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Four face off in Menlo Park fire board election

Original post made on Oct 9, 2020

Four people are vying for two seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board. We asked them about issues ranging from the district's finances to their views on Atherton examining the possibility of detaching from the district.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 9, 2020, 11:40 AM

Comments (76)

23 people like this
Posted by Iris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Iris is a registered user.

Chang Kiraly's experience and skills are important for the Fire Board during difficult economic times and looming transition of leadership. I like her emphasis on better utilizing volunteers.
On top of those important reasons, I believe diversity is essential in the leadership of every organization, particularly on boards. Her re-election is crucial. Otherwise the 5-member board is dominated by 4 white guys.


37 people like this
Posted by Annetta McCarty
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 9, 2020 at 5:28 pm

Annetta McCarty is a registered user.

My husband and I are voting for Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard for the Fire Board, without question!

Peter is a seasoned public service officer, having prior experience as a Director on the Fire Board. In addition to an impressive, diverse resume, he has outstanding leadership and diplomatic skills. Fun fact, he was also a volunteer Fire Fighter back in the day!

Honestly, 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 Menlo Park Fire Board.

Vote for Peter and Sean!


40 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2020 at 7:51 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.


15 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 9, 2020 at 9:32 pm

Rick Moen is a registered user.

With respect, Ms. Chang Kiraly has both received and merited my strong recommendation each time she's run since 2011, including for the Harbor district in 2016 when concerns about dual office holding first arose, because she has brought steady, fiscally competent, no-drama governance to both boards.

In my online ballot analysis prior to November 8, 2016's General Election, I wrote: "Even though I'm skeptical of Virginia Chang Kiraly serving on both the harbor Board and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board, reports about her performance have been good." Four years further on, my view is not just unchanged but also reinforced.

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


20 people like this
Posted by Some Perspective
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2020 at 1:19 am

Some Perspective is a registered user.

"Chang Kiraly said that she is the best candidate to 'rebuild bridges' with Atherton...", a bold statement as no current or former Atherton council members have endorsed her for either of these positions.


29 people like this
Posted by Linda Hubbard
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 10, 2020 at 11:05 am

Linda Hubbard is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter is a committed public servant who brings experience and knowledge to the Fire Board, having served previously. He would bring a thoughtful and measured approach to the Board during a time when it's needed most. Urge voters to cast their ballot for Peter along with Sean Ballard.


11 people like this
Posted by John D'Amico
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 10, 2020 at 12:55 pm

John D'Amico is a registered user.

For me the choice is obvious. The incumbent, Rob Silano has shown proven, steady leadership on the fire board. No nonsense and no political drama like the rest. He's dependable and exercises effective accountability of taxpayer's money. Moreover, Mr. Silano has been endorsed by the San Mateo and Menlo Park firefighter's associations. That speaks volumnes!


28 people like this
Posted by NEVER voting for you-know-who
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 10, 2020 at 2:33 pm

NEVER voting for you-know-who is a registered user.

Once one goes beyond her superficial greetings, and experiences her in extended conversation, one would never vote for her. Sorry, can't do it. Just saying...


13 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 10, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Rick Moen is a registered user.

Mr. D'Amico, it appears you've dropped a detail or two. Please correct me if I'm missing something, but your terms "Menlo Park Firefighters Association" and "San Mateo Firefighters Association" appear to both refer to the same county-wide trade union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2400. IAFF L2400 indeed recently announced their endorsements for this race, and it was the same two they endorsed in the 2011 race: Mr. Silano and Ms. Chang Kiraly.

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


18 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 10, 2020 at 6:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Again!!


Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2020 at 8:21 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I have to support Chang Kiraly and Silano. Having read several chains about what was done while Peter was on the Board I am very disappointed and worried if he is reelected. He also seems to want to quote facts that "are not in evidence" For Example when it is pointed out that Menlo Park Fire District employees has the highest AVERAGE pay of any California Special District for years while Peter was on the board he will argue that "Thousands of fire fighters" were paid more yet he can't show any proof of that. Peter Carpenter is the wrong person for the board, they need to move forward not backward.


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 10, 2020 at 8:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" that "Thousands of fire fighters" were paid more yet he can't show any proof of that."


Brian - You don't do your homework and you don't rmember what I responded to you numerous times.


Proof was provided when I made the statement:

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:24 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Once again Wood ignores the data (provided to her many, many times) that shows that literally thousands of firefighters and hundreds of fire chiefs in California are paid more than their highest paid MPFPD counterparts.

Web Link

Web Link



16 people like this
Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 10, 2020 at 8:46 pm

It’s frustrating that “Kit/John D’Amico” would tarnish the intentions of this forum as a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and in disregard of this forum’s Terms of Use.

The bottom line: If it's online and social, it's probably going to require moderation. Kudos to The Almanac moderators for working overtime during this campaign season.


20 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2020 at 2:28 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

If the fire fighters union is supporting anyone, I'll be voting against that person. The reason they don't like Peter and won't endorse him is that he stood firm against their outrageous demands for raises in the past. Raises they felt they deserved because that was what "other" fire fighters at other agencies were making.

Brian: you excoriate Peter because the Menlo fire fighters make excessive wages yet you will vote for someone that is endorsed by them? Seriously? Just what do you think will happen to wages in that scenario?


22 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 11, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For the record - The Firefighters Union 2400, a county wide union, has always opposed me. In fact, in a previous election that actually wrote me a letter and asked me to drop out of running - because they knew that they could not beat me. I refused and received more votes than any other candidate.

As a Director my first responsibility is to the residents of the Fire District and my second responsibility is to the superb men and women in OUR Fire District.

I have NO responsibility to the county wide firefighters' union and they know it.

In response to their questionnaire this year here is how I replied to some of their questions:

1. A. What are your goals and issue priorities for the Fire District?

Reestablish a functional Board of Directors
Identify and recruit a new Fire Chief in preparation for planned retirement of current Fire Chief in 2021

What do you think the issues are in this election?

Ensuring that the Fire District continues to provide superior service to all of its residents
Recruitment of new Fire Chief
Timely decision making by the Board on Board level issues
Refraining from micro-management by the Board

12. Would you support the use of binding arbitration to settle economic disputes between management and labor?

No, because as an elected official I must be the one that makes the hard choices involved and I could not delegate that responsibility to others.

13. If you were to be endorsed by the Labor Council, what three labor issues would you want our members to know you have strong feelings about?

Quality of service to the community is our first collective responsibility
Fair and respectful treatment of all employees is essential
Seek great long-term contracts based on the value of employees to the Districts mission and the District’s ability to pay





10 people like this
Posted by Kit
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Kit is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


16 people like this
Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 11, 2020 at 4:06 pm

I would be happy to post my responses to the same questionnaire as Peter did:

1. A. What are your goals and issue priorities for the Fire District? What do you think the issues are in this election?

If elected, my first priority is accountability. The Fire District’s proposed budget anticipates $60 million in revenues and $57 million in expenditures.

What those numbers mean is that the District has an enormous responsibility to use those funds wisely because property taxes from within the District comprise 90% of the District’s revenue.

I am currently a member of the District’s Finance Committee and am well-versed in the District’s financial picture. I am also a financial professional and I believe my skillset in this regard is both an asset to the District as well as a complement to the other members of the Fire Board.

I will continue to work to ensure that the District exercises strong fiscal stewardship. The District will be accountable for its use of taxpayer funds.

My second priority is growth. The Fire District responds to, and protects, a growing population and it is fair to ask: Is the District prepared to meet the challenges presented by the unprecedented population and building growth within its boundaries?

In 2018, I was a member of the District’s Strategic Planning Committee and I believe that the District is well on its way to finalizing a strategic plan to respond to the rapid development. This work will continue, and the District will complete its prestigious accreditation process, during my first term.

Alongside this priority is ensuring that the Board of Directors works in a spirit of cooperation with the governing bodies of the communities within its borders. I will also work to ensure that we continue to have access to the technology and innovations that will improve service and response times in a rapidly changing community.

My third priority is preparedness. The need to have a crisis-resilient community will only grow. As a volunteer, I have learned the value of serving in emergency preparedness exercises.

As a member of our Community Emergency Response Team, I have held leadership roles in the last four community emergency drills staged in Atherton, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park.

I hold the following credentials from FEMA which reaffirm my dedication to serving in times of crisis: Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100; Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response, IS-00200.c; Developing and Managing Volunteers, IS-00244.b; An Introduction to the National Incident Management System IS-00700.b; and National Response Framework, An Introduction, IS-00800.c

I am the Chair of the Advisory Board overseeing the Fire District’s Community Crisis Management program. Emergency preparedness is important to me, and I understand it well. I will work to encourage members of the community to get prepared and to get involved.

12. Would you support the use of binding arbitration to settle economic disputes between management and labor? Why or why not?

No, I believe that this responsibility falls to the elected Board Members

13. If you were to be endorsed by the Labor Council, what three labor issues would you want our members to know you have strong feelings about?

1. A prime focus on their safety exactly as they give a prime focus on the community’s safety
2. The fair and respectful support of all staff
3. Sincere cooperation on evaluating the needs of employees with the financial picture of the District during contract negotiations


22 people like this
Posted by M.N. Gaetano
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 11, 2020 at 4:21 pm

M.N. Gaetano is a registered user.

I had an opportunity to present in front of the Menlo Park Fire Department (when Peter was last on the board) and at the end of my presentation Peter Carpenter was the first to engage, challenge and in fact requested me to expatiate on multiple items. Peter was direct, forthright and spoke with transparency. For me the experience was greatly rewarding, he gave me sound constructive feedback, was direct yet worked well within the board to find a common resolution. I enjoyed all the board members very much but especially found peter to be insightful, thought provoking independent & forthright.


18 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Perhaps Kirally and Silano will answer the questions that Carpenter and Ballard posted answers to. It would be worthwhile to hear the answers considering all I've heard from them so far is junk mail in my mail box.


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 11, 2020 at 7:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In the absence of a much needed public debate it would be useful if Kiraly and Silano posted their answers (which are already documented) to the San Mateo Labor Council's questionnaire on this Forum.

Those answers would give us some insight as to why the County Firefighters' Union endorsed them and has provided substantial in-kind contributions to their campaigns. What is in it for the Firefighters Union 2400?


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 11, 2020 at 8:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From: Peter Carpenter
Subject: Invitation to an online discussion of issues in the Fire Board election
Date: October 11, 2020 at 8:21:02 PM PDT
To: Rob Silano , Virginia Chang Kiraly , Sean Ballard
Cc: Julia Brown , Emily Mibach , Bill Johnson , Dave Price , In Menlo , Raymond Mueller , Rick DeGolia , Robert Jones

Sean, Virginia and Rob,

In the absence of a much needed public debate I invite you to post on this Almanac Town Forum topic your comments in general and your previously submitted responses in particular to the excellent San Mateo Labor Council questionnaire:

Web Link

The voters deserve an open and complete exchange of our individual positions.

Thanking you in advance for your participation,


Peter


9 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 12, 2020 at 9:08 am

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:
I have provided my answers to the San Mateo County Central Labor Council questionnaire to both the Almanac and Daily Post. I give both media associations permission to publish my answers. As you know, while we served on the fire board together, we were both open to public transparency. Maybe these media outlets can do a piece on these responses.
[Editor's note: The Almanac can confirm that Mr. Silano provided our reporter with a copy of his responses to the questionnaire.]


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 12, 2020 at 9:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rob - Please post your response here so the readers can see them.

Thanks,

Peter


18 people like this
Posted by Paul Goeld
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Oct 12, 2020 at 9:41 am

Paul Goeld is a registered user.

Without hesitation, I enthusiastically endorse and support Peter Carpenter for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board. Peter previously served on this board and did an exemplary job. His experience, integrity, honesty and unfailing efforts on behalf of citizens will be an asset to the MPFPD.

The best way to thank Peter is to vote for him and Sean Ballard.

- Paul Goeld, former Mayor and Town Council Member of Woodside


16 people like this
Posted by Ken Friedman
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:19 am

Ken Friedman is a registered user.

I support Peter Carpenter for election to the MPFPD. Peter has shown himself to be a tireless advocate for his community with a life long passion for fire safety.


15 people like this
Posted by Ken Friedman
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:33 am

Ken Friedman is a registered user.

I have always found the comments section of the Almanac to be a "thoughtful gathering place". It comes as no surprise that those who are most venomous operate behind the cloak of anonymity.


7 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:33 am

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

These were my position on the critical issues facing the fire board, firefighters and communities, I've served since 2011. My public safety views and past actions as a board member, has earned me the trust and endorsement of the firefighters. Their association also represents the AMR paramedics too. So every-time our community calls 911, a first responder that arrivals on the scene has endorsed me for re-election. It is my sincere desire to provide continued value to our residents. As many candidates, we have answered all questionnaires from the Palo Alto Daily Post, the Almanac, and the San Mateo County Central Labor Council. Have all of the candidates provided their answers to the media? They have all of mine.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rob,
The Almanac does not have the print space to print our answers - Just copy yours and paste them here. It is easy to do.

Virginia - Where are your answers?


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another great question from the San Mateo Central Labor Council questionnaire"

7. Would you support fire agencies taking over 9-1-1 EMS transport services in the county?



YES. The current arrangement using AMR (directed by the County Health Department) is a mis-assignment to an agency that thinks in days and weeks whereas the fire service thinks in life saving minutes. Every fire engine is staffed with paramedics whom are already better trained than the AMR staff so that giving the fire agencies the ability to seamlessly perform the transport function is a superior solution that will better serve the community at a lower total cost.
***********
How did the other candidates answer this question?


6 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:09 am

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:
All due respect, they ( the media) asked and received my answers. I was transparent....I thank them for following our election and providing a few informational articles.

Thank you Almanac and Palo Alto Daily Post.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

No need to respect me, respect the voters.

Post your answers.


17 people like this
Posted by Bill Miras
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Bill Miras is a registered user.

I have known SEAN BALLARD for many years. He is perfect for this position; Smart, results-driven, dedicated, and deeply passionate about Menlo Park. He also brings a sense of calm and level-headedness to any situation, which is much needed given the current infighting and chaos that characterize current board . (Other than his two sons, Menlo Park Fire is all he really talks about -- boring for me -- but great for this role).


16 people like this
Posted by liz dunn
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2020 at 7:18 am

liz dunn is a registered user.

I've know Sean Ballard for several years. He is passionate about first responders and about the safety and security of Menlo Park. He balances strong leadership with collaboration to get things done. He is the right choice for the Fire Board.


16 people like this
Posted by Menlo Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 13, 2020 at 12:48 pm

Menlo Mom is a registered user.

Happy to say that my husband and I have just turned in our ballots and are happy to be supporting committed public servants such as Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard. Our community is very fortunate to have such dedicated and experienced individuals devoted to our community's best interests.


5 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:42 pm

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:
Answer to Question 7.

7. Would you support fire agencies taking over 9-1-1 EMS transport services in the county? Explain.

A very difficult question. Both the AMR employees are also represented by the firefighters 2400.

Since it’s a JPA, where I have been a member, I understand the budget, personnel issues, and the specific contract arrangement between AMR and the SMC.

Labor, AMR Management, the SM County Board of Supervisors, and JPA members need to sit at the table and workout the arrangement. All need to come to a workable fair agreement for all. This plan would take years to be operational.


8 people like this
Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:46 pm

7. Would you support fire agencies taking over 9-1-1 EMS transport services in the county? Explain.

Yes, this opportunity presents enormous economies of scale that will increase the level of service for the District as well as lower the cost of providing that service.

For example, Menlo Fire recently used lifesaving equipment on its apparatus that was not standardized to the equipment used by AMR. Because of this, Menlo Fire was required to shelve its arguably superior equipment. Issues such as this could be resolved such that the more effective lifesaving equipment could be the type standardized across the county – and at a lower cost.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Silano states:
"
7. Would you support fire agencies taking over 9-1-1 EMS transport services in the county? Explain.

A very difficult question. Both the AMR employees are also represented by the firefighters 2400."

What makes it difficult for Silano is that he is bought and paid for by AFF 2400 so it is their interests that control him rather than the best interests of the citizens whom he is supposed to serve!

This is the correct answer:
7. Would you support fire agencies taking over 9-1-1 EMS transport services in the county?



YES. The current arrangement using AMR (directed by the County Health Department) is a mis-assignment to an agency that thinks in days and weeks whereas the fire service thinks in life saving minutes. Every fire engine is staffed with paramedics whom are already better trained than the AMR staff so that giving the fire agencies the ability to seamlessly perform the transport function is a superior solution that will better serve the community at a lower total cost.


7 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:50 pm

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:
Number 1.

1. What are your goals and issue priorities for the Fire District? What do you think the issues are in this

MY CURRENT 2020 TO 2025 LONG- AND SHORT-TERM GOALS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FIRE DISTRICT

• Support careful fiscal oversight policies that includes a balanced budget; an aggressive pay-down of pension liabilities.

• Maintain an excellent emergency response times in spite of significant growth and increasing traffic congestion and gridlock.
• Complete an Accreditation Plan for public safety fire agency. (in-progress)

• Complete a Strategic Plan (final complete; further discussion needed to incorporate the Accreditation Project with the Strategic Plan.
• Build new Station Numbers 4 and 1, (Using tax funds available; NO NEW TAXES OR BOND MEASURES.)

• Review, evaluate, prepare, and establish an Emergency Preparedness Program that assists the fire district, town, cities, and surrounding communities involving CERT, and other volunteer organizations as the Red Cross, Neighborhood Associations, Chamber of Commerce’s, and Non-profits within our community. We have so many volunteers in our fire district. We need to organize to use this great resource during emergency response situations or everyday assistance to our community.

• Keep pace and up-date current trends in public safety equipment, facility up-grades, and adding addition personnel to provide the best service to our community.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

1. A. What are your goals and issue priorities for the Fire District?

Reestablish a functional Board of Directors
Identify and recruit a new Fire Chief in preparation for planned retirement of current Fire Chief in 2021

What do you think the issues are in this election?

Ensuring that the Fire District continues to provide superior service to all of its residents
Recruitment of new Fire Chief
Timely decision making by the Board on Board level issues
Refraining from micro-management by the Board


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 13, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


9 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2020 at 9:58 pm

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:

Your answer to 7 is not accurate. You have been gone too long. Nothing about a JPA? Nothing about the SMC Board of Supervisors vote and input. County Manager’s Office, now manages the new OES SECTION, not under the sheriff anymore.

I’m ready to debate with all the candidates in this race. No zoom, no webex.... just all of us masked up, proper distance, and a neutral moderator.

Oh, here’s the Fire District’s Strategic Plan. You and your slate member keep saying the district does not have one.

Web Link

We have great command level talent at the fire district to be an acting fire chief. We will have a lot of time to find a replacement. Our chief has done a great job and thank him for his service, but everyone can be replaced.

Ok let’s get all the candidates to agree. I’m in!


9 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 13, 2020 at 10:58 pm

Rick Moen is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter: I'm very disappointed that you are still promoting that same baseless and highly convenient "running for two incompatible offices" canard, even after you and I comprehensively discussed the matter in the reader feedback to Ms. Dremann's Sept. 4th coverage (Web Link).

At that time, a bit over a month ago, all you adduced was a quotation from some crank legal filing(?) by someone named Ullom, plus a very general bit of guidance from the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Committee) about holding two public offices without violating the CA Political Reform Act's prohibition against substantive conflicts of interest, and without violating CA GOV § 1099 prohibition against holding "incompatible" public offices.

At that time, I asked you where I could read the (seeming?) crackpot legal filing in its judicial context (if any), but you did not reply -- but, more to the point, I also cited the actual black-letter state law of which the FPPC page was merely a general summary, CA GOV § 1099 -- as you notably did _not_. The statute's criteria about "incompatible offices" are extremely clear as to their application to harbour and fire district seats, and there's exactly nothing about those two offices, in the instant case, that transgresses state law against "incompatible offices". Zero. Rien. Ingenting. Nada. Less than bupkes. (Please pardon my English, French, Norwegian, Spanish, and Yiddish.)

I take my citizenship duties seriously, and so carefully researched this very legal question in 2016, before I decided to recommend (on my ballot-analysis Web pages and elsewhere) Ms. Chang Kiraly's initial candidacy for the San Mateo County Harbor Board even though she was already serving on the MP Fire Protection District Board. There is no credible claim of incompatibility. If there were, I would have found criteria in the statute that could be reasonably claimed to be transgressed. Or, if despite best efforts I missed something, you should have been able to cite something, anything -- and you _did not_, when I politely challenged you to do so.

Your suggestion that I make an inquiry to AG Xavier Becerra was not an answer. It was, frankly, an evasion. (Also, if there had been a legal issue, it's extremely curious that nobody's been able to substantiate that claim for an entire four-year term of office. ) Your fallback suggestion, when I said Mr. Becerra had a real job to do, that the voters must decide whether the offices are incompatible, is both patently untrue and an even bigger evasion. (Legal issues, if real, get settled by officers of the law. So, I infer that this is, in pretty much every sense, not real.)

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


6 people like this
Posted by Some Perspective
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2020 at 1:06 am

Some Perspective is a registered user.

Rick, elections are about name recognition. If Ms. Chang Kiraly wins both seats with her name on the ballot twice, it could signal a path for future (less qualified) candidates to try getting elected simply by running for three or more offices on the same ballot.


9 people like this
Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2020 at 5:15 am

Rob,

I have never said that the district “does not have [a strategic plan].”

In fact, as you well know, before I was on the Finance Committee I was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Prove me wrong.


9 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2020 at 7:18 am

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Sean:
1) Could you tell your slate member that the district has one. Do you both have the same political committee number or are you separate? Different web sites don’t count.

2) The San Mateo County Firefighters and the Menlo Park Firefighters are two separate organizations. As you and others can see MPFFA are part of the larger organization, including the AMR paramedics. One of my many huge endorsements. Go to my web site and checkout the others.

www.robsilano.com

I am honored to have their support and confidence. Something like people as yourself would never understand. As a Fire District resident representative; a non voting member, does not qualify you for anything other than an observer. “Your no public safety experience” vs my over 40 years. The term “ wore the uniform” is so important to them. I wore that uniform.

Thank you for your volunteer efforts with the CCM. You tried, but, a failed concept. The new Fire District’s OEM Section will fix it, according to our chief.
I hope they call on you to help.

Ready to debate.... I am!

Thank you.

—————

San Mateo County Firefighters Association; taken from their web-site.

WE ARE OVER 500 STRONG IN SAN MATEO COUNTY
San Mateo County Firefighters, L2400, represents firefighters and paramedics in nine different Associations. These Associations are: Pacifica Firefighters; Brisbane Firefighters; Daly City Firefighters; San Mateo Consolidated Firefighters; Redwood City Firefighters; Woodside Firefighters; Menlo Park Firefighters; San Mateo County Transport Paramedics; and San Mateo County Battalion Chiefs.

Each Association is given a District number and each District has two District Vice Presidents which are able to cast one vote on the Executive Board of San Mateo County Firefighters, regardless of size. The Executive Board of San Mateo County Firefighters meets monthly.

Due to our size and diversity, Local 2400 has four Executive Officers: President, Vice-president, Executive Secretary, and Treasurer. In addition we have a professional office manager and one business agent.
Our offices are open Mon-Wed from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and are located at:

335 Convention Way, #5
Redwood City, Ca 94063
650-362-3130


9 people like this
Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2020 at 7:20 am

Rob,

I believe that integrity and a commitment to transparency require one to correct an error immediately and in the place where it was made.

Please correct your false statement.


9 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2020 at 7:30 am

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Where’s VCK?


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 14, 2020 at 7:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Silano states "I’m ready to debate with all the candidates in this race. No zoom, no webex.... just all of us masked up, proper distance, and a neutral moderator."

Great - get Virginia on board and find a neutral moderator and let's do it.
It will need be recorded and broadcast rather than with a live audience in order to avoid conflicting with the Covid limits on public gatherings.


9 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2020 at 8:22 am

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:
Great, set it up and I’ll be there.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 14, 2020 at 8:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rob - I will follow your lead in setting it up. I started the online debate here and you then suggested the even better face to face debate so the ball is in you court.

Tell me when, where and who will be the neutral moderator.

And please get your FFA 2400 partner Virginia to agree to participate.


10 people like this
Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2020 at 3:54 pm

Steve Schmidt is a registered user.

My vote is for Virginia Chang Kiraly who stays out of these petty squabbles. Since 1915 there have been 2 women on this Board and Virginia is the second. She is the incumbent and the former Chair. Hopefully this effort to keep the Board an all-boys club won't get far. If you read all these Almanac postings, it appears Mr. Carpenter sees this Board as his very own ball game. There are other ways for Mr. Carpenter to stay active in the community. He stepped down and should move on.

We need more women on these Boards and to keep the current diverse membership. Virginia has a web site if you want to know more about her. Web Link

Steve Schmidt
Former Mayor Menlo Park


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 14, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

More answers for the public to see:

18. Volunteers provide additional help to keep neighborhoods prepared for emergencies. What kind of role do you believe CERT can play to improve volunteer community response and provide volunteer opportunities?

I know first-hand what volunteers can do and how important they can be as a force multiplier in times of large-scale emergencies.

My public service career began as a volunteer firefighter/driver at age 14 in a rural community in Florida.

When I lived in Atherton, I was an Atherton Disaster And Preparedness Team member (ADAPT) and helped create that organization.

I am currently a MPFPD CERT and a Palo Alto CERT and a HAM radio operator


10 people like this
Posted by Not a fan
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2020 at 4:36 pm

Not a fan is a registered user.

I consider Virginia and Rob to be two constructive members of the Fire Board, working on solving serious issues. Neither one bullies people or is a divisive figure. Please note that Ballard and Carpenter are running as a team. Peter's posts are also mild versions of what he might send people who disagree with him. At least one has already been removed. I have learned from experience to never reply to Peter.

People aren't commenting here, in support of Virginia and Rob, due to not wanting to get attack emails or to be embroiled in an unhelpful discussion that may be light on the true facts. The current Fire Board leadership is better than the alternatives. I suggest that Rob and Virginia not engage with Peter/Sean as Peter will always have the last word, even if it is not accurate.


5 people like this
Posted by Kit
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2020 at 5:45 pm

Kit is a registered user.

[Poster blocked due to repeated violations of terms of use]


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 14, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

More answers for the public:

11. If elected, would you be willing to use your public stature to support union organizing?

I support the right of employees to organize but it must be their decision to organize, not mine.


7 people like this
Posted by Sarah Major
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2020 at 6:10 pm

Sarah Major is a registered user.

High praise for Sean! He cares deeply about his community and is ready for the challenge. Sean has an impeccable character, is a team player and genuine individual. Sean is a trusted friend to many and will make an excellent addition to the Fire Board.


7 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 14, 2020 at 9:32 pm

Rick Moen is a registered user.

There remains unfinished business from the estimable Ms. Dremann's Sept. 4th article (Web Link). As I mentioned in this space, Peter Carpenter initially referred me back then to "a complaint filed by Ullom re holding incompatible offices" for details of why he felt Ms. Chang Kiraly holding positions on two local agency boards was legally impermissible. The partial quotation Peter provided from the "complaint" struck me as legal crackpottery, but I requested its judicial context to assess it fairly. For whatever reason, Peter never elaborated.

So, I did some checking around, and found it -- oddly enough, via a Peter Carpenter comment and link on an older Almanac article (Web Link). There, Peter referred to Mr. John C. Ullom's action as a "suit".

I don't know Mr. Ullom, but he's a self-described 'Citizen Journalist" living in HMB, a sometime office-seeker, and apparently a bit of a character. What he produced in Feb. 2017 was neither a [legal] complaint nor a lawsuit, but rather a long letter to Attorney General Xavier Becerra (direct link here: Web Link).

In a nutshell, Mr. Ullom expressed his view that Ms. Chang Kiraly's position on both boards, then a year old, violated CA GOV § 1099 prohibition against holding "incompatible" public offices, and sought permission to bring suit against her in place of the AG -- a very rarely used but valid citizen right to sue in the AG's place, proposing an even rarer type of proposed legal action: what is called a "quo warranto" lawsuit (Latin for "by what warrant?") challenging an officeholder's right to a specific office and seeking removal.

Although Mr. Ullom correctly cited to AG Becerra 11 CCR (Code of Civil Regulations) § 1-11 as providing for such an application, he apparently failed to note §2's clear requirement that applicant be represented by legal counsel -- a probable guard against nuisance applications, like the $500 advance bond required in §6 to defray judgements against plaintiff. Accordingly, Mr. Ullom related in a Barbara Wood story in the Oct. 6, 2017 Almanac, AG staff e-mailed him saying they could not process his request because it failed the requirement for legal counsel. Exit Mr. Ullom.

And, again, this wasn't a "complaint" (in the legal sense), and certainly not a "suit": Mr. Ullom lavished precisely the cost of first-class postage on this effort. And the answer, rightly, was "Uh, sorry, no."

But his long letter drew my interest, even though it was a non-starter for failure at legal fundamentals. It laid out his proposed legal beef, as follows (stripping to essentials):

1. The boards' territory overlaps.
2. Both boards have eminent domain power.
3. Each board may pass regulations providing for public safety, welfare, etc., within their respective spheres of activity.
4. Each board can sue and be sued.

Et voila, Mr. Ullom alleges, for the above four reasons, the dual office-holding violates Government Code section 1099. And what _provision_ of §1099 does this any of this violate? Over 68 pages of argument, exhibits, and sundry bonus material, Mr. Ullom dances all around this question but never substantiates his claim. He cites to several past opinion letters by the AG's office on "incompatible offices", but all of them are inapplicable for reasons he oddly omits, e.g., a case where the AG opined that the positions of district fire chief and member of the county board of supervisors of the same county were incompatible, but that was explicitly because one office held supervisory power over the other. Every one of the cites suffers the same kind of problem, making non-sequitur arguments claiming the statute applies similarly to Ms. Chang Kiraly's situation, when it inherently cannot, because the problems identified in the cited AG opinions simply don't exist for a harbour board seat and a fire board one.

I did enjoy the digression through amateur legalistic humbuggery. However, I'm not only unclear on why we ought to take it seriously, but also quite sure we shouldn't, any more than the AG's staff did.

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 14, 2020 at 9:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am pleased to see that Moen has corrected himself:

Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 5, 2020 at 3:32 pm
Rick Moen is a registered user.
Peter, I am indeed not a lawyer, just a long-time observer of local government matters who grew up around attorneys and respects their professional skills highly. (Having your mom haul a Fortune 50 corporation into Federal court in a wrongful death action over your father's demise will do that.) Speaking for myself, I regard a basic understanding of the law as the duty of all citizens (not something to punt to "experts") -- and also extremely useful in getting to the bottom of many claims about law and policy.

Please pardon me for needing to say this rather sharply, but the suggestion that only a member of the Bar may properly point out a (asserted) violation of the law is simply incorrect. Your odd qualifier 'legally raise' doesn't even change that -- aside from the fact that this isn't a court proceeding and doesn't need to be one.

Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
21 minutes ago
Rick Moen is a registered user.

Although Mr. Ullom correctly cited to AG Becerra 11 CCR (Code of Civil Regulations) § 1-11 as providing for such an application, he apparently failed to note §2's clear requirement that applicant be represented by legal counsel

****

So much for Moen's self proclaimed legal acumen.


9 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 14, 2020 at 10:54 pm

Rick Moen is a registered user.

Peter, I'm a little confused about what you're saying. Perhaps you wouldn't mind clarifying. E.g., you think I "corrected" what, exactly?

The bottom paragraph you quote accurately cites 11 CCR §2, which says that anyone applying to the Attorney General for "leave to sue" in a "proceeding in the nature of quo warranto" must be represented by legal counsel _in that application process_. Please don't take my word for it; see for yourself: Web Link)

In the rest (above that), I answered your implied question (in September) as to whether I'm a lawyer. As mentioned, I'm not. I never claimed to be, let alone professed "legal acumen" or ever asked, here or elsewhere, for anything I ever said about the law ought be believed on my personal authority. I'm just an Ivy League-miseducated bookworm who took a bunch of law classes (preparatory to sitting for and passing the CPA exam), and have a lifelong interest in the law.

Being a non-lawyer (like Mr. Ullom), I would _definitely_ have a big problem if, like Mr. Ullom, I applied to the AG for "leave to sue" in a "proceeding in the nature of quo warranto" without bothering to use an attorney as required by law. Fortunately for me, I'm not pursuing any such folly. Morever, being the Ivy League-miseducated bookworm I am -- again, unlike Mr. Ullom -- I bother to read and heed clear instructions. And I also have a good sense of _other_ situations where I need to hire an attorney, vs. when I don't.

Wait: Are you seriously trying to suggest that Mr. Ullom's failure to heed 11 CCR §2's requirements makes a mockery of, or contradicts, my view that anyone may properly _point out_ a (asserted) violation of the law? The one has nothing to do with the other, sir. _Pointing something out_ is just not the same as making formal application to the AG to bring litigation in the AG's place.

Also, my good sir, perhaps you should be just a bit more careful of your tone, given that you're talking to a constituent and MPFPD homeowner, i.e., one of the people you currently wish to engage your services. I certainly am fine with being called Rick, or Mr. Moen, or Rick Moen -- but I'm just a bit taken aback by your suddenly and with a tone of derision referring to me as "Moen".

I hope that's just passing pique, and not your normal way of addressing constituents, else you're likely to have a bit of an outreach problem.

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


9 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 15, 2020 at 12:19 am

Rick Moen is a registered user.

The _other_ bit of unfinished business from the estimable Ms. Dremann's Sept. 4th article (Web Link) I had in mind is something that troubled me about my encounter, there, with candidate Sean Ballard.

As Almanac readers can see at that link, I posted the earliest reader comment, thanking Ms. Dremann for her swift correction of her article's initial claim that Mr. Ballard was "chairman of the district's finance and strategic planning committees" -- but called her attention to an additional probable misstatement: A middle paragraph remained, saying that Mr. Ballard "chairs the district's budget finance committee".

Given that Mr. Ballard was an appointive committee member, the notion of him chairing committees where everyone but him was an elected representative stood out even to me, an outsider, as highly improbable; thus my point. (A cynic might wonder from what source the erroneous statement of fact originated, but I'll not speculate, except to say that I've always found Ms. Dremann's reporting highly accurate, and think she keep scrupulous notes during her interviews.)

Sean entered the discussion the next day (Sept. 5th), and was perfectly nice, but talked all around the "chairs the district's budget finance committee" misstatement issue, but didn't address it.

So, two hours later, I thanked Sean for his input but reiterated that my point concerned the remaining statement that he "chair the district's budget finance committee", and asked him directly: "Is that claim accurate?"

So, basically I raised the question twice, the second time directly to Sean personally.

Sean continued to post to the thread the next day -- but continued to ignore my inquiry. And, frankly, I was being tactful and giving Sean a golden opportunity to say "Oh, thanks for pointing that out. Somehow a misunderstanding must have occurred. I'll follow up with the newspaper, and ask for a correction."

That's the sort of thing I expected to see. I wasn't trying to put Sean on the spot; I was just inviting a low-key fix of something that looked oddly like resume-padding. My point: Instead, I got evasion and non-response to my question, possibly in the hope I'm too dim to spot having been fed bafflegab.

Obviously, views differ, but when my first interaction with a candidate seeking my vote is to get fast-talked and my polite but direct question ignored, I take that rather poorly and consider it an questionable trait in one of my public servants.

It's a sad truth in life that first impressions are difficult to overcome. I regret the above being the essence of my first impression of Sean (and I'm delighted others have confidence in him), but (in my opinion) I'd also be remiss if I didn't tell the truth about it.

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 15, 2020 at 7:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rick,

Read what you first said:

"Please pardon me for needing to say this rather sharply, but the suggestion that only a member of the Bar may properly point out a (asserted) violation of the law is simply incorrect. Your odd qualifier 'legally raise' doesn't even change that -- aside from the fact that this isn't a court proceeding and doesn't need to be one."

Read what you second said:
"Although Mr. Ullom correctly cited to AG Becerra 11 CCR (Code of Civil Regulations) § 1-11 as providing for such an application, he apparently failed to note §2's CLEAR REQUIREMENT that applicant be represented by legal couns"

i.e., My original statement that such a filing had to be done by a lawyer was correct.



9 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 15, 2020 at 8:37 am

Rick Moen is a registered user.

Peter, in that former passage, I was responding to this comment of yours: "I am not a lawyer (and I don't think you are) so I leave deciding these issues to the experts. Nor is it my role to legally raise such an objection now or in the past since that can only be done by a member of the California Bar."

At the time, you said nothing about an application to the Attorney General for "leave to sue" in a "proceeding in the nature of quo warranto" -- the only thing in present context that must be done by a lawyer, as Ullom's folly lead him to try without the required attorney and I'll bet forgetting to provide the $500 bond, as well. At the time, we were neither applying to sue in place of the Attorney General nor even in court, but rather discussing obvious, black-letter law.

Well, _one_ of us was discussing obvious, black-letter law. One of us was coyly acting as if that can be done only by an attorney, after cheekily raising a crackpot having done so _without_ an attorney as if that raised a genuine public policy issue.

Anyway, if you'd bothered to explain that "my 'odd qualifier' of 'legally raise' actually refers to making an application to the Attorney General for 'leave to sue' in a 'proceeding in the nature of quo warranto', I might have been willing to look up that very exotic legal application (which you had nowhere mentioned) and said "You're right, that very _specific_ thing indeed requires using an attorney -- but at the same time, that's of doubtful relevance, since that's simply not what we were doing, here, is it?"

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 15, 2020 at 9:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rick - If I ever need to hire an expert kibitzer and quibbler you would be my first choice (although it would be very expensive if I was paying you by the word.)


11 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 15, 2020 at 9:24 am

Rick Moen is a registered user.

Peter, bubeleh, if you're going to wield the delightful Yiddish language in online ripostes, you would do well to ensure you're up on its nuances. (Although a Norwegian-American agnostic gentile, I grew up on the writings of Leo Rosten including his sprightly volume _The Joys of Yiddish_, and cherish the language highly.)

A kibitzer is an uninvolved casual bystander who offers unsolicited, by implication unwelcome, advice. I'm a constituent and homeowner, one with an ongoing interest in local government, who engages politely with candidates to see who merits my vote and support. If you conflate these two things, well, that's interesting, isn't it?

But, as the kids say, hey, you do you.

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 15, 2020 at 9:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

satis dictum


9 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 15, 2020 at 11:23 am

Rick Moen is a registered user.

L'havdil.


10 people like this
Posted by Catherine Kircos
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 15, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Catherine Kircos is a registered user.

I'm a 27 year old renter in North Fair Oaks who has never once thought about the Menlo Park Fire Board, but I take my responsibility to vote seriously and came here trying to learn more about the candidates on my ballot. Unfortunately I mostly found unhelpful bickering.

Speaking to someone like me - why should I even care about the Menlo Park Fire Board and who is on it? What are the biggest issues here and how do the candidates differ?


8 people like this
Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 15, 2020 at 2:42 pm

Sean Ballard is a registered user.

Hi Catherine,

Thanks for your comment! We're lucky to live under the protection of one of the most competent and professional fire departments in the nation (if not THE most) and we tend not to think about it much when things are going well. But, when things go wrong, having the very best department really MATTERS! The fire department is overseen by a professional fire chief, who in turn reports to a five-member board of directors, elected from within the department's borders, who help set financial and strategic policy for the department.

My ties to each of the communities that comprise the Menlo Park Fire Protection District run deep. I moved to Menlo Park in 1981 as a young boy with my family and I grew up here. I went to our local elementary and high schools. My first job was as a lifeguard at the Belle Haven Pool. Now I live here with my two children and my sense of obligation grows. I owe more to our community than it will ever owe me.

I believe that I have an even-handed and steady management style that will serve the next Board well in restoring the ability to make timely decisions, supporting the men and women of our professional staff to do their job without imposing unnecessary burdens, and bringing back the drive to work together to get things done and accomplish goals.

I’m running for the Fire Board because I am intimately aware of the challenges and opportunities that we face now and those we will face in the future.

Please learn more about the issues, as well as about me and Peter Carpenter (the two of us are running together for the two seats open this election) here: Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2020 at 2:54 pm

John The Baptist is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


6 people like this
Posted by John The Baptist
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2020 at 3:03 pm

John The Baptist is a registered user.

[Post removed due to violation of terms of use]


13 people like this
Posted by Director Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 15, 2020 at 4:51 pm

Director Rob Silano is a registered user.

Hi John....
I treat everyone fairly without prejudgment. No name calling, only to interact and discuss items with everyone in a professional manner.

Our Board President, at a meeting stated that he felt no ill will against anyone on our board. Robert is a good man as all of us serving our community.

Virginia has used name calling before in
many of our meetings. John, you would need to ask her why she used that tactic?

Name calling does not bother me. I don’t look in the rear view mirror. I work with all my board members and have the utmost respect for all, including the community we serve.
Thank you


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 15, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the best place to gat information on all four candidates including, I hope, their answers to the Weekly/Almanac and Labor Council, questionnaires:

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Steve Armstrong
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 16, 2020 at 7:49 am

Steve Armstrong is a registered user.

I’m voting for Sean Ballard. If you know him, then you know he brings EXACTLY the kind of peace and reason we need in our elected officials!


8 people like this
Posted by Rick Moen
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 16, 2020 at 2:49 pm

Rick Moen is a registered user.

Revisiting for a moment the candidates' statements that The Almanac's Ms. Brown collected and presented in this article: All four contenders are articulate and give detailed answers to Ms. Brown's questions, which I appreciate and found useful. All of them should be respected for seeking to do important work for the public.

In Rob Silano's segment, there was one thing that stood out -- to me, at least -- as pretty odd. "The greatest challenges facing the district, [Rob] said, are traffic congestion and global warming." Rob goes on to elaborate that the coastal areas are threatened by future flooding (as EPA already has been, as Rob points out), and traffic snarls may in the future impair MPFPD's good response times. True enough, but aren't the candidate supposed to be talking about what they'd do in office, things that Board members can do, things that are the Board's business?

MPFPD Board members, sadly, have neither the power nor the mandate to fix global warming or South Bay traffic congestion. Shouldn't candidates for the Board focus preferentially on "challenges facing the district" that lie within their wheelhouse?

-- Rick Moen
(Web-search my name if anyone needs my e-mail address)


1 person likes this
Posted by Beth
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2020 at 6:17 am

Beth is a registered user.

Sean Ballard is the top choice for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board and the community would be well served by both his experience and passion for community service. Yes, he's incredibly smart and experienced, and his resume is filled with business and management successes that demonstrate he's the right candidate for the job. But it's the person he is that ultimately makes him stand out. I've always known him to be fair, thoughtful, thorough, humble and teeming with integrity, always committed to the right and honest way to do things. He's not afraid of hard work or hard conversations to get to the best outcomes, and actually shines most in difficult circumstances with his skill in solving complex problems and bringing the right people together to move things forward as a team. He listens and leads with a steady hand, a compassionate ear and an inclusive outlook. I can think of no better choice than Sean Ballard for the fire board.


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