When did the minimum become sufficient?


Posted by on Sun, June 10, 2007

Cartoon-O-Graf® by Edward Hopperesque
Yes, that's the city's bulletin board, on the far right corner of the building, in the parking lot. Past the mural.

Twice in one week, the Half Moon Bay City Council held important special meetings on the Pilarcitos Creek park site with the absolute legal minimum notice. They posted an agenda on the side of City Hall 24 hours before the meeting was to be held. There are two important issues here—the timing and the location of the notice.

To quote the Half Moon Bay Review, writing about an earlier city council:

Why not post notice of meetings where someone might actually see it? Does the city have something to hide?
The answers, respectively, are that we don’t know and that we don’t think so.

There is another possible explanation. You can’t really hide anything by holding a snap public meeting, but you can keep the amount of public participation to a minimum. And you may be able to cloud the record. MCTV was unable to tape either special meeting, and Coastsider came close to missing them as well.

And let’s be clear: posting the agenda to the city’s web site—the digital equivalent of the bulletin board on the side of city hall—is also insufficient.  The County Coastside Water District emails meeting notices to anyone who asks to be put on the list.  On June 8, I received a email from CCWD about a special meeting to be held on June 12.

In the meantime, be sure to stop by the city hall parking lot after 5 every evening. You might miss something if you don’t.

I, for one, apologize that our City is falling so short, in your eyes, on so many fronts.

We’ll try to do better.

I would be careful with the “hide” and “cloud” allegations.  The glass house here has very thin walls.

Clouding the record is a serious issue. Take a look at our video of the special meeting.  There’s a clear disagreement between Naomi Patridge and city attorney Adam Lindgren over whether he told her in closed session that the city could not release the redacted material. When you don’t have a transcript of a meeting, what actually happened is open to anyone’s interpretation.

You also seem to resent folks from the Midcoast poking into the city’s business. We’re not all one city, but we are all one community. And what happens in Half Moon Bay affects those of us in No Man’s Land.  Many of us do a lot to support the city and spend more of our income downtown than many residents because we believe that’s important. One reason I support the park on Pilarcitos Creek is because I spend a lot of time downtown with my family.

I don’t remember you getting all sarcastic when Jim Larimer, Terry Gossett, Charlie Gardner, or the Pellegrinis speak up about problems they see in your city.

“You also seem to resent folks from the Midcoast poking into the city’s business. We’re not all one city, but we are all one community. “

Over thirty three years of making my home in Montara and Moss Beach, I have never considered myself to be a member of a Half Moon Bay community nor of any of the several different communities in HMB that some define. Not even when I had an office in the Miramar district of HMB for 19 years. In fact, I have never considered myself to be part of El Granada or Princeton communities. There is no compelling geographic reason to be part of those communities if, in fact, one is not within their boundaries. And the voting patterns of the several named and neighboring geographic communities are often quite distinct, so politically, and one might extend this to many social issues, there is no well-defined single community. Our different controlling governments are also differently structured and have differing policies and regulations in many areas. Only the school district covers the entire midcoast, including HMB—but it also covers a distinctly separate and distant community on Kings Mountain.

All this is not to say one might not feel part of a single midcoast community—that feeling, after all, is part of an individual’s personal outlook. But it is clearly wrong to assume there is, factually, a single coastside community that includes everyone in the unincorporated areas and Half Moon Bay.

I see the park controversy as a City of Half Moon Bay issue. Although I might have some philosophical views and opinions on the matter, it does not concern any community of which I am a part and is none of my governmental business as a citizen. We who describe ourselves as members of one of the several communities in the county part of the midcoast have plenty of park problems of our own, should any of us wish to spend time in that area of concern.

As far as voting in the Review’s poll goes, even if I did feel I had a stake in the city park issue, I wouldn’t vote because of the loose and unreliable way the paper’s polls are, and have always been, structured. Talk about setups for stuffing the “ballot box”!

Carl May

“You also seem to resent folks from the Midcoast poking into the city’s business. “

Not at all.

I resent your continual abuse of the City, its Council Members and Staff.

“I don’t remember you getting all sarcastic…”

that is surprising

” when Jim Larimer, Terry Gossett, Charlie Gardner, or the Pellegrinis speak up about problems they see in your city.”

You forgot Joel Farbstein, Mary Bordi & Don Bacon, to name a few.

I guess the difference is I usually see them offering up solutions and seeking discussion, not just pointing out flaws and shutting it down.

Brian, please point to my abuse of the city, its council members or staff. It has never happened. Not once, let alone continually.

It’s a matter of debate whether the bypass, the Wavecrest middle school, the great big water pipe, and a less ambitious Local Coastal Program are solutions or problems. That’s why we’re here.

I’ll put my record for promoting discussion up against anyone on the Coastside.

And please re-read this article. I offfered a simple solution to the problem I’ve identified. Do you have a problem with email notification more than 24 hours in advance for important meetings? The city has known for two and a half years that this day was coming.  Why the rush?

There seems to be some vigorous back and forth here as to what defines community. I think some people should realize there is not a single definition shared by all. For ten years I lived in Moss Beach and my local community consisted of a few neighboring households and a few that were stretched out a bit further through carpool connections, etc. The real community for me was on a much larger scale through my interest in national and world issues. I’ve often felt a longing for a more substantial connection to a local community.

Since moving to Montara I’ve had the beginnings of that feeling within my new hometown. Already, however, there are tendrils of community extending as far as Half Moon Bay, mostly through mine and my son’s involvement in little league baseball. I expect to get a stronger bond with HMB when my son attends Cunha in the fall. He’ll be spending more time there after school, mostly at the library, but it might be nice if he had a nice park to go to and that we could enjoy while we’re there to pick him up. As long as there are entities like little league and the school district that serve the larger area, community will be much larger than the municipal boundaries for a lot of us.

Cunha was also my first real introduction to downtown Half Moon Bay. It’s one reason that I was so adamant that the school remain where it is.  Moving it to Wavecrest would have disconnected many of us from the heart of the community.

[I don’t want to turn this into a debate on the middle school site, but I did want to provide a little insight into how it connects Midcoasters to Half Moon Bay.]

Some in HMB have said that people outside the city should stay out of the park debate, but Joel McKinnon raises an interesting point.  Kids from the whole Coastside go to the middle school in HMB and the high school in HMB, and it’s useful for there to be a park there that they can go to after school.  So it appears there is at least one valid reason for people outside of the city to participate in the park debate.

Getting back to the original story topic, would it really kill anyone in City Hall to post a copy of the agenda in a window facing main street so that those walking by on Main Street would see it?

The points about community are that there are many kinds of communities based on numerous, often interacting, factors (geographic, social, religious, ethnic/national origins, governmental, and beyond) and one cannot impose their assumptions and particular sense of community onto others. Where there are not commonalities, people will not associate in the same communities. By this token, one cannot expect those outside their personal communities to support their community-centric ideals and activities.

There may be a self-assembled midcoast community with an interest in a centrally located city park in HMB, but there is no all-encompassing midcoast community with such an interest.

Carl May

Good academic points Carl. My own, admittedly gut feel about this is that if there are people like me out here in the hinterlands who have reason to care about whether or not a new park is developed in HMB, then that makes us a part of the HMB community with regard to this decision, and our viewpoint should be considered as much as is feasible.


You may be part of a community that cares about the park; but you are not a citizen of HMB nor are the HMB politicos responsible to you. You can’t vote for them, and they are making decisions on city property involving city money according to city land use regulations and city policies. In other words, you have no standing and no juice regarding the park.

Overall, this is a good thing if we can use the same principle to keep HMB government out of the affairs of the unincorporated midcoast. Then we have only one irresponsible, absentee government, the county, to deal with instead of two with regard to community parks not associated with schools.

Carl May

“I offfered a simple solution to the problem I’ve identified.”

What you actually did was reduce City Hall to a cartoon, and it is not appreciated.

I would search the archives here for stories on 144 Kelly, but alas, there are none.  If the activities regarding the “conservation easement” debacle that occurred there (even putting aside the Grady angle for a moment) were undertaken by the current CC majority, you would be howling in disagreement.

The lack of “reporting” here supports my case.  Should I link “ALL THE ‘NEWS’ THAT FITS THE SCRIPT” or should we all just google it?

This is my story, and I am sticking to it, unless, of course, “Coffee with Marina” is in the production stages…

Brian, you still have not answered my direct request that you back up your accusation of “continual abuse of the City, its Council Members and Staff”. Instead, you’re trying to change the subject. If you’d prefer not to support your baseless claim, you might want to apologize.

Not coincidentally, your behavior on Coastsider has been consistently abusive toward other users.

“This is my story, and I am sticking to it, unless, of course, “Coffee with Marina” is in the production stages…”

It’s in the pre-production stages, in fact. Hoping to roll tape this summer.

—Darin (video producer of the “Coffee with…” series)

“abusive toward other users.”

much like this site is abusive towards the current HMB CC majority, and, as an extension, staff (they do the dirty work) and many residents.

Are readers to believe that HMB has gone so far downhill since the 2005 election that nothing positive can be proffered?  Was I on vacation when those stories ran?

I guess I can offer to apologize when you do the same for the “Man Shoots Dog” nonsense.

You present something positive, I will stand corrected.  Unless you want all posters to simply agree with your opinions and buy your version of events…

Brian, you seem to be saying that because I haven’t praised the current city council majority, I am being abusive. And that by withholding my praise, I’m abusing “as an extension, staff (they do the dirty work) and many residents.”

Is that your position? Seriously?

Brian, if you want to bring in 144 Kelly, and I’m not sure how that relates to giving adequate notice of special meetings, I would first go back to Certificates of Compliance and lot line adjustments which involved City Staff for the development of the Ocean Shore Railroad Right of Way. When no sewer permits were available (the SAM plant was being built) somehow there were several for the newly formed lots, that goes for water too. Then the City Public Works Director brought forth her plans to develope 144 Kelly. I just happened to be in the ARC meeting for another issue when it was presented. When asked was this lot part of the Ocean Shore Railroad Right of Way the answer was “no, it is an infill lot”. Looking at the paper work I saw a biological report included which was for development of the whole space from Kelly to Arleta Park.
If you take a walk out there you might get a better perspective of how strange a development process this was at the time and why the preservation of this lot and the rest of the right-of-way was a service to the Community. The Conservation Easment is in co-ordination with HOST to preserve, in perpituity, this area. It is a check and balance which, given the current politics was a wise thing to do. lani ream

Brian, you still haven’t documented your false accusation of “continual abuse of the City, its Council Members and Staff”.  So far, you’ve only said that I’m abusing the city council by ignoring them. I doubt they’re so needy that my lack of attention is seen as abusive.

Please document your accusation or apologize.