Fire chief who oversaw the old scandal-ridden, failing standalone fire department urges voters to support new standalone department

The US Federal Trade Commission only last week announced the winners in its contest to encourage the development of technology to stop robocalls.

But that news comes too late to do anything about yet another robocall being made to phones across the Coastside urging voters to vote “no” on the fire board recall.

Robocalls, by their nature, are intended not so much to educate a voter as to leave them with a vague feeling. They come in under the public radar, leaving no trace of their passing.

The key element in any successful robocall isn’t the message. It’s the messenger. The right choice of a highly regarded speaker can make the details of the message unimportant.

Which makes the choice of speaker for this new robocall seem like something dreamed up by a Coastisde version of satirical web site, The Onion.

The speaker in the call telling you that fire stations will remain open, experienced firefighters will be retained, budgets will be met, and department policy should be set by locally elected officials is none other than Jim Asche.

This is the same Jim Asche who ran the Half Moon Bay fire department prior to the arrival of Chief Bonanowho wrote the scathing memo on the fire department, citing the department’s near collapse and recommending that fire service be farmed out. This is the same Jim Asche who, during his tenure as fire chief, embroiled the department in scandal after scandal, grievance after grievence, and lawsuit after lawsuit.

This is the same Jim Asche who was accused of hiring the son of sitting fire board member Doug Mackintosh even though the son was interviewed solely to give him experience with the interview process and even though he ranked last on the list of potential hires.

This is the same Jim Asche who received a vote of “no confidence” from 62 percent of employees he managed and then a year later the employees held a special meeting where they demanded a change in leadership.

This is the same Jim Asche who oversaw a department in financial disarray and running a deficit.

And the list goes on and on. Search the Half Moon Bay Review archives for “Jim Asche” and prepare yourself to be astounded.

What would posses the people running the political camapign for a standalone fire department to choose someone who is essentially the poster child of dysfunctional, failing standalone fire departments as their spokesman?


Transcript of April 8th, 2013 robocall, by Jim Asche

[Hi, this is Jim Asche.] I’m a twenty-five-year veteran of Cal Fire and I am the former fire chief of the Half Moon Bay fire district. I urge you to vote ‘no’ on the fire board recall.

Your currently elected fire board directors have been working hard to improve fire and medical services on the Coastside. Their plan will keep all fire stations open, retain our experienced firefighters and stay within the existing budget.

Fire department policy, management, and operations should be a local process. It should not be dictated by a state agency.

Please vote ‘no’ on the fire recall and join your local firefighters in supporting your three, currently elected, fire board members.


Audio recording of April 8th, 2013 robocall, by Jim Asche

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