Coastside Fire Protection District candidates

Posted by on Mon, October 5, 2009

We’ll update this story with additional information, but this will be the official Coastsider thread for discussing this race.

Candidate Videos from Montara Fog

  • Gary Burke
  • JB Cockrell
  • Ginny McShane
  • Candidates Max De Vos, Gary Riddell, and David Eufusia did not participate in this project. Charles Netherby indicated he has withdrawn from the race.

In addition to the candidate statements linked in this article, Darin Boville also videotaped the Candidates Forum held on September 30, 2009, sponsored by the Midcoast Community Council and the League of Women Voters. Jacqueline Jacobberger, President of the San Mateo County League chapter, moderated and selected questions submitted by audience members. Each candidate had an opportunity for an opening statement, a minute to respond to each question, and a closing statement.

Darin’s video of the Candidates Forum has excellent sound and video quality, is nicely chaptered so you can go directly to the question or questions of interest, and is posted on MontaraFog at

Max De Vos was unable to participate in the Candidates Forum.

For Coastside Fire Protection District, candidates answered these questions:

1. What are the challenges facing the District over the next few years, and how are you planning to address them? Where do you see the District in 5 or 10 years?

2. Has CalFire service worked out for the District? Have they brought new services to the Coastside? Do you support the CalFire contract?

3. Would you advocate a new parcel tax?

4. What will you do to decrease our fire district tax rates?

5. Why do you think it is important that all communities be fairly represented? Would a non-fireman do a good job on the Board? Or is having a fireman on the Board like having the fox watching the henhouse?

6. What do you see as the proper level of manpower in the Fire Marshall’s office to meet the demands of the Coastside?

7. What kind of unique contribution do you feel you could make to the District if elected to the Board?

Other resources for information about the candidates includes the official Sample Ballot booklet, which contains brief statements from the candidates, the League of Women Voters “Smart Voter” web site,, and individual candidate web sites.

I support Gary Burke, J.B. Cockrell and Ginny McShane for the Coastside Fire Protection District.  They have been instrumental in achieving the goals of stabilizing the fire service and putting it on a sound financial footing that is sustainable long term.  Consolidation and a contract with CalFire were the right solutions for the Coastside.

The challenge going forward for the community is to keep the CalFire contract in place.  The CFPD Board majority will shift to a pro IAFF Local 2400 majority in December regardless of the outcome of this election.  The issue is having a strong CFPD Board minority of watchdogs.  That minority can sound the alarm should the majority attempt to take the reckless action of reconstituting CFPD with its own employees under Local 2400.  This all sounds rather bleak.  But, there is reason for optimism.  There are constraints on what the CFPD Board majority can do.  CFPD has some serious debts and does not have the revenue stream to afford Local 2400 labor rates.  CalFire is the only option The District can afford, with the current service level.  Having Board members that may not have the votes, but understand the finances and can argue service level issues is critical to the citizen’s interests.

I’m confident that the incumbents can be watchdogs for the citizen’s interests and that they will sound the alarm should the Board majority go off and attempt something stupid.  We need not just to support them this election, but also stand behind them, if they have to sound the alarm.  The stakes are high.  In these tough economic times we can’t afford any more government mistakes and need to stand ready to confront our local agencies, before they make mistakes.

We need to be vigilant, until December 2011.  If all three incumbents are reelected this November, they will form a majority in 2011, when the number of Board seats goes down to five.  Then, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, that we have achieved a stable sustainable fire and emergency service that we can afford on existing revenues.

This is a critical election.  Don’t shirk your responsibility to cast an informed vote.