Clay shoots down Farm Bureau/Beautification Committee, icon


Posted by on Wed, July 14, 2010

What ever the story is, Mr Olsen’s recently bereaved family deserves, better.

He was beloved. His funeral was almost a state event. Hundreds turned out. At the county fair, where Olsen was a member of the governing board, organizers renamed the show ring in his honor.

Based on what we know now, it is too early to bury those cherished memories along with the man. Several sources — most of them now embarrassed to admit they gave their trust so freely — say they can’t account for all of the money at the local farm bureau chapter. There are conflicting reports about money that may be missing from Beautification Committee accounts. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no official reports of wrongdoing with any law enforcement agency.


Clay Lambert’s editorial is based on this news story on the Review’s site:

It’s an open secret that the Beautification Committee has been processing tons of money with zero public accountability since forever. It’s unfortunate that the Review waited for the possibility of malfeasance before reaching the conclusion that this was a less than ideal way to handle large amounts of cash. It will be interesting to see how the Review handles the Old Guard power structure as this unfolds.

The Review editorial was short on details.  What’s the deal?  Who is alleging that Pumpkin Festival funds are missing from the Beautification Committee bank account?  I remember when the fireworks funds went missing years ago and it tuned out the president of the Fireworks Committee was not spending the money on fireworks.  Is an investigation being called for by the Beautification Committee?  Who is on the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee?

It sounds like Mr. Olsen was wore allot of hats.

HMB Review link with more info:

Do we have to wait for Clay to finish his course on how to obtain public records before learning more about the alleged financial mismanagement at the San Mateo County Farm Bureau and Half Moon Bay’s Beautification Committee?

“I’ve been doing some research and talking with knowledgeable people—both on the Coastside and well beyond—about how such organizations should operate and the level of accountability we should all expect from the charities and foundations we trust…I realized my own lack of understanding about the governance of such organizations, I asked for permission to take a University of California, Berkeley, course detailing public records and how to obtain them. I am very much looking forward to that education.”

- Clay Lambert, Editor of the HMB Review

Is this a lame cop out or an honest admission that he’s in over his head?  Start asking questions and report news please!

Farm bureau probes finances
Daily Journal . July 16, 2010 . By Bill Silverfarb bureau probes finances

San Mateo County Farm Bureau checking books to see if money missing
By Julia Scott
San Mateo County Times

Peculiar admission.

Most of what he’d learn in that class can be found here:

I spent two years trying to get Clay interested in the governance and intellectual property issues surrounding MCTV and he couldn’t be bothered.

The Review deserves credit for good photography and nice design; its unfortunate the news reporting falls into the infotainment category so frequently. 

Clay’s excuse, “lack of understanding about the governance” reveals a lazy approach.

Maybe it’s some kind of holdover from the Dolores reign.

“I am very much looking forward to that education”

-Clay Lambert Editor of the Review.

Oh! I get it! It was just a simple case of “ignorance of the law”, that Clay didn’t get it long (4 years) before now…....
Hmmm I wonder who Clay will have to throw under the wheels this week? to distance himself from breaking the #1 Rule in journalism -“Don’t become part of your story”

Na! Terry couldn’t be anything to do with “some kind of holdover from the Dolores reign”...could it?

Anyone can search for the federal tax filings of tax-exempt organizations here on’s web site:

There are form 990 filings made from 2004 through 2009; I found then by searching for:  Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee, and specifying California and 94019 for zip code, and EIN 943054140.

Other local charities will likewise have filed form 990 annually, and Foundation Center will have them, too.

These documents provide a wealth of information as a starting point.

Here are specific links to get each PDF file (paste these into your browser):