The History of Coastside Politics

Someday someone will research and write a history of politics on the Coastside. I would hope a book or graduate thesis or MCTV documentary would be entirely objective. Or a report from the Half Moon Bay Review and Coastsider.com. It’s time to do that. 

You know how much I love, and more importantly, respect  the history of the Coastside. I continue to believe the Coastside is unlike any other place on this earth. The folks who come here to live are just different. Once here, most people do not want to leave. And, if they do, it is with great regret, and they never forget Half Moon Bay.

Usually Americans are on the move. “Everywhere but here,” is the theme. I find that Coastsiders know they’ve got a good thing. Once here, there is no other place as pleasant.

Through my own reading of old newspapers, I’ve been exposed to political stories, but I cannot pretend to know the evolution of Coastside politics. 

In early Half Moon Bay, called “Spanishtown” by the locals well into the 20th century, the Coastside had solid local representation. The county supervisors, Messrs. Debenedetti and Francis, were from Half Moon Bay. Everybody knew where they lived and could knock on their doors if they needed help with a problem.

In Pescadero, Dr. C.V. Thompson represented the South Coast. Did you know that until the “Boundary Bill” was passed in 1868, Pescadero was part of Santa Cruz County? It was easier for the townspeople to ride over the mountain to the San Mateo County seat at Redwood City than to wait for an extremely low tide that would allow them to travel to Santa Cruz.

Back then the Coastside was insular, geographically and political. I would  say that the Coastside of the late 19th & early 20th centuries was  remote, and therefore undesirable for development. As a result, the locals looked to local leaders who hopefully had  their best interests in mind.

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P.S. Back in 1980 when I produced/wrote my documentary called “The Mystery of Half Moon
Bay,” at least one person interviewed talked about secession! That the Coastside could make it on its own. You know, you don’t have to rely on “elected others” to make a difference. Have we forgotten the importance of local leaders? I’m talking about Real Leaders. Not folks who tow the line. Real Coastside leaders. Please give it some thought.

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About June Morrall

1947 - 2010
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