A San Mateo County District Attorney's Office investigator has been assigned to look into complaints about a series of verbal run-ins between a Coastside Fire Protection District board member and recall supporters that occurred over the past two weekends.

The first confrontation happened the weekend of July 14 outside the Half Moon Bay Safeway. Supporters of a petition to recall three CFPD board members — Mike Alifano, Doug Mackintosh and Gary Riddell — had set up a table to collect some of the 2,714 signatures necessary to get the recall on an upcoming ballot. Recall supporters say that Alifano and a firefighter from over the hill were once again intimidating petitioners as they sought signatures at Harbor Village over the weekend.

At least one recall supporter reported feeling threatened by Alifano, who showed up to offer his view on the petition to passersby. Recall supporters say Alifano was intimidating potential signers, a contention he denies.

Intimidation could be in violation of California Election Code 18630, which outlaws attempts to influence elections by intimidation.

"One side will be saying, 'I'm exercising my First Amendment right.' The other will be saying, 'I feel intimidated,'" explained District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Only a judge or jury could ultimately determine whether these codes are being broken, he added. Nevertheless, he said an investigator had been assigned to look into the allegations. A week earlier, Glenn Levy, an attorney in the San Mateo County Counsel Office, spoke with participants in the Safeway incident.

Alifano allegedly took photographs of the circulating petitions that would get the recall on a future ballot. He denies taking photos of the petitions or names of signers. California Election Code 18650 forbids the use of signatures for anything other than qualifying for the ballot.

Government code excludes recall petitions from state open records laws.

"That means that there is some expectation of privacy relating to them," said Wagstaffe.

For his part, Alifano was concerned that California Election Code 18600 was not being obeyed by recall proponents. That law forbids misrepresentation and false statements of petitions. Specifically, Alifano has said that he thinks “Keep CalFire” signs at the petition sites are misleading, since the recall would only remove the three sitting board members and not guarantee that CalFire would remain to manage fire services on the coast.

Breaking any of these election codes could qualify as a misdemeanor.

The disagreement follows acrimonious meetings over several months. The fire board majority has sought to end the CalFire contract on the Coastside and replace it with a new department. The three board members facing recall say that they would have more local control over fire services that way and that the state fire agency hasn’t lived up to terms of its contract over the last four years.

(4) comments

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

BigPumpkin schooled me a few minutes ago on this thread but her post is gone now. I thought she nailed me pretty good and that I deserved it too. So this one is for you BigPumpkin.

In response to the now missing post:

Good points BigPumpkin. I did make the mistake of lumping all those who oppose
the recall, including George, into the same group that includes the bullies who
show up at recall sites to take photos and berate those who choose to
participate in the recall.

I apologize. There are plenty of people who are against the recall for plenty
of different reasons that are principled and reasonable. Just as there are
plenty of people who have signed the recall who are informed and principled.

Again, I apologize. I made a silly mistake in my rhetoric. It won't happen
again. Thanks BigPumpkin. We all need to be held accountable for what we say
and what we do. I went too far. I owe you one buddy.

J C Cervantes
J C Cervantes

I am certain that most residents of the Coastside are once again embarrassed by the actions of our elected officials. These officials make it appear that we are not capable of governing ourselves, and frankly I am beginning to believe that as well.

How Mike Alifano can look at his actions, see the negative effect it is causing not only on the Fire Board but in the community as well an not resign is beyond comprehension.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

Why is Mike Alifano taking pictures of people who oppose his goals?

Why hasn't Doug Mackintosh admonished Mike Alifano for involving the Volunteers?

Why is Mike Alifano making videos of the mostly Pro CalFire crowds at CFPD Board meetings? Has Mike Alifano posted any of those videos on YouTube or some such?

Why does Doug Mackintosh allow this? Is Mike making those video for his personal enjoyment or do Doug Mackintosh and Gary Riddell approve of it?

Why are over the hill Firemen getting in the face of recall signers and collectors? Why hasn't Garry Riddell spoken out against any of this? Why hasn't Mike Alifano apologized to the community? Why hasn't Doug Mackintosh acted like a real leader and called out Mike Alifano and the Volunteers, and the Over the Hill Fireman for bringing shame upon their cause?

We are once again the laughing stock of the Bay Area and they haven't even gotten to the tantrum thrown by Mike Alifano, Seconded by Gary Riddell, and declared to be 'Miller Time' by Doug Mackintosh?

All of this is so counter productive to the desires of the Board Majority. Why are they so inept at running their own show?

Do we really want them running a Fire Department?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden

"...Intimidation could be in violation of California Election Code 18630, which outlaws attempts to influence elections by intimidation...."

Got that Mr. Alifano?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.