The dictionary definition of “lackey” is “servile follower or toady.” It is a deeply derogatory term. And it is the word deliberately chosen by onetime fire-board president Chris Cilia to describe the citizens of the Coastside — citizens he once served in office — who want to recall directors Mike Alifano, Doug Mackintosh and Gary Riddell and keep CalFire in our community.
That Cilia so openly despises his former constituency should be no surprise. The board majority Cilia supports has displayed the same contempt for the voting public for many months, even if they haven’t expressed it in such insulting language. The arrogance of Alifano in particular has been most recently demonstrated by his odd appearances at petition-signing sites, often accompanied by two imposing companions who happen to be volunteer firefighters.
In one encounter, Alifano confronted an 87-year-old World War II veteran who was made so uncomfortable that he packed up his petitions and left. And Alifano's now-infamous Safeway visits were followed this past weekend by a cameo at the Harbor Village Farmer's Market in the company of a San Mateo firefighter and his wife who tried to interfere with the petition people. It’s worth noting that, although Alifano insists the recall is divisive, no signature gatherer has reported a single problem encounter with anyone in our community — except Alifano himself.
To Cilia, who abruptly quit the fire board in the middle of his term, every one of the thousands of signatures already gathered on the recall petitions represents a brainless drone, not an informed citizen. And that’s what they all think of us, folks. Cilia has eloquently expressed the contempt that the entire anti-CalFire cadre holds for the Coastside electorate.
The only appropriate response to that contempt is to sign the recall petitions and regain control of our fire protection from three people who are determined to impose their own private agenda on the entire community.