As with its past two elections, the MOFD director elections once again feature "independent" candidates competing against their union-backed counterparts.
Based on public filings and election sign disclosures:
Greg Hasler, Vince Dell’Aquila and Mike Roemer are the independent candidates.
Chris Young, Steve Danziger and Michael Donner are backed by firefighter unions.
The public filings (available here on FPPC Form 460) show Young, Danziger and Donner receiving 100% of their outside funding from the firefighter's union.
We caution voters about the potential conflict-of-interest a union-backed Director may have.
This potential for conflict — and coordinated voting — arose immediately when three union-backed candidates were elected in 2018 (the union outspent independent candidates 6-to-1 that year) and dispensed with its historical tradition of appointing the previous-year's VP to President, instead installing union-backed Directors in key leadership positions.
The conflict-of-interest became most apparent, however, when union-backed Director Greg Baitx — at the behest of the union President — sought an exploration of an MOFD dissolution and merger with Contra Costa County Fire (that story here and here).
That endeavor resulted in community-wide uproar and the ultimate shelving of the plan, which Baitx and fellow union-backed Directors later downplayed in an attempt to inaccurately portray the community uproar as misinformed. Those arguments rang hollow.
Also concerning at the time were the comments and attempts to direct activities during board meetings (and even at some town council meetings) by the union President and other union members, clearly demonstrating that they believed they were the MOFD board directors' constituents rather than taxpaying Moraga and Orinda residents.
While as a matter of policy we don't endorse specific candidates in MOFD races, we strongly recommend residents give due consideration to the fact that a board majority consisting of union-backed candidates has resulted in a lack of unadulterated representation on the board.
The Moraga-Orinda Citizens for Fire Safety group has endorsements on their website.