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Did Menlo Park fire district chief put TV show ahead of accident response?

Original post made on Jan 19, 2011

There is little or no disagreement from Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman on the facts in an e-mail from the firefighters union president. The e-mail criticizes the chief's decision to hold back a fire crew from responding to a nearby accident that involved a young bicyclist.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011, 1:45 PM

Comments (226)

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Watch Peter Carpenter defend his buddy Harold. Or fail to comment at all. Peter only criticizes bad judgement when it works out politically for he and his group.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Untruth is correct for once - I will defend the Fire Chief. The closest engine was out of service and the next closest engine responded well within the standard time limit. Had the nature of the call been different the Chief may well have decided to place the out of service engine back in service but that was not, in his judgment, necessary. One of the virtues of having a Chief with decades of personal emergency response experience is that he has superb judgement.


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Outrageous.

Surely the television crew would have been able to wait for 20 minutes while the firefighters addressed the call? Public education is important, no question there, but is it more important than a life?

"If one person replaces worn out batteries in a smoke alarm as a result of seeing this event on TV, it will have been worth it, he said."

Really?

In retrospect, all turned out ok, but a priori they could not be certain that the extra time would not make a difference. Yes, it was under 6 minutes, but to travel from the Oak Grove firestation to Johnson and Santa Cruz should take less than minute.

Sure hope my house doesn't catch fire while the firefighters are being photographed for their annual calendar. Hey, fundraisers are important too!


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

And if the incident had been a home fire or a heart attack would those two minutes have made a life or death difference? Perhaps. On the other does the fact that the Oak Grove crew was not on standby meant that it would take them longer to leave the station? I think the public has a right to know.w


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

People this incident happened 2 1/2 months ago, if it wasn't a issue
then, why is it an issue now ? Can't you see what the union is doing. The Chief may or may not have been correct in his decision, but it did have any happy ending...no harm no foul..


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Bob asks:"if the incident had been a home fire or a heart attack would those two minutes have made a life or death difference? "

Yes they would have and under those circumstances the Chief, who was monitoring the actual dispatch, would undoubtedly have dispatched the out of service engine. That is the value of having a highly experienced professional Chief.

And as citizen notes - look at the messenger and ask what is his motive.


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I don't care about the politics of it, but if it's my daughter who just got hit by a car and there's a paramedic 1/2 mile away, I would hope that paramedic steps away from the camera and comes over to come treat her (no way to know if she has sustained serious injuries just by looking at her!) Not a paramedic a few miles away.

The reason no onemade a fuss about it is that most of us didn't know about it. Just because there was a happy ending this time does not mean that we should let it go -- the next time there might not be a happy ending. And what will the Fire Chief say then? "The last time we failed to respond, the victim didn't die, so we assumed that we'd have a similar outcome this time." Play Russian roulette much?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Hillview parent - relax. The Fire District operates 7 stations and has auto aid agreements with other agencies. The record is clear - no matter which stations are out of service for whatever reason the response times are well within the national standards. This was a politically motivated attack four months after the event by the union president - don't become his shill.


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Come on Almanac!
The more appropriate headliner for your article should be: "Did The Union Spokesman Twist a Non Event into a self serving Media platform for his own wage increases by trying to discredit the Fire Chief."
You owe Chief Harold an apology


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Of course the Almanac owes the chief & Fire District an apology, why
should they report anything that is factual, when it is more fun to
write & support the self serving !! "Now the other side of the story", ever heard that line before...?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I find this situation a very disproportional. Why is the local union president sending a complaint to the media. Do we have the complete picture of the incident? And why is this letter being sent now -- several months after the incident? If Mr. Hawkins truly had concerns the professional course of action would have been to notified the fire chief's supervisor -- the Fire District's Board of Directors. I'll bet no letter was sent by Mr. Hawkins. Instead he chose to sensationalize this incident because the MP Fire union has been having contract issues for more than 2 years.

I'm sure that equipment and personnel are taken out of service for a variety of reasons; Mr. Hawkins, a former fire fighter, should know that.

In no way do I mean to minimize real emergencies and responses. Fire fighters, police, and ambulances should respond in a timely manner. In this case the injuries were minimal such that the ambulance didn't even use lights and sirens.

People, let's put this into perspective and look at the whole picture.


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm

We are paying top dollar for firefighter/paramedic services, and serving up the pablum about "meeting standards" does not suffice. Do we want our fire department to be the C student among public service providers or should we expect the best service possible? The "highly experienced professional Chief" had no basis for determining that the student's injuries were not serious! I understand that she suffered at least one broken bone and missed quite a bit of school, yet our fire chief just knew -- before she was examined -- that she would be fine.

I have accompanied school and Scout groups on visits to fire stations in town. At the beginning of the tour, the firefighters always inform the group that the station could get a call at any moment, in which case the visit would be terminated. We always understood. And if the Oak Grove firefighters had been battling a four-alarm blaze in Redwood City at the time of the accident, I doubt anyone would have questioned the unavailability of that crew.

But that's not the situation. Instead,it appears that the fire chief -- no matter what his rationale -- was unable to tear himself and his crew away from the cameras. Can't put enough perfume on that one.


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Posted by Firefighter
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Fire Stations and firefighters provide many services to the public. The days of the firemen sitting in the station waiting around to go to a fire are long gone. From 8-5, we have a job to do and then after 5pm, we still have a job to do. Our first responsibility is your safety and to maintain a state of readiness so that we can go take care of emergencies in our first due areas. It's what we do. It's not politically motivated or a union tactic, it's an oath (sorry Menlo Park resident). And rest assured, we have always and will continue always go the extra step for you.

In the case of the girl who got hit by the car, the stars lined up in her favor and Engine 4 was in their station, the call wasn't at the farthest end of District 6 and it wasn't during 8AM traffic and the victim didn't have a mortal injury. However the firemen didn't know if she had a mortal injury until they got there. I would think that if the Fire Chief had it to do all over again, he might choose differently as most people do after they make a poor decision.

The reason that this is finally in the public's eye is that the everyone in the Fire District including Board of the Directors, the Fire Chief and his staff, the union leadership as well as all the Firefighters believe in transparency in government. Good or bad. Not just when it's good for the Fire Chief and bad for the firefighters or vice versa.

Regarding Mr. Carpenter... while it is his right as a person with internet access, I wish that while Citizen Carpenter is also serving as Director Carpenter, he would refrain from sharing his personal opinion on fire district matters and attacking our union until he finishes his term. The labor management relationship is strained already and attacking our union in the media really doesn't help. Besides, the Fire District already hired a PR firm with your property tax dollars to do attack the union already.

Really, in the end the only people who will be successful in our dispute will be the attorneys and the guys who own the PR firm.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:57 am

Firefighter(?) states:"The labor management relationship is strained already and attacking our union in the media really doesn't help."


Note that the union's attack on the Fire Chief started this whole thread. Perhaps what Firefighter(?) meant to say was "The labor management relationship is strained already and attacking our Fire Chief in the media really doesn't help."


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

Peter:

"you started it" isn't really what you meant is it?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:35 am

Note that the union's attack on the Fire Chief started this whole thread. Perhaps what Firefighter(?) meant to say was "The labor management relationship is strained already and attacking our Fire Chief in the media really doesn't help."


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

I would like to know who placed the call for help- the girl? The driver? I would like to commend the responsible person. I am just glad that there was a quick response- hurray firefighters!

Let me add this important note: kids, especially teens, do not necessarily realize that a law officer or parent should get involved in a bike vs. car situation for whatever reason (fear, embarrassment, a real impairment, shock, etc.) Parents, teach your children to always call for help no matter how 'minor' it may seem.

Here was our experience: my son was bicycling to school and was hit by a driver in a large SUV- a surburban. She made a fast right turn around my son and cut him off as he continuing straight. He was unable to avoid the impact. Though she did stop and show concern, she did NOT phone the police. My 16 year old stood up and said 'I'm fine', which was his knee jerk reaction- the driver, a mother with her children in the car, made no attempt to call parents or police and no one else stopped to help. THEN, astonishingly the driver LEFT!

When my tried to use his bike to get to school, he discovered that the frame was bent up and unridable. He walked the rest of the way to school. I learned about this hours later when my son ended up in the nurse's office with back pain and nausea. After making a police report, and two weeks later, this driver eventually learned of this outcome but she did NOTHING to right the situation- not even an apology.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

Peter
Is being on the fire board also mean you are spokesman for the dept? I respect most of your comments over the years in the Almanac but I think this time you and the fire dept would have been better served if you had kept yourself out of the dialogue. If this had been a council member commenting publicly on similar city/manager/union matter you would be all over that council member. Remember - people who live in glass houses...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

Bob asks:"Peter

Is being on the fire board also mean you are spokesman for the dept?"

No. If I were acting as a spokesman for the MPFPD I would sign my postings as a Director, my postings are as a citizen. And as a well informed citizen on the matters being discussed in this thread I consider it my responsibility to respond to unfounded attacks on the Fire Chief by a union representative.

Bob states:". If this had been a council member commenting publicly on similar city/manager/union matter you would be all over that council member."

Wrong again. Elected officials do not give up their First Amendment rights. If a member of an elected body posts personal comments on this Forum then those comments should be judged on their merits and in light of that persons knowledge and experience.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I disagree, elected officials do give up those rights. They must represent the public before themselves in all occasions. No one forced them to run, their personal comments and opinions should be subordinate to any duty to the public. Your glowing love fest with the chief gets the in the way of your ability to objectify the ridiculous decision to bypass a child in need for a TV show.

I expect more from my electeds that some love affair with staff.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm

UnTruth - you (fortunately) have zero experience as an elected official and unfortunately have zero knowledge of the laws relating to such service.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Truth
Peter was not elected - he was appointed to fill an unexpired term. But elected or appointed I agree with.
Peter may have crossed the all important thin line which he frequently defends as sacrosanct regarding comments by other council and board members.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Bob states:"Peter may have crossed the all important thin line which he frequently defends as sacrosanct regarding comments by other council and board members."

Bob - You state and restate an untruth. I have never stated that council or board members should not voice their personal opinions. To the contrary I, as an elected official, have spoken out often on issues involving my elected responsibilities and I have urged other elected officials to do the same. What I do not do is purport to speak for the agency on whose board I serve.

Now would you like to deal with the topic at hand?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Peter said "What I do not do is purport to speak for the agency on whose board I serve."
Perception is everything Peter - you are a member of the fire district board. When you speak and comment to issues involving the fire district you are perceived by the public as speaking for the district because of your board status. If you truly desire to speak on the issue(s) as a private citizen then perhaps it would be best if you step down from the board before doing so again.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm

More troubling for me is that this board director professes to that because we are not elected officials we cannot understand. You work for me buddy. Don't forget it. You work for all of us and just like with our council at times, you forget it. I don't want to run for office. You did. You get to brag about it and use it to put down citizens all the time. Good for you.

I am a citizen deserved of the respect from a public official who works for me.

Our fire chief dropped the ball and should be reprimanded for it. You defend it then you should also be reprimanded for it.

I plan to go to the Mayor and ask him to demand an explanation from the chief and you as to why it is okay for an emergency first responder to pass on an emergency for a television show.

You are now joining those you criticize for failing to remember who you work for.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Bob has a very convoluted sense of both the laws and the customs of public service. EVERY public official who is worth their salt speaks out on issues involving their public responsibilities and they would be derelict not to do so.

It takes a very dimwitted citizen to perceive that any one elected official speaks for all of his or her colleagues or agency unless that official states that he is speaking for their colleagues or agency - which I NEVER do.

Now let's get back on topic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Truth states:"I am a citizen deserved of the respect from a public official who works for me."

First, there is not a single citizen in the district which I serve named Truth.

Second, you get exactly the respect that you deserve.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Peter said "EVERY public official who is worth their salt speaks out on issues involving their public responsibilities and they would be derelict not to do so."
So I guess you are saying that your fellow fire board members Rex, Stephen and the rest are not worth their salt and are derelict too boot, since they have had the presence of mind not to publicly comment on this forum?
Also Peter - do you realize when you get upset you start calling the citizens names such as dimwitted - defined as lacking mental capacity, retarded, simple minded? Name calling which is entirely inappropriate for a member of a public board to be using. I am most certain officials with The ARC would love to have a conversation with you regarding your choice of words. I invite others to contact The ARC ((916) 552-6619)regarding Peter's most inappropriate use of this derogatory word whether it be in his capacity as board member of private citizen. In addition to regular lessons on the Brown Act there be a need for board members to receive regular lessons in how to communicate properly.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I stated:"It takes a very dimwitted citizen to perceive that any one elected official speaks for all of his or her colleagues or agency unless that official states that he is speaking for their colleagues or agency"


I did not call anyone dimwitted, but if the shoe fits......

Anyone interested in getting back on topic or is its time to have this topic locked?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Peter
There are numerous folks in our state with the last name Truth and quite possible one in "your" district. So play nice please.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Peter - why no answer to the first part of my comment/question - re the dereliction of duty of your fellow board members?

By the way this is all on topic - it's regarding the verbal actions of the fire district and it's personnel whether hired, appointed or elected.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

My esteemed Fire Board colleagues do speak out, they just prefer other forums where they are not subjected to cowardly comments by anonymous individuals posing as someone other than themselves. On the other hand I find this Forum an excellent way to reach a lot of responsible citizens and simply accept the fact that there will be a few anonymous cowards along the way who add no value to the topic at hand and who simply attack those who do.

Anyone interested in getting back on topic or is its time to have this topic locked?


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

The fact that we choose to remain anonymous on this forum does not negate our right to demand quality service from all public providers.

It would be great for the fire chief to acknowledge his mistake. I don't expect that to happen; I'm assuming that political considerations will preclude that. I sure hope he's apologized to the family of the girl, but again, he probably hasn't.

However, the fire department could and should establish clear priorities for rendering service. If the firefighters are washing off the equipment and the alarm rings, do they drop the sponges or do they tell the dispatcher to send the call to someone else? Where are those lines? People who have been accident victims frequently are in shock or may be unable to articulate the extent of their injuries. The prognosis for someone who, for example, has stopped breathing for six minutes is fairly grim. A rapidly-spreading fire can become catastrophic in just six minutes The "standard" doesn't cut it in those situations.

Peter, if you are on the fire board, I assume you can broach the subject of defining priorities. Or will we have to wait until a less favorable outcome for the department to decide where best to direct crew efforts?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I am certain that the Chief would acknowledge a mistake -IF he had made one. In my opinion, and as I have explained above, I do not think he made a mistake in this case.

I will certainly raise the priority issue at the next Board meeting - no problem. The fact is that the automatic dispatch system used in San Mateo County defines the priority for every address in the county and each response is defined by that predetermined priority. A 911 call from the VA hospital or a school gets a much more robust response than an automobile accident. And in all cases the nearest IN-SERVICE units are automatically dispatched.

Hillview parent - thank you for getting us back on topic. However, if you want to make a demand on me then I demand to know that you are in fact a resident of the fire district and not flying a false flag.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Has anyone thought to ask the Fire District if they have received an official complaint from any involved parties?

Or is this just being played out solely based upon a letter from the union president to the media?


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Peter -

You and I make frequently demands on elected officials who preside outside of the scope of our respective electoral districts.

Regardless of standing, Hillview parent has every right to respectfully ask you to investigate this... and I am very glad you accepted.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

From: Peter Carpenter
Date: January 20, 2011 6:53:37 PM PST
To: harold schapelhouman
Subject: item for Chief's report at Feb Board meeting

Chief,
In your Feb. report to the Fire Board please describe what happens if a unit is out of service and a call is received for which that unit would normally be first up.

Thank you,

Peter Carpenter


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Peter:

how about asking a real question? "If a fire unit is out of service for PR reasons is it appropriate to ignore a close emergency call in lieu of sending a unit located further away?" That is a REAL question. Yours is an opportunity for obfuscation.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 8:26 pm

My question was intentionally stated without bias. The dispatcher decides which units are initially dispatched to a call. The dispatcher does not know or care why a unit is out of service.

If you want to ask another question then please come to the meeting and take advantage of the public Comment item on the agenda. Or run for the Fire Board and, if elected, ask your own questions.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Menlo Park needs to get with it when it comes to their public officials.
Such lapses in judgement by it's fire chief is due to a lack of management skills not firefighting skills. Most cities require fire chiefs not only to hold a fire science degree but also a degree in public administration. San Diego is a good example of this and their chief, who is far more credentialed is compensated annually at a reasonable $166,000.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Thomas asserts 'lapses of judgement' when there is no evidence of such.

Have you people no sense of honor and integrity?

As for management skills the Chief managed a 80 person team at the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City and the entire water rescue effort at Katrina involving hundreds of professionals from dozens of agencies. Those are demonstrated management skills that you don't learn from books.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I'm so glad that all of you who are writing negative and disparaging comments are doing so based upon a media article which was generated by a letter from a union official.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Bob, I have seen you drooling over Duboc's politically motivated garbage for months. Give it a rest. Politics are everywhere. But it doesn't mean there is no truth in the information within.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Peter
I spoke with fire bd president Ianson this afternoon regarding the appropriateness of you or other members of the fire bd commenting on current fire district issues in a public forum such as this. Perhaps you should check in with him before throwing any other insults around


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Bob states:"throwing any other insults around"

Insults? Be so kind at to cite one insult that I have made. I do not consider it an insult to call someone who make anonymous false charges a coward - that is simply a fact.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:30 am

Peter said - Be so kind at to cite one insult that I have made. I do not consider it an insult to call someone who make anonymous false charges a coward - that is simply a fact.

Peter - your insults just from this thread, which are an example of one of the primary reasons prefer anonymity on these Almanac forums.

Posted by Peter Carpenter Jan 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Untruth is correct for once.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm
Hillview parent ....... don't become his shill.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, 9 hours ago

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 9 hours ago
UnTruth - you (fortunately) have zero experience as an elected official and unfortunately have zero knowledge of the laws relating to such service.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 8 hours ago
Bob ........
It takes a very dimwitted citizen to perceive that any one elected official speaks for all of his or her colleagues ......

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 8 hours ago
Truth ....... you get exactly the respect that you deserve

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 7 hours ago
I did not call anyone dimwitted, but if the shoe fits......

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 7 hours ago
...cowardly comments by anonymous individuals posing as someone other than themselves. .... there will be a few anonymous cowards along the way who add no value to the topic at hand ...

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 6 hours ago
Hillview parent - .... then I demand to know that you are in fact a resident of the fire district and not flying a false flag.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, 3 hours ago
Menlo Voter ..... If you want to ask another question then please come to the meeting and take advantage of the public Comment item on the agenda. Or run for the Fire Board and, if elected, ask your own questions.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:36 am

Bob - your comments are noted; I simply disagree that any of these are insults. If other posters challenge or attack me I will respond. It is your choice if you do not like my style but no one compels you to participate in this discussion.

And by rereading the entire thread I note that I am the only poster who brought any new facts regarding this topic to the discussion.

Anyone interested in getting back on topic or is its time to have this topic locked?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:47 am

Bob states:"When you speak and comment to issues involving the fire district you are perceived by the public as speaking for the district because of your board status. If you truly desire to speak on the issue(s) as a private citizen then perhaps it would be best if you step down from the board before doing so again."

Here is the Fire Board Policy on this matter:
Sec 5.10
Board members as elected officials have all of the rights and privileges of any private citizen to speak with the media. If a Board member finds it necessary to speak to the media regarding the Fire District, that member should be clear that he/she is speaking as an individual Board member and not as a spokesperson for the Board.

************

As I have stated above "If I were acting as a spokesman for the MPFPD I would sign my postings as a Director, my postings are as a citizen. And as a well informed citizen on the matters being discussed in this thread I consider it my responsibility to respond to unfounded attacks on the Fire Chief by a union representative."


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Posted by confucious
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

This looks like the union trying to discredit a good Chief.


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Posted by Correct!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

It most definitely IS the union trying to discredit a good Chief. This was just a whole lot of nothing. Please apply your dirty politics somewhere else union guys, it's not welcome in this district.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I am not in the union and I am still pissed that our fire chief thinks he can defer a child injury to a fire house further away so he can do a TV show.

That is a fact that should not be overlooked.

Peter Carpenter is a known opponent of Kelly and Gail and he brings up the Brown Act stuff and you don't question the politics of that?

Seriously, if you want to drink all the kool-aid go ahead, but don't try to act like you are just an objective observer.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm

unTruth - you simply do not understand the San Mateo County dispatch procedures and out of service protocols. MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch - all fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closet in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched.

I would not know Slocum if I met her on the street.I have never even sent or received an email from her. I was one of Fergusson earliest supporters and endorsed her in her first campaign.

And why don't you lay off the personal attacks - they accomplish nothing except to lower your credibility.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

According to the article, it was the firefighters from local Menlo Park fire stations that complained to the union about the chief and his television program. While it was fortunate for the chief that the situation did not end badly, clearly there is problem at least with some of the firefighters and their boss.

While the chief obviously displayed poor judgment with this rather minor incident, the greater underlying problem is with his management skills since it was his own firefighters that brought this matter to everyone's attention. The city manager and town council would be well advised to suspend the chief with pay while it investigates the matter further. The issue really has little to do with dispatch procedures and out of service protocols and more to do with the chief exercising poor judgment in an emergency situation and whether there exists a hostile environment amongst our firefighters with regards to the chief's lack of management skills.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Thomas - 1) You are not listening - MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch - all fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closet in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched.

2) You do not understand how local government is organized. MPFPD does not come under the purview of the City of Menlo Park. The Fire District was established before the City of Menlo Park even existed. The MPFPD serves almost 100,000 people in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Atherton and some adjacent unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. The MPFPD has an elected Board which oversees the district.

3) You are making charges without facts. There is NO evidence that "the chief obviously displayed poor judgment with this rather minor incident," "the chief exercising poor judgment in an emergency situation" and repeating that charge without evidence is irresponsible. The Chief is a nationally recognized expert and leader in disaster management and disaster response and he managed a 80 person team at the World Trade Center and at Oklahoma City and the entire water rescue effort at Katrina involving hundreds of professionals from dozens of agencies.

Please get your facts straight before making irresponsible charges about a superb public servant.



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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Mr. Carpenter, you obviously are not reading my posts correctly as I am not concerned with dispatch but with morale within the department since it was the firefighters that are questioning his competence and management.

You have every right to defend your friend as do I have the right to state my opinion which, by the way, seems to be in sync with the majority of other posters on this thread. Lives may be at stake if we have firefighters on the force that do not command the respect of their
chief.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Now now Peter let's play nice and remember he who throws the first stone...
You said to Truth "And why don't you lay off the personal attacks - they accomplish nothing except to lower your credibility." Remember I already listed quite a few of your personal attacks above. You are personally attacking Truth every time you call him unTruth.

Also Peter you said to Thomas - 1) You are not listening - MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch - all fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closet in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call.
If that is true why would the chief tell the crew at Station 4 to sit put? Do all stations here the dispatch and call details? It implies that even though a unit is dispatched other units closer to the scene have the choice to all respond perhaps getting there quicker.
At the time of the dispatch the chief did not know the extent of the injuries, could have been a compound fracture with severe bleeding, could have been a severe head injury, could have been a pierced lung or heart. From all the evidence presented the chief did not know. So if the Station 4 crew could have gotten there two minutes earlier as you said then the chief made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes, he's still a great chief. But this shows that process should be changed and like a unit shopping at Safeway and the call comes in they drop what they're doing and GO. Heck the TV crew could have raced after them showing what a fantastic job they do thus giving some good pr to the dept.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Bob - You are not listening. The Chief does NOT do dispatch. MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch. All fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closest in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched.

Yes, all the stations hear the dispatches and call details. The Chief also heard the dispatch and realized that the already dispatched unit would reach the scene BEFORE the out of service unit could be put back in service and then dispatched. It is alleged by a union leader that less experienced personell wanted to self dispatch - a prohibited action.

I call Truth unTruth because I, like him, get to decide whatever I want to call a person who is anonymous and because he is in fact seldom truthful.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Thomas states:" Lives may be at stake if we have firefighters on the force that do not command the respect of their chief."

There is NO evidence that the Chief does not have respect for the firefighters and that was not even suggested in the article which began this thread - how irresponsible are you willing to be in making up such statements?


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Posted by John P Johns
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

The Board should fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman for this publicity stunt.

It may have turned out to be a non-event but when the rank and file feel the need to draw this to the attention of the public there's something terribly wrong.

Schapelhouman rides a slippery slope when he puts public relations above public safety.

This is what Meno Fire's first responders are and have good reason to be upset about. In the firefighting and rescue business minutes can mean the difference between life and death.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

In my opinion, this dialog has gotten to the point of being both rediculous and disgraceful. I have had the distinct honor of knowing Harold in his professional capacity for over 15 years. I have had the pleasure of seeing him "in action" as a leader of fire fighting men and women, a spokesperson for the health and safety of those fire fighting men and women and the public they so ably serve, and, the part of his job that I'm pretty sure is the crappy part, dealing with the myriad of petty issues that accrue to anyone in a position of upper management. At the risk of offending every poster on this subject who posted before me, none of you, nor I, can hold a candle to this man in terms of passion, integrity or devotion to duty related to fire service. I would ask all of you, please, continue the debate over whether or not the dispatching process needs change, whether or not the news article was well written or confusing, and whether or not the story was motivated by the ongoing labor strife within MPFPD or not, but stop the improper and just plain incorrect slaming of the Chief. He truely has earned better.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Peter you're right I'm not listening - I am reading. I'm reading the news story and the comments including yours.
And if perhaps you had much earlier on made the statement "Yes, all the stations hear the dispatches and call details. The Chief also heard the dispatch and realized that the already dispatched unit would reach the scene BEFORE the out of service unit could be put back in service and then dispatched. It is alleged by a union leader that less experienced personell wanted to self dispatch - a prohibited action," then some of us would have a different read on the issue.
As you yourself have said more than once (as in thread Atherton officers exonerated) we deserve to see all the info not just part of it.
Perhaps the solution would be that whether a crew is having dinner, shopping or giving a safety demo at the station they be considered on call and dispatchable. I'm sure it doesn't take any longer to get the unit out the door when they are dressed and conversing in the station than when they are sleeping at the station. It seems a new process is called for and a as a knowledgeable board member perhaps you can start the ball rolling. That is why you were appointed to the board.


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Posted by Buddha
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

The Union is so transparent. They are mad at their Chief which is plain stupid. The ff are just upset about not finalizing their union demands. This has nothing to do with the Chief. The Chief does a great job!


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Posted by open your eyes
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm

the ff have too much free time. They are upset because the fire clubhouse is changing. The old days of huge salaries and pensions are evaporating. This has nothing to do with the Chief. the ff are upset! They are slowly losing their cushie jobs, salaries and pensions.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm

My sense of this matter of a crew being in service or out of service is of a quasi military kind of thing, a discipline that is not lightly dismissed. You hold your position pending orders to the contrary, the point being that there is a chain of command and that a chain of command is necessary when there are teams of people called upon to act in a coordinated fashion on matters of distress.

Any takers?


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Posted by Buddha
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Is Joe a ff? Give it up. Your Chief is one of the best in the County!! In the know.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Mr. Carpenter, the article states, "in an interview, Mr Hawkins said that he heard an account of the incident from a member of the Engine 6
Crew,and that the topic had come up in several meetings since October.
An incident like this really drives the guys crazy, Mr Hawkins said. Their morale just crashes."

Your circular rebuttals are hardly worth a reply and it's time to stop defending the indefensible by trying to deflect a serious matter with prosaic statements revolving around Katrina, 9-11 and Oklahoma City.
Menlo Park residents do not require a celebrity in their fire chief.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

All this bashing the firefighter is so much bs. Have any of you who enjoy doing the bashing ever had need of the fire dept services? Well my family has and their actions and care have always been exemplary. In Nov my son was driving in unincorporated West Menlo when he hit an unseen road hazard on a street being repaved. Airbags went off slamming him in the chest. The Valpariso station unit showed up within a couple minutes of the call and a couple minutes later a Woodside Fire Dept paramedic unit, which happened to be in the vicinity, arrived. My son was dazed and in chest pain so they transported him to SUH. The fire crew moved his vehicle off the road, placed barriers around the road hazard and notified the county to fix the road problem.
No this wasn't a fire or a major trauma accident but I'm sure as hell glad we have excellent caring firefighters in our dept. When was the last time one of you entered a burning home, responded to a chemical warehouse fire or tried to free someone from a auto surrounded by gasoline.
So instead of bashing the firefighters do something constructive like thanking them.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Mr Hawkins is the Union President. Connect the dots. The Union is trying to spank a great Chief. Unions are going the way of the dinasaur and I can hardly wait for that to happen.


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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Why does the Fire Board call for an investigation regarding this incident and get all the facts surrounding this incident. Is this another cover up by the fire district to support their chief or is it another way the union can schmear the fire department and the chief???? Will the Almanac hold both of them to the fire.....I bet NOT!!!! The Almanac is in Peter Carpetner's pocket....No fair reporting here!!!! Let's see how the Almanac can be objective!!!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Concerned Citizen - please read the entire thread before asking for something that has already been addressed.

I have answered every honest question posed on this thread.

I was asked to have the Fire Board address this issue and I responded with an email (see above) to the Chief asking that this be included on the Fire Board's next agenda - he confirmed within hours that this will happen.

The dispatch system worked exactly as it was designed to do, the injured individual was treated and transported promptly and no complaint was filed by the individual or their family. Now over three months later a union official trumps up an "incident" in order to disparage the Fire Chief.

The only unfair 'reporting' is the incredible number of allegations without verification made by anonymous posters regarding the Fire Chief. It would be interesting to see how many of those posting were from the same individual using different anonymous names and or disgruntled union leaders.


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Posted by liz
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It sounds to me as though the union committed a hippa violation.


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Posted by John Wurdinger
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:57 pm

My name is John Wurdinger and I am currently the Vice President of Menlo Park Firefighters. Since 2005 I have served as both President and Vice President of our Association and I have never blogged on the Almanacs website using a pseudo or otherwise artificial name. Not to say I think that is wrong, it is just something that I would not do.

I have been misrepresented as President of the Firefighters Union several times in the past three years by the Almanac, Post and Daily. I have explained to anybody that would listen that Ed Hawkins is my Union President. However, with that being said, I am a "Union Representative." The way the relationship between our Association and Union works is as follows:

Our Association has a five member Executive Board. Three members are voted on even years and two on odd. The two members that are elected on odd years serve two purposes. 1) They are the President and Vice President of our Association; and, 2) they are the 10th District Vice Presidents (DVP's) representing Menlo Park Firefighters on our Local's Executive Board. This Executive Board is made up of Firefighters from all over our County, to find out more google "IAFF Local 2400."

In the years that I have been a DVP, I have served alongside Mike Sweeney, Tom Neylan and as of this month, Ehren MacDonald. I can say with certainty that there have been no DVP's that have posted anything on the Almanac Blog using a pseudo or otherwise artificial name.

We do have low moral within the District. If you are curious as to some of the reasons why you can watch us on YouTube at Web Link .

A major problem we are experiencing is that the majority of the Fire District Board of Directors will not sit down and talk to Menlo Park Firefighters. I feel, as do many others within the Fire District, that if the elected representatives of Menlo Park Firefighters were able to speak with the Elected Officials of the Fire District that our Agency as a whole would be better off.

I hope that this clears up any confusion that there might be relating to Union Leaders posting on the Almanac Blog.

Thank You,

John Wurdinger
Vice-President
Menlo Park Firefighters
10th District Vice President
San Mateo County Firefighters
IAFF Local 2400


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Mr. Wurdinger has provided an important piece of the puzzle as to why the union is attempting to discredit the Chief:"A major problem we are experiencing is that the majority of the Fire District Board of Directors will not sit down and talk to Menlo Park Firefighters. I feel, as do many others within the Fire District, that if the elected representatives of Menlo Park Firefighters were able to speak with the Elected Officials of the Fire District that our Agency as a whole would be better off."

Connecting the dots as to why Mr. Hawkins fabricated this incident is getting easier and easier.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Bravo Mr. Wurdinger. Hopefully Mr. Carpenter will refrain from further obtuse comments and realize there is a problem with morale as I have stated in my posts and as indicated in the article published by The Almanac. His comments regarding how dispatches are handled in San Mateo County are a smokescreen to what is obviously a greater underlying problem. While not a big fan of unions, they become a necessity in such situations when our the firefighters that are doing the grunt work and risking their lives and take a backseat to a chief collecting a $300K annual salary and more concerned with his image and a television crew
rather than trying to find a resolution between his firefighters and the Fire District Board.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Connecting the dots as to why Mr. Hawkins fabricated this incident is getting easier and easier. And even doubting Thomas agrees "trying to find a resolution between his firefighters and the Fire District Board."


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Peter:

if what Mr. Wurdinger says is true, why won't the board talk to the fire fighters? If they are willing to talk, why isn't the board?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by citizen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

To the FF instead of crying and constantly complaining about your jobs, retire and let others in who would love to be firefighters. In Fact, let Cal Fire do the job! You FF are paid well, have pensions and wonderful health and dental benefits. Some of you often work other jobs in your off hours. I am so VERY tired of your compliants especially during one of the most trying and dismal economic times California has ever seen. There are people everyday losing their jobs and benefits. Stop complaining!!!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Menlo voter asks:"why won't the board talk to the fire fighters? If they are willing to talk, why isn't the board?"

The Board has designated individuals to negotiate on behalf of the District and the union has refused to negotiate with the Board's designated representatives. The union has refused for over 6 months to even come to the table for negotiations.

The union has appeared before the Board and offered over 30 minutes of public comment to which the Board listened attentively.

If the union wants to negotiate then they need to come back to the bargaining table as do all reasonable parties in a labor negotiation.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Menlo voter asks:"why won't the board talk to the fire fighters? If they are willing to talk, why isn't the board?"

The Board has designated individuals to negotiate on behalf of the District and the union has refused to negotiate with the Board's designated representatives. The union has refused for over 6 months to even come to the table for negotiations.

The union has appeared before the Board and offered over 30 minutes of public comment to which the Board listened attentively.

If the union wants to negotiate then they need to come back to the bargaining table as do all reasonable parties in a labor negotiation.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Mr Carpenter's unprofessional reply is not unexpected. As a member of the Fire Board, I would refer him to take a refresher course on his Board of Directors Policy and Procedure Manual...specifically pages 18, 19 & 20 which outlines a board member's conduct and responsibility to constituents. No mystery now why our firefighters are having such a difficult time and morale is low if Mr. Carpenter is an example of who they have to deal with.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Thomas once again makes an allegation, "Mr Carpenter's unprofessional reply ", which has no basis in reality.

Menlo Voter asked a question and I answered it. What specifically does Thomas find unprofessional about my reply?

Mindless and baseless allegations do not advance meaningful dialogue.


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm

You FFs have far too much time on your hands. Stop complaining. The public is fed up. Thank you Mr. Carpenter. I have never met you. Thanks for your time and energy representing the public.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm

As I stated in an earlier post, most cities now require their fire chiefs to have a fire science degree as well as a degree in public administration. San Diego's fire chief is one such example and collects an annual salary of $166,000 and is far more credentialed than Menlo Park's fire chief that collects a $300k annual salary.

I would urge our city manager as well as town council to get involved in this matter and realize that a new fire chief with an education in public administration could better handle the impasse between the firefighters and the fire board as well as produce a significant savings to the taxpayers that could be better redirected to our underpaid firefighters.


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Thomas you make no sense. The citizens won't stand still for you and your ilk, because you are unhappy with the FF wages. Everybody knows FF are overpaid. And, California is broke. The Chief is worth every cent he makes especially having to endure such foolery. Also, the MPFPD isn't a municipal district. It is a special district Ego, the town of Menlo Park has no power over it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Thomas - you are simply out of touch with reality. As I told you before the City of Menlo Park has NO responsibility for the Fire District - which is a separate entity.

You casually disparage a public servant who would put you to shame in any arena of leadership.

The elected Directors of the Fire District have GREAT confidence in the Fire Chief and they have no illusions about the value of degrees versus real life management and leadership experiences. I doubt that there is a firefighter who would hesitate to follow the Chief into a fire and, more important having been a firefighter myself, who would not welcome having the Chief behind them as they went into a fire. For a firefighter that trust is far more important than a college degree.

Look careful at your motives and character before you continue this course of slander.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm

So Carpenter can slander council members but Thomas cannot do the same to a fire chief?

Peter you are becoming a silly caricature.

"...put you to shame in any area of leadership."

That is called a man crush.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Truth as always deals with untruth - I have never slandered a council member. Slander is a malicious, false, and defamatory statement.
I challenged Fergusson on her violation of the Brown Act and that violation was confirmed by the City Attorney - nothing false, malicious or defamatory.

Want to take another shot? Your batting average is pretty poor.


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Thank you Mr. Carpenter for your wise and tireless service. MPFPD is strongly supported by the citizens as witnessed in last Nov.'s issues' election. Keep going. FF retire if you wish; there are plenty of men and women who would be happy to take your place. Also, FF haven't advanced degrees so why are they so overpaid?


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Mr. Carpenter, apparently the rank and file of Menlo Park's Fire Dept. disagrees with your assessment of the situation. While you may feel the Directors of the Fire District have great confidence in the fire chief, the firefighters do not and as a taxpayer contributing to his $300K salary I also do not.

It was my hope that as a board member of the Fire District, you would be able to respect the opinions of a constituent rather than take the low road and make an accusation that I have slandered your friend. Just as you admonish council members for not taking their refresher courses in the Brown Act, I would advise you to reread the Fire District's Policy and Procedure Manual. I am entitled to my opinion and nothing I have said in any post was untrue.


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Thomas you make no sense. [Portion removed; stick to the issue and don't attack other posters.] It doesn't matter if the FF like the Chief. The Chief isn't being paid to make friends. He works at the pleasure of the elected board. [Portion removed]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Thomas - you are consistently wrong - "nothing I have said in any post was untrue." The Chief's salary was $204,201.82 not $300,000.00. Where do you get or why do you fabricate your misinformation?

You state:"apparently the rank and file of Menlo Park's Fire Dept. disagrees with your assessment of the situation." And what is the basis for your "apparently" assertion? I have first hand knowledge of the relations within the District but I doubt that you would recognize a single firefighter if they responded to a fire in your home.

With regard to the Policy Manual - I helped write it and know it very well. Please enlighten us as to exactly where you feel I have failed to comply with those policies. Empty assertions are just another form of slander.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm

The truth is you cannot slander a public official. Look it up. I was only playing on your silly use of the word.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm

unTruth states:"I was only playing on your silly use of the word."

How true that untruth simply plays on words rather than making a substantive contribution to a serious discussion.


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Posted by John Wurdinger
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm

There seems to be a lot of talk about how much District Employees make.

The attached link is to the Fire District's Sire Program and particularly to an exhibit of Menlo Park Fire Board Resolution 1371-2010. What it shows is the billing rate our Fire District charges to our Urban Search and Rescue Team (US&R) or more specifically what Menlo Park Fire charges the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Web Link Our Chiefs Salaries are calculated at an hourly rate with total roll up costs and then placed in the schedule at 50%:

• @ 50% Hourly Rate (Weighted)
o Fire Chief 50% hourly rate @ $102.00
o Deputy Chief 50% hourly rate @ $100.00
o Division Chief 50% hourly rate @ $91.00
o Battalion Chief 50% hourly rate @ $54.00

• @100% Hourly Rate (Weighted)
o Fire Chief hourly rate @ $204.00
o Deputy Chief hourly rate @ $200.00
o Division Chief hourly rate @ $182.00
o Battalion Chief hourly rate @ $108.00

• Hourly Rate by hours worked (2080 hours per year for Staff Chiefs aka Fire Chief, Deputy Chief & Division Chief, 2912 per year for Suppression Chiefs aka Battalion Chief)
o Fire Chief annually @ $424,320.00
o Deputy Chief annually @ $416,000.00
o Division Chief annually @ $378,560.00
o Battalion Chief annually @ $314,496.00

According to the Joint Labor Management Salary Survey that was completed in June of 2008 per Section 5 of our MOU for our current contract negotiations, in our Agency:
• Firefighter EMT's are compensated 6.32% less than the average Firefighter EMT in our comparable agencies
• Engineer EMT's are compensated 4.65% less than the average of Engineer EMT in our comparable agencies
• Captain EMT's are compensated 5.00% less than the average of our comparable agencies

If similar parameters were to be applied to our Chief Officers:
• Fire Chief is compensated 14.26% above the average Fire Chief in our comparable agencies
• Deputy Chief is compensated 15.89% above the average Deputy Chief in our comparable agencies
• Division Chief (Training) is compensated 17.09% above the average Division Chief in our comparable agencies
• Division Chief (Fire Marshal) is compensated 18.79% above the average Division Chief in our comparable agencies
• Battalion Chief is compensated 6.43% above the average Battlion Chief in our comparable agencies

On September 8th, 2010, the Firefighters of Menlo Park sent a letter to the Fire District stating among other things:

"The Firefighters of Menlo Park could accept being compensated less than a 5% above our comparable agencies [not in accordance to the District Board 2008 Compensation Philosophy]. However, we can not do this with our Chief Officers being compensated so high above our comparable agencies. What the firefighters of Menlo Park could find acceptable is one of three things: increase compensation to line personnel; decrease compensation to chief officers; or, a combination of the two."


Thank You,

John Wurdinger
Vice-President
Menlo Park Firefighters
10th District Vice President
San Mateo County Firefighters
IAFF Local 2400


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom Foolery
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Peter:
You can not win by engaging these [portion removed; see terms of use]. They are just trying to exhaust you or to drive you nuts -- which ever one they can succeed at first.
Why not just leave these union shills to the obvious subtrafuse that was the original seed of this thread. Even the press can figure this one out all on their own. This blatant contrivance was more shockingly clear without all the intercourse.
These people simply want to discredit the District Board and Chief and to cause what ever mutiny, embarrassment or mayhem they can effect, that might advance their own self serving agenda for greed and influence. Clearly they are plenty desperate already-- to be stooping this low --just fishing around really, to see what might stick to any barbed hook they might float.
Unplug the fan--and this one will go out on it's own.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

Mr. Wurdinger, thank you again for providing information that substantiates my point. The fire chief earns a gross salary in excess of $300K...more than double that of San Diego's fire chief who earns half as much and has an education in public administration that might be helpful in settling the impasse and low morale with firefighters.

Mr. Carpenter has yet to provide any evidence that I have slandered his friend the fire chief and continues to dig a deeper hole for himself as a member of the fire board. He continues to disrespect constituents that disagree with his position and contrary to the code of ethics of the Fire Board Manual that he claims to have co-authored.

While Mr. Carpenter may think that I am not aware that the Fire Board is a separate entity from the city council, I am well aware as well as realizing the council has a greater ability to educate the majority
of residents that do not follow this forum. It is my hope that you continue to monitor these blogs and provide the facts to help keep this forum free from disinformation. I do think this story will continue to gain legs and get further notice by The Almanac as well as the involvement of our council members. It is my opinion that the end result will be an outpouring of support by residents that are unaware of this problem and the needed compensation our firefighters deserve.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 22, 2011 at 4:39 am

Thomas - you are not paying attention. Wurdinger cites the rates (which includes, as he notes, a 50% markup) that the District would bill FEMA when our firefighters are deployed on a USAR mission;this is not what the firefighters are paid. The Chief's salary that I provided from the District's web site is his actual W-2 income.

Tom Foolery gives great advice - "Peter: You can not win by engaging these idiots. Unplug the fan--and this one will go out on it's own."


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Posted by citizen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

Is there anyway to get rid of unions who are too stupid to see the handwriting on the wall. california is broke, people are out of work, ff can be replaced by people who want to work,


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Posted by facts and figures
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

What the citizens are looking at are unfunded liabities and PERS in particular. There is no reason to increase public payrolls when the state pension systems are broken. The fire FF culture is becoming extinct and this is obviously painful to union members who were used to years and years of generous payroll benefits and salaries. financially solvency will take a very long time. In the meantime, no union should lean financially on taxpayers. Also, don't forget two things. Those of you who have jobs are lucky you have them and if you don't like the direction the economy is having on your current salary give up your job and give it to one of the thousands of people who would love your job.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I encourage everyone t complain to the mayor about the fire district chief's decision to shut down a fire engine when a child was injured and to have dispatch find an alternate source further away because he wanted to be on a TV show. I would encourage you also file a complaint to the mayor that district board member Carpenter is failing in his duties first by denying any wrong doing before any investigation and through his poor demeanor on this forum and his unprofessional conduct.

I expect nothing will happen because the district clearly owns the relationship by taking more tax money from city resources than the city actually gets.

Peter, you are a terrible representative because you are biased and defensive and you think too much of yourself. This country is getting rid of your type city by city. The days of closed minded, self promoting elected officials is over.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

UnTruth - as always you ignore the facts. The station was out of service BEFORE the injury call was made not as you state a "decision to shut down a fire engine WHEN a child was injured and to have dispatch find an alternate source further away".

Facts are important but you seem to always ignore the facts and to simply create your own untruths.

And you continue to engage in personal attacks.

I stand on my record.

I wonder what you stand on.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

truth:

what don't you undersatnd about the fact that the mayor doesn't have anything to do with the Fire District. The district is seperate and distinct from the city. What don't you understand about that?


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Dear Un truth;
The Menlo Fire District has been around longer than the City of Menlo Park or the Town of Atherton, have even been incorporated.
Faxon Atherton himself (listed rather cheekily as farmer in the county directory) provided the initial leadership, served as the Districts first Chief and paid for the first horse drawn fire wagon.
I learned most of this from the current Chief's history lectures, sponsored by the Menlo Park Historical Association. Also I have seen the early district maps. For decades now the current Chief has taken much better care of this burg than any one year Mayor of Menlo Park that I can think of.
But if you think the your current Mayor has nothing better to do than destroy the Fire Dept. so that you can keep your Union lobbiest checks rolling in, then you best prepare to get hosed by the taxpayers.


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm

The crux of the matter here -- when you push away the politics and paranoia -- is that apparently a station can be taken out of service for reasons that many of us might consider frivolous.

* What are the criteria for taking a station out of service? Media events? Station parties? Poker games? Visits from local dignitaries, eg the mayors of Menlo Park and/or Atherton?

* Is anyone tracking or auditing the "out of service" incidents to determine whether or not they are appropriate?

Seems to me that there are only two reasons to remove a station from service:

* Station personnel are all occupied on calls and therefore unavailable.

* Major mechanical or electrical failures have made it impossible for the station to respond to calls.

(As an aside, can someone please explain why a highly paid fire chief needed to be involved in the creation of a video about changing batteries in smoke alarm? Seems to me that this would have been a better project for a Scout troop.)

On behalf of all parents -- and all residents in the district -- it would be reassuring to hear that the district has reconsidered its out-of-service policies and has decided to minimize out-of-service events. As I said before: priorities.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 5:50 am

Hillview parent - Thank you for your succinct summary. As I noted earlier, the Chief will be reporting on this issue at the Fire Board's next meeting.


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:15 am

Peter, thank you, I saw your letter, but it says:

"Chief,

In your Feb. report to the Fire Board please describe what happens if a unit is out of service and a call is received for which that unit would normally be first up.

Thank you,

Peter Carpenter"

I think we already know the answer to that one, and if you compare your letter to my questions, you will see that mine are different and perhaps not so easy to answer. It boils down to: what are the criteria for taking a station out of service, and who (if anyone) monitors those outages?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

Hillview parent - I have already provided the Chief with your previously posted and nice stated summary question and it will be addressed in his report to the Board. Thank you again for your thoughtful postings.

Peter

From: Peter Carpenter
Date: January 23, 2011 5:47:10 AM PST
To: harold schapelhouman
Subject: Related to my earlier email re your report at next Board meeting

Posted by Hillview parent, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, 5 hours ago

The crux of the matter here -- when you push away the politics and paranoia -- is that apparently a station can be taken out of service for reasons that many of us might consider frivolous.

* What are the criteria for taking a station out of service? Media events? Station parties? Poker games? Visits from local dignitaries, eg the mayors of Menlo Park and/or Atherton?

* Is anyone tracking or auditing the "out of service" incidents to determine whether or not they are appropriate?

Seems to me that there are only two reasons to remove a station from service:

* Station personnel are all occupied on calls and therefore unavailable.

* Major mechanical or electrical failures have made it impossible for the station to respond to calls.

(As an aside, can someone please explain why a highly paid fire chief needed to be involved in the creation of a video about changing batteries in smoke alarm? Seems to me that this would have been a better project for a Scout troop.)

On behalf of all parents -- and all residents in the district -- it would be reassuring to hear that the district has reconsidered its out-of-service policies and has decided to minimize out-of-service events. As I said before: priorities.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm

If the chief just would have said "sorry, if i had to do it again I would have done it differently", carpenter and a few people would not be having this on line war of words. but hey, you got 2 guys who just love the attention. sad


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Concerned - Saying "sorry" does not solve a problem if either you did nothing wrong or if doing so precludes understanding what happened in the first place. In this case I believe, but others disagree, that the Chief did nothing wrong. I also believe that this discussion, notwithstanding a lot trash talk by certain anonymous posters, was a very productive dialogue and, thanks primarily to Hillview parent's nice summary and clear question, will result in a useful discussion at the next Fire Board meeting.

Democracy thrives on intelligent, probing discussion. And if the price of democracy is putting up with some anonymous trash talk then so be it.


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Posted by poster
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jan 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Peter: What is the time, date and location of the next fire board meeting?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

The next Fire Board meeting was scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday as is usual, however there are some conflicts and the Clerk is attempting to reschedule. The meetings are held in the classroom behind Station 1 on Middlefield and start at 7 pm. When the date is certain I will post it on this site. Public comments are heard both at the beginning of the meeting for items not on the agenda and before a decision is made on any item which is on the agenda. The subject of out of service protocols will either be covered in the Chief's report or as a separate agenda item.


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Posted by Conserative Storm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

Being around for about thirty years, I can say it used to take the Battalion Chief's approval to take your apparatus out of service.In the past there was only two reasons to do so, (1)you were on a call or getting back into service from a call, (2)your apparatus was out of service "Mechanical". Now after years of degredation of this perfectly reasonable practice the fire District finds it very easy to take their apparatus out of service. Under the guise of "training" the District loses up to 48 (man)hours per tour for this cause.The Fire Chief lost any grasp of reason in taking an apparatus out of service for whatever promotion. I hope it amounts to this for all you politico's, would you rather have your daughter wrenched underneath a car for 90 seconds or close to 5 minutes? In a day and time where we stress that "minutes count" and dismiss an action like this from the Fire Chief by the Fire District Board of directors, we have lost it. Director Carpender, "The King has no clothes".


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:50 am

Wrong - apparatus have always been taken out of service for a number of reasons in addition to being on a call or mechanically unable to respond. Some of the other reason include things like training (hard to respond quickly when you have hose out and ladders up) or a station being empty because of a move and cover.


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Posted by Conservative Storm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

[Post removed. Please discuss the topic and avoid attacking other posters.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

Conservative storm - I have just demonstrated that your absolute statement about there being two reasons for being out if service is wrong. Why do you think that shows any limited knowledge on my part?


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Posted by Seeing Green
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 10:50 am

Looking at the views of past posts and trying to figure out the all of the past conversations, questions need answering,

1. Was the fire department or station called to respond to this call and did the Chief decided not to go, From Almanac "He had declared the Station 6 crew as "out of service." was this communicated with the other fire departments or stations before this event.

2. Question? The requesting person asking for help, which is why they call for 911. Then 911 calls a station to respond, don't they have the duty to respond. " Fireman's Rule--The rule is based upon the legal tort doctrine meaning someone, through a negligent action or failure to act when there was a legal duty to act, has caused harm to another or the property of another. As a result, the actor may have incurred a liability to be financially responsible to the person injured".

3. Few Bloggers have asked the questions about if it was your child or family member, how about a person coming to a station to report accident would the firefighters not have gone to accident a few blocks away or would they just keep filming


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 10:58 am

As noted many times above station 6 was placed out if service BEFORE the 911 called was received by the county wide fire dispatch center. The fire dispatch center dispatched the nearest in service apparatus.


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Posted by See Green
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Question # 4

Why did this make the news if station 6 never received the call from 911 to respond "many times above station 6 was placed out if service BEFORE the 911 called was received by the county wide fire dispatch" where is the communication error then, why did dispatch call station 6 and not the nearest open station? Not following sequence.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm

See Green - please read the entire thread rather than just the last postings.
as noted above:
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

The Chief does NOT do dispatch. MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch. All fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closest in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched.

Yes, all the stations hear the dispatches and call details. The Chief also heard the dispatch and realized that the already dispatched unit would reach the scene BEFORE the out of service unit could be put back in service and then dispatched. It is alleged by a union leader that less experienced personell wanted to self dispatch - a prohibited action.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

The next Fire Board meeting will be on 22 Feb. at 7 PM in the classroom behind Station 1 which is at 300 Middlefield Road.
The Chief will report on the dispatch procedures and the out-of-service procedures.


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Posted by Maria
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Peter Carpenter:

I find you rude very often. It isn't necessary that you insult people so much of the time (and you, also, please keep on the subject more). [Portion removed - please avoid characterizing other posters.]

More importantly, I definitely think the Chief was wrong. I hope that none of your loved ones or friends gets in a similar situation as the young girl. I hope the same for me, my family, etc. are not treated this way.

I wish you would step down from your position on the Board immediately. Of course people take your comments as being on (and a direcor at that) as representing the Board.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Maria - you are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine.

I always treat people with respect and reciprocity. If my respect is reciprocated then it continues but if the response is disrespectful, as many have been, then I no longer feel compelled to be respectful.
For example, I resent it when people do not do their homework, like reading the complete thread before posting questions that have already been answered.

I was elected twice to the Fire Board receiving more votes than any other candidate as well as more votes than did any candidate for the Menlo Park, Atherton or East Palo Alto city councils. I shall continue my public service and would encourage you to consider public service. It is very rewarding in spite of the occasional cheap shots, like yours, which I have learned to ignore.


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Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Peter Carpenter:

I admire your advocacy work. Please keep it up.


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Posted by JB
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Lots of defending and excuses seem to be on this thread. An apology from the fire chief is definitely in order and would go a long way right now.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

JB - Saying "sorry" does not solve a problem if either you did nothing wrong or if doing so precludes understanding what happened in the first place. In this case I believe, but others disagree, that the Chief did nothing wrong. I also believe that this discussion, notwithstanding a lot trash talk by certain anonymous posters, was a very productive dialogue and, thanks primarily to Hillview parent's nice summary and clear question, will result in a useful discussion at the next Fire Board meeting.

Democracy thrives on intelligent, probing discussion. And if the price of democracy is putting up with some anonymous trash talk then so be it.


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Posted by JB
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 7:56 am

I repeat, an apology is in order.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 8:11 am

JB - you do repeat a question which has been asked and answered and your repetition adds no insight as to why you feel an apology is in order - the Chief did nothing wrong and the long established disipatch procedures were followed.

Or do you want the Union President to apologize for his attack on the Chief which was made not when the event occurred almost 4 months ago but exactly one day after the District decided to move to impose its last best offer?

As someone said above - connect the dots.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:30 am

The issue, once again is not about dispatches but the lack of judgment the chief exercised by taking the station out of service for his press conference. Even the San Jose Mercury News in it's January 18th article describes the chief as "the media-savvy Schapelhouman" in reference to his penchant for holding news conferences and desire to be in the limelight.

The chief was fortunate that the bicyclist was not seriously injured or killed or there would be no discussion...just his termination.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

Thomas states:"The issue, once again is not about dispatches but the lack of judgment the chief exercised by taking the station out of service for his press conference"

As noted above and again and again, stations are taken out of service for a number of reasons like relocating apparatus, move and cover, mechanical defects, absence of a required crew member, fire prevention training. And units are taken out of service by the battalion chief, the training chief and the department chief. As noted above this process will be reported on by the Chief at the 22 Feb Board meeting.

In the meantime, the Thomases of this forum should stop make assertions as to who did what and why based on a clearly calculated and strangely timed hit piece by a union leader.

Connect the dots.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JB
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:06 am

Thomas,

You are right on with your comments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ann
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

This constant negativity smells of local 2400 trying to disparage a fine chief. Menlo Park can rest assured that your chief is one of the best in the state.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

Even if one wants to agree with Mr. Carpenter about the timing of this incident by the union, it still does not mitigate the error in judgment. Case in point is Gloria Allred's revelation that Meg Whitman employed an undocumented worker and her subsequent actions in denying it. While no one questions the timing by Ms. Allred, voters were incensed by Whitman's indifference and inability to effectively deal with the issue. Voters were able to "connect the dots" in Whitman's case just as they are on this thread. People have little patience for public servants that exercise poor judgment and then try to minimize their mistakes...in this case blaming it on the union.





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

Thomas - Have you no decency? You keep referring to an 'error in judgement".

There is no evidence that such an error occurred, there has been no complaint filed with the Fire District and you are willing to base your charge solely on a politicly motivated attack by a union leader (who has been unable to negotiate a new labor agreement for almost three years both because he is demanding an 11% wage increase and refuses to even come to meetings with negotiators or mediators).

Repeat a lie does not make it true. And follow the money.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 11:45 am

And in following the money, note this post as to clarifying the poster's motives in contuining to make unfounded charges about the Fire Chief:

"Posted by Thomas, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

It is my opinion that the end result will be an outpouring of support by residents that are unaware of this problem and the needed compensation our firefighters deserve."


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Posted by Jean B
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thomas, Your comments are correct. The fire chief might be a nice guy but he exhibited a huge error in judgement. And yes, very lucky that the accident wasn't worse. I agree that an apology to the community is needed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Jean B states:"The fire chief might be a nice guy but he exhibited a huge error in judgement."

Where are your facts? Or do you just attack people based on politically motivated attacks by others?

There was no error in judgement and there has been no complaint filed with the Fire District. Hawkins original email was not sent to the Fire Board or to the Fire Chief but to the Mercury News - why?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Average outsider
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm

The attacks here stink to high heaven and remind me of the Middle Ages and witch trials.

The jury knows nothing, but is in high dudgeon over suspicions based on their own uninformed judgment about an institution that, like many long-established institutions, has operations and policies that have a history as to why they are what they are and are necessarily opaque to the average outsider.


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Posted by John S.
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thomas and Jean make good observations. "An error in judgement" is accurate. The chief let the glitz of media interfere with his business responsibilities. Very sad but it could have been worse if the accident was life threatening.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

John S - you too are simply wrong. Please take the time to read the entire thread before making a charge, "an error in judgement", that has no foundation.

There is no evidence that such an error in judgement occurred, there has been no complaint filed with the Fire District and you are willing to base your charge solely on a politicly motivated attack by a union leader (who has been unable to negotiate a new labor agreement for almost three years both because he is demanding an 11% wage increase and refuses to even come to meetings with negotiators or mediators).

The Chief does NOT do dispatch. MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch. All fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closest in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched.

Yes, all the stations hear the dispatches and call details. The Chief also heard the dispatch and realized that the already dispatched unit would reach the scene BEFORE the out of service unit could be put back in service and then dispatched. It is alleged by a union leader that less experienced personell wanted to self dispatch - a prohibited action.




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Posted by Joseph
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Can anyone tell me where or to whom Menlo Park residents are supposed to bring concerns about the Fire Department. I always assumed it would be the District Board who are officials elected to represent the residents. But if Mr. Carpenter is representative of his colleagues, the Board has no interest in listening to Menlo residents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Joseph - I have listened very closely and I have responded to the ONLY positive suggestion made, that by Hillview parent, by having the Chief place this item on the Feb 22. Board agenda. Your comment is just one more allegation without verification, ie. a lie.

Most posters seem unwilling to either read the entire thread or to do any of their own homework or fact checking so let's recap everything.

A union president (who has been unable and unwilling to either negotiate a new labor agreement over the last three years or to attend scheduled negotiation meetings or to meet with mediators to further those negotiations and who continues to demand an 11% increase for his members) sends an email to the SJ Mercury News (but not to the Fire Board or to the Fire Chief) about an incident which occurred almost four months ago. That email is sent the day after the Fire Board directed the Chief to proceed with plans to submit to the Board the District's Last Best offer for possible imposition. The email describes the county wide fire dispatch system as dispatching the nearest in service apparatus to a 911 call in lieu of having the Chief place an out of service unit with which he was doing a public service announcement back in service and then having that unit dispatched.

We then get a whole series of anonymous postings (including some which I suspect are from the same IP address but with different anonymous names as well as some which I suspect are from union members) charging the Chief with making "an error in judgment".

There is no evidence that an error in judgment occurred, there has been no complaint filed with the Fire District and yet these posters are willing to base their charge solely on a politically motivated attack by a union leader.

The Chief does NOT do dispatch. MPFPD does NOT do its own dispatch. All fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closest in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched. Station 6 was placed out if service BEFORE the 911 called was received by the county wide fire dispatch center. The fire dispatch center dispatched the nearest in service apparatus.

Yes, all the stations hear the dispatches and call details. The Chief also heard the dispatch and realized that the already dispatched unit would reach the scene BEFORE the out of service unit could be put back in service and then dispatched. It is alleged by a union leader that less experienced personnel wanted to self dispatch - a prohibited action.

Fortunately one thoughtful poster, Hillview parent, posed some very appropriate questions:


" The crux of the matter here -- when you push away the politics and paranoia -- is that apparently a station can be taken out of service for reasons that many of us might consider frivolous.

* What are the criteria for taking a station out of service? Media events? Station parties? Poker games? Visits from local dignitaries, eg the mayors of Menlo Park and/or Atherton?

* Is anyone tracking or auditing the "out of service" incidents to determine whether or not they are appropriate?

Seems to me that there are only two reasons to remove a station from service:

* Station personnel are all occupied on calls and therefore unavailable.

* Major mechanical or electrical failures have made it impossible for the station to respond to calls.

On behalf of all parents -- and all residents in the district -- it would be reassuring to hear that the district has reconsidered its out-of-service policies and has decided to minimize out-of-service events. As I said before: priorities."

*********

The Fire Chief has placed this item on the agenda for the Feb. 22 Board meeting.

Until then and in the absence of any new facts I suggest those who are concerned plan to attend the Feb. 22 meeting and stop posting unfounded allegations.



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Posted by Jean B
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

John S -- Agree. Hopefully the chief has learned something from all of this and will act more responsibly in the future.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm

[Post removed. Please do not attach other posters.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Average outsider
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

[Post removed due to referral to prior post, which was removed.]


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Joseph, to answer your question responsibly, residents can ask the City Council to form an independent oversight committee to investigate the Fire Chief's actions if the Fire District Board is unwilling or becomes negligent in their responsibilities. It becomes apparent that this may be necessary since Mr. Carpenter is not respectful to those that differ with his point of view and is not comporting himself in accordance with the Fire District's code of ethics which he claims to have co-authored. Let's hope he does not speak for the other members of the Fire District Board who have yet to make their positions clear.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Jean B states:"will act more responsibly in the future."

Facts please or is this just more mindless calumny?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Thomas states:"is not comporting himself in accordance with the Fire District's code of ethics"

Facts please as to which specific actions violate which specific Fire District's code of ethics - or is this just more mindless calumny?


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Peter

What the public thinks about our fire department is not a matter of fact. It is perception, and quite frankly well deserved. Their salaries are outrageous (by any measure) their pensions even more so.

For that kind of compensation we expect public servitude and all we get in response is glib answer and "I'm worth it". Since there is no way to accurately calculate their marginal utility (this is a monopoly after all) then you'll just have to agree that the VAST majority of our tax paying citizens feel cheated by the the Fire District.

It is EASY to lash out at the Chief when you take their frustration into account, and you shouldn't be surprised. The rest of the world took a pay cut and layoffs during this recession, and our Fire District held employment identical and saw it's costs for healthcare and pensions increase over 80% in that time.

So the FF should "Cowboy Up" shut their mouths, take the abuse and walk away with their 90% pensions into the sunset. they are the last of a dieing breed of over compensated public servants.....and they better hope we don't decide to bankrupt the system and leave them with nothing....as the old Wall Street adage goes "Bears and Bulls survive, Pigs get slaughtered"


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Roy - useful observations but a bit wrong on the facts. The Fire District has held the line without any wage increases for firefighters since 2007. We have the most fully funded pensions of any agency in California. We have a balanced budget and we have reserves.


Also way off topic - perhaps you would like to start another thread on this topic.


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Posted by JB
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Roy, You make valid points.

Perceptions are real. No amount of saying "you're wrong," making disparaging comments to other posters, demanding "facts," or repeatedly listing long statements will change these perceptions.

It's actions that change these perceptions. And Roy, you are right that the majority have negative perceptions of the Fire District. And most also have very negative perceptions of the actions of the fire chief as described in this article and the one in the Mercury News.

I guess we'll have to see if any positive ACTIONS take place.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Alice in Wonderland would love those who claim that the truth and facts are irrelevant.

"the greatest obstacle to progress is not ignorance but the illusion
of knowledge"
boornstein


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JB
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Joseph, Did you get an answer as to who we should contact? I would also like that info. Thanks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Web Link

Why are the posters on this forum so incapable of doing simple research?


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Posted by Average outsider
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I wonder if the complainers here understand the foundation of a democratic republic. Power resides with the people but it is not their privilege to rule on every issue and decision.

The undertone here strikes me as rule by an angry proletariat.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm

In the interest of full disclosure - a really scary concept for some people - here are some questions that need to be answered:
1 - How many of the anonymous posters on this thread have use more than one anonymous name?
2 - how many of the anonymous posters on this thread are members of the firefighters union or family members of those union members?
3 - how many of the anonymous posters on this thread actually live where they claim to live?
4 - How many of the anonymous posters on this thread have contributed a single new fact?


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Posted by JB
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Average outsider, Those are my feelings exactly. I hope that Mr. Carpenter reads and takes your comments to heart. "it is not their privilege to rule on every issue and decision."


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Posted by ann
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm

The city council has no power over the fire district. This all stinks of the angry fire union which is trying to create trouble for a very capable chief. Thankfully citizens aren't following for this ruse.


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Posted by dan
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm

How does the public get rid of unions?


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Dan:
If you read todays P.A. Daily Post (hard copy only, no online edition) you will notice on about page 5, That Oakland's S.E.I.U. president died yesterday and it is being investigated as a probable murder....... maybe they are getting rid of themselves. There is a lot of pressure everywhere--something has gotta give.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Unions HAD their time and place. We need to get rid of them now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:54 am

A girl is injured in a car accident. The fire district reassigns the response to a station further away and the chief let's it go because he wants to be on TV.

And all the hacks in this town care about is the unions.

MP, this should show you just where the priorities are for this group. Kids...after killing the unions. Kelly gets roasted for talking to two CC members about being a mayor, a kid gets deprioritized through the fire system and you guys blame the unions.

Hacks.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

Truth:

as ususal you mischaracterize what happened. As has been repeatedly pointed out, the station was already out of service BEFORE the girl was injured and BEFORE the call came in. The next closest station was dispatched. So if you want to correctly characterize it and ask a pertinant question, it would be "should the station have been taken out of service for the reason it was?" If you stick to facts, one can have a reasonable conversation.

I personally question taking the station out of service for this particular purpose, but given that stations get taken out of service for various reason all of the time it's hard to have too much heart burn about this particular instance.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

You may want to keep this fact in mind from the news article:

"The victim in the accident, a 17-year-old girl on a bike and wearing a helmet, collided with a vehicle at a bike speed of 2 mph and fell off."

Perhaps Stanford's Life Flight helicopter should have been put on alert.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:43 am

Untruth states"A girl is injured in a car accident. The fire district reassigns the response to a station further away and the chief let's it go because he wants to be on TV."

Repeating a lie does not make them truths.


This whole 'incident' was a media fabrication by a union leader who is attempting, unsuccessfully, to discredit the Fire Chief. The union president (who has been unable and unwilling to either negotiate a new labor agreement over the last three years or to attend scheduled negotiation meetings or to meet with mediators to further those negotiations and who continues to demand an 11% increase for his members) sends an email to the SJ Mercury News (but not to the Fire Board or to the Fire Chief) about an incident which occurred almost four months ago. That email is sent the day after the Fire Board directed the Chief to proceed with plans to submit to the Board the District's Last Best offer for possible imposition. Connect the dots.

The facts, Station 6 was was placed out of service BEFORE the 911 call came in. All fire dispatches in San Mateo County are done by a central fire dispatch. The central fire dispatch automatically dispatches the closest in service apparatus and does so within seconds of receiving a 911 call. To alter that process by attempting to place an out of service apparatus back in service before the dispatch was completed would add significant time before the first unit was dispatched. Station 6 was placed out if service BEFORE the 911 called was received by the county wide fire dispatch center. The fire dispatch center dispatched the nearest in service apparatus.

Yes, all the stations hear the dispatches and call details. The Chief also heard the dispatch and realized that the already dispatched unit would reach the scene BEFORE the out of service unit could be put back in service and then dispatched. It is alleged by a union leader that less experienced personnel wanted to self dispatch - a prohibited action.

This all leads to a healthy debate of what would have been a non-issue, cluttered by trash talk from a few anonymous poster and pitches for higher firefighter compensation by others and eventaulaay results in an excellent summarizing question on out-of-service protocols by Hillview Parent which will be addressed by the Fire Chief at the 22 Feb Fire Board meeting.

A few observant posters do connect the dots and reflect their comments back on the source of the Hawkins incident and the union and then the untruth tellers try to wind it up all over again.

Keep connecting the dots. Union leader =>failed negotiations=>want 11% increase=>Chief and Board say NO=>attempt to discredit Chief=>if that doesn't work then try again.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:07 am

How very sad.

Pogo: I have never seen such an insensitive comment. ANY accident for a child is scary and potentially dangerous. You don't know the child's physical health to begin with. There have been serious bicycle accidents all kinds of speeds.

Peter Carpenter: You say that "This whole 'incident' was a media fabrication." So, the accident never happened. Again, such insensitivity to the child and the family. You also say that it was "a media fabrication by a union leader who is attempting, unsuccessfully, to discredit the Fire Chief." Well, news flash--many Menlo Park and Atherton residents strongly feel that the fire chief's actions were wrong. You really need to stop berating those who don't agree with you.

I had almost looked at this situation in another light, trying to understand the fire chief's actions. But Pogo's comments, and most definitely Peter Carpenter's, have made it clear to me that the fire chief acted irresponsibly and only wanted his "15 minutes of fame" with the media. Very sad.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

Sadly "truth" or shall we call him Mr. Union got his points Wrong Again. You are doing more damage to your union with your comments. Remember, the adults in this district are good readers. I look forward to getting rid of the Unions which could happen in my lifetime. You guys have too much time on your hands.


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Posted by Stop embarrasing this family
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:15 am

How would you like it if the child's friends and family have to continue to read Mr. Union Hawkin's remarks, They are trying to have anonimity. Mr. Hawkins is breaking hippa rules of confidentiality to the family.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

Atherton Mom - the bicycle ACCIDENT did happen and was dealt with promptly and professionally.

-the Hawkins media incident was a total fabrication

- very few District residents, less than 10 by my count and that includes those using multiple anonymous name, feel the Fire Chief 'made a mistake' - the dispatch system worked exactly as it was designed to do and interfering with it while the dispatch as in progress could have had unintended consequences

- Hillview Parent's very useful summarizing question on the out-of-service protocol will be addressed at the 22 Feb Fire Board meeeting.

Remember to keep connecting the dots. Union leader =>failed negotiations=>want 11% increase=>Chief and Board say NO=>attempt to discredit Chief=>if that doesn't work then try again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by get rid of 2400
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

We got rid of this union 2400. Our citizens are very happy. We no longer have cry baby unions asking for money the public doesn't have. I hope that the fire board starts looking at alternative fire fighting solutions.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

Peter: you didn't say "Hawkins" in your comment. As I read through this and other posts, you seem really hung up on "anonymous." In fact you mention it so much you seem afraid. I suggest you read the posting guidelines.* Your constant berating and belittling of anyone who disagrees with you is actually a turn-off. The fact is that the fire chief did make a mistake. You are tied much too closely to this situation and having to defend him. You might make a valid point sometime, but your tone and pompus attitude leads people to want to look at the alternative view. Comments like "connect the dots" is extremely demeaning and offensive. I understand that you are a member of the fire board, and as such, you should recuse yourself from further comments on this situation. (And you are hurting, not helping your case with the tone of your comments.) As I said, I almost had the view that the fire chief was right, but your pontifications have now made me very sure that he was wrong.

*Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration! Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion.
We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish."

I cannot speak for others, but I have followed the above guidelines.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

For those who have not bothered to read the original article and all of the subsequent posts, Ed Hawkins is the President of the local firefighters union. His media event, the Hawkins Incident, was to send an email to the SJ Mercury News (but not to the Fire Board or to the Fire Chief) about an incident which occurred almost four months ago. That email was sent the day after the Fire Board directed the Chief to proceed with plans to submit to the Board the District's Last Best offer for possible imposition.

I have no fear of anonymous posters, I just wonder how many of them are using multiple names and how many of them actually live where they claim be live and what well hidden conflicts of interests they might have - all factors that detract from this being a thoughtful gathering place. How comfortable would you be in a gathering place with the information that you were getting from people who were wearing masks? I also wonder how many of them would have the courage to make their charge of a professional failing to perform his duties face-to-face.

As for connecting the dots - in forums like this one where many readers only look at the latest entries it is often useful to bring all of the pieces together in a single posting (like explaining to late comer who is Ed Hawkins and what was the Hawkins Incident). If you do not need such summaries then please feel free to ignore them but don't ignore all of the preceding postings as well.

The excellent question posed by Hillview Parent on the District's out-of-service protocols will be discussed at the Fire Board's 22 Feb. meeting.

Until there are new facts the fact remains - the Fire Chief did not make a mistake and continuing to state that he did without any corroborating facts is calumny.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

Peter Carpenter: The fact is that the fire chief was wrongt. For you to suggest otherwise is, in your words, calumny.

I have a suggestion for you. You don't seem to like the terms of this website. You put down, in a very demeaning way, anyone who disagrees with you. You should start your own blog. That way you would have total control over what is posted, what is said. You can berate others all you want, delete any posts you don't like and continue with your attitude that only you are right. They are very easy to set up and most of the time no cost is involved.

If you do not choose to go that route, then you should stop questioning anyone who posts within the guidelines (anonymous or registered). Just because a person doesn't "register" officially with a site does not make their comments irrelevant. Unfortunately your comments do make you seem very afraid. (That's my perception, and as someone else on this post said, that is my real feeling. The more you protest, the more I know you are afraid.)

Again, I wanted to think the fire chief acted responsibly, but your comments and extreme put down of others has really changed my mind. It's as if you are bending over backwards to help him justify and hide something. He was most definitely wrong and I agree that he owes the community an apology.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:25 am

Atherton Mom -

You don't have to play that holier than thou righteous indignation card that "ANY accident for a child is scary and potentially dangerous."

First, that's not the standard for emergency response. Second, it's clearly not even true in this case. Although both you and I are drawing our conclusions from the article, in this case, a 2 MPH bicycle injury to a 17 year old wearing a helmet is probably not catastrophic. EVEN SO, as has been noted, the paramedics arrived well within the mandated response time. They did their job exactly as required, PERIOD.

All service providers - in both the public and private sector - are taken out of service all the time for lots of reasons. Training, cleaning, efficiencies, repairs, etc. That's why we have back up systems so other nearby centers can cover for them. It happens EVERY DAY.

When a call comes into the 911 call center, an assessment is made about the severity of a victim's injuries. "Is anyone injured? Are they breathing, are they conscious, etc." I'm sure if there were a serious injury, the Chief could have easily put the station back into service.

This event is so transparently manufactured by the firefighter's union... and you've bought into it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

In following this and other threads where public opinion is against Mr. Carpenter, his Nixonian paranoia always rears it's ugly head. One only had to read his post on this thread on January 27th at 1:58 P.M. to "Jean B" to substantiate this point. His postings always deteriorate into accusations of posters using multiple names with the same I.P. address or not living in cities they claim to live or now claiming that the posters are members of the firefighter's union. Atherton Mom is correct in that this becomes an even greater reason when a member of the Fire District is not willing to listen to voters and instead attacks them because they are not in agreement with him.

I would also point out that the timing of Mr. Hawkins e-mail does not mitigate the error in judgment by the Fire Chief as the chief took an entire station out of service for his press conference. Even the article in the San Jose Mercury News refers to the chief as "the media-savvy Schapelhouman" in reference to his penchant for news conferences and the limelight. I would remind Mr. Carpenter that both the union rank and file and management are both public servants and while you rail on rank and file's demands, we have a fire chief compensated at well over $300K. I would direct readers to read my first post on this thread on January 20th at 9:01 P.M.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

Pogo: The comment you made that I consider very, very inappropriate was "Perhaps Stanford's Life Flight helicopter should have been put on alert." You totally dismissed the accident as a trifle incident. If you had children, and it had been one of them, I suspect that you would have acted differently.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:02 am

It gets very tiresome to have to constantly correct false statements made, almost always, by anonymous posters for whom there is no accountability. And I now do so realizing that I risk the ire of Atherton Mom for even daring to question another poster's statements (where, Atherton Mom, do you want there to be a respectful sharing if all you will allow me to do is accept statements by others which I know to be false?)

Thomas - 1 - my response to JB to which you referred stated

"Jean B states"will act more responsibly in the future."

What mindless calumny.

And when Jean B. did you stop beating your husband?
*****
My point, on which I stand, is that to make a comment that someone should act more responsibly in the futures is a statement of fact that they have acted without such responsibility in the past. My question to JB was to help her put the shoe on the other foot and to see how it might feel.

Thomas -2 - the Chief does not make $300k and I have given you the actual facts time and again and yet you still, pardon me Atherton Mom, repeat this lie.

Thomas and Atherton Mom - reread this entire thread and think again if you believe that I am not listen. Just because I do not agree with you does not mean that I have not heard what you said. I have listened careful and acted on the ONLY reasonable question to come out of this thread. I know that you would like to beat me into submission but that will not happen absent evidence and logic.

Atherton Mom - please either post here or send to peterfcarpenter@gmail.com any examples of my demeaning other posters or of my violating the term of use of this forum and I will respond promptly both to you and to the Editors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

Would you all please stop this attack on the Fire Chief for a perfectly reasonable decision!!
Yes-This Johnson St accident happened closer to the Oak Grove station, but with all the school kids just getting out and the carpool traffic, zig zagging through several 4 way stops, plus a ton of media equipment physically in the way of efficient departure, I would also defer to the Alemeda Station which had a straight shot down Valpariso with no traffic congestion even if it was a few blocks further away.
You'd have gotten the exact same decision from me.
You know guys-For an aggressive Union Lobby complaining about the Chief's media savvy--some of you people are sure milking this non event to you own advantage.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

Peter Carpenter: Your comment to Jean B about her husband is totally uncalled for!!!!! This is just an example of you attacking anyone who disagrees with you.

You are wrong. Just because you think the fire chief acted in an appropriate fashion does NOT make it right. That is your opinion, while others disagree. You do not need to personally attack them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

J.B personally attacks the Fire Chief, I demonstrate that her facts are wrong (the Chief did not make this dispatch in question and did not interfere with the dispatch once it was made), J.B. repeats her false charge, I correct her again and the J.B. makes the same false charge a third time. Once again I correct her and ask her a question which demonstrates how a statement like hers can imply guilt where none exists and you take umbrage! What about the distinguished public servant whom she unjustly attacked, without stating In my opinion, or allegedly or might have, 3 times - that is where I take umbrage!!

Next?


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

Peter Carpenter: Jean B.'s comments were apparently her feeling/comments about the situation. Just because they didn't fit into your way of thinking does not make them wrong and you right.

Your personal attack on her, however, about beating her husband is totally out of order!!!!

If you are going to continue with personal attacks, again, suggest you start your own blog.

The fire chief acted irresponsibly and owes the community an apology. You disagree, but this is my opinion. And an apology to Jean B is owed by you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Atherton Mom - There you go again "The fire chief acted irresponsibly and owes the community an apology."

That may be your opinion but it is not a fact - you make my point, perfectly.

Are you too dense to realize that the question to J.B. was intended to illustrate exactly the difference between stating an opinion as opposed to making a statement that implies a fact that is NOT proven.

And you fall into the same trap.

Next?


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Posted by John S.
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm

A child was injured in an accident. The fire chief is more interested in his media opportunity. It is my opinion that this was not right.

Peter - your personal attack on Jean B and her family is disgusting. After comments like that why would anyone side with your feelings that the fire chief os such a great guy??!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm

And now Peter personally attacks me for my opinions. No, Peter, I am not "dense."

To attack Jean B's family is totally uncalled for.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

John S. - I made no personal attack, I just asked a question (which, for purposes of illustration, implied a fact not in evidence as do all of the statements made by the other anonymous, unaccountable persons on this forum who engage in calumny).

Your opinion about the Fire Chief is your opinion - it however is not consistent with the facts - but that would require that you research the facts (sorry Atherton Mom for expecting people to do their homework) before you make such a statement.

The Chief did not make the dispatch in question and he did not interfere with the dispatch once it was made.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John S.
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

TAccusing someone of "beating their husband" is a personal attack and wrong.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

John S and Atherton Mom - THANK YOU. You have both made exactly my point. When someone makes a statement or asks a question that IMPLIES past actions that did not occur then that statement or question is inappropriate.

I will gladly apologize to J.B. when and where J.B., Thomas, Truth, Atherton Mom, John S and all the others apologize for their statements about the Fire Chief which implied past action(s) that did not occur.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I came onto this site to simply state my opinion. As the guidelines here say, that is what this site is for. Instead I was attacked for these opinion, demeaned and called, among other names, "dense." Peter Carpenter repeatedly does this to anyone who disagrees with him. He even went so far as to attack a lady, accusing her of "beating her husband." As I read through this site, I see that Peter had a post removed for a personal attack, so I assume that this is par for the course for him.

It is unfortunate that people cannot freely express their opinions without these attacks and imposed rules by one Peter Carpenter. It's apparently his views on the fire chief or no views at all.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm

My purpose of using a loaded question to J.B. was to remind her and others of the importance of including a false or questionable presumption in our statements.

"A loaded question is a question with a false or questionable presupposition, and it is "loaded" with that presumption.

The question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" presupposes that you have beaten your wife prior to its asking, as well as that you have a wife. If you are unmarried, or have never beaten your wife, then the question is loaded.

Since this example is a yes/no question, there are only the following two direct answers:

1. "Yes, I have stopped beating my wife", which entails "I was beating my wife."
2. "No, I haven't stopped beating my wife", which entails "I am still beating my wife."

Thus, either direct answer entails that you have beaten your wife, which is, therefore, a presupposition of the question. So, a loaded question is one which you cannot answer directly without implying a falsehood or a statement that you deny." Fallacy Files

*****************

Hopefully posters will stop make statements that include or are based on a false presumption.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Peter, not a "loaded" question. Again you try to rationalize. You comment to Jean B (not JB) was totally inappropriate and uncalled for. Justify it all you want, but you were wrong. You should know this, as you've had other posts, on this thread, deleted for personal attacks. Please let others share their opinions without threat of attacks by you. This is not just your website, but that of the community.

I would also appreciate that in the future you refrain from your attacks on me. Calling me "dense," and your other disparaging comments does not help your case in your defense of the fire chief.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Atherton Mom - you are now beginning to understand what my loaded statement concern is all about.

When I ask "Are you too dense to realize that the question to J.B. was intended to illustrate exactly the difference between stating an opinion as opposed to making a statement that implies a fact that is NOT proven." you immediately transfer that statement to my CALLING you dense - which I did not.

Perhaps now you appreciate the implications of yours and other statements about the Fire Chief like 'in the future be more responsible' etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Peter: Your comment to me "Are you too dense to realize..." I most definitely consider that a personal attack. I ask you again to stop the demeaning comments. (your other disparaging "Perhaps now you appreciate the implications of yours and other statements..." This is just not the way to talk to others who are simply stating their opinions. If I agreed with you, then I'm sure you'd be singing my praises. You need to realize that those with differing views just might not be wrong. Again, please stop the verbal abuse and attacks.

And apologize to Jean B.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Atherton Mom. If you consider "Perhaps now you appreciate the implications of yours and other statements..." as disparaging then that is your problem, not mine.
If you consider my question "Are you too dense to realize that the question to J.B. was intended to illustrate exactly the difference between stating an opinion as opposed to making a statement that implies a fact that is NOT proven." as PROOF that you are dense then please explain what someone should infer from your and other statements about the Fire Chief UNPROVEN behavior.

I will gladly apologize to J.B. when and where J.B., Thomas, Truth, Atherton Mom, John S and all the others apologize for their statements about the Fire Chief which implied past action(s) that did not occur.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Peter Carpenter: You obviously always need to have the last word. And in so doing, it must be by putting everyone else down. This forum is for expressing opinions. Many others feel that the fire chief was wrong. You choose to feel he did no wrong.

However, attacking another poster for her opinion and talking about beating her husband is way out of line. In fact, I have just found out that it was that exact post that was removed before. So, obviously, the people in control of this site felt it was a personal attack and offensive.

And yes, your attacks on me are also uncalled for. And I realize that it's a total waste of time expressing any opinions here, as you want to be the big dog and control every single comment. So be it. Hope you continue to enjoy berating others.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Peter:

you know what they say about wrestling with pigs don't you?.....

Can't have a battle of wits with an unarmed man....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Another precinct heard from...Menlo Voter, retired law enforcement, who collects a pension thanks to unions. What's the metaphor about glass houses?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Menlo Voter and Tom Foolery (Peter: You can not win by engaging these idiots.) are correct. It is time to let this matter rest and to hope that fair minded citizens do their homework before jumping to unfounded conclusions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Atherton Mom -

Wouldn't it be just as easy to accuse you of wanting to have the last word? You've enthusiastically and voluntarily engaged in this debate, too.

Let's just agree to disagree. As far as I'm concerned (and in answer to your question, I do have children and have used emergency services), the response time of this fire department is exceptional and consistent... and that is to the credit of this Chief.


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Posted by Atherton Mom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

And now Peter calls those who don't agree with him "idiots." Yes, definitely time to sign off. I guess if you can't make your point, Peter, through logic and accurate facts, then you need to resort to the name calling you do. Pretty sad, actually.


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Posted by susan
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I hope our fire district dumps Local 2400. The stupid and repeated (over and over again) comments about our Chief is plain ignorant. I plan on bringing my family to the next fire board meeting to complain about wasted time by this union that only is disappointed by their pay. I can think of dozens of people who would love a job with the fire district.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm

No, Atherton Mom, Peter made his point and so did you.


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Posted by Will
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Where do I sign up for a cushie fire fighter job. I need 100k.


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Posted by John S.
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Peter continues in his attacks: accuses a poster of beating her husband, cals another dense, calls everyone who disagrees with him an idiot! Wow. And we elected him? Oif I had only known. Atherton Mom is correct, it is time to move on.


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Posted by to Will
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

In addition to 100K you also have a pension,and medical and dental benefits for your family. And the union is crying!?


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Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I am sick of the unfunded liabilities that unions have imposed on our taxes. I may decide to run for the fire board. I imagine a lot of people agree with me and would vote for me!


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Thomas:

just to set the record straight. I do NOT collect a pension.


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Honey The Fire District Board Members are already very aware of the pension problems, as is the Fire Chief I suspect.
WHY DO THINK THE UNION SHILLS ARE SO OUT TO DISCREDIT THE CHIEF?????????


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Posted by Ben
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Governor Christie of New Jersey said sorry the party is over. People are out of work. To continue to raise salaries based upon step and rank can't sustain itself. The ff have jobs. They are very fortunate to have good paying jobs. However,the union can't arm wrestle the taxpayers any longer. That dog won't hunt. Union bosses are losing their grip. How many of you people get full medical, dental and 3% at age 50 or 55, when you retire?


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm

One thing we all have learned, Peter will not represent the public, but the chief as a director. We have to rid ourselves of the self interested politicians like Peter.


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Posted by ben
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 30, 2011 at 8:54 am

Thanks Peter for representing our town. You represent the public. All the free stuff for the unions is changing and they are mad as hell.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Truth,

You just kill me......Peter is one of the ONLY people on that Fire Board who has the publics interest as his guiding light. He and Peter Ohtaki were instrumental in making sure the District paid down it's pension liabilities. While I sometimes disagree with the delivery of the Fire Districts Message, you cannot say Peter is anything but open.

To slander him like you just did, anonymously, is beneath dignity and the sign of a COWARD. Grow up and sign your name if you are going to throw umbrage......We deserve better than you in this city.

Thanks Peter for your VOLUNTARY service to our community.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:03 am

Hear, hear.


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

Finally! We now have some comments in good faith. Yes Thank you Peter and to the Fire Chief


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Posted by ollie
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

peter and 4 other board members get $750 month toward medical.If they opt not to use it they can put it in a deferred comp program. once they impose a contract on the FF they then get $1500 month. connect the dots...but i think pc is so wealthy he actually doesnt take the money. so much for VOLUNTER


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Posted by old tom
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm

if the fire chief is the reason for everything good...then he must be the reason for so much that is wrong in the mpfd.. ask pc about rehiring retired chiefs as contract employees,, double dippin the brass is ok,,because they're not the evil union guys


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Wow, a whole $750 a month!

No wonder people are lining up to serve.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Ollie? states:"peter and 4 other board members get $750 month toward medical.If they opt not to use it they can put it in a deferred comp program. once they impose a contract on the FF they then get $1500 month. connect the dots"

Yes, do connect the dots - with facts. I neither accept medical or dental benefits nor meeting per diems because I believe both that public service is public service and not self service and because I think it is irresponsible for very part time elected officials to receive the same medical and dental benefits as do full time employees.


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Posted by ollie o
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm

lol pc took the bait as usaul. ..so the rest of your fellow board members are "irresponsible"? im sure they dont regret hand picking you back to the board. or was it because you are not a threat to their next election? connect the dots.. btw i said "pc is so wealthy he doesnt take the money.and to u POGO lots of people would like an extra $750or 1500 a month to pay for medical. to bad the mpfd ff have been paying nearly a $1000 a month for medical for 3 yrs.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

ollie o -

The only thing worse than your lies and misrepresentations (attention The Almanac editors - not an attack, he admitted it...), is your spelling.

We'll just have to console ourselves with our integrity.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

ollie? states:"lol pc took the bait as usaul. ."

Your logic and your spelling both speak for themselves. Begone with your maliciousness.


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Posted by Steve Kennedy
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

As I said (and wrote) many times during my last campaign for the MPFD Board, the Chief wears several hats.
He must be:
1) A pragmatic negotiator
2) An effective administrator
3) A philosophical visionary
4) A ceremonial icon (in terms of talking to the press and welcoming new recruits).

It seems to me that Harold Schapelhouman (a man whose application for a 9/11 related disability pension, I have vowed to vote to reject) was performing his role as a ceremonial icon in front of the TV cameras that day, became an effective administrator when he delegated the medical response call to another crew and stepped into his role as a philosophical visionary when he caught a bunch of flack. He probably wouldn't have caught all that flack from the Firefighter's union rep is he was a more pragmatic negotiator and could find a way to raise salaries enough to get a labor contract signed.

Perhaps he thinks that he can build his way out of this conundrum by building a new fire station at Flood Park and installing enough solar power to reduce his utility bills. It's not a bad idea. Too bad I won't be in office when the opportunity to influence the architects during the design and conceptualization stage, is at hand. Three strikes and you're out. The tribe has spoken.

The bottom line is this. A responsible Board member works to channel the frustration of middle management (the station captains) towards the Chief in constructive ways. A responsible Board member builds political capital for personal pet projects (like fire safety/environmental video projects) by supporting the Fire Chief.

Building up a pocket full of IOU's is one reason during my term in office (1999-2003) that I regularly interviewed the officer corps, the Station Captains, the office staff and the rank and file, regarding the performance of the Chief (based on the criteria above). Offering to spend political capital is just horse trading and shouldn't be confused with bribery. (You got that Peter?)




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Building up a pocket full of IOU's is one reason during my term in office (1999-2003) that I regularly interviewed the officer corps, the Station Captains, the office staff and the rank and file, regarding the performance of the Chief"

A remarkable public claim to collecting IOUs (a deplorable activity) that is also totally inconsistent with the fact that few of these individuals would even talk to Kennedy.

I challenge Kennedy to name the individuals whom he allegedly interviewed.


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Posted by Steve Kennedy
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:51 am

Peter,

I'd be happy to share the names of the officers and staff that I interviewed almost ten years ago but all of them insisted on remaining anonymous and I have and will continue to honor their requests. Its the integrity thing. Where's yours? You were appointed to the Board by your business partner (twice).

The role of the Board members is to monitor the performance of the Fire Chief. The Board members are not there to make policy.

Hence, I was appalled when you usurped the policy making power of Chief Wilson by publicly declaring that guarding fire line on So Cal fires wasn't good enough for our wildlands fire fighting crew. YOU stated that you wanted them at the head of the fire, cutting fire line. YOU created an unreasonably high set of expectations for a suburban city trained bunch of guys with a street rig that really wasn't the billy goat model preferred by CalFire.

And when the Novato Fire District lost a rig, one man dead and three injured on the Cedar Fire, and after I asked Chief Wilson how much the disaster would cost, ($1.4 million) you told me, "It's good training". And now you wonder why firefighter morale is low since these guys consider themselves to be "tin soldiers".

You should learn your job and do it Peter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2012 at 7:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Kennedy, as usual, makes allegations without verification. I guess that is what happens when he loses an election.


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Posted by Oak Grove resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Personally, I support the chief in making decisions about when to safely put the station out of service (for all of 22 minutes in this instance).

I will never (knowingly) vote for people that:
1) spend hours posting on forums
2) insult everyone that disagrees with them


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Posted by Finest Hour
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm

This thread may well be Peter's finest.

Defending a camera hungry attention..... through assigning the blame "you started it!"

You go Petey!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The trolls are bored - and frustrated.


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