In fire board race, retiring board member Carpenter gives money to 3 challengers — not fellow board member

Daily Post Staff Writer

Three of the four candidates running for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board have received a bulk of their funding from a retiring board member who clashed with an incumbent seeking re-election, according to campaign finance fi lings.

Appointed incumbent Robert Jones, former CHP Chief Jim McLaughlin and district volunteer Sean Ballard have all received $1,000 from fire board member Peter Carpenter.

McLaughlin and Ballard have also received $500 from the Lincoln Club of Northern California, which backs Republican candidates.

Incumbent Chuck Bernstein has received $250 from Menlo Park Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs, $250 from Realtor Mary Gilles and $100 from former Menlo Park Mayor Mickie Winkler.

Bernstein has raised $648, Ballard $1,500, Jones $1,000 and McLaughlin $1,575.

Carpenter decided not to seek re-election after 15 years on the board, opening up at least one seat.

In 2013, Bernstein and Carpenter, along with former board member Rex Ianson, ran as a slate that emphasized tight fiscal controls.

However, in 2015, Carpenter criticized Bernstein over a public letter Bernstein had written about the proposed firefighters contract. Bernstein had stated that he would be voting against the contract. Carpenter pointed out that the board’s policy manual states that a director is not to make a commitment on such a matter before the board meeting.

Bernstein is the only board member who voted against both the 2015 contract and this year’s contract with firefighters.