HMB Fire Board Debate




The Half Moon Bay Fire District is having a big year–and a controversial year. It is, basically at the same time, merging with the Point Montara Fire District and farming out all of its fire-fighting and medical services to an organization called CalFire. This has not been a smooth process and it follows upon years and years of acrimony between firefighters, their management, and their governing board and enough intrigue to make fans of Richard III blink.

This debate was held by the Midcoast Community Council one week ago and the candidates are running for the Half Moon Bay Fire District Board. Candidates for the Point Montara Fire Board are running in a separate election. The two boards will soon merge together to form a “super-board” of eight members governing all of the coastside, then the board will swell to nine members (an odd number of members allows tie breaking votes) before shrinking down to five members at some point in the future.

Don’t worry if you are getting confused–I’m getting confused just writing this!

But don’t give up–watch the videos, at least a few where the question seems especially interesting. You’ll care when you smell smoke.

Opening Statements

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Question #1

What do you consider to be the root cause of problems in the Fire Department , what do you plan to do to fix them, and–not at all coincidentally–how many meetings of the Board have you attended in the last two years?

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Question #2

A public agency board of directors is there to represent the public. Please comment on the conflict-of-interest with having fire fighters, paid or volunteer, or labor union representatives, serving on the Board. And, are you a fire fighter? Are you a Union member?

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Question #3

The current Board has voted to contract fire services to the State based upon financial reasons. The budget report from the October 1st board meeting shows that the District has a healthy financial status. Do you agree with the current Board’s reason as to why they should contract out fire services to the State?

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Question #4

Do you believe that the Department of Forestry is the long-term solution for management problems in our District and how do you intend to end the long-standing management failures that have led to law suites and settlements with fire fighters?

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Question #5

How important is employee retention to you? What do you plan o doing to get employees to stay?

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Question #6

As a fire district board member would you continue to send crews over the hill to train or would you advocate construction of a fire tower, as currently proposed in the District? Would you express reservations about the District’s ability to handle emergencies in buildings of a certain height and if so what height?

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Question #7

Do you feel that board members who receive lifetime medical benefits from the District should be able to vote on health-care increases for retirees?

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Closing Statements

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Videos by Darin Boville

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