and with our Fire Board itself having served multiple terms (16 years) as a board member and board chairman. He knows the various community governments within the Fire District and their inner workings. And he is a strong advocate for good governance.

Sean, while not as well-known, has been involved with emergency prep in our community in leadership roles for some time. Most importantly, for the last two years, Sean has served as Chairman of the CERT/CCM Executive Board, elected by his fellow board members, and has done an excellent job in leading this group and interfacing with both the Fire Department's leadership and the Fire Board itself. He has a very even handed and steady management style and personality. Sean is very strategic and financially astute, given his professional career in financial services and investment management.

The Fire District is an often unknown and misunderstood entity. This election, please take some time to find out more about the District and its activities - its budget, its challenges/needs, the implications for our communities' safety and quality of life and the candidates running for the board seats.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 4, 2020 at 7:48 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Peter did a great job on the board before and his leadership is needed again. Kiraly needs to go. She should not be serving on two boards at the same time. What the fire district does and by extension the board that oversees it is extremely important. It needs better than the current state of dysfunction it is experiencing.

The fire fighters don't like Peter because he wouldn't give them whatever they wanted.

Peter has my vote.


3 people like this
Posted by Ken Friedman
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 4, 2020 at 9:59 pm

Ken Friedman is a registered user.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District posts their Board meetings on YouTube:

Web Link

Watch the Board meetings and let the candidates’ actions speak for themselves. I think several of the current Directors do not understand that the skills necessary to be managers of Public Safety entities are different than those required of Board members of Public Safety entities.

I support Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard. Peter served the Board faithfully for many years (watch his meetings and compare). Vote him back in!



ir experience with being


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 5, 2020 at 5:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

". The district typically fixes up the homes and rents them out until starting fire station expansions. But at Station 77, the board has let a home languish for two years without so much as a coat of paint and won't let the fire chief take care of it."

How the Fire Board has dealt with this very simple issue is a litmus test for good governance. The Board's oversight responsibility dictates that the Board recognize the Fire Chief's expenditure authority to maintain this house in a manner that is a credit to the District and respectful to the neighborhood.

Perhaps the Board will come to its senses at the Sept or October Board meeting.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 6, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note that September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.

There is an excellent discussion on the Weekly's Town Forum:

Web Link


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