In the second consecutive election, voters rejected the incumbent Idyllwild Fire commissioners and chose challengers to manage the district. Voters also told the commission to find another way to improve its finances before raising taxes. Measure G was soundly trounced.

Newcomer Jerry Buchanan and long-time resident, Larry Donahoo easily won the commission seats up for election. President Pete Capparelli was a distant third and colleague Paul Riggi barely placed fourth, one vote ahead of Mark Spehar.

Larry Donahoo, commissioner elect. Photo: J.P. Crumrine

Jerry Buchanan, IFDP commissioner elect. Photo: J.P. Crumrine

The commissioners-elect have a three month wait until they take office Dec. 2.

One of the first priorities will be addressing the district’s finances. Voters also rejected the current commission’s recommendation to approve increasing the cap of the current special tax from $65 to $130. Measure G required two-thirds of the voters to approve. Not only did it fail to pass, but voters out right rejected it 386 “NO” votes to 260 for it, nearly 60 percent of the voters disagreed with the commission’s handling of its finances.

3/3 100.00%

Vote Count Percent
LARRY DONAHOO 353 28.42%
PAUL RIGGI 121 9.74%
MARK C. SPEHAR 120 9.66%
PAUL MIGLIN 35 2.82%
Total 1,242 100.00%

Measure G - Idyllwild Fire Protection Dist.
3/3 100.00%

Vote Count Percent
NO 386 59.75%
YES 260 40.25%
Total 646 100.00%

"I'm happy the people seem to have faith in me," Donahoo said shortly after the results were released. "I hope to do a good job and encourage people to come to the meetings and get engaged."

Comissioner Dr. Charles "Chip" Schelly was also pleased with the election results. He was the only commissioner opposed to raising the unit or parcel fee (Measure G). "This is wonderful," he said Tuesday evening.

"I absolutely think this is a message to the commission. I think Jerry Buchanan's experience in finances and community by-laws will help writing policy be huge boost for the department's policy setting ability," Schelly said. He is also happy to welcome another former paid-call firefighter to the commission, Donahoo.

"Larry will bring 30 years experience at IFPD. He'll help us advance in areas that need to get better," Schelly added.

His colleague, Jeannine Charles-Stigall, acknowledged the voters' decision and said, "It's time to face on what people are saying what they want the board to do with their money. We're not in a position to ask for more money."