San Mateo County, CA
November 3, 2009 Election
Letter provided to the Almanac regarding their endorsements for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District
As a candidate that The Almanac chose not to endorse, I wish to address some errors in your endorsement article, as well as defects in your analysis underlying your endorsement. Your article begins by telling the voters that the "race for three seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board has boiled down to a contest between union-backed candidates and three others who might not favor granting firefighters an 11 percent pay increase over the next three years."
As I have made clear on more than one occasion, I do not favor an 11 percent pay raise. If you review the debate hosted by the League of Women Voters at http://www.smartvoter.org, you will see that I suggested a possible starting point for the negotiations tied to the consumer price index of roughly 2% per year.
Your article goes on to state that in your view, "what the district needs now are board members who will take a much harder look at the rising costs of employee compensation, including retirement, and are willing to find ways to save in other areas, like adopting a two-tier retirement system and sharing some staff with nearby fire departments." If so, then I am the perfect candidate for the district. Retirement changes, including a two -tier system, and other innovative cost-cutting measures including possible consolidation have been the touchstone of my campaign. Moreover, I am the only candidate who has already saved the district over two million dollars by alerting the district to the need to respond to an Environmental Impact Report for proposed development in the district which would place a financial burden on the fire district. It would appear by your own definition; that I am exactly the candidate the district needs.
Our district has needlessly spent almost another two million dollars on attorney's fees to continue a stalemate between the board and the firefighters union. Our district cannot afford to waste these precious resources over an unwillingness to communicate. It is time to reach a just and economically sustainable resolution. I pledge, as an outsider to this process, to find a workable, fair solution.
It would appear that I fit every criteria for an endorsement from The Almanac except for the fact that I also have the endorsement of the Menlo Park Firefighters Association. It is a shame that The Alamanc views the Menlo Park Firefighters Association endorsement as a reason to withhold its own endorsement of me as a candidate. Let us hope the voters in the district are more open to the one candidate who will value common sense and common ground over such divisiveness.
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