Responses to HMB Review’s endorsements


Posted by on Thu, October 21, 2004

I sent a letter to the HMB Review responding to their endorsement of Gardner and Moseley for the CUSD board.  They responded that it is their editorial policy "not to print partisan letters to the editor this campaign season".  Since they ran an editorial stating their partisan opinion, a contrary opinion deserves a voice, too.  Accordingly, I’m posting my letter here on Coastsider.

[em]EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve moved Stephen’s letter to the "read more" link on this story and I’m inviting others who want to reply to the Review’s editorial endorsements for Cabrillo Unified School District, Pescadero Unified School District, and Harbor District, and to post comments on this story.[/em]

[em]I will post my endorsements for CUSD soon, and will accept all comments from the community and the candidates. [/em]

Dear Editor,

In your October 20 Editorial Endorsement of CUSD candidates Gardner and Moseley, you point out that Jonathon Lundell is "reasonable, articulate and engaged" while you describe Mr. Gardner as "use to pushing through multimillion dollar projects".  You say you support Gardner and Moseley "precisely because [you] believe they can get a school built and move on."

In his presidential campaign, Senator Kerry has done a great job arguing that it is vital for leaders to face facts and make sound decisions going forward. He argues that the current administration is blind to the facts and obstinately sticks to its guns because it is unwilling to admit that its failed policies need to be reconsidered in the face of a changing reality. 

I think the same argument can be made here, and I commend Mr. Lundell for injecting a bit of reality in the face of what has been effectively failed policy.  Mr. Lundell alone of these candidates has demonstrated an understanding of local demographics and has promoted constructive ideas about how our limited funds can best serve the needs of the community.

More important, regardless of the outcome of Wavecrest, we need effective leadership on the school board. It’s worth noting that the same issue of the Review that ran your endorsement carries a front-page article on how two public shools on the coast are failing to meet federal standards. Perhaps it would be better to challenge the status quo than to "get a school built move on".  Move on to what?

We will be better served with a represenative on the board who can comprehend current and future realities of our local schools and who can make sound policy decisions how to deal with the challenges we face.

Stephen Miller

Comment 1
Thu, October 21, 2004 9:32pm
All my comments

I’m grateful for Mr Miller’s support; thank you.

I’m dismayed, though, by the Review’s new letter policy. Whatever the paper’s shortcomings, the letters page had been built up under former editor David Gorn to be a lively community forum never more so than during a campaign season.

Reasonably, the Review refrained from publishing political letters in the last issue before election day, to guard against attacks that couldn’t be responded to. But that was pretty much the only restriction, and the paper benefited from the diverse voices of the entire community not just the paper’s management.

Even more disturbing is the Review’s selective enforcement of their policy. I submitted a letter last week—declined for the same reasons as was Mr Miller’s—partially in response to Jolanda Schreur’s thinly disguised plug a couple of weeks ago for my opponents.

I’m grateful as well for the generous contributions of nearly 100 supporters, making it possible to buy ad space in that same paper to get my message out. Thank you all. (To those of you who would still like to contribute: it’s not too late. You’ll find the information you need at

While I’m at it, thanks to Barry Parr and Coastsider for providing this amazing community resource. Long may it flourish.

(And thanks to my agent, and my mother, and….)

It’s worth comparing the editorial policy of the Review, which did not provide a venue for rebuttal to their editorial endorsement, to that of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which ran a series of editorials called “21 Reasons to Elect Kerry” [ ].  The editors of the Philedelphia Inquirer made it a point to balance each editorial in favor of Kerry with a rebuttal essay from supporters of Bush.  NPR’s “Fresh Air” interviewed the editors (October 26) [ ] who said they felt this was very important in order to maintain balance.  They went out of their way to find the best conservative commentators to present the opposing point of view. Op-ed, they noted, means “opposite the editorial”. Even with the balanced presentation of rebuttals, they noted that a majority of their readers’ feedback regarding the editorial series was negative because of the apparent political bias.

In comparison, the editorial policy of the Half Moon Bay Review lacked balance and demonstrated clear bias.

The Review ran my letter, which include my previous comment, after which they attached the following comment:

Editor’s note: You are not holding the Philadelphia Inquirer nor are you
reading the paper in the City of Brotherly Love. The Inquirer’s manner of
endorsement has caused some waves in the newspaper world. Some find it
groundbreaking, others wonder whether it is spineless pandering so as not to
upset anyone. We feel it is important to interview the candidates and tell
readers where we stand.

Aside from the fact that this retort seems rather petty, they clearly missed
the irony in attaching a rebuttal to my letter when they would not allow the
same opportunity for rebuttal to their endorsement.

Comment 4
Wed, November 10, 2004 11:05am
All my comments

The Review now says that they “feel it is important to interview the candidates and tell readers where we stand.”

But the Review didn’t bother to interview the candidates last year before making their recommendations.

Make up your mind.