Road to Recall: The decision to abandon the standalone fire department and farm out fire services

In a month and a half citizens of the Coastside will be asked whether to recall three sitting members of the Coastside Fire Protection District’s board of directors. Despite the intense politics of the Coastside and the long-lived political struggles here there has never before been a recall election. In addition, the controversies in the past with the fire department(s) have largely been self-contained. If you were interested in fire department issues, fine. If not you could basically ignore them and you would lose nothing in terms of understanding the many other political issues facing the area. And many people did ignore fire department issues. How can they now get up to speed on the basics before casting a vote to recall or not on April 9th?

To help address this need Montara Fog has selected a few videos from its archive, highlighting key moments on the Road to Recall.

This set of videos were made on March 21, 2006, the day the Half Moon Bay Fire Department (they were still in the process of merging with the Point Montara Fire Department) voted unanimously to seek proposals to farm out the entire fire service. In the videos we hear from Chief Bonano, who’s scathing memo highlighted the deep problems within the department, Leonard Woren, a elected official and political activist, Charles Netherby, a citizen with long experience in–and strong feelings about–unions, Erick Olsen, the labor representative for the firefighters, and an unnamed firefighter speaking from the audience of the difficulties of working at the fire department.

I originally published these videos on Coastsider.com which included a final video of the board discussion and the final vote. I seem to have lost that final video at some point over the years but I am still looking for it. Finally, here is the coverage of the meeting from the Half Moon Bay Review.

Chief Bonano (12 minutes)

Charles Netherby (5 minutes)

Leonard Woren (3 minutes)

Erick Olsen (3 minutes)

HMB Firefighter (3 minutes)

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