HMB Fire District outlines shortcomings of referendum petitions

Posted by on Fri, March 16, 2007

The Half Moon Bay Fire Protection District has issued a press release explaining why it and the Point Montara district have declined to take any action on the referendum petitions submitted by the firefighters. The districts say their decision is based on the advice of their legal counsel, citing five deficiencies in the petitions:

  • The full text of the CDF contact was not attached to the petitions, as required by the election code.
  • The petition contains "improper argument" in favor of the referendum.
  • The contract with Cal-Fire was missing from the referendum.
  • The referendum contains "opinion and mischaracterization of the facts" concerning the boards decision.
  • The Point Montara board maintains that the contract between the Half Moon Bay district was not a legislative act of Point Montara and is not subject to referendum in the district.

You can download a copy of the agreement between the district and Cal-Fire (CDF)—summarizing the services to be provided under the contract—from Coastsider.

Let me ask you this, and I mean this with the utmost sincerity, Is it to much to ask to have a board that really looks into the information given them. Who listens to their employees, all of them, and examines all the information surrounding these issues. Unfortunately that has not happened. A few years ago the administrators who came from outside the fire district to run the place brought with them poor and corrupt management practices. They also developed a system for controlling the information given to the board so that when the line personnel stood up and said"hey this is wrong” the board was shielded or lied to and thus the circle of confusion, distrust, and anger developed between the firefighters and the board. Today you have a fire board that has completely closed off any and all communications with the people providing the emergency services to the community. That should be a huge red flag to anyone interested in the current issues. So, we have to fight now for everything and have been labeled trouble makers, disgruntled, etc, when the truth is your firefighters do their job with the utmost professionalism, integrity and honor and only want their bosses to do the same! Because of that simple desire, some members of the public, and specially the press, have attacked us. doesn’t that seem wrong?


Try as I might to get up to speed on the HMBFD issues I always feel I’m walking in in the middle of a conversation. I wonder if you’d mind doing this for the sake of illuminating this debate:

Could you make a (factual!) list of all the major grievences that the line firefighters have with the management/Board to give people like me a sort of starting point. For example, you talk about standing up to poor and corrupt management practices I feel I don’t know enough detail. I don’t need pagaes and pages, just something simple and to the point.

That would be a great starting point and focal point for debate.

—Darin (...trying to understand)

Brent Smith,

The Boards have a responsibility not just to the Employees, but to the residents of the community, any person that visits the Districts, mutual aid agreements and ultimately the State Fire Marshal.  The Boards have to balance all the needs and requirements of all the stakeholders.

Local 2400 was selected by the HMBFPD Linestaff to represent your interests.  If you feel you have communication issues with the Board you should bring that up with your Local, before coming to this forum. It is one thing to bring suggestions and input to Management and a Board, it is entirely another to think you have a right to run the Board, represent all of the stakeholders interests or repeatedly demand rehearing your old claims, until you are satisfied.  I can only guess how your coworkers feel about you representing their interests.

Last year Mr. Alan Davis representing Local 2400 threatened the two Boards with Lawsuits in a joint public meeting.  The Boards have a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens to minimize litigation costs and be careful in their communications.  Can you understand how your own behavior and that of your Local have stiffled communications with the Boards?

Last Spring the Board’s the Board’s began to face the issues of the strife effecting operational responses and public safety.  I recall in one fairly grim meeting, Director Efusia saying something to the effect of, when
the bell goes off, we have to be there.  The recommendation from two temporary Chiefs with decades of experience and the SMC Civil Grand Jury was to contract out for services. The Boards have moved in a deliberate open manner to outsource, to solicit proposals from other agencies, to evaluate the proposals, take public comment and ultimately contract with CalFire.  That process has been going on for almost a year. Everybody was listened to in the meetings.  The people we elected to represent us weighed all the arguments and made a decision.  If IAFF Local 2400 drags the issue of the petitions into court in an attempt to stay the CalFire contract, a judge is compelled not just to look at the law or the arguments of the plaintiff and defendant but, the equity issues for all of the stakeholders from a public safety standpoint.  It’s time to end the debating over old issues and accept the changes of contracting with CalFire.