The East County Voters for Equal Protection (ECV), led by Co-Chairs Hal Bray and Bryan Scott, are encouraging voters within the 249-square mile service area of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) to vote “Yes” on Measure A.
A “Measure A” mail-in ballot has been distributed by mail to voters throughout the district by the Contra Costa County Clerk, Elections Division. The measure was initiated by the ECCFPD Board of Directors.
A “Yes” will reduce the number of Directors of the oversight Board from nine to five. All other fire districts in Contra Costa County have five-member boards, as do many cities, school districts and other special districts.
“An elected Board removes even the appearance of conflict between Board members, the agencies that appointed them, and the residents they represent,” said Bray. “Reducing the size of the Board will make it easier to manage the operation of the District; the District and the residents of the District win on both counts.”
All seats on the Board of Directors will be filled by an election in November of this year as ECCFPD moves from an appointed Board to an elected Board. The current nine-member board has been appointed since the creation of the fire district in 2002.
When the County’s Board of Supervisors consolidated three fire districts into a large regional district, ECCFPD, there was opposition from some East County residents who believed their community, such as the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, would lose influence.
Consequently, the largest concentration of residents, Brentwood, was given the most seats on the board, four, while the smaller city of Oakley got three seats. The much less-populated unincorporated areas of the county received two seats.
Since all Board positions will be filled by popular vote, the assignment of Board seats by political jurisdiction is no longer necessary.
The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association (CoCoTax) also encourages East County residents to vote “Yes” on Measure A.
“The best government is the most local government, with more direct access and accountability at the polling place,” said Jack Weir, CoCoTax President.
While the change will have minimal fiscal impact on district finances, the change will improve the efficiency of district administration, according to the “Argument in Favor of Measure A” submitted by Fire Chief Brian Helmick. His statement indicates it will be easier to build a consensus, he believes.
Ballots may be returned by mail, or dropped off at Oakley City Hall, Brentwood City Hall, or the Discovery Bay Community Center during regular business hours from Feb. 12 to March 6. Ballots may also be dropped off at County Elections Division, 555 Escobar Street in Martinez by 8 p.m., on or before March 6.
A County Elections Division Voter Services Center at the Brentwood Community Center will be open on Saturday, March 3, from 9 am – 3 pm, Monday, March 5, from 9 am to 6 pm, and on Tuesday, March 6, from 9 am to 8 pm, to receive ballots.
“East County Voters for Equal Protection” is a non-partisan, grass roots, citizens’ action committee formed to address the issue of unequal funding of fire and emergency medical services existing in 249 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County. About 120,000 residents, as well as those who work and play in Eastern Contra Costa, have services funded at a level one-fourth to one-third of those levels in other parts of Contra Costa County. For more information contact committee Co-Chairs Hal Bray at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bryan Scott email@example.com. The group’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyVoters/